Into Horror History

Glaistig of Scottish Folklore

A malevolent Scottish ghost. (Or is it?)

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Inugami of Japan

A familiar spirit born from a brutal ritual.

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Seven Gates of Hell in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania

One gate is visible in the day, six more at night, and passing all seven takes you straight to Hell.

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Prime Hook Swamp Creature of Delaware

A strange creature lurks in the swamps of a wildlife refuge in Delaware.

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Haunted Pillar on Broad Street in Augusta, Georgia

Local legends are fascinating. Most of them can't really be traced back to any particular origin, and precisely how or why locals know about them is a bit of a mystery.

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Owlman of Mawnan, Cornwall

Many legends of cryptids don't have a clear origin, a story that can easily be traced back to the first sighting. For these creatures, the line between cryptid (an as-of-yet undocumented natural animal) and supernatural is sometimes blurry, as is true with cases such as The Qalupalik of Inuit Folklore or El Peuchen of Mapuche Mythology. In some ways, the controversy surrounding sightings of strange things can make them even more intriguing to explore because there is little in the way of proof for or against their existence. At the core of these legends or folklore is a story, often a tangled combination of truth and fiction, genuine experience and exaggeration.

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Ghosts of Ogrodzieniec Castle in Poland

A ghostly black dog isn't the only thing prowling castle ruins in Poland.

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Hodag of American Folklore

A creature born from the ashes of cremated oxen, out for revenge.

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Godzilla (1954)

A movie from Japan that forever changed the film industry.

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The Isdal Woman of Norway

A strange mystery from Norway that remains unsolved over fifty years later.

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Dayan of Indian Folklore

A witch with a true horror that may surprise you.

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Jenglot of Indonesian Folklore

Don't you just love spirited dolls?

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Santa Compaña of the Iberian Peninsula

A procession of the dead just waiting to curse you.

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Morgus the Magnificent

The life and times of horror host Morgus the Magnificent.

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Mirrors: Superstition, Mythology, Psychology, & Sanity

There's more behind the mirror than you may think.

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Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England

One of the most famous hauntings in the United Kingdom.

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The True Story of Arnold Paole, Vampire of Meduegna, Serbia

One of the few vampires documented in official government records.

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La Patasola of South American Folklore

Another trip to South America, deep in the jungle, where the last thing you want to do is follow a beautiful and mysterious woman away from your traveling companions.

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El Peuchen of Mapuche Mythology

A terrifying flying feathered serpent from South America.

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Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A theatre haunted by the ghost of opera singer Frederick Federici.

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El Silbón of Los Llanos in South America

If you hear his whistle, it may be too late.

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Casper the Friendly Ghost

They sure don't make cartoons like they used to.

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Soucouyant of Caribbean Folklore

A shapeshifting jumbie that strips off her own skin to go hunting.

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Resurrection Mary

A spooky story from Chicago that may seem like an urban legend—until you dig deeper.

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Ann Radcliffe, Pioneer of Gothic Fiction

A woman who created her own movement in Gothic that still continues today.

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Nale Ba of Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

A local legend from Karnataka, India, that you don't want to encounter in the dark—or at all.

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Ted the Caver

The world's first creepypasta.

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The Ridgeway Ghost of Wisconsin

Wisconsin's most famous ghost, and one of the only ghosts to have ever killed the living.

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The Vrykolakas of Greek Folklore

Vrykolakas—the modern Greek undead that wants to eat your liver. Read more to find out how to protect yourself and learn about how to pronounce the word while you're at it.

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The Invention of PG-13

The movies full of gore and violence used to be just fine for kids of all ages!

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Antron Singleton, aka Big Lurch

This is an interesting true crime case. I didn't know where I'd end up on it when I began researching, but I uncovered some strange things. Perhaps you've heard of Big Lurch, the rapper cannibal who murdered and ate his girlfriend. If you've previously seen a headline similar to what I just wrote, then let's set the record straight right now. Yes, Big Lurch is a rapper. No, the victim wasn't his girlfriend. Murder and cannibalism? It's not as clear as it first appears.

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Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood

For every story out there, for every monster, there are tropes. It happens with them all, but somewhere, there's a beginning. A place where the tropes start, a story where we can point our finger and say, "that right there is where vampires first got their fangs!" That's Varney the Vampire. The origin of fictional vampires with fangs. And that's not all.

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Milicent Patrick & Her Enduring Design of the Creature from the Black Lagoon

Did you know that a woman named Milicent Patrick designed "the Creature"—also known as Gill-man—the monster in the 1954 film The Creature from the Black Lagoon?

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Zdzisław Beksiński

Zdzisław Beksiński. Have you ever heard of him? Even if you have, you're in for a visual treat.

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Keillers Park Murder

There are a lot of criminal cases from around the world that barely (or never) make English-language news. I'm about to walk you through one of those that was pretty famous in Sweden, but you're unlikely to have heard of it unless you follow Swedish crime, black metal (particularly second wave), or Satanic news.

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Tracking Tahoe Tessie Down

Oh, beautiful Lake Tahoe. Just look at that blue sky, freshwater, green forest, and monstrous snake creature.

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Tamám Shud Case: The Mystery of the Somerton Man

I first learned about the Tamám Shud Case, aka The Mystery of the Somerton Man, years ago. I researched it and found it to be a confusing mess. There has been so much that's happened, and there are so many theories on it. Occasionally, I revisit it and discover new developments. The following is my own high-level case briefing.

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The Oklahoma Octopus

Naturally, 'octopus' is always the first thing everyone thinks of when the state of Oklahoma comes up. The two are inseparable, like a sucker on a fish tank. But, of all the octopuses* in Oklahoma that we could focus on, which one should we pick? The Oklahoma Octopus™ I'm talking THE Oklahoma Octopus. Not all those other lesser-known ones that cover the state. I'm sure you know to which one I'm referring. The one that's the size of a horse, reddish-brown leathery skin. The one that walks between lakes, stalking teenagers and pulling them down to watery deaths where they become a crunchy, juicy in the middle, cephalopod snack.

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Lydia's Ghost at Red Onion Saloon

Nearly every building in Skagway, Alaska has a story to tell and clear links to the Klondike Gold Rush past. One building, in particular, the Red Onion Saloon, has an odd history, and visitors claim a resident ghost. It opened for business in 1898 as a dance hall, saloon, and bordello at the height of the gold rush.

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Benjamin Franklin's Basement

Benjamin Franklin—scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, publisher, and philosopher. You may know him as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States or as a drafter/signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, or perhaps the first United States postmaster general. Or maybe his experiments with electricity, inventing bifocals, becoming an early abolitionist and the first president of the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. You may know his face from the $100 bill or have heard his name on warships, towns, counties, corporations, or colleges. If you grew up in the US, you probably heard stories of him flying a kite in a storm to invent electricity. Yes, he was known for a lot of things. But, did you know about the bones in his basement?

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Gilles de Rais

Gilles de Rais was a lord in 1400s France and best known for the horrific torture and murder of more than 600 young boys and girls (mostly boys.) Or maybe 200. No? 100? Oh, the number of victims is unknown. Okay, let's start again, then...

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The Jiajing Emperor

Did you know that there are at least 21 ways to tie shoelaces? For neckties, there are anywhere between 85 and 177,147 methods. The oldest knot on record dates to about 13,000 BC. Of all the knots you've ever tied in your life—have you ever tied one that won't tighten? I have. It's kind of a pain, too, when it happens. You think you've got it right, go to draw it tight, and are met with a mess that takes a while to untangle so you can try again. In 1542, one of those stuck knots resulted in 17 executions by slow slicing, 10 beheadings, and 20 enslavements. There's a lot to unravel here, so let's jump right into it.

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Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu

You know, the problem with having niche interests is that most people excuse themselves out of a conversation with me as soon I start rambling about things like prototypical lesbian¹ vampires as literary devices in Victorian-era fiction. It's not that uncommon of a conversation topic, right? I suppose you just have to be around the right people, though. Good thing I've got you. For many people, vampires only sprung into existence in fiction when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. They know about, but have never seen, the 1922 film Nosferatu and look confused when I mention Carmilla.

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Tomoka's Carnivorous Pink Cloud

The 1950s sure did see all kinds of craziness. The Cold War raged, fear of nuclear weapons invaded every home and school, constant UFO sightings put people on edge, and World War II still weighed heavily on humanity. The '50s brought fresh ideas into comics, movies, and magazines—mostly touching on the cultural fears without calling them out directly. Elvis packed venues, Hitchcock films hit theaters at least once a year, and what would later become classic literature flew off the shelves—an exciting time for everyone. With all that going on in the world, what was happening down around Florida?

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Incident in a Ghostland

I don't do movie reviews, but I will be writing about horror movies. The film industry is a massive part of horror, and they've pushed the genre forward in many respects. It's so hard to say anything about this film without spoiling it. Here's my own spoiler-free description: Two daughters and their mother inherit an old, dusty, secluded home. Then, they meet a witch and an ogre. What follows is a journey deep into the psyche of one of the daughters as she struggles for her own life and sanity.

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The Qalupalik of Inuit Folklore

There are many intriguing stories from history, especially the farther back you go. In fact, my own family's Native American Tribe, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and the larger Muscogee Nation they split off from long ago have all sorts of terrifying legends. The Inuit people are no exception to this type of thing, and they have their own stories of grotesque creatures to tell their children about. Fun!

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Anne Rice—Author, Visionary, Immortal. May You Rest in Peace.

Back when I was in 5th grade, I found a book in my house, and to this day, I'm still not sure where it came from. Up to that point, it was the single fattest book my 10-year-old self had ever seen. I thought some of Tolkien's books were long, but I never could have imagined that so many pages would fit inside anything other than a dictionary.

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Michael McDowell's Blackwater Series

How often do you pay attention to the screenwriters behind your favorite films? For most, the answer would be, "never." It's normal, though, to focus on the end product, an audiovisual work of art. Often, creators disappear into the shadow of their work. In a way, it's a good thing because their work takes on a life of its own. In another way, though, it's terrible for creators because people end up not knowing who was responsible and never encounter other works they may love.

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