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Thread: Child-Stealing Monsters

  1. #1
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Child-Stealing Monsters

    I've been obsessively watching Coraline lately (that movie is like candy for the right half of your brain) because I have an idea for a new story about a sort of monster that steals children. I don't mean like the Erklings that J.K. came up with, but something more sinister like the beldam in Coraline, which is apparently an actual concept.

    I might just end up using a beldam for my story, but I'd like to consider all my options. Does anyone know of any myths or creatures that could fit this bill?

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    Well, you could always do something similar to the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki
    The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in pied (multicolored) clothing, leading the children away from the town, implicitly to their death. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizenry refuses to "pay the piper" for this service, he retaliates by turning his magic on their children, leading them away to their demise.
    So maybe you could do something similar, or a cross between that and the Phantom of the Opera. Have someone who was reviled by the masses, who is forced to hide him/herself from sight. In revenge, he/she uses methods like the Pied Piper did to lure children away from their homes, where they'll be eaten by some awful creature (name it whatever you want, I suppose). Or maybe you could make the creature appear like something cute and harmless, like a Kneazle or some other cute, cuddly thing, but when they are alone somewhere, it turns into something deadly. Your villain could exert some sort of control over the creature (not unlike how you did it in The Wand of MacArt), and he/she could offer his services to the townfolk to find this creature for a price.

    I'm not entirely certain of the context in which you're looking to use this creature, but either way, something that looks harmless and cute to lure children to their deaths is a decent way to go (well, as decent as it could possibly be, considering its purpose).
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  3. #3
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    That is a possibility that has a lot of potential...and one that I'm going to keep tuck away in my little story idea list.

    Any others I should know about?

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    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    There is a very sinister mythical monster that was used in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer(ahem - love that show). It's called the Kinderstod and is basically a monster that kills children who are in a fevered state. It can only be seen by the child who is delirious.

    Right, now before I leave this post, I think that the Kinderstod is based on a real German monster but it's possible that Josh Whedon made it up.

    There are lots of stories in British folklore about changeling children, and babies stolen by 'gypsies' or 'fairies' as well as the old Peter Pan story about children who never wanted to grow up. Perhaps there could be an element of that in your story.

    OOOH, just googled another one. 'Kariteimo' or Kishbojn. - a Buddhist goddess

    Quote Originally Posted by onmarkproductions
    Skt. = Hariti. Before becoming a Buddhist goddess, Kariteimo was the mother of demons. She symbolizes the selfish nature of mothers who go to terrible lengths to protect their children. Kariteimo had hundreds of children. To feed them, she kidnapped the babies of others and fed them to her own. But, after the Historical Buddha hid one of her children, she came to understand the pain and suffering she had caused countless parents and children. She repented, embraced Buddhism, and became a patron of children and child-giving goddess. Important to Nichiren sect.

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  5. #5
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Ah, I was going to suggest changelings and the Kinderstod! Ah well. I did some research (because it's half eight in the morning and I can't get back to sleep), and I found several things. One is a mention of Gello, who is a child-snatching demon in Greco-Byzantine mythology. She was said to have died a virgin and her ghost attacks and kills both children and pregnant women.

    I also found a bit on birds. There's the Thunder Bird in Native American mythology, Condors in South America, and the gusi-lebidi (gesse-swans) in Russian mythology which are all said to carry off children (this bit of info came from a forum so I don't know if it's really true or not).

    There's also Lamia in Greek mythology, who was a Lybian Queen who slept with Zeus and had many children by him. Hera grew jealous and killed all the children, except for one, causing Lamia to turn into monster who took revenge on all mothers by killing their children and eating them.

    Couldn't find anything else, except for stuff other people have posted, and my tummy is shouting it needs breakfast.

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  6. #6
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Another one I stumbled across on my own while spending my Friday night watching bad horror movies is La Llorona, a story told in many Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas.

    Appartently, she was this woman who drowned her children to win the affections of a man (eerily like Susan Smith), but when the man rejects her anyway, she then kills herself. And now, she still walks the Earth, kidnapping wanding children or children who misbehave. I'm not quite sure I follow the logic of this one, but I think it might just be one of those stories mothers tell their children so they'll be good. Plus, Latin America seems a bit far away for a story set in Britain.

    Another story is that of Kuchisake-onna, who is a malicious spirit, and a very bloody one. Hundred of years ago, she was the beautiful wife of a samurai, but when she cheated on him, in a fit of jealousy, her husband took his sword and slit her at the mouth from ear to ear, saying "Who will think you're beautiful now?"

    Now, she walks across Japan wearing a surgical mask over her face, and he goes up to little children and ask them if they think she's beautiful. If they say yes, she rips off the mask and asks them again if she is beautiful. If the child says no, she kills them right then and there. If they say yes, she follows them home and uses a giant pair of scissors to slit their mouths just like hers. It is stress that there is no way to outsmart this woman, and if she finds you, she will kill you.

    I think I saw this movie too.

    Any other stories out there?

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  7. #7
    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
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    There are a TON of myths about child-stealing supernatural entities - enough so that there's at least one book entirely about these things. Too bad I can't remember any of the specifics - I read part of the book while I was bumming around in the library at the college I'm going to go to next year. I can give you the name of the book though: "At the Bottom of the Garden: A (Dark) History of Fairies, Hobgoblins and Other Troublesome Things" by Diana Purkiss. (Now that I think about it, it may not have been ALL about what you're asking about but it definitely talked a lot about them). Something I do remember is that a lot of these kinds of things are the spirits of mothers whose children were taken from them and so they take children from other mothers. Or something.

    Also, like Carole said, there are tons of stories about fairies kidnapping babies and leaving something unpleasant in their place (in some cases a changeling, which generally was quite ugly and weird and not good at all, in others the baby was replaced with a log or something similar...).

    I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a hag or two who ate children, either, and that sounds like the kind of thing you're looking for. At least, I'm pretty sure "beldam" means old lady/hag, and I can see that as something people afraid of attracting their attention would call hags, since it seems to be from "belle" + "dame" ("pretty lady") - a similar concept to people calling faeries the "fair folk" (or people calling Voldemort "You-Know-Who" - though of course that lacks the complimentary quality xD). And there are legitimately old legends in Britain that mention child-eating hags - for example, Black Annis.

    EDIT: And if you're looking for something that steals, not eats, well, hags probably also fit in there too. The hags documented by HPL - I forget where they got their info, but it was from something JKR did, probably the Daily Prophet - are everything from the bad fairies and evil stepmothers from fairytales to Old Mother Hubbard (who lured stray animals into her home in order to starve them). I'm pretty sure if you want an existing HP being that will probably try anything so long as it's not good, you're probably looking for a hag.

  8. #8
    Momo Wellish
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    One that I can think of is the Striga, a immortal creature that sucks the lifeforce of of children and steals them. They usually go after siblings, and can't be killed by any known weapon.

    Hope it helps.

  9. #9
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Wow! You know, Momo, I think the Striga might be just what I'm looking for. She fits absolutely perfectly into the story I am trying to create.

    Of course, I would still welcome the naming of any other monsters.

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  10. #10
    mighty
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    Why you need an already used monster in your story?
    Why don't you create a fresh one for your story?
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