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Halloween haunts: ghoulish myths from around the world

Read on if you dare.

With Halloween almost upon us for another year, there’s no better time to indulge in a generous helping of horror.

Dare to be scared with these twisted tales from all over the globe. Just remember to sleep with the light on for the next few nights!

Hungary: The Blood Countess

Hungary: The Blood Countess

In the vast Kingdom of Hungary in 1560, Countess Elizabeth Bathory was born into Transylvanian nobility. Her family were rumored to indulge in witchcraft and dark arts, with Elizabeth no exception. The countess liked nothing more than to bath in the blood of young peasant girls, believing it was the answer to eternal youth and routinely torturing girls to death extract their blood.

She eventually met her punishment when she was locked high into a room in her castle, with the doors and windows sealed shut and slowly left to die.

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Mexico: La Llorona

Mexico: La Llorona

Known as ‘the weeping woman’, it’s said that La Llorona was a villager who drowned her own children in a river to be with the man she loved. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work and she drowned herself once he rejected her. These days she haunts the riverbanks of Mexico, dressed all in white and weeping for her children.

Mexican children are warned not to go out by themselves at night time: La Llorona might try to kidnap them as living replacements for her own children.

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Scandinavia: Gjenganger

Scandinavia: Gjenganger

If you find yourself in Scandinavia in the dead of night, beware of the gjenganger. These evil Nordic spirits have a pinch that can kill, known as the dødningeknip or ‘dead man's pinch’. If you get pinched by one of these grouchy creatures coming for you after dark, your skin will turn blue, with the disease eventually traveling up to your heart.

The gjenganger don’t look like ghosts but just like people – so watch out for the return of anyone recently departed from this world!

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Madagascar: The man-eating tree

After hearing this African tale of the man-eating tree, you might think twice about venturing out into your garden. This hungry tree resides in the Madagascan desert, where members of the Mkodo tribe sacrifice themselves to the snake-like limbs of the tree mouth.

The tree is actually the fabrication of writer Edmund Spencer, but there are still those who will swear that it’s true.

Madagascar: The man-eating tree

USA: The Deer Woman

Here in the US, Native American tribes boast many a fascinating folklore tale, but none quite as widespread as the Deer Woman. Said to be able to transform from woman to deer, the Deer Woman’s most favored look is that of a young and beautiful maiden with the legs and feet of a deer. In this form, she lures young men out into the forests and then traps them with her magic.

According to the Chippewa tribe, she can be chased away with a chant, tobacco, or by simply noticing that her feet aren't human.

USA: The Deer Woman

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