Told for centuries in different cultures, and sometimes used to explain mysterious deaths or disasters. Even crimes have been blamed on these creatures! It’s not hard to imagine what a cold, hard winter might have inspired in the imagination.
Kallikantzaroi: Evil goblins, from Greek folklore, that emerge from the underworld during the twelve days of Christmas. They cause mischief and chaos. But are afraid of fire and holy water. Some believe kallikantzaroi to be unbaptised humans who were never baptized or criminals who had turned into monsters. But if you leave food outside for them, you should be okay.
Wendigo: A cannibalistic spirit from the Algonquian Native American tribes that inhabits the forests of North America. It is said to be a human who has been corrupted by hunger and greed, and transformed into a gaunt, skeletal creature with glowing eyes, sharp teeth, and antlers. In 1879, a Cree hunter and trapper, in Alberta, Canada, claimed a Wendigo entered his dreams and told him to eat his family.
Qiqirn: This large, hairless dog from Inuit mythology causes people to freeze to death with its breath. It is timid and afraid of humans, but it will chase people until they collapse from fear or cold. But if you cover your face it won’t attack. Sometimes, this creature is blamed for blizzards and snowstorms, controlling the wind with its tail.
Nuckelavee: This horrific hybrid of horse and man, from the Orkney Islands in Scotland, has no skin. Muscles and veins exposed, it breathes poisonous vapor and lives in the sea. But in the winter, it emerges to spread disease and misery. An easy creature to blame for lost or dead livestock and damaged crops along the coast.
Yuki-onna: This beautiful but deadly snow woman, from Japanese folklore, appears pale, and slender, with long black hair and blue lips, wearing a white kimono. She lures travelers into the snow, where she either freezes them with her breath, drains their life force with a kiss, or leads them to their doom. According to some legends, yuki-onna is the spirit of someone who died in the snow. Although she is known for her beauty and serenity, she can be ruthless in killing those who cross her path.
I’m wondering if I should depict one of these on my Christmas cards this year. A Wendigo in a Santa hat, or a Qiqirn helping the kids make snowmen out of the neighbours?
Horror and Fantasy Author – Also writing as K.T. McQueen. Love Western Horror, cowboy boots, my cactus Collin, & my Demon Cat.
Moths – I hate moths, the way they flutter at your face!