There are plenty of scary monsters in the world that we've all heard of and know to avoid; some examples would be zombies, ghosts and goblins. But did you know that there are other terrifying forces hiding in unsuspecting places?
While these ghouls and other monsters are out in the open getting tons of exposure, there are a few you may not have heard of. They have very few films based on their folklore and the terror they cause, meaning that their legacies are only found in books and online (for now!). That's where I come in; I'm going to teach you about a handful that you've probably never heard of! Mentalfloss.com supplied me with the knowledge to educate you all on these evil monsters across all planes of religion.
I just learned about Vetala through doing some research for this article, and they have become one of my favorite monsters I've heard of!
Vetala is a vampire-like spirit that can inhabit and reanimate corpses. They come from Hindu folklore, and while their description sounds kind of like the idea of a zombie, they are able to leave corpses at will, and the body no longer decays while under the control of a Vetala. They are able to manipulate their host to read minds and become all-knowing, so they are able to answer questions about the past, present and future. So basically they possess a corpse and control them to get what they want from you. That's pretty horrifying.
In the horror genre: as far as I've been able to find, the only mention of Vetala throughout horror was a tv series in 2009 called "The Vetala". Here's hoping they make something new centered around these soon!
This one is slightly similar to the Vetala, in terms of how it accomplishes its goal.
Dybbuks come from Jewish folklore. They are the soul of a dead person that possesses the body of a sinner (yes, you have to have sinned for a Dybbuk to enter your body). There are two ways that Dybbuks can inhabit your body: silently where they chill out until you die, or they can torture you for the remainder of your life (or until you see a trained Rabbi to exorcize the demon).
In the horror genre: The Dibbuk Box by Kevin Mannis was a novel written about a wine cabinet on eBay. Mannis wrote a horror story to accompany the box. Dybbuks were also gifted to us in horror with 2009's release of The Unborn.
This one might freak me out the worst, because besides the fact that they're shape-shifters, they're also described as being pretty awful-looking...
The Pishacha is a type of ghost from Eastern religions, and is another type of spirit. They are typically the spirit of a person who has committed a sort of heinous crime, like fraud, adultery, or rape. In their new form, they are shape-shifters; able to turn themselves into just about anything they want. They also have the ability to make themselves invisible in order to torture and torment people. (Jerks.)
But the way that they're described is where the real horror is: "according to many texts, they’re humanoids with a deep, obsidian skin tone, red eyes, and bulging veins covering their bodies." ...Yuck.
In the horror genre: so far, there is nothing about this one out there! I think this deserves its own film...what do you guys think?
2) Xing Tian
One of the most bizarrely described monsters I think I've ever heard of, Xing Tian sounds like a big baby who got crabby and gave up on trying to find his most prized possession.
The story of Xing Tian goes like this: he was a god from Chinese folk mythology. A giant warrior, he served under Emperor Yan, who was defeated in battle. "During the duel, the Yellow Emperor decapitated Xing Tian and hid his head inside Changyang Mountain", and that's where all of the fun starts!
Once he was decapitated, Xing Tian spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for his head. He was unsuccessful, so he eventually gave up and grew a new face on his torso. No big deal. From then on, he terrorized other gods that crossed him because he was bitter.
In the horror genre: This is another one that I can't seem to find much exposure for, but I think this would make a pretty sweet action/fantasy film.
This will be the one that most of you have heard of, and it's my personal favorite! (I saved the best for last!)
Described as "supernatural creatures in Islamic mythology", the Djinn are made of smoke and fire, however they are able to make themselves into physical beings so they are able to interact with those around them. Djinn have the ability to be either good or evil.
Known to us as the origin where "genies" came from, Djinn are able to trick people into making wishes for their own personal gain, often twisting the result which can lead to serious bodily harm or even death. (Real nice, guys.)
In the horror genre: the most popular interpretation of the Djinn is one of my guilty pleasure horror films: Wishmaster! There's a whole series devoted to it, and one of those films actually stars Robert Englund (you may know him as Freddy Krueger). We also received a film about the Djinn in 2013, with a film by the same name.
The images for the Vetala and Pishacha were provided to me by another creator by the name of Harish Chengaiah. I couldn't have made this accurate without him, so thank you so much Harish!!