Legendary being of the Week – The Haferbock

The Haferbock is just another one of those classic German folklore creatures called the Feldgeist, or corn-demons. Yeah, you heard me right; a corn-demon.
It’s a spirit closely related to vegetation and the growing of seeds. To be more specific; The Haferbock, or the Habergeis, is a creature that embodies the act of regeneration, and the circle of life for plants or growing things.

The Haferbock belongs to the family of Feldgeist, as I just mentioned, much in the same way as the Kurote belong to the yokai-family. There are dozens of Feldgeist, or vegetation deities, in German folklore, but the one that did catch my eye was the Haferbock.

The Haferbock takes the form of a goat in most stories, but it is also known to take the form of a three-legged bird or a goat-bird hybrid. The Feldgeist hide in the cornfields, and usually try to flee from any trespassers or humans it encounters. However, should you catch up to the Haferbock, or worse – touch it, the best you’ll get away with is bad luck for the rest of the day.
Should you meet a specifically vicious goat-bird it might slap you on your face, kick you, bite you, or even devour you.

If that wasn’t bad enough, tell your children to never imitate the cry of the Haferbock, should they hear it while playing in the fields. As the Haferbock really dislike imitations. Bad luck is ensued, and it will do everything in its power to catch the imitator. Even if the spirit does not succeed, you’ll find the bloody coat of a dead goat-bird hanging outside your window when you get back home, and trust me – it won’t be a pleasing sight.

Actually, you should never let your children near your cornfields, as the Haferbock is very fond of children, and not in a good way.
This trait is very important to the legend, as the spirits quite likely originated from the farmers’ own desire to frighten their children from entering the cornfields in the first place. Some sources claim it might be related to invoke extra vigor and speed into the reapers back in the day so that they speed up their work. (The faster they’ll get done, the less chance of encountering a Haferbock)


Legendary being of the week – The Kanbari Nyūdō

Let me begin this post with a small blog update:

My original idea with this blog was to write about practically anything, anything at all that interested me or was in my mind at the time. However, I’ve decided to focus on carefully selected subjects instead, as I realized a blog that acts basically as my journal is probably not of much interest to the world. And I don’t want you as a reader to feel like you’re wasting your time here.

As such, I’ve decided to focus on the themes I am the most passionate about such as legends, mythological creatures, art, books and writing.
I might write more posts in style with last month’s welcome post, but those kind of posts are currently on hold indefinitely.

Now, without further ado — let us move on to the Kanbari nyūdō, which will be my first legendary being in my new weekly series.

The first thing you need to know about the kanbari nyūdō is that nyūdō is actually a type of yōkai, or kami, that goes under the name of ōnyūdō. The ōnyūdō is the term for any and all giant-like beings in Japan, often depicted in the form of a monk or an old man whom for some reason are usually bald.
There are lots of ōnyūdō in Japanese folklore — and the legends surrounding a lot of them are some of Japan’s absolutely most fascinating ones — ranging from the possibly giraffe-inspired mikoshi nyūdō to the cyclops-like hitotsume nyūdō. Also, fun fact if you’re interested in anime/manga, more specifically One Piece; Wadatsumi, (that in itself is a reference to the dragon kami of the sea: Watatsumi) the giant tiger blowfish fishman, goes under the nickname ōnyūdō and to top it all off, he is also referred to as Umibozu by Usopp — another character in the series —  which in turn is yet another type of ōnyūdō.
It is a potpourri of references to spiritual beings in one character.


As you can see, there are a lot of different kinds of onyudo, and there is unlimited variations we could explore (and perhaps will!) but let us get back to the kanbari nyūdō that I mentioned earlier.
The kanbari nyūdō is a yōkai that haunts bathrooms and toilets. Yeah, I know. For some reason the Japanese folklore is filled to the brim with toilet-haunting beings. (The Kurote, Hanako-san, the Aka Manto and the filth-licker Akaname to name a few)
The kanbari nyūdō thankfully only shows up one day of the year, on new year’s eve. Compared to the ippondatara, which shows up once a year as well and kill anyone it meets, the kanbari nyūdō is quite harmless as it’s rumored to simply cause you bad luck.
In some stories the opposite happens if you call upon the yōkai yourself, by doing this it is also possible to avoid any problems which may arise during your visits to the toilet the next year such as; unzipped pants, tripping and falling on the floor or ending up with toilet paper stuck in between your cheeks or any other commonly experienced bathroom-related incident.
Actually I have no idea what problems could be severe enough in the bathroom that it would justify summoning a giant spirit, likely malevolent and with the possibility of causing you bad luck for a whole year. But what do I know?


The legends surrounding the kanbari nyūdō varies from prefecture to prefecture, as is customary in Japanese folklore, but the common trait shared amongst the kanbari is that it enjoy peeping on people doing their business and cursing them with bad luck in different ways. But don’t worry, there is also something in it for you as well, if you go to a secluded toilet on new year’s eve and do not encounter the kanbari, and instead chant ganbari nyūdō, there is a chance you might find a human head in the bottom of the toilet. At this point; the legends varies, but the gist of it is that you’re supposed to pick up the head and cover it in some way and you’ll be rewarded with lots of gold.


See you next week for another legendary being!