Mysterious Book Illustration Theatre: Ukrainian Witch + The Flower Lady

Late this past summer, I was directed by a friend* to a post in a folk horror Facebook group that featured some utterly delightful illustrations for Ukrainian Witch. Studies in Ukrainian demonology by Vasyl’ Myloradovych.

According to original poster, Maryna Moynihan, this classic 1901 text was beautifully illustrated by Ihor Vyshynski and published by children’s book publisher Veselka in 1993. Many thanks to Maryna for allowing me to repost these beautiful images here at Unquiet Things. If you’re interested in further details about the images, be sure to check out the original Facebook post, wherein Maryna provides some context and explanations.

*Shout out to Jennifer W.–not hateful 8th grade Jennifer W., but instead lovely Jennifer W. from the book of faces, and who I wish could go back in time and swap places with shitty-Jennifer, so that we could be friends!

Maryna also shared some imagery from The Flower Lady by Valeriy Shevchuk (1990) and illustrated by Olha Rubina. Of Shevchuk, she notes,
“[this] writer is very unique – I’ve called him a magic realist, but actually there’s a wholly original genre called “Ukrainian chimerical literature”, and it’s probably closer to French/Belgian “fantastique. ” She observes that, “this book of fairytales is different: Shevchuk has written it with his little daughters’ help. It turned out surprisingly creepy, but it also became quite ubiquitous in the 90s. I had a copy, my school library had a bunch of them, and probably most of my friends did, too.”

I heartily wish I had these amazing books on my shelf when I was a little girl, that’s for sure!

Maryna also mentioned that there is a stunning film based on his novel about a young witch/healer, Voices of Grass, and she is currently working on English subtitles for it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpLWOLuZxj4

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