Ten Freaky Types of Scary Fairies

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Fairies are not always adorable, apple-cheeked, butterfly-winged pixies alighting on people's outstretched fingers. They're not even mischievous little game-players like Puck. Some of them are outright freaky. Check out the scariest fairies no one wants to meet below.


10. Callicantzaroi the Chicken-Riders

These fairies raid houses and farms for provisions. That isn't so scary on its own, so they decide to do it totally nude and riding chickens the whole time. And for the coup de grace, they can't see, so they recruit other fairies who are twisted and cast out of polite fairy society to be their guides and their muscle. Basically, they're like mutated hill people in The Hills Have Eyes, but supernatural.

9. Anthropophagi the Well-Adapted Cannibal

It's a little unsettling to think how many cannibal fairies there are, but this one really takes the cake. Or the human flesh, as the case may be. He's specially adapted to eating human flesh, since he doesn't have a head, and so has no eyes or ears to be swayed by cries from his victims. He has a gigantic mouth in the middle of his chest. It makes for easy passage to his stomach, I guess. He also lacks a nose, which is said to help him choke down human flesh without gagging. No word on whether or not he can just grow a nose and eat frozen dinners, but I'm guessing he won't.

Illustration for article titled Ten Freaky Types of Scary Fairies

8. Bannik, the Bathhouse Sprite

This guy hails from Russia and the Baltic countries. He hides in puffs of smoke in bathhouses, relaxing in the steam and watching people. Honestly, that would be creepy enough, but this guy compounds it by scratching people's backs. The good news is, he doesn't expect people to scratch his. The bad news is, if he claws at your back, you will meet with misfortune soon. Some would say you already have.


7. Angiks and Utburds, the Sad, Scary Little Spirits

These are haunting fairies of the north. They are said to be the reanimated spirits of babies that die during hard winters. If people don't move away from the site of their death, they will come every night and haunt people. They were miserable little spirits during their lives, and have a mission to continue to make everyone miserable. Utburds will become driven by revenge, and turn into enormous owls that prey on solitary travelers at night. Nothing like a fairy you both fear and feel sorry for.


6.Cururipur the Tortoise-Loving Torturer

When you are wandering through South America, as I am sure many of you are, don't hurt a tortoise. There is a powerful fantasy spirit that exists solely to avenge the deaths of tortoises. Cururipur will first stalk you, letting you see his footprints. You, being well-fed, energized, and not wanting to meet him, will go the in the opposite direction of the footprints. The problem is, Cururipur has his toes on backwards, to lure tortoise-killers to him. Once they are in his sights he will capture them, hobble them, and torture them to death. To be fair, though, I've heard that tortoise is delicious.


5. Huldufolk the Body-Swappers

These Icelandic fairies are generally said to be neutral, or even beneficial. They are beloved by locals and people even build them little sheds and churches. There are darker stories, though. Many fairies are said to take children and leave changelings in their places, but in these legends the human children are said to be spoiled and loved by their fairy parents. When the Huldufolk take people, they're usually adults meant to work for them, and they are said to leave emotionless shells behind to walk back to civilization. When people undergo extreme personality changes, it's said (though probably not by many these days) that they were taken by these fairies.


4.Bean-Fionn the Drowners

Creepy fact: there is an entire class of fairies called 'drowning fairies.' They aren't in any kids' books nowadays, but they used to be. Peg Powler, Jenny Greenteeth, and the Water Leaper, as well as a huge number of other creepily-named sprites were known as 'nursery bogles'. Officially, they would pull kids down to a watery death if they got too near different types of water. Unofficially, they would scare kids so much that they'd stay away from water and avoid a watery death, which is why they were in kids books in the first place. (Nowadays, kids can just watch Jaws.)


3. The Blue Men of the Minch

These are the adult version of drowning fairies. They go after sailors, either dragging them underwater or calling up storms to sink the whole ship. The only way to ward them off? Rhyming. Yes, that's right. You're about to be drowned, along with all of your friends, unless you win a rap battle.

Illustration for article titled Ten Freaky Types of Scary Fairies

2. Redcap and his Scythe

Just looking at the title of this one should clue you in on what happens. The fairy's red hat is meant to be dyed red with human blood. He doesn't do much, just moves around, staking out a territory, and decapitating anyone who goes through it. There is said to be no way to avoid or escape him.


1. Virikas, the Chattering Horde

There are a lot of fairies that are harbingers of doom. Mostly they're benign, showing up, wailing for a bit, and then going away. If anything, it might be nice to have a heads-up. But not if it comes in the form of these little guys. They're all about eighteen inches tall, and they gather outside a dying person's house, happily chattering to each other. That might not be so creepy, if their teeth and faces weren't stained with human blood. These are not fairies who are only going to load you onto a coach and escort you to heaven. They're hungry. Although they can be chased away, there are some people who spend their whole lives trying to appease them with flowers and small snacks, so they stand less of a chance of becoming a feast.


Via Aleta, MithrilCircle, Mysterious Britain.



Funnily enough, the Huldufolk (otherwise called Huldra for women or Huldrekall for the men) were more like the guardians or wardens of the forests; depending on a given situation, they could either be very kind or very wrathful to a human being.

For example, you could generally tell a Huldra by the tail that would peak from beneath their clothing. If you were respectful about it, the Huldra would reward you, as is the case in this story:

"A boy in Tiveden went fishing, but he had no luck. Then he met a beautiful lady, and she was so stunning that he felt he had to catch his breath. But, then he realized who she was, because he could see a fox's tail sticking out below the skirt. As he knew that it was forbidden to comment on the tail to the lady of the forest, if it were not done in the most polite manner, he bowed deeply and said with his softest voice, "Milady, I see that your petticoat shows below your skirt". The lady thanked him gracefully and hid her tail under her skirt, telling the boy to fish on the other side of the lake. That day, the boy had great luck with his fishing and he caught a fish every time he threw out the line. This was the huldra's recognition of his politeness."

Often, Huldra women would marry mortal men, but if the man started to mistreat her, she could remind him how strong she was by bending a horseshoe straight with her bare hands. (The sociologist and anthropologist in me can't help but wonder if this was the explanation the Norse and Germanic people gave for particularly strong-willed women who didn't let themselves be pushed around by their husbands.)

Oh, and speaking of fairies you wouldn't want to meet, let's not forget the Klabautermann, a goblin/kobold-man who dresses like the Gorton's Fisherman and lives on a ship, who acts as the caretaker of both the ship and its crew. If you ever see him though, it means that the ship is doomed, and either it and/or its crew will die soon.