The FolveshchIn Renkassk folklore, the Folveshch [фол вещь] (also known in its residents' native tongue as the Foul Thing) is an unseen entity said to inhabit the forests surrounding the greater Darakyev area, typically north west of modern day Russia. The Folveshch has not been formally identified in documentation nor on official record, existing only in any amount of detail passed on by word of mouth.
Modern authorities discount the existence of the Folveshch, considering it a product of the isolate imagination, or, in some instances, the manifestation of episodes of unexplained psychosis documented by Dr. Pyotr Ivanovich (1899-1953) to have plagued the area between 1922 and 1932. Authorities draw this conclusion from lack of physical evidence, though many inhabitants have reported unusual scratch marks on their properties, disturbed grave sites and footprints left in the snow that cannot be accounted for.
Young individuals (typically between the ages of three and ten) form the only existing witnesses to this entity, though their accounts range too wildly to be considered as evidence amongst the investigative community. Many children have described its unusual skin, often likening the texture to brittle or cracked wood. Others have reported small, jagged teeth, often with the addition that these dental protrusions grow unnaturally and painfully from the entity's gums due to the presence of swelling and dried blood. Witnesses have also, on occasion, made reference to short claws, though this characteristic only became apparent after the array of unusual markings discovered on residents' property.
Proponents of the Folveshch's existence give mixed claims to the entity's periods of activity/respite and its feeding habits. It is noted that in particularly early versions of this folklore that the Folveshch is said to have enjoyed feasting on the delicate organs of the human face, such as the eyes and tongue. It has later been suggested by investigators in the late 1970's/early 1980's that this phenomenon is a product of other stages in the natural decomposition process.
It is reported amongst anthropologists (most notably, Dutch anthropologist Edvard Haas) and cryptozoologists that the legends of this entity antedate the unified name for it. Such variants include the 'malicious spirit' [злой дух] and the 'face in the trees' [лицо в деревьях], hailing from Kholm Slaviny (Slava's Hill) and Darakyev respectively. This latter regional version of the Folveshch also included lore that its name should not be uttered lest the entity gain power to leave the forest.
Lesser known mentions of the Folveshch exists in anonymous letter exchanges found what is now known as the North Slope region of Alaska, between August and December of 1863, prior to US purchase from Russia. These letters disclose knowledge of a young and disturbed individual found amongst an unnamed population of seafarers, foretelling the arrival of an entity matching the descriptions later given by those in Renkassk.
Around three quarters of all Folveshch sightings reported between the years 1922 and 1932 are located on the locally named "Strangers' Pass" that leads through the Forests of Darakyev to the village proper. It is said the Folveshch never stands on the path itself, and to further support this has only been documented standing alone in small clearings, faced towards travellers on Strangers' Pass.
In addition, local children tell of the Folveshch occasionally leaving the forest altogether and following behind them in the distance, sometimes even in broad daylight, contrary to widely accepted lore. Many reports of surviving adults having seen the Folveshch are thought to be hoaxes or misidentification. The local debate over the legitimacy of these claims reached its peak in the early 1980s, when the legend of this entity first reached farther than its isolated northern confines.
Proposed Explanations for Sightings
Various types of phenomena suggest explanations for these additional sightings. The investigative community propose that small snow flurries across the hills might explain the misidentification of an upright form in the distance. Oblique sunlight, local fauna and/or physiological impairments have, in most cases, been successful in explaining further rogue sightings in the forest itself.
Viktor Malenhov (1892 - 1930)
In 1922, aged 30, a local carpenter is reported to have been amongst the first to suffer the life-changing catatonia and psychosis associated with the appearance of the Folveshch. Earlier reports are alluded to, but, like all else in this strange case, there exists little to no solid evidence to support legitimate claims. It is said the man was found on the floor of his home, unresponsive and blank-eyed, with broken, bloodied and lost fingernails where it is suspected he crawled back to his son to warn him. Malenhov never recovered this fate, and despite a level of sophisticated care for the location and time period, did not survive longer than eight years this way. Malenhov was buried beside his first wife, though was later found to have his grave site horrifically disturbed. The cause and motive remain unknown.
Iakov Yakunin (1901 - 1932)
Upon suffering the same fate as the previously aforementioned Malenhov in 1923, aged 22, local physician and early medical investigator Pyotr Ivanovich wrongly concluded that polio-survivor Yakunin underwent a relapse of the disease, wreaking havoc on his neural system long after it had claimed his right leg in childhood. Yakunin is said to have been found a kilometre from his home in Renkassk -- despite being unable to walk without a specialised leg brace and cane -- "hypothermic, blind and petrified" according to Dr Ivanovich's medical notes. Before falling silent, his father claims Yakunin's final words were "foul" and "thing", hinting at the presence of the Folveshch in this bizarre case. Yakunin died of pneumonia in 1933.
Ivan Zhilov (1908 - 1933)
A young huntsman and new father succumbed to similar psychoses in 1931. Apparently he was found to be missing one of his eyes in the period between leaving for his hunt and being found by childhood acquaintance Stefan Alyovich, reinstating the old lore that the Folveshch fed on the delicate organs of the human visage. This embellishment to the tale was later re-evaluated and investigative authorities maintain this was a hunting accident, though failed to elaborate.
Georgiy Yakunin (1914 - 1945)
In 1932, aged only 18, the younger brother of polio-survivor and previous Folveshch victim tragically lost grip of his sanity at the communal (and secret) Christmas festivities that January. This case is particularly poignant in that it marks the youngest resident to be admitted to the kabina (the local institution for the mentally unsound) and was the first demonstration of this mysterious psychosis to have been witnessed. Due to the improvements in care provided at the kabina, the younger of the two Yakunin brothers survived for a further 13 years after this tragic event (further lifespan following admission to the kabina was between 6 months and 9 years), eventually losing his battle to blood poisoning caused by infection introduced through untreated pressure sores.
Avgustin Soldatov (1897 - 1934)
Soldatov marks the second occurrence of the Folveshch in the same year. This is known to be something of an unusual case in which Soldatov's daughter, Aninna, and his wife, Irina, were haunted by the Folveshch's supposed presence almost a year prior to Soldatov's eventual decline. Though without physiological consequence, Aninna and Irina both suffered mentally, becoming paranoid and anxious to the detriment of Soldatov once the pair fled for Kholm Slaviny, forsaking him to his final fate. This marks the first instance in which any woman had been affected by proxy.
The Folveshch is a work of fiction created by author Finn H. Arlett. This article is designed to supplement lore created and surrounding this original piece of fiction. The Folveshsh is not based on or taken from real life events. Any names, places or occurrences resembling real or imaginary, alive or dead, is purely coincidental.
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