Ethereal photos of the spirit that haunts Russia's underwater crystal cave

Ordinskaya Cave (also called "Orda Cave"), located near the Russian city of Perm, is the world's largest underwater gypsum cave, its rich mineral walls lending the cavern an otherworldly beauty that is perfect for a supernatural scene. Photographer Viktor Lyagushkin and PHOTOTEAM.PRO tapped freediver Natalia Avseenko to pose as the legendary spirit who is said to guard the cave. The result is an ethereal series of images that play with water, fabric, and light.

According to Lyagushkin, legend has it that a "Lady of the Cave" watches over divers who enter her natural cathedral. Avseenko braved chilly waters (fortunately while wearing something under that dress) to play the Lady. Avseenko is no stranger to freezing waters, though; she caused quite a splash last year for her penchant for swimming naked alongside Beluga whales. The tricky part, Lyagushkin says, was that she had to act the part of the serene lady while holding her breath.

You can see more photos from this series (including the photos of Avseenko prepping) in Lyagushkin's gallery, where he also has his Lady-free photos of the cave.

Lady of Orda Cave [Viktor Lyagushkin via Ian Brooks]

Ethereal photos of the spirit that haunts Russia's underwater crystal cave

Ethereal photos of the spirit that haunts Russia's underwater crystal cave