J.A. Hernandez enjoys horror, playing with cats, and hiding indoors away from the sun. Also, books. So many books—you wouldn't believe.
He runs a weekly newsletter called Into Horror History and writes fiction.
Jenglot of Indonesian Folklore
If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know I have a haunted doll collection. I'm a big fan of creepy little dolls who tend to move on their own, wake you up in the middle of the night with an echoing giggle, or borrow a butcher knife from the kitchen. There are many different takes on haunted dolls, particularly depending upon the culture they're from. Most of mine are antique porcelain dolls with movable limbs and dead eyes; some even have music boxes and will play a song and dance.
Santa Compaña of the Iberian Peninsula
It's interesting to search across the Internet using various languages because, much like legends and folklore, information may only spread as far as the language goes. For example, around 2.4 million people speak Galician - a tiny fraction of the estimated 8 billion people living today. As of 2022, about 600 million people speak Spanish, and around 1.4 billion speak English.
Morgus the Magnificent
I didn't grow up in the 50s or 60s, but I've always been fascinated with eras before my time. I've already written about a concept called anemoia when I created a retro creature feature novella set in the 1950s and sent surprise old-time radios to some of my friends. The radios had not only the audiobook version of my novella but also hours upon hours of old music and radio commercials.
Mirrors: Superstition, Mythology, Psychology, & Sanity
Mirrors are one of a few everyday objects responsible for fear, anxiety, and mental disorders. The small but terrifying list you may find around your home includes your own bed because it creates an "under" the bed; refrigerators at night, as that's where evil originates; dolls, particularly old ones; and, of course, mirrors. I suppose if we're talking about things around the house, we could also add the basement and attic, but those are more of locations instead of objects. Mirrors, though, carry a special kind of folklore and superstition that things like refrigerators don't. After all, no one ever said that if you break a fridge, you get seven years of bad luck.
Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England
Have you ever seen a photo of a ghost? The history of ghost photography is fascinating and incredibly controversial. With modern technology, taking a picture and adding a ghost to it is a matter of a few taps on your mobile; there are even apps for that. But what about when cameras weren't in everyone's hands? And apps or computers didn't even exist? It wasn't all that long ago compared to how long humans have been around. Today, most people would assume a photo of a ghost was just Photoshopped, but what if not all those spirit photos out there were edited? How would anyone ever know the difference?
La Patasola of South American Folklore
"I'm more than the siren I live alone in the world: and no one can resist me because I am the Patasola. On the road, at home, on the mountain and the river, in the air and in the clouds all that exists is mine." — López, Javier Ocampo from Mitos, Leyendas Y Relatos Colombianos
El Peuchen of Mapuche Mythology
The cultures of South America have such a rich history that it makes it challenging to hone in on any one particular subject. Every piece of folklore, mythology, creature, monster, and history of every culture has stories that have been told and retold countless times. Many of these have evolved and changed, sitting just below the surface of modern stories as nearly invisible roots. The first Harry Potter novel featured a basilisk, a snake with a lethal gaze. Accounts and descriptions of such a creature can be traced back to at least the writings of Pliny the Elder in Ancient Rome.
Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
As I've mentioned previously, I keep a long list of things I'd like to write about. The list is currently over 600 items long, with more added weekly. Because there are so many items, I leave it to a random roll to determine my next topic. Occasionally, the randomness brings about a theme. Last week, we journeyed into Junee, New South Wales, Australia, to visit "Australia's Most Haunted House" over at the Monte Cristo Homestead. This week, we're paying another visit to Australia and its ghosts. This time, in Melbourne, to a place called Princess Theatre.
Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, New South Wales, Australia
I wrote about a true crime case a while back that took place in Australia in the 1940s that continues to boggle minds today. This is my first dive into a haunted house in Australia, though. The entire continent has a long and rich history, going back at least 65,000 years of indigenous Australians. Travel with me now as we head over to look at a place known as Australia’s most haunted house in New South Wales, the Monte Cristo Homestead.
El Silbón of Los Llanos in South America
Pronunciation & Spelling El Silbón. It means “the whistler” in Spanish. The best way to learn how to pronounce a word is to listen to a native speaker say it. Thankfully, one of my go-to websites for this, Forvo.com, has a native speaker (ConchitaCastillo) who has graciously recorded herself saying the word. You can listen to the recording for the pronunciation of El Silbón right here: How to pronounce silbón.