Last modified on 17 July 2014, at 00:38

Leshii


Paris Hilton promo pic.jpg
Name Leshii
Actor David Livingstone (Abraham Lincoln)
Paul Statman (Ghandi)
Paris Hilton
Dates  ???? - 2009 (killed by Sam Winchester)
Location Canton, Ohio
Occupation Forest god
Episode(s) 5.05 Fallen Idol

History

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.

Characteristics

Leshii can appear as any person they want to be.

Powers and Abilities

  • Shapeshifting
  • Superhuman strength
  • Superhuman speed
  • Telepathy
  • Telekinesis

Weaknesses

  • Decapitation with iron.

Episodes

5.05 Fallen Idol

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 disguised as Abraham Lincoln.
Leshii as Ghandi attacks Sam.

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.