Above: Amber Inclusions by Anders Damgaard. (Click each image to enlarge.)
With all this discussion recently surrounding the ethics of manipulating DNA in an effort to resurrect lost species, it seems appropriate that we take a look back in time at the vessels for our future T-Rexes and (fingers crossed~!) Giant Ground Sloths. Until that glorious day when we will ride atop the backs of huge beavers (it was a thing! Science up), admire the beauty of these amber-encased insects, forever looking out at us through a layer of several million years. This beleaguered planet of ours. Shrouded in ancient glory. It is a somber irony that the work of a random human lifetime would pale in beauty next to one of these natural wonders forged so many millenia ago.
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)
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)
This tale begins with a woman who was preparing to head to a midnight Christmas Mass.
“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
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.