Don't feel like waiting for Hallowe'en to creep yourself out? You've come to the right place.
1/9. For millennia, nighttime wanderers in the wilderness have reported seeing strange, ghostly lights flickering in the distance. The smart ones ignore it and keep walking. The curious (and foolish) are seduced by this entity and attempt to approach it, following as it leads them off the beaten path.
But the more urgently they pursue the phantom, the faster it evades and eludes them, until finally it vanishes, leaving them alone in the depths of the forest, lost and frightened - perhaps forever.
This creature goes by many names and has equivalents in a wide range of cultures, but it is best known as a “Will-o’-the-wisp.” Some say it’s real; some say it merely represents a real phenomenon - that travellers in the wild tend to hallucinate and become disoriented if they’re alone for too long.
Either way, the moral of the story is clear: don’t follow the lights.
2/9. Icelandic folklore tells of a demon called a Nykur.
The Nykur takes the form of a beautiful horse, which is how it lures its prey. According to legend, the creature tends to lurk near lakes and rivers that are perilously icy and difficult to cross.
When a traveller comes to the edge of the water, the Nykur appears. It presents itself as a friendly and obedient beast, tempting its unsuspecting victim to jump onto its back and ride it home.
However, once you jump on a Nykur's back, you won't be going home. Instead, the beast drags you into the deep water and then vanishes, leaving you to drown or die from the elements.
But if you ever find yourself confronted by a demon horse, there is one surefire way to defeat it: just say its name. According to myth, this sprite cannot stand the sound of its own name, and will leave you alone if you simply say "Nykur."
'Boy On White Horse' by Theodore Kittelsen
3/9. In the swampy region of Dartmoor, England, they say something strange happens whenever a person dies out on the moor. (continued...)