Dark room with wooden floors and furniture
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4 scary stories from Pitt’s Nationality Rooms

  • University News
  • Students
  • Cathedral of Learning

Quo Vadis, the club dedicated to giving tours of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms, is back with in-person Halloween tours on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, 2021.

Students and other guests will visit 11 of the 32 Nationality Rooms, where they will hear a scary story or folktale from each culture.

These are snippets of a few of the eerie stories you will hear.

Turkish Room

Here, you’ll find an evil eye in the display case. This symbol is meant to ward off any evil creatures, such as the ones in folklore.

One common creature is the Gulyabani, which appears at night as an older man or woman to travelers … and lures them to their deaths.

Norwegian Room

Norway and other Scandinavian countries were hit hard during the Bubonic Plague. Norway, for example, lost half of its population.

The plague became personified there as an old woman, named Pesta, who was said to have roamed the streets and decided who would live and who would die. She would visit households, and with a simple sign, would tell who would live and who would die.

Ukrainian Room

Baba Yaga is said to live in the wilderness, taking the form of an old woman.

Legend says she only leaves her home to seek children to trick and eat.

Russian Room

This story from northern Russia is about “The King of the Deep” or “The Vodyanoi.”

He is said to live in the water and attack those who are swimming at night, dragging them down until they drown, destined to become his slaves.

Often in Russia, drowning victims are not buried for fear of offending this creature.

If you go

  • Reserve tickets here. Registration closes Saturday.
  • No walk-ins will be accepted on the days of the tours.
  • The cost for students and people under 18 is $5 or $10 for adults. Cash-only at the time of admission.


— Kendal Johnson