The Devil’s Toy Box – Louisiana

Date of Establishment

Allegedly the cabin was built in 2014 as part of a Halloween attraction on an orchard.

Name & Location

“The Devils Toy Box” and “Farmer Grave’s Haunted Orchard.” The cabin is located North of Louisiana on an old farm possibly near or in Alexandria. The secondary name Farmer Grave’s Haunted Orchard also implies it is on “Farmer Grave’s” farm.

Physical Description

The cabin is described as a windowless one room shack and on the inside the walls, floor, and ceiling are all mirrors

Origin

The shack was allegedly built as part of a halloween event that the farm had done each year. In 2014 Farmer Grave decided to add a new feature to the event and he created the “Devil’s Toy Box” at that time.

Mythology and Lore

Going inside the mirrored room is said to have driven several people insane. There are reports of individuals coming out kicking and screaming beyond reasoning. Several people believe the room can summon the devil himself.

Apparently, no one could last longer than five minutes inside the room. There was even a large timer set up beside the building that showed the current occupant’s length of stay under a second clock displaying the longest recorded time up to that point, which maxed out at four minutes and thirty-seven seconds before the attraction finally closed. The man who managed to last that long (Roger Heltz, age 52, father of three) had been reduced to a wide-eyed mute. To this day, he still hasn’t said a word.

Thought Catalog

Modern Pop-Culture References

None known at this time

Ubume

Ubume cradling her dead child
Artwork by Toriyama Sekien

Date of Discovery

Found as far back as the Heian-period Tales of Times Now Past, the first known date of her being described was during the Edo period, in 1687. Through the illustrations in the picture scrolls of the Hyakkai-zukan and the Bakemono zukushi within Toriyama Sekien’s catalog, Ubume’s image as a yokai became permanent.

Name

The Ubume is also known as the Birthing Woman. She has many different names across the many regions of Japan–in the Shiga Prefecture, she is known as the Ubume-tori and on Sado Island in the Niigata Prefecture, she is known as the Ubu–other names include Obo, Unme, Ugume, and Ubame tori.

In modern times, the standard kanji characters used to name her literally define how she died, 産女, which translates to “birthing woman.”

Since death during childbirth was such a common experience before modern medicine, it’s possible that the Ubume is related to a similar yokai, known as the kosodate-yurei, which translates to “child-rearing ghost.”

Physical Description

The Ubume can appear in many different forms, many of the most popular renditions are when she appears as a woman carrying a baby, a pregnant woman, or a blood-soaked walking corpse carrying an underdeveloped fetus. At times her apparition can be described as a bloody pregnant woman who cries out into the night in desperate need for help; all of these variations are because of the different burial traditions in the different regions from which the story originates, as well as the circumstances under which the woman and her child died. Within the traditions of burying a woman who died while trying to birth a stillborn fetus, she would either be buried with the baby within her womb, or they would cut the child out of her and cradle the fetus in her arms for burial.

Suuhi Ubume, cradling her dead child
Artwork by Sawaki Sūshi

Origin

The origin of the Ubume is the result of a woman who dies just before, during, or shortly after childbirth, where the spirit experiences crippling anxiety about the safety of her child after passing. Due to this unresolved issue, her ghost manifests as the Ubume and her spirit will typically appear later on during dark and rainy nights.

The Ubume embodies the serious health concerns about pregnancy and safely delivering a child. She represents the self-sacrificing spirit of motherhood. Several Buddhist temples in Japan, are actually associated with the Ubume, motherhood, as well as the act of childbirth itself.

Mythology and Lore

According to The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore by Michael Dylan Foster, the Ubume is found in various different forms throughout the country of Japan and resides in a collection of ghost stories, religious texts, and other documents. The details of her stories vary from place to place, but she is commonly thought of as the apparition of a woman who died during childbirth.

In one version of the tale, she will appear at crossroads or upon a bridge as twilight falls upon the region, with her lower body completely soaked in blood, she appears to be crying and cradling an infant in her arms. If a male passes her by, she asks him to hold the baby, and then promptly leaves. In this version, the baby continuously grows heavier in the man’s arms until he cannot move or risk dropping the child–in alternatives of this particular tale, the baby actually turns into a stone.

Although it’s never clear what happens to the baby or the woman, there are always different outcomes to each narrative depending upon the region from which the tale originates. One in particular ends with the man being rewarded for his effort with the gift of physical strength, which he is able to pass on to his descendants in the years to come.

In many other parts of Japan, there is a legend of a mysterious woman who comes night after night to buy candy from a corner store. One night, after the shopkeeper has grown suspicious of her, he follows her and finds that she disappears into a graveyard. As soon as she disappears, he hears a baby crying and stumbles upon a grave that has been dug up, where a woman who had died during childbirth had recently been buried. The strangest thing happens when he finds this grave, he finds her baby, healthy and alive laying by the side of the freshly decomposing corpse of its mother. The shopkeeper takes the child in, and in many legends, the baby grows up to become a prominent Buddhist monk.

Within the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: A Field Guide to Japanese Yokai, the author Matthew Meyer discusses how these tragic spirits wander the areas near where they passed away, where the baby survives, and her attempts to care for the child that she left behind. In some cases, she even attempts to purchase food, clothes, or candy for her surviving child, but in place of money, she tries to purchase it with handfuls of dead leaves. This particular Ubume is also known to try to lead someone to where her baby is hidden so it can be cared for by the living.

Modern Pop-Culture References

The Ubume became a well-known fictional character within popular Japanese culture, by means of Kabuki dramas, where she was the basis for the ghost of Oiwa-san, a vengeful spirit who returns from the dead to haunt her cruel and cheating husband within the play Tokaido-Yotsuya Kaidan from 1825. Surprisingly, this doesn’t sound all too unfamiliar with ghost stories such as the one of La Llorona.



Is there anything we missed about the Ubume? Let us know in the comments section below!

Vampire

Date of Discovery

Vampires date back to prehistory and were significantly lacking in physical documentation until the “Scriptures of Delphi,” were discovered during the second half of the 19th century. Having been written somewhere around 450BC, it predated any other known documentation of vampires. These creatures didn’t actually appear by name until 1047 in a more modern Russia.

Name

The Vampire as we know the legend today has had many names over the years, such as the original name it was known by, Upir, which was discovered in the document from 1047 which referred to a Russian prince as an Upir Lichy, which translates into, “wicked vampire.”

Alternative names for the vampire (French) are derivations from the original form, Upir, as vampyre (Archaic), vampir (German), vàmpīr (Serbo-Croatian), *ǫpyrь (Proto-Slavic), upýrʹ (Russian), and upiór (Polish).

Descendants of the original vampire lore are known as bhêmpayar (Bengali), vaimpír (Irish), vanpaia/banpaia (Japanese), vhĕmpāyar (Marathi), wɛm-paai (Thai), bhampair (Scottish-Gaelic), vampiri (Swahili), and fampir (Welsh) just to name a few–all of the terms that are used to describe the vampire are related etymologically.

There are many creatures that resemble the vampire in nature but are not directly related to the original demon.

Physical Description

Due to the wide variety of characterizations of vampires, but they are often portrayed as sharp-fanged humanoid creatures–they are typically said to have pale skin and range in physical appearance from grotesque to preternaturally beautiful depending on the source of the folklore.

Origin

Having originated during prehistoric times, it’s difficult to know just how they came into being. Although not always documented as the first official legend of vampires the “Scriptures of Delphi,” were found in the archaeological sites of Delphi, said to be written by the infamous Oracle of Delphi. The scriptures have within, there is a section known as the “Vampire Bible,” which is, of course, used as a colloquial term. The “Vampire Bible,” speaks about the first vampire, Ambrogio.

The first, more modern document that is known to enter vampires into legend in the new age as Upir, appeared a significant amount of time after the Scriptures of Delphi were written and subsequently lost to time.

The first known document that has entered them into legend is clear that the vampire existed well before the word for it did. In 1190, “De Nagis Crialium,” was written by Walter Map and accounts for vampire-like beings in England. Just six years later and William of Newburgh’s, “Chronicles,” accounted for several more stories of vampire-like revenants which also occurred in England. As far as is known, this was the last time they were written about until the 1400s, after Vlad Tepes, son of Vlad Dracul was born. Vlad Dracul or, “Vlad the Dragon,” was the father of the man that the world came to know as Vlad the Impaler–the original Dracula.

Mythology and Lore

Blood and flesh consuming revenants or demons can be found in nearly every culture worldwide; these creatures were incredibly well documented in each of these cultures. Before they were known as vampires, they were considered demons or spirits, and are often still comparable to demons in modern pop-culture. In the millennia that the legends of vampires have existed, there are only a handful that have truly captured attention worldwide. Most of these originate from the 1700s and particularly Transylvania –where there were reports of vampires that came from evil beings, suicide victims, witches, a malevolent spirit inhabiting a corpse, or being bitten by another vampire. This actually caused mass hysteria in many regions and was followed by believed vampires being publically executed.

Tales like Ambrogio, Dracula, Nosferatu, and more have led to the evolution of the vampire legend and turned these creatures into one of the most popular and well-known figures in horror culture.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Due to the immensely popular nature of the vampire, these modern media references are but a raindrop in the ocean of what can be found in literature, movies, and television series.

Books

Movies

Television Series



Is there anything we missed about vampires? Let us know in the comments section below!

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