|Actor|| David Livingstone (Abraham Lincoln)|
Paul Statman (Gandhi)
|Dates||???? – 2009 (killed by Sam Winchester)|
|Episode(s)||5.05 Fallen Idol|
Leshii (also spelled Leshy, Leszy, pl. Leshie) is an Eastern European pagan god, the Master of the Forest. Farmers would make pacts with the Leshii to assure a good crop as well as protection; these pacts normally involved the Leshii's followers sacrificing themselves to it, but in the absence of any believers, the Leshi has taken on the form of those its victims admire to kill them.
Leshii was a Slavic deity that was described as a mischievous god, and could take on infinite forms to become any person the god so wished by touching one of their belongings. Appeasing Leshii could only be done by a blood sacrifice from a worshiper. After draining a follower, Leshii would stuff their stomachs with seeds exclusively indigenous to its forest.
Powers and abilities
- Elemental control – Leshii's presence could cause the temperature to drop in the surrounding area.
- Shapeshifting – Leshii had the ability to take on infinte forms. Having taken on the forms of James Dean, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Paris Hilton before being killed.
- Super strength – Regardless of the form Leshii took, the god showed incredible strength and was easily able to overpower grown men, as well as drive and embed Cal Hawkins face half-way through a windshield.
- Super speed – Leshii could move at incredible speeds.
- Telepathy – Leshii could read minds, allowing the god to appear as the person his intended victim admired the most.
- Telekinesis – Leshii could move objects with his mind with ease.
- Iron – According to lore, beheading Leshii with an iron axe was the only method to kill the god.
When people begin dying in Canton, the brothers initially assumed that they were dealing with famous ghosts as the victims having been apparently killed by James Dean and Abraham Lincoln, but this theory was ended when two young women reported a friend who had been killed by Paris Hilton. Based on these anomalies, Sam deduces the culprit is a Leshii, based on seeds found in the victim's stomach. His research reveals that the Leshii (also spelled Leshy, Leszy, pl. Leshie) is an Eastern European pagan god, the Master of the Forest. It was once worshiped but in the absence of any believers, the Leshi has taken on the form of those its victims admire to kill them.
In the episode, the Leshii, still in the form of Paris Hilton, captures Sam and Dean, and explains how in the old times, people would willingly sacrifice themselves to it. Then 30 years ago, its home forest in the Balkans had been cut down, and it has been wandering, taking victims where it can. With the Apocalypse underway, it has decided to be less cautious and is taking on the form of celebrity idols (James Dean car, Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Paris Hilton), killing their worshipers, and planting seeds from that Balkan forest into the victims' stomachs. It is about to take on the form of Dean's idol — John Winchester, when Sam cuts off its head with an iron axe.
Leshii in Lore
Particularly in Russian folklore, nature spirits such as the Leshii, the Vodianoi (water spirit), and the Polevoi (field spirit) were considered at best, capricious, and at worst, actively harmful to human beings; in post-Christian times, such spirits were often seen as manifestations of unclean or evil forces, and were often elided with folk concepts of the Devil. In the Olonets region of Russia, a Christian legend claims that when the archangel Michael cast the rebellious angels from Heaven, the fallen angels became the spirits of the place where they fell: those that fell into forests became Leshie, those that fell into Hell became demons, those that fell into homes became Domovoi (house spirits), those that fell into water became Vodianoi, and so forth.
Leshie are great shapeshifters, and can take on the appearance of any domestic animal, human, or even a mushroom; their usual representation is as a male human wearing the typical peasant dress of the region. Their remit is the forest and all who dwell or travel within it, but they are especially associated with wolves.
Contrary to the show, Leshie are not necessarily gods per se, but nature spirits that function in a manner analogous to certain fairies of the British Isles. Like fairies, Leshie lead travelers astray, drive interlopers out of their forests, and steal unattended children. Their usual method of killing is to make the victim sick or tickle their victims to death (much like Rusalki). Those who had to travel in the forest protected themselves by turning their clothing inside out (a protection that also works against Western fairies), and by saying prayers before entering the forest. As the episode mentioned, some people entered into pacts or agreements with the Leshie, and were rewarded with protection and magical ability: hunters, and herdsmen whose cattle were pastured in the forest, were often reputed to have made such pacts. Other than these pacts, there does not appear to be any records of actual sacrifice to the Leshie, not even the small offerings of milk and bread that were sometimes left out for Western fairies -- unless one wishes to count the stolen children and murdered travelers as such. If this spirit is able to be killed, folklore has not recorded any information on how to do so.
For further information, see Russian Folk Belief by Linda Ivanits, and The Bathhouse at Midnight: Magic in Russia by W.F. Ryan.