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Karankoncolos

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The Karankoncolos is a malevolent creature from Northeast Anatolian Turkish and Bulgarian folklore. It is a variety of bogeyman, usually merely troublesome and rather harmless, but sometimes truly evil. It has thick hairy fur like the Sasquatch. The name probably comes from the Greek Kalikantzaros.

According to late Ottoman Turkish myth, they appear on the first ten days of Zemheri, 'the dreadful cold', when they stand on murky corners, and ask seemingly ordinary questions to the passers-by. In order to escape harm, one should answer each question, using the word "kara" (the Turkish word for 'black'), or risk being struck dead by the creature.

It was also said in Turkish folklore that the Karakoncolos could call people out during the cold Zemheri nights, by imitating voices of loved ones. The Karakoncolos' victim risked freezing to death if he or she could not awake from the charm.

The Bulgarian name of the creature is Karakondjul (or Karakondjol, Bulgarian: Караконджол). The Karakondjul walks at night. Koukeri (or kukeri) is the name of a Bulgarian custom, the purpose of which is to scare away the evil creature and avoid contact with it.

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