10 Bloodthirsty Creatures From Global Folklore

Just when you thought folklore was all rainbows and fairytales...

Yama Uba Feat
Sawaki Suushi (佐脇嵩之, Japanese, *1707, †1772) [Public domain]

It is generally accepted that scary stories, such as creepypastas and real-life experiences, outdo the happy-ending stories on the internet in much the same way as a large number of people around the world prefer horror movies over love stories.

Folklore tales go in the same direction; people either want extreme gore (think original Grimm fairytale-style) or happily-ever-after (think edited Grimm fairytale-style), with most preferring the first option. Not all folklore tales are as tame as the Loch Ness monster or the ever-elusive Big Foot. Some of the eeriest stories, at their very core, feature dreadful creatures out to seek your blood… or heart… or intestines.

It is no wonder that the heart of the most terrifying movies and novels consists of popular creepy urban legends and myths.

On this list are some of the lesser-known monsters of folklore from around the globe, ready to infest your dreams and turn your safe haven into an upside-down nightmare. By the way, is that shadow on the wall casting off an object in your living room, or is there something standing behind you... ?

10. Each-Uisge

Yama Uba Feat
Liza Phoenix [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Scotland is a treasure trove of folklore stories, both enchanting and terrifying.

The latter category includes the story of the each-uisge. In Scottish mythology, this refers to a water horse with supernatural abilities and a reputation for being the most dangerous mythical water creature in the whole of Britain.

An each-uisge can transform itself into a massive bird, ordinary man or beautiful horse. While in its horse disguise, it allows unwitting victims to ride it until the smell of water becomes overpowering and the rider becomes stuck to the horse’s back. The horse then charges for the nearest loch, carrying the unfortunate jockey with it. Once the victim has drowned, the each-uisge eats the entire body apart from the liver which floats to the surface of the water as the only reminder of the deceased.

The each-uisge often tries to confuse its would-be victims by shapeshifting into a very attractive man. However, look closely and you will see weeds in his hair, warning you to stay far away.


Estelle Thurtle has contributed 2 posts since joining in December 2019.