Ittan-momen

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Ittan-momen

Region of origin: Kagoshima, Japan

A possessed bolt of cotton cloth, the ittan-momen is a tsukumogami, a spirit born of a disused or forgotten household items, who glides silently through the night sky looking for victims to prey upon. Unlike most tsukumogami or yokai who have a tendency to be mischievous but harmless to people, the ittan-momen is particularly vicious and will wrap itself around a person’s head, smothering them to death.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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Bultungin

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Bultungin

Region of origin: Chad

Literally “I change myself into a hyena,” it was believed some people used witchcraft to to turn a hyena, a creature heavily stigmatized as dirty scavengers. The bultungin would turn into the hyena at night and upturn graves to feast on the dead bodies. A similar creature in Ethiopia was known as a bouda, and was heavily associated with blacksmiths.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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Trow

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Trow

Region of origin: The Orkney Islands

Small folk of the Orkney Islands, the trow share traits of their fae cousins in the British isles as well as Norse creatures like trolls and draugr, albeit much tinier, with stories describing trow from as small as mice to upwards of three feet tall. Like the trolls, the trow abhorred sunlight and lived underground in locations known as knowes or howes, earthen mounds disguising elegantly-decorated halls underground, although the trow were said to be able to come and live on the surface during the week before Christmas. When above ground at night, the trows could turn invisible at will to hide from humans, although some people were born with a gift to see the creatures that they could pass on to others through touch, while other tales told of folk methods that granted people this ability such as washing your face with eggs. Trows were often viewed as good-natured, with a love of dancing and music, the fiddle in particular. Their relationship to humans tended to run neutral to positive, the male-only race even said to marry and conceive children with human women, but they were considered mischievous and mercurial and could turn destructive if their knowes were damaged or otherwise treated discourteously. Similar to other fae creatures Trows also often engaged in taking children and cattle and leaving changeling replacements in their place.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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Besta-fera

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Besta-fera

Region of origin: Brazil

With roots in stories brought over by Portuguese colonizers, the Besta-fera, often translated as Bestial Beast, was an centaur-like evil spirit who rode the earth on nights when the moon was full. On these nights it was said to ride out of hell and collect the souls of the damn, galloping loudly through towns until it ended its route in a graveyard, returning with its bounty to the underworld. The Besta-fera was usually thought to never directly threaten mortals, but hearing or seeing it could incite temporary fear or madness. In some versions it was said to be accompanied by a pack of hounds, and may itself have a wolf-like head; in other versions it is missing its head entirely. There is some belief the Besta-fera may be an incarnation of the Devil itself, and it has some connotation with the beast mentioned in Revelations. The term has also come to be used to describe particularly ill-tempered or fearsome people.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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Mara

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Mara

Region of origin: Scandinavian counties

An evil spirit that plants itself on a sleeping person’s chest, feeding off their life-force while “riding” them, causing bad dreams and anxiety along with the sensation of being pinned down. Signs of a mara attack in the night include waking still feeling weary and drained, and tangled hair known as martovor or mare-locks. Mara may also attack livestock and other animals, especially horses, and even trees with particularly tangled branches are said to be victims of the mara. There was some belief that mara were distinct creatures or demons, but other origins labeled them as humans with familial ties to curses or witchcraft, whose spirits would leave their bodies at night. While traveling in this way, mara could take the form of fog, sand or will-o’-wisps that allowed them enter through impossibly small cracks and sneak into their victims’ homes. Mara are primarily female; it was thought a pregnant woman who practiced svartkonst, a form of witchcraft used to ease labor pains, would result in the children being born as mara if female or a werewolf, or varulv, if male. Rarely some male children would be born as mara or possess features of both, known as a marulv.

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Mantyger

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Mantyger

Region of origin: Medieval Europe

A chimeric beast with the body of a tyger, a creature from heraldry similar to but distinct from a tiger, and the hands and face of a man with curling horns and tusks. It is believed the name may be a corruption of the Persian manticore based on a false etymology and use has become somewhat intertwined, but despite some similar features they are often considered separate beasts, and the mantyger may take its origins from second-hand descriptions of baboons.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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The Stiff-Legged Bear

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The Stiff-Legged Bear

Region of origin: Various northern indigenous tribes of North America

Also known as Gici Awas to the Abenaki, Nyah-Gwaheh to the Seneca and Iroquois, and a host of other names among several other tribes, details of stories involving the Stiff-Legged or Naked Bear may change between groups but all share a description of a type of massive, hairless bear with a larger-than-normal head, large sharp teeth and the stiff-jointed legs from which it takes its name. They are often depicted as especially aggressive man-eaters. An Iroquois legend in particular identifies it as the bear associated with the Big Dipper constellation, who is hunted through the sky and slain causing its dripping blood to stain the leaves red each autumn, only for the beast to rise again from the dead each year and repeat the cycle. There is some belief the common description may originate from a corruption of descriptions of mammoths remembered through ancestral stories, or arisen as an explanation after the discovery of mammoth skulls or fossils.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]