Folklore Series

This series explores real and imagined folklore customs and superstitions. Each illustration is accompanied by a short piece of microfiction.

It is well known that a rock with a hole through it can act as a seeing stone to the other side, but a bone with a hole through it will work even better, giving you the clear and unclouded Sight. Use it wisely.

The remains of criminals that have died by hanging create the most potent corpse medicine. If left exposed to the air, the skull of the hanged man will grow a kind of moss. It is a potent cure for bleeding and epilepsy.

Their whispering died down as you came upon them. You thought they were wearing masks, but weren’t quite sure. That was the last thing you remember noticing, before you woke up in the clearing with a tingling in your head. The three figures, of course, were nowhere to be found.

You remember going out to the lake with your friends. You remember waking up in the middle of the night and staring out the cabin window onto the still water. That’s when you saw it, beyond the cattails. Your friends asked you if maybe you saw a rock lit by the moon light. But you knew what you saw.

As the air filled with the scent of burning wolfsbane, the howls in the forest became deafening.

Weave an effigy with the season’s harvest and place it in your home. Bring it food and sing to it softly. When spring arrives, carry it to the field and bury it in the center. If it has felt taken care of, a good harvest is ensured. If neglected, your crops are sure to fail.

Stirring milk in your butter churn with a dead man’s hand freshly taken from a churchyard will produce ample, golden butter but be sure to keep the hand under lock and key, or it may begin to stir the butter of its own volition.

Carefully collect fresh morning dew from a spider’s web. The dew can be drunk directly or brewed into a tea. After consuming the drink, ley lines will become visible to you, but only at dawn and dusk.

What you seek lies in the woods but tread carefully at night and whatever you do, do not disturb the nightjars.

Whisper your secrets to the ground and the creatures of the earth will listen.

Everyone said the old house opposite yours was haunted. You knew it was true. If you spent a late night doing homework, you could always look out across the street and see her there. But you weren’t afraid. It was somehow comforting to see her there every night. Maybe she liked to feel seen. Maybe she felt the same way about you too.

You found it on the seashore, brought in by the tide after a storm. It was a Child of Brine, swaddled in kelp and foam. It looked at you with dewy, innocent eyes, Will you raise it as your own? Or cast it back into the sea?

Light the tin lantern and observe how the light dances on the wall and the table. Watch it long enough and the streaks of light will form into letters and shapes. It will spell out three things: a secret, a truth, and a portent of things to come.

A ring of Destroying Angels (Amanita virosa) is a strange phenomenon. They won’t transport you to the fairy realm, but something even more sinister might befall you if you set foot in one. Sit there and time itself will bend; days, months, and years will become indistinguishable.

Walk to the clearing where the pylons hum. It will become deafening as you approach, but stand as close to it as you can bear. Stand there long enough and the hum will shift into a thousand voices, revealing all. The knowledge will run through you like a current.

After the townspeople’s belongings went missing, you searched the woods. There you found the nest, enormous and threatening to engulf the tree. There you found your neighbor’s pocket watch; your mother’s eyeglasses…you never returned there, and never found what made the nest.

Hide a shoe underneath your floorboards and the spirit of the wearer will protect your home from evil. Only leave one shoe so the spirit cannot walk off and leave your home unguarded.

There is a gnarled tree in the park, its branches stretching desperately in one direction. Walk seventy seven steps in that direction from the tree and start digging. Whatever you find there, you must bring back to the tree and place it within its hollow. The tree will start growing upwards again, and as a reward, you will be able to locate anything you have recently lost.