3 of the Scariest Legends from Around the World (AKA: What the Crap is WRONG With People?) - Sarah Hines
If you have friends from outside your own country, you have, no doubt, noticed many cultural differences. (If you haven't, nice job, way to be an inattentive friend, jackass!) Just like every culture has their own language, their own major religions, and their own fashion, so too do they have their own freaky stories on crack that they use to frighten small children and husbands into compliance.
What Are the Purposes of Scary Legends?
Since the dawn of intelligent, cognitive civilisation, humans have used mythology and folklore to convey important messages about spirituality, etiquette, social roles, etc. Though there are only three listed here (I want to sleep tonight without seeing devil kid down there staring back at me in my dreams) there are innumerable accounts of creepy beings torturing undeserving (or sometimes very deserving) souls, usually right before eating their face off. It is usually a story of warning about your actions and about consorting with an immoral crowd, defined by the culture. Stories also serve to scar children for life so that they will think twice about walking in the creepy woods at night or wander away from their parents.
Who Are the Subjects of These Legends?
The subjects of the stories are often times scorned women or demons taking the forms of children. This seems to be due to the fact that most of the stories' warnings are family related and the women are often the centerpiece of the family's well-being at home. Children, of course, are often used where there is manipulation and trickery involved, as children are innocent and therefore disarming. Though many times these stories are used to warn children of the dangers of not doing as they're told, a surprising amount of them (especially in the South American region) are used to warn wandering husbands as well.
Should I Read About These with the Lights Off?
I'm having a hard time researching them during the day. But if you're feeling brave, go for it.
The kid from the Grudge is a BEK
Imagine you just got home from work, and are sitting by the fire with a cup of tea and your favourite book. You're by yourself, and relaxed when suddenly there's a knock on your door. You aren't really expecting company, so you're baffled as you get up to see who it is out so late.
When you open the door, you see two boys, both looking down at the ground. Let's set the atmosphere and say there's a damned monsoon coming in. These two lads are standing out in the pouring rain, completely unaffected, as though it's a bright sunny day. One is probably in his early teens and one is a little younger. Inexplicably, you start feeling a sense of dread, like you need to slam the door and run at any second.
The oldest boy says, without looking up, "My brother and I are stuck out in the rain. May we please come in to use your phone and call our parents?" He speaks with a cadence that seems far beyond his years, and it makes you shudder harder. You apologise, but your phone isn't working (though it really is) and you suggest a nearby convenient store or gas station.
The boy speaks again, "May we come in to use the restroom? It's raining and we would love to come in for a bit." Now you're battling between your logic and your instinct. These are two young boys caught out in the rain, what kind of person would make them stand out there. But you can't bring yourself to let them in. You apologise and again suggest the gas station.
"We would really like to come in. Won't you let us come in," the youngest boy now asks. And suddenly he looks up at you. That's when you see the eyes. It's as though somebody took out both eyeballs and injected the socket with black ink. There's nothing there except for emptiness.
At this point, you slam the door, deadbolt it and run to call a friend to haul ass over there. When they arrive, they think you're insane, because there's nobody there whatsoever.
The Black Eyed Kids (or BEKs) are a relatively new phenomenon, with the sightings coming in around the late 1990s. They always show up when the person is alone and always ask for permission to enter. They don't seem to be able to do anything unless you allow them to enter wherever you are.
Now little kids with weird eyes are already stuffed with creepy cream, but these kids actually begin to demand that you let them in. The original report (which is included in the links section at the bottom of the page) comes from Brian Bethel, who had the children approach his car. Since then, these freaks have been seen in the media, two examples are in the horror movie The Grudge (hence the picture above) and the music video for German rock group, Oomph's, song Augen Auf. These guys have definitely come to some well-deserved fame in the last ten or so years (re: please don't show up tonight, kids)
Because in South America, they don't do things half-assed
Now it's time to warp you to a new place. Now you're walking around Colombia. And you're a young child--whose parents obviously love you a lot to let you roam around all of creation by yourself (re: they want you to get eaten).
As you walk, night falls, and you continue to walk, regardless of how your parents have told you to come in when it starts getting dark. As you walk down an empty road, you hear crying. A woman's voice, sounding mournful and stricken is sobbing uncontrollably. The strange thing is that you don't see a woman around at all.
You walk in a different direction and try to find the source of the crying. Now it is closer, but yet you still can't find the woman. Suddenly, the wailing is right next to you, and something is grabbing you, taking you far, far away from your home.
La Llorona-the crier-is a woman that has many different stories and many different intended targets. She is always associated with a woman that killed her own children. Some say she did so when her husband left her after they were born. Others say she was never married--that they were from a previous man, and the new object of her affections did not care for women with children. Either way, this story is passed down to poor, unsuspecting Colombian children so that they don't go wandering after dark. It also is used to keep their behaviour in track, as they are also told that she looks for ill-behaved children.
In some variations, she also represents an oncoming death--sort of a Colombian banshee. It is also a warning to young women to never kill their own children (which, I think most of us can agree, is a good lesson) or fall for the advances of smooth-speaking men, lest they be doomed to walk around crying and snatching up ill-behaved children.
And here we see that these people can make the Grimm Brothers look like silly bitches.
How do you say 'Aw, HELL NAH!' in Tagalog?
And now for our last 'it's about to feast on your spleen' scenario, you are now somewhere in the Philippines. You're a young woman out enjoying a walk. As you walk, you start hearing a baby cry. You trace the sound to find a little bundle of oozy cuteness laying out in the middle of the jungle. (Because there's nothing suspicious about that.)
Well, you aren't one to leave a little newborn baby lying inexplicably in the middle of a freaking jungle with no other living soul around, are you? So you, being the compassionate human being that you are, pick up the baby and continue on. What you aren't expecting is the baby to grow claws and fangs. And of course, when it does . . . yep, you guessed it, face eatage ensues.
The Tiyanak's beginnings, much like La Llorona, is a little hazy. One belief is that it's the baby to a mother who died before giving birth. Another is that it's comprised of the souls of unbaptised children, or of an aborted fetus. And others believe that it is merely a demon with no redeeming qualities. What everybody DOES know is that it's scary as f*ck.
However, it also has a sense of humour. If you have time between picking up the demon spawn and being ripped apart from the insides out (oh, it can do it. You know it can do it.), turning your clothes inside out works to amuse the thing so much that it decides you're cool people and it returns to the jungle, leaving your anatomy intact. That is, if you are able to stop in oncoming heart attack first, that is.
Legends from different cultures usually have an interesting flavor and flair for those of us who grew up somewhere else, but never more so than when you hear them 'straight from the horse's mouth', so to speak. As an anthropology student who plans to use that as an excuse to make a living out of researching things like these, I would encourage you to talk to people from other cultures and ask them about a story or two of theirs. You'll be amazed at what you find. Not least of which that they didn't grow up to be some sort of ax murder to say the least!
Happy (or Haunted) Learnings!