Tag Archives: demons

Greek Mountain Village Tale

Text: In the remote mountain villages of Greece, connected by deserted roads, there’s a tradition: when faced with the unfamiliar, one should make the sign of the cross. A young woman was traversing these paths alone, a rarity as custom dictates that she should be accompanied by a male relative. Along her journey between two villages, she stumbled upon an infant. Initially, she felt no need for the protective ritual because it was only just a child. However, instinct prevailed, and she made the sign of the cross just before touching the baby. To her astonishment, the infant spoke in a chilling tone, revealing itself as a demon. It confessed that had she not performed the sign, it would have taken her to hell.

Context: When he was 12 years old, the informant  heard a story during a coffee hour following a Greek Orthodox church service. An elderly Greek woman, who had grown up in a small village but now lived in the Bronx, shared the tale, alternating between Greek and English. His mother helped translate parts of it for him. He noted that he hates the story and thinks it is “hickish” and backwards. He thinks that it’s very uneducated and the type of thing you would hear in a small town. As a Christian he doesn’t like that type of superstition/ fear element being connected to his faith.

Analysis: This story reflects the deep rooted christian beliefs held by those communities and their diaspora here. Greece has one of the highest rates of Orthodox Christianity in the world and when isolated in small mountain villages, stories like that definitely will arise. I think it reflects the dangerous conditions of the time, the informant specifically made sure to point out that the woman shouldn’t have been traveling alone because it was too unsafe but she was anyway. At the time in these tiny villages The churches were the sources of protection and knowledge for the people living there, and this story reflects that they listen to the Church’s authority. 

Ouija Boards in Portland and Palm Springs

J. has always had a fascination with the supernatural. From her strong belief in fairies, forest and water spirits, and ghosts growing up, she held onto her belief in the paranormal well into her teenage years.

“The summer after ninth grade, I was gifted a ouija board from one of my mom’s friends. I had always loved horror movies and anything that had to do with ghosts or spirits–people on ‘the other side.’ That summer, I went to Palm Springs for a family trip. That was the first time I used the ouija board. Me and my friend who had come with us sat down to try it out one night, and we contacted a spirit named Dino. He said he was an older man, around his 50’s–he was a nice spirit. He told us that him and his brother had grown up near the area we were staying, and that he remained in that area because he was waiting for his brother to return.”

That wasn’t the only time that J. used that Ouija board. J. was my best friend in high school, and after she came back from that trip and we started sophomore year together, the Ouija board was the main event of every sleepover, birthday party, and even casual after school hang out sessions. The first time we pulled it out in Portland, Dino visited again. He had followed J. home from Palm Springs, saying she was the first person he had been able to connect with from across the grave.

Not all the spirits we encountered were nice like Dino, though.

“I remember we were both here the night of my 16th birthday party. Remember? That’s when all the really crazy stuff happened and we decided to stop using the ouija board.”

I do remember that night. This is how J. gave a run down of the events:

“All of the girls had come over to celebrate my birthday and we couldn’t wait to pull out the ouija board. We were sitting in my living room downstairs, all gathered in a circle on the floor. You were sitting out because you always refused to touch the board–so lame.” She laughs. “Anyways, we started playing and the first spirit we contacted was a 10 year old girl named Rose. You were freaked out because that was your middle name and something only people in your family called you. It started to get scary because she told us that she was outside the door and needed us to let her in. All of us got super scared and I think it was Avery who got up and ran to lock it. After that, she told us she had a message but all of us had to power off our phones so that we couldn’t share her message. Then, she told us that one of our friends from school was in danger–that he was going to be in a car crash that night. All of a sudden, we all panicked, saying we needed to use out phones to call and check on him. She let you, actually, turn on your phone and text [L] to ask if he was with that friend and to make sure he was okay.”

“After that, she started counting down from 10, which we all learned is really dangerous and you’re not supposed to let them reach zero or they could enter the house or even one of our bodies and like, possess us. We had to quickly say goodbye–that’s really important, too. If you leave a spirit without saying goodbye they get really mad and some bad things can happen.”

After the first attempt at the ouija board that night, and our crazy experience with Rose, J. wanted to try again, but this time in her spooky attic. All of her late great grandmother’s old clothes, furniture, and paintings were up, and she thought it would heighten our connection to something across the grave. When we went up there, we came into contact with Dino again, but he soon revealed that he was actually an evil spirit named Zozo. We had heard about Zozo before, and he was supposedly more evil than the devil himself. Long story short, he threatened to break our friend E.’s fingers if I didn’t join in and put my hands on the planchette. After refusing, he wouldn’t let us say goodbye, and we all got really scared before eventually forcing him to leave.

“That was the last night we ever did Ouija. I still carry the board in my car, but all of us are too freaked out to try again.”

For more information about the infamous, malevolent spirit, Zozo, see here: https://www.bustle.com/life/what-is-zozo-read-this-before-you-ever-touch-a-ouija-board-again-12197819

Ouija boards can be seen as a kind of contagious folk belief, because one has to come into contact with the board and the planchette to be able to contact spirits.

Oga no Namahage Festival

–Informant Info–

Nationality: Japanese

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Los Angeles, California

Date of Performance/Collection: 2022

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Japanese

(Notes-The informant will be referred to as NN, the interviewer as K, and the mother as M)

Background info: NN is a 17-year-old student at a High school in Los Angeles, California. They moved here from Japan when they were 13 and remembered participating in this festival. I was told this story at their home over tea, with their mother occasionally interjecting to add detail. She will be referred to as M.

K: Ok, so uh, what’s the name of the festival, how do you know about it, and what’s the context of the performance? Like under what circumstances is it uh performed?

NN: The festival is titled Oga No Namahage, and it is a new years festival. I know about it because I grew up in the region where it was performed.

K: And what region is that?

NN: Oga city, in Akita prefecture. But it’s performed nearly uhm everywhere in Akita Prefecture.

K: Cool! So you said you just wanted to talk about one aspect, correct?

NN: Yes, the namahage visit.

K: Ok, whenever you’re ready

NN: Thank you! Its very simple. Young men, normally around your age (20) dress up as namahage, which are like…

M: Ogres or demons

NN: Yes! Those. They have…big red faces and dress up in these straw uhm…costumes that are cool because if you move slowly, then you are silent, but once they want to scare someone, they make so much noise! *Raises arm and makes whooshing sounds to emphasize how loud they are*

K: So its a scary thing?

NN: Oh yes. They dress up as namahage and sneak up on lazy children, ones who are sleeping or not paying attention at the fire and scare them so bad *laughter*. They will get you every year, they are that good at sneaking

I really loved hearing about this festival! It’s a relatively small festival and doesn’t have a whole lot of tourism surrounding it, so it stayed pretty faithful to how it’s always been done, down to stories around large fire pits. NN has also mentioned to me later on that at least at her town’s festival, technology wasn’t allowed because it spoiled the fun. I think it’s interesting how deeply ingrained Japanese folklore is with their culture, like with the namahage. This is a scary event, but also fun, so it reinforces the idea that namahage, which can seem almost comical looking from an older point of view, is scary and is meant to be feared. It allows Japanese folklore to exist in a more pure form.

Charlie, Charlie

Background: Charlie Charlie is a children’s game similar to a ouija board in which a group of kids get together and ask a spirit, Charlie, to answer their yes or no questions. My informant S is a 19 year old girl who played the game when she was in middle school. We were talking about our childhoods and trying to find some similarities between the games we played.

S: So the game is simple, you have a piece of paper with “yes” and “no” written on opposite corners of the paper, so like, yes across from yes and no across from no y’know, and you cross two pencils in the middle so neither are pointing at the corners, one on top of the other so it kind of balances on top of the bottom one. And then everybody asks “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” and then the pencil on the top moves and points and everyone loses their minds. Charlie is supposed to be a demon or something.

Me: I think I’ve seen something like that. It was kind of an internet thing wasn’t it?

S: Yeah it was during Vine in like, 2013. I found out about it because I saw videos on youtube and then everyone in school was trying it. It was like everywhere for a while.

Me: It’s crazy how I don’t even remember it. I wonder if kids still play it. So, do you think it was real?

S: No of course not, someone would always like, blow on it so it would move. But if one gullible kid lost their shit, it was a good time. 

My thoughts: The prevalence of this game is interesting because it was so widely spread online, and it reached kids from all over the country and possibly the world who played it for themselves. It was such a short lived cycle because it took place in the early 2010’s when short videos, such as Vines, were growing in popularity, and people began to consume more pieces of smaller media. Things would become rapidly popular and then become rapidly replaced, a trend cycle which has continued into the 2020’s with apps like TikTok.

The Black Stallion and Creature With Three Red Eyes: Don’t Walk Alone at Midnight in Guatemala

I heard this legend while many of my housemates were gathered around a table and drinking. The first time the speaker shared this story, he mentioned that his grandfather never drank after he saw a red-eyed figure in Guatemala. When I asked him to retell his story for collection, he gave much more detail about the two creatures his grandfather feared.


The speaker’s grandfather used to tell this story when he would get drunk: he saw two creatures. One was a being with red eyes, the other was a black horse. In 1960 in San Rafael, Guatemala at exactly 12 am, neighbors in a village of only 15 or 20 houses could hear a black stallion. And if stragglers outside a home were caught alone, they would hear a horse running after them. They wouldn’t see the horse. If they managed to slip inside their house and close the door, they would hear the horse pounding at the threshold until 12:01. Then they would not hear it anymore.

If the horse caught stragglers, they would die of an underlying disease like cardiac arrest or drug overdose, something “easy to explain.” In those days, a lot of children went missing in the wilderness because the area was “unexplored.”

One night, the speaker’s grandfather and his friend left a larger group of friends playing soccer to walk home around midnight. They were both drunk. Suddenly, the speaker’s grandfather felt dread. Every step they took felt “like mud” and the speaker’s grandfather felt like he was being watched. Both friends turned around to see a seven-foot-tall humanoid figure with three red eyes watching “like a little kid goes onto a tree and just sticks his head sideways and stays staring at you.”

The speaker did not know how his grandfather got home that night, but the friend went missing for over a week. “They did find the guy, his friend, my grandpa’s friend. And so he just told me that this dude was torn. Like torn apart. “

When asked what this creature was, the speaker said that “It’s from the time before even that place was colonized by Spain… around the Mayan time… the Mayans just disappeared one day. They were so advanced for their time.” He went on to say that his grandfather believed that the Mayans, who the speaker mentioned were polytheistic built massive pyramids, disappeared because they were killed by these strange creatures. “These things that they [victims] see now are from times that we can’t even comprehend because he’s like, yeah, they’re from the future. And I was like, What the hell do you mean the future?” The speaker trailed off.

“I’m not sure if it’s real or not, I’m going to believe because the way he will talk to me, he would stare me down in the eyes,” the speaker continued. “And my grandma would also support that, because even she would hear the black horse because that another story my grandma told me when my grandpa was asleep, was, he couldn’t sleep at night, most of the time in Guatemala, because he said that that’s the human figure would haunt him because of his friend.”

The speaker noted that black stallions were also a status symbol in Guatemala reserved for members of the military.

When asked why he first told the story, the speaker noted that ” Usually when I’m under the influence, then the story comes out But usually, when you’re impaired or under the influence, you see, I wouldn’t say another dimension, but you see something else? Like you see? We see different.”

The speaker’s grandfather worried that these two creatures would come for him after he moved to the U.S. He later died of a heart attack.


This speaker is a good friend but he embellishes stories a lot. He later told me that he believed that he’d seen the red-eyed creature in the U.S. even though he called both of these creatures “just legends” in the recording. I also happen to know that in telling these stories, he was trying to get me to trust him again after a breakup. After, he often offered to tell similar stories. But I think he was being genuine when he told me what he knew and what he had seen.

This speaker also struggles with drinking alcoholic beverages. Telling this story may be a way for him to express the fear he feels drinking to suppress emotions or escape responsibility.

He later asked me not to tease him about ghosts because to him, these stories are very real. I might not believe these stories in the daylight, but I will never walk alone at midnight in Guatemala.