They Are Rare, Still Beware!
Author: Sailea Nerid
It's the spookiest time of the year! We watch scary movies, read scary books, put out scary decorations, and try to decide what kind of spooky creature we are going to be for Halloween. Every one of us knows quite a lot about the traditional monsters that one can meet in the night on October 31st. We can arm ourselves with silver bullets against werewolves, garlic against vampires, etc. and we know what to expect from zombies and witches, but there are some rare creatures, hiding in the darkness, who you may not be prepared to face. Here are some of them...
Banshee is a female spirit from Irish mythology. She is an omen of death, and wails if someone is about to die. In Scottish mythology banshee wears the bloodstained clothes or armour of the people who are about to die, or is seen washing their clothes in a river. Old Irish families have banshees attached to them. If several of those spirits appear at once, it's a sign of the death of someone great or holy. Dressed in white or grey, having pale hair and a silver comb, banshees could appear as an old hag, stately matron, or stunningly beautiful woman which represents the triple aspects of the Celtic Goddess of War - Badhbh, Macha, and Mor-Rioghain. A little advice for those of you who are visiting Ireland - never pick up a comb from the ground, because it may belong to a banshee and she will come for it and your soul.
Jorogumo is a type of Yōkai, a class of Japanese supernatural monstrous creatures, and appears as a spider that can change her appearance into a beautiful seductress. The Jorogumo preys mostly on men. After seducing them she starts playing on Biwa (a Japanese lute), and while they are distracted she binds them and eats them during her next meal. When a spider turns 400 years old it becomes a Jorogumo, obtains magic powers, and grows as big as a cow. Often they awaits their victims next to waterfalls or they live in abandoned houses in a city. They also possess powerful venom and can control other spiders including fire breathing ones thus they can burn the house of anyone growing suspicious of them.
It's another Yōkai, this one a weasel-like creature. In fact there are three of them, brothers, who have the nasty habit of cutting off people’s legs with their nails that are sharp as sickles. Their fur is spiny like a hedgehog, and they bark like a dog. The first one knocks you down, the second cuts off the legs, and the third sews the wounds up. You feel no pain at first, but then it’s almost impossible to bear it. They ride swirling whirlwinds. The Kamaitachi move extremely fast. The good news is that you can protect yourself by having an old calendar. I'm not sure if you need to carry it with you or just own one, but carrying it sounds like a good idea.
Dames Blanches are female spirits who appear near caves, caverns, and bridges trying to attract travellers' attention. They invite them to dance and if their invitation is refused they throw them in the river. Thus, if you ever go to France and see a pale blond girl, dressed entirely in white, who smiles at you and invite you to come closer with gestures, be smart, turn around and run as fast as you can. Dames Blanches do not speak, only the dead can hear their voices and if you do too, bad news for you.
Baba Yaga is a ferocious-looking woman, flying around using a mortar and who dwells deep in the forest in a hut standing on chicken legs (or just one leg). The hut is always spinning or running through the forest and stops only if the correct incantation is said. Baba Yaga may help those who look for her advice but she kind of eats people so look for her as a last resort. She is thin as a skeleton with a long nose and even longer teeth.
Aswang is a demon from the Philippines, a combination of a vampire and a witch. It's usually described as a female who sometimes eats corpses from the graves and leaves a banana tree trunk instead. Aswang are shape shifters, being able to turn into a bat, a dog, a boar, or a cat. They also enjoy feasting on unborn fetuses and small children, favouring their livers and hearts. Fast and silent, Aswang have bloodshot eyes and inhuman strength. They could be recognized during day time because your reflection in its eyes would be upside down. The way you can kill them is by using garlic, salt, or religious artifacts.
The Lamia is a child eating demon who used to be mistress of Zeus. When Hera found out about this mistress Hera killed all of The Lamia's children and transformed her into a monster that eats the children of others. The Lamia has a serpent’s tail below the waist. She can’t close her eyes. Some of the demons called Lamia use different methods and prefer eating man once they marry them. A snake can become a Lamia if it lives for 200 years.
They are also called samodivi, ethereal maidens with long loose hair, sometimes also possessing wings. They are blonde, tall, and slender, with pale, glowing skin and fiery eyes. Their homes are huge old trees, abandoned shacks, or dark caves near rivers, ponds, or wells. They play and sing, coming to the human world in spring and staying until fall, then going to the mythical village of Zmajkovo. The Veela have the power to bring drought, burn farmer's crops, or make cattle die of high fever. If angered, a Veela would change her appearance and turn into a monstrous bird, capable of flinging fire at her enemies. Men who gaze upon a Veela would fall instantly in love and women would try to take their own lives envying the beauty of the creature. Sometimes the Veela take a man for a lover, draining his life energy and torturing him until he dies from exhaustion. They dance from midnight utnil dawn and those who join them will die as the sun rises. The Veela can be stripped of her powers if her hair is cut.
I hope this guidance can save you from trouble. They are rare, still beware!