Scary and Not-So-Scary Monsters

Caitlin McLaren - 4A Chemical
Posted on: October 22, 2016

Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s time for everyone’s favourite creepy holiday, while we all gather around campfires and tell each other scary stories. However, everybody has different phobias. Lots of us are scared of clowns, while others get the shivers from zombies, vampires, and other kinds of revenants. Some people are most scared of the things they can’t see.

Through all of history, people have come up with monsters. Some monsters from around the world are disgusting, spine-chilling, or existentially nightmarish. Others are hilariously un-intimidating. Let’s run through a few absurd monsters that might jump out at you this Halloween.

Half-Man-Riding-On-The-Worse-Half-Of-A-Lame-Horse (Bulgaria)

Be careful when you go wandering in the backwoods of Bulgaria; you might accidentally wander into the territory of the fearsome monster, Half-Man-Riding-On-The-Worse-Half-Of-A-Lame-Horse. Then, you will be in his power, although what he can do to you (besides bleed on you) is unclear. Also unclear – how this whole “half” thing works. Is it the top half? The front half? The left or right side of the horseman? Some weird cut along a diagonal axis? No one knows. He is also described as hideous and skeletal, but he likes to kidnap and marry princesses. However, you can ward him off pretty easily by digging a trench, which he can’t get over, due to the “half” situation.

The Ovda (Finland)

The Ovda are monsters that lurk in the backwoods of Finland. They look like attractive naked people of your preferred sex, except for the fact that their feet point backwards. That can’t be convenient. They will try to lure you into dancing, wrestling, or other activities. As you can imagine, being lured by them is a terrible idea, because they will then either dance you or tickle you to death before eating you – and that’s if they are in a playful mood. If not, the Ovda will pick you up in a whirlwind and spin you to death. It does have a weak spot, however; if you poke it in the left armpit, it will be instantly paralyzed.

The Mora (Poland, and Ontario, yay!)

The Mora is a pretty average vampire-like creature – usually female, she puts people to sleep before choking them and sucking their blood. She will also give you nightmares while you sleep, just to be a jerk. If you get a rare male one, he will have really bushy eyebrows (common in supernatural creatures in Slavic folklore). These originated in among the Western Slavs, but there was a large settlement of Polish Kashubian people in Ontario in 1858, and they brought the Mora stories with them. This means that, of all the creatures on the list, the Mora is the one you are most likely to meet!

However, the Mora never confronts people directly – if you happen to wake up while she is attacking you, she will quickly transform into an apple or a ball of yarn. Or possibly just a tangled ball of hair.

Always play it safe: if you wake up and see the half-finished scarf your roommate is making, better ram a stake through their yarn. It might just be a sneaky vampire. However, if you see an apple, better eat it – maybe you’ll get your blood back!

The Tupilaq (Greenland)

If you are a shaman from Greenland, and someone has offended you, you can create a monster called a Tupilaq, which will go after your enemy to avenge you. How do you make one? Well, they are generally made of bones, as well as other bits of animals or even bits of human children. Gather the bones you are going to use. Then, put your coat on backwards, covering your face with the hood, and have sex with the bones while singing magical songs. Continue to do this for several days, until the monster is ready. Then, dump it into the ocean; it will come to life and track down your enemy. But be careful – if your enemy is better than you at magic, they might send it back after you. In that case, there is only one way to escape – by making a public confession of everything. You’d better exhaust all your other options first!

The Hand With The Bell (Siberia)

The story of the Hand With The Bell comes from the Khanty people in Siberia, and the fact that the monster is a disembodied hand holding a bell is probably the least weird thing about it. It starts with a story of a brother and sister who live together, and while the brother is away hunting, something grabbed the sister by her hair and dangled her from the ceiling all day. It only let her down when the brother came home, and this continued for three days. By this time, the pair were sick of the whole thing, and the brother sneaked back in early and cut off whatever was holding his sister in the air. It turned out to be a hand holding a bell, and the siblings logically decided to preserve the weird hand and keep it in a box. The next day, the hand’s sister came knocking at their door to complain, saying that her brother was dying. The brother decided to kidnap the hand’s sister (who looked like a human woman) and force her to marry him. The pair had a child, and when the boy grew to toddler-size he asked to play with the hand. His aunt gave him the hand to play with, because everyone knows that severed hands holding a bell make great rattles. Of course, the hand’s sister then picked up the kid and the hand and ran away. That night, the brother almost made it home, but when he was still on the wrong side of the river, the Hand With The Bell suddenly killed him with a magic arrow, turning him into stone. However, the story doesn’t end there. When the kid grew up, he pulled the arrow out of his father’s body and killed his mother with it, before running off to his aunt’s place. Although the aunt was happy to see him, the story ends with her fatalistically declaring that the Hand With The Bell would kill her next. Dun dun dun – or should I say, ding ding ding?

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