Myths and legends have provided us with some truly horrifying monsters. Here are ten that definitely deserve more attention.
1. Black Annis
A witch from English folklore with iron claws, she was supposed to stalk the moors looking for wandering children to kill. She would eat them and then tan their skins and hang them from trees. She was also said to snatch misbehaving children from their houses. I have to commend my ancestors for inventing such a sadistic way of keeping their kids in line.
A creature from Japanese folklore, the Jorogumo is a giant spider that has the power to disguise itself as a beautiful woman in order to lure victims. She would then bind her prey with spider thread and devour them.
A bogeyman from Czech tales, the bubak looks like a scarecrow and makes sounds like a crying baby to lure victims. On the night of the full moon he weaves cloth from the souls of the people he’s taken, and drives a cart pulled by cats. Admittedly, the last part sounds kind of awesome.
A zombie from Norse mythology, the draugr carries the stench of death and is incredibly strong. They are said to devour people, drink blood, and have the power to drive mortals insane. The draugr can also walk in dreams in order to pass on warnings to their victims.
The Irish equivalent of the headless horseman, the dullahan is a harbinger of death who carries his monstrous decapitated head around with him. His mouth is stretched into a hideous grin and he carries a whip made of human spines.
The Algonquian people believed that wendigos were created when a human developed a taste for cannibalism and was either possessed by a demon or just turned into the monster of their own accord. They are said to be emaciated but incredibly powerful, sometimes resembling a monstrous humanoid deer.
Originating in stories from the Orkney Islands, the nuckelavee is basically a really messed up centaur. It’s supposed to reside mostly in water, and resembles half a grotesque man attached to the body of a decaying horse. The monster was said to wander freely over the islands in order to torment humans.
A very weird creature from Japanese legends, the nuppeppo is a rancid-smelling lump of sentient flesh that likes to wander in cemeteries. While the creature is said to be harmless, there’s just something… icky about it.
9. Kuchisake-onna (“Slit-Mouth Woman”)
A fairly recent legendary figure (and there’s actually a film about her), the slit-mouth woman incited a case of mass-hysteria in Korea a few years ago when there were claims that a disfigured woman was actually attacking children. Kuchisake-onna is said to be a beautiful woman who walks the street wearing a mask. If she finds someone walking alone, she asks them if they think she’s beautiful. If they respond she removes her mask to reveal that her mouth has been slit open from ear to ear. She then kills her victim with the huge pair of scissors she carries.
10. Spring-Heeled Jack
An urban legend originating in Victorian England, Jack was described as being devilish in appearance (clawed hands, red eyes), but dressed like a gentleman. He could also jump extraordinary distances. He mostly targeted women, attempting to assault them and driving them out of their senses with fear before bounding away in fits of maniacal laughter.