Dive #1: The Soviet Architect of Starvation
Dive #2: Massacre at Katyn Forrest
I've always been fascinated by folktales, especially scary ones from the old country. One of those that I had heard about was Likho. This is a little bit of a shorter deep dive, but I'm just really fascinated by the story. Anyway, It is often depicted as you see above: An old hag with one eye that is dressed in black with that horrifying look to her. In old Slavic mythology, it was the embodiment of misfortune and evil fates. Most of what I know about it revolves around one basic folktale.
There is a tailor and a blacksmith that decide to go out into the world and seek out an evil never seen before despite the warnings of their fellow townspeople. While traveling, they find the Likho's house and ask it's permission to stay the night. The Likho, who appears to them as a regular old woman with one eye, agrees.
Not long after, the Likho reveals it's true form and murders the tailor. It then proceeds to boil his flesh and devours his remains right in front of the blacksmith. Right before it strikes the blacksmith, he begs it to wait. He tells it that he is a blacksmith, and he will forge it anything it wants in return for sparing his life. The Likho agrees, and asks the blacksmith to make it a brand new eye.
The Blacksmith waits for the Likho to lower its guard, and pokes its eye with one of his tools and runs away into the night. After that, there are two endings that I know of for what happens next.
The first is that, while escaping with the Likho in pursuit, Blacksmith finds a golden axe lodged into a stump. He tries to pull it out, sword in the stone style, but it won't budge. What's worse is that his hand is now stuck to the axe and won't come free. The Likho closes in on him, and the Blacksmith amputates his own arm in order to escape.
The second is that Likho catches the blacksmith and jumps onto his back and neck. The Blacksmith jumps into a nearby river, hoping to drown the Likho. Both dissapear beneath the water, but the Likho resurfaces and leaves the river to find more people to eat.
Moral of the story? Don't go seeking out evil.