Creepy urban legends are known to receive plenty of attention online. If you’re a fan of a horror story, you’ll definitely enjoy taking a look at some of the most frightening folklores that have been around far longer than you’ve been alive. To celebrate the release of The Curse of La Llorona arriving in cinemas May 3rd, we’ve curated a list of some of the spookiest folktales from around the world! Read on if you dare…
Silverpilen, The Ghost Train of Stockholm (1980s)
Ghost trains may be a fun ride at fun fairs, but some appear to be more real than you think… A train named “Silverpilen” was built as a test unit train in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1980s, and when ominous rumours began circulating it soon became clear that the Silverpilen was no ordinary train. The rumours claimed that the infamous train would sometimes stop to pick up passengers, who would either disappear or come back weeks, or even years, later, with no recollection of where they had been and some of the cars are said to be either completely empty, or full of ghosts. Legend has it, the train is connected to an abandoned railway station named Kymling, which led to the fearsome phrase “Bara de döda stiger av i Kymling,” which roughly translates to “Only the dead get off at Kymling.”
The Dandy Devil Dogs of Devon (1881)
The story follows a Parson named “Dando”, who was out hunting with his friends when they ran out of alcohol in their hip flasks. The estate upon which Dando and his companions were hunting was named ‘Earth’, and so Dando joked, “Go to hell for it if you can’t find any on ‘Earth’!” At that moment a dark stranger appeared and offered Dando a swig from his flask. Dando helped himself to a sip, and was startled when the strange man rode off with some of his game. The drunken priest shouted and ran after the stranger, until the evil-being scooped him up onto his horse and galloped away. Dando was never seen again, but his dogs are often heard and seen. So if you happen to visit Devon, and are surrounded by a pack of black dogs with red eyes, howling unspeakably, Dando may be paying you a visit.
Kuchisake-Onna or the Slit-Mouthed Woman (1970s)
This ancient Japanese folk-tale became increasingly popular in the 1970s, and tells the story of Kuchisake-Onna. The mysterious woman is often described as wearing a surgical mask and approaches her victims asking “Am I pretty?” If your answer is “No” she he will murder you with a pair of scissors that she carries. If yes, Kuchisake-Onna will remove her mask to revealing her butchered mouth, which has been slit from ear to ear, similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker and will then do the same to you. To make the story even more eerie, in 2007 a coroner found records from the 1970s of a woman with her mouth slit from ear to ear, who chased children.
The Kelpie and the Nine Children From the Highlands (1900)
The legend tells the story of a group of children from the Scottish Highlands, who were playing when they saw a very large and friendly horse. They saw there was room enough for all of them on its back, and so climbed up. But when the horse took off at a gallop the frightened children tried to jump off, but they were all stuck fast. Only one of the children survived, and managed to jump off whilst the horse dove straight into a loch. None of the children were ever seen again, but the next day searchers found their remains on the surface of the pond. The horse is said to have been a water-horse or a kelpie: a creature that likes to fool humans into thinking it is an ordinary horse that will drag you underwater to your doom.
The Deer Woman (TBC)
The story of the Deer Woman originates from Native American folklore and features in the mythology of several Native American tribes, most notably the Chippewa. The Deer Woman’s form varies between a deer and an old woman; however she favours the form of beautiful maiden with the legs and feet of the deer. Legend has it; she calls out to men who are hunting and are then lured into her trap to waste away until they die. According the Chippewa, she can be banished with the use of tobacco and chants, while some say that her spell can be broken by noticing her hooved feet.
La Llorona (1519)
Can you hear her cries? La Llorona, also known as the Weeping Woman is one of the oldest and most terrifying Mexican Folklores to date. La Llorona is the ghost of a beautiful woman named Maria who drowned her children in a blind rage following her husband’s infidelity. Suddenly realising what she had done, she also threw herself in the river after her children. The spirit of La Llorona is said to still haunt the riverbanks in her white robes, weeping as she walks and kidnapping children, mistaking them as her own and then drowning them. The La Llorona folk-tale has been passed on, generation after generation waiting until darkness falls to scare children before they sleep.