A domovoi or domovoy is a spirit in Slavic folklore dedicated to keeping peace and order in a household. Every home traditionally has a domovoi which may help out with chores or protect family members.
Descriptions vary, but the standard domovoi is a small, masculine creature covered in hair and sporting a beard. Domovye (plural of domovoi) might also take on the appearance of cat or dog or even the homeowner himself.
Though often friendly, a domovoi is not something to anger. When displeased, domovye behave much like poltergeists, rattling objects, banging on walls, and leaving muddy footprints in the home. Poor housekeeping and profane language draw the ire of these household spirits (well, my family is screwed) said to live under stoves or thresholds.
Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff believes she was once attacked by a domovoi. The Ukraine-born dancer shared her creepy experience on a 2010 episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories. Sightings of domovye continue today with some Russians and Ukrainians claiming to have caught the creatures on tape.
See also: “Shubin: The Ghost of Ukraine’s Mines“
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