What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard?
While autumn can mean endless pumpkin patch and apple orchard visits, PSLs and other brews, and just living in sweaters, it is also an excuse for others to get spooky without the judgment because of good ol’ Halloween.
What better way to feel creeped out (aside from locking yourselves up in a haunted location) than a good old scary story told between loved ones while you’re in a dark room, preferably eating dessert?
Halloween is the one night in a year we can indulge in all kinds of creepy, spooky, and even gory, but keep safe and instead of the Purge- style theatrics, indulge in the horrifying urban legends spawned from the misfortunes and injustices done to these women:
1. La Llorona
A Mexican tragedy, La Llorona or the Weeping Woman was a beautiful lady once known as Maria, and they story goes that she drowned her babies in a river after her husband left her for one reason or another.
Overcome by guilt, she chucks herself in the waters as well, but finds out this is no one-way ticket to redemption. Her ghost now roams rivers, and will throw children left unattended into the waters as well as a sort of twisted apology to her own drowned babies.
Parents usually tell this story to their kids as a way to discourage them from playing too near or alone by a river, and from coming home after dark.
2. Maria Labo
A story that’ll give anyone the heebie-jeebies, Maria lived in a small woodland village in the Southern Philippines with her husband Damien and two children. Financial constraints forced her to apply for a job in the Middle East, and when she came back, she was not quite the same. Infants and children started coming up dead, which people blamed on wild animals like the wild boar, because of how badly the children were bloodied up when they were found.
One day, Maria’s husband arrived home to find her voraciously chopping up something on their cutting block. He wondered where their kids were at first and started to worry as it was getting dark. She then went outside to get something, she said. Her husband then saw their older son crouched under a table, hiding from their mother. He saw he was bloodied and was missing an arm. The husband in a panic flew to the crib and in his horror, saw that the baby was not there. He grabbed his bolo (hunting knife) and found Maria in the dark, munching on the remains of a tiny forearm. The husband hacked at her face, leaving a single, huge scar before she managed to scuttle away. Labo is the word for ‘hack’ in the Ilonggo dialect in the Philippines. Her legend is used as a warning to young children to not stay out too late playing.
The “Slit-Mouthed Woman” of Japan, her story is an already ancient one, but gained prevalence in the 1970’s. A woman wearing a mask covering her mouth will come up to you as you are walking alone, and she will ask “Am I pretty?” If you say no, she will murder you with a pair of scissors that she carries.
But if you say yes, she will remove her mask to reveal that her mouth has been slit from ear to ear, and well, still kill you. Horrifyingly enough, a coroner dug up a case from the 70’s about a woman who chased children and was found to have her face slit from the sides of her mouth to her ears.
4. La Sayona
In Venezuelan folklore, she was a beautiful woman with a loving husband and son they loved very much. She liked to end her day by bathing by the river, but unknown to her a strange (pervy!) man had been watching her, and tricking her into a blind rage, told her that her husband was sleeping with her mother. She stormed into their house where she found her husband asleep with the baby in his arms, but thinking the deed had been done, she burned their house down with the father and child still inside. Then she went to her mother’s house where she hacked her mother with a machete, but before she died, her mother cursed her to become a demonic spirit, preying on unfaithful husbands.
5. Sundel Bolong
Loosely translated to “prostitute with a hole in her,” the sundel bolong of Malaysia is the spirit of a beautiful woman who died while she was pregnant, then horrifyingly would give birth to the child in her grave; or one who died in childbirth.
The ghost wanders the earth, dressed in a flowing white nightgown with long, black hair draped down to her buttocks, which serves to cover up the hole in her back where her baby came out. She mainly preys on men, and resisting her is futile if she appears to you. Once the sundel bolong lures a man away, she castrates him, usually leaving him alive to suffer.
Over time, the story of her origins has evolved to include a violent rape as the reason for her pregnancy; some versions have her commit suicide because of the resulting pregnancy, with the transformation into a sundel bolong as a type of curse.