Nure-onna (“wet woman”) is a yokai found in rivers and the ocean. It helps a fellow water monster, the ushi-oni, to hunt humans. It hands the victim a baby that turns into a heavy rock, pulling them into the water where the ushi-oni devours them. Image: Toriyama Sekien, 1776 & Sawaki Suushi, 1737
Hyosube is a Japanese yokai, that’s a cousin to the kappa. This child-sized river monster comes out at night and loves to gorge himself on eggplants, sometimes ravaging an entire field. If Hyosube laughs, and you join him, you will die. Image: Bakemono no e
The āl, from Middle Eastern folklore, is a lilitu-like demon that steals embryos from pregnant women, or the organs of a woman who has just given birth. After doing so, the āl will run toward a river, or the nearest body of water to wash the stolen organs, before eating them. To prevent the creature from crossing, you must stir the water with a stick or sword before she’s finished.