Top 10 Scary French Urban Legends Part 2
It's time to return to France to take a look at some mre creepy stories that people have overlooked. Why? Well because France is famous for its food and culture and wine - but maybe if we keep this series going for long enough, it will be known for its terrifying tales. Let's explore the Top 10 Scary French Urban Legends Part 2.
10. The Ankour
This legend comes from Brittany in France. Perhaps the best comparison to make for this being is that of the grim reaper. The Ankour is said to resemble the grim reaper, wearing a black cloak that covers his face. He also carries a scythe that strikes fear into the hearts of all who see him. Unlike the grim reaper though, the Ankou is not tasked with killing mortals whose time has come. His job is to guard the souls of the graveyard, to collect the ones that have been lost, and to bring them to his realm. No one living has ever seen his face, for to do so would mean certain death. His eye sockets are like smoldering ashes, glowing with an eerie light.
His eyes were removed many years ago by an angel who was angry when the Ankour attempted to rip the soul from a good, untainted man. He is said to drive a black cart or hearse, pulled by two horses. Some say it is the souls he harvests that end up working for him, loading his cart with bodies so that he can remove their souls later. If you hear his knock, a death in the family will come within one year. If a person finds a red mark on their door, it is a sign of an approaching illness - this became known as the mark of Death. Perhaps the scariest aspect of the Ankour is that there is always room for one more in his cart of bodies. Some say he has never stopped harvesting souls, and he will continue to do so forever.
9. Dames Blanches
Those of you who know a little bit of French might know this translates to the White Ladies. These mythical beings have been mentioned all over France and the best description I've heard of is that they're beautiful trolls - not because they look like trolls, but because they are said to live under bridges. They wait for young men who need the cross. They love to dance and will crawl out from below the bridge to try and dance with the men. They are charming and usually, the man agrees. If he does, they will dance and then he will be allowed to pass without any problems. The men who refuse though will be thrown off the bridge to their death. Many people believed this was the key to their terror - the survivors would always tell other people about the lovely woman in white at the bride who wanted to dance with them. The ones who knew their true terror would be dead and washed down the river.
8. The Tarasque
When you think of dragons, many jump to China - but France has it's very own. The Tarasque is a fearsome, dragon-like creature that has been mentioned in Southern France for generations. In medieval times, it was said to devastate the land. Those who lived to tell the tale said it was a dragon with a lions head, six short legs like a bear, an ox-like a body covered with a turtle shell and a scaly tail that ended in a scorpions sting. They say it has teeth like swords and as big as horns. Sounds horrible right? Well, the people of Southern France certainly thought so.
Legend says the creature would hide in the river and attack passers-by after sinking their vessels. The King of Nerlux was said to have attacked one with knights and catapults, but the creature was almost impossible to kill. Saint Marth charmed the beast with hymns and prayers and led it back to the city. The terrified people attacked it as it slept and the creature did not fight back, ultimately dying right there. The townspeople felt so bad that they rename their city to Tarascon in the creatures honor - a place that you can still visit today, just keep one eye open as you sleep.
7. The Kidney Thieves
The story goes like this. A man in Paris once had too much to drink and when he stumbled into his home, he forgets to lock his door. The next morning, he woke up naked in his bathtub which was filled with ice. Next, to the tub, he found his phone and a note that read -Call an ambulance right away and don't move!- … there was also a bottle of champagne in the ice and a national health insurance reimbursement form stapled to the note. The man panicked but had no choice than to follow what the note said. He called the ambulance which took him to hospital. The doctors were shocked to find that someone had surgically removed of his kidneys. He used the form to claim back the money in medical fees and got 30,000 euros. Many people in France have spread this scary story of organ thieves who are sometimes willing to pay a fair price, but they'll always take what they want by force.
6. The Vanishing Hotel
The story goes like this, two couples were driving through France on their way to Spain. To break up the journey, they decided to stay for the night in Montelimar in France. The hotel was full and so they set out to find a new place to stay. They stumbled across a street with old-fashioned buildings and advertisements for a circus. They found a hotel with some vacancies and decided to stay there for the night. They were surprised to find the hotel had no elevators or telephones.
Every door had wooden catches on the doors rather than locks. There were bolsters instead of pillows on the ben. The plumbing was very old fashioned but seemed somehow new. Their bed sheets were made of calico, a cheap looking fabric that hasn't been used to make linen for centuries. The windows were even worse, they didn't have any glass, just shutters. Despite the strangeness of the hotel, they stayed the night. The next morning at breakfast they saw 3 people enter the hotel, a woman in a long old fashioned dress with button boots.
Then there were two French policemen wearing old uniforms. Their hotel bill was very cheap, less than 10 percent of what they were expecting. Nonetheless, they enjoyed their stay and decided to return to the hotel on their way back from Spain 2 weeks later. This time though, they couldn't find it. The cobbled road and the old-fashioned circus signs were still there but the hotel was gone. It had disappeared. When they went to develop their holiday photos, all the ones they had taken of the hotel were missing. They weren't even just blanks, the photos physically didn't exist anymore. It was like the hotel had never existed at all. Their details have been verified by a number of historians but nobody has ever been able to offer an explanation for this mysterious time slip.
5. The Matagot
In Southern France, people say the Matagot is an animal spirit. The interesting thing about this creature is that it takes the form of any animal it chooses. It is often a black cat but can also be a rat, fox, dog or cow. They are generally evil but can sometimes bring wealth into a home if it's well fed. Traditionally, a wealth bringing matagot must be lured with a fresh chicken. The new owner must then carry it home without looking back once. If the cat is given the first mouthful of food and drink at every meal, it will repay its owner with a solid gold coin each morning. However, there is a catch - nobody can keep a matagot forever. They say if the owner is dying, they will suffer a long and painful death if they do not free the Matagot.
4. The Gargouille
The story goes that this creature was a terrible sea serpent who emerge one day from the Seine river and began to spew water about the countryside. It created a giant tidal wave and whatever the waters did not kill, the dragon devoured for its meal. Its name literally means gargler for this reason. One day, the archbishop of Rouen intended to put a stop to the problem. He knew the creature lived in a cavernous lair on the banks of the Seine river, and he intended to travel there to stop it from rampaging any more. Nobody wanted to help him - they said it was suicide. Instead, he took with him two prisoners who were already condemned to death. When they got there, the beast attacked them ferociously.
However, the archbishop made the sign of the cross with his fingers and the dragon fell docile. They then bound the dragon by its neck and led it back to town. There, the people condemned it to die by fire because it had killed so many with water. The fire raged for days until an enormous pile of ash was left behind. They cast the pile into the river from where the beast has originally come from. Ever since then, the drains that divert the rainwater from the roof of the local church building have been decorated with images of the monster, as a reminder of what the people suffered through.
3. The Beast of Gevaudan
This fearsome creature is not steeped in the mists of time from thousands of years ago. It's fairly recent and well documented, which perhaps makes it even more unnerving. The beast was described as a sort of werewolf, half man, half beast, that prayed on people in the 18th century. The first report came in 1764. A young woman was tending to her livestock when the creature attacked her. It makes several attempts before being driven away by her own cattle. She testified that the creature was a large, wolf-like thing with reddish fur, small ears, a dog like head and a long tail. At the time, people thought this was just a one-off event, but they were wrong.
Just a few days later, a 14-year-old girl was killed by the beast not far from the first sight. Her body had disappeared, presumably devoured whole. Now it was serious, the villagers began to panic and the attacks got more brutal. There were several reports that peoples heads were being snapped off by the beast. The legend grew so big that even the King heard about it. No matter how many hunters he sent, the attacks kept happening. In the end, in 1767, 300 hunters finally tracked the beast down which required a silver bullet to finally be killed. Some say that they got it wrong though, that this was just a large wolf, and the beast or its offspring may still roam the hills of France.
2. Les Lavandieres
This French urban legend has been spoken of in Northern France for centuries. The name translates to the Midnight Washerwomen. They are said to be 3 old laundresses in Celtic mythology. The old women go to the water's edge at midnight to wash the clothes of those who are about to die. Those who saw them say they were smalled, dressed all in green and had webbed feet. This also led to them being called the Night Ducks. They are a terrifying omen of death to all who have seen them. It can mean a death in the family or the death of the person that sees them. Despite their appearance, the Washerwomen are said to be agile and strong - almost supernaturally so. In other Celtic cultures, if you can get between the women and the water, they will ask you 3 questions which you must answer honestly if you do, you will be given 3 wishes. However, due to their ominous relationship with death, many people will turn and run and the first sight of them.
1. Feu Follet
You may have heard this called by other names in English such as the will o the wisp or the Jack o lantern. Its some sort of atmospheric ghost light which appears in shades of a faint blue glow. Other times it can be yellow, red or green in appearance. It appears suspended in the air, sometimes flickering and often appears just briefly at night above cemeteries, swamps or bogs. Aside from its ghostly light, feu follet are generally harmless. However, beware, as these wisps are said to be spirits of the dead or supernatural beings. If you try and follow them, they will lead you to your death, and perhaps you too will become a wisp.
Source: MostAmazingTop10 Youtube Channel
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