1.) La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)Prevalent in Mexico and thereabouts, there are reports of a woman named Maria who loved a man who did not love her kids. To be with him, she drowned her children only to discover the man did not want her. Grief-stricken (oddly over the man she wanted to be with rather than what she just did to her kids...) she could not accept this so she drowned herself in a river in Mexico City. Once she ascended to heaven (I'm honestly surprised they let her pass the front gates) she was turned away until she could present her children and confirm their whereabouts. Thus, she is left to wander the Earth forevermore, the wailing she does at night lending itself to her name. Some say that she snatches kids who misbehave or disobey their parents. Others claim that hearing her cry marks you down for death, much like the Banshees of Irish mythology. Others still say she is capable of speaking, often uttering the phrase, "¡Ay, mis hijos!" ("Oh, my children!") Lesson learned: don't drown your kids and leave them for a man who will leave you.
2.) Slenderman (The Slenderest of Men)Slenderman. You've heard of him. Or maybe you haven't, and that's why you're still alive. In that case, good for you. Originating as a meme in 2009 on a forums by Something Awful user Eric Knudsen ("Victor Surge"), he has been catapulted into infamous status. He is universally depicted as a very tall, slender, and snappishly dressed man with pure white skin and a face void of any features. He is occasionally depicted with tentacle as black as his suit emanating from his back like an aura. He is "known" to target children, providing a "horrifying yet comforting" sort of response with his unusually elongated arms. It's inherently creepy to have a creature devoid of facial features, by which we attempt to impose humanity or logic and reasoning onto, something familiar and comforting. Because, otherwise, we're left with the unreasonable, uninhibited and the supernatural...
3.) Kuchisake-Onna (The Slit-Mouthed Woman)Oh, I particularly like this one because it was included in my novel, The Serpent's Son. This story originates in Japan, and it speaks of a woman whose husband was a samurai (in one iteration). He caught her cheating, and in a jealous rage, he mutilated her face and left her for dead. Her anger and rage was such that her spirit held onto this world and allowed her to manifest as a youkai, or Japanese supernatural being. It's said that she appears in a trenchcoat and surgical mask on the streets on foggy, cold nights and approaches children, asking them if think she's pretty. If they say no, she kills them immediately. If they say yes, she removes her mask to reveal a Glasgow grin carved into her cheeks from ear to ear, and she asks them again. If they say no, she kills them. If they say yes, she gives them a similar, mutilated smile. Geez, you just can't win with some girls.
4.) The Backseat Killer (Killer of Backseats)I read this one as a kid when I was obsessed with urban legends and ghost stories. This one is an American tale, and it goes like this: A woman is coming from somewhere (university? work?) and gets into her car and drives off. She turns on the radio and hears about an escaped serial killer on the loose. However, soon after, she's being tailed by this guy on the highway who periodically turns his headlights on, flooding her car with light. She gets scared and confused, thinking him to be the serial killer, and keeps turning onto obscure pathways only for the person driving behind her to follow. She calls the police and heads on home, attempting to run inside and lock herself behind the door before the man can get her. However, the man follows her home and keeps his lights on the entire time, pulling up behind her. She's terrified, but the man simply lets her know that he's not there to hurt her, but help her. The police show up, and the man explains that he saw a man sneak into the woman's car and hide in the backseat. In order to prevent her from getting killed, every time the man in the backseat stood up to attack her, the man following her in the car would turn on the headlights and flood her car with light, prompting the man to hide back down so he wouldn't be seen. The killer in the backseat is revealed to be the serial killer discussed on the radio, and he is then escorted away by the police, presumably mumbling about, "And I would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling headlights."
5.) Dheegdheer (Big-Ear)I saved this one for last because it's not well-known, what with being a Somali folk tale/urban legend. There lived this witch-like woman on the outskirts of a Somali village. She was a known cannibal by the name of Dheegdheer (literally "big ear") because -- surprise surprise -- she had big ears. She has a daughter, who does not approve of her mother's violent ways. Now, one day, a woman with a newborn child was traveling through the area and in desperate need of shelter from a storm. She could not stay in the jungle for the night, as the animals would eat her and her child. She came across a hut and knocked on the door, pleading to be let in. The daughter of Dheegdheer answered the door, and said she could not stay here as bad things would happen. However, the woman was desperate and the daughter had a heart, so she relented but warned her to stay upstairs and remain quiet. So the woman went upstairs with the child and hid under the bed. Dheegdheer returned home soon, and with her excellent and animalistic sense of smell, noticed a new scent in the house. She said she smelled "fresh meat", but the cunning daughter replied that it was because she was cooking fresh chicken. However, Dheegdheer was smarter than that and knew the difference between chicken and human meat in the sophisticated, subtle way that only cannibals can determine. Despite this, Dheegdeer's daughter insisted there was no one else there, and so Dheegdheer let it drop. Come nighttime, Dheegdheer went to sleep and, to save the woman, her daughter poured boiling hot oil into her ears, killing Dheegdheer. An alternate, interesting version can be seen here: Well, Poppets? Which story strikes you the most? Which one do you think is scariest, and which did you know or not know? Do you agree or disagree with my list? Which ones would you have included or not? Have a happy (and spooky!) Halloween!
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