Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mythological Beings From Around the World II

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Today, for my Coffin Hop-inspired series we'll be visiting the English countryside, the eeriest villages of Romania, and the North-west of France. Remember to hop over to the rest of the participating blogs for more scary amazing posts and giveaways. And for a chance to win a digital issue of the acclaimed new Post Mortem Press magazine, Jamais Vu: Journal of the Strange Among the Familiar, all you have to do is comment in this or any of my previous posts on the series.

So let us begin our descent into the darkest, least known corridors of world mythology...


Also known as Powrie or Dunter, this is a murderous fairy of English folklore. Redcaps are said to inhabit abandoned castles along the English-Scottish border, particularly those with a nasty reputation. Contrary to my concept of fairy, and certainly as opposite to cute, little Tinker Bell as one can possibly be, these buggers are depicted as sturdy old men with red-blood eyes, large teeth, scraggly beard, and wearing a red cap. Instead of fairy dust, redcaps carry a handy pikestaff in their left hands. Why, you ask? Well, to better slaughter you and all your traveling companions if you get lost, of course! And don't even try to run, as redcaps are said to be so agile that outrunning them is imposible.

So, once the slaying is done with, these charmers will mop the blood off the floor with their caps (hence the color). But beware, Redcaps need to kill frequently, for a colorless cap will cause their death.


If you, like I, were a fan of the TV show The Strain, then you are familiar with the concept of a Strigoi. Except that this creature of Romanian mythology is much, much more complex than any other vampire you've ever heard of. Technically, he's not even a vampire. At least not in the modern sense.

Let's see. First, the live Strigoi or Strigoii Vii. These are witches said to have two hearts or souls (sometimes both) and various abilities like shape-shifting, invisibility, and (obviously) magic. During day they seem like normal people, except for their aversion to onion, garlic, and incense. At night, though, the soul of the Strigoi leaves its body and goes on to commit its evil deeds. What Strogoi Vii have in common with the modern vampire is that they kill their victims by draining their blood. They also feed of psychic energy by plaguing the dreams of their intended victims; an attack that when repeated a number of times can cause death.

Now, the Strigoi Mort or dead Strigoi. Like their name implies, these are dead people whose soul can't move on for different--and far too varied to detail here--reasons. Their bodies don't rot and they eventually return to torment those still alive. Who can turn into a Strigoi Mort? A Strigoi Vii, of course, but also those who were buried without following the proper burial rites, those who sold their souls to the devil, unbaptized children, or the victims of infanticide.

Strigoi Morti have no soul; their human remains are empty vessels that constantly hunger for blood and the live energy they lack. As such, this kind of Strigoi is far more dangerous and unpredictable, and usually feeds of members of his own living family.

All Strigoi are stronger during winter. To kill a Strigoi one must either rip its heart and burn the body piece by piece, drive an iron or wood stake through the creature's heart, or place garlic in the Strigoi's mouth.


From Breton mythology comes Ankou, who works as Death's henchman.

There are varying descriptions of Ankou, but the most prevalent depicts him as an emaciated old man with long white hair and wearing a dark robe that covers most of his body. Part of Ankou's face is visible, though, revealing the absence of a nose and an ancient skin that hangs tight to the boney structure, pulling the lips from ear to ear in a soulless grin. A hellish monster that instead of eyes has two yellow lights flickering from within burnt out sockets.

Ankou moves about in a cart pulled by two old, sickly-looking horses. He stops at the door of a house where a person has died and collects the soul, throwing it into the cart. Helping him are two damned souls whose punishment is to walk at Ankou's feet.

The caravan is always preceded by a cold gust of wind. If you ever hear the creaking lull of a cart in the silent of the night, close your eyes and pray that Ankou doesn't see you, for public wisdom knows "there is always room for one more body."

If you want to know more about the rich folklore surrounding Ankour, I recommend you to read this article at Paranormal-Encounters.

And now comes your turn. Tell me, do you know of other death impersonations? How about Strigoi, Moroi, or any other vampire from around the world? Or share with me your favourite fairy legend!

Happy hopping and beware of the sleeping corpses!


JKP said...

Well, I know of a deadly creature I created for my stories, and removed afterwards because it just didn't work with the plot. But I called it the snakonroach, and it one third snake, one third dragon and one third cockroach (I'll leave it up to you to figure out which parts lol). The snakonroach is huge and throws not only fire, but it spits acid, and it hunts down people who committed bad deeds and eats them alive. The only way to defeat the snakonroach is to throw kindness and love at him in a ball of light.

Yes, my imagination is just out there. :) Happy Hop! Johanna aka The Manicheans

Georgina Morales said...

Well, that's a well rounded monster. Scary! Thanks for sharing Johanna!

DarcNina said...

Hmmm... Vardogers, or Dopplegangers are said to be extremely bad omens in Norse mythology. If someone you know sees your Doppleganger, it will bring bad luck, illness or death (which I think definitely falls in the 'bad luck' category); but if you see your own Doppleganger (double), surely it means death is very near!

A. F. Stewart said...

My favourite death related creature is the banshee. More a harbinger than a killer, as it's cry foretells a death, but still very eerie.

Brandy B aka Brandlwyne said...

I would say a Banshee, I know that they say that hearing their cry foretells your dead but who is to say that they don't come back and finish the job. Then there is the Wild Hunt, which is said to go after bad people but who knows :)

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