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Home  |  Spirits   |  European Spirits   |  Balkan Spirits   |  Night Hag : The Night Terror

Night Hag : The Night Terror

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At a glance

Description
Origin Balkan Mythology
Classification Spirits
Family Members N/A
Region Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia
Associated With Nightmares, Dreams

Night Hag

Introduction

The Night Hag, alternatively recognized as the “Mora” or “Mare,” emerges as a supernatural entity entrenched in Balkan mythology. Typically portrayed as a malevolent spirit or demon, she inflicts torment upon humans during their slumber, inducing frightful dreams commonly referred to as “nightmares.” This ominous entity, bearing different names and instilling chilling tales throughout the region, assumes the role of a nightmare-weaver and a soul-stealer, exploiting the susceptible under the shroud of darkness.

Physical Traits

The Night Hag emerges as a figure often portrayed as a withered elderly woman, her frame gaunt and skeletal. With long, claw-like fingers, a haggard countenance, and glowing red eyes, she presents a fearsome visage. Despite her frail exterior, she commands supernatural strength and agility, an aspect concealed beneath her seemingly feeble appearance. Balkan mythology characterizes her as a twisted and bent old woman, her unkempt hair flowing like a veil of shadows around her. Her eyes, malevolent and piercing, mirror the eerie glow of the moon, striking fear into those unfortunate enough to meet her gaze. Some narratives even weave tales of her possessing sharp, talon-like fingers, employed to snatch victims from the safety of their beds.

Enveloped in darkness, the Night Hag is said to move with an otherworldly grace, gliding soundlessly through the night akin to a wraith. Her presence brings with it a bone-chilling cold that pervades the air, sending shivers down the spines of those who cross her path. Alternatively, some depict her as a young woman, captivating yet dangerous, with eyes ablaze like embers and a venomous tongue. In specific legends, she takes the form of a shadowy wisp, slithering through cracks and keyholes to reach unsuspecting victims. Her malleable form appears to adapt to the nightmares she feeds on, a chameleon of terror that perpetually adjusts to the deepest fears encountered.

Family

Within Balkan mythology, the Night Hag is frequently perceived as a solitary entity. Nevertheless, certain traditions suggest her affiliation with a broader family of spirits collectively known as the “Hags.” Characterized by their exclusively female composition, these spirits mirror the Night Hag’s penchant for mischief and malevolence. While often regarded as a lonesome specter, the Night Hag is not entirely without companionship in the realm of shadows. Certain Balkan regions allude to her inclusion in a larger collective referred to as the “Sisters of Midnight.” These hag-like entities share the ability to instill nightmares and draw sustenance from the essence of their victims.

In alternate legends, connections between the Night Hag and the Drekavac are established. The Drekavac, a bloodthirsty creature born from the unbaptized dead, shares with the Night Hag a predilection for spreading terror. Some narratives go further, portraying her as a sister to vampires or a distant cousin to witches, intricately weaving a dark and interconnected web of mythical relationships. The Night Hag, it seems, is not merely a solitary force but part of a broader, enigmatic tapestry that extends beyond the boundaries of her individual existence.

Other names

The Night Hag is recognized by diverse names throughout the Balkan region. In Serbian folklore, she assumes the name “Mora,” while in Bulgarian and Macedonian traditions, she is referred to as “Mara.” Despite these distinct names, the attributes and narratives surrounding this entity remain steadfast. In Serbian folklore, she is frequently denoted as “Noćna Mara,” a name that resonates within the nightmares of those acknowledging her existence. In Bulgarian customs, she is identified as “Нощница” (Nochnitsa), while in Croatian folklore, she is recognized as “Noćna Morojna.”

In Serbia, she bears the title “Šumska Majka,” translated as Mother of the Forest, serving as a harbinger of nightmares concealed within the dark woods. In Bulgaria, she takes on the appellation “Gorska Majka,” translated as Mountain Mother, her presence reverberating through the desolate peaks. In Croatia, she is simply the “Mora,” a formidable shadow that ensnares sleepers within the tapestry of their dreams. Despite the regional nuances in nomenclature, the Night Hag persists as a ubiquitous and formidable force in Balkan folklore.

Powers and Abilities

The Night Hag wields a myriad of supernatural abilities, making her a formidable force in Balkan mythology. One of her notable skills is the uncanny ability to infiltrate homes unnoticed, regardless of the security measures in place. Additionally, she possesses the power to induce a paralyzing sleep on her victims, rendering them immobile and incapable of seeking help. Leveraging these abilities, the Night Hag orchestrates a symphony of terror by inflicting haunting dreams upon her unsuspecting victims, leaving them in a state of fear and exhaustion.

The Night Hag’s arsenal of horrors extends across the vast landscape of human imagination. Her most insidious power lies in her mastery of manipulating dreams, crafting intricate tapestries woven with threads of fear and despair. Night terrors become her instrument, suffocating victims beneath the weight of their own anxieties. Whispers abound of her alleged ability to steal breath, leaving sleepers gasping for air in the waking world. Other tales speak of her capability to drain the life force, transforming vibrant souls into withered husks.

Her touch is believed to bring illness and misfortune, while the mere gaze of the Night Hag can pierce the heart with an icy dread. In the tapestry of Balkan folklore, the Night Hag emerges not only as a spectral intruder but as a malevolent artist, painting nightmares that resonate deeply within the psyche of those who encounter her chilling presence.

Modern Day Influence

The enduring influence of the Night Hag permeates modern culture, particularly within the horror genre, where she has served as inspiration for a myriad of characters in books, movies, and video games. The very term “nightmare” itself finds its roots in her name, underscoring her association with unsettling dreams. Contemporary expressions in literature, film, and video games continue to draw upon this chilling figure, adapting her for new audiences and evolving narratives.

From the portrayal of Baba Yaga in Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” to the spine-chilling creature featured in Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” the echoes of the Balkan Night Hag persist in the global tapestry of horror. In literature, the Night Hag has become a muse for many authors venturing into the realms of horror fiction, leaving an indelible mark on readers. Her presence is palpable in the creation of eerie atmospheres and unsettling plotlines, infusing contemporary narratives with an ancient mystique.

Visual artists have also sought to encapsulate the essence of the Night Hag through evocative representations, giving tangible form to the fearsome creature that prowls the Balkan nights. Whether in written words or vivid imagery, the Night Hag’s spectral legacy endures, transcending time and cultural boundaries to captivate audiences and perpetuate the allure of ancient Balkan mythology in the modern world.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.