The Kumiho From Lovecraft County Is Actually Much Scarier in Ancient Mythology
In case you haven’t heard—obscure, terrifying monsters from international folktales are in vogue proper now. Who might neglect 2020’s breakout TV star, The Outsider’s hungry-as-hell creeper, El Cuco? Now we have A24’s The Inexperienced Knight developing, too, which can most undoubtedly spoil all our Spamalot-esque, rowdy concepts of Arthurian legend.
In Sunday evening’s episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Nation, we meet a brand new scary pal: Meeh Ji-Ah (performed by Jamie Chung). Who isn’t actually Ji-Ah. It’s a kumiho (AKA a multi-tailed fox spirit, no massive deal) possessing the physique of Ji-Ah. It’s an entire factor—the kumiho has to feed on the souls of 99 males so as to carry OG Ji-Ah again, and once we meet this explicit kumiho, we’re nearly at 99. We meet Ji-Ah/kumiho in Daegu, South Korea, which is the place Atticus serves within the navy circa 1950. You guessed it: Tic turns into a handsome goal for no. 99. And he practically does, till Ji-Ah begins a relationship with him, sees that he’s going to die anyway (!), and he runs away.
In Lovecraft Nation’s portrayal of Ji-Ah/the kimiho, we solely get a small glimpse of what’s a centuries-old Chinese language delusion, which later turned part of Korean mythology. And the complete story is—should you can consider it, contemplating we noticed the kimiho explode a man—much more terrifying than what we see in Lovecraft Nation.
First up, for the report, here’s what the episode tells us in regards to the creature: it’s a fox, with 9 tails, “summoned into the type of an exquisite girl to avenge the incorrect accomplished by males.” Additionally, apparently, gifted with clairvoyance too. And it’s not too far off from what we see in East Asian folklore, the place nine-tailed spirit foxes are sort of a factor. However in Japanese myths, the place these creatures are referred to as kitsune, the spirit is extra of a guiding, non secular being. The Chinese language fox, Huli Jing, are extra much like the Lovecraft Nation spirit—shapeshifting into girls, feeding on males for survival—however are extra typically portrayed as good-natured companions.
The kumiho? Straight-up evil. Shapeshifters, sure, however as an alternative of feeding on peoples’ essences just like the Huli Jing, they should eat a coronary heart, generally a liver. Additionally identified to take pleasure in (like El Cuco, Actually!) snacking on livestock. Hangs out in graveyards. The kumiho want a human cranium so as to rework into one, suck their victims’ blood like vampires, and may conjure up illusions. (Avoid studying the precise translations of a few of these tales if the motion in Lovecraft made you queasy.) Not an excessive amount of on the market about clairvoyance, although—that might’ve been a useful little system to spell some late-season doom for Atticus.
So, yeah—a protracted methods off from the American sly as a fox cliches, the place our most terrifying tv fox would possibly simply be Dora the Explorer’s Swiper the Fox.