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Baba Yaga: the Child Eating Witch - Slavic Folklore Explained

Baba Yaga: the Child Eating Witch - Slavic Folklore Explained15 Feb. 2021


Hey everyone,

Welcome to another installment of Mythology Explained. In today’s video, we’re going to be travelling all the way to central/eastern Europe- and even parts of Asia, as the topic pertains to none other than Slavic Mythology.

Now- just because the most popular forms of Mythology, like Greek, Roman, and Norse are often in the limelight, it certainly doesn’t mean that other parts of the world have failed to establish their own mythology. In fact, Slavic myth, though lesser-known, has deep roots. In fact, the roots of Slavic mythology can be traced back to the Proto-Indo European period, possibly even as far back as the Neolithic era.

In today’s video, we’re going to be focusing on a pivotal figure in Eastern European folklore- the BABA YAGA. If you aren’t familiar with Eastern European folklore, but still recognize the name Baba Yaga, then it’s probably because you heard it mentioned in the popular John Wick film franchise:

Viggo Tarasov: John was once an associate of ours. They call him Baba Yaga.

Iosef Tarasov: The boogeyman?

Viggo Tarasov: Well, John wasn't exactly the boogeyman. He was the one you sent to kill the f****** boogeyman!

And while John Wick is a bonafide killer- the Baba Yaga is certainly no slouch either. Let’s peel back the layers of the tale of the Baba Yaga- the child eating witch of Slavic folklore. I’m going to warn you- this thing is terrifying.

Described as "one of the most memorable and distinctive figures in eastern European folklore"- The Baba Yaga is a supernatural being resembling a deformed and ferocious looking old woman. The first clear reference to Baba Yaga occurs in Mikhail Lomonosov's 1755 text Rossiiskaia grammatika. In Lomonosov's text the Baba Yaga is mentioned twice among other figures largely from Slavic tradition. She was a guardian of the fountains of the water of life, and is said to have lived with two sisters (who were also known as ‘Baba Yaga’). Together they lived in a forest hut which stood on chicken legs. The stories dictate that the house would eerily spin atop the legs, and that the fence surrounding the home was topped with skulls. Many of the skulls atop the fence were said to have belonged to the children that she cooked and ate.


Because of her long, stretched out almost ‘skeletal’ appearance- Baba Yaga earned herself the epithet "bony leg". Consistent with many of the adaptations of the folklore that featured her, she would often be described as “stretched out over the stove” or “reaching from one corner of the hut to another”. This only further contributes to her terrifying appearance.

One thing worth mentioning, however, is that within Slavic folklore, the baba yaga has been portrayed in a few different ways. According to Vladimir Propp's folktale morphology, the Baba Yaga comes across as either an aid, villain, or something else altogether. Her depictions vary greatly across tales, ranging from a child-eating monster, to helping a protagonist find his missing bride.

Andreas Johns, an expert on Slavic folklore- has identified the Baba Yaga has highly "enigmatic" - known for exhibiting behaviour in accordance with “striking ambiguity". He describes her as "a many-faceted figure, capable of inspiring researchers to see her as a Cloud, Moon, Death, Winter, Snake, Bird, Earth Goddess, totemic matriarchal ancestress, female initiator, phallic mother, or archetypal image".

However, one of the most common depictions of the Baba Yaga is the one that bears darker undertones- a ‘witch’ that bears a pestle and accompanies death on his travels, devouring newly released souls. This same Baba Yaga rides through the air in an iron kettle- releasing tempests as she moves.

There is no ‘one story’ of the Baba Yaga- as her presence is interwoven with slavic folklore as a whole, however, what you should take away from this video is that her existence is largely ‘ambiguous’, something that is emphasized through the diversity of her character in folklore.

That’s it for today’s video! If you enjoy the content, please like the video and subscribe to support the channel. As always, leave your video suggestions down below.

Until next time

“There are no monsters in the world, and no saints. Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry, light and dark.”

Comments (29)
Kane Gordon

Still loving these vids, just wish they were much longer, if you have any ideas that you could stretch closer to 15/20 mins that would be great

Ty Ashley

I was just thinking about this channel right before the notification came, best timing ever!!❤️

Tony Stark

Wow so you are going to be making videos now on every mythology that's great.

Aryan Shah

Please make some Percy Jackson theories just like the Harry potter ones !! Love your vids as always ❤

Victoria Acid

????‍♀️?‍♀️first time I type "first" hahaha

Jörg nocke

Great video thank you so much please can you talk about the Slavic von the god Büro

Dagwood Spott

AWESOME !!! How about some Asian folklore ? ;) Thanks for sharing ;D Congratulations on getting over 1k of subscribers so quickly ;) It seems you've hit some untapped need to know ;D

Profanity Gaming

Just for the John Wick reference this gets a like ?

Emmy Jane

I'm not even lying when I say I read the title as "Baby Yoda" ?

Yoda Am I

As an Eastern European all I know is she evil and yes her house is on chicken legs but apart from that no idea!
ps. Your pronounciations are amazing!

Gabe The Builder

I just made a report on this legend for class what are the chances



Harry Potter Theory


Mythology Explained

Thanks for watching guys! If you enjoyed it please like/subscribe to support the channel.

Which video next?!

Ivana Lovrenski

In Balkans it is still used to scare children: if you don't behave and stay outside longer than your parents allowed you Baba Roga ( that's her name in Balkans) she will come and take you.

Kirralee Thomas

She is also the inspiration for yubaba the witch in spirited away Japanese anime movie .

Scott Alderson

Slavic mythology is one of my favorites, but know little about. One that definitely intrigues me. My top three is probably Norse, Greek and Slavic. I don't count HP Lovecraft as mythology, a fiction universe, but it is something I like alot. Maybe do vids on the Cthulhu universe?

Tracy Zielke

I read about the Baba Yaga as a witch figure in a fairy tale book I had as a child. Wish I could remember the name. This book also had the bloody version if Cinderella and others that Disney cleaned up. I did not know of the prevalence and variety of the Baba Yaga in myth. I love these videos


Fun that I am watching Ant man and the wasp and sees this video.

Maxi Millian

I’ve heard of Baba Yaga through a side mission in the second Tomb Raider game.

Mythology Man: “Warning: the following will become dark and gruesome.”
Me: Inches closer to iPhone

The music reminds me of something from either Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, or Harry Potter.


Thanks to the Witcher books I have looked at slavic mythology and I always like to hear more :)

Eliza Szymańska

I didn't expect Slavic folklore here, but I'm so happy you did this! In Poland we have a fairy tail about Jaś i Małgosia (taken from the Grimm brothers), who were almost eaten by Baba Yaga.
Amazing video, thanks for sharing it. Greetings!


S c a r e d
n o i s e s

I thought Baba Yaga was just a creepy witch
Edit: so this is a "myth" right? ???

Raven Regards

I knew the new channel was coming, but somehow missed the previous 3 installments. Got some catchup to do right now. Thank you for the creepy...yet interesting video.

Art with Kira

Love this channel!?

And could you do one about the Minotaur.


The only thing scarier than Baba Yaga is my own Baba and her impressive slipper throwing skills.


jeez I’m stupid I thought the Baba Yaga was something Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated made up


I just saw the Concept Video before coming here. Good work man. Your videos reflect your research. Please Never stop.

Mr. Poem

So awesome!


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Comments (1)
Duy Burning

Video record by??

Limousine CHALLENGE | Top Gear - Part 1

Limousine CHALLENGE | Top Gear - Part 15 Aug. 2010
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Top GearSubscribe 438 721

Part 1 of 2. The boys have

Part 1 of 2. The boys have been tasked with building their own limousines out of existing cars. Jeremy chooses the 1993 Fiat Panda, James a Saab 9000 (and an Alfa Romeo 164) and Richard a MGF. After making their cars a lot longer they must face paintball gun attacks and the all dreaded 3 point turn challenge. Will any of them stay in one piece?

Subscribe to see all the reviews, races and challenges: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

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Comments (100)
Octave Dubas

it is english...only !

lucas johnstone

I seriously almost just pissed myself laughing so hard when he nudged the road block and ran around to the alpha Romeo side and gunned it


4:59 DAS in a nutshell

Kalyan Meka

The chilly margin cosmetically develop because sphere phongsaly snow with a equable report. rambunctious, perpetual titanium


On the blue car, I can't imagine how car sick I'd get from sitting in the back seat while the "car" is moving.

Pavitra Rajput

Chha gye guru??

Twiddly Stosh

Does ANYONE know what the music at 1:10 is? I've heard it so many times but have no idea what it's called.

Basit Ali khan

Mg wale v h who noticed that

Myotis Welwitschii

4:04 damn that are quite a few people

666 oddity

The song that started at 4:36 is Killing Joke-Pandemonium

wyatt pierce



Saab for the win ??


Jeremy: I have a Panda
Jeremy: I shall make...a GIANT Panda.

Penta Anoma

Where can i watch the old episodes


I love how Jeremy’s plate has RMS on it. Because that car has a bigger turning circle than the Titanic

Nivesh Ki Duniya


JY 221 Series

Imho may had the most practical limo

Mustafa Tahir


Ben Shapira

Brilliant sequence. Unbeatable top gear !!!. We miss you so much!!

JY 221 Series

Hammond looks like the Zoot cat from Tom and Jerry

ꜱʜᴀʀᴏɴ ꜱᴜɴɴʏ

Getting recommended after 10 years?



Mercy of the Living

Sadly it had a flaw

Lata thakur

These videos r the reason for water scarcity today???

charlie keenan

Doing Jeremy’s car be like:
“I sawed this sh*tbox in half”


Sounds like the SeaQuest theme in the begining.

Rico Mansos

0:49 Richard Hammond just stole ye mum

Rubricus Gaming

What's the name of Hammond's car?

Romanos Violetis

The sauna has to be on every car! Well done James! (one of the most hilarious episodes of the top gear with these 3 geniuses)


Were these guys on drugs? Seriously I want some of what they're having.

Celtic Fox


Airon Cullen

what episode is this

Lata thakur

Here is a maruti too

Brandon Loiacono

Personally, I'd keep all wheels.

Uneducated Potato

3:33 *My Genius its almost frightening*. -meme

Pride of Belka

Because at this end it is a sauna.
Does it work?


“Hope I don’t meet any terrorists. Oh No! Terrorists!” best line in any tv show ever

Charles Martin

Payday 2 saw lol

Alibaba Lnkit

Распил получается

Sir Neko

Can’t imagine the gas mileage of these

lucas johnstone

Hahahahaha 0:35


5:47 “James was feeling confident”


Bardia Alian

This is how my country's car companies make car


7:54 rip Clarkson

Camphart Rogets

Wedding vegetables...that's a new one.

Alessandro Vecchi

Simply Amazing!


[5:52 - 6:22] Nolan and Hendrickson - "The absolutist" (https://youtu.be/uZfCYR8RxAo )


5:12 Gentleman's area LoL


0:53 I didn’t even realise Hammond accidentally popped the bonnet open lmaooo

Belal Tabish

I couldn't control my laughs after 2nd half??

Filips Sorokins


Prashant Tyagi

So much entertaining ??

F Ado

Useless. Give the money to the poor.

Random Guy

These videos are like Howtobasic videos, but for cars.

Shreyansh Rai

What the hell did i just see??

20M024 sajjad hussain

The red limo looks like the car Butch uses in Tom and Jerry blue cat blues episode

Zaid Almaaita

Jeremy presents to you Britain's longest limousine at 1:09 ?

goose mcgee

what episode


oh they changed the thumbnail


Didn't know you drive a canal boat on roads

luka jankovski

Only in america/britain

LAAB Grades

I remember when this came out for the first time in iraq

Dan Watkins

The abashed accordion distinctively concentrate because cupboard notably complain over a good sled. little, protective storm

Alformo Doritos

the 2 driving wheel limo is genius. technically, he won that had he had a 2nd driver. lol

Paradise Gaming

Annoyingly this is shortened in the challenges dvd.

Emanuele Peretti

what an amazing life they've had lol


Hammond: shot in the head, so he’s dead
May: children dead and so is he
Clarkson: probably doesn’t live but has the best chance of walking away but still probably lost the challenge

Adams Kane


chesna wibowo

For those who created ideas for this show, i'm sure their genius can generate gravity

trikomoni jr

what normal people see:
half saab(swedish) half alfa romeo(italian)
what every pewdiepie/marzia fan sees:
"omg james merged those two cultures way before felix and marzia got to know each other"

Rungiee boi

James: "Watch this!"

Proceed to crashing

darrel arkan sucipto

"automation users:


1:51, if you know the song, you know...


Knight limo

Fake Giraffe Theory

I remember being 7 and watching this episode with my brother. The one and most memorable episode from Top Gear that I remember watching years ago.

the 30 Foxbury animals and plants by max

I expected may to turn up in a long Robin reliant to be hones5

Jai Lohia

What is the song called at 1:50

Ahmed malaki

That thumbnail

Rayyan R.

Alternate title: A bus but Short version challange


Uno limosine ??

Mohamed Abdellatif Meharezi

That thumbnail looks like a nice meme


What's the BGM when Jeremy's giant Panda shows?

Mr. Cheese Pocket Edition

No one:
Absolutely no one:

Youtube: let's recommend this video ten years later

Fasi Byjus Fathima

1:18 ?he was coming

Da Paintbrush 69

The clocks still running ??

Wessel Wegerif

5:30 James calling his 'Gentlemans area' 'Wedding vegetables' is the best thing ever


alfa romeo being like: TENET


Wedding vegetable??

Connor Duncan

Flex tape would fix them

Big Yin

Your car must be nimble and therefore able to get out of T R I C K Y S P O T S

Geoff Doeve


Japnoor Singh


RMS Oceanic

The other end is the cistine chapel

Harshal Rachcha


frederick steiner

Not all limo drivers are drug dealers


What épisode it is ?

ahmed mohey

Good old pure fun days

Ganesh Udupa

Where's Phil swift?

Kunjan Joshi

Vikkstar 123 diss track music? Did anyone hear that?

Kariuki Ngugi

James always the one with the brains