The domovoi ( dom meaning house), like other genius loci, is considered to be a guardian spirit and is referred to as "Grandfather" behind his back. They tend to be shy and not given to public appearences. The domovoi is rarely seen but can be heard nightly in odd groans and creaks. When they do scurry out from their hiding places, they appear as small beings, usually covered in fur and have often been mistaken for the family cat or dog.
The domovoi is an incredibly powerful spirit and like most loci, is a shape-shifter. He can appear in many forms, including that of the owner of the house or as a doppleganger. Reports of domovoi as an old man are common as well.
The domovoi is normally a friendly spirit, vital in fact, to the health and harmony of a household often helping at night with minor chores and house work. However, like all spirits, the domovoi is volatile in temperment and impulsive and often at times subversive by nature. When not paid proper respect, for example, if there happens to be salt in his porridge offering, dishes left in the sink or simply no special treat left out for him, the domovoi can erupt in a violent fit of telekinetic fury.
One common legend from Russia tells the story of a domovoi who was known for beautifully braiding the manes of his family's horses. He took a fancy to the daughter of the family and began braiding her hair for her at night. The daugher never owned a comb and her hair was always beautiful and well maintained, thanks to the help of the family domovoi. The only condition the domovoi placed on his help was that the girl could never get married or unbraid her hair.
One day, the maiden decided to get married and to comb her long, long hair. On the morning of her wedding, the bride was found dead, strangled to death by her own hair that had been braided around her throat in a tightly braided knot.
When a domovoi lays a cold hand upon you, it portends death, specifically, your own. His warm soft touch at night bodes good fortune.
The domovoi has two close cousins, sub-species of domovoi, called the bannik and the ovinnik, both of whom are overtly vicious and dangerous to humans. The bannik is the spirit of the bathhouse and is known to skin his victims alive, while the ovinnik has a particularly disturbing habit of burning down barns, generally waiting until the owner of the barn is inside.
The Real Ghostbusters
The domovoi are encountered in the episode in which Aunt Lois appears titled "The Spirit of Aunt Lois", in which Ray's Aunt Lois, originally a character from the film's novelization, appears and consults a spiritualist, the infamous television medium Dr. Bassingame, to help rid her of a headache she feels is spiritual in origin.
When the Ghostbusters, Aunt Lois and Bassingame hold a seance in the dining room, much to Ray's annoyance, Bassingame's fraud angers the resident domovoi, setting them loose on a rampage!