Baba Yaga  

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Baba Yaga (film)

In Russian mythology, a hag who flies through the air in a mortar, using the pestle as a rudder.



Baba Yaga is one major character in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s children story Joseph & Koza, where she is described as having a face like a pitch, a red turned up nose with broad nostrils, eyes burning like live coals, thistles instead of hair and a beard. Singer also mentions that the Mazovians believed in “many lesser babas” and “little imps called dziads.” In his novel The King of the Fields, Baba Yaga was a goddess to whom the prehistoric Poles made sacrifices.

Popular culture

Baba Yaga is a major character in Orson Scott Card's novel, Enchantment. In this novel, Card plays Baba Yaga as the antagonist, and weaves a lot of the folklore and possible origins of the folklore into his novel. In Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm series, Baba Yaga is a supporting character in the fictional town of Ferryport Landing. In the Primeval novel Extinction Event, Baba Yaga is interpreted to be a Tyrannosaurus which travelled to the present through an anomaly. In the Fables (comics), Baba Yaga is a spy for the Adversary. Baba Yaga's hut is parodied in Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel, Ravenor Rouge, as the "Wych House of Utochre". The Wych House takes the form of a 300m wide metal construct with clawed feet and short legs which it can use to run. The whole House hangs upside down under a frozen ocean, attached to the pack ice above by its feet. One character remarks that the house reminds him of an ancient legend from his home world, the myth of Baba Yaga. He is quickly corrected that this is actually an ancient earth legend.

Film and animation

Baba Yaga is a favorite subject of Russian films and cartoons. The film Vasilissa the Beautiful by Aleksandr Rou, featuring Baba Yaga, was the first feature with fantasy elements in the Soviet Union. Georgy Milliar, a male actor, portrayed Baba Yaga in numerous movies from 30's to 60's, among them Vasilissa the Beautiful, Morozko, New Adventures of Puss-in-Boots, and others. He also often portrayed Koschey the Deathless.

The animated film Bartok the Magnificent features Baba Yaga as a main character, but not the antagonist. 'Emily and the Baba Yaga' is an animated short telling a modern version of the classic tale. Instead of combs and handkerchiefs, chainsaws and mangy pets help defeat the hag.

The Soviet film Jack Frost featured a character called the "Hunch-Backed Fairy" who was obviously Baba Yaga, to the point that she first appeared in the chicken-legged house, and later was seen flying around in a mortar.

Carroll Baker portrayed Baba Yaga in a 1973 Italian-produced, English language film that was retitled Baby Yaga, Devil Witch for its release in the United States. This film is not noted as a faithful retelling of the legend, however.

Baba Yaga briefly appears in the 16th episode of Russian animated series "Nu, pogodi!" Her chicken-legged house contained a magic apple tree that turned a body part of whoever ate from the tree into an animal's. Inside the house there was also a gusli (hollow-boxed stringed instrument) that, when played, forces people and the house itself to dance.

The Baba Yaga appears in a Hellboy short story titled The Baba Yaga, which can be found within the graphic novel Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others. She serves as the main antagonist in Hellboy: Darkness Calls, in which she tries to take revenge on Hellboy for the events that occurred in the The Chained Coffin.

In the manga/anime Soul Eater, there is a castle named "The Castle of Baba Yaga" used by the Witch Arachne as a base of operations. Although it shares the name, it does not stand on chicken legs; however it is shaped like a spider, likely to go along with the spider theme that the Witch Arachne is a part of.

In the comic Atomika, she appears as one of the old gods of Rus who fight Atomika, the new god of the Soviets.

In the advanced dungeons and dragon's dungeon master's guide, Baba Yaga's hut is described as a powerful artifact of a house atop chicken legs.

Computer games

In the online game RuneScape, Baba Yaga is featured in quests and as an integral part of the Lunar Isle where she runs a magic store in her chicken-legged house.

Baba Yaga is also a character in the Sierra games, Quest for Glory and Quest for Glory 4. She serves as the primary antagonist in the first game, having cursed the Baron of Spielberg and thus causing all the troubles which the player must set to rights. Her role in the fourth game is much smaller, dealing entirely with a subplot relating to a Gnome comedian whom she cursed in revenge for his making fun of her in his act. Baba Yaga's chicken-legged hut appears in both games, though only the first requires the magic phrase "Hut of brown, now sit down"; in the fourth, the player must coax it into sitting with an offer of corn.

The character of Baba Yaga is featured as a boss character that must be defeated in the facebook game by zynga "Vampire Wars".

Baba Yaga is also featured as a famous wizard card in the computer game "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".

Is also featured in Ragnarok Online Russia.

In the "Vampire The Masquerade" RPG Baba Yaga is a nosferatu kindred based in Russia.

In the 3DO game Heroes of Might and Magic 3 a player can learn skills at a witches hut on chicken legs.


Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite for piano composed in 1874, features "The Hut on Bird's Legs (Baba Yaga)" as its penultimate movement. Mussorgsky's suite has since been set in whole or in part for a variety of instruments. The most famous version for orchestra was made in 1922 by Ravel. The progressive rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer adapted Mussorgsky's suite for an album in 1971 that included the original Baba Yaga movement along with an original track entitled "The Curse of Baba Yaga."

Baba Yaga (opus 56), a symphonic poem by Anatoly Lyadov, was composed between 1890 and 1904. The music depicts the witch summoning her mortar, pestle and broomstick, then flying through the forest.


The Massachusetts-based craft brewery Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project has produced a stout called Babayaga.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Baba Yaga" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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