AskReaders Fact List

AskReaders: What’s the creepiest creature from your country’s folklore?

11-15 Creepiest Folklore Creatures

Tikbalang

11. In the Philippines, we have tikbalang. They are creatures with the body of a man and the head of a horse. Tikbalang just roam around forests, leading their victims to the wrong trails.

There’s also the Manananggal, a female mythological creature. It rips off half her body and grows wings during the night and searches for a pregnant woman to eat the fetus using her long tongue.

12. I’m from Scotland and we have quite a few. There are ones that I find not so much creepy but definitely odd.

Such as the Wulver. He was described as a man covered with brown hair on his body and having the head of a wolf. Though he was not malicious, apparently he was fond of fishing and would do so for hours even leaving fish on the windowsills of poor families.

And then there is the Selkie, similar to a mermaid I suppose. These creatures had the skin of a seal but could shed them when they came to land. They often came to land to have children with the men there, only going back to find their skin and return to the ocean.

13. Mothman. He’s a creepy guy with glowing red eyes and hidden moth wings who walks along roads and neighborhoods at night. I remember a story of a mother playing with her family in their living room when she looked at the door window and saw him staring at them.

When I was a kid I would always shut the blinds on all of the windows in our house, but there was one window in the kitchen without blinds. So most nights I would either go to bed hungry or sprint to get food, because if I did pass that window and there was a man’s face pressed against the glass then I would become a shrieking puddle of piss. And that would wake my parents up.

14. Here in Norway we have a lot of legendary creatures, but Draugen is probably one of the creepiest. Though descriptions of it tend to differ from place to place and story to story, the general concept of it is pretty much the same everywhere:

Draugen is, essentially, the ghost of a person who has died at sea. He can be seen on stormy nights, sailing in the splintered half of a boat with shredded sails. His face is fish-like, with soulless, black eyes and a wide, gaping mouth, and he has kelp and seaweed for hair. Sailors and fishermen foolish enough to head out to sea at night may hear only its shriek before they are pulled beneath the waves, only to return as Draugen themselves, doomed to haunt the waters forever.

Other Norwegian folklore monsters:

Huldra: Apparently a beautiful woman but with a tail. She lures you into the dark forest where you die (and is eaten by her in some accounts).

Nøkken: Differs from the Swedish version. In Norway he is a beautiful young boy who sits on stones in rivers playing the fiddle (or flute), luring you to drown as it is most often in streams with strong currents he sits.

Fjøsnissen: Essentially a leprechaun or goblin, lives on farms (fjøs = barn), and will help you to good harvests and healthy animals if you are kind and take care of your farm and him, often by leaving food out for him. If you are neglecting your farm or your Fjøsnisse, he will sabotage you leading to even worse harvests and sick/dead animals.

Dodraugen. More modern brother of Draugen. This guy lives in your toilet pipes and takes bad children when they sit down to poop.

15. In Finnish pre-Christian religion, there’s a creature called Näkki, that lives in lakes and rivers. It looks partially like a beautiful lady but its half fish and will drown you if you go to the water or get close to it. It’s used sometimes to scare children from going to the water unsupervised.

16-20 Creepiest Folklore Creatures

Shapeshifter

16. There’s a local legend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which involves a mysterious and supposedly deadly sort of otherworldly creature. Some versions claim that it’s a man-like shapeshifter, capable of blending in with the shadows as it stalks through the desert. Others describe the beast as being curiously canine in nature, albeit with too-long limbs, black claws, and eyes that seem to burn like pinprick embers in the darkness. One thing that remains the same through every retelling, though, is the high and eerie keening noise it’s said to make when it hunts down its prey.

One evening when I was about eleven years old, I heard it. I had been lying in bed, reading under my covers with a flashlight when a mournful howl pierced the air from somewhere across the moonlit sands. My first thought was that it had been a coyote, but as the sound echoed through the night for the second time, I felt a shiver of panic flash up my spine and a deep weight of dread coalesce in my chest. That evil wail was not the call of anything I had ever encountered, nor of something that should have even existed in the waking world; it was the cry of a nightmare incarnate, and no amount of reason or rationality could shake me of that notion.

Now, at around the same time as this story, I’d been doing my best to foster a reputation for being an independent and unflappable badass. That goal went swiftly out the window as the screeches seemed to draw ever closer, and I quickly ran from my room to seek the protection of my parents. Upon reaching their door, though, I was presented with an even more terrifying discovery: The howls were coming from inside the house… along with a lot of heavy breathing and the occasional whisper.

I couldn’t look my mother in the eye for a week.

17. Children and women would dance around a village fire and during this process, everyone would write their names on rocks and place them in and around said fire. When the fire started to die out they would all run home- whereas if they stayed, ‘Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta’ (a bad omen that took the form of a tailless black sow with a headless woman) would devour their souls.

Afterward, men would go from door to door holding a mare’s skull dressed as a ghost, decorated with jewelry and expensive garments – this ‘being’ is called ‘Mari Lwyd’ and she is created to ward off evil.

The reason these men would visit each house was to cleanse the residents’ home so that they would be safe during the winter time when food was scarce. By not tipping the guests, bad spirits would remain in the residents’ homes, so the men sung, read poetry and even danced and the residents would then tip them with anything they had on hand (money, bread, beer etc.) and they would continue to do the same to the next house. With each house, they would become more and more jolly due to the fact that they would become progressively more intoxicated in the process.

The following morning, a village elder would visit the dead fireplace around which the children and women had danced on the previous night. All the stones containing villagers’ names would be checked. If, however, a stone was missing, the person who wrote their name on the stone would die within one year.

18. My very sane, non-paranormal believing husband used to see this creepy, short, troll-like creature in his room in a house he lived in (only there). He said it looked like a short troll with a huge nose and giant gaping smile that would just stare at him.

He chalked it up to hallucinating, but one day I heard about a Pukwudgie and all my hair stood on end.

A Pukwudgie is a 2-or-3-foot-tall (0.61 or 0.91 m) troll-like being from the Wampanoag folklore. Pukwudgies’ features resemble those of a human, but with enlarged noses, fingers, and ears. Their skin is described as being a smooth gray, and at times has been known to glow.

19. In South Africa it is common for native Africans to sleep with their bed on top of bricks or other device to raise the bed. They believe in a creature called the Tokalosh which sits on your chest while you sleep and steals your breath causing you to gasp for air or even die. This is how it was described to me by my parents and saw multiple Africans beds which were abnormally high off the ground.

20. In Russian Folklore, there is a character named Baba Yega. She is an old woman who lives in the deep forest in a wooden house with chicken legs. She eats people who come upon her dwelling.

She’s supposed to have iron teeth and is as old as the world itself. She knows everything, and if you can survive her tasks and display proper respect and manners, she MIGHT let you ask a question. Her size varies according to the tale. Many say she takes up most of the room in her house (nose up the chimney, sleeping on the stove, feet against the door). Some say she looks like an overgrown hill with mossy trees and stones until it speaks to you. Her Sons are Dawn, Noon, and Night, and she may be the remnants of an ancient Goddess, like Black Annis.

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  • I have lived in albuquerque for 21 years and have never heard the one described in this. Not from anyone that I know that has lived here their whole lives. Weird.

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