Spearfinger: The Smoky Mountain Stone Witch
The Cherokee Legend of Spearfinger. Photo: Blue Ridge Blog
Spearfinger is a witch who can change her shape at will, and is said to have skin as hard as stone. But perhaps her most terrifying feature is the obsidian knife that replaces one of the fingers on her right hand.
Other Names for Spearfinger
The Cherokee word U’tlun’ta is sometimes used to refer to Spearfinger. It translates as “she had it sharp”, which is an apt description. She is sometimes known as Nûñ’yunu’ï. This moniker translates to “Stone dress,” a title that was inspired by her skin, which was said to be as hard as stone.
The Cherokee Legend of Spearfinger
The story goes that Spearfinger earned her stone clothes after building a rock bridge, called the “Tree Rock,” that spanned up through the air toward the Higher Beings’ place of residence.
Her arrogance upset them, and they struck down the bridge with a powerful bolt of lightning, causing it to crumble down upon Spearfinger and cloaking her in a body made of rock and rubble.
Today, the ruins of the Tree Rock are said to be located in Blount County, Tennessee, and the area is known as Nantahala, or “The Spearfinger Place,” in Cherokee.
Spearfinger, the shape-shifting witch, had a forefinger on her right hand that was known as her “sharp finger.” This deadly digit, which resembled a spear or obsidian knife, was used to cut her victims.
Her mouth was often stained with the blood of the livers she ate, making her a terrifying sight that sent chills throughout the mountains.
Spearfinger’s evil heart was hidden in her right hand, which was also her only weak spot. Therefore, she kept it tightly clutched to protect it from harm.
Her body, being made of stone, required her to ensure her heart was never exposed to danger.
As she walked, her stone body made a sound like rolling thunder, crushing rocks and boulders into the ground. Her voice would bounce off the mountains and echo down the valleys into the villages, sending the birds flying into the sky. The villagers would take this as a warning that Spearfinger was on the move.
Spearfinger had a range of terrifying abilities beyond her deadly spearfinger.
One such skill was the ability to transform into the family members of her child victims, making it easier to get close to them. Once she took on a different shape, she was unable to shift back into her stone form if she was in sight of another person.
Spearfinger’s default shape-shifting form was that of an old lady who was known and trusted by the children she hunted. Being made of stone, arrows couldn’t pierce her skin and would simply bounce off, falling harmlessly to the ground or shattering into tiny pieces.
Spearfinger also possessed immense physical strength, allowing her to effortlessly lift and manipulate rocks and boulders to cause havoc and destruction.
To aid her search for victims with fresh livers, Spearfinger would use the Cherokee customs to her advantage. In the fall, the Cherokee would set brush fires to roast chestnuts, and the smoke and flames would guide Spearfinger to the villages where she could hunt.
The witch also utilized the swirling fogs that rose from the valleys, which gave the Smoky Mountains their name. These clouds provided cover for Spearfinger to hunt children who were picking strawberries or drinking from streams on the mountainside.
The combination of her supernatural abilities and her knowledge of the local terrain made Spearfinger a formidable opponent to anyone who dared to cross her path.
Spearfinger’s greatest power was her ability to deceive. She would hide her sharp finger beneath her robes and then strike out, piercing her victim’s liver. Her favored method was to disguise herself as an older woman of the tribe, gaining the trust of her intended prey before luring them to sleep and attacking.
The unsuspecting children would then become her meal. The Cherokee, aware of her tactics, were cautious of strangers entering their camp and were suspicious of those who went into the woods alone. They feared that Spearfinger could take on the disguise of a family member and enter the village unnoticed.
Spearfinger was also skilled in the art of shape-shifting. She would sometimes assume the form of her victim, hiding the body if it passed away soon after she took their liver. She would then wait until the family was asleep and take all their livers.
Parents warned their children not to go into the woods at night, for fear of encountering Spearfinger. They would tell stories of how the monster could take on the appearance of their grandmother or aunt, making it impossible to know whether it was a family member or the monster in disguise. Spearfinger was the ultimate boogeyman, striking fear into the hearts of all who heard of her.
Spearfinger and the Stone Man
Spearfinger’s sole adversary, aside from the humans she preys upon, is the Stone Man. As both are made of stone, they have a natural ability to detect each other’s presence. They are rivals because they both crave the same delicacy – livers.
The Stone Man is said to possess greater powers than Spearfinger, and he doesn’t need to manipulate rocks to construct things. Instead, he wields a staff that enables him to create bridges that span from one mountain to another.
The Death of Spearfinger
The legend of Spearfinger
The Cherokee convened a council to devise a plan to eliminate Spearfinger once and for all. Representatives from surrounding villages gathered to discuss the matter. Being aware of her modus operandi, they decided to create a trap that would lure her in.
They dug a pit and camouflaged it with branches, then lit fires in the usual way to harvest chestnuts, hoping the smoke would attract her as she searched for fresh livers.
As expected, Spearfinger saw the smoke and made her way down the mountain, leaving a trail of destruction behind her. Disguised as an old woman and hiding her deadly finger under her cloak, she tried to trick the men into helping her.
But when they saw through her disguise, they were unsure of how to defeat her. Their arrows proved ineffective as they shattered upon hitting her stony skin.
Enraged, Spearfinger charged at the Cherokee, her sharp finger slashing at them. Despite falling into the pit, the stakes lining its interior shattered upon contact with her stony skin, failing to pierce her.
The tribe fired arrows at her, but they proved useless as she swatted them away effortlessly. In a moment of desperation, a titmouse came to their aid, singing “heart, heart, heart” to indicate where Spearfinger’s true weakness lay. However, the hunters mistakenly aimed for her chest instead of her hand, where her heart was hidden.
As a result, the arrows did not harm her but cut off the titmouse’s tongue instead. From that day on, people believed that titmice were liars because of the incident. The little bird flew back to the sky and never returned.
After the chickadee revealed the secret location of Spearfinger’s heart, the hunters took aim at her right hand, which protected her heart and held the spearfinger.
As they shot an arrow at her wrist, separating her heart from her body, Spearfinger trembled with fear. She fell to her knees and then collapsed into a pile of stones, bringing an end to her curse.
Stone Man, who also fed on livers, heard the cheers of the hunters as Spearfinger fell. He looked down from the mountainside and saw her right hand mounted on a post as a warning to him. However, he knew that the villagers didn’t know his weakness, so he ignored the warning and continued to hunt for livers and sing his song of war.
Do you know of any other cool Native American legends like Spearfinger? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed the story of Spearfinger you might also be interested in the story of El Sibon or the legend of Loana the bloodthirster.
Fofao: The Killer Doll
The creepy Fofao dolls did in fact contain a sharp spike within to support the doll’s head. Photo: Latin Folktales
An urban legend spread throughout Latin America in the late 1980s telling of a knife being hidden in Fofao dolls. It turns out it was somewhat based in reality.
Who was Fofão?
The rather spooky looking character of Fofao. Photo: Wikipedia
Orival Pessini was tasked by TV Globo director, José Bonifácio de Oliveira Sobrinho , to create a child character for the upcoming program Balão Mágico. As any character that was created would go on air, Orival was unsure of what to create, having no prior experience with children.
After contemplating various possibilities such as a dog, pig, clown, teddy bear, extraterrestrial, or human, Orival decided to combine all the ideas, resulting in the creation of Fofão.
Orival was also inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T, which he described as being unattractive but possessing a great heart and charisma. Therefore, he aimed to create a similar character in Fofão.
In 1983, the character Fofão made its first appearance on the morning children’s television program, Balão Mágico, as a supporting character to the children’s musical group.
Despite its minor role, the character quickly gained popularity, eventually becoming an iconic figure in Brazilian media during the 1980s. This was largely due to the high sales of a plush toy based on the character.
In 1986, following the end of the original program, Fofão was given its own solo show called TV Fofão, which aired on Rede Bandeirantes until 1989, with a brief return between 1994-1996. The character made its final TV appearance in 1998 on the CNT Gazeta channel.
During the early 1980s, he gained immense popularity among Brazilian children and became a sensation. The character had its own TV show, released albums, dolls, and various other licensed products.
The Legend of the killer Fofao dolls
A video telling the story of the creepy Fofao dolls
After Fofao’s meteoric rise to fame the Fofao dolls sold in huge numbers. Not long afterwards rumors began to spread about the dolls having a knife concealed inside them.
According to the legend, Fofao dolls were cursed and would come to life in the middle of the night. The doll’s head would then separate from its body revealing a large knife. The Fofao doll would then repeatedly stab the child sleeping peacefully next to them.
After the story of the cursed Fofao doll became widely known, many people reportedly burned their own Fofao dolls out of fear. The story has since become a popular urban legend throughout Latin America.
Spookily, the Fofao doll legend wasn’t completely made up. When the head of the doll was removed a large, sharp plastic spike was revealed. This was used as a structural support to help the doll to sit up on its own.
Did you hear the legend of the Fofao dolls when you were growing up? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article about the creepy Fofao dolls you might also be interested in Okiku: The Doll with Growing Human Hair or the story of Gabriel March Granados and the world longest prison sentence.
Demon Cat of D.C
A possible Demon Cat peering over a fence in Washington D.C. Photo: Wikipedia
Several people have reported seeing a large cat lurking around the US Government buildings in Washington D.C. Some say the cat appears as a warning before significant events.
The Legend of the Demon Cat of D.C
In the mid-1800s, cats were introduced into the underground tunnels of the United States Capitol Building with the purpose of exterminating rats and mice.
The story of the Demon Cat began during this time, with the belief that it was one of these feline workers whose spirit remained in the basement crypt after its passing.
The crypt, which was meant to be a final resting place for President George Washington, is said to be the Demon Cat’s favourite hangout.
As per a Washington Post article from 1898, the Demon Cat initially appears to be a regular-sized housecat but quickly expands to the size of an elephant, causing fear in the observer’s eyes.
In a 1935 Washington Post article, a witness described the Demon Cat’s eyes as glowing with the same intensity and fierceness as the headlights of a fire engine.
In addition to the Capitol Building, the legend extends to the White House. According to the tale, when the Demon Cat is seen on the Ground Floor of the White House (previously known as the basement), it means that a huge tragedy is about to unfold.
The Demon Cat’s notoriety is largely attributed to a collection of cat paw prints that can be found on the concrete floor of the Small Senate Rotunda, located near the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
While the Architect of the Capitol asserts that these paw prints belong to the rat-catching cats that once inhabited the building, proponents of the Demon Cat legend contest this claim.
According to them, the paw prints only materialized after the rotunda was almost obliterated by an explosion in 1898, which they attribute to the vindictive cat, although official records attribute the blast to a gas explosion. (Who is to say the cat didn’t cause the gas explosion).
These believers also allege that the initials “D.C.” etched into the same floor stand for “Demon Cat”.
Sightings of the Demon Cat of D.C
One of the cats that lurked in the basement of the Capitol Building
The first recorded sighting of the Demon Cat was in the United States Capitol in 1862 when it appeared in the basement, which was then used as a bakery to feed soldiers during the Civil War.
The cat was seen multiple times in the basement, and a guard supposedly fired a gun at it, causing it to vanish.
Since then, the Demon Cat has been spotted most frequently in the Capitol Building’s basement. While some describe it as a tabby, others claim it to be black.
A White House guard claimed to have witnessed the Demon Cat before the 1929 stock market crash, while another night watchman spotted it prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
Even though no firsthand source confirms the Demon Cat’s sightings at the White House, the feline ghost is occasionally included among the “most renowned” spirits of the Executive Mansion.
Possible Explanations for the Demon Cat of D.C
A video about the Demon Cat of D.C
The legend of the Demon Cat of D.C is thought to have originated from a guardsman at the United States Capitol who had possibly consumed too much alcohol during a long night shift, as per public historian Steve Livengood from the United States Capitol Historical Society.
Livengood speculates that upon waking up from a nap, the guardsman saw a basement cat that appeared larger than life due to his lying down position, and this experience might have perpetuated the story of the Demon Cat.
Such oral ghost stories are commonplace, particularly among those who worked graveyard shifts in the Capitol and White House, and the Demon Cat legend aligns with the traditional perception of cats as mystical creatures with the power to bring misfortune.
In addition to this, cats are often associated with nefarious activities and witchcraft. As a result, the Demon Cat tale is probably an amalgamation of history, imaginative narration, and widely held beliefs, making it one of the most renowned ghost stories in the nation’s capital.
Have you ever seen the Demon Cat of D.C? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Demon Cat of D.C you might be interested in other supernatural cats like the Bakeneko or the Canterbury Panther.
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