The Sluagh: Celtic spirits of the unforgiven dead

Celtic folklore has given us some of the darkest and most frightening stories in history including three-headed monsters, headless horsemen, famine-spreaders, and a variety of creepy spirits. One of the most fascinating are probably the Sluagh na marbh (host of the dead), or “Fairy Host”, spirits of the unforgiven or restless dead who soared the skies at night searching for humans to pick off, and especially the dying. Some believed them to be Fallen Angels, while others thought them the spirits of unbaptized children who had returned to earth to…

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Leshy: the Slavic God of the forest

Leshy, literally He-of-the-forest is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. He was depicted a tall, elderly man with a face covered with branches, while in other source his appearance was similar to a typical looking man (mostly he wore a forest ranger uniform and carried a gun or thick staff). According to some sources, though he often has the appearance of a man, his eyebrows, eyelashes, and right ear are missing, his head is somewhat pointed, and he lacks a hat and belt. In his native forest…

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La Patasola: the vengeful protector of the Andes

Colombia is full of magic and mystery and there is a single village in the country that does not boast its own spirit or superstition, often passed from generation to generation. Some ghost stories have become so entrenched in the national psyche they are known countrywide, by scaring children and keeping errant spouses in their place. Imagine you are alone, deep in country’s central Andean region. Maybe you are cutting down lumber in the lush forests, or prospecting for some minerals, gold, for istance, in one of valley creeks. All…

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Adze: an insectoid source of misfortune in West Africa

As night settles in Africa, across Togo and Ghana, where the Ewe people lives, the Adze, it is said, slips through keyholes, under windows and around doors, flying to the bodies of the sleeping, appearing as mosquitos, beetles, fireflies, or simply balls of light. They prey on men and women, but especially enjoy the blood of children. For centuries, the Ewe people of West Africa have lived in fear of these creatures. According to the legend, there’s no potion, spell, or weapon that can ward one off, and no cure…

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Púca: Ireland’s shapeshifting trickster spirit of Celtic folklore

Try to imagine: you’re a normal worker, and you live in your pretty cottage just outside Dublin. It’s autumn and, despite the wind is brisk, the weather is pleasant and so you decide to take a normal nighttime stroll. You latch your gate behind you, and turn, just to find a stranger dressed in a fashionable suit. He begins to tell you your own family secrets, including sins, adultery, sorrows, destitution. Then he tells you what’s going to happen to you: your wife will leave, your money will run dry…

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Miyoshi Mononoke Museum: the first museum dedicated to Japanese folklore monsters recently opened near Hiroshima

Demons, monsters and ghosts. Anyone who has even a minimum of familiarity with Japanese folklore knows that there are so many beings – or not beings – strange across the country. The Yokai, creatures all different from each other in appearance and character. Mainly they are linked to Shintoism, the traditional Japanese animist religion, so they live everywhere, in the mountains, in the city, at the sea, in your home and intervene directly in our lives. The Miyoshi Mononoke Museum, or formally the Yumoto Koichi Memorial Japan Yokai Museum is…

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Old Town Hall of Brno and the legends of the Dragon and the wheel.

Hanging in the Old Town Hall of the largest Moravian city, a little bit as the hanging crocodile in Verona’s church, in Italy, is the carcass of a real “dragon”, or so the originators of the Brno Dragon legend would have you believe. One of the most famous legends in the city of Brno is that of the dragon that once threatened the people, and there are several versions of the story. The most popular has that the beast was threatening the citizens and all of their livestock, and no…

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The Terrifying Stereoscopic Postcards used to “Educate” Children at the beginning of the 20th century

What child doesn’t dread the unseen monsters potentially lurking under the bed, or stalking around the shadows outside the window? These stereoscopic postcards knew the peak of success during the first half of the 20th century, but they were used until the 70s and 80s. At the beginning of the 1900s the postcards were not limited to portraying monuments and landscapes, but also strange and particular things. Some of these postcards were used to teach notions to children but also to behave well. For example, this story is titled “The…

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12# The dark side of Christmas: The Christmas monsters That Will Give You Nightmares!

Times ago Christmas was not dominated only by gifts and good intentions as we know it today. Many of the pagan myths regarding this specific period of the year often featured characters that connoted the Christmas of dark tones. The origins of today’s Christmas traditions see their roots sink in antiquity, and it is interesting to know that the modern icon of “Santa Claus” dates back only to the second half of the 800, invented by the designer Thomas Nast. In some countries these ancient traditions have survived, and for…

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