Graveyard Shift

The Horrifying History Of The Rokurokubi Vampire Demons Might Convince You Of Their Existence

Sometimes it feels as if there are as many famous yokai in Japanese urban legends as there are heroes in the Marvel universe. When it comes to creepy stories about demons in Japan, the supernatural yokai play both heroic and nefarious roles, depending on the tale at hand. While some yokai exist as horrible demons, others only want to play pranks; some more benevolent yokai even bring good luck. Since no true equivalent of the yokai exists in the West, it helps to think of them more as paranormal-monster-mythological-creature hybrids. Furthermore, certain yokai, like the sometimes vampiric rokurokubi, live as both humans and demons, further complicating the existence of these "monsters."

Yokai appear throughout Japanese folklore, and many of these tales speak of the rokurokubi. These yokai appear in human (and typically female) form during the day, but their head wanders off at night, usually still attached to their neck. While rokurokubi are more pranksters than anything, their kind also includes nukekubi, blood-thirsty demons whose floating heads exude vampire-like tendencies. Along with many other yokai, the history of rokurokubi vampire demons is part of Japanese culture, making them a beloved, and sometimes feared, addition to Japanese legends and your worst nightmares.

Photo: