Witchcraft has played a role in folklore and mythology across most cultures in human history. From benign healers and “cunning folk” to malignant entities, it could be said that witchcraft is as richly embedded in human existence as our proclivity for seeking answers to the unknown. The following article is going to focus on some of the scariest witches and witchcraft beliefs in human history.
This Slavic spirit is always depicted as a witch-like woman who inhabits the dark, dusty corners of homes. The Kikimora has been blamed for sleep paralysis, which is a terrifying enough phenomena itself. According to folklore, she sits on the chests of those who experience this real-life horror, rendering them unable to move or make a noise — all while being somewhat conscious (but mostly unconscious). Likened somewhat to a succubus, this terrifying witch is also believed to manifest herself in women who marry for money and material goods.
Jenny Greenteeth (i.e. Ginny Greenteeth)
This Lancashire-born legend manifests herself as a green-skinned woman with a mouthful of frighteningly sharp teeth. According to folklore, Jenny Greenteeth resides in bodies of water, where she pulls children down to die. It sounds like this legendary witch was created to keep curious children in-line around water (which is totally understandable!).
The Wabanaki Ghost Witch (Skadegamutc)
Wabanaki Native American tribes were fearful of a spiritual creature known as the Ghost Witch, or Skadegamutc. According to legend, the Skadegamutc is a witch (particularly one who practices evil magic) who dies — only to rise as an undead monster. The only way to kill a ghost witch, according to Wabanaki folklore, is to burn the body after the witch dies.
In Indian folklore the Chedipes were considered witch-vampires, who roamed the region as prostitutes, seeking male victims. Much like the Kikimora in Slavic folklore, the Chedipe is associated with ill-behaved women. However, instead of seducing men for money and wealth the Chedipe witch in folklore was a sort of psychic vampire who fed on the misery resulting from infidelity. In other words, this “succubus” like creature was known to inspire infidelity in married men.
The Bell Witch of Tennessee
The story of the so-called Bell Witch is legitimately one of the scariest stories in American folklore. According to legend, a faceless entity — much like a poltergeist — terrorized the family of John Bell, Sr., for several years. Some folks claim that the entity possessed psychic abilities, and was able to be in multiple places at once. According to multiple sources, The Bell Witch was essentially a cursed spirit that was conjured by a witch who was angry with the Bell family. Watch this spooky and informative documentary about the Bell Witch by clicking here.