The term “Drosoulites” is a visual phenomenon observed around Frangokastello, in Sfakia, (region of southern Crete) between May and June and early in the morning.
Drosoulites are moving shadows, which are seen on the plain of Frangokastello looking like equestrians or warriors figures. Their name comes from their appearance in the morning, along with the morning dew (drosia). Should be mentioned, that Drosoulites have never been photographed or videotaped.
Appearance according to tradition
The time of the year in which the phenomenon is observed coincides with the time when a deadly battle, between the rebels in the area and Turkish soldiers, took place.
To be more specific, on May 17, 1828, there was a great battle between about 600 Greeks led by Hatzimichalis Dalianis and 10,000 Turkish soldiers, led by Mustafa Naili Pasha, who defeated the Greeks. Local tradition linked the phenomenon to the battle, considering that the shadows are the ghosts of the dead soldiers of Hatzimichalis Dalianis.
Also, in 1890 Turkish soldiers in Frangokastello left panic-stricken when they confronted the Drosoulites.
Many years later, during the German occupacion in Crete, a military unit saw the ghosts and as they thought they were guerrillas, they started firing at them.
Scientific explanation of the phenomenon
According to the scientific explanation, the phenomenon is either a vision caused due to the evaporation of morning dew, or the images from the north coast of Africa, while the shadows of the equestrians observed are the reflection of the camel drivers in the desert.