Ghosts, spirits and abandoned villages
With Halloween season in full swing, ghost stories are far from a rarity in most social situations. If you feel like your scary story bank is running a little low this year, here are five ghost stories and spooky legends from around the world that you might not know about—or might not want to know about.
Popular in the United States and the United Kingdom, Bloody Mary is a legend that has enticed young school girls to chant the spirit’s name for decades. According to the stories circulating the playground, in order to summon Mary a person must chant her name three times in a dark room, usually a bathroom. Bloody Mary, sometimes known as Hell Mary, Mary Worth or Bloody Bones, will then appear in the mirror behind the chanters. Some versions of the Bloody Mary legend say she will drag whoever summoned her back through the mirror to live with her for eternity, while others say her reflection is dripping in blood.
Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital
Located just south of South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital was abandoned in the early 1990s. The circumstances surrounding the hospital’s closure remain shrouded in mystery to this day, and many locals will refuse to give directions to the hospital. But why? One popular theory is that one of the hospital’s doctors went mad and performed abusive experiments on the patients, while another says there was a string of mysterious deaths. The thing most theories agree on, however, is the facility is still haunted by the ghosts of the patients who died there.
The once-prosperous Kuldhara village has structures that experts claim date back to the 13th century and is located in the Rajasthan region of India. About 200 years ago, in 1825, roughly 1,000 villagers abandoned the village seemingly overnight. Some say the water was poisoned by a neighboring village, while others claim a greedy ruler raised taxes, but no one knows the true reason for the village’s abandonment or where the 1,000 people who lived there moved to. Today, the village remains a ghost town as no one ever resettled the area due to claims the former village chief cursed the land, and doomed any future settlers of it to death.
“Disembodied whispers, screams, noises are common at dark hours,” the Indian Paranormal Society said after several members spent the night in Kuldhara, according to Insider. “Many of our members have witnessed apparitions, heard footsteps, experienced unusual touch and so on.”
La Llorona, or “the wailing woman,” was a woman named Maria who married a wealthy man in Mexico. According to Vanity Fair, the couple had two children, but soon grew apart. One day, the husband met Maria and their two children on the road…with a new woman on his arm. The husband only addressed the children and completely ignored Maria.
According to the story of La Llorona, Maria was so enraged by her husband ignoring her that she killed her two children, jealous of the attention he gave them instead of her. Maria later realized what she did and killed herself out of guilt. Instead of dying, however, she was banished to roam the earth forever.
People who claim to have seen La Llorona say she is dressed in all white and crying, “Ay mis hijos!” or “Oh, my children!” Others say she walks along rivers and creeks, crying and waiting for children to walk by so she can drag them to their watery grave.
In 1986, a woman in Texas, Juana Léija, claimed she was “the weeping woman” after she attempted to drown her seven children. Two of them died.
Originating in the Philippines, Manananggal is a hideous, vampire-like creature who preys on pregnant women and their fetuses. Manananggal appears to be another stereotypical village woman during the day, but when night falls, she sneaks out of her home and separates the top half of her torso from the rest of her body. She grows wings on her back and takes to the skies, searching for pregnant women to feed on.
Manananggal reportedly drinks the blood of pregnant women, and sometimes will eat the heart of their developing fetus. The only way to kill one of these legendary creatures is to sprinkle salt or crushed garlic on the bottom half of their bodies or for sunlight to strike her top half while separated from the rest of her body.