Ten Disturbing Scandinavian Folktales

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Enchanted Wood. Artist unknown. (Scandinavian Folklore/Pinterest)

 

Many folktales are concerned with magical tales of heroism and grandeur. Young people head out on a journey of discovery that makes them a better person. They vanquish evil, help others, and make the world a better place. In the end, the dashing young man usually gets the beautiful girl, and everyone lives happily ever after.

However, some folktales don’t have happy endings. Some folktales can be downright disturbing. Many of the tales in Scandinavian folklore, for instance, are not only grim; some are absolutely terrifying. We selected 10 of the most disturbing for you to enjoy…but, keep a candle burning…


#10. The Sacrificial Beggar Child (Sweden)

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The story goes that there was a town named Dalland that was suffering from a disease that was wiping out much of the population and causing many people to flee. The townsfolk were beside themselves with worry about how to stop it, until an old man from Finland came along with sage advice on how to stop the disease.

He told them that only a sacrifice would put an end to it, and explained that they would need to bury a living thing in the ground. The villagers were desperate to stop the disease, so they took his advice. They began by burying a rooster alive in the ground, but their cruel act failed to produce any results, so they upped the ante by burying an entire goat alive. Unfortunately, this also failed.

Feeling there were no other options left, they decided that the only sacrifice worthy enough to end the spread of the disease would be an actual human being. In order to accomplish this, they set their sights on an orphaned boy and offered him bread as bait for their trap. The unassuming child fell for their trap completely and was dropped in a prepared hole.

The villagers immediately began shoveling dirt on top of the hapless child. The boy was terrified and tried to plead with them to stop burying him alive, but they continued on with their work without mercy. Before long, the job was done and the child was simply left to die, in the hopes he would end the spread of the deadly disease.

Some villagers claimed that they could hear his cries from under the ground, even after his death, decrying the cruel act that had been done to him.


#9. The Christmas Ghosts (Sweden)

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This tale begins with a woman who was preparing to head to a midnight Christmas Mass.

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The Diary of Xander Tully, a Novella-in-Progress by Sanguine Woods, Coming Winter, 2018

22FE38E1-A688-4586-AA8C-B3C173D42767Dear Book Lovers and Ardent Readers,

RE: A quick note from the writer’s desk…

Greetings!

Working on my novella The Diary of Xander Tully. It is a frightening tale set in the years before America had become a nation, up in the woods of what is now the border between Michigan and Canada, where French-Canadian settlers have started a fledgling colony led by two old families.

Xander Tulley is a stranger here. His origins are not known to the community. But he is a clever man; he shows the world a practical and rational side; a lover of facts and the path they reveal to truth. But Tulley has other sides. He hails from a foreign land, across the sea. His people are tall, fair of hair and pale of skin. He appears as an artisan printer in the colony of River Raisin, where the villagers have a respect for the past and their heritage (one of the families traces its roots all the way back to a French king).

When Tulley becomes curious about a tale of an odd grouping of stones located in the deep woods that begin about a mile northeast of the village, he is drawn to the site. There is no visible path to the outcropping, and reaching it is difficult unless you know the woods, and the way. The stones circumscribe what appears to be a gash in the earth, an opening some five paces across at its widest. The villagers don‘t appear to know of the spot, its history, or the fact that a grove of trees surrounds the area in almost a perfect circle. They are deciduous trees, “evergreens”—-and they are the only trees in the wood that turn the color of glowing embers when autumn steals the light from summer and creeps toward the winter solstice.

The story of the woods is old. Some things—some geographies, secrets—-some stories—-lay quiet and undisturbed for a reason. Xander Tulley has been dreaming about the burning trees. His preoccupation with learning the history of the Wood leads him to seek out an indiginous tribe that once dwelt near the area, but has since moved higher north. It is in the tribe’s legends, wrapped tight within in an ancient language, that Tulley begins to see a story form in the forgotten shadows of time, one that once breathed life, and should now be left alone.

Xander Tulley reaches a proverbial fork in the road, where he may learn more about himself than he ever cared to know; and where he will be faced with making the hardest decision he will ever have to make.

Stay tuned for more!

SW

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Nightmare Fuel! Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan…Make It Your Next Read…

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“Agents of Dreamland is a new Lovecraftian horror novella from award-winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan…

In this new novella, a government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible ― the Children of the Next Level ― and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.”

(MysteryTribune.com)

”Death cults, fungus, and the vast, time-hopping conspiracies of eldritch horrors, oh my. Caitlìn R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland had everything I love crammed into a deceptively slim novella. Kiernan, one of the sharpest voices in weird fiction, has created a bleak and beautiful playground and her new edition of her first Signalman novella, Black Helicopters, is one I’m hoping to see in 2018. I can never get enough nightmare fuel.”

(TOR.com)

Forgotten Ghost Stories: The Mystery of the Dancing Coffins…A True Story by Robert W. Sneddon, 1926


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Have You Heard Bigfoot Yet? Listen to These Recordings of Sasquatch Making Odd Human-Animal Noises … Keep the Lights On…

“We decided to record the sounds on CD and cassette [and digitally] to make them available to people. We do believe these creatures are trying to communicate with us, though. As we speak we are having the linguistics people look into it; they are very encouraged. What they’re saying so far is that humans cannot mimic these sounds, that the range supersedes what humans can do. The tapes were shown by a previous study at the University of Wyoming to be spontaneous and no signs of being re-recorded, or pre-recorded at altered speeds; so the idea of a hoax is highly improbable as far as professionals are considered at this time.”

— Ron Morehead, Bigfoot, a Netflix Documentary (1997)

Here Ron Morehead’s original Bigfoot vocalizations—the most bizarre thing ever recorded:

Here’s how Morehead captured the sounds on tape:


The Recordings of the “Bigfoot Language” Are Actually Pretty Frightening

Is that an ape? Wait; that sounds almost human! Indeed. And both are what you hear in the hoots and growls and whines and snarls of what Ron Morehead calls “Bigfoot Language—a series of tape recorded noises Morehead recorded while living in a remote area of Northern California’s Sierra mountains during the early 1970s. But, are they real? I have put together this post so you can check out the facts and decide for yourself.

“The sounds, vocalizations, that include whistling, have been professionally analyzed and it is the belief of the scientists who did the analysis that they are not man-made. Regardless of the findings, which incidentally have never been disproved. I am satisfied and will personally vouch for the integrity of both my associates, Alan Berry and Ron Morehead, in the matter of these recordings. Indeed I look forward to working with them again, in the Bigfoot field, in the future.”

— Peter Byrne, Director, The Bigfoot Research Project

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To this day, there is still a debate over the authenticity of the tape recordings; however, many audio and human and animal linguistics specialists admit to the recordings’ uncannily realistic nature.

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My Favorite Covers—Low Red Moon, a Novel of Deep Time by Caitlin R. Kiernan, ROC Press, 2003

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