Team IV, August 11- August 22,  2012

Location: Kaluga province, Liudinovo city and nearby villages Cost:$1400 Rendezvous point: Moscow End point: Moscow

   The West of Russia is known as  the “well” of folklore traditions. Even a place like Liudinovo – a good-sized town with many churches -- is called a “witch-town” by local people.  On our 2011 expedition* to the  Liudinovo area we heard detailed descriptions of witches who turn themselves into magpies and who understand animal language.  We also found many households which have a domovoy (house spirit) or dvorovoy (yard spirit), a friendly presence who foretells good or bad fortune coming to the family.

Our 2012 expedition to the Liudinovo area has two main objectives.  One is to visit with local residents (excellent narrators!) and record their stories of witches, the domovoy, the dvorovoy, spirits of forest and river, and other magical personages.   The second objective is to record songs from  “Chernovtsy,”  an excellent local singing group organized by Father Alexei, priest of Liudinovo's Kazan Cathedral and enthusiastic supporter of local folklore

On our way back we will stop at the city of Kaluga  to visit the local ethnographic museum and the unique churches of the Russian Old Believers.  By way of contrast, we will also have the opportunity to visit Russia's largest museum of the history of space flight, the Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics. 

*For a volunteer's first-person account of the 2011 trip to Luidinovo, see Dr. David Galloway's  article: A Journey through Russian Folk Belief and Song.
This expedition is the part of American Friends of Russian Folklore program. Please, have a look at -
A detailed briefing and itinerary are available if you send a request to:

of Alberta
Dr. Natalie
University of
Wisconsin Dr.
James Bailey
University of
Colorado at
Boulder Dr.
Laura Olson
University of
Dr. Rouhier-