Sumske Dekle

WlLDMAN of Eastern Europe.

Etymology: Croatian, "forest girls." Variant names: Divi-te zeni (Bulgarian), Divje devoijke (Slovenian), Divji moz (Slovenian, for the male), Divozenky (Czech), Dwiwje zony (Sorbian), Dziwo-zony (Polish).

Physical description: Covered with reddish or black hair, except for the face. Large, square head. Long, strong hands.

Behavior: Shrieks and screams. Sometimes visits houses or stables in search of warmth or food. Said to harvest grain, bake bread, catch game and fish, and weave hemp into clothing. Able to breed with humans. Habitat: Woodlands.

Distribution: Between Novigrad Podravski and Ferdinandovac, Croatia.

Significant sighting: One winter around 1870, two brothers named Paurovic were sleeping in their stable at Severovac, Croatia, when one woke up to find a hairy forest girl standing between them. He touched it, and it ran out the door. They gave chase but could not catch it in the deep snow.

Present status: Stories about these creatures died out after World War I.

Sources: Jan Machal, Slavic Mythology (Boston: Marshall Jones, 1918), pp. 263-265; Zvonko Lovrencevic, "Creatures from the Bilogora in Northern Croatia," in Vladimir Markotic and Grover Krantz, eds., The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids

(Calgary, Alta., Canada: Western Publishers, 1984), pp. 266-273.

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