It’s the nature of time that the old ways must give way to the new. But what happens when the old ways are not superstitions? What happens when they’re immortal and very very real?
Szepassony is the “beautiful lady” of Hungarian folklore. She was a spirit of romance, fertility, birth, death, and also storms and rain. Midwives and expectant mothers would pray to her for a safe childbirth, and she was also prayed to in matters of love.
With the dawn of Christianity, Szepassony was reviled as a demon. A temptress who led men astray and caused the deaths of babies that nursed at her breast. If you were out in a rainstorm, caught cold, and died, you had incurred the wrath of the demon Szepassony.
“The pishtaco is a fantasy figure, a bogeyman….The pishtaco is nearly always a vampirelike white man, who roams the countryside and plunders the fat from Indian bodies…” —Mary J. Weismantel, Cholas and Pishtacos: Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes
One of the strangest vampire species is the pishtaco of Peru, a species of vampire that was introduced by the Spanish missionaries and conquerors as the Spanish Empire started to expand its hold over the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. In Spain, this creature is known as a sacamantecas and its legend is older than that of the pishtaco. These monsters likely made the journey across the Atlantic, into the New World, where they continued their predatory ways in Peru and other South American locations. The pishtaco is so strange as, unlike other vampires, it does not seek blood but instead lives off of body fat.
Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)
As Europeans infringed upon native peoples and their lands in Africa, eldritch beings and pacts came to light and began to evolve with the times. Once such creature is the Asanbosam. Now thought of as a cross between an ogre and an iron-fanged, living vampire, their origin is much more horrifying. As humans violated the unspoken pact between the Akan peoples and their deities, a convocation of witches summoned the ancient Sasabonsam, who protected Asaseyaa’s forests on Thursdays (her day of rest). Europeans from the recently captured Fort tantamkweri were brought as sacrifices, and rather than drinking all of their blood, Sasabonsam mated with many.
They were returned as part of the negotiations between the Ashanti Empire and the British, and nine months later, they all gave birth to healthy, pink, red-haired, Caucasian babies. Well, some were healthier than others. These newborns would all grow into adulthood and, in their late twenties or early thirties, felt drawn to the forests around them. Those that could, seek out the jungles of Africa and rejoin their Asanbosam kin while they undergo their transformation into Asanbosams, changing into what is needed to protect the sacred lands of the indigenous peoples.
Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)
Thursdays are Asasseyaa’s sacred days, and as the earth mother, all must take a break from tilling the land and hunting. To this end, the iron-toothed Sasabonsam came into being, guarding the forests on Thursdays.
For as long as the earth and fertility goddess Asasseyaa has existed, so too has the guardian of the jungle, Sasabonsam. The creature appears to be immortal and is considered an asuman, or a lesser deity that interacts directly with people. The guardian of the forests gave its word that it would always keep mankind out of the goddess’s forests on Thursdays, and so it will until the end of days.
The Sasabonsam is considered unique among asumans, as most are considered “plural,” while there is thought to be only one Sasabonsam.
Times have changed, however. Before the 19th century, tradition served it well and the tribe native to the area stayed away. Those who broke tradition were sometimes led astray in the woods and managed to find their way out, days later, and considered lucky to be alive. But Europeans didn’t heed the lore of those who had lived on the land for millennia before their arrival. They were arrogant…cocky. And their actions have had grave consequences. Gone are the days when Sasabonsam would lead the occasional hunter astray, for these newcomers had no respect for the peoples, cultures, or lands of the Akan people of West Africa.
1892. Exeter Rhode Island. Folks are dying all around. George Brown’s family has been hit especially hard. First his wife Mary, and then his daughter Mary Olive passed on. His son Edwin had been sent away to Colorado in the hopes that the air would help him, but he returned because the sickness progressed. Then his daughter Mercy took sick and died.
How much can one man take? As Edwin’s illness grows worse, folks begin to talk. Three people dead in one family? Surely it wasn’t the “bacteria” these fancy doctors talk about. No, something was stalking the family. A curse….
George is a desperate man, ready to try anything to stop the hell he’s going through. Edwin is growing pale now and coughing up blood. The older folk in town are saying the dead of the Brown family are preying on the living to stay alive.
One day, George and some friends head to the cemetery. He’s had enough and he simply has to know. First they exhume Mary. She’s decomposed. Next they exhume Mary Olive. She’s decomposed. They turn their shovels to Mercy’s grave last. The men share a nervous glance when their shovels hit wood. Whispering a prayer to Almighty God, George opens the casket. Mercy lies in repose, looking as if she were merely sleeping. And then her eyes open….
According to Aboriginal folklore, the Yara-ma-yha-who are three to four feet tall and resemble a red-skinned, bipedal frog. Their fingertips and toes are described as having “octopus-like” suckers, while their face is dominated by a wide, toothless, frog-like mouth, large enough to engulf a person.