9 Real People Who May Have Inspired Fairy Tales

Fairy tales and folklore come from a variety of sources, changing as they are told and retold. And some of these tales have been inspired by real historical figures, whose lives either formed the genesis of the story or altered it along the way. So what is fact and what is fiction? » 10/08/14 10:00am 10/08/14 10:00am

Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore?

If you ever read a story online about a haunted TV episode, you've already eaten the creepypasta. Scary viral stories, images, and vids, often very short, are creepypasta — some will scare you so much that they've been nicknamed "shitbrix." And they could be the closest thing we have to folklore in the twenty-first… » 1/06/14 5:21pm 1/06/14 5:21pm

13 Places on Earth People Believed Were Entrances to Hell

While in some belief systems, the afterlife can only be accessed by spiritual means, in others, the underworld could be accessed directly from the Earth. Here are 13 real spots that people have thought (and in a few cases, still do) lead straight to the lands of the dead. » 10/06/13 7:00am 10/06/13 7:00am

A haunting Russian stop-motion animated fairy tale from 1968

Nikolai Serebryakov made his short film Klubok (Ball of Yarn) in 1968, but it remains an evocative piece of animated folklore. A poor old woman discovers a magical ball of yarn, but she gets too greedy with her gift. » 9/28/13 2:00pm 9/28/13 2:00pm

Must-Read Essay: Cordwainer Smith as Folklorist of the Future

Cordwainer Smith remains a unique figure in science fiction history: a pioneer of psychological warfare who lived in China and bonded with Chinese culture. A brilliant inventor of future history whose Instrumentality universe was totally cohesive. But he also created a vision of the future as folklore. » 7/12/13 3:37pm 7/12/13 3:37pm

The Biggest Reasons Why Fairies Are Evil

Disney and other Hollywood sanitizers have convinced everybody that fairies are benevolent wish-granters, or maybe environmental champions. But in actual folklore? Fairies are terrifying. They're more into baby-stealing and murder than pixie dust. Here are 10 terrifying things fairies could do to you. » 5/29/13 12:06pm 5/29/13 12:06pm

Saturday Webcomic: Hemlock is the tale of a woodland witch and the…

When Tristan was a little boy, he saw a witch in the woods, an ancient, wild thing who lives in the shell of a giant snail an casts powerful spells from spit and blood. He forgets about the encounter until one day, as a grown man, he falls from his horse, cracking open his skull and awakening to a life very different… » 2/02/13 8:30am 2/02/13 8:30am

10 of the Grossest and Most Grotesque Vampires from Folklore

Vampires get a bad rap in modern Western media for being too pretty. And while there are tons of folkloric vampires who are stunningly beautiful and seductive, plenty of bloodsucking beasts are pretty darn gross. From vampires who let their intestines show to those who vomit up their victims, here are 10 vampires you… » 10/14/12 12:00pm 10/14/12 12:00pm

How to hunt a Basilisk and live to tell the tale

If you're hunting vampires, you'll want to carry crosses, garlic, stakes, and holy water. For werewolves, a gun loaded with silver bullets is your best protection. But what if you're off to hunt the deadly basilisk, that mythological creature that could kill with a single glance? An account of the hunt of the Warsaw… » 8/11/12 5:00pm 8/11/12 5:00pm

Why Remakes Are One of Our Greatest Achievements as a Civilization

Whenever a reboot or remake of a movie comes out, people complain that it's "not original." When creators turn a book or comic into a TV show, critics sneer at Hollywood for having "no new ideas." But they're wrong. What remake-mania demonstrates is that pop culture behaves the way folklore has for thousands of years. » 8/01/12 4:20pm 8/01/12 4:20pm

Zora Neale Hurston, Zombie Hunter


She's best known as the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God and one of the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance. But in her capacity as a folklorist, Zora Neale Hurston also recorded an encounter with a real-life zombie. » 7/23/11 9:30am 7/23/11 9:30am

How evolutionary psychology proved some old folklore...and why both are…

There's an old bit of folklore that children tend to more closely resemble their fathers than their mothers. There's a possible evolutionary explanation for this, and one study seemed to confirm it all. Here's why it's all bogus. » 6/19/11 2:45pm 6/19/11 2:45pm

The Moon affects rainfall here on Earth...and we have no idea why

Even the most ridiculous and obviously false bits of folklore can turn out to have a kernel of truth. It turns out the Moon really can affect how much rain the Earth gets. The reason why is still a mystery. » 10/07/10 9:37am 10/07/10 9:37am

B-String Monsters That Deserve a Turn in the Limelight

Vampires, zombies, and werewolves have dominated horror movies for some time now. Looking for a new monster to chill you to your core? Here are some less-used beasties that deserve a shot on the big screen. » 10/21/09 2:10pm 10/21/09 2:10pm