The Kumiho From Lovecraft County Is Actually Much Scarier in Ancient Mythology
For those who haven’t heard—obscure, terrifying monsters from worldwide folktales are in vogue proper now. Who might overlook 2020’s breakout TV star, The Outsider’s hungry-as-hell creeper, El Cuco? We’ve got A24’s The Green Knight arising, too, which is able to most positively destroy all our Spamalot-esque, rowdy concepts of Arthurian legend.
In Sunday night time’s episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, we meet a brand new scary buddy: Meeh Ji-Ah (performed by Jamie Chung). Who isn’t actually Ji-Ah. It’s a kumiho (AKA a multi-tailed fox spirit, no huge deal) possessing the physique of Ji-Ah. It’s a complete factor—the kumiho has to feed on the souls of 99 males so as to carry OG Ji-Ah again, and after we meet this specific kumiho, we’re nearly at 99. We meet Ji-Ah/kumiho in Daegu, South Korea, which is the place Atticus serves within the army circa 1950. You guessed it: Tic turns into a handsome goal for no. 99. And he almost does, till Ji-Ah begins a relationship with him, sees that he’s going to die anyway (!), and he runs away.
In Lovecraft Country’s portrayal of Ji-Ah/the kimiho, we solely get a small glimpse of what’s a centuries-old Chinese language fantasy, which later grew to become part of Korean mythology. And the total story is—if you happen to can consider it, considering we noticed the kimiho explode a man—much more terrifying than what we see in Lovecraft Country.
First up, for the file, here’s what the episode tells us concerning the creature: it’s a fox, with 9 tails, “summoned into the type of a stupendous lady 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 form of a factor. However in Japanese myths, the place these creatures are referred to as kitsune, the spirit is more of a guiding, spiritual being. The Chinese language fox, Huli Jing, are more much like the Lovecraft Country spirit—shapeshifting into girls, feeding on males for survival—however are more usually portrayed as good-natured companions.
The kumiho? Straight-up evil. Shapeshifters, sure, however as a substitute of feeding on peoples’ essences just like the Huli Jing, they should eat a heart, typically a liver. Additionally recognized to take pleasure in (like El Cuco, really!) 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 might conjure up illusions. (Keep away from reading 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 machine to spell some late-season doom for Atticus.
So, yeah—an extended methods off from the American sly as a fox cliches, the place our most terrifying tv fox may simply be Dora the Explorer’s Swiper the Fox.