Region of origin: New Zealand
The Hākuturi were small fairies who serve as guardians of forest in New Zealand. Believed to be the offspring of Tāne, a god of the forests and a progenitor to birds, the Hākuturi were able to take on the form of birds and insects and hide in plain sight. In a story of the cultural hero Rata, the Hākuturi restored a tree Rata tried to cut down until he showed proper respect to the sprites and sought their permission, after which they allowed him to remove the tree and helped him carve it into a canoe.
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Region of origin: Dane Hills, Leicestershire, England
A blue-skinned hag who would capture and eat anyone who she found while out wandering the glens of Leicestershire, Black Annis was particularly fond of taking children, who she would flay before eating with her sharp iron claws, wearing their skins on her belt or hanging them in her cave home. The cave, known as Black Annis’s Bower, was said to be dug out of the sandstone by the witch by hand. In some tales she was said to be able to take the form of a large cat.
Originally posted on Tumblr on November 28, 2016
Region of origin: Poland
Female vampiric spirits that can assume the form of an owl and hunt people who dared wander into their forests at night. It was thought strzyga were the result of a person born with two souls, with only one soul able to move on to the afterlife after their passing the other soul becoming stuck in the dead body, returning from the grave as the ghoulish creature. It was thought the second soul manifested as the person having multiple body parts, such as two hearts or a second set of teeth, and anyone thought to possess these qualities may be buried with the corpse’s head removed to prevent the strzyga from rising.
Originally posted on Tumblr on November 4, 2016
Region of origin: Lurking in the dark
Coming out near midnight, the Thriller is an intangible force of fear, utilizing the form of reanimated dead, ravenous were-beasts and things with forty eyes, among others, accompanied by the odor of ancient decay. The amassed forces will head from graveyards and tombs into neighborhoods and backroads in search of human prey to frighten through intricate choreography, forcing them to join the ranks of their undead troupe as the fear takes hold, their body rotting. It is said they prefer humans with no natural sense of rhythm, but can affect anyone as no mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller.
Originally posted on Tumblr on October 31, 2016
Region of origin: Java, Indonesia
The result of a black magic spell to gain material wealth, the person casting the spell is possessed by a demon and cursed to take on the form of a large boar, the Babi Ngepet. While a boar, they will wander by or into nearby homes at night, magically collecting money and jewelry as they pass until they can return home and safely resume their human form. It is thought the concept likely shares some origins with cèlèngan, a Javanese term associated with piggy banks.
Originally posted on Tumblr on September 12, 2016
Region of origin: Cherokee tribal lands
A monstrous old woman who lived in the wilderness and mountains of what is now the southeastern United States and hunted the local population, U’tlun’ta’s most notable features were her stone skin, which was impervious to damage, and her long, knife- or awl-like index finger on her right hand, which she used to cut open victims and eat their livers. Her other abilities included shape-shifting, which she used to transform into people’s loved ones to lure them into her woods or gain access to their homes, and a magical control over stone; she could lift stones of any weight and fuse any two stones together. She used this latter ability to build a giant upward bridge to the sky, but her “Tree Rock” angered the deities in the upper realm for daring to approach them and it was struck with lightning and shattered it, scattering fragments across the region. Eventually tiring of U’tlun’ta preying on their community, a group of hunters set out to eliminate the creature. After being unable to harm her on their initial attempt, they were assisted by Tsïkïilï the chickadee and instructed to aim at her right palm where the knife-finger met her wrist, the one weak-spot in her otherwise impervious stone hide. When U’tlun’ta charged forward to slash at them with her claw, they landed an arrow in her wrist, killing her.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 24, 2016
Region of origin: India
A normal cobra who has lived until one hundred years of age and preserved its venom by not biting anyone is said to become an Ichchadhari Nag and gain the ability to turn into any other living being, often preferring to take the form of a human and live among them. In their snake-form, the Nag possessed a very valuable gem, or “mani,” formed over time from the venom they never used, and would hunt down and take revenge on a person who tried to steal it.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 22, 2016