The first of the Japanese ones, it seem to be that if you’re looking for something starting with a odd letter u or x or o look outside Europe and you’re more likely to find something – transliteration of foreign alphabets can result in unusual spellings.
A monster that been part of japanese myth since about the twelfth century, in tales of a ghost twisted cronefaced woman that died in childbirth. The haggard woman appears on stormy nights carrying her baby, crying for help asking passersby to hold the baby, once they take it she disappears and the baby becomes heavier and heavier then turning into a boulder crushing the person. A ghost born out of the story of a woman who had an untimely tragic death, there are many of them cross the world.
The lady in white and La Llorona are a few more close-to-home ghosts of this type. The lady in white is a type of ghost found in rural areas across the world but most commonly in the UK and the New England part of America, it is said that she has had a tragic death just after and due to the death of her child (or sometimes betrayal by her husband) but roads, cars and horses can sometimes be involved too. She is seen on her own in the middle of nowhere, and causes anyone that communicates with her to die shortly afterwards – sometimes seen as a hitchhiker and whoever picks her up crashes and dies.
La Llorona is a Mexican story of a woman who lost her children in the river and cries while is looking for them. One version tells of her doing this after she has drowned them herself in a fit of rage, after finding her husband in the midst of an affair. It is said that she will try to steal children away to drown with herself now and again, or sometimes simply that she causes misfortune to those who see or hear her due to her extremely cursed natured.
I find La Llorona a lot more scary than the white lady but comparison between these two and Ubume is interesting – they all show how a ghost is born from pain and how misery loves company.
In media, whichever of these beings they use is usually just treated as a ghost story – but sometimes in TV shows like Grimm and Supernatural she is shown as some kind of monster that people need to be saved from because she is trying to kill them, which is tragic in that if someone had saved her from her pain then she would not be a ghost in the first place.
- A crone faced woman, with long wet black hair and crying eyes.
- A woman body wrapped in red silk, carrying a babe in her arms.
- Sometimes she is instead heavily pregnant.
- Or her body is covered in blood and she is carrying her underdeveloped fetus, since she miscarried and died in the process.
- She usually wears no shoes but sometimes she has no feet at all since she is a ghost and a lot of them don’t.
- She some shown to have bird like features, like a beak on her face and feathers on her and/or bird like feet, if so it said she has come to steal a baby away. These two very different image of her are because of some linguistic coincidences (baby-snatching bird and birthing mother being somewhat similar) and the conflation of the original japanese myth with a chinese bird-woman who could shed her feathers to appear human.
She is found on stormy nights near where she had the baby which is often depicted as near a river or woodland. And she and other ghost like her are always found on there own just wanting a bit of help, just reminding you how much helping a stranger can hinder you sadly.
- The hero could be there and find the baby if it alive give a home, it dead lead it and the mother to rest. It shouldn’t be too hard as the ghost only appears near where she gave birth.
- The boulder/baby she gives could be a spell component for many a transmutation spell, a death curse or a necromantic ritual. Where an ubume baby is needed you would have to stop it becoming the boulder, while if you want the boulder you have to stop it killing you.
- Now this one really cheesy – a time traveler how chooses to go back to try help all these ghosts when they’re still alive so they don’t die tragically so they don’t become these ghost.
If want to read more about any of these monster feel free to look at the links below.