Cretan Legends

The Drosoulites

The ghosts Drosoulites at Fragokastelo
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Every year, at the end of May, at the very first morning dew, Drosoulites appear in the beach as shadows. Drosoulites are the ghosts of the dead warriors that defended the Frangokastelo Fortress from the Turks under the commands of the chieftain Hatzimichalis Dalianis.

600 Greeks fought against 8000 Turks during the Battle of Frangokastello (17 May 1828). They resisted for more than one week but at the end 335 of them, with Dalianis, were killed. Dead Turks were around 800. According to the legend, the bodies of the warriors remained unburried, till a strong wind moved sand from Orthi Ammos beach and covered the bodies.

In the last days of May and the first of june, human-like shadows dressed in black, walking or riding, armed with weapons, move from the church of Agios Charalambos and advance towards the old fort Frangokastelo and fade near the seaside. They move in a row and appear for about 10 minutes, when there is no wind and humidity is intense.

Explanation: Many visitors have claimed that they have seen Drosoulites and, according to scientific explanation, these shadows are caused by mirage due to sun light diffraction in the morning dew. Locals believe that, because the "ghosts" only appear very early in the morning dew and this has given their name ("Drosoulite" means "shadow in dew"). They are harmless ghosts that have never disturbed anybody.

Appearances: According to the legend, in 1890 a transient Turkish army, thought the ghosts were rebels and fled away. Many years later, when Germans had occupied Crete, one German patrol saw the ghosts and they opened fire against them. Of course nobody, except the dignity of Germans was hurt. Shadows do not appear every year, there might be many years till a new appearance is observed. They have also have never been video taped of photographed.

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