Halloween is my favorite holiday because it gives me a valid excuse to dress up and scare people, no judgment. Add in copious amounts of chocolate, and it’s a win-win. But along with all the personal fun, Halloween also draws people to the scary and supernatural. Maybe it has something to do with the time change, less daylight, and the rumored thinning of the veil between worlds. Whatever the reason, it’s a great time to explore some paranormal, and one of my favorite creepy creatures are the shapeshifters in all their various forms.
Shapeshifting mythology has roots in many different countries, and most of the stories link shapeshifters with trickery and deceit, hunting and killing weak humans. Sure, werewolves and vampires are common knowledge, but there are more variations than a fanged dead dude who transforms into a bat or a sexy beast of a man who becomes a slathering wolf at the full moon. Here are a few of my favorite, lesser known shapeshifters.
Leshy – Slavic. Hang out in forests and usually appear as tall men, but can change into plant or animal form, from moss to the mightiest oak. If you see a peasant with glowing green eyes, watch out! He might tickle you…to death.
Kitsune – A Japanese fox that can take human form, usually a beautiful woman, girl or grandpa. Not only can they clone your appearance, the can manifest in dreams. Worse, they have the ability to weave an illusion so real, their victims believe the alternate reality, sometimes going mad. Have a pet dog? Take it with you. Kitsunes hate the puppies.
Skinwalkers – Navajos call them yee naaldlooshii (don’t ask me to pronounce it). They are a variety of witch who can not only take the forms of wild animals, but also steal your face. If you lock gazes with them, they’ll go all bodysnatcher on you. And they might decide just to murder you…with poison powder made from corpse dust, ground infant bones, to be exact.
Rakshasa – nasty Hindu creatures who eat human flesh. If you’re a Supernatural fan, you might remember the episode with the Rakshasa who changed into a clown, followed children home from the circus, and until the Winchesters showed up, let’s just say there weren’t any fun balloon animals. Clowns are scary. Don’t trust them. Period.
V’alkara – from my Dreamcaster world. Not only do these guys feed off nightmares, they can change into the very creatures in their victim’s dream, from fanged, fuzzy bunnies to fire-breathing demon horses. They aren’t afraid to kill if someone gets in their way, and some of them have a serious sweet tooth, so fair warning. Don’t steal any candy from something that looks like it belongs in a nightmare.
With trick-or-treating adventures around the corner, shorter days, and magic seeping through from other realms, you never know what might be behind the masks, human appearance or not.