Strange True Stories
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21 People Share The Most Terrifying Creatures From Their Culture's Folklore

Updated September 15, 2017 30.1k views21 items

Every culture hosts its own mythical creatures, birthed from ancient beliefs and customs of their region. Though mythological in context, these beings for a time had a very tangible effect upon the areas that believed in them, and thus inserted themselves into the annals of history. From sea monsters to undead Hawaiian warriors, these monsters range from benevolent to belligerent with rich backstories of their own. Recurring themes across cultures include abused and battered souls who become vengeful spirits, flesh-loving monsters, and a desire to keep the youngins away from dangerous places like open roads and water.

Collected here are Reddit accounts detailing the various creatures from users' regional and religious folklore's, some of these myths dating back thousands of years. 

  • Draugen - A Creature From Norway

    Here in Norway we have a lot of legendary creatures, but Draugen is probably one of the creepiest. Though descriptions of it tend to differ from place to place and story to story, the general concept of it is pretty much the same everywhere:

    Draugen is, essentially, the ghost of a person who has died at sea. He can be seen on stormy nights, sailing in the splintered half of a boat with shredded sails. His face is fish-like, with soulless, black eyes and a wide, gaping mouth, and he has kelp and seaweed for hair. Sailors and fishermen foolish enough to head out to sea at night may hear only its shriek before they are pulled beneath the waves, only to return as Draugen themselves, doomed to haunt the waters forever.

  • The Icelandic Nykur

    Iceland gives us the Nykur, yet again different from the Scandinavian versions.

    The Nykur appears as a gray horse, except its hooves are backwards. If you get on its back, it'll sprint off towards the nearest body of water, and drown you. You can't get off, no matter how hard you try.

    There is a way around it, though: This creature can't stand the sound of its name, or its variations.

    There's a story about a lazy daughter of a farmer who's sent by her father on an errand to the next farm over. He doesn't lend her his horse. As she's strolling along, cursing her father, she spots a beautiful, gray horse standing in a field. Thinking she'll save a few hours, she approaches it and sits on its back.

    No sooner it goes sprinting at full speed towards a couple of pond's nearby.

    Another name for the Nykur is the Nennir. The girl may have been lazy, but she was smart, so she exclaimed "Ah, I can't be bothered with this anymore!" (Æ, nú nenni ég þessu ekki lengur). The Nykur immediately throws her off, finishes his run to the pond and disappears.

    The girl, shocked, finishes her errand and wows never to be lazy again. The end.

  • Sinister Swedish Myths

    Here in Sweden I think the two spookiest ones are Näcken, a naked old man that lives in rivers and ponds and plays a violin that places you into a trance. He then lures you into whatever source of whatever he lives in and drowns you.

    The second one is the Skogsrå, who'd be a lot creepier if it wasn't for the fact that she doesn't really do all that much. She looks like a beautiful woman from the front, but her back looks like a rotten tree trunk with a hole in it. She lurks near the edges of deep forests and tries to seduce men. If you treat her well you'll be bestowed with luck, but if you treat her badly you will be tormented by decease (Disease) and death.

  • Beware Of Black Annis In England

    In a grim, remote Leicestershire cave hewn with her own scraping, steel-clawed hands, the old crone Black Annis was said to hang the trophy skins of flayed children. A terrifying, lonely creature which lived in the branches of a gnarled great oak- the lone remnant of a long-dead great forest, Black Annis was thought to have been the husk of a forgotten dark Pagan Goddess.