IT IS AGAIN that time of the year when stories of ghostly creatures and haunting experiences are seen on television and heard on radio. But before the fame of vampires, werewolves, and zombies, the early people feared mythical creatures from their legends and folklore. Here are some scary creatures from around the world that would keep you on your toes when hit by wanderlust.
MEXICO: La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)
The story of La Llorona is popular among the Hispanics in Mexico and Southwest America.
Maria was the most beautiful girl in her village. She married a young and handsome ranchero. They had two sons. It came to a time when she developed anger and jealousy as her husband grew bored of her, turning to other women and favoring the company of their sons instead.
One version of the legend narrates that her wrath was driven by an incident when she and her sons were walking by riverside and her husband was riding a carriage with another woman. He stopped to greet his sons and then continued on his journey, ignoring Maria.
This incident enraged her and led her to throw her two sons into the river where they drowned. Realizing what she had done, Maria cried for her sons until she died of starvation on the riverbank.
From then on, Maria was deemed as La Llorona: “The Weeping Woman.” It is best for children to be safe at home and avoid roaming outside at night because her ghost is said to ramble along canals and rivers to kidnap children and drown them to death.
JAPAN: Teke-teke (The Girl Who Runs on Her Elbows)
If you have visited Japan and rode the train, has anyone told you of the urban legend about a schoolgirl who wanders around train tracks and drags herself around using her elbows and hands?
In one of the many versions of the legend, it was believed that in 1969, a young school girl was on the way home. Before boarding the train, her friends made a prank by placing a cicada on her shoulder. She fell to the platform and got run over by the shinkansen, Japan’s fastest train. She died with a dismembered upper and lower body.
The next time you ride a train in Japan, beware of the distinctive “Teke Teke or Bata Bata” noise of her hands and elbows. She might just be watching over your shoulder from the window.
IRELAND: Sluagh Sidhe (Fairy Host)
These fairy hosts originated from Irish and Scottish legends. They are destructive spirits of the dead who hunt down souls.
Sluaghs were once believed to exist as humans prior to the introduction of Christianity in Ireland. These spirits often travel and fly as a flock at midnight from the West. They try to enter a household where someone is near death in order to take away their soul. Some families would keep their west-facing windows shut at all times to avoid Sluaghs from entering their homes.
Sluaghs keep no conditions or limitations. They prey on the living, dying, depressed, and happy. Once a soul is taken, it neither travels to the afterlife nor to the underworld. The stolen soul eventually becomes one of their kind who flutters in the skies searching for another soul who could join them.
VIETNAM: Hồ tinh (Nine-tailed Fox)
At the foot of a mountain in Hanoi lives a nine-tailed fox that would devour humans who come near him. He takes the form of a human when mingling with the crowd and captures young women whom he keeps in his lair. The fox was told to have lived a thousand years.
Despite being smart and cunning, the nine-tailed fox was an evil spirit who had terrified many families from Long Bien to Tan Vien Mountain. Not for long, King Lac Long Quan decided to kill the monster alone.
For three days and nights, he fought the monster with winds, rains, and storms. The king cut off the monster’s head as it weakened. After the king’s battle with the fox, he released the monster’s prisoners and used his power to cleanse the curse of the mountain with water. The cascading waters became a river called “Sea of the Body of the Fox.” It is known today as Tay Ho or the West Lake in Hanoi.
COLOMBIA: Madre Monte (Scrubland Mother)
When travelling the green landscapes of Colombia, make sure to never upset nature and take only what is needed. Carrying charms or keepsakes may help, too. Beware as a burly but elegant woman covered in fresh leaves and moss is watching your every move.
Madre Monte or Scrubland Mother is the deity of farmers and loggers and the protector of nature and forest animals. She will kill any man who ventures too far in her presence. Madre Monte punishes man for being cruel or for bothering small towns in the form of natural disasters such as floods and severe storms.
NORWAY: Kraken (The Sea Monster)
Fishermen in Norway fear the sea monster called the Kraken. It may disguise itself as a motionless island but may reveal its monstrous side as its tentacles can easily reach a sailing ship’s main mast and destroy it. The Kraken can attack a ship and hurl the sailors underneath drowning at the mercy of its tentacles.
In 1857, Danish naturalist Japetus Steenstrup performed an examination in order to prove the myth’s reality. He examined a large squid beak from Denmark which measured about 8 cm (3 in). Steenstrup concluded that the Kraken was real. It is popularly known as a species of giant squid. F JASMINE JOY P. SALANGA and JESSICA T. TINAO