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Nikolai Khatuev, about evil spirits

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Nikolai recounts what happened to his maternal uncle who was a manager on a farm in Tsagan-Nur:Nikolai recounts what happened to his maternal uncle who was a manager on a farm in Tsagan-Nur. This happened in a place called Jolumta. In the 1960s his uncle was riding a horse when it suddenly stopped, refusing to go further. Tired of whipping the horse, the man shot with his rifle into the air. The horse jerked and galloped straight into the man’s house. Some opined later that the horse must have been paralyzed by an evil spirit, for that place was known to be a strange place. Another story. One day a man was going to his farm on horse. When the farm was within reach, the horse suddenly stopped. No matter how hard the man whipped his horse and tried to direct it, the horse galloped around the farm. The man jumped off the horse and pulled it only to be pulled himself from the back. He looked around but there was no one apart from his horse. The pulling by an invisible force continued until the next morning. Old men said that this was because the man and his horse were circled by evil spirits. It is believed that evil spirits look like goats. Hence goats are called shulm ‘evils spirit’. In general, Kalmyks abstained from keeping goats. It was only the poor who kept this species. One method of protecting oneself from evil spirits is to keep a whip made from a tree called tavilgan. It was believed that evil spirits did not bother people who had such a whip. Since this tree in considered sacred, one could not break its branches at will. Before cutting a branch, a person needs to offer white and red coins to the tree, light incenses, and only after that cut a branch.



Spirits, story

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin