Every country has some traditions, ghost stories, or creepy Halloween tales to share and scare the pants off of friends! We reached out to the AAU Community for the best and most spooktacular fables they have. Sinister places, true events, or fabled ghost stories…enjoy our top 5 spooky horrors!

Betty Parris of the Salem Witch Trials, America
Imagine children, in particular a couple of 10-year-old girls, being responsible for starting the most chilling witch hunt in American history. While playing around with fortune-telling games, Betty Parris along with her cousin Abigail Williams began a frenzy of accusations in the village of Salem (now Danver). In January of 1692, Betty displayed distressing behaviors such as barking, screaming, crying in pain, complaining of fever, and hiding. Due to the nature of her displayed ‘bewitchment’, 20 people were executed as a direct result of Betty and Abigails’ witch accusations with 19 being hanged and 1, Giles Corey, being pressed to death with the famed last words “More weight.”. The trials went on until May 1693 and while other girls involved apologized for causing such a panic no admission of guilt ever came from Betty Parris.

The Necromancer in the Library, Czech Republic
Jiří Arvéd Smíchovský, a famed whistleblower and occultist, has a special place in the now AAU Library. Before becoming classrooms and the AAU library, the building was home to Smíchovský, who performed black magic rituals in one room of our library and in the cellar of the building (inaccessible). These activities are rumored to have been blood rituals, demonic sacrifices, and dark summonings. One of many occultists in Prague at the time, his activities were of particular interest to Nazis and Soviets and though eventually getting him thrown in jail, were often used to aid in war efforts. An avid reader and intellect, this dark figure takes pleasure in our library and it has been reported that his presence can be felt as an icy cold spot by the fireplace… this and a constant misplacing of our books- or perhaps this is just a mischievous student!

La Llorona, Mexico
Despite variations of this popular story, the core remains unchanged. La Llorona is a folklore tale about a woman who haunts bodies of water throughout Mexico, wailing and crying for her drowned children drawing unsuspecting victims to a watery grave. As the legend goes, La Llorona was once a beautiful woman who married a reputable, rich man. After having two children, their marriage either crumbled as a result of an affair or she grew jealous of the attention her husband doted on their two children. In a fit of grief, she drowned her two children before drowning herself. The now spirit, La Llorona,  is rumored to lure children with her crying to waters edges before embracing them in the depths believing them to be her lost children…

The Cannibal Clan of Sawney Bean, Scotland
A sinister legend dating back to the era of King James I, this famous tale is still told today through tourist attractions like the Edinburgh Dungeon experience. Resident in Bennane Cave, in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, Sawney Bean and his wife made a living robbing, butchering, and eating travelers. Their activities went unnoticed for 25 years, at which time they produced a family who, through incest, established a bigger family and killed over 200 people. Upon discovery,  their crimes were considered so heinous that the King had them marched to the capital where all 43 members of the family were executed without trial. Although lacking sufficient factual documentation by historians, the bloody tale of Sawney Bean and his clan remains to be one of the most notorious criminal legends in Scottish history!

Odessa Catacombs, Ukraine
A haunting place, the Odessa Catacombs span over 2,500km and are the largest labyrinth of deep limestone mines in the world. As a result, these tunnels hold some chilling stories in their depths. Reportedly used for the execution of Nazi soldiers during WWII, the lure of adventure and investigation is strong while the outweighing risk of getting lost is almost certainly a death sentence. According to a widely spread urban legend, a group of teens reportedly entered the catacombs in 2005. It is said that a girl named Masha was somehow separated from the group and likely died of exposure or starvation. Although the exact cause of her supposed death is unknown, cataphiles have long been fascinated by the tragic story of young Masha, and the pictures of her supposed corpse continue to circulate online. However, Masha’s case is not the only story of death in the Odessa catacombs. As Vice reports, the decomposing body of a man who had been killed months earlier was also discovered in the catacombs in 2011, while in 2015 a man murdered his teenage girlfriend in the catacombs with an axe.