#atozchallenge 2014 – Reflections

The A-to-Z Blogging Challenge was an interesting discovery. As soon as I learned about it, I knew I wanted to do it. I put the badge on this site before I even knew what I wanted to blog about! The idea of Evil Spirits came to me as I remembered my most recent foray into NaNoWriMo and the creatures that had barred my hero’s way in that story. They were all generic evil demons, created from my own love of dark fantasy, with not much real rhyme or reason for harassing the hero. Thus the idea came to study notions of evil spirits from around the world.

As research for my novel, the A-to-Z challenge was great.  I got a feel for seeking out and taking in different ideas for my stories, and I got a chance to write a little something for each find. Determined not to copy-paste, I made sure to reword my findings as much as I could, so that the info would be presented in my voice. I was able to share lots of cool things this way, and I can hardly complain about the flood of new visitors it brought in.

I found some other posts from past A-to-Z challenges in my adventure, and those were extremely helpful. From this year, my favorites were Moon, Light, and Shadow (the author had a theme very similar to mine, and did it extremely well) and and e-bookbuilders (which featured some very awesome and useful information for writers).

I’ve already decided that I will try the challenge next year. I’ll try something a little more directly and obviously related to writing – may be I’ll even do a themed series of super short fiction, as I’ve seen other authors do for this challenge.

Anyway, I’m very satisfied with the A-to-Z Challenge, and my thanks go out to the organizers for setting it in motion and bringing bloggers together!

#atozchallenge – Z is for Zagaz, bringer of disease

 

It brings disease to the young and innocent.

At the end of the list, the finish line for this challenge, we have the Zagaz. This Moroccan spirit was responsible for bringing disease to newborns. He brought about one of the most common and tragic illnesses of his time, a form of tetanus which claimed the lives of many young babies.

 

That’s the end of this blogging challenge! It’s been fun, spooky, and darkly inspirational!

 

Sources:

Image – Djinn by Nick Corbell

http://mythicalarchive.com/creature/zagaz/

http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/index.php?title=African_Spirits

 

 

 

#atozchallenge – Y is for Yaoguai, feasting on souls

They are malevolent shapeshifters who feed on souls.

The Yaoguai are China’s demons, lurking about and feeding on human essence. They are usually evil animal spirits or fallen celestial beings, seeking immortality – and they need your soul to get it! They’ve been known to appear as foxes, skeletons, and even beautiful seductresses in their search for prey. They especially like to abduct and consume holy men, though they probably wouldn’t turn down a lesser snack…

Sources:

Image found at http://horrorhk.blogspot.com/2009/08/blog-post_6543.html

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2012/10/29/10-scariest-chinese-monsters-youve-never-heard-of/article?gcheck=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoguai

 

#atozchallenge – X is for Xiang Yao, the lords of disease

(Ha, good old Chinese folklore, handling the X requirement easily!)

 

They leave disease and putrid swamp in their wake.

A Xiang Yao is a spirit with nine horrid heads on a large snake’s body. They bring disease and sickness, poisoning fresh streams into putrid swamps. They serve the great black dragon Gong-Gong, bringer of the great floods. It’s best to stay far away – an encounter is likely to leave you sick and weak.

Sources:

Image taken from the Mythical Archive

http://www.mythicalcreatureslist.com/mythical-creature/Xiang+Yao

http://www.mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/myths/english/eng_china_pantheon.htm

http://mythicalarchive.com/creature/xiang-yao/

 

#atozchallenge – W is for Wekufe, a persistent evil

They are all around, bringing chaos and disease.

Wekufe were evil beings in Mapuche believed were all around. They appear as animals, natural events or disasters, or disembodied spirits – when they choose to be visible at all. Wekufe can be called and controlled by sorcerers, but they usually rebel against and kill any sorcerer who lacks the power to fully control them. The shamans of the Mapuche, called the Machi, had to work constantly to ward the corruptions of the Wekufe away from villages and innocents.

Sources:

Image – The Wekufe by deralbi on DeviantArt

An Encyclopedia of Shamanism, Volume 1 on Google Books

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wekufe

 

 

#atozchallenge – V is for Vetala, between life and death

 

Existing between worlds, bringing madness and death.

Vetala are spirits in Hindu folklore who inhabit corpses, using them as vehicles to wander about and attack the living. They cause madness in those who encounter them, and sometimes kill the weak and young. Some brave living souls try to capture Vetala – as beings existing between worlds and outside of physical laws, they know much of the past, present, and future. Most people, however, are smart enough not to try such a foolhardy act, and instead ward off the Vetala with prayer and chants.

Sources:

Image – Vetala by zurrak on DeviantArt

http://knowledgebibliotheque.blogspot.kr/2013/04/supernatural-beings-in-india.html

http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/2011/11/creature-of-week-vetala.html

http://veryoddthings.tumblr.com/post/52390736447/the-woman-in-white-vetala-in-hindu-folklore

 

#atozchallenge – U is for Ubume, mourning her loss

Could you carry her poor child, just for a moment?

You might get a nasty surprise …

In Japanese folklore, the Ubume was the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth. She appears soaked in blood, carrying what looks like her swaddled infant. She often appears near rivers, begging passers-by to help her carry her baby across. Once someone takes up her child, she vanishes, leaving her victim compelled to carry the baby to safety. As the victim carries the ‘baby’, the bundle becomes heavier and heavier, until the swaddling comes off and the ‘baby’ is revealed to be a large stone, impossible to carry further. Some poor folk have then been pulled down by the weight of the stone, meeting a cold end as they drown in the river.

Sources

Image – Ubume on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubume

http://www.peashooter85.com/post/65102927045/spooky-folklore-from-medieval-japan-the-legend