Thursday, February 28, 2013

WiHM: Five Otherworldly Women In Folklore

 Our final day of Women in Horror brings you some females we don't necessary want to meet anytime soon, but are utterly fascinating nonetheless.  Often depicted in horror films, many of these examples of not-so-friendly women will either terrorize you for all eternity, predict an ominous forthcoming event, or just outright steal your very soul.


In the old language of Gaelic, this Irish spirit was called Bean-sidhe. She is a ghostly woman, dressed in a white shroud, her hair flowing behind her, her hands extended before her like claws. She is usually described as old and ugly, but it isn't her appearance you need to fear, it is her wail.
The banshee is a bad omen, if her hear a long, shrill scream echoing out in the hills, it means someone will soon die. Banshees were usually thought to be attached to old families, but no one is safe from her song.
Banshees really ought to be featured in more horror films, because they are downright creepy. The only movie that I can think of is a silly but beloved Disney movie from my childhood, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, starring a very young and strapping Sean Connery.
These deathly hags are one of my favorite among folklore, I even have a published story about a banshee entitled, "She Comes to Call". You have to purchase the magazine to read it, but I'll provide the link HERE in case you should wish to do so


A very famous legend in South America and Mexico is that of a woman who was so in love with a man who did not return her affections that she drowned her children in the ocean, and then herself.  Because of her crime she cannot cross over into the afterlife, so she weeps eternally at the shore, searching the water for her children. Although it is often used as a cautionary tale for children to stay away from the water, many people actually claimed to have seen her. It is a very spooky idea, and has been used in several films. There are surprisingly more American made films, one from 1933 called The Crying Woman, as well as three from 2007,The Curse of La Llorona,
J-ok'el: La Llorona: Curse of the Weeping Woman, and The Cry. There is also a Mexican picture called La Llorona from 1960.


In India, a churel is a woman of low caste who died of childbirth or pregnancy due to negligence of their family members. The return as terrifying ghosts to suck the blood of the men who have wronged them. To lure men in, they appear as beautiful maidens carrying lanterns, but before they attack they show their true form, which is that of a hag with a long, brutish face, sagging breasts, and feet turned backwards. Sometimes they also have a thick, black tongue which I'd imagine would come in handy as they drain the men of their blood, semen, and life force. They roam places associated with death. If you think a woman will become a churel after her death, you can bury a corpse face down.


Sometimes from forests and sometimes from swamps, Kikimora is a Russian ghost of an old woman, usually depicted in artwork as being thin as straw with hens feet and a long, thing, beak-like face. She attaches herself to homes, living behind the stove. She can be helpful if treated kindly, but if not she will bang and break dishes and whistle at night. It is said at night she spins thread, and if you see her in her act, you will die. A Kikimora also delights in terrorizing men.


This time, a Scottish spirit, the bean nighe, or Washer of the Ford is a woman who died in childbirth and is forced to remain on earth until the day she would have died if not in childbirth. To occupy the lonely time of their sentence, they must wash the bloody clothes of those about to die. If you come upon the Washers of the Ford, they will look beautiful and sing to you, luring you to help them ring out the sheets. But do not get too close, for the wet garment will ensnare you, crushing you with your very own shroud.


                                                              ~by Marie Robinson


Anonymous said...


Marie said...

Thanks, anon!!