The Black Aggie is the unauthorized—and cursed—copy of the funerary sculpture for Clover Adams (of the presidentially famous Adams family) who died by suicide. Legends say her eyes glow at night and make men go blind, that her shadow causes miscarriages, that sleeping on her lap causes death, and even that she tore her own arm off, giving it to a local metal worker. After enough incidents, the statue was removed from the cemetery and sequestered in the basement of the Smithsonian. She’s currently installed in the courtyard of the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building in Washington D.C. Photo: dbking on Flickr
Indonesian Shadow Puppetry (Wayang Kulit) is one of the oldest storytelling traditions around the world. Oil lamps project the shadows of the intricately designed puppets on to cloth as the puppeteer narrates the story, often from a Hindu epic like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Images: 1-2 Tropenmuseum, Anggita Gloria, Rebecca Marshall.
Pendants like these, carved from ivory or bone, represent characters in proverbs from Bwami, an educational system that taught the values of the Lega people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were owned by men and women of the highest ranks of Bwami, who were the intellectual, moral, and political elite. Source: National Museum of African Art, Late 18th Century
The Ovinnik is an evil spirit of the barn from Slavic folklore. He may set fire to your grain and burn down your barn unless you placate him with roosters and pancakes (bliny). A warm touch from an Ovinnik on New Years Eve is auspicious for the year ahead, but a cold touch portends misery. Photo: Natalie.sk. Sculpture: Anton Shipitsa
Echidna is a cave dwelling, half-woman, half-snake being. With Typhon, she bore all of Greek Mythology’s most famous monsters: the regenerating Hydra, Cerberus who guards the gates of Hades, the Chimera, the riddle-giving Sphinx, and more. Image: Gabriele Delhey