Myth of the Week

Rusalka (Slavic)

Chances are you know óf the Rusalka albeit not by this name or even identified as a Slavic myth! She is an evil water nymph usually represented as a beautiful young woman who appears in or around pools, small lakes and other waterways. She will tempt young farmers or fishermen to come and enter the water with her and then drown them.

Their providence is somewhat of a mystery, but connaisseurs seem to agree on the idea that they came from young women who drowned themselves after being jilted by a lover. 

Rusalka are usually represented as young, scantilly clad women with an extremely pale, almost translucent skin and green, glowing eyes. They are most dangerous in the first weeks of June. Sallant detail: in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine it was forbidden to swim during this week and the Rusalka week (early June) was still celebrated in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine when the spirits are ritually banished, right up until the 1930's.


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    Here you can find the latest updates on the European Ghost Literary Project. Every week we will add news on the progress of the project. Everything from new writers, stories that came in, questions that concern us all, decisions that were made, publication of the stories and all the less exciting details of the project.



    Small introduction to European Dragons...

    ...because a long introduction to European Dragons would be way too long for this page.

    Dragons have been a standard feature in most European mythologies. From Germany to Portugal and Ireland to Slovenia, every folklore has some myths and stories about other-worldly flying lizards that breathe fire and guard treasures. They have been around since the Greek antiquity and through Roman conquests reached the far corners of Europe.

    European dragons, as opposed to many Chinese dragons, are usually hostile. The only exception is the red dragon of Welsh folklore. The famous Red Dragon of Pendragon, represents the Welsh people while the White Dragon in the same folklore represents the invading Saxons. In time, the Red Dragon made its way into the flag of Wales as a depiction of the bravery of the Welsh people.

    Dragons originated somewhere during the Greek antiquity period and where represented as serpent-like with wings. It is believed that the dragon in Greek mythology was 'borrowed' from Babylon where evil was represented as a flying serpent with 'seven heads and ten horns'.

    After Rome came up as the predominant culture in Europe, they told stories of dragons, wrote books about them and started gossip about the dragons. After the decline of the Roman empire, the dragons remained lodged in the collective minds of the peoples they had ruled and started to evolve.

    There a several types of distinguishable dragons:

    the Germanic dragon (which involves the Nordic myths as well) where dragons are usually other-worldly creatures.

    the Slavic dragon which haunts towns and villages to demand tribute which it stores in grand caves.

    the Iberian dragon which features largely in (Christian) mythology and is represented yearly at several festivals.

    the Celtic dragon which, as discussed before, is the only benevolent dragon.

    Although these seem to have come from the same origin, over 2000 years or more they have developed their own unique trades and characteristics. Of these we will soon learn more as we delve into the exciting world of European dragons! Check back soon for the next installment!

    Next up: Dragons in the Middle Ages.


    History of the European Ghost Project

    It has been a little quiet on the European Ghost Project lately, but you will excuse me since I have been busy in my private life lately. I hope from now on things will quiet down a little bit and I have some more time to spend on the Project. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about the history of the Project.

    The Project actually started as a brain wave in 2004 with the conviction that the European Union could never function as the United States of Europe. For over 2000 years we have been developing our sense of self, creating a communal identity through culture and mythology. Sometimes we 'borrow' myths from other peoples, sometimes we invent them ourselves, but in whatever way they enter our pantheon, they are part of our cultural identity. And 2000 years of living next to each other (and sometimes warring with each other) have strengthened our identities and engraved them firmly into even our personal identities. A formula of cooperation like the one of the United States of America will therefore not work. Our separate cultural identities are simply too strong. What will come into being instead will be an economical, military and political symbiosis. This will be culturally intermingled, perhaps, due to migration, but never made into one communal European Culture. And neither should we want to. The differences is what makes it so great.

    I left the idea since I was convinced someone with more intelligence, money, time and/or opportunity would have the same idea. Instead I traveled the world. For 3 years I travelled from St. Petersburg to Hawaii and from Venezuela to Norway. When I came back in 2007/08 the European Ghost Project was very far from my mind. Lots had happened in the meantime and I didn't think about it again until in 2008/2009 the economical crisis really hit. I was (and still am) appalled by the rate of which the European politicians were (and are) shoving changes down the throats of Europe's citizens and the way they are dividing the very people they are supposed to unite!

    Not a politician and not being paid to make world-alternating decisions, I decided to do the only thing a lowly citizen can do: start an internet project. I taught myself some tricks of the trade and started to reach out to cultural communities throughout Europe. With alternating results: sometimes it was met with applause, other times I ran into a wasps' nest of political discussions and a few times I stumbled upon some very seedy communities whose political ideas should never see the light of day.

    But it also brought some major successes, like the stories we have on display in the Stories section and dozens of followers who were waiting for the next one to arrive.

    Partly because of the alternating results and partly because my private life was getting more and more demanding, in 2011, I decided to leave the project for a while until I found a more productive way of approaching the writers and the public. 

    For two years my mind stayed blank and leaving the project never sat right with me. So, in the winter of 2013 I picked it back up, dusted it off and here we are, picking up from where we left off, with (pretty much) the same writers and hoping for more.

    So, if you know of any writers willing to rewrite a popular or unknown myth, please let him or her drop us a line at!

    In the meantime, keep on writing!



    Fauns, Satyrs and Pan: how the devil got his hooves.

    A question recently posted to me was: what is the difference between Fauns and Satyrs and why do they all look like Pan, the Roman god of music, gambling and male fertility? Well, here is the answer.

    Around 400 BC, when Rome was just becoming a city, they looked at ancient Greece for a lot of their cultural identity. Ancient Greece's cultural domination of southern Europe was waning and Rome, as we now know, was going to be the next best thing. Therefore, many of the ancient Greek myths and gods morphed into the more contemporary Roman gods. 

    That's what happened to the Satyr. Originally a Greek mythological creature, satyrs were companions of the Greek god Dionysus (of wine, play and general party). They were originally depicted as hairy dwarf-like creatures who carried a shepherd's crook. They were care-free and played the flute but also associated with shepherd, flocks, hunters and everything wild.

    The Romans took the Satyr (not entirely subconscienciously) and transformed it into the Faun. The Faun itself was actually a transformation of the gods Faunus and Fauna who had the upper body of a man, but the lower body of a donkey or goat. They are associated with woodlands, forests and other remote places and usually try to trick humans. They had less to do with male fertility than the Satyr, but were wiser.

    And then there is Pan. The god Pan is rumoured to be the son of Zeus and a nymph. He is therefore... Greek, originally. He has goat's legs and a flute and is associated with the wild, wine and fertility.

    How, exactly, the three got mixed up is not known (at least not by me), but mixed up they got. Many painters and writers even mix them up and the three names nowadays are almost synonymous.

    As a final thought, when Christianity came into play and started imposing ethics and norms on the common people, there was no more place for fun-loving Mr. Pan. Except... for being the bad guy! All that wine and sexuality, he was a perfect candidate. And so Pan, in modern times, morphed into the fallen angel Lucifer, kicked out of Heaven by the archangel Michael and now ruling the fiery underworld.

    He is the why the devil got his hooves!


    Luca Bonelli is back in!

    Recently I contacted Luca Bonelli who graciously donated his story 'Tuttabazza meets the Devil' back in 2010. He has confirmed that I can continue using his work for the project. And for this we thank him!

    the Italian story 'Tuttabazza beats the devil' was first written down in the 1960's although the story has been passed down through the generations for a long time. The story tells of a grieving and lonely violinist who meets a dangerous stranger. Mr. Bonelli has beautifully adapted to fit the European Ghost Project.

    Check it out on the Stories-page!

    Mr. Bonelli himself is a creative centipede, writing and publishing short stories as well as theatre plays and poetry. Check out the short bio on the Contributors-page or check out his own page, right here.

    Hope you enjoy as much as I did!



    Of Facebook, RSS-feeds, backlinks and Germany.

    Dear readers,

    since the last update I have been working on our web presence. First of all... like all good sites nowadays, I've started a Facebook page! On here I will post news about the progress and of course these blog posts. You can follow it and keep in touch! Of course, you can also keep updated by using the RSS-feed at the top-right corner of the page. And don't forget our Twitter-feed @europeanghost!

    With a link on ShootShout we are creating a little bit of consciousness. ShootShout is a new directory, but one that also shows the homepage and a bit of information instead of just a blind link. As ShootShout grows, so will our audience. Plus it will garner a useful backlink so we can rise in Google's rankings.

    And finally, I have send our prospect out to some German literary groups, hoping for a favourable respons. This was only recently, so I'm still waiting for the results, but I'll keep you updated.

    So from me to everybody out there a happy new year!!