Region of origin: Spain
Related to goblins and kobolds, the trasgu are domestic spirits found throughout Spain and into northern Portugal. They may take up residence on farms or in homes and chiefly make their presence known by causing mischief such as moving items or making noises in the night but will also perform chores and be generally helpful if kept placated with a share of food and milk. Some are said to have a hole in their left or both hands to prevent them from stealing items from the houses they reside in, similar to the Catalonian pesanta. The trasgu will become attached to its family, following them if they move, so the only way to get rid of one is to assign it impossible tasks and, shamed by its inability to complete it, will leave in disgrace. The Cantabrian trasgu are more wild than their rural cousins, instead living in the woods and wearing clothes made from moss and bark to camouflage themselves as they play pranks on people who enter their forest.
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Region of origin: Australia
A small red imp of a figure with a head disproportionately larger than its body, the Yara-ma-yha-who makes it home in fig trees. If anyone stops to rest under its tree, it will descend and latch on to them with its leech-like fingers and toes, draining blood until its victim passes out, at which point it swallows them whole and, sated, falls asleep. Upon awakening, it will regurgitate the person, who find themselves worn down, slightly smaller and redder than before but with no memory of the encounter. The Yara-ma-yha-who will repeat this process over and over until eventually the victim themselves has become a new Yara-ma-yha-who. Tales of the Yara-ma-yha-who are used to discourage children from entering potentially dangerous areas.
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Region of origin: Ukraine
Literally “bad luck,” the likho is physical manifestation of misfortune, appearing as a cycloptic goblin- or hag-like creature who lived in the dark forests of moralistic fairy tales and fables. The likho would wrap its arms around the story’s protagonist’s neck and cling to their back, weighing them down. In different stories, the likho could be attempted to be removed through tricking or cheating the creature itself, tricking another person into accepting it as part of a gift and passing it on or attempting to drown it by jumping in a river, which usually resulted in the hero drowning themselves and the likho emerging from the river, no worse for wear and ready to find its next victim.
Originally posted on Tumblr on November 11, 2016
Region of origin: Detroit, Michigan, United States
The “Red Dwarf,” Nain Rouge is a devilish creature said to haunt Detroit, first showing up in 1701 when he supposedly attacked Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a founder of Detroit who soon fell on hard times financially after the encounter. Since then his appearance has been a precursor to disastrous events in the city’s history, showing up before battles, riots and murders. Many people have grown to associate or even blame these events on Nain Rouge, but there is a contingent of citizens trying to clear his name who believe he is actually a beneficial presence, his arrival an attempt to warn people of coming danger. Nain Rouge’s origins are split, with some claiming he’s a lutin, a type of French hob, who came over from Normandy along with early European settlers while others maintain he’s actually indigenous to the area, one of a class of protective nature spirit belonging to native Wabanaki folklore. In recent years, a parade has been held in his name, the Marche du Nain Rouge, at the end of which participants burn the figure in effigy in an effort to symbolically ward him off.
Originally posted on Tumblr on September 29, 2016
Region of origin: Southern Scotland
A freshwater boggart that haunts rivers around southern Scotland and Northern England, Shellycoat is so named, quite literally, for the coat covered in shells he wears which creates a telltale rattling sound as he moves. Not malevolent but mischievous, he will attempt to pull mostly-harmless pranks on people who venture into his territory in an effort to cause them to lose their way or just mess with them for his own amusement; he would often pretend to be someone drowning to trick would-be rescuers to jump into the river, then laughing at their getting drenched for their efforts.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 26, 2016
Region of origin: Basque Country, Spain
A form of imp named after its distinctive red pants, the galtzagorri are small creatures that will, working together as a group, rapidly accomplish work and chores for people. Traditionally their story involves the imps being acquired by a lazy man to finish all his tasks until he has nothing left for them to do, which drives them into a fury and in their rage they undo all the work they had done, leaving the man where he started and taught the lesson that he should have just done his own work in the first place.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 12, 2016
Region of origin: The Baltic Sea, Germany
A nautical subcategory of kobold or brownie, a klabautermann would take up residence on a ship and be a generally pleasant albeit unseen addition to the crew; he would assist with sailors’ duties, sing songs to lighten the mood and help rescue crew that had fallen overboard. When seen, they were said to appear as small men in yellow rain gear, but they only made themselves visible on a voyage if the ship was doomed to go down that trip. In more modern usage, the klabautermann has become something more of a seafaring gremlin, being blamed for things that go wrong on the ship.
Originally posted on Tumblr on June 16, 2016