Pocong

ABC062

Pocong

Region of origin: Indonesia

In Malay folklore, the pocong or hantu pocong, also known in some regions as a hantu bungkus (“wrapped ghost”) is an animated corpse still bound its kain kafan funeral shroud. Based on a belief the spirit continues to inhabit its body for forty days after death, after this period the shroud must be untied to allow the spirit to leave the body and move on to the afterlife; if the shroud remains the spirit may become restless and becomes a pocong. Due to its bound feet, the pocong ambulates by hopping, similar to a jianghshi, but is not particularly impeded, capable of taking leaps up to of 50 meters and moving as fast as a car. The pocong is not inherently aggressive, but it may attack anyone who attempts to impede it or start incessantly following someone. It is said the best way to deal with a pocong is to hug it, and use the chance to untie its bonds; the pocong will be grateful for being granted its freedom and grant good luck or wealth to its rescuer.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

Advertisements

Hone-onna

ABC061

Hone-onna

Region of origin: Japan

Literally “bone woman,” hone-onna are spirits of women who passed on but their intense feelings of love for their partner causes them to remain in the mortal realm. Their ghost will appear to their loved one as they had in life at night, tricking them into thinking they’re still alive and draining their life essence as they spend the night together; traditional stories vary on whether or not this is a purposeful and malicious attack or merely an unintentional side-effect of their undead state. The nightly visits will continue until death or the glamour is broken, usually by someone pure or righteous who can see through the hone-onna’s disguise and reveals her true skeletal form.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

Draugr

ABC060

Draugr

Region of origin: Scandinavia

Animated corpses, the draugr were spirits of the unquiet dead, remaining bound to their corporeal form for reasons such as vengeance or greed, the latter often leading to them being associated with guarding gold and treasure inside their burial mound. Draugr were thought to possess a number of magical abilities, including changing their size at will  and being able to turn into mist or animals and were known for attacking people or livestock, although even just being in their presence could lead to madness, disease or death. Methods to prevent the dead from rising including binding their feet or piercing them with needles to stop them from walking, a pair of iron scissors or other iron implements left on the corpse and a special door through which the body was placed in the crypt thought to confuse or disorient the spirit and prevent it from finding its way back out again.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X | X ]

Akateko

ABC056

Akateko

Region of origin: Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Japan

A yokai taking on the appearance of a red-colored child’s hand, the akateko hangs from the branches of a honey locust tree like a spider hanging from its web, except… it is a disembodied hand. It doesn’t exhibit harmful or malicious behavior but its primarily function seems to be to startle people by dropping down near them. As with some other yokai like the ashi-magari, it’s thought the akateko may not be a distinct creature but rather a form of or illusion created by another yokai such as a tanuki, or have some relation to a spirit that takes the form of a mysterious young woman waiting at the base of their tree.

[Sources referenced: X | X ]

The Banshee of Marrtown

ABC046

The Banshee of Marrtown

Region of origin: Marrtown, West Virginia

As people emigrate to new lands, the creatures and figures of their folklore may travel along with them and as a result, tales of banshees in America have cropped up around communities where Scottish and Irish immigrants have resettled. One such instance is the banshee which haunted Thomas Marr and his family. Marr settled Marrtown with his wife Mary in 1836, and historical details may vary the legend of the banshee states he farmed and picked up extra income by serving as a night watchman at a nearby toll bridge on the Little Kanawha River. Thomas would tell his wife that on several nights on the way to and from the bridge, he would encounter a grey-robed figure on a white horse but was never able to see their face. Then one night in February of 1876, while Mary was waiting for her husband to return, the horse and rider approached the home’s front gate. Going out to meet the rider, Mary saw it was a woman with glowing red eyes. The woman would tell Mary that Thomas had died that night before she rode off, vanishing into the mists of the early morning. The message was confirmed as Thomas’ replacement came to relieve him, the body was found in the Little Kanawha, with conflicting reports saying he had been shot in a robbery, fallen into the river and drowned or was simply scared to death by the banshee’s wail. The banshee would later return when Mary passed and a horrible scream could be heard throughout the house, and was said to either appear or otherwise make its presence known to those of the Marr family line through the decades.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

 

Ghost Cows of Farm Road 511

ABC041

Ghost Cows of Farm Road 511

Region of origin: Brownsville, Texas

Drivers heading down the otherwise-empty FM511 at night have reported suddenly encountering a cow appearing several feet in front of their vehicles, causing them to swerve off the road avoid it. After exiting the vehicle, they find the cow is now nowhere to be found and has left no trace behind that it had ever been there. There have been no signs the cow is purposefully malicious, or any more capable of being so than a normal, living cow, but several accidents have been attributed to the bovine apparitions.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

The Ratman of Southend

ABC037

The Ratman of Southend

Region of origin: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England

The sound of nails scraping along the walls of an underpass in Southend may be a sign the Ratman is near. The urban legend tells of a homeless man who retreated to the underpass for the night, only to be accosted by a group of drunken teens who beat him and left him to a slow and painful death, still calling for help as a hungry pack of rats descended upon him and ate his face. His spirit remained to haunt the underpasses, access-ways and sewers, assuming a grotesque, rat-like form and attacking any who enter his domain. An alternate version of the tale tells of a previous mayor of Southend having an affair resulting in a child, and as a cosmic punishment for his infidelity the son was born with the appearance of a half-man, half-rat monster, who was then abandoned to the sewers and grew up into a dangerous feral man-beast.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]