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When collecting dolls for the Island of Dolls, Santana Barrera did not make any effort to clean them or to fix them up; once obtained he would hang them on the island’s trees.

Is the Island of Dolls Haunted? An Eerie Tribute to a Little Mexican Girl

The Island of Dolls (known also as La Isla de las Muñecas in Spanish) is a chinampa in Mexico City, Mexico . As its name suggests, dolls are found throughout the island, placed there by its former...
Tibet Death Ritual is practiced by experienced lamas  not novice monks.

The Beauty of Death, Dying and Rebirth in Tibetan Buddhist Rituals

In Tibet they have a lot of interesting beliefs and rituals regarding death and the world beyond. There is even a ritual exclamation which a lama who officiates makes near the body of the deceased in...
Kurdaitcha is a ritual executioner

How Does the Aboriginal Executioner ‘Kurdaitcha Man’ Avenge the Dead?

Kurdaitcha (known also as Kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘ executioner ’ in the culture of the Australian Aborigines , in particular the Arrernte people of Central Australia. The job of a Kurdaitcha was...
Picture of a Shinigami

Shinigami: The Grim Reaper and God of Death in Japanese Folklore

Shinigami are Japanese death gods or death spirits. They are akin to the Grim Reaper in many ways, however these supernatural beings may be somewhat less frightening and they arrived later on the...
A wizard in a cave

Cave Filled with Hundreds of Witches’ Marks Suggests People Used Magic to Counter Disease, Death, and Other Evils

Originally written off as graffiti, experts have now declared that the hundreds of markings of squares, letters, mazes, and lines in an English cave system are actually witches’ marks – apotropaic...
The samodiva is a type of Bulgarian forest nymph

Samodiva: The Life-Sucking Temptress and Wood Nymph of Bulgarian Folklore

The samodiva (known also as samovila or vila; samodivi or samodivas in plural) is a creature found in Balkan, specifically Bulgarian, folklore. In general, these beings are forest spirits or wood...
Smudging with white sage

The Ancient Art of Smudging: From Banishing Evil to Curing Ailments

The burning of plant materials to produce smoke with positive effects has been practiced since ancient times. One of the best-known examples is the use of incense in the ancient Near East. Another...
Siglo Cero brand of the Mayan pox alcoholic drink.

Ancient Mayan Pox, a Spiritual Drink Lifting North American Nightlife and Exaggerating Hangovers

Pox, (pronounced posh ) is an ancient Mayan alcohol drink traditionally prepared by shamans in the mountains of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Now, you can find swanky city bars offering Pox on their...
Detail of an artistic representation of an Egyptian vampire queen. Before the Egyptians, there were Sumerian vampires.

Bloodsucking Baobhan Sith, Satan, and Dracula all Have Their Origins in Sumerian Vampires

Many folktales, stories, and myths around the world begin with folk “straying from the path” and meeting beautiful females, only to discover that they are treacherous vampires. Since Bram Stoker’s...
People using a Ouija board

Out with the Ouija Board! How the Popular Divining Tool Influenced A Modern Murder Case

A convicted double murderer has won the right to a retrial on the basis that four of the jury had used a Ouija board the night before finding him guilty. Does this mean that the UK judicial system...
‘Will-o-the-wisp and snake’ by Hermann Hendrich.

In the Spirit of Science: Casting Light on the Enchanting Will-o’-the-Wisp

Will-o’-the-Wisps, also called “ignis fatuus,” Latin for “foolish fire”, are enchanting balls of greenish-blue floating lights observed over swamps and marshes at night. At a distance, they look...
Detail of a bronze statuette of Pazuzu, circa 800 BC - circa 700 BC. Pazuzu was an Assyrian evil spirit believed to frighten away other evil spirits - protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes.

Mesopotamian Ghostbusters: The Evil Acts of Assyrian Ghosts and How They Were Vanquished

Assyria, like Mesopotamia in general, has always excited the Western imagination. Assyrian beliefs about the spiritual world are no exception. The Assyrians believed that ghosts could return from the...
Squirrels – ancient messengers from the underworld (Public Domain) and squirrel tracks

Squirrel! Fuzzy Messengers from the Ancient Underworld? The Little-Known Archetype in Mythology

When it comes to archetypal spirit guides, often the focus is upon ferocious guardians and large, intimidating beasts. However, one of the most important, yet overlooked animals in world mythology is...
A mandala.

The Mandala: Mapping the Cosmos and the Soul

Human cultures are replete with ways to depict or represent some aspect of the universe. Calendars, ordinary maps, star charts, and other diagrams are all examples of ways to make sense of or map...
Hashihime.

Demonic Dames: Watch out for the Vengeful Women of Japanese Legends

Japan has had stories about oni (demons or ogres) and yuurei (ghosts) for hundreds of years. As time passes, new vengeful spirits continue to appear and their stories are told even in the present day...
Detail of ‘Shaman’, (1930) by Arman Manookian.

The Real Story of Shamanism: No Need to Don a Headdress or Take Hallucinogens

Over the centuries, many of the world’s natural mystics have succumbed to pogroms of elimination or the steady erosion of traditional practices – witches burnt at the stake, indigenous peoples forced...

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