Let’s continue this fantastic tour of terror!
10: La Llorona- The Woman Scorned: Mexico
Starting off my list is the weeping woman of Mexico and the American Southwest. Driven to suicide after the death or murder of her children and being abandoned by her husband, this woman has emerged as a wailing spirit that haunts the river where she drowned herself or died of starvation, depending on the iteration. She is always calling out to her children, that she will never find. She is a very unique “boogeyman” ghost, usually appearing beautiful and motherly in order to lure away young children to a watery grave. She was created by mothers to keep their children away from dangerous rivers.
Why is she scary?: Due to the loss of her children, La Llorona is desperate enough to drown living children so that she may once again have companionship. Damn.
9: Teihiihan- The Cannibal Dwarves: Arapaho Folklore
This is exactly what it says on the tin: Little people that eat people. They also keep their hearts and intestines outside of their bodies pinned to walls. These horrifying little bastards are excessively violent and enjoy killing as many people as they can in order to try to reach the dwarf afterlife by dying in battle. They are said to be able to turn invisible and move at high speeds.
Why are they scary?: They’re little, strong, and hungry for your flesh. The only reason why they are not higher on this list is because they are INCREDIBLY dim-witted.
8:Donkey Lady- Housework CAN Kill You: United States
Based in San Antonio, this woman scorned puts the horror of La Llorona to shame. It is said that the Donkey Lady was a housewife in the 1950s when she was caught in a terrible fire. The fire horribly disfigured her face and body so that she looked like a deformed donkey-like beast. She lost her children in the fire and this tragedy drove her insane and led her to flee under a bridge near San Antonio. To this day the Donkey Lady is said to haunt this bridge, pouncing on cars as they pass by and screaming, as well as stalking people if they dare enter the woods that serve as her domain.
Why is she scary?: The Donkey Lady is both implicitly and explicitly scary. Implicitly because this could happen to anyone, minus the whole donkeylike features. Explicitly because HOLY SHIT that must have been some fire to turn a normal woman into such a hideous beast.
7:Loogaroo- Hag-Pires: The Caribbean
No, not a Hag-Pire like Radu. These Hag-Pires are actually horrifying instead of hilarious. Hideous old women, the Loogaroo strips off her skin at night and flies across the night sky…on fire. It is then that they slip through any crack or crevice in a home, no matter how small, and drain victims of blood. If the victim dies, she will become a Loogaroo herself, or she will be skinned and used as a disguise by the witch in order to gain access to more victims.
Why are they scary?: Flaming. Blood-sucking. Skin-flaying. Evil. Witches. If it weren’t for other things on this list being far scarier, these things rake in a decent amount of nightmare fuel on their own.
6: The Goatman- Part Man, Part Goat, All Crazy: United States
The Goatman is a fairly modern myth…and a fairly scary one. His origin story can vary, from being a scientist who was mutated by his own shady experiments, to a vengeful Native American spirit, to an insane cryptid. What remains constant is his affinity for chopping those that he comes across into as many pieces as he possibly can with an axe. He also is said to be so horrifying that just looking at him can cause a person to go insane and commit suicide or run into oncoming traffic. Also known as the Pope-Lick Monster, this creepy cryptid belongs on this list.
Why is he scary?: Getting chopped up by a deranged human-animal hybrid does not sound like the most ideal situation, does it?
5:Baykok- Vengeful Warrior Spirit: Chippewa Folklore
Baykok are ghostly figures, appearing either emaciated or skeletal in nature. They are said to fly through the woods of the Great Lakes region of the United states, wailing and shrieking as they go along. I was first exposed to these creatures in the Song of Hiawatha in which there is a Baykok referred to as “Death”, and they were always unsettling. These ghosts were not satisfied with haunting the living, they enjoy preying upon warriors and will do so by firing upon them with invisible arrows and then devouring their livers. Fortunately, said livers are not devoured with fava beans and Chianti.
Why are they scary?: These guys are so strong that they don’t even bother going after everyone and they specifically seek out the most powerful warriors in the tribe, devouring them. Now that is scary.
4: El Sombreron- The Evil Womanizer: Guatemala
A boogeyman developed to terrorize women and girls, this terrifying spirit, man, goblin, or demon, (whatever he is) appears wearing an enormous black hat that hides his face. He travels out after dusk and lures women to him, where he will braid their hair. Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. If a woman allows this entity to braid her hair she will fully fall under his spell and become so entranced that she will be unable to eat or sleep and eventually die. *shudder*
Why is he scary?: He’s like that perverted creeper we all knew in college, just 10 times worse!
3: Camazotz- dunnadunnadunnadunna BATMAN: Mayan Mythology
All joking aside, Camazotz is no super hero. In fact, he is definitely a villain. A scary, heartless, evil villain that looks like a giant bat-person or in some cases just a REALLY big bat. Known as the “death bat”, he was the sworn enemy of Chaac, the god of rain. Also, he is most known for tearing one of the hero twins’ head off and using it as a ball in games between the gods. Although the unfortunate Hunahpu eventually got his head back and the two defeated this demon. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. He destroyed the entire human race once.
Why is he scary?: A literal bat out of hell that murdered the entire first race of humans and temporarily killed one of the new Mayan peoples’ greatest heroes? Nightmare Fuel for 800, Alex.
2: Wendigo- The Campfire Story Staple: Algonquian Folklore
Every child who grew up in areas like where I grew up can remember the first time they gathered around a campfire and heard about the horrible creature known as the Wendigo. Violent, remorseless, cannibalistic, and appearing to have freshly risen from the grave, these nightmarish monsters are born when an individual commits the atrocity of murdering their family. They are insatiably hungry for human flesh and in some variations of their stories, leave burning footprints in the snow as their flesh rots away. The Wendigo is also a morality tale, as those that are greedy are more likely to become them.
Why are they scary?: They are human beings that have been twisted so much by the evil that they have committed that they become monsters that can only eat other human beings. Also they look like corpses. Also, they are TERRIFYING fodder for campfire stories, which is where I first heard of them as a child.
And the Number 1 Scariest Humanoid Monster of American Mythology is…
1: Xipe Totec- The Flayed God of Sacrifice: Aztec Mythology
As scary as everything else on this list is, this guy takes the cake and eats it too…along with your still beating heart as a side dish. That’s right, it is from Xipe Totec that the horrific ritual that the Aztecs were most known for came from, and it is from Xipe Totec that a WHOLE lot of nightmare fuel comes from as well. Firstly, let’s begin with the fact that he flayed himself alive. That’s right. He has no skin. He did this in order to provide food for humanity and all, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Artwork of this deity depicts him with many attributes such as wearing the skins of sacrifice victims, sporting a massive hole in his chest in which a victim’s heart was placed, and usually screaming in fury. It was during the yearly festival for this god that some of the most brutal and famous sacrifices were conducted, all in the name of appeasing the flayed god. Also he invented war and loved to see people murder each other in his honor. Yes, all of this more than justifies giving him this spot, I know.
Why is he scary?: This god is literally ALL of the Aztec nightmare fuel you will ever need. End of story.