History of Crete
Musical Instruments of Crete
Cretan Dances
Rebel Songs (Rizitika)
Folk Poetry (Mantinades)
Legends of Crete


: The Threshing Floor
: The Lyre Player
: Virgin Mary of Harakas
: Legends of Fragokastelo

: Drosoulites

Over 600 years in this remote corner of the Cretan ground, in Fragokastelo, today is raised the devastated castle that was built by he Venetians in order to keep in subjugation the residents of Sfakias. The hundreds of the Greek visitors that come in order to enjoy the sea, observe it with an indifference that often reaches the limits of abomination, as if they continue the scorn and the animosity that the locals showed in its revelation.

Let's remember the story:
In 1340 the feudal lords of Chania asked from Venice to build a fortress near the church of Saint Nikitas, in Sfakia, to secure the creek from the piratical raids, but moreover to have a support for the ęrepression of the rebellionsĽ of residents of the region. The Democracy of Saint Mark did not have any objection to the construction, but did not give the essential amount of money. However, under the insistence of the feudal lords it receded and in 1371 the construction of the fortress was decided.
The Venetians brought workers, craftsmen, carriers, etc and started to work. They were in a hurry to finish as soon as possible, because they were afraid to stay for long in this dangerous place. And they were right to be afraid. The locals, as soon as they realized the intentions of the conquerors, they made a raid and they slaughtered enough of them. The losses were supplemented and simultaneously powerful metres of safety were taken: the army was guarding all day the workers and in the evening all of them with boats were going to the ships that were anchored and spending the night there.
But the locals with leaders the Patsos', six heroic brothers, at night they were tearing down what the Venetians were building during the day and simultaneously they were spoiling the lime-kilns. How can the castle be built like this?

The conquerors then brought a lot of army, guarding the place all around day and night, and the castle was built. In this time they managed to capture the six brothers, and hung them in the towers and in the entry of the fortress...
But the story of the castle does not finish here: In the years of the Ottoman domination, it passed, as it is natural, in the hands of the new conquerors
and here came the first martyr of Freedom, Daskalogiannis with the 70 revolutionists and were delivered to the Turks.

But the day that stood dramatic for the castle was the 18th of May 1828. That day beame a holocaust. Hatzi Mihalis Ntalianis, the fighter from Epirus, that carried away from the fights and the sacrifices of our ancestors, came in our bloodstained island with 100 raiders and 600 people of infantry, to help the revolution that was flickering. He stood front of this castle, decided to stop Moustafa pasha. He gave his life for the freedom of Crete, with his 385 fearless soldiers...
In front of the Fragokastelo became a wild slaughter. Even the embrasures of the castle saw heroisms that no language can describe. From the death-rattle the place shaked all over and the blood ran like a river and the ground was dyed red... Later on, as it becomes always, all quietened. And the marks of the slaughter become less day by day. And they might be extinguished some time, if it wasn't for the Drosoulites that maintain this memory alive, the sacrifice of the braves.

On May 17th-18th, on the time it begins to faintly lighten, the time that the shades of the thickets play as they are prepared to meet the sun, the time that the dewdrops cover the branches that remain still in the calm of the morning, is presented an army, an escort of shadows, a line of figures that they do not distinguish if they are human or not and they move, as in a parade, from the monastery of Saint Haralampis towards the Fragokastelo. They are dressed in black, some of them walk and others ride, they wear helmets, keep arms and swords that sparkle. They are the Drosoulites. When someone approaches, they leave and disappear in the sea... Those who see them, because not everyone sees them, believe that they are the souls of the killed ones that come back to the castle on each anniversary of the slaughter.

The scientists do not agree with this explanation, but can science explain everything?So many mysteries exist around us. ..
Such a mystery is certainly the Drosoulites. And if you find yourself there they show, you will agree with the George Manousakis, that ęthe Drosoulites are the deads of the Fragokastelo, as the locals see them with their plain incorruptible glance and as they explain this phenomenon with their myth-making imagination. Who certifies that doesn't exist a door from where "here" communicates with "there"?
For those who live in the wider embrace of nature, in harmony with its vigorous rhythm, these two worlds, this of the bodies and the other of the shadows, are in continuous communication. The souls of the killed ones go up in the earth that lived and died, to see again the sea and the light, to breathe the smell of the thyme and the sage that come from mount Madara, to feel the morning dew and to remember the beauties of the ground and their bloody sacrifice. And the living see them and get scared with the presence in in the space of their daily life of this escort, that comes from the unknown after-death world, as if it confirms its existence. People and supernatural shadows walk on the same ground in an absolute reconciliation.

: The Interpretation of the Legend

During the First World War, during the battle of Mons of Belgium, fell in the perception of thousands of soldiers a curious phenomenon, of moving human shades above the fighting soldiers, and then the name of "the angels of Mons" was given. The English press was dealing for some time with this, they gave for the description of this phenomenon various explanations from people involving with psychic and spiritualistic phenomena. Finally "the angels of Mons" remained a historic and unexplained incident until today. Thus therefore they made their appearance, on the Island of Crete in the Venetian and devastated fortress of Fragokastelo, "the Drosoulites".

A lot of years ago, the Chairman of the Botanic Company of London, mr G. Baker, visited Crete so as to collect rare herbs. During his stay in a hotel of the region, the villagers began to narrate the story about the "ghosts" that are visible, almost every year. The tone and the detail narration caused a big impression to mr Baker, as also himself was dealing with spiritualistic phenomena, and the opinion he shaped was that it is not some accidental make, or some usual myth of the Cretan tradition, but that behind this phenomenon is hidden a genuine story.

He decided therefore to come back next May, having first asked from somebody collect information. The information was the following: Each year, around the middle of May and when the wheather is foggy, a few minutes before the east of the sun, in the region of Thime Campos, and to the fortress of Fragokastelo, parades from the west to the east, a crowd of shades of horsemen and pedestrian soldiers, with helmets and swords. As the sun rises this shades slowly become imperceptible, and disappearred completely as soon as the first beams of the sun shine. The phenomenon lasts roughly 8 minutes of the hour. In any case it is a uncontradictable historical event with interesting information but still unexplained from a scientific point of view...


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