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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore NA

What is Lycanthropy and Where Did It Come From?

The official definition of Lycanthropy? “A delusion that one has become a wolf,” or “the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic.” Basically, it’s the werewolf that’s become a common fixture in not just horror, but cinema in general. There’s something truly terrifying about this half-man, and half-wolf creature that brings bloodshed wherever it goes. Perhaps it’s the fact that this affliction usually happens to a helpless man – in the wrong place at the wrong time as he’s bitten by a mysterious creature and becomes a monster right before his own eyes. Or the fact that lycanthropy dates back to centuries-old folklore, and many believe that the wolfman isn’t just a symbol of cinema… but a real-life terror that walks among us. Here’s what you need to know about the phenomenon of lycanthropy. 

Lycanthropic woodcut of a village attacked by werewolves by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 1512

Where did Lycanthropy Originate?

Where does the legend of lycanthropy, or werewolves, originate? It’s complicated. Like many mythical creatures, the werewolf is a widespread concept in European folklore… was a critical part of stories told throughout the Medieval Period. However, the witch hunt (literally) for werewolves began during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period alongside the witchcraft trials. According to Wikipedia, “the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century.”

Being accused of witchcraft is one thing, but accusations of lycanthropy were quite literally a whole other beast. While many believed that you could become a werewolf by being bitten by one, others believed that lyncathropy took place by sleeping under the full moon or eating the wrong type of meat. In her book “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons,” folklorist Carol Rose notes that “In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible.” Yikes. 

Accusations of Lycanthropy

While the accusations are featured in less textbooks and movies than those of witchcraft, they were very much alive for centuries. One of the best known cases is that of Peter Stumpp, who was accused of werewolfery, witchcraft, and cannibalism in the 16th century. Known as “the Werewolf of Bedburg,” he had a violent and brutal history of torture, murder, and eating everything from goats and lambs to human children. After a grotesque execution where he had flesh torn from his body, limbs broken in multiple places, and was beheaded before being burned… his lyncathropy story became one of the most famous in history.

That being said, Peter Stumpp was a special case. And like the Salem Witch Trials, it’s safe to say that most accused of lycanthropy were not actually werewolves. Or were they? Many genuinely believed that werewolves walked among us centuries ago… and they remain a common presence in the gothic fiction and horror genres. We all love a good werewolf movie, but it becomes a bit darker after learning the fascinating history of lycanthropy.

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

When the Bandage Man Finds You

welcome to Cannon Beach sign

The sky was drowning the Oregon Coast during the summer in 1932, that Monday–August 4th–had brought two unexpected inches and it looked as if they were going to get at least that many more before nightfall. Harvey glanced up at the dark and angry storm-clouds overhead, his dirty rain-streaked face bore an unfortunately stern look. Harvey paired up with Jack, both men were large and burly and their capabilities with the equipment had never failed them before. They had a few special jobs to take care of in Section 8 and one of them to take down a particularly massive pine. Their hands were both slick with sweat, rain, and grease; halfway through the trunk, their saw bucked suddenly as it hit a knot. Harvey’s glove slid clean off as he scrambled to control the blade at which point he lost his footing. The saw raked him hard against his left cheek and then his torso–then–everything went black.

His eyes were coated thickly with dried blood as he made an attempt to open them, he barely registered the paramedics looking down at him as they bounced along the wet roads of the old coastal highway. Half-way to blacking out again, Harvey heard a loud thud, then darkness overtook them all as the ambulance was swept off the highway in a mudslide. The rescue crews came around the next day when they could finally reach those who had not made it back the night before–they uncovered the lifeless bodies of the driver and paramedics, but Harvey’s body was never recovered. In an official capacity he was reported as a missing person, but presumed dead from all of the injuries he had sustained.


It wasn’t the best night to be on an unfamiliar highway, the patches of fog which only seemed to break for torrential downpour. The onslaught of rain smacked heavily against the windshield suddenly which disturbed Lee out of her uneasy sleep. Her eyes were wide and dark as she searched the gloomy scenery from the passenger seat as if to figure out where they were.

“Hey, you okay?” Mason, Lee’s boyfriend, gave her a sideways glance and a playful jostle to her knee.

“Huh? Oh,” she blinked and swallowed as if that would help clear the fog in her mind. “Yeah, just got a bit startled is all,” the rain was drowning out the sound of the weather forecast and it proved impossible to hear over the extra static on the radio. All she could see out of her water-streaked window were the outlines of trees made possible by the dingy high beams of their old shaky single-cab. “Where are we anyway?”

“Well I think we’ll be coming up on highway 26 in a little while, so according to GPS we’re just outside of Cannon Beach?” Mason didn’t sound sure, but with a quick look at the phone on his dashboard showed him that he was way off course. “Wait… that’s not right. Let me just pull off the highway real quick…”

Headlights in the fog
Photography by Will Swann

Mason saw a side road that led off the narrow highway and realized too late that it wasn’t well maintained as the truck listed hard to the side into a pothole. The two of them heard a loud pop just as they went careening towards the trees. He stomped so hard on the brakes he was surprised he didn’t break the pedal—but it only took the couple a moment to realize how close they had just come to serious injury. The two looked at each other breathlessly before they both burst into that uncontrollable and slightly inappropriate happy-to-be-alive laughter. Lee hung her head in her hands and her laughter turned into a groan.

“Of course, this is what happens on our first road trip together,” she pulled out her phone to call roadside assistance and Mason grabbed a flashlight then hopped out of the driver’s seat to check how much damage there was. From Lee’s perspective, it looked as if Mason was just shaking his head in disbelief, while the rain soaked him down to the bone.

“Did they say how long it would be for a tow?” Her waterlogged beau climbed back into the cab after a while, clicked the flashlight off and sighed.

“Well, there’s a problem, since we don’t know what road we’re on, all I could tell them is that we were on our way into Cannon Beach when our GPS started acting up and we pulled off—I’m not sure how much they heard, I had to repeat the policy number four or five times because the reception here is terrible. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to find us for a while,”

Mason cursed under his breath, “did you bring the blankets up here at the last rest stop we made?” Lee nodded and pulled her part of the seat forward to pull them out of where they had been stashed. Mason was already shaking from the chill that ran through his body as he pulled off his wet shirt and pants in an attempt to dry off with one of the blankets.

“I don’t like it here Mason,” Lee’s voice trembled a bit, her knuckles whitened from the vice-like grip she had on the second blanket. “It feels like we’re being watched.”

“Baby, we’ll be alright, we’re right outside of a town, if it weren’t raining we could probably walk—”

“—I am NOT walking anywhere! That’s the kind of thing that gets you killed in horror movies,” she huffed and Mason reached over to push her thick dark hair out of her eyes, an unyielding expression had overcome her.

“Come here, you whiner,” Mason smiled and pulled her over to him, “we’ll be alright, we’re not walking anywhere. We’ll have to stay here until morning though if the tow truck isn’t able to find us.” Lee’s lips returned to their pout and she leaned into him, “In fact, I think this is pretty great—it almost feels like we’re going parking,” Mason laughed, a devilish grin spread wide across his face and he snuck a kiss from her.

“You’re terrible,” she teased between his kisses before they finally lost all words and the sensual, playful kisses turned into clumsy, feverish fumbles—reminiscent of their teenage years. Lee pulled the second blanket around them as the windows began to fog up; the rush from their accident and subsequent stranding had turned into an insatiable lust for one another. Mason had Lee’s shirt halfway unbuttoned when they both felt it—the whole bed of the truck leaned heavily to one side and then bounced back.

“What the—” they both sat up to look out into the bed of the truck, “can’t see anything,” Lee used her sleeve to wipe the foggy window clean and immediately screamed in terror. There were red luminescent eyes looking back at her through the window, through a strange mask—no, not a mask, they were bandages. Mason fumbled with the flashlight to see what she had seen, but by the time he shone the flashlight through the back window there wasn’t anything to see. Whatever it was, Lee was inconsolable and babbling about red eyes.

Screaming in the dark

“Lee!” He shook her, “LEE! Listen to me! What did you see?”

“Mummy,” she squeaked out between sobs, “red eyes,” it was like her throat closed after that and she couldn’t find words to explain—the truck shifted again, the front end of the car sunk slowly down and they could hear the metal bending under something heavy. Mason tried to shine the light through the windshield, but the heat inside of the cab made the windows impossibly opaque. He had never had a reason to not believe what Lee said, but he didn’t know how to process her claims. Before he could even reach up to the windshield to wipe it off, someone—or something—began pounding on the windshield and roof of the truck.

“We’ll be okay,” his voice was soft, “we’ll be okay,” his voice got lower, “we’ll be okay.” Mason began to choke as a stomach-turning stench wafted in through the vents—it was the unmistakable smell of rotting flesh—the pounding continued for a few minutes and Mason held Lee protectively, she whimpered and ducked her head into his arms. It sounded like whatever was banging on the truck had moved back to the bed and Lee jumped at the sound of when it began beating the glass of the back window. Then it all stopped, but Lee couldn’t bring herself to look up.

The glass behind Mason’s head shattered as a bloodied and bandaged hand smashed through and grabbed him by the hair. Screams erupted from both of them and Mason attempted to beat away the bandaged arm with the flashlight he still had in his hand. Lee scrambled backward; blood-curdling screams propelled her through the door after she fumbled for the handle. Her body fell like a ragdoll out of the cab of the truck and she landed hard on the muddy ground. Frantically she grasped for footing in the slick and unforgiving earth below her, she caught a brief glimpse of the broken silhouette of the thing as it pulled her boyfriend out of the broken back window. It was strangling him; she could see him gasping for air through his broken cries for help.

Mason’s body went limp and Lee couldn’t find her voice to scream anymore, but she had wasted her opportunity to get away, frozen in place as she watched her boyfriend die before her eyes. Disbelief left her body as adrenaline pumped deafeningly through her and she scrambled back toward the highway at a sprint. Lee thought she saw lights coming through the fog, but a filthy bloodstained hand covered her mouth and yanked her backward.


It was nearly daylight when Larry pulled slowly on to Bandage Man road—he’d been searching for these tourists all night after his company received a call for a tow, but he’d been told it was garbled and all they knew is that they had been on their way into town.

“That damn pothole, I told ‘em it’d cause a problem sooner or later,” he moaned to himself as he navigated around the lake that had formed within it overnight. Once he caught sight of the truck he frowned, the passenger-side door was wide open—that was strange—and one of the back windowpanes looked as if it had been busted out. Larry stepped out of his rig and hollered, “Hello?” No response. He noticed as he walked up to the driver’s side of the truck that there was blood on the freshly broken back window, along with a lingering odor he couldn’t quite place. When he finally saw that there was no one in the truck, his heart began to race wildly—he knew as soon as he saw that ripped and bloodied bandage on the seat what had actually happened here, nearly a hundred years after Harvey, the Bandage Man, had met his brutal end.

Bandage Man of Cannon Beach, Oregon

Since we’re dedicated to supplying you with creative inspiration and all of your lore needs, we suggest you take a look at our encyclopedia entry on this particular haunting.

If you happen to have any first-hand encounters with Bandage Man or know a story that you grew up with, comment below and give us the details!

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Horror Mystery and Lore NA

Why Does the Weeping Woman Weep?

La Llorona walking away
Photography by Caroline Hernandez

The Tale of the Weeping Woman is an ultimately tragic one, but because of this grim tale, her story has been told as a bedtime story and over a campfire as a means of entertainment for over a hundred years—this legend is known most often as La Llorona, the weeping woman, and the wailing woman.

This grieving woman’s story has changed from family to family, as well as with each generation of storytellers. In most of the popular versions of her story, she is portrayed in three main ways—the first, La Llorona appears as an indigenous woman whose husband has cheated on her, in an attempt to seek revenge for his infidelity, she drowned her children in a river but was immediately so remorseful as she looked upon her dead children that she committed suicide alongside them. The second version, La Llorona is the spirit of the Aztec Goddess Chihuacoatl, who as an omen that foretold the devastation of the Aztec society by the arrival of the Spaniards. In the third most popular variation, La Llorona is actually the spirit of Doña Marina, or La Malinche—in life she was the lover and interpreter for Hernan Cortés; in the Mexican community she was considered a traitor—it is believed that Cortés betrayed her with a Spanish woman and she subsequently drowned both of her children in her own despair.

No matter the rendition, she is as popular as ever having drifted into mainstream horror culture and broken the barrier between cultural significance and American entertainment when The Curse of La Llorona was released in 2019.

Ghost reaching up from the water
Photography by Ian Espinosa

True Encounters with La Llorona

Like any great legend, there are known encounters with the subject of the legend itself—in this case, La Llorona has been experienced all over Mexico and the adjoining United States. These particular cases seem to underline a different side of La Llorona though, a side which emphasized more of a maternal nature than that of a murderer.

Mexico City, Mexico

In Mexico City, a large family of nine was being haunted by a shadowy figure in the toddler’s bedroom—seeing this figure out of the corner of their eyes was just the first stage of this encounter with La Llorona. Soon whenever they would catch a glimpse of her figure, they began to hear the sound of sobbing in the distance.

The manifestations only got stronger and more rampant after a priest was brought in to cleanse and bless what was thought to be a malevolent entity from the home. Soon, the physical form of the apparition began to appear as a woman in white, who the family recognized as La Llorona; she began moving chairs as well as opening and closing doors. One night they captured movement on the baby monitor, which upon further inspection turned out to be the blanket being moved as if the child were being tucked in by an invisible force. After trying all other avenues, the parents took their toddler to the doctor, at which time they found the child was suffering from medical issues that would have turned fatal if left untreated. Once the child was being treated all manifestations of La Llorona ceased.

Guanajuato, Mexico

Another case of La Llorona appeared to a family of five, where the mother, father, and oldest son would see glimpses of this weeping apparition, who was always standing near the two youngest children. It was strange because the two children she would always hover around would never see her themselves, despite the natural ability of children to be more perceptive to paranormal phenomena that may occur around them. As the manifestations progressed, the sounds of wailing would sweep through their home in the middle of the night and randomly during the day—this would wake everyone in the house except for the children who would never hear her cries.

La Llorona walking in shallow water
Photography by Rafael Alcure

The manifestations of her spirit and her screams of grief frequented this family more and more often, even when the extended family came to help. The parents became thoroughly concerned for the two youngest children and sent them to stay with their extended family for a period of time and as soon as the children left, so did the regular hauntings of La Llorona. While the children were staying with their extended family, they had planned to have their cousin stay with them for several months and they immediately told him about their experiences with La Llorona. The weirdest part is that a day before the children were set to return, the cousin was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child abuse.

Jarácuaro, Mexico

A single mother and her two children took refuge with the mother’s sister, the plan was that they would stay with her for the foreseeable future, so they ended up moving into one of the rooms in the back of the sister’s aging home. As soon as the three moved in, the entire house began to hear bizarre noises at night, which were eerie footsteps along the floorboards, doors, and cabinets opening and closing at random, as well as the sound of stifled crying. Day and night, the crying began to be accompanied by an apparition of what the family believed to be La Llorona, who would only manifest very briefly.

Even after the home was blessed by a priest, the sightings wouldn’t cease. The mother awoke one night to an unnerving scene, one of her children was sitting on the foot of the bed, speaking to what looked like a shadowy figure near the bed where they all slept. The next day, her child told her that the apparition, who the child referred to as the “nice lady,” told them that they needed to stay in the front room instead. Heeding the ghost’s warning, the mother moved herself and her children out of the back bedroom and into the living room—and none too soon, as two nights later the entire room caved into a sinkhole that had formed below the back portion of the house.

So why does the weeping woman weep? What version of La Llorona did you hear as a child? Let us know in the comments below!

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Horror Mystery and Lore

Why the Dead Come Back to Haunt Us

A common question on the minds of those who believe in ghosts, is what causes a dead person to reappear as a ghost? Unfortunately, this topic isn’t as well researched as the topic of whether or not ghosts actually exist, so there is no real scientific data to back it up—but there is plenty of folklore and a bounty of ghost culture to draw appropriate conclusions from. If you have friends like mine, you’ve likely heard the words, “if I die, I’m coming back to haunt you!” This is largely due to the extensive amount of lore that exists about ghosts and what may have caused the deceased person to turn into a ghost after passing. There are reasons that are not quantifiable by science that cause the spirit to linger after death, whether it be justice or revenge—as was displayed in The Tale of the Red Skeleton, as well as The Ghost’s Tea Kettle, the ghost usually has a reason to come back—soul-consuming grief or simply unfinished business that needs to be attended to, or settled before they can rest.

Common Apparitions That Haunt the Living

These are, of course, assumptions based on select ghost sightings, most of these sightings are ones that can be considered common, where the history corroborates any reason for the ghost to be there at all.

The White Lady

The White Lady walking through the forest
Photography by Chirobocea

As can be assumed by their moniker, a White Lady or Lady in White is a female ghost, whose apparition is always fully clothed in white. Her appearance is always associated with a local tragic legend and she appears in areas that used to be either rural or continue to be rural. The White Lady apparitions are found across the world and are especially prominent in English-speaking countries, or places where there used to be a large English-speaking community. The appearance of one of these spirits follows the history of a woman committing suicide after the heartbreak of losing a child, husband, or father—with a heavy emphasis of innocence on the part of the woman who ends up becoming the White Lady. It is theorized by ghost hunters and enthusiasts alike, that the appearance of these spirits is due to a lingering connection to the world of the living, even after death, due to the magnitude of the grief that they experienced just prior to their deaths.

The Lady in Red

The Red Lady standing alone in a room
Photography by Vladimir Fedotov

In what would appear to be direct opposition to the White Lady, the Red Lady is also a female ghost, but her sightings are attributed to a woman that was not quite as chaste. The Red Lady or Lady in Red is always associated with a woman who displayed vanity in life, a prostitute that was the victim of passion gone wrong, or a jilted lover. Not unlike the White Lady, the Red Lady is found worldwide. She does haunt different types of locations though; places that have historic value, such as old hotels, theatres, and other public venues. There is a particularly large concentration of them that are located in old mining communities, due to the commonality of brothels being such a booming business. It is important to note that in the case of this kind of apparition, the woman is wearing a red dress and is commonly thought of as a victim of objectification. Despite her poor treatment in life, she is never really described as a hostile spirit, but may not be overly friendly all the time.

The Witte Wieven

Witte Wieven amassing as fog on a hill
Photography by Ricardo Angel Gomez

The folklore of the Witte Wieven dates back to the pre-Christian era of what is now known as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France—they are the spirits of wise women, who in life were the highly regarded female herbalists and healers, who cared for the physical and mental ailments of their people. Much like the White Lady, the Witte Wieven is said to appear as a pure white apparition, but instead of a clear figure, she is more of a fog or a mist the engulfs the entirety of the location she appears in. More often than not, when the Witte Wieven is mentioned in the text, it is often cited that they were known for their ability of prophecy and generally looking into the future. These women held such a high status that upon their deaths, a celebration would be held at their burial site in their honor. With the trend of other spirits lingering on due to some type of woe, or unfinished business, it might seem strange that the Witte Wieven, according to their mythology, remain on the earthly plane in order to help and sometimes hinder those who encounter them at their gravesites and other sacred locations.

What Haunts the Dead?

It’s not quite clear if there is always a reason for a spirit to remain behind, as the spirits mentioned above are just common cases that have been reported and can easily be tracked by their notoriety. It’s important to keep an open mind to the idea that there may be another reason why these spirits are unable to move on—but with the limited information that is available on the where, why, and how of spirits and their manifestations, it is commonly believed that these spirits are equally haunted by the living as the living are haunted by the dead.