KUCHISAKE-ONNA, A GHOST OF JAPAN
- Kuchisake-onna (The Slit-Mouthed Woman)
- This Japanese ghost is a beautiful woman in a surgical mask.
- She approaches victims at remote train or bus stations at night and asks, “Am I beautiful?”
- If the victim says ‘yes,’ she removes the mask, revealing a gaping, Joker-like bloody smile.
- If the victim than says ‘no,’ she pulls out a butcher’s knife and slices the victim’s face like her own.
- Though the legend is ancient, Kuchisake-onna had a revival in the 1970s, when scores of schoolchildren in Nagasaki Prefecture began reporting sightings, causing police to believe there was a female psychopath on the loose.
THE GHOST OF THE GIRL IN THE BATHROOM, JAPAN
- In Japan, the schools contain an infernal secret.
- If you go into the girl’s bathroom on the third floor of the building, and walk to the third stall, you might find her.
- The little girl with the bob haircut is Hanako-san.
- She wants friends to play with, maybe.
- Or perhaps she wants to drag you to Hell — through the toilet.
- According to legend: “You have to knock 3 times and call her name. When you open the stall door, a little girl in a red skirt will be there. Depending on which part of Japan you live in, she may have a bloody hand and grab you, or be a lizard that devours you.”
HUAKA’I PO, A HAWAIIAN GHOST
- Nightmarchers: huaka’i pō
- Ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors who rise from their grave on certain sacred nights to march out to re-enact old battles once more.
- Often marching right after sunset or right before dawn, they are known to kill whomever witnesses the march, although there are ways around this.
- If one of your ancestors are among the ranks you can be spared, but if that is not the case you can also avert your eyes, or in some parts lay face down on the ground to show respect.
- To respect them will lead to great things, but if you don’t it almost always leads to death.
LA LLORONA, THE WEEPING WOMAN OF MEXICO
- La Llorona (“The Weeping Woman”) was said to be a villager named Maria who drowned her own children in a river in order to be with the man she loved.
- When he rejected her, she drowned herself.
- Now she haunts river banks, dressed in white and weeping for her children.
- Sometimes she’ll try to kidnap living children as replacements, so Mexican kids are warned not to go out alone at night lest La Llorona snatch them away.
THE NIGHT DEMON OF TANZANIA
- Located: Tanzanian island of Pemba in the Indian Ocean
- This evil creature can change shape — a bat sometimes, a human-like form at others.
- It prefers to come out at night, but some say they have seen it during the day. The popobawa — “bat-wing” in Swahili — is indiscriminate in its targets.
- But in a common retelling, the spirit sexually assaults men.
- Reports of attack send some locals into a panic. A few years ago, a series of night-time sexual assaults were blamed on the popobawa.
GJENGANGER SPIRITS OF SCANDINAVIA
- These Nordic spirits kill via a pinch, usually delivered at night.
- The pinched skin will turn blue and cause a wasting disease, which will eventually travel to the victim’s heart.
- Unlike most ghosts, gjenganger look more or less like normal living people, which makes them difficult to spot.
It’s easier to dismiss ghosts in the daylight.
— Patricia Briggs
THE STRIGOI GHOSTS OF ROMANIA
- Strigoi are the ghosts of people who lived or died under unhappy circumstances.
- With red hair and bluish-purple eyes, strigoi live on human blood, like vampires.
- Burying a body with a bottle of whiskey is said to prevent a loved one from returning as a strigoi.