The Witch in the Woods

Text: “So my family and I used to live in Ohio, with a backyard that had a giant forest behind it. We were very isolated from others because this used to be an old golf course. There was this story about a witch who lived in this woods where this old golf course was, and that there were dead bodies buried beneath it when it was a cemetery. The witch apparently lost her kids and she was angry while living in those woods. One night, my sister had a dream about being in those woods, and getting taken by that witch. In the dream, M was hit with a frying pan several times. Days later, my younger brother, J, was in the woods exploring one day, until he randomly got really scared. He heard something, stopped in his tracks, and saw that there was a frying pan, sitting in the woods in front of him. He sprinted out of there as fast as he could because he was so freaked out.” – Informant

Context: The informant shared this spooky story about when he lived in Ohio, because he could “never forget it.” The sister was about 13, he was about 9, and the younger brother was 8. They still talk about this story today and how it gave them all nightmares as kids. They moved from Ohio to Florida a few years later, and left the spooky woods behind.

Analysis: This legend contains several elements of folklore, including the use of a supernatural figure, a witch, and the presence of dead bodies in the woods. The story of the witch who lost her children and now haunts the woods serves as a warning to those who dare to venture into the area, an oikotype to La Llorona, who lost her kids when they drowned, and now she haunts bodies of water in order for kids to be responsible and avoid bodies of water when they’re alone. There is definitely a connection between the two because the witch lost her kids in the woods, hence why children should not venture out into the woods alone. It serves as a cautionary tale and reinforces the idea that supernatural forces can be found in unexpected places. Overall, this legend highlights the power of folklore to shape our perceptions of the world around us and to warn us of potential dangers.