The Scariest Creatures in Anatolian Folklore

The Scariest Creatures in Anatolian Folklore

Mythological entities, which are a part of Anatolian folk culture, are indispensable elements of both fairy tales and folk literature. Anatolian folklore is very colorful as its roots go back to Old Turkish, Caucasian, Greek and Persian cultures. For this reason, there are many supernatural entities in Anatolian tales and folk literature. In this list, we have compiled the scariest ones:

Karakoncolos: A Winter Creature

He is a creature believed to appear in the winter. His origin is based on Kallikantzaros in Greek folk culture.1

He is also known as Koncolos and Congolos in Central Anatolia. He calls people and causes them to freeze to death. According to different legends, it is believed that he came from the sea or the forest.2

Karakoncolos is usually depicted covered with hairs. Similarly, in Greek myths, he is depicted in black and covered with hairs.3 In this respect, it is similar to the Germakoçi in Laz myths.

Karakoncolos is depicted in a more idiotic and less harmful way in some regions. In some villages in the Eastern Black Sea region, people used to put kuymak* in front of the outer gates to protect their households from evil. Karakoncolos, who ate kuymak, would not harm that house. In Tokat, Yozgat and Çorum, people used to cook beetroot as well.

Kuymak: A local dish made with corn flour, cheese and butter. It is also known as muhlama.

The fact that young people dressed as Karakoncolos and had fun on the Kalandar Night, celebrated on January 14 in some regions of the Eastern Black Sea Region, shows that the legends about Karakoncolos have survived to the present day.

See also: Eleven Scariest Creatures in Turkish and Altaic Myths

The entity named Arçura in Turkic myths is also depicted as black and covered with hairs like Karakoncolos. But unlike Karakoncolos, Arçura lives permanently in the forest and is sometimes depicted as female.4

Germakoçi: The Mountain Man

In Laz folk culture, Germakoçi is the name of a creature believed to live in the mountains. His hairy and built body resembles Neanderthal people. In this respect, he is likened to Arçura in Turkic mythology.

Germakoçi means “mountain man” in the Laz language. In Georgia, he is known as Oçokoçi (ოჩოკოჩი). In some fairy tales it is said that he is a cannibal. His wife is the ringleader of the witches.

The only way to be protected from Germakoçi is to make a fire. As the long hairs on his body will catch fire when he approaches the fire, Germakoçi will run towards the Black Sea without even looking back.5

Some researchers argue that hairy creatures such as the Germakoçi, Karakoncolos, Arçura and Oçokoçi evolved from the Neanderthal fear ingrained in the social subconscious of humanity.

Çay Ninesi

Çay Ninesi is depicted as an old woman living in streams. Although she is mostly found in the memorates in Azerbaijan, she is also known in Anatolia.6

If the Çay Ninesi gets angry, it will cause people walking by the stream or crossing the bridge to feel dizzy and fall into the water. Therefore, care is taken not to pollute the rivers.

Hınkır Mınkır

Also known as Hınkur Mınkur. This creature in folk beliefs is depicted in human form. However, it is said that it carries her baby in a pouch in her belly like a kangaroo.

The Hınkır Mınkır kills people by strangling. The thing it fears most is, for some reason, someone peeing on it.7

Hırtık: A Creature That Lives in Streams

It is a creature mentioned in Anatolian folk tales. It is also pronounced as “Hırtik” in some regions.

Unfortunately, not much is known about Hırtık. It is believed that it lives in streams and is afraid of fire.8

Kamos: The Cause of Nightmares

It is an entity found in folk beliefs in and around Elazığ. Kamos causes nightmares for lonely sleepers. It is said that it can possess the sleeping person and make him mad.

Kamos, an entity associated with sleep paralysis, is believed to be able to take the form of a black cat.9

Davara, Enkebir, Hıbilik, Kepoz, and Karavura are other entities in Anatolian folklore associated with sleep paralysis.

Mekir

It is an entity believed by people living in the north of Eastern Anatolia and around Tokat. In some regions it is synonymous with jinn.

Mekir is an entity that appears after dark and disappears with the first light of day. It is often depicted as a dark shadow. Some believe that Mekir can disguise himself as animals such as cats and dogs. It lives in dark and secluded places such as old baths, cemeteries, derelict lands.

Oğrak, believed around Ağrı, is likened to Mekir in many ways.



  1. “Türk Mitolojisi (Oğuzların-Anadolu, Azerbaycan ve Türkmenistan Türklerinin Mitolojisi)”, Pertev Naili BORATAV, ISBN: 9789944795418^
  2. “Türklerde Tabiat Üstü Varlıklar Ve Bunlarla İlgili Kabuller, İnanmalar, Uygulamalar”, Ayşe DUVARCI, Başkent Üniversitesi, 2005^
  3. “Christmas In Ritual And Tradition, Christian And Pagan”, Clement A. MILES, ISBN: 9781434473769^
  4. “Türk Mifoloji Sözlüyü”, Celal BEYDİLİ, Azerbaycan Milli Elmler Akademiyası, 5806615537^
  5. “Black Sea: The Birthplace of Civilisation and Barbarism”, Neal ASCHERSON, Vintage Publishing, 9781784700911^
  6. “Türk Mifoloji Sözlüyü”, Celal BEYDİLİ, Azerbaycan Milli Elmler Akademiyası, 5806615537^
  7. “Türk Halk Kültüründe Memoratlar Ve Halk İnançları”, Özkul ÇOBANOĞLU, ISBN: 9789753384766^
  8. Türk Söylence Sözlüğü“, Deniz KARAKURT^
  9. Doğu Anadolu’da Eski Türk İnançlarının İzleri, Yaşar KALAFAT, 9789756360378^
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