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Drosoulites, the ghosts of Frangokastello

Every year in late May, the “Drosoulites” or “dew men” appear at dawn with the morning dew in Frangokastello. They are the ghosts of Hadzi Michalis Dalianis’ dead warriors, who defended the Castle of Frangokastello against the Turks (see Frangokastello history).

Drosoulites ghosts in Frangokastello
What do the Drosoulites look like? Until we find out, let’s use our imagination...

Six hundred brave warriors against 8,000 Turks. They lasted for over a week, but in the end 335 of them lay dead along with their leader. The Turks lost 800 soldiers.

Legend has it that the bodies of Dalianis’ warriors remained unburied, until a strong wind brought sand from the dunes of “Orthi Ammos” beach and covered them.

On damp and windless mornings at the end of May and the beginning of June, shadows in human shape appear walking in single file for about 10 minutes after sunrise. They move slowly towards the castle and disappear into the sea.

Many people say that they have seen the Drosoulites. One theory is that it is a mirage due to the refraction of the sun’s rays in the morning mist. The inhabitants of Frangokastello have noticed that the “ghosts” only appear very early in the morning with the dew, which is why they call them “Drosoulites”. The Drosoulites are harmless ghosts who have never hurt anyone.

Appearance of Drosoulites

It is said that, in 1890, Turkish soldiers at Frangokastello ran away in panic when they saw the Drosoulites. Many years later, when the Germans occupied Crete, a military detachment saw the ghosts and, mistaking them for resistance fighters, opened fire on them. Of course nothing was hurt except the German soldiers’ pride.

The Drosoulites shades do not appear every year in Frangokastello; many years may pass without a sign of them. They have never been photographed or recorded on video.

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