Remember my post on Rosalia Lombardo? The world’s most beautiful mummy ? Well it’s been said that her eyes sometimes open. It’s pretty creepy but she’s still the cutest thing.
While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe’s Alpine region also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways — or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack.
Oddity of the Week: Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. She has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the “Blood Countess,” though the precise number of victims is debated. The stories of her sadistic serial murders and brutality are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Despite the evidence against her however, Elizabeth herself was never put on trial because of her family’s influence, being instead placed under house arrest. The stories about her vampire like tendencies (being accused of bathing in blood to rejuvenate her skin etc.) are much less verifable than those of her sadism as unlike the easily verified deaths of servants and young girls, these were generally recorded some years after her death. It quickly became part of national folklore.
After her husband Ferenc Nádasdy’s death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Due to her rank, Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted, but promptly imprisoned upon her arrest in December 1610 within Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia, where she remained immured in a set of rooms until her death four years later.
The case led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth, and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.
Despite the overwhelming evidence against her however, in recent years various revisonists have attempted to allege that Bathory was in fact an innocent, advancing a variety of fanciful theories ranging from a catholic conpiracy to the claim that the sadistic Bathory was in reality an abortion doctor or a naturalistic healer.
There are abandoned mental hospitals across the U.S. and horror took place in all of them. Here are six of the scariest of them all. See the whole gallery at Stuff You Should Know.
Oddity of the Week: Sin-Eater
The term sin-eater refers to a person who, through ritual means, would take on by means of food and drink the sins of a household, often because of a recent death, thus absolving the soul and allowing that person to rest in peace. In anthropology, and the study of folklore, sin-eating is classified as apotropaic ritual and a form of religious magic.
This ritual is said to have been practiced in parts of England and Scotland, and allegedly survived until the late 19th or early 20th century in Wales and the adjoining Welsh Marches of Shropshire and Herefordshire, as well as certain portions of Appalachia in America (documented in the Foxfire cultural history series). Traditionally, it was performed by a beggar, and certain villages maintained their own sin-eaters. They would be brought to the dying person’s bedside, where a relative would place a crust of bread on the breast of the dying and pass a bowl of ale to him over the corpse. After praying or reciting the ritual, he would then drink and remove the bread from the breast and eat it, the act of which would remove the sin from the dying person and take it into himself.
The Gashadokuro are such a cool folklore concept.
My favorite thing is this idea that they somehow are able to silently stalk people despite being almost 100-foot tall skeletons, because no one looks up.
Gashadokuro aka the starving skeletons are the reanimated and combined bones of the victims of starvation. Up to a hundred feet tall, they are heralded by the sound of bells ringing in the ears of their victims. They reach down from above to capture people and bit their heads off. The Gashadokuro haunt the darkness after midnight.
…the Saints are displayed in a cathedral in Eastern Germany close to the Czech border and were acquired in the 17th century when there was a big trade in relics. They are said to be the remains of Martyred saints that were stored in the catacombs of Rome before being removed and traded. They were reassembled and dressed in their fine regalia and displayed in ornate cabinets.