So I just finished watching a film about a professional killer. In some movies or games, assassins have their own aliases or names that people call them. Often times, they call them names like Boogeyman, Death, or Ghost but it happens that in the film I watched, people call him “Baba Yaga”. Aside from a monster with the same name from the online game I used to play, who is this Baba Yaga? So I start researching about this witch-like myth and what I found is really interesting.
Baba Yaga is a supernatural being in Slavic folklore and often appears as a very tall old woman riding a mortar; swinging a pestle in one hand and broom in the other. Baba is transparently a babble word for ‘woman’ or ‘old woman’. She also appears in many forms of media but always depicted as a witch who rides a mortar. She uses her pestle to propel her hovering long mortar from the ground. Baba Yaga is known in Northern Europe and Central Russia, even some people in these countries strongly believed that old hag exists. One more thing about this witch is her unconventional mood swing attitude of whether she will help you or she will eat you. Books sometimes portray her as a scary yet fair witch so I guess; maybe some people are just in bad luck for meeting her at lunch time.
Unlike the Bogeyman of the west who only punishes mischievous children by appearing household to household, Baba Yaga is an ancient terrible witch lurking in the forest and feeds on humans. As I said, she chose to eat you only when she feels like to eat you. At first, Baba Yaga only eats livestock and wild boars, but when scarcity hits the mainland of Russia, Baba Yaga finds an alternative and therefore begins to hunt the most delicious meat she can find lost in the forest; human meat. Wandering children is her favorite dinner, just like the famous saying “If the meat is young, it’s juicy and sweet” Only a child’s meat in this case. She abducts and carries these children in her mortar to bring them to her weird crooking hut. She’s so fearsome that even in the movie I watched a person with Baba Yaga’s name is the only one who can kill Boogeyman.
Some people say that her crooked hut is made up of human bones with a fence made up of human spines and skulls that gleams in the night, evidence of her numerous meals. Others say that her crooked hut can also move to another place with its one chicken leg to avoid witch hunters…very convenient. Other Baba Yaga readers concluded that Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle’s chicken feet was obviously based on Baba Yaga’s bone hut.
Despite of all these terrifying facts about this hag, there’s a famous heroine that successfully entered Baba Yaga’s hut, stayed and served the witch, and leave with her request fulfilled by the witch. Her name is Vasilisa who seeks Baba Yaga for help and turned out working for the witch and left without being eaten. Some stories said that this witch is actually three sisters sharing the same name, of course, all black magic users. They already come out is some movies and cartoons like ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and ‘Hercules’.