International horror

— My daughter won’t stop crying and screaming in the middle of the night. I visit her grave and ask her to stop, but it doesn’t help…

 

Are you creeped out yet? Here are five more creepy stories from around the world to honor Halloween.

 

El Coco or El Hombre del Saco (Spain)

El Hombre del Saco is a Spanish legend about Francisco Ortega, a man sick with tuberculosis. He was so desperate for a cure that he sought help from a Curandera (a Spanish shaman). She told him that he would be cured after drinking the blood of a child. And so, Ortega kidnapped a 7-year old boy and put him in a cloth bag. He then slit his underarm and drank his blood. El Coco is still walking through the streets with a cloth bag, looking for children who roam the streets and misbehave.

 

There is even a lullaby that says “Duermete niño, duermete ya, o vendrá el Coco y te comerá/sleep little baby, sleep right now, or coco will come and eat you up”.

 

Changelings (Ireland)

The legend of the changelings tells the story of female fairies that often give birth to ugly children. Since fairies prefer beautiful babies, they would go into the mortal world and kidnap healthy human babies. The fairies would then leave changelings behind. These changelings look like human children but have very different characteristics. A changeling can only be happy when the family suffers misfortune or grief.

 

The legend of changelings has lasted for centuries. Even William Shakespeare talks of changelings in one of his plays. Three hundred years later, Scarlett O’Hara believed that Rhett Butler’s child was a changeling in Gone with the Wind.

 

Char Man (USA)

Char Man is a well-known urban legend in California. It all began with a wildfire that occurred in Camp Comfort Country Park in 1948. A father and son were caught in the blaze and the older man was killed. The son survived but was badly burned. The son went crazy and hung the body of his father after pulling off his burned skin. When a rescue team finally arrived, he fled and disappeared into the woods. He has lived in his ‘charred’ condition ever since.

 

Every once in a while the Char Man emerges from the forest and attacks cars and hikers. He then tries to tear off their skin, perhaps to take it as his own. Police are still looking for him.

 

Czarna Wolga or The Black Volga (Poland)

One of the most famous and oldest Polish urban legends is the tale of Czarna Wolga or Black Volga. The legend has many versions but it’s always about a Russian limousine driving around towns and kidnapping children. The identity of the driver is always unknown. Some versions say it is a Satanist, while others claim that it is a priest. There are even rumors that it might be KGB or a vampire.

 

The car still haunts the streets of Poland after sunset. A way to recognize it is to look for white tires and white curtains in its windows. It’s been said that once you are kidnapped, they will drain your blood and use it as a cure for leukemia.

 

Smørbukk or Butterball (Norway)

There was once a little boy who was round and fat and loved to eat, so his mother called him Butterball. One day a giant troll came to their house and tricked Butterball. She kidnapped the boy and took him to her layer. The troll asked her daughter to prepare Butterball for dinner, but the girl didn’t quite know how to butcher Butterball. “I’ll show you how to do it. Just lay your head on the stool and you’ll see”, said Butterball.

 

The poor thing listened and Butterball took the axe and chopped off her head. He put her head in her bed and he put her body in the pot. Butterball climbed into the chimney and waited for the troll. When the troll saw the head in the bed, she thought her daughter was sleeping. So she tasted the soup. “This Butterball soup is so good”, said the troll-hag. “You mean this daughter soup tastes so good!” said Butterball from the chimney pipe. As the troll looked up the chimney, Butterball threw pine root and stones at her head and killed her.

 

Butterball then took all of the gold and silver he could find and went back to his mother.

 

 

 


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