Ancient origins

8 of Historical past’s Most Terrifying Hags

Whether or not one is finding out European, Asian, or American folklore, completely different variations of the identical nightmarish creatures are likely to crop up. Of all of the issues that go bump within the evening, probably the most outstanding might be the hag/witch. These nightmarish, murderous, and sometimes cannibalistic girls have been cropping up in folklore for 1000’s of years. Whereas a few of these witches, just like the Greek Circe, have been at all times simply the stuff of legend, many entries on this listing have been as soon as believed to be actual. Actually, in sure elements of the world, a few of these hags are nonetheless feared to this very day.

1.Nelly Longarms – The Quintessential English Hag

When one imagines a depraved outdated hag, the very first thing to return to thoughts seemingly resembles conventional depictions of Nelly Longarms. The legend of Nelly Longarms comes from Durham, England. She was described as a withered outdated girl with freakishly lengthy, skinny arms and wild hair.

Like many hags from European folklore, Nelly was mentioned to have a style for the flesh of youngsters . She would lurk underneath the floor of lakes and rivers and drag passing youngsters to their watery deaths. It was believed she would generally go away the water and stalk village streets making unusual sounds. When she got here throughout curious youngsters she would try and lure them into close by our bodies of water.

It’s believed that the folklore round Hags like Nelly comes from the outdated pagan gods. Nelly seemingly began life being worshiped as a crone, water spirit , or outdated god. In pre-Christian instances, she seemingly represented knowledge, outdated age, and steering. Then as instances modified and Christian clergymen demonized the outdated gods she turned extra related to the devilish, and morphed from an outdated god right into a horrible monster.

2.Circe – Homer’s Stunning Witch

Just about each tradition on Earth has had some type of witch/hag of their folklore, however not all of them are outdated and haggard. A few of them have been mentioned to be downright gorgeous.

Circe, the sorceress of Greek Mythology, featured in Homer’s Odyssey, recognized for turning males into swine. ( Daniel Eskridge /Adobe Inventory)

The witch Circe is a outstanding character in Homer’s Odyssey, the story of the Greek hero Odysseus and his males as they try and sail residence following the Trojan struggle. Throughout his voyage residence Odysseus is pressured to face many obstacles, probably the most engaging of which is Circe.

Circe was a witch who lived on the island of Aeaea. A ravishing minor goddess, Circe had a slightly peculiar pastime . She would lure passing sailors to her island with a ravishing singing voice, feed them, after which remodel them into animals.

Upon touchdown on Aeaea, Odysseus and his males are invited by Circe as much as her palace for a wonderful feast. Odysseus and a handful of males stay on the ship, however the remainder settle for the invitation. As they march to the palace, the sailors come throughout unusually docile animals who neither assault nor flee from them. Upon arriving all of them, bar a sailor named Eurylochus, fill their bellies with Circe’s wonderful meals. In fact, the meals was dosed with one among Circe’s potions and the sailors all remodel into pigs.

Eurylochus flees to warn Odysseus. With the assistance of the gods, Odysseus manages to trick Circe into restoring his males, and even beds her. Circe turns into considerably of an ally and Odysseus and his males stay her company for the subsequent yr. Upon his leaving, she guides him on the place to go subsequent in order that he may attain his residence, Ithaca, safely.

3.The Aswang – The Final Bump within the Night time

The hags of each Asian and European folklore are likely to have one factor in widespread, a predilection for cannibalism. In Filipino folklore one of the vital terrifying hags is the witch/vampire/werebeing hybrid referred to as the Aswang.

Weredog, one of the representations of the Aswang witch. (Alguien/Adobe Stock)

Weredog, one of many representations of the Aswang witch. (Alguien/Adobe Inventory)

The Aswang is usually described as a witch mixed with different creatures much like that of European folklore. Generally it’s a straight witch, generally a witch/vampire. Generally a weredog and generally a viscera sucker.

Most variations of the Aswang hunt at evening, stalking their prey by form shifting between animal types. As soon as the Aswang has settled on its subsequent sufferer it sits atop their properties till everybody inside is soundly asleep. Whereas it waits it makes use of its lengthy, dexterous tongue to learn the folks in the home, very similar to a snake makes use of its tongue to check the air.

The Aswang then enters the home and relying on the model both drinks them dry, devours their viscera from the within out, or eats them complete. The deadliest type of Aswang is a witch that by making a take care of a demon has change into an Aswang. These Aswang curse the harmless by making objects like rice, bones and even bugs come out of each bodily orifice.

4.Chedipe – The Foot Lover

In numerous folklore, girls will not be born hags however change into them by appearing in ways in which the tradition of the time deemed inappropriate for ladies. Hags, traditionally, have been a manner of demonizing girls and making them appear untrustworthy. The Chedipe is a extremely, actually bizarre instance of this.

In Indian folklore, the Chedipe is a witch-vampire hybrid that happens when a girl dies an unnatural loss of life, reminiscent of throughout childbirth or by suicide. Or generally simply when a prostitute dies.

The Chedipe is described as a vulgar-looking girl who roams the land at evening using a tiger. She chooses a house to invade after which, fully bare, forces the door open with magic. She then casts a spell on the home’s residents, placing all of them right into a deep slumber. The Chedipe then begins feeding. How does she achieve this? By sucking the toes of the boys of the home in fact. Relying on the custom the Chedipe will both feed on all the boys, solely the strongest man, or solely the person she dislikes probably the most in the home. The following day the victims get up feeling uneasy and intoxicated, their virility sapped.

In most variations, the Chedipe will preserve returning and feeding on the identical victims until they obtain medical therapy. She’s going to preserve returning till the person is totally sapped of his virility and withers away to nothing. If this wasn’t all creepy sufficient, some variations of the story have the Chedipe raping her sleeping victims, inflicting the sufferer’s spouse to suspect her husband of infidelity. The Chedipe then feeds off the anguish of her victims as their as soon as fortunately married lives collapse. Relying on the model, she might also kill her victims by plucking out their tongues and torturing them by inserting sticks into their orifices that burn like fireplace.

5.Muma Padurii – Nature Warrior

Not all of the hags of European folklore are fully evil. A few of them, like Muma Padurii, are literally fairly benevolent. At the very least a number of the time.

Muma Padurii calls Romania residence. In her base kind, she is claimed to resemble an chubby outdated girl with bulging eyes and greedy leathery outdated palms. She will shapeshift, generally she is an outdated girl, an outdated man, and generally a ravishing younger girl. In some variations of her folklore, she will be able to additionally both change right into a nun or most bizarrely, a tree.

In contrast to many hags, Muma Padurii isn’t any cannibal. She spends most of her time caring for the creatures of the forest, nursing sick animals again to well being along with her potions . When she finds a baby misplaced within the woods, she is more likely to information them again to their properties. Until the kid is a brat, then she is extra more likely to assault them.

Muma Padurii is known for mixing her potions and helping all creatures in the forest. (IG Digital Arts/ Adobe Stock)

Muma Padurii is thought for mixing her potions and serving to all creatures within the forest. ( IG Digital Arts / Adobe Inventory)

The Muma Padurii is simply actually harmful when folks mistreat the forest, then she takes her revenge. She’s going to assault anybody who hurts her forest. This is smart as she is believed to be the spouse of the legendary Father of the Forest.

6.The Graeae/Moirai – The Weavers of Destiny

While completely different entities, the Graeae and Moirai are so comparable in observe they’re typically lumped collectively. In Greek Mythology, the Graeae (also referred to as the outdated girls, the gray ones, or the gray witches) have been three malevolent sisters.

They have been mentioned to share one eye and one tooth between them. They have been the daughters of the ocean deities Ceto and Phorcys and have been associated to the much more monstrous Gorgons. From beginning, they took the type of three aged, grey-haired girls.

Their most outstanding function is within the story of Perseus . Perseus was tasked with killing the gorgon Medusa and is instructed he’ll want three magical objects to take action. Perseus goes to the Graeae for assist however, as they hate people, they refuse to assist. He forces them to inform him the place these objects are positioned by stealing their valuable eye which leaves them terrified and blind.

The Graeae have been additionally mentioned to have information of the unknown and will learn folks’s fates though they may not change them. Because of this they’re typically confused with the Moirai. The Moirai have been the personification of destiny in Greek mythology.

They too have been three sisters, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. They have been the daughters of the primeval goddess of the evening Nyx, making them a number of the oldest beings in Greek mythology. It was their job to spin the loom of destiny, deciding the fates of gods and males alike.

The smoking cauldron common in depicting all witches (DinaBelenko/Adobe Stock)

The smoking cauldron widespread in depicting all witches ( DinaBelenko/Adobe Inventory)

7.Soucouyant – A Shapeshifting Menace from the Caribbean

The Soucouyant is one other slightly unusual instance of a hag. She prefers hotter climates and comes from Caribbean folklore. Like many hags from historical past, she is an amalgamation of a number of several types of monsters.

By day the Soucouyant pretends to be a frail, reclusive outdated girl who prefers to reside on the outskirts of cities. When the solar goes down, nevertheless, the Soucouyant strips off her wrinkly pores and skin and locations it in a mortar. She then travels the evening sky within the type of a fireball, trying to find victims. When a sufferer is discovered, the Soucouyant reverts to a considerably human kind. She then shrinks down and enters the house of her sufferer by any out there crack, crevice, or keyhole.

Very similar to a vampire the Soucouyant feeds on her victims by sucking their blood, normally from their arms, necks, and legs. Her chunk leaves a blue-black mark. If the Soucouyant will get married away and her sufferer dies, one among two issues can occur. Both the sufferer turns into a Soucouyant or, the Soucouyant skins them and steals their id.

The Soucouyant isn’t only a Caribbean vampire rip-off, nevertheless. She additionally practices black magic and is claimed to commerce the blood she takes with a demon referred to as Bazil in change for her magical powers. Fortunately defeating her isn’t too tough.

To show a Soucouyant all one must do is pass over a bowl of rice, as she is obligated to depend each grain. As soon as she has been recognized, a hero should go to her residence at evening and pour the mortar containing her pores and skin filled with salt. Her pores and skin will dissolve, and she or he shall be left with no kind.

It’s believed that the Soucouyant’s similarity to the hags and vampires of European folklore isn’t any coincidence. Some consultants have said it’s seemingly that the tales dropped at the Caribbean by European explorers have helped to form the native folklore.

8.Baba Yaga – The Slavic Legend

Baba Yaga is maybe probably the most well-known of all of the world’s hags. She is the archetype of a European hag or witch; an outdated girl, bigger than most in stature with a long-crooked nostril. She lives within the woods in a humble little cottage and might typically be discovered tending her range.

This humble cottage has an fascinating function although. Her residence walks across the forest on hen legs. When a strolling residence simply gained’t do, she will be discovered flying by the sky in her mortar, utilizing the pestle as an oar.

A depiction of Baba Yaga. (Elenlubny89/CC BY 4.0)

An outline of Baba Yaga. (Elenlubny89/ CC BY 4.0 )

Baba Yaga is a determine from Slavic folklore and like many hags probably began life as a pagan goddess, on this case as both an Earth Mom Goddess or because the native deity of the lifeless, Iagai Baba. For probably the most half, Baba Yaga has been portrayed as malevolent, in search of out youngsters to place in her stew. On this function, she tends for use as a cautionary story of what occurs if youngsters misbehave.


Whereas we are likely to affiliate hags with European folklore, the reality is just about each tradition on Earth has some model of the hag or witch. Whereas depictions can fluctuate broadly, they typically have the identical use at their core.

Hags are usually utilized in cautionary tales. Very generally these cautionary tales boil right down to don’t belief girls, or girls with sure undesirable traits can change into monsters. That is much like the best way that almost all monsters in Greek mythology have been depicted as feminine and have been typically born with “undesirable” traits.

Different instances the hag has a barely much less sexist origin. It’s believed many European hags began as pagan gods. Over time, and with the assistance of Christianity, these pagan gods have been demonized and morphed into one thing a lot darker.

High picture: Many hags/witches are depicted as possessing supernatural powers and the usage of magic. Supply: TeodorLazarev/ AdobeStock

By Robbie Mitchell

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