50 Creepy Stories From Different Cultures 

50 Creepy Stories From Different Cultures 

Ask Reddit is here to tell you some creepy tales from around the globe.

1. Belgium: Serreputmonster (greenhouse well monsters) – a monster that lives under the lids greenhouse wells and pulls in children, then drowns and devours them.

2. From Paraguay: Jasy Jatere is a blond, beautiful dwarf that goes around naked in the woods. He owns a golden stick that provides him with magical powers. He kidnaps the kids that don’t sleep in the afternoon (around 2 PM to 4 PM here) and IF he returns them, they’re often deaf or mute.

3. Näcken is a man that sits by a body of water (usually rivers) and plays his violin to lure children in to the water.

4. Toecutters (tenensnijders) cut off children’s toes when they walk barefoot through a field.

5. The black dog who jumps on your back then you have to carry him to a graveyard where he jumps off.

6. D’ogen (the eyes) – a phenomenon where you get suddenly enveloped by smoke, see a bunch of eyes and some burning people, possibly connected to the monastery if you look at the description of burning people in the Sonian forest.

7. In Romania, I grew up on a farm and my grandma and her sister were super religious but they also believed in folktales.

This one folktale said that each year on a specific night in summer (forgot the date sorry), the day of the “Sinziene” these mythical Forest nymphs would come out and play their instruments together around town. You were never supposed to go outside if you heard music playing because it was their way of drawing people out.

My grandma’s sister told me this story about a person from their village who was working late on that day and didn’t want to go home. As he was working he heard folk music and the sounds were getting closer and closer so he hid in a haystack. He then overheard the sound of a string breaking and a female voice saying, “Oh no my guitar string broke.” Then another voice said, “Oh don’t worry maybe that man over there can help,” and they apparently took one of his muscles from his leg and used it as a replacement for the string and since then that man never walked on that foot ever again.

This story used to scare me so much when I was little and I never knew if they made it up entirely or if it was a tale passed on through generations but it was super creepy.

8. The Irish banshee is a creature that shrieks and wails. You usually hear/see her close to the death of someone in your family.

9. Maran is a woman born on Friday the 25th of December, she sneaks in to your room at night and kills you, but she has some OCD of sorts and you can fend her off by leaving a pile of cow hair on your windowsill, she’ll have to count them all which hopefully leaves you with enough time to wake up.

10. Luisón is similar to a werewolf. On Tuesday and Friday nights he transforms into a horrible dog. The souls he takes never go to the afterlife, and that’s why he’s so feared. Some people think the seventh kid in every family grows to be a Luison.

11. People in my town spoke of Deer Woman. Origin story differs but I was told a woman was killed and buried on top of a deer. She would chase people at night and was known to harass motorcycle riders, even going so far as to jump onto the back and ride along while laughing hysterically. There’s an old bridge on the outside of town and she was especially known to haunt the area around it.

12. Douens- the souls of children who have died before they were baptized. They are doomed to roam the earth forever. They are seen playing in forests and near rivers and they have no faces and their feet are turned backwards. They may approach children and lead them astray in the forest until they are lost, or they may come near people’s houses at night, crying and whimpering. To prevent the Douens from calling your children into the forest at dusk, never shout their names in open places, as the Douens will take their names, call them and lure them away.

13. Duppies – Duppies are ghosts that roam the earth at night. It is said that to keep Duppies out of your house you must either sprinkle salt or rice grains all around the house perimeter as the Duppy must first count each individual grain before entering. By which time the sun will have arisen and they must then return to the spirit world.

14. Mama De L’eau – A half woman, half snake with long flowing hair which she combs constantly. Her upper torso is a naked woman, the lower part, a large anaconda’s tail that is hidden beneath the water. Hunters tell stories of coming upon her in the deep forests we have. Men who commit crimes against the forest, like burning down trees or putting animals to death or fouling the rivers could find themselves followed by her for life, both this life and their next. If you wish to escape her, take off your left shoe, turn it upside down, leave it and go, walking backwards until you reach home.

15. Papa Bois – the lover of Mama De L’eau. He lives in the forest and he is the father of the animals that live there. He is often seen by hunters and other people who live near the forest. He gets animals out of snares and treats sick animals. He is an old man who is very hairy, like an animal and usually is only dressed in a pair of ragged trousers with a bamboo horn hanging from his belt. He can turn himself into the form of a large stag (most commonly) or any other animal as well to be able to observe the hunters unnoticed. He is usually very kind, but can be dangerous when crossed. He might even cast a spell on a bad hunter and turn him into a wild hog.

16. Pombero is some kind of elf. He is the guardian of the woods and wild animals. He lives in the countryside, and announces his presence whistling. If he is your friend, he can guide you through the woods, and help you, but if he’s your enemy, he can do all sorts of things to you. He punishes the hunters that kill more animals than necessary, by making them disappear forever.

17. Nun’Yunu’Wi (Stone man) and U’tlun’ta (Spearfinger). Both myths from the Cherokee tribes that were in East Tennessee. Stone man would devour the souls of villages. Spearfinger would kill anyone who wandered into the forest alone, by stabbing them through the neck with her spear shaped finger and then eat their livers. She would then shapeshift into her victim’s likeness to gain access to the village and would then kill the family of her original victim, also eating their livers.

18. ろくろ首(Rokurokubi) – Was a women during the day. But when they would sleep, their neck would stretch to incredible lengths and roam around freely. Drinking either blood or sometimes eating humans.

19. 化鯨 (Bake-Kujira) – or “Ghost Whale” a huge ghost-like whale skeleton that is followed by a flock of birds or fish. They appear on rainy nights near the coastal whale villages. Scaring and placing a curse on anyone who sees it. The curse would bring famine, plague, fire, and all various kinds of disasters to the village that sees it.

20. 絡新婦 (Jorougumo) – in Japanese Folklore, this is a magical, 400 year old giant spider that can change its appearance into a beautiful women. She will seduce young handsome men, wrap them up in her web and eat them!

21. The drummer boy (Edinburgh). The story says one the government found a tunnel that was too small for a fully grown man to go down, so they sent a boy with drums and told him to walk down the tunnel and keep drumming. They followed the sound of the drums and at one point it stopped. The boy never returned. Some people say that if you stand in the right place you can still hear the drums.

22. In Australia, we have The Yowie, which is like the Australian Sasquatch, and The Bunyip, an aquatic dog like creature that drags children and women to their watery graves.

23. Lodder met de keit (Lodder with his chains) is a BDSM enthusiast who follows you when you’re all alone at night, rattling his chains to scare you and being a general dick.

24. This is a Mongolian myth. My grandma told me this when we were at the countryside where there’s very little human interaction. She told me that after it’s dark or you go outside alone while herding and if you go far enough to not see the chimney of the yurt you’re living at, a ghost or a spirit comes, makes you faint, and have a seizure. The way you know the ghost is near is when an animal of your herd starts to have a seizure and their mouth bubbles up. If you’re fast enough and see the chimney of your yurt, you may be able to avoid the spirit but most likely, by the time you realize what’s going on, you’re goners. I don’t remember if you die by the end of it or is just left there. Even so, it was a pretty creepy story when she told me about it, especially when it was after sunset.

25. I’m half Polish so one thing I’ve heard of is the Rusatka (Water Nymph), a woman who was killed before marriage. And if it’s an unfair death, or if no one avenges her she will stay on the earth as a Rusatka who lures men and kills them by doing a dance or a “tickling” motion.

26. La Diablesse – She has a face resembling that of a corpse, but hides it under a white wide-brimmed hat and a veil over her face. One of her feet is a cow’s hoof, which she tries to hide under her long white skirt. She turns up at village gatherings, where she is immediately disliked by the women present, but she utterly charms the men and then asks one of them to take her home. He follows her, totally under her spell. She leads him deep into the woods and then suddenly she disappears. Unable to find his way home, he stumbles around in the dark until he either falls into a ravine or a river to his death. If you feel you may encounter a La Diablesse on your way home, take off all your clothes, turn them inside out and put them on again.

27. Small town in upstate NY. There used to be a train station there, back when people actually took passenger trains anywhere in rural areas. Fairly well-off guy, well-known in town, comes racing into the station, right before midnight. Seconds later, a huge, old-fashioned, jet-black train with nobody aboard – I mean nobody – rolls into the station. No schedule shows a train arriving for another hour, but there it is. Guy runs through the booth and jumps onto the train. Train rolls off into the night.

Nobody ever saw him again.

28. The Pied Piper of Hamelin:

During the 13th century, the city of Hamelin suffered from a great rat-plague. The people of Hamelin were out of their wits. One day though, a stranger in colorful clothes appeared and promised to rid them of the rats for an appropriate payment. The citizens agreed and promised him a generous reward if he succeeded.

The stranger was a skillful piper and played a melody on his flute that made the rats and mice of the city to gather around him. Enchanted by his music, they followed him when he stepped into a nearby river where they drowned.

The piper had fulfilled his promise, but the people of Hamelin denied him his reward. The stranger left angrily and without payment.

Some time later though he returned and played his flute once more. This time it were the children of Hamelin that fell under his tune’s spell. He led them out of the town and into a cave under a mountain.

Only two of the children returned, one blind, one mute, unable to tell where they had been. None of the other children were ever seen again.

29. Don’t look up trees when you are out walking at night. A virgin ghost that will suck the life out of you sits up there waiting for you to look up.

30. When a person is asleep, their soul leaves their body. If you paint or draw on a sleeping person’s face, their soul will not recognize them and be unable to jump back into the body.

31. Tiktik/Wakwak – A kind of aswang. Its prominent feature is that it tricks its prey through its sounds. When you hear “tik… tik… tik…” loudly, they are far away. When you hear it quietly, they are near.

32. Maria Labo – She was once a hardworking OFW and a mother of three children. She became an aswang from someone overseas, and came back to her home where she supposedly cooked her three children and fed it to her husband. Of course, her husband finds it out, and he slashes her face with a “labo” or some kind of machete. That’s where she gets her name. She escapes and runs off in the wilderness, hunting children.

33. The Icelandic Yule Lads:

Basically a bunch of elvish demons that raid your house during the night of Christmas Eve. Basically a bunch of bearded dwarves.

The first one is Stekkajasteur who harasses and kills your sheep.

Giljagaur steals your milk and tips your cows.

Stúfur destroys your kitchen and steals dirty pans to eat the crust off them.

Pvörusleiker (Spoon Licker) licks your spoons and is malnourished.

Pottasleiker steals your pots and also licks them.

Askasleiker hides under your bed and steals bowls you leave in your room to lick them.

Hurröaskellir slams your doors loudly while you’re sleeping.

Skyrgámur steals your skyr (yogurt).

Bjúgnakreiker (Sausage Swiper) hides in your oven and steals sausages that you cook.

Gluggagægir stalks you through your windows and steals things from you when he catches you sleeping.

Ketkrókur has a hook for a hand and uses it to steal your meat.

Kertasníkir stalks children to steal and eat their candles.

Gryla is the mother of these demons that abducts and eats children that misbehave.

And of course, Doorway-Sniffer (Gáttabefur) who has an abnormally large nose to fucking sniff your doorways. He also steals bread.

34. In the Netherlands we have this folklore called The Buckriders. These Buckriders were ghosts or demonic creatures riding the sky on the back of a buck. It was said that once a year they gathered at the Mookerheide (heather fields in the south of the Netherlands) to meet their master, the demon.

It dates back to the 18th century, when groups of thieves and bandits actually used the folklore to get people scared like crazy. They plundered and raided under the name of The Buckriders.

35. Nahual. Ancient creatures that predate the ancient cultures around here, that walk to this day. Skilled sorcerers that can transform into animals and attack people, steal babies, eat kids and of course curse you.

36. There is a Hmong ghost story about an old couple where the old woman thought that her husband was stroking her hair at night.

NOPE. It was a weird ass creature with CRAZY long arms that was reaching through their window at night. They never saw the whole creature, JUST the long ass arm reaching through the window and stretching waaaaaaay off into the forest.

That’s why you shouldn’t put the head of your bed near the window.

37. Tokoloshe in the southern Africa. The creature itself didn’t scare me but seeing how genuinely fearful grown men in villages got at even the suggestion of the creature was terrifying. The culture of witch doctors and rituals was very very very strong and real to many people.

I once saw had a school teacher run out of class screaming bloody murder and never came back to school after some kids joked about cursing her with one.

Seeing people grow up in small villages without internet it’s easy to see how things spread and along with no modern medicine or doctor’s deaths often come with more “spooky” causes such as a witch or demon rather than an explained disease.

Some rash forming? Probably a demon possessing you rather than the fact you got an infection from a spider bite.

38. White Lady – This is a ghost woman that appears in haunted houses and beside roads, acting as a hitchhiker. She’s called white lady because she wears white cloth during her apparitions. The most popular version of the white lady is the one from Balete Drive.

39. Tiyanak – It’s a baby demon that disguises itself as a lost baby in the forest. When a traveler notices said baby and attempts to rescue it, it’ll go back into a baby demon and kill the traveler.

40. In Oxfordshire (UK) there’s a fairly obscure creature of legend called the Boneless. It’s purported to be a sort of protoplasmic blob that ambushes and suffocates travelers on lonely paths.

41. The Babai. Parents tell their children that the Babai is waiting under their beds. When a child gets out of its bed when it actually should be sleeping, the Babai takes it away from its parents. It’s never said how the Babai looks, so that the children can imagine something they think is really scary.

42. The cursed monastery of Creake. This one is interesting because its half-historical fact.

In the middle of the Norfolk broads there’s a ruined monastery.

It was originally built by a relative of William the Conqueror in order to atone for the people he’d killed in the bloody Norman conquest of England.

However some years later the monastery was destroyed during a heavy storm. It had been ravaged by fire after purportedly being struck by lightning. None of the monks survived having had the misfortune to be fast asleep when the blaze took hold.

Normally it would be horribly traumatizing for the local community to lose their connection to God like that. However in the wake of the fire strange rumors were chronicled among the locals of the nearby village that far from being men of God the monks had been practicing heretical, satanic rituals. Many of locals even came to believe the monastery had been cursed by God.

Much later under the patronage of a king and against the protests of the locals the monastery was rebuilt and the ground reconsecrated. But after the rebuilding was complete the black death came to the area and claimed the lives of the monks living there along with many of the locals.

So it was abandoned to lapse into ruin once again. Even now visitors who make their way along the winding tracks to the monastery report a chilling sense of foreboding when standing among the shadowed ruins.

43. La Llarona. If you’re Mexican you know her story. If you’re not let me tell you. La Llarona was a woman from Mexico who had given birth to twins but the father left them so that meant she had to take care of them herself — but she couldn’t handle their crying so she drowned them in a river somewhere. She didn’t mean to kill them, but it was too late, they were dead. Later on she killed herself and people were saying that you could hear her in the streets saying “mis hijos ” and crying loudly. Most parents use it as a lesson to listen to them or she will kill you.

44. La Lechuza – a harpy who tries to lure you outside of your home by imitating the cry of an infant and scratching your home’s exterior. My great grandmother told us how she evaded one a long time ago while her husband was away gambling. They lived in rural country land and as she tried to coax her baby to sleep, she continued to hear scratches along the rooftops and windows. She put out her lights and her baby began to cry, but she did her best to keep her quiet. They found deep gashes on the side of her home the next night.

45. Nuckelavee – like a centaur except the human part sits where the rider sits on the horse and it is skinless with a large mouth and long arms.

46. The Rolling Calf- it’s the ghost a dead cow/bull that tends to go after butchers but will fuck up anyone that it comes across late at night.

47. The Rougarou. Basically a Cajun swamp werewolf. Some stories include the classic that it will eat disobedient children, but also that it will kill Catholics who don’t follow the rules of Lent.

48. The balan-balan or Penanggal. A floating head with its organs still intact (guts, heart, etc.) usually female. It is believed to be a creature of witchcraft practiced by people for various reasons. It is said that at night, the person’s head will separate from their body, to search for blood. Pregnant women and young children especially. If you see flying blue orbs or flying light in the middle of the night, you should go inside the house as fast as possible.

49. Here at Galicia, Spain, it’s the “Santa Compaña” (Holy Company), a procession of tortured souls that roam the roads at night; clad in hooded white robes, and led by a trapped living person carrying a heavy cross, they are never going in your direction, but you’ll met them at a crossroad. If you are ever to cross paths with them, the living lead will pass on the cross to you, transferring the curse and switching places with you.

There are many legends on what to do to avoid such fate, but only two are consistent anywhere you ask. The first, to draw a circle on the ground with a branch of holly and stand inside it, looking away. The second, to stand on the steps of a Cruceiro (Calvary), a holy cross built in crossroads, and when the cursed tries to hand you the cross, replay with “I already have my own,” touching the Cruceiro.

That’s why in any old crossroad here in Galicia, there is a Cruceiro. I know of some (older) people who swear on their lives to have met the Santa Compaña coming back home late at night, and to be saved by a Cruceiro, so who knows….

50. Bátorička – a queen once noticed that blood of one of her female servants made her skin look younger and she would slaughter her young female servants and bathe in their blood ever since… TC mark

About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, dreamer, and occasional exotic dancer and a collective pen name. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related