Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that applies especially so when we’re talking about female ghosts. We’ve written about why child ghosts are so terrifying, but female ghosts are equally terrifying in their own right. Especially if they happen to be the mother of the aforementioned child ghost, like the mother-son duo of Toshio and Kayako in the Ju-On series. Regardless, we wouldn’t want to face a vengeful female spirit, like the one in Korean horror flick The Wrath, which is a remake of the 1986 classic Woman’s Wail.

In fact, the fear of vengeful female spirits is so prevalent that almost every culture has its own ghostly version of it. From Singapore to Greece to Korea, here are some of the nastiest, most horrifying supernatural female ghosts that you’ll ever seen. Don’t cross their paths… or you’ll never be able to sleep again.


1. Pontianak (Southeast Asia)

A pontianak. Credit: Star 2

A pontianak. Credit: Star 2

Also known as the matianak or kuntilanak, the pontianak is the quintessential female Malay ghost in Singapore. A pontianak is created when a woman passes on while still pregnant, her grief and despair coalescing into a nightmarish female vampire that terrorises the living. They reside in banana trees (but other things also live in trees, which is why we’re taught to “ask for permission” before we pee at the foot of a tree) and can take the form of a beautiful female woman, often dressed in white and with long, flowing hair.

Fortunately, the pontianak has one dead giveaway – it emits the smell of frangipani wherever it goes. So if you ever catch a whiff of frangipani, run!

Did you know that there’s a village in Indonesia that’s named Pontianak? Legend has it that it was infested with pontianaks until a great hero came and defeated them all, and erected a mosque and palace where they once lurked.

 

2. Banshee (Ireland)

An Irish banshee. Credit: Wikipedia

An Irish banshee. Credit: Wikipedia

The anguished cry of a woman can be painful to hear, especially when she weeps for a dead child. It can sometimes be the portent of doom, like the cry of a banshee in Ireland. The banshee is a female Irish spirit that heralds the death of a family member by shrieking and wailing. She takes the form of a hooded old crone who is unspeakable to behold.

Since the screaming of a banshee is a guarantee that someone is about to die, it’s also a powerful spell in Dungeons & Dragons – the Wail of the Banshee. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful spells available to sorcerers, and it can kill up to 20 people in a single casting.

 

3. 芭蕉鬼 (banana ghost) (China)

What lurks in a banana tree? Credit: Felix Mollinga

What lurks in a banana tree? Credit: Felix Mollinga

China’s 芭蕉鬼 (banana ghost) bears some similarity to the pontianak, in that they’re both associated with banana trees. Maybe it’s the phallic nature of bananas that attracts so many female ghosts to haunt it. In any case, the banana ghost is also able to give winning 4D numbers to anyone who is willing to free it .

All you need to do to get those numbers is to tie one end of a red string around the tree and the other end around your bed, and stick needles into the tree. It is said that you will get the winning 4D numbers in a dream. However, you must free the banana ghost after striking the lottery – otherwise she’ll come after you, screeching and wailing.

 

4. Keres (Greece)

A Keres. Credit: Greek Gods & Goddesses

A Keres. Credit: Greek Gods & Goddesses

In Ancient Greece, the Keres were ferocious demonesses who came to claim the souls of those who died a violent and painful death. They would gnash their teeth and claw at the spirits of those who died on battlefields or due to plagues, hauling them off to be tormented in the underworld of Tartarus. Fortunately, they weren’t able to kill their victims outright – they had to wait for the victims to die before they could claim those souls. In that sense, the Keres were more like supernatural vultures, but that still doesn’t make them any less terrifying.

The Keres were said to be the spawn of Nyx. Never heard of her? Well, she’s one of the daughters of Gaia (the grandmother of Zeus) and the goddess of the night. Even Zeus feared her. That might be why her daughters, the Keres, were such feared death spirits in Ancient Greece.

 

5. Chudail (India)

A Chudail. Credit: Facebook

A chudail. Credit: Facebook

The chudail of India are the ghosts of unpurified mothers, and they live in (you guessed it!) trees. Like pontianaks and banana ghosts, she can turn into a beautiful woman to seduce her male victims before killing them. Sometimes, she just sucks up their virility outright, leaving them shrivelled old men. It is said that a chudail is formed when a mother dies in childbirth, which makes her similar to the Malay lang suir. A chudail can also arise when a woman dies during pregnancy, her menstrual cycle, or twelve days after giving birth.

However, a chudail can be spotted when she transforms to her true form. Her feet will face backwards when she sheds her beautiful woman disguise, although her black tongue, thick rough lips, and claw-like hands will probably give it all away too.

 

6. Mu-onna (Japan)

A drawing of a mu-onna. Credit: Yokai Wiki

A drawing of a mu-onna. Credit: Yokai Wiki

Japan’s version of the vengeful female spirit is the mu-onna, or 無女, which literally means “nothing woman”. Mu-onna are formed when a mother loses her child to famine or war and turns into a evil spirit. While mu-onna are powerful monsters, they have one weakness – children. They will protect children in danger, even going to the extent of letting themselves be destroyed for the sake of a child.

Of course, they may sometimes merge with or absorb a child too, when they are asleep. We guess it’s also a misguided form of protection, but we wouldn’t want a mu-onna anywhere near a child.

 

7. Gwisin (Korea)

A Gwisin. Credit: Twitter

A Gwisin. Credit: Twitter

Vengeful female spirits in Korea fall under the larger umbrella term of gwisin, the ghosts of those who have unfinished business. Male gwisin are somewhat rare, so most gwisin take the form of floating, legless ghosts with long hair. If you were a fan of the 2015 Korean drama Oh My Ghost, then you’ll remember Kim Seul-gi playing the lustful gwisin Shin Soon-ae, who’s determined to seduce as many men as possible.

The longer a gwisin stays on Earth without moving on to the afterlife, the stronger it becomes. Hence, the oldest gwisin are incredibly powerful – and rightfully feared.

The Wrath. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

The Wrath. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Gwisin aren’t always beautiful creatures like Soon-ae – they are far more hideous in the GV Exclusive The Wrath. It’s a remake of the legendary classic Woman’s Wail, a Korean period horror drama that takes place in a house where great tragedy has befallen. Set in the Joseon era, it stars Shon Na-eun as Ok-boon and Seo Young-hee as the mysterious Lady Shin.

Will Ok-boon unravel the secrets of the house? What exactly is Lady Shin hiding? Will they survive the terrifying wails they hear between the walls of the house, or will they end up falling prey – to The Wrath?

 

Sources: Golden Village Cinemas, Greek Gods & Goddesses, Star 2, Wikipedia, Felix Mollinga, FacebookTimes of India, Yokai Wiki, Twitter

 

 

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