My aunt once told me that if you believe in a ghost enough, it will follow you everywhere you go.
Planes, trains, automobiles, once you've let that spirit into your thoughts, it will hold onto you. Doesn't matter if it's an American ghost or a Chinese ghost (like the ones she told me about), you drag them with you everywhere. And they in turn can drag YOU off.
I've mentioned before that my family has a real knack for bedtime stories. I spent much of my childhood both terrified to let ghost stories into my brain and craving them. Even now, when I hear a particularly scary story a little part of me thinks, "Well shit. I've got to remember ANOTHER set of rules to keep that one away."
If I can. You can't always keep the ghosts away -- sometimes you just have to hope they have more interesting victims to bother that day.
But like we saw with the ghosts we talked about last week, despite our better judgment the best ghost stories involve ghosts with a mission. An EVIL mission.
So to further keep you awake at night and cursing the day ol' Louise infected your brain with what is probably just a story to frighten children and ne'er-do-wells into submission, here are a few more spirits you do not want to encounter on a dark and stormy night.
And remember, just because they may be far away, doesn't mean they can't get you.
The Girl With the Braided Hair
In the 1970s a girl and her boyfriend snuck onto a train from mainland China bound for Hong Kong.
When the train passed Chinese University in Hong Kong, the boyfriend jumped and shouted for his girlfriend to follow. She jumped, but her long braid got caught on the speeding train, and her face was ripped from her skull.
Now students in and around Chinese University's campus claim to see a girl with a long braid down her back walking or sitting alone at night. She seems to be crying.
When approached she will turn to face you, but instead of a face, you will see an identical braid where her face should be. If you're lucky.
Other tellings say that instead of a face, the shredded and mangled REMNANTS of her face will be dangling off a single braid on her skull. Her skinless eyes will be crying blood.
Most people pass out after seeing the Girl With the Braided Hair and wake up feeling sick and confused.
There are variations of this story from both Mexico (Muerto Blanco) and Scotland. Both stories tell of a spirit who kills anyone who knows her story. So read on at your own risk, Creepy Corneristas.
A young woman was so miserable in life that she decided to commit suicide. Her family discovered her body and laid her to rest, but soon after, her whole family was found murdered -- their bodies ripped apart.
Supposedly, she will kill anybody who knows her story. How you ask?
She will come knock, knock, knocking at your chamber door.
She will relentlessly pound on your door, louder and louder, until you open it. Then she will kill you. If you somehow escape her, she will follow you everywhere, knocking on whichever door you hide behind waiting for you to come out. Nowhere is safe.
Did you just hear something at your front door?
What list of ghosts that you don't want to meet in a dark alley (or by a dark river) would be complete without Mexico's/the American Southwest's La Llorona?
A woman, most say her name was Maria, drowned her children in a river. There are many variations as to why exactly Maria drowned her children -- jealousy of her husband's love for their children, rage that her lover was marrying another -- but what remains consistent is that after Maria killed her children, she killed herself.
Now Maria is condemned to walk the earth as La Llorona, the weeping woman, searching endlessly for her children. Children are warned not to go out after dark, or else La Llorona will capture you. Men beware too, because La Llorona still has a bone to pick with the likes of you.
La Llorona is supposedly seen by rivers wearing all black, wailing, with pale skin and long dark hair. If you REALLY want to see her, some say you can conjure her in a mirror by repeating "La Llorona" three times.
This Southeast Asian ghost, most often seen in Thai and Cambodian culture, appears as the floating head of a beautiful woman with her internal organs spilling out from her neck where her body should be.
In life, the Krasue was a wealthy woman who was possessed by an evil spirit. She wore a black cloth over her face and neck to protect herself from the sun. In death she became the Krasue, doomed to hungrily roam the earth looking for the flesh and blood of the living. She can never be satiated.
A more popular telling of the Krasue's origin is that she was a beautiful princess who fell in love with a poor man. She was sentenced to be burnt at the stake. In an effort to save her, a wizard cast a spell on the princess, a spell that would protect her from the flames.
However, the wizard's spell came too late and only her innards, neck, and head were saved. Oops.
Pregnant women should especially beware of the Krasue. Her floating head may appear in a pregnant woman's window, shortly before or after birth, hungry for a newborn baby or just the PLACENTA. If the Krasue can't have any baby or placenta, she just has to settle for sucking the mother's blood.
From Scandinavia, the Gjenganger is a different breed of spirit.
Gjengangers look just look living people. They cannot walk through walls, they cannot disappear in a puff of smoke. You can barricade yourself into your home to (hopefully) keep one out. That is, if you KNOW someone is a Gjenganger.
A person becomes a ruthless, malevolent Gjenganger if they die in a horrific way, or they themselves were a killer. Regardless of the Gjenganger's living demeanor, he or she is murderous in death.
At night, the Gjenganger will pinch a person, causing their entire body to slowly turn blue, then rot -- from the outside in. Their heart is the last organ to die.
Like a vampire, the Gjenganger can be warded off by religious items such as a cross around the neck or over one's door, but the best protection is to seal the creature in its grave.
A protective inscription should be written inside a suspected Gjenganger's coffin, and the coffin must then be hoisted over the cemetery's wall instead of walked in through the gates. If it is a churchyard, the coffin must be walked around the church three times. Any tools used to bury the deceased must be "left at the gravesite and not disturbed."
Lastly a "varp," a pile of stones or twigs commemorating the location where the person died, should be erected. If you ever happen across a varp, add to the pile, as it will bring you good luck.
And maybe it will keep the Gjenganger away.
I want to say I hope these stories don't keep you up tonight, but I'm not going to lie, I really hope they do. My aunt really fed me, and now you, a doozy when she warned of all the ghosts, ALL over the world just WAITING for unsuspecting horror junkies to invite them in.
Besides, that's probably just a tree branch at your window or the wind at your door...right?