Sure, a run in with the Jersey Devil or Slenderman would probably be a total bummer, but the fact is that American monster and ghost legends are kind of vanilla when compared to their international counterparts. Read on to learn about beasts and ghouls from oversees that'll make you wonder why you were ever afraid of werewolves... or Charlie Charlie.
1. Aswang Spirits, The Philippines
Something's wrong in paradise, and it's the evil aswang spirits that feast on pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. They appear on calm evenings between December and February and descend from the mountain volcanoes. They hold social gatherings disguised as normal, unassuming people who are reported to be shy and polite. At night, however, they turn into horrific versions of cats, pigs or bats, and use their long, barbed tongue to suck fetuses out of the womb of their mother. They are said to be quick, silent, and so thin that they can hide behind a bamboo cane. That's a whole lot of nope!
2. Kuchisake-onna, "The Slit-Mouthed Woman," Japan
Kuchisake-onna is one of those testaments to the twisted minds of Japanese horror-philes, who always know how to scare the buhjeezus out of us Westerners (thanks Ringu and Ju-On!) Anyway, this vengeful lady ghost walks the streets of Japan wearing a surgical mask and carrying menacing scissors. If you are unlucky enough to speak with her, this is allegedly how the conversation will go:
First, she asks you if you think she is pretty. If you say "no," she'll cut you to pieces with her scissors. If you say yes, she'll remove her mask to reveal a festering slit of a mouth that makes The Joker's face look like that of a teddy bear. She'll then repeat the question, and if you say "no," she'll straight up cut you in half. If you say "yes," she'll slit your mouth from ear to ear to give you a smile that matches hers. Turns out that, when she was still alive, her Samurai husband mangled her face and she's been delivering post-mortem retribution ever since.
3. Olgoi-khorkhoi,"The Mongolian Death Worm," Gobi Desert
Somewhere in the vast wasteland of the Gobi Desert, a vicious red worm is said to burrow under the sand, in wait for unsuspecting prey. It's supposedly about 5 feet long with a thick, meaty body, and if that disgusting visual isn't terrifying enough, this thing's MO is even more repulsive. To kill, it spits a potent venom which will turn you yellow and corrode your entire anatomy. It can also kill on touch and, perhaps most impressively, it can kill at a distance by means of electric discharge. So, basically, there's no escaping this poisonous, lightening-spitting agent of evil. That's enough to keep me out of the Gobi!
4. Baobhan Sitlh, Scottish Highlands
Legend has it that ancient, undead vampires called baobhan sitlh, or the White Women of the Highlands, hunt the young men that travel through these hauntingly beautiful, pine-clad slopes. What's their technique? They lure the men to dance with them- because who doesn't love dancing in the middle of a snow-covered mountain range? At the first kiss, they sink their fingernails into their victim's neck and drain their blood. If you stumble upon a the grave of a baobhan sitlh, make sure they never rise again by building a mound of stones, or cairn, over their graves. To this day, many cairns can be found throughout the Scottish Highlands. Some may call it superstition, others call it survival.
5. Spring-Heeled Jack, Great Britain
This seemingly playful guy is the object of much debate. Some say he looks like a little devil, others say he wears armor, and many say that he appears to be a handsome young gentleman wearing a fine set of clothes. But most everyone agrees that he is up to no good. He can jump incredibly high and far (hence the name), and he won't hesitate to take out his metal claws or fry you with blue and white flames that shoot from his mouth. Learn more about this fellow's fascinating history here.
6. Ya-Te-Veo, The Man-Eating Tree, Madagascar
Ya-Te-Veo translates to "I already see you, which is horrifying in itself. This looming, tentacled tree has a ferocious appetite, and let's just say it's not vegetarian! Throughout Africa, there are many different versions of carnivorous plants said to gobble up both humans and passing animals. To see a picture of the only scientifically acknowledged mammal-eating plant, click here.
7. Vrykolakas, Greece
In Greek folklore, a vrykolakas is a creature that resembles a werewolf. If killed, it comes to life as a vampire, fangs and all. The beast is said to feast on the flesh of animals and people, sometimes driving them insane or tearing them apart. A suspected vrykolakas was either taken to a remote island and burned, or nailed to a coffin with iron stakes.
Archeologists working in the remains of an old Turkish cemetery near the town of Mytilene made a gruesome discovery that mirrored the folklore. It was the remains of a body that was, for some reason, buried separately from the other bodies. The corpse had been nailed to the coffin with iron stakes through its neck, pelvis, and ankles.
8. Tiyanak, Philippines
A Tiyanak is a vampiric baby monster, born of a human-demon coupling. It attracts prey by crying in the jungle until a concerned (and very unlucky) individual picks it up to comfort it. After revealing it's true demonic form, the Tiyanak kills by biting the victim's neck. Moral of the story: don't get jiggy with a demon!
Which monster scared you the most? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!