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Top 10 Terrifying Female Mythical Creatures

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Dan Deeprose Hell hath no fury like these epic female monsters. Join MsMojo as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Terrifying Female Mythical Creatures. For this list, as mentioned, we will only be looking at mythical creatures that give us nightmares, not scary goddesses like Hecate. We’re also not looking at ghosts or folklore today, as those creatures will be getting their own list. Special thanks to our user Antonio Lorusso for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool at

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Top 10 Terrifying Female Mythical Creatures

Hell hath no fury like these epic female monsters. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 terrifying female mythical creatures.

For this list, as mentioned, we will only be looking at mythical creatures that give us nightmares, not scary goddesses like Hecate. We’re also not looking at ghosts or folklore today, as those creatures will be getting their own list.

#10: Gello
Greco-Byzantine Mythology

This bloodthirsty demon jealously attacks women who have what she never will: children. Gello is very particular about who she feeds on, preferring virgins, pregnant women or women with babies, and when she has found an appropriate girl, she is merciless. Similar to a vampire, Gello sinks her talons into them and then sucks their blood. The female demon causes infertility, miscarriage or the death of infant children. Perhaps even worse, she can possess women and force them to murder children. She doesn’t attack only women, either, but sometimes goes after the children themselves, especially children who have been left unattended.

#9: Rusalki
Slavic Mythology

These pale, beautiful creatures are the spirits of women who died by drowning – either by their own hand or someone else’s. Largely an aquatic people, Rusalki are known to come crawling out at night to climb trees and comb their long wet hair. That would be creepy enough on its own, but they also have a dangerous habit of luring men into the water and drowning them. To make matters worse, they like to laugh and tickle people. Sure, that probably doesn’t sound so bad, but most tickle sessions aren’t as fatal as these.

#8: Scylla
Greek Mythology

Immortal, with a six-pack of dog heads around her belt line, plus a cattail and twelve tentacles, Scylla isn’t exactly something you’d want to see when you’re kayaking. Dog heads aside, she has quite the living arrangement: Scylla lives in a cave on one side of the narrow Strait of Messina, directly across from her partner in crime: Charybdis, and each is prone to eating any sailor who gets too close, giving birth to the phrase “between Scylla and Charybdis” – which basically means “between a rock and a hard place.” If you do manage to kill Scylla, don’t stick around too long to celebrate because her old man, the sea-god Phorcys, will come and bring her back to life.

#7: Dziwożona
Slavic Mythology

These supernatural kidnappers live in the trees and bushes near water and take the form of red hat-wearing old women. Their M.O.? Stealing newborn babies and replacing them with their own children, called changelings. Fortunately there are very specific ways to protect infants from being snatched. For one, it’s important to never wash your baby’s diapers at nighttime; otherwise the swamp demon might pull the old switcheroo. Additionally, keep your child safe by keeping them out the moonlight, having them wear a red hat, and tying a red ribbon on their hand. Some versions of the myth say that Dziwożona are more than just kidnappers, though; supposedly they can also shapeshift into beautiful young nymphs, in order to... you guessed it, seduce and kill young men.

#6: Lamia
Greek Mythology

Lamia wasn’t always a monster. She was once the queen of Libya, in a blissful affair with Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus’ wife, Hera of course found out, and as she’s wont to do, exacted revenge by killing Lamia’s children and – in an ironic twist – turning Lamia into a child-killing savage. Usually depicted as having snake like features, Lamia also has the ability to remove her eyes from her face and then put them back again, although some say this trick was a gift from a pitying Zeus, since Hera cursed her to never close them. Some myths chalk Lamia’s new look up to Hera’s revenge, but Homer’s “Odyssey” makes a claim it was a genetic trait from her mother, Hecate.

#5: Harpies
Greek and Roman Mythology

These monsters, the spirits of wind, have the face of a beautiful woman but the body of a fierce bird. Their main goal in life is to steal food from people and leave them to starve. In other cases they swoop down and carry evildoers off to be tortured. Vicious and sadistic, they live on the Strophades Islands, waiting for the chance to snatch something up. Harpies have been known to fill various, terrifying roles in myth. On the Greek side, at Zeus’ command, they kept King Phineus captive on an island and never allowed him to eat, whereas the Romans described them as stealing an entire feast from the Trojans, prophesying that the group would starve.

#4: Banshees
Irish Mythology

The name banshee comes from the Gaelic for “woman of the mounds,” referring to their preferred living quarters, on the mounds of the Irish terrain. Recognized by their long, messy hair and fondness for green or red attire, the Banshee can go from one end of the beauty spectrum to the other at will. Legends claim they are the ghosts of women who either died while giving birth, or were murdered, and have a piercing voice to warn of imminent death. Though the Banshee is identified in Irish myth, both Scottish and Welsh folklore have similar figures as well, with wonderful names like the Hag of the Mist.

#3: Furies [aka Erinyes]
Greek Mythology

Also known as Furies, or Dirae in Roman myth, Erinyes are demons out to exact vengeance. Living in Erebus, part of the Underworld, Erinyes are a hodgepodge of all things scary: they’ve got hair made of snakes, the wings of a bat, and a dog’s head, with bloodshot and raving eyes. As terrifying as they may be to look at, they’d be even worse to be around, since they have a reputation for lashing people to death with brass-studded whips. In the set of Greek tragedies the Oresteia, the goddess Athena makes them guardians of righteousness rather than retribution. But… rest assured that they defend justice with just as much fury.

#2: Qarînah
Arabian Mythology

These astoundingly beautiful demons appear in dreams in order to have sex with human men. That might not sound terrifying, but the men have no choice in the matter, and a qarînah sustains herself by sucking energy from her victims... In other words, they literally feed on sex, and a qarînah can drain her victims to exhaustion or even death. To make matters worse, they’re invisible, so you can never see them coming – unless you’re blessed with clairvoyance. Even then, you won’t see a qarînah for the monster she is. Instead, she’ll appear in the form of a domestic animal like a cat or a dog.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Keres
Greek Mythology

- Sirens
Greek Mythology

#1: Medusa
Greek Mythology

When it comes to Medusa, looks really can kill! With snakes for hair and a gaze that turns mortals to stone, she is the most famous of three winged sisters called the Gorgons. Eventually the hero Perseus beheaded her, with the help of four of the Greek gods. But she was so powerful that even after she was killed, she had the power to turn anyone to stone with just one look into her dead eyes. Her head was eventually given to Athena, who put it on her shield to ward off evil. It just goes to show that even in death, Medusa remains one of the most dangerous creatures in Greek mythology.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite female mythical creature? For more legendary Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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