To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day (8th of March – get your camellias ready!), we’re taking a look at some of the most viciously haunting women known to folklore and mythology. From the Mexican ghost story of La Llorona to Jenny Greenteeth, the malevolent water hag of English folklore, these terrifying tales celebrate the darker side of some of the fiercest femme fatales, and remind us to embrace women’s rights and women’s wrongs…



A blood-curdling fixture of Irish mythology, a Banshee (or ‘woman of the fairy mound’) is recognisable by their long hair and typically red or green attire. Believed to be the spirits of women who were either murdered or died during childbirth, they herald the death of a family member with their distinctive shrieks and wailing.


The Furies are chthonic (relating to the underworld) goddesses of vengeance in Ancient Greek mythology, best known for hunting down and punishing those who have violated their code of justice. While artists differ in their depictions, they’re frequently shown with hair made of snakes and the wings of a bat (hot girl summer amirite). When named, the three furies go by Allecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera.

La Llorona

While there are slight variations in the account of La Llorona’s origins, she is most commonly believed to be the vengeful ghost of a woman mourning her children, whom she drowned in a fit of jealous rage after discovering her husband’s adultery. She is said to haunt bodies of water, weeping loudly and searching for the bodies of her children.

Baba Yaga

The iconic chicken-legged-house-inhabiting witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga appears as an elderly woman who is at times a benevolent and helpful force, and at other times perfectly ready to set people on fire and eat their children. Yes queen.


Another hot snake lady of dubious specifics, Lamia is a figure from Ancient Greek mythology who is either A) an ordinary woman who fell victim to Zeus’s infidelity and Hera’s subsequent wrath, or B) the monstrous descendent of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. Described as being half-snake, half-woman, reports of Lamia’s beauty vary – with some sources describing her as a beautiful human from the waist up, and other sources attributing her with the face of a demon.

Jenny Greenteeth

A water-dwelling monster of English folklore, Jenny Greenteeth derives her name from her green skin and hair, and her razor-sharp teeth. Because she’s one to commit to a theme, she’s best associated with green water such as bogs or stagnant ponds, and green water plants like algae and duckweed. Also she drowns and eats people, but that’s secondary to the fact that she’s embraced her favourite colour.


And now, here are some books so you can settle in with a blanket and mug of tea and read about strong and monstrous women to your heart’s content.

Her radiant curse / Lim, Elizabeth
“Channi was not born a monster. But when her own father offers her in sacrifice to the Demon Witch, she is forever changed. Cursed with a serpent’s face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister, Vanna—the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Squad / Tokuda-Hall, Maggie
“Becca moves to an upscale Silicon Valley suburb and is surprised when she develops a bond with girls who belong to the popular clique – and even more surprised when she learns their secrets”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Warriors, witches, women : mythology’s fiercest females / Hodges, Kate
“Meet mythology’s fifty fiercest females in this modern retelling of the world’s greatest legends. From feminist fairies to bloodsucking temptresses, half-human harpies and protective Vodou goddesses, these are women who go beyond long-haired, smiling stereotypes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daughter of smoke & bone / Taylor, Laini (series)
“Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.” (Catalogue)
To kill a kingdom / Christo, Alexandra
“Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. […] When a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into a human as punishment. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lore / Bracken, Alexandra
“Every seven years there is a hunt offering mortal descendants of gods the opportunity to claim their divinity by killing any of nine immortals made mortal for one night. Lore Perseous has no desire to participate, embittered because her family was killed by a rival who then ascended to godhood. When a childhood friend asks her to help, and a wounded god offers an alliance, Lore overlooks the steep cost of this decision in exchange for vengeance.” (Catalogue)

Lies we sing to the sea / Underwood, Sarah
“Hanged in an annual sacrificial ritual to Poseidon, seventeen-year-old oracle Leto awakens on an island inhibited by Melantho, a strange immortal girl with oceanic powers, who tells Leto the only way to break Poseidon’s curse is to return to Ithaca and kill the prince.” (Catalogue)

A court of thorns and roses / Maas, Sarah J (series)
“Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a firey passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Attack of the 50 foot wallflower / Heidicker, Christian McKay
“Phoebe Darrow and her mom have faced flesh-eating plants, blobs from outer space, and radioactive ants […] All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke. And that’s when Phoebe starts to transform….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girl, goddess, queen / Fitzgerald, Bea
“Thousands of years ago, the gods told a lie: how Persephone was a pawn in the politics of other gods. How Hades kidnapped Persephone to be his bride. How her mother, Demeter, was so distraught she caused the Earth to start dying. The real story is much more interesting. Persephone wasn’t taken to hell: she jumped.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Orpheus girl / Rebele-Henry, Brynne
“Raya– abandoned by her mother, obsessed with ancient myths– lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years she has hidden her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are caught in an intimate moment, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Subjected to abusive and brutal “treatments” by the staff, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to save them both and to return them to the world of the living… at any cost.” (Catalogue)

Daughter of darkness / Corr, Katharine (series)
“Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out. Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein : a retelling / Landman, Tanya
“A thrilling gothic tale of hubris gone badly wrong. A young man’s search for the secret of the spark of life leads him to a horrific experiment in which he creates a gigantic creature from dismembered body parts. Rejected by his creator, the initially gentle creature turns monstrous when his desire to find companionship and love are thwarted.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fierce femmes and notorious liars : a dangerous trans girl’s confabulous memoir / Thom, Kai Cheng
“Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir is a coming-of-age story about a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth / Haynes, Natalie
“In Divine Might Natalie Haynes, author of the bestselling Pandora’s Jar, returns to the world of Greek myth and this time she examines the role of the goddesses.” (Catalogue)