Ever feel a chill down your spine, like something not quite worldly is in the room with you? Maybe an inexplicable feeling of dread washes over you at the most random time?
Cynic or not, we've all probably wondered whether spirits and demons are all too real. Demons have played a large part in the mythology, books, movies and even music that shape our perception of the world. But even the bravest of us probably shouldn't rush to prove these terrifying spirits exist:
Pontianak – Indonesia
Pontianak – also known as Kuntilanak, Mantianak or Boentianak – is from Indonesian mythology and the name literally means “woman who died in childbirth.” According to the myth, the woman’s spirit may rise from the grave as a ghost to prey on the living by night.
Pontianak is especially dangerous to men. It takes the form of a beautiful, pale-skinned, long haired woman dressed in white to lure its victim close. You know it’s a Pontianak when you hear a baby cry, which is how they announce their presence; the closer they get the softer the cry gets.
When they get close enough to you, you can smell a very nice fragrance, which is the last nice thing which will happen to you as they kill their victims by digging into their stomachs with their sharp fingernails and eating their organs (ouch!).
Oh, and be wary of your beloved bananas, because at daytime Pontianaks tend to hide their souls in banana trees.
Bean Nighe – Scotland
The Scottish fairy Bean Nighe is said to be a messenger from the underworld bringing omens of death. She frequently appears as a washerwoman at the banks of streams. Bean Nighe (pronounced as ”ben-neeyah”) wanders near the empty streams, washing blood from the grave clothes of people who are about to die. Bean Nighe is no looker (but who is, when they're associated with death?) She has one nostril, one big large buck tooth, webbed feet and long hanging breasts. Her long stringy hair is partially covered with a hood and a white gown, dressed in green. If you ask Bean Nighe nicely, she will answer 3 questions for you, but only after you answer 3 of her questions. She can also tell you the names of people who are about to die.
Jikininki – Japan
Jikininki are from Japanese Buddhism and they mean “human eating ghosts.” Jikininki are the spirits of selfish, greedy or ungodly people who have passed on. They are said to be cursed to eat flesh of human corpses. Unlike most demons, they actually hate what they are, and are in a constant state of self-disgust and self-loathing. Jikininki are said to look like decomposing corpses, with sharp claws and glowing eyes, leaving any mortal who accidentally beholds them in a frozen, disgusted trance. So, don’t be greedy or else you’ll be cursed to look like these guys for all of eternity.
Leshy – Eastern Europe
In Slavic mythology, Leshy is the spirit that protects animals and forests. It is a tall creature that can change its size, has hair, hooves, horns and a beard made out of living grass, his head is somewhat pointed. Leshy is a sportive spirit who enjoys playing tricks on people, though when angered he can be treacherous. He is seldom seen, but his voice can be heard in the forest laughing, whistling, or singing. The evil version of this species is prone to mimicking your friends’ voices, leading you into a cave, and – wait for it – tickling you to death!
Lady Midday – Eastern Europe
Lady Midday, also known as Pscipolnista, Poludnica, Polednice, is certainly a unique female demon. As the name suggests, she’s a noon demon, usually pictured as a young woman dressed in white. Nevertheless, she can take on different forms, from an old woman to a 12-year-old girl. She often arrives at noon to chat her victims up, asking difficult questions to determine each target’s fate. Any incorrect answer or unprompted subject change results in a beheading, either with a scythe or a pair of shears. If you're lucky, she might just strike you with an illness instead.