Creatures and spirits from around the world that you may have in your house right now
You’ve likely heard of elves, faeries, gnomes and other cryptids that have worked alongside humans in faery tales. But did you know that there are several types of cryptids that are believed to live in your home? Some of them ward off evil spirits, others help with chores. Some can be spirit in nature, others are physical beings. Various renditions of these creatures exist in almost every culture in the world. We will examine but a few of them in this article, listed in alphabetical order.
When you translate the name of this Japanese household spirit to English, it literally means filth licker. The akaname live up to this translation as this spirit lives in your toilet with the goal of keeping your toilet and bathroom clean through the use of its long tongue.
The rest of this spirit, should you see it in person, is just as hideous as its job. Its body takes a human form with greasy skin while its head most closely resembles that of a goblin from which its enormous sticky tongue protrudes.
The akaname only take up residence in the filthiest of homes and public bath houses. They use their tongues to lap up the slime, grease, hair and other filth found in bathrooms. You do not want akaname in your home because they spread disease; so it is recommended that you maintain a clean bathroom to keep them away!
Prominent in both Japan and China, the Baku is a spirit dating back to the 17th century that can be summoned to your home. Folklore has it that the Baku was put together at the end of creation with leftover parts which is why it consists of an elephant’s head, rhino’s eyes, tiger’s legs and ox’s tail.
The Baku originated with tales of hunters who upon slaying the Baku, would wear its pelt as a way to ward off evil spirits. This changed over time to simply displaying the image of a Baku in your home as a means of helping ward off the evil spirits that create nightmares. Keeping a Baku talisman close to the bed is still common practice because the Baku is a dream eater.
If someone has a nightmare that wakes them up, they are to simply call out to a Baku eat their dreams. In Japan, one calls out “Baku-san, come eat my dream,” three times to summon the Baku. It will show up and eat the dream so a peaceful slumber can follow. It is important to ensure that the nightmare is sufficient enough to feed the Baku before summoning it into your home because if the spirit is left hungry, it will feast upon your hopes and dreams leaving you bereft of happiness.
Who hasn’t heard of the legend of Bloody Mary? Whether it was from a childhood dare or viewing her on the silver screen, Bloody Mary is a part of English folklore that has taken up residence in other parts of the world.
Bloody Mary is a spirit accessible in your own household. Simply sit in a darkened room in front of a mirror, only using a dim candle for lighting. Stare into the mirror and say her name three times loud and clear; after the third utterance is when she will make an appearance.
This is not a good thing according to modern legend. She may appear covered in blood (hence her name), or as a corpse. Bloody Mary may scream at you, appear in the room and try to strangle you, or even try to blind you by clawing your eyes out.
In historical legends, Bloody Mary would not appear. Rather, this ritual was a summoning by young women. The goal of summoning Blood Mary was to have her display the face of the summoner’s future husband in the mirror. Not all women were blessed with this apparition though, for some a skull would appear. If this were to happen, it meant that the young woman would die before she was married.
A creature from English folklore, the boggart has long, shaggy unkempt hair, spindly arms and eyes as wide as saucers.
The boggart is the origination of the term bogeyman (also known as the boogeyman). They live in your house and will appear if children misbehave. Boggart’s are known to spoil milk, steal food and bang doors among other mischievous acts. Even more creepy, boggarts are known to crawl into bed with you and put their hands, always cold and clammy, against your face. They will pull on your ears and clothing, and if that doesn’t wake you, they’ll remove the bed sheets while you’re sleeping.
Children beware! If the house has truly unruly children, the boggart will abduct the child and carry them away, never to be seen again.
Should a boggart in known to be in your house, it is wise to behave at all costs. Once a boggart has moved into your home, it will follow a family no matter where they flee. It is easy to avoid boggarts taking up residence, it requires a salt pile outside your bedroom that is replenished as needed and hanging a horseshoe above the front door.
Brownies are of English and Scottish origin. These industrious little creatures are often synonymous with hobs, but are slightly different. A brownie is typically a wonderful addition to any home. They are almost never seen (but sometimes heard), only come out at night while everyone is asleep, and they tidy up your home.
Not all brownies are good to have around. If you have a mischievous brownie, they may do the exact opposite. The can create a ruckus, waking you from your slumber. When you check on the source of the noise, you find that your home has become a disorganized mess.
It is recommended should you ever have a brownie move in with you, do not leave it offerings. Should you leave offerings such as food or clothing (when seen, brownies typically have old, drab brown clothing), your brownie may leave altogether or turn mischievous.
The Domovoi (sometimes spelled Domovoy) originate from Rodnovery, the Slavic Native Faith. They are so prominent that every house is said to have their own personal domovoi living in an inconspicuous place like below the threshold of a door or under various household items close to the floor.
They don’t always stay near the floor though. When seen, these hairy imp-like beings that take the shape of a tiny old man or of the shape of household animals. It is recommended that you leave the domovoi a small table offering occasionally to keep it sated.
As household creatures, the domovoi serve a purpose. If the home they share with you is kept orderly and tidy, they will work to help maintain your property by doing small chores at night inside the home and outside in the yard. On the other hand, if your house is in disarray (including leaving dishes in the sink), they will act in kind. Things will fall down, break, go missing, and you won’t get a good night’s sleep until all is set right again in your house. In a worst-case scenario, the domovoi will forever leave your home for good.
This spirit is the living embodiment of fire according to Lithuanian lore and is only present in homes that keep a fireplace. Appearing as a cat, a rooster, or as a woman in a fiery red dress, Gabija is a household spirit that has a real destructive streak if it is not appeased.
In addition to offerings of bread and salt to keep Gabija appeased, the most important thing you can do to show respect for her is to maintain your fireplace flame. Ensure that the flame does not burn to hot nor too smoky. If the flame needs to be extinguished at the end of the night, the use of water is the only acceptable means of tamping it down. When Gabija is happy, your home will remain warm even on the coldest of nights.
If you do not follow these protocols, then Gabija gets angry. She will cause the flame to wander as she grows angrier. Should she grow too angry, the flame may wander too far and your house may catch fire.
This matagot is a household spirit from France that presents itself typically in the physical form of a black cat, but it is known to appear in other mammalian forms as well.
When the matagot is respected, it will bring wealth into your home. But, the matagot do not appear on their own; these helpful spirits need to be summoned. Matagot lore states that your have to lure them to your home by placing a chicken outside and walking away, without ever looking back. Once the matagot is looking after your home, save the first bite of every meal for the matagot and you will be rewarded the following morning with money and good health.
The matagot must be set free after a while or the spirit will begin to make things in your house more turbulent. Like other spirits of the home, the matagot will create tumult, break things and cause general discontent.To send the matagot on its way, simply stop giving it food and it will leave.
In Norway, the nisse is the origination of the quintessential garden gnome statue that so many people put outside their homes. Diminutive in stature with long, white beards and a pointy red cap, the nisse are immediately recognizable.
The nisse live in houses and barns and act as guardian spirits of the places where they reside. They help to ensure the protection of the people and livestock that share the same property with them. When content, they may aid in small chores and even do some work on the farm. To keep them content, nisse simply need respect and a bowl of porridge with butter put out for them on Christmas Eve.
The nisse are known to be short on temperance. If you offend the nisse, the best case scenario is that they leave your property causing it fail to thrive. Otherwise, if one doesn’t respect the nisse and they decide to remain, they can turn mischievous. Like other household spirits and imp-like creatures on this post, the nisse will play tricks including making noises, breaking things, moving or stealing items, and even turning on the livestock that they look after in the barn. Livestock can be found to be mysteriously maimed or even killed due to discontented nisse.
The Šulak are referenced from ancient Babylon and they are not a spirit you want in your home. They are known to cause both illness and death. To keep the Šulak at bay, protection amulets were known to be built into the foundation of Babylonian homes.
When seen, the Šulak are known to take the shape of an upright lion or goat and they appear in your bathroom (which is where they are destined to lurk). The good news is that if you keep a clean, tidy bathroom, the Šulak will have no interest in your home.
Should your bathroom be unclean, beware. The Šulak are known for causing strokes, heart attacks, seizures and other health events that onset in the bathroom.
The trasgu (sometimes written as trasgo) are from northern Spain and North Portugal. This imp-like creature that will appear small and spindly and are known for wearing red caps and capes. It is known for limping and has a prominent hole in its left hand.
The trasgu like to be provided with small amounts of food and a warm place to lie their head at night. Like most household imps, if the trasgu is treated right, it will help you around the house by completing small chores.
The Trasgu are often blamed for the things that go bump in the night when they are not content. They also like to put things in places where they do not belong. If the Trasgu is being moody, it can break things, spill liquids on the floor, and even scare your cattle. They always follow you to a new house, so you cannot move away from the Trasgu but if you are creative, you may get them to leave your house.
Should you find yourself with a trasgu, the best way to keep them from causing mischief if to give them simple chores. These chores should be tasks that are impossible for the trasgu, like moving grain from one basket to another while only using only its left hand. The trasgu will keep attempting the feat until it is wholly exhausted; it will then leave your home permanently.
The Zashiki-warashi is a guardian spirit in Japanese culture that may occupy your home. They are known for playful poltergeist-like pranks like noises in rooms and moving things about. If one does reside in your home, it is like having a care-taker and they are a sign of good fortune to come.
If this spirit lives in your home, you will likely never see it until it is ready to leave your house. On rare occasions it can take the guise of an overweight child with a blushing red face. If it does appear, and it will be very infrequent and typically only to your children. If you do not have children who can interact with the Zashiki-warashi, it is recommended that you put out things that a child would typically enjoy such as sweets, toys and a bed to sleep upon
If you do see this spirit as they are ready to leave, be warned. Ruin is on the horizon for your household.
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