People From Around The World Share Their Culture's Coolest Myths And Legends

People From Around The World Share Their Culture's Coolest Myths And Legends

What do you do when something strange is going on, but you don't have a logical explanation? The scientific thing to do is to admit what you don't know and try to look for clues. But we humans don't always take the scientific route. Sometimes we follow our imaginations rather than our intellects. And thus myths and legends are born.

These folks below took to the internet to share the coolest myths and legends from cultures all around the world. It's fascinating how sometimes fictional stories can tell us more about human nature than just the bare bones facts...

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45. Jurassic Park?

Mokele Mbembe is allegedly the last dinosaur on earth, hiding in the forests of Africa. It's been seen for a long long time, and nobody seems to be able to catch it, but it breaks down trees, strips trees, and eats food left for it, but nobody outside of Africa can get pictures.

It supposedly lives in the Likouala Basin, one of the most remote places in Africa. The few people who live out there are Pygmy hunter-gatherers, who don't have cameras.

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44. The Truth In The Myth

The Greek god of the north wind was known for having a volatile temper, more so than his siblings in the east, west, and south. He had the upper body of a man and the lower body of a serpent, and he lived by himself in a sky castle made of clouds. One day he was hanging out in his castle, floating around, and he looked down and saw an Athenian princess enjoying her 16th birthday celebration. He fell in love, and decided to take her for is wife. He reached down out of his castle and carried her away to live with him happily ever after...

Okay, so Greek mythology is a good deal more complicated than that, but I found that legend in a book/compilation of Greek myths when I was in undergrad. It was presented just like that, with no additional context or art or anything...

It's a tornado. Poor girl got lifted up and taken away by a tornado on her birthday!

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43. The Old Gods And The New

I recently found out that Pan and a few other gods are old. Like, Proto-Indo-European old. He has multiple origin stories, I think, because of his age. I love the idea that even cultures with really detailed information on the origin of their gods still don't really know where Pan came from, and the idea that there actually are old gods.

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42. Low Key Loki

Loki is an interesting character. He was largely twisted into a devil figure after the arrival of Christianity, but there have been some interesting developments about how he may have been viewed beforehand.

In addition to trickery and mischief, he may also have been associated with fire. It's been suggested that you'd ask for Loki's blessing before you start a fire, because he can either burn down your house and kill you, or he can bring you light and heat, and help you with cooking and forging.

A hearthstone has been found with a carving of Loki, and a boat grave found in Bitterstad contained a few Loki amulets with garnet set in them. Garnet was also associated with fire.



41. Legend Has It...

There’s two from the city in Germany I live in. They’re two parts of the same story:

The Legend of Aachen’s Cathedral

Legend has it that money grew short when Aachen’s cathedral was being built. A willing financial backer was found, but had one condition: He demanded to receive the first soul to enter the newly consecrated house of worship. The clever people of Aachen deliberated and decided not to let Charlemagne himself, or even the Pope – as originally planned – enter the cathedral first.

Since accepting the money they had realized that the rich man was no other than the devil himself. A wolf was captured in the forests surrounding Aachen. After the ceremony to open the new building it was sent in. The devil leapt at the creature entering the dimly lit cathedral and ripped its soul from its body. Only then did he realize it was a wolf.

Enraged about being outsmarted by the townsfolk of Aachen, he ran from the cathed­ral, slamming the main gates shut. This caused a crack in the gate, which can still be seen today. The devil’s left thumb also got caught in one of the two sculpted wolf -heads that adorn the gate and ripped off. It can still be felt there today .

The “Lousberg” Legend

After the devil had been duped by the citizens of Aachen, he was seeking revenge. At the Dutch coast he filled a large sack with sand to bury the whole city of Aachen underneath it. On his way he met a market-woman just outside the city gates and asked her how much farther it was. “Oh, it is still quite far,” she said recognizing the devil for who he was, and pointed at her worn-down shoes. “I only bought these this morning on the Aachen market.”

Enraged, the devil threw down the sack he carried where he stood, and left, saving the city. The sack ripped open and the sand spilled out, forming what is today the Lousberg Hill.

I live on Lousberg Hill.

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40. "I'm Mr. Galtzagorriak -- Look At Me!"

This is a Basque legend.

One summer, long ago, a farmer in a Basque village was working hard in his fields. He was young but disliked having so much work to do on his own. So looking for reprieve, he journeyed down into the village nearby. There he met a wise woman, old and shriveled but sharp of eye and wit. The villagers told the young farmer that the wise woman knew of many things and could help him find a solution. So he sought her out and asked how he could get help on his farm. She told him of the galtzagorriak.

These were small elf-like creatures who wore nothing but red pants. "They will do nothing but help you!" said the wise woman cackling. Pleased, the farmer asked where he could find these galtzagorriak. She gave to the farmer a chest which was full of these little elves. Happy at the prospect of less work for himself, the farmer gave to the wise woman a hammer, nail, and plow.

Upon arriving back at his home, the farmer opened the box and out sprung the galtzagorriak. The little elves were just as the wise woman had described: red clothed, and helpful... "What to do?" they asked, and the farmer gave them tasks. The elves, quick and light, made short that which was long and hard for the farmer.

"What to do?" The young farmer gave them more and more tasks but as time passed he grew weary of them. They never slept nor spoke but three words: "What to do?" They drove him harder than if he had done the work himself for he could not sleep with the galtzagorriak chattering in his ear, "What to do?"

Finally, displeased, he lured the galtzagorriak back to the chest and shut it tight. He brought it back to the village and sought the wise woman with whom he'd made his exchange.

"I can neither eat nor sleep with these galtzagorriak!" said the farmer to the wise woman.

Cackling, the wise woman returned the farmer's hammer, nail, and plow for the chest of galtzagorriak. And returning with his things, the farmer, now wiser, made his farm the most successful in the whole valley. And he was never again as weary as when he had had the galtzagorriak.

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39. Achilles' Healing

The tale of Achilles and Priam in the Iliad.

Achilles is the greatest warrior on the Greek side, but he refuses to fight because he does not perceive that the battle is worth it (he and his crew were mercenaries; they were in it for the reward). Patroclus, his...cousin? friend? lover? Patroclus, a guy he really liked, dons Achilles's armor and is disguised by the gods as Achilles as he leads the troops into battle. During the battle, he meets Hector, prince of Troy and the greatest warrior on their side. Hector slays Patroclus and Achilles, when he learns, goes crazy. He kills Hector and desecrates his body, dragging it behind his chariot. Then he buries Patroclus and mourns him, sacrificing animals and burnt offerings. He goes on a torrent of rage, battling gods and monsters and Trojans. But his wrath is insatiable.

One night, sitting in his tent, an old man enters. He falls at the feet of Achilles and kisses his hand. Then he says, "I have endured what no man has. I have kissed the hand of the man who killed my son." Achilles understands that this is Priam, king of Troy. He could kill him right now and end the war. But Priam begs him to return Hector's body and let him hold a proper funeral for him. In that moment, Achilles takes pity and shows mercy, and through that act finds closure for his friend's death.

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38. Quite A Feet

The giant Japanese foot -- Ashiarai Yashiki. It breaks into people's homes to demand a washing.

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37. Children Are A Headache

The Greek myth of Athena's birth.

So, as you should all know, Zeus is married to Hera, but he is quite the ladies man. He begins an affair with this chick named Metis. So Zeus and Metis are going at it like rabbits, but one day, an oracle comes to Zeus and tells him that, through Metis, a child will be born. His son will then grow powerful and overthrow him just as he took power from his own father. So, naturally, Zeus did the only reasonable thing to do in this situation and swallowed his pregnant mistress. Problem solved.

A few months later Zeus is struck with a raging migraine. It hurts so bad, he asks Hermes to cut open his head and take the pain out. When Hermes cuts open his head, out pops Athena, Metis's daughter. The pain immediately stops in Zeus's head, and Athena goes on to be be Zeus's favorite child. She does not, in the end, overthrow Zeus, as the oracle predicted a son would.

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36. Flower Of Youth

Apollo and Hyacinth: A Cautionary Tale of Frisbee.

The Greek sun god, Apollo, saw this really hot guy named Hyacinth and took him as his lover. They were totally into each other, love life was great, everybody is happy. Everybody except the god of the west wind, Zephyr. Zephyr was a bitter fellow, and he was jealous of Apollo and Hyacinth's relationship.

One day Apollo and Hyacinth are tossing a discus around, as Greek couples were apparently wont to do. Zephyr saw his chance. When Apollo threw the discus, Zephyr caused a gust of wind that blew the discus off course, hitting Hyacinth in the head. It killed the poor guy.

Apollo, of course, was devastated. In remembrance of his smoking hot boyfriend, he caused the hyacinth flower to grow from the ground where Hyacinth's blood fell.

Think about it next time you see bros playing ultimate frisbee.

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35. Modern Myths Count Too

Philadelphia's Wandering Bus. It's one of my all-time favorite urban legends.

You find it when you're at the lowest point in your life.

Once you board it and sit down, you find that it's a space outside of time that gives you the opportunity to figure out where you went wrong and how to fix whatever your problems are.

When you figure that out, you find yourself compelled to pull the cord and stop the bus. As soon as you step off, you find that you're at whatever place you need to be to start fixing your problems.

I like it because it isn't malevolent. It's just a place where people with serious problems figure out how to help themselves, and it takes them right where they need to go to get started.

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34. That's Quite A Connection

Legend has it that Bear Lake, Utah, is so deep that they don't know exactly how deep it is. And that deep, underground water channels connect it to Loch Ness. Yes, THAT Loch Ness. You can find people to this day who swear that they've seen Nessie or a monster like that there.

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33. I Prefer Creditcard Jones

In a small town in North Carolina there's a legend of the local "richest guy", they called him Cash Williams. Everyone in town has a Cash Williams story that their parents told them or they heard from a neighbor or something.

Our variation goes like this: Cash Williams had so much money and was so integrated into the local economy that he lost track of what, exactly, he owned (or had a stake in).

One day, Cash is driving in town and sees a beautiful old home. He decides he must have it. He talks to one of the neighbors, who tells him he doubts the owner would sell it. Cash names a ludicrous amount - the neighbor dismisses it out of hand, says the owner doesn't need the money. Cash became agitated.

"Who is it then that can just walk away from that kind of money? Who is so arrogant that they wouldn't hear this offer?" he asks.

The neighbor shrugs and says, "The owner is Cash Williams".

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32. What Is Dead May Never Die

I love the story of Inanna's Descent from the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.

One day, Inanna is in the mood for love so she goes to king Gilgamesh and offers herself to him. He refuses, because she has a tendency to turn her lovers into unsavory things when she gets bored with them. This infuriates her, since she is the puissant Queen of Heaven and Earth, and a fertility goddess besides.

Inanna's nose is bent out of joint, so she goes to her father and begs him to let her use the Bull of Heaven (Taurus, known in Sumerian myth as Gugalanna) to kill Gilgamesh. He grants her her wish, and she sends down Gugalanna to ravage the kingdom of Uruk.

The short of it is that Gilgamesh slays the Bull of Heaven with the aid of his best friend Enkidu.

This sends Gugalanna's wife Ereshkigal into mourning. Some things should be noted about Ereshkigal: she is the goddess of the underworld, she is Inanna's sister, since she lives in death she is barren (nothing can be born in death), and she hates her sister's guts because Inanna is a fertility goddess and can have as many children as she wants. Also, Inanna is the reason her husband is dead. Ereshkigal is pretty mad at Inanna.

Anyway, Inanna goes to the underworld to attend Gugalanna's funeral. There's a bunch of stuff that happens along the way, but the only really important thing is that she made her servant promise to get help if she didn't come back out.

When Inanna gets to Ereshkigal's throne room, Ereshkigal immediately affixes the Evil Eye on her, and strikes Inanna dead. Then she hangs her sister's body up on her wall on a meat hook, and resumes her mourning.

Eventually the servant realizes that Inanna is dead, so she has to go get help. She asks several gods, and one finally helps. They fashion genderless beings out of mud and reeds that can go to the underworld without dying, and these beings go ingratiate themselves to Ereshkigal by sympathizing with her pain. She offers them a reward, and they ask for Inanna's corpse.

Ereshkigal doesn't want to let her sister go, but she promised them whatever they asked, so she must relent.

When Inanna gets to the gates back into the world of the living, the guardians there tell her she cannot leave, for the number of souls in death must remain ever-increasing. She promises to give them a soul in exchange for her own life, and they let her pass.

When they get to her servant, the guardians want to take her, but Inanna says, "No, she was faithful to me and saved me from death. You may not have her." Next they get to her first son, but again Inanna refuses, since he is in deep mourning, and obviously loved her. Same happens with the next son, and so it goes until they get to her own city.

There they find Inanna's husband, Dumuzi, sitting on her throne, wearing all her vestments of power, presiding over her people. This angers Inanna, because he's stretching out all her pretty clothes (not really, it's because he's being disrespectful after she died) so she tells the guardians to kill her husband and drag his soul down to the underworld.

And that's my favorite myth.

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31. I Swear I'll Behave!

I’m of Spanish descent, and when I was young my mom always told me about El Cuco, the Spanish Boogeyman. El Cuco would go to into closets and under beds, and would eat children who were disobedient to their parents. I didn’t believe in him but that would always make me hide in my bed if I felt something around me. Moral of the story: respect your parents!

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30. All Good Myths Serve A Purpose

"If you hear the scream of a livid woman who is determined to hurt you, remove your outer layer of clothing where you stand and sprint because the mountain witch will take your clothes as a tribute."

This was a legend in the Adirondack mountains, where I grew up. Turns out it was mountain lions. Way scarier than a witch.

My Opa told me this to scare me and keep me alert (I think)!

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29. Spring Chicken

My hometown is named for the freshwater springs that bubble up everywhere in the woods around town. Obviously this was a perk for early people living there, and so the original settlers were surprised to see that the local Ojibwe avoided the area. They did this because they had a folk memory about a bad spirit that possessed members of the tribe (starting with children) and compelled them to enter into the springs and drown themselves.

Naturally they have a prophecy about it, too; one day or another, they say, "the springs will open again."

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28. Bring Your Earplugs

I come from the Hunza region, sort of between India, Pakistan, and China.

Our village has a mythological creature called 'bilaas'. What makes it creepy is that she isn't some obscure, unidentified being; people know women who are called bilaas, they have normal families and stuff. So she's literally living amongst you. She stalks people at night, that's when shes usually in a ghoulish form, feet turned backwards. She gets sick a day before someone in the vicinity is about to die, and then becomes very healthy the day they do die. Also, she can turn into different creatures and attack you while you're alone. Then you will fall sick and if she visits you in her human form while you're sick, you're doomed. And you can't refuse her coming in. Sounds silly, and it is, but it is still creepy.

And there's another one about music of the dead. Our traditional music has flutes and some forms of drums in it. It's said that people will often hear the music coming from the distance, but the flute will be missing. You're supposed to ignore it because that's the music of dead/otherworldly beings. If you don't ignore it, then they'll notice you too.

We have a lot of weird stuff like that, I guess people had to have good stories to keep themselves entertained.

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27. Thirsty Monsters

When I lived in an Australian outback town in the middle of nowhere our Indigenous Studies teacher, who is Aboriginal, loved to tell us stories. She scared all the first graders by telling us never to go out into the desert alone, because there lives a monster who is always thirsty. He's always trying to find water, but never can because it hardly ever rains. So when plump and juicy children become lost in the desert, he jumps on them and drinks all their fluids. All he leaves behind are the dry husks for parents to find.

I am sure she was just trying to deter us from wandering off into the bushland, but it left a memorable imprint. I've forgotten the monster's name. Another popular Aboriginal tale is the Tiddalik. Tiddalik was a giant frog who drank all the water in the world. As the other creatures began to die from thirst, they plotted to make Tiddalik laugh. Everyone failed except Nabunum, the eel, who danced and tied himself into knots. Tiddalik laughed uproariously, releasing all the water and filling the rivers and lakes. Many of the creatures drowned in the process or were left stranded on new islands. The concept of a giant, laughing frog scared the cookies off me as a six year old.

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26. More Australian Mythical Creatures!

The Yarra-ma-ya-hoo is an ugly little red monster that lives in the trees and sucks the flesh of anyone that rests under the tree. It has suckers instead of limbs and swallows the person after it's done. Afterwards, the person is spit back out with skin a little redder than before. This happens again and again until the person turns into a Yarra-ma-ya-hoo themselves.

The Bunyip is an amphibious monster, part platypus, part crocodile, part dingo, that lives in the billabongs and hunts anyone that gets too close to its billabong.

The Yowie is a horrible hairy hominid like a small Bigfoot that usually hides in the bush, until it can hunt children and dogs that get separated from the mob.

There’s also Min-Min lights, beautiful tiny spirits that lure people into the billabong to drown.

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25. The Zombies Who Need Your Help

Pocong, Indonesian/Singaporean ghosts, are wrapped dead people who hop because their feet are bound. They're wrapped for burial rites, and they're not malevolent in the slightest. They actually wander in search of someone to untie the top of the wrapping so they can pass on to the afterlife. Once they find someone, they will follow that particular person until untied.

The Pocong is commonly described as having a pale green, shrivelled face, with two deep empty holes where its eyes should be. And while it usually does small hops, it's capable of leaping 50 meters. It can also fly or teleport.

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24. Scary Stories > Drowning

When I was little my grandma told me Kappas would pull your guts outta your butt if you swam in the river too long. It's a legend from Japan, obviously. Kappa are still creepy to me.

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23. History And Legend Can Be Hard To Separate

An english village near me has a large old mansion owned by a local family. Most of the rooms in the mansion haven't been touched for years (due to the size of the house) and the family refuse to go into them, partly due to the fact that there aren't enough people living in the house, and partly due to hauntings.

The house apparently dates back to before the English Civil War, and the family living there were well-known Catholics, so of course they became a base for the king's soldiers. The king lost the civil war, and the family who live there say that they can still hear the soldiers stomping around the hallways at night, and occasionally barking orders. They also claim there are a bunch of other ghosts, such as a veiled woman in black who only appears to you if you're ill in that house, a librarian who will shush people talking in the library , a young girl who you can only see through some of the frosted glass doors in the house, banging noises and screaming coming from the sitting room at night, and finally a man dressed in black who wanders the gardens at midday.

Even if you don't believe in the ghosts theres still tonnes of creepy stuff about that house, such as tiny rooms hidden everywhere for priests to hide in (known as priest holes), a hidden room below the house that leads out to a nearby river, and hidden passageways all around the house.

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22. Caving In

If you explore caves you've probably heard them -- or at least heard about them: the cave people. The quiet little whispers. They sound like a group talking way off in the impenetrable darkness. I've heard a dozen different versions of what they are: lost souls, dwarves, evil spirits, or the logical explanation -- drops of water echoing and your mind playing tricks.

Either way, it's a common joke that we all carry 3 sources of light so that it never goes out. Because if it does, they'll come for you. Or it's because it's true darkness down there and you'll likely get lost and fall in a pit. It's a rite of passage for young cavers to be frightened with the stories by older vets. Though I've met a few who really swear to having full conversations with the spectres.

No matter how you shake it I'm a giant wimp and still don't like caving alone or getting too far from my group. Or turning my light out for more than a few minutes.

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21. The Japanese Have Some Great Ones

My favorite creepy Japanese urban legend has to be Aka Manto (“Red Cape”). It’s a malicious spirit found in public bathrooms that will offer the unfortunate person either a red or blue paper or cape. If they were to pick red, they would be slashed; if they were to pick blue, they would be choked.

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20. The Weeping Woman

I guess as a Hispanic person it would be "La Llorona" (The Weeping Woman). In Mexico, legend has it a lady drowned her kids and as punishment. Now she's condemned to roam the land screaming for them. By the rivers, you'll often hear her yelling for her kids to this day.

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19. Child Of The Corn

A bald man who comes at night to set fire to corn fields. You do not want him to get ahold of you, for he'll attack your throat. People in Mexico call him El Pelón Quema Maiz.

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18. Staying A Head

The flying head. In Malaysia it's called "penanggal". It is basically a detached head that flies around in the night, seeking to prey on women who have recently given birth. The head is floating, with its lungs and throat dangling below its neck. When morning comes, the head will fly back and re-attach to its body. Usually it is said to be some form of black magic that is practiced by people who want to maintain their youth.

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17. Oil Baron

Orang Minyak -- which means "the oily man" in Malay. He’s a shaman or a supernatural being entirely covered in tar or black oil. He gains and increases his powers by abducting pure young women. While I studied in Malaysia, a few girls were attacked on our campus and somehow Orang Minyak was blamed. The rumor spread like fire. One weekend, there was literally an exodus of students, all panicking because most of them firmly believed we were being attacked by Orang Minyak.

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16. Kelp Wanted

Kelpies are water spirits that live in the Scottish Lochs. On land they look like beautiful and tame horses, but if you try and pet or ride they they'll fuse your hands into their hide, transform into their true form and dive into the depths of a Loch (which tend to be deep and very murky), drowning and devouring you.

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15. Such A Cute Demon

I went on vacation in the Philippines once. I stayed at a backpackers' lodge in this beach island and I met a couple of Filipino travelers whom I ended up bonding with. One night, they told me about what they call the tiyanak.

Apparently, tiyanaks are demon-babies spawned by the devil himself. Tiyanaks appear as cute, cuddly, bright-eyed babies to lure humans into coming near them, then they reveal their true demon form as they devour those who do.

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14. Night Marchers

On the Big Island of Hawaii there are the night marchers which are the ghosts of the Kau warriors who died in a volcanic eruption after a battle. Their footprints are actually still preserved in Kilauea National Park.

I’ve had a lot of people both, locals and those from the mainland, tell me of hearing a large group of men marching and chanting late at night around Kau. I’ve had some friends tell me they were camping in a remote valley when they heard about twenty people march by speaking Hawaiian. But they didn’t see anyone since they were in a tent.

Some people say that if you hear them you have to remove your clothes and lie in the fetal position; others say you just have to avoid making eye contact with them.

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13. Fox O' Nine Tails

I have a few, but the Kumiho (Gumiho) definitely takes the cake. As a note, this is completely different to the Japanese Kitsune, which to my knowledge is far more benevolent. Kumiho is a very unstable, malevolent spirit. We Koreans believed, due to Taoist influences, that many objects grew stronger as time progressed. A fox, having lived for a thousand years, would gain nine tails, and grow powerful enough to disguise itself as a human and hence become a Kumiho.

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12. Not Such A Cool Cat


It's an American folk legend about a giant cat-like creature that stalks the woods at night. In the original legend, an old hermit hunter shoots it, misses, and instead ends up nlowing its tail off. Tailypo is startled and manages to escape. Satisfied with the tail, the hunter takes it home to make stew out of it.

Later that night Tailypo manages to break into his home. Tailypo jumps on the man’s bed and asks where it’s “tailypo” is. The man, terrified, answers that he ate it. Tailypo is enraged, and as an act of vengeance claws the man’s stomach and levels his house to rubble.

In some children’s versions, the hunter only loses his house, but most versions include a hunting dog that also perishes in the scuffle. Other versions also have the legend last for a few days rather than one night, where the hunter is stalked by the creature every night, but the basic story is still the same.

First time I heard it as a kid I was living in Alabama and it scared the absolute crap out of me since my grandma’s house was right in front of a huge plot of woods.

It’s easy to imagine horror and folklore legends from other countries miles away, but the local stuff freaks me out.

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11. Dead Seas

The Draug of Norwegian folklore. Norway is a country that has a giant coastline, with cold seas and plenty of storms, so naturally one of our creepiest pieces of folklore would be based around that.

The Draug is the spirit of a sailor taken by storms. Their ships were shattered, and their bodies pulled beneath the waves, never to set foot on land again. Now they sail within the storm in their broken boats, bodies cold and bloated, covered in seaweed and barnacles. If you find your vessel trapped in a terrible storm, you might see one, and if you do you will never set foot on land again. The Draug will come out of the storm, grab hold of you, and drag you down into the depths with them.

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10. Lost Boys

As a Trinidadian, growing up we were told not to go wandering off into the forests. That's because "Douens" live in the forests. They take the form of children but with their feet back-to-front. Once they learn a child's name, they will call out to them in the voice of its parents, leading them into the forest. Their footprints would lead the child further astray until they're finally lost for good. They are said to be lost souls of children.

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9. Imma Let You Finnish

I was reading a book on Finnish folklore and was surprised when the most brutal story was about tonttus (gnomes, elves, homekeepers). In the modern world they're often described in an affectionate way but they used to be some malevolent creepers! People believed in tonttus for a very long time; it was said they only really disappeared alongside electric lighting in households because there were no more dark corners for tonttus to hide in.

Tonttus kept the house safe and thriving as long as you left them food, or, in one version of the story, the last session of the sauna. You weren't supposed to go to the sauna after midnight because that's when it's tonttu's turn. If they find you in there after midnight, you won't live long.

Some traditionally creepier Finnish mythical creatures are liekkiös who are the the lost souls of children who have been buried and hidden in the woods after childbirth. They scared people by crying and screaming but sometimes they were helpful and pointed out trees that were about to fall.

Painajainen was a creature who sat on a sleeping person's chest, caused bad dreams, and scared the bejesus out of them. In modern times, it's been determined it was an explanation for sleep paralysis.

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8. Black Forest, Black Tales

I'm from the Black Forest, Germany, a region spooky by itself and with even more stories of ghosts, zombies, dwarves, nymphs, tree spirits, and all of that stuff. A lot of widely-known fairytales come from here and operas were inspired by the forest. The forest looks a lot like the name suggests: it is so densely forested with fir and pine trees that sunlight rarely pierces through, which makes it look black. However, when the sun shines, it's beautiful.

One of the stories takes place at the Mummelsee, a lake high up on the mountain, surrounded by three cliffs and pine trees that always appears dark black.

According to legends a king lives under the water who charms young girls into swimming. He then drags them into the lake, bringing them to his kingdom underwater. Some of those girls then later appear as nymphs to again lead hikers into their watery realm.

There is some kind of real explanation: people would bath in the lake, which is much deeper than they had thought. Due to the cold water from the depths, some people were undoubtedly lost.

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7. The Pied Piper!

I think I would go with the "Rattenfänger von Hameln"

It is a German tale.

There is this man who comes into a town which is filled with rats. He offer the villagers his help. They take his offering and promise him a fair payment.

So he walks around town playing flute. He plays it so well that every rat leaves it's hiding spot to follow him. He walks out of town and brings the rats away.

After this he returns, demanding his payment. The villagers are afraid of him and refuse to pay, they even try to force him away.

He leaves before he gets harmed. One night when the moon was at its highest he came back and walked around town one more time, playing the flute. This time every child I the town comes outside to see him playing. The kids love his play so they follow him around. So this man wanders around until he has every single child in town in his tracks and he leaves.

The next morning the parents wake to realize every kid is gone. No one could find them and no one heard of him anymore.

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6. So That's Why I Always Get Socks

Icelandic Christmas folklore has the legend of the "Yule Cat" - a massive black cat that will eat you if you don't get any clothes for Christmas.

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5. Lesson Learned

Growing up in Brazil, the one the scared me the most as a kid was Homem do Saco -- or, in English, The Bag Man. Basically, it was a man who roamed through the streets looking for kids who were by themselves, with no adult supervision. Then, he put them inside his bag and took them to his home so he could make buttons and soap.

It's a scary story to keep children from playing in the streets the whole day but man, was it scary back in the day!

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4. Mirror Mirror

This is an old Japanese myth. If you have two mirrors facing each other so the reflections make a tunnel, then you light a candle between them. If you look down the tunnel you'll see a spirit putting out the candle in the mirrors as it gets closer by jumping forward a reflection every time you look away, and if it gets to you, it grabs you and pulls you into the mirror to become an evil spirit too and await the next person foolish enough to make the same mistake you made.

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3. Russian Folklore Rules

Baba Yaga is one of the greatest legends from Russian folklore. Forget John Wick: we are taking about a witch who flies around in a bowl and lives deep in the forest in a house that stands on giant chicken legs. General mischief and tricking children is her deal. Picture the Queen from Snow White when she disguises herself as an old woman to offer the apple, but even scarier. Boogie(wo)man.

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2. Don't Talk To Me Before I've Had My Coffee

I'm from Northern Brazil, near the Amazon River. My grandma always told us the story of the "matita perreira."

At night you can hear her whistle. She is like a witch; if she finds you in the forest she will hit you with a leash. The matita perreira is a normal human in daylight, so she can be anyone from the village. It is like a curse.

When you hear her whistle, you can call her 3 times. You scream, "Matita come drink coffee!" Then the next morning she will visit you in her human form to drink coffee with you. This way, you can find out who she is.

But there is a catch: she comes very early in the morning. You must have coffee prepared for her, otherwise she will end you. Anyone who's still be asleep when she arrives will fall ill and never recover.

It was really creepy for me growing up, but today I know that the whistle is a bird. In Brazil we have a lot of these folklore stories.

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1. Doing It For The Lolz

Lygtemanden Is a Danish version of a will 'o whisp but instead he's a little blue man who walks or runs out in the swamps and lures people out into the treacherous areas. He knows where to step when you do not. Once you're in trouble, he laughs as you sink into the muck. He does not eat you. He just laughs.

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