In Finnish folklore, an Etiäinen is a spirit sent forth by a shaman or by a person in great distress in order to receive information. The spirit appears as directed by the summoner in order to contact a person with whom the sender has a strong emotional bond. The spirit manifests itself by appearing and behaving as the summoned person in order to communicate the requested information. Folklore about such spirits is not confined to the Sami people but is a part of Finnish mythology and tradition as a whole. The word is a commonly used in other parts of Finland and is a part of everyday vocabulary.
Possible Causes Edit
One explanation given for the detail of the apparition is that when a person is waiting for someone, their anticipation can magnify everyday sounds, for example of a cat or the wind, and bring to consciousness a vivid recollection of the person. This recollection will tend to produce the feeling that the remembered person is "coming". If no one comes, the "possible etiäinen" is forgotten. The failure of this explanation is that etiäinen is not necessary when you expect someone to come. It more often indicates an unexpected visitor who would otherwise come as a surprise without phone calls or any kind of announcement beforehand.