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The Leshy (also Leshi; Russian: леший, IPA: [ˈlʲeʂɨj]; literally, “[he] from the forest”, Polish: boruta, borowy, leśnik, leśniczy, lasowik, leszy) is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. The plural form in Russian is лешие, leshiye (retaining the stress on the first syllable). As the spirit rules over the forest and hunting, he may be related to the Slavic god Porewit.

There is also a deity, named Svyatibor (Svyatobor, Svyatibog), who is mentioned in the beliefs of the Eastern and Western Slavs as the god of forests and the lord of the leshies. His functions were identical to Veles.

The Leshy is masculine and humanoid in shape, is able to assume any likeness and can change in size and height. He is sometimes portrayed with horns and surrounded by packs of wolves and bears. In some accounts, Leshy is described as having a wife (Leshachikha, Leszachka, Lesovikha and also, sometimes, the Kikimora of the swamp) and children (leshonki, leszonky). He is known by some to have a propensity to lead travelers astray and abduct children (which he shares with Chort, the “Black One”), which would lead some to believe he is an evil entity. He is, however, also known to have a more neutral disposition towards humans, dependent on the attitudes and behaviours of an individual person, or local population, towards the forest. Leshy could take children who were cursed by their relatives (in particular, parents) away to the forest people. Some would therefore describe him as more of a temperamental being, like a fairy.

Names and etymology

The Leshy is known by a variety of names and spellings including the following:

Main name variations:

  • Borovoi (Russian: Боровой, Polish: Borowy) “[he] of the forest”
  • Gayevoi (Russian: Гаевой, Polish: Gajowy) “[he] of the grove”
  • Leshak (Russian: Лешак, Serbo-Croatian: Lešak, Лешак)
  • Leshy (Russian: Леший, Belarusian: Лешы, Polish: Leszy, Serbo-Croatian: Lešij, Лешиј)
  • Lesnik (Russian: Лесник, Polish: Leśnik, Bulgarian: Лесник, Serbo-Croatian: Lesnik, Лесник)
  • Lesovik (Russian: Лесовик, Belarusian: Лесавік, Ukrainian: Лісовик, Serbo-Croatian: Lesovik, Лесовик)
  • Lesovoi (Russian: Лесово́й, Serbo-Croatian: Lesovoj, Лесовој)
  • Lesun (Russian: Лесун, Belarusian: Лясун)
  • Mezhsargs (Latvian: Mežsargs) “forester”
  • Mishkinis (Lithuanian: Miškinis) “woodsman”
  • Mishko velnias (Lithuanian: Miško velnias) “forest devil”
  • Vir’ava (Erzya: Вирьава) “forest mother”

Euphemistic titles:

  • He (Russian: он) also used for the devil, based on superstition prohibiting invocation of evil
  • He himself (Russian: он сам) like “he”[9]
  • Les chestnoi (Russian: Лес честной) “honorable one of the forest”
  • Les pravedniy (Russian: Лес праведный) “righteous one of the forest”
  • Lesnoi dedushka/ded or Dedushka-lesovoi (Russian: Лесной дедушка/дед, Дедушка-лесовой, Belarusian: Лясны дзед, Polish: Leśny dziad) “forest grandfather”
  • Lesnoi dukh (Russian: Лесной дух) “forest spirit”
  • Lesnoi dyadya (Russian: Лесной дядя) “forest uncle”
  • Lesnoi khozyain (Russian: Лесной хозяин) “forest master”
  • Lesnoi zhitel’ (Russian: Лесной житель)”forest dweller” or “woodsman”
  • Lesny muzhik , “forest man”

He has been interested in the paranormal since he was 11yrs old. He has had many experiences with both ghosts and UFO's and it has just solidified his beliefs. He set up this site to catalogue as much information about the paranormal in one location. He is the oldest of three and moved from the UK to the USA in 2001.