Halloween is Coming… Urban Legends from Around the World!

Many of us know of our American legends such as, “Ichobad Crane and the Headless Horseman”  – but do you know about those passed down culturally from Europe, Japan or Brazil? These next set of stories could be designed as a warning, or root themselves in a history lesson for the unknown…  Read on to learn more about these Urban Legends from different places in the world. Let us know which you find most interesting!

The Deadly Rose… 

In Europe, they tell the story of a beautiful young woman named Elisa Day.

One day a stranger came from far away, and instantly fell in love with her, courting her for 3 days. On the first day, they spent the day enjoying each other at her house. The second day he brought her a single red rose and asked her to meet him for a third date by the river where the wild roses grow. She did meet the stranger, and the first moment she looked away he struck the back of her head with a rock and threw her to the river as he whispered: “all beauty must die…”. Many people claim they have seen her wandering around the river, red and bloody holding a single rose.

Bloody Mary….

In Japan, there is a legend of a girl with beautiful black hair and red clothing named Hanako, whose spirit haunts bathrooms. During World War II, she was said to be in a bathroom when a bomb fell on the school building causing her to be trapped as a spirit. This story in some ways mirrors what we recognize as “Bloody Mary” because to interact with her you must perform certain tasks. To talk to Hanako, you would go to the bathroom on the third floor in the third stall and proceed to knock 3 times – before calling her name “are you there, Hanako-san” then you will hear a voice answer, “I’m here.” If the person chooses to enter the stall, there will be a small girl in a red skirt…. What happens next varies. In some cases, people claim you will hear her speak, others claim the door will open just a bit, so you can see her- and in some cases, she comes after you!!

nightmare paralasisThe Nightmare…..

This is a painting by Henry Fuseli which is a great representation of our final legend.

It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and a demon crouched on her chest. The sleeper in the painting seems lifeless and, lying on her back, taking a position then believed to encourage nightmares.

The people of Brazil tell the story of a demon-like woman who would sit on rooftops and watch people walk by. She would look for people who had heavy meals and then would go to them while they slept. When they were dreaming, she would sit on their chest or stomach and would press down to hold them in place, so they would be unable to speak. The victims could see the demon but could do nothing about it as she grew stronger with their fear. The story goes that she will come back multiple times to bring distress and terror. They call her the “night hag” or La Pisadeira.