Fairies Worldwide

An accompaniment to the 2010 Sirens Conference panel “Are There Faeries Outside Western Europe? Exploring Fey Folklore from Around the World,” consisting of Shveta Thakrar, Valerie Frankel, Andrea Horbinski, and Cindy Pon.

(Please note, this is not intended as an exhaustive list but rather as a starting point for your own research.)



Ancestor spirits from many cultures

Bwca: Welsh brownies

Chin Chin Kobakama:  Japanese elderly helpers

Duende: Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, and Latin America

Huacas – Incan stone sprits who watched over fields

Kachina: Pueblo ancestor spirits

Leprechaun/Cluriecaun: Ireland

Menehune: Hawaiian helper spirits

Polevik: Polish goat spirit who helps with the harvest

Tiki:  South Pacific house spirit carving

Zashiki-warashi:  Japanese yōkai, childlike helper



Aswang:  Filipino ghoul who leaves behind plant-matter duplicates of its victims

Changeling: Europe and Britain

Ogbanje:  Nigerian “child who comes and goes”



Alan:  Filipino deformed spirits with backward fingers and toes

Asuras:  South Asian “non-gods” or enemies to the gods—demons, giants, and goblins

Chullachaqui:  Brazilian shape-shifting demon

Djinni:  Arabic Muslim creature of smokeless flame

Kappa:  Japanese malicious water demon

Nucklavee: Brutal Scottish water creature

Oni:  Japanese ogre

Pombero:  Argentinian hairy troublemaker

Popobawa:  Tanzanian shape-shifting demon

Rakshasa:  South Asian shape-shifting, flesh-eating night prowler

Shedim:  Jewish demons, descendents of Lilith

Yaksha: Hindu/Buddhist cannibalistic ogre, ghost or demon


Doppelgängers and Totems

Fyglia personal animal spirit, a totem and guardian

Ka:  Egyptian “spirit double” with identical feelings and memories

Nahua:  Mayan personal-animal spirit


Spirits, forest

Alux: Mayan

Abatwa – Ant-sized benevolent spirits of Southern Africa

Las Anjanas:  Cantabrian animal-human blends

Aziza: “near to God”; West African protectors of hunters

Bokwus Fearsome spirit in the great northwestern American spruce forests.
Curupira: Brazilian forest guardian with backward feet and green teeth

Diwata, Anito, or Lambana: Filipino tree spirits

Duwende:  Filipino playful hobgoblin who only reveals himself to children

Huldafolk: reclusive Scandinavian faeriefolk

Jogah:  Iroquois small spirit folk: Gahonga are the jogah of rocks and rivers, the

Gandayah make the earth fertile

Menehune:  Hawaiian tiny hidden craftspeople

Nagumwa-suck and Mekumwasuck: helpful Little People among the Passamaquoddy Indians

Ngen:  Mapuche Chilean nature spirits

Nunehee: Cherokee forest elves

Orang Bunian:  Malay invisible forest spirits

Sidhe, Sith, or Si (shee) – The Gaelic (Irish or Scottish) name for fairie

Ton Mai:  Thai tree spirits

Yumboes: benevolent Senegalese fairyfolk


Spirits, sky

Angels: Judeo-Christian

Apsara:  South Asian Hindu and Buddhist celestial dancer

Dakini:  South Asian Buddhist feminine sky messenger (adopted into Tibetan mythology)

Garuda:  South Asian Hindu and Buddhist birdlike creature, consort of the apsara

Pani:  South Asian aerial demon, inspirer of foolishness and neglect

Peri:  Persian winged benevolent spirit

Tien: Vietnamese angels

Spirits, underground

Dwarves: Germanic

Ohdows: They live underground with the Iroqouis and prevent earthquakes.

Tukonee:  Australian tiny cave-dwelling helpers

Trolls: Norse

Spirits, water

Ahuizotl: Aztec a dog-like creature that drowned the unwary.

Camenae Roman goddesses of springs, wells and fountains

Encantado:  Portuguese dolphin shape-shifter

Gwragedd Annwn: Welsh alluring lake maidens

Jengu:  Cameroon luck-giving mermaids

Kul: Eskimo water spirit that helps with fishing

Merrows: benelovent Irish merfolk

Nagas/Naginis:  South Asian serpentine shape-shifters; fond of water and precious metals

Oennes: Ancient Chaldean fish-gods

Phi Thale: Thai sea spirit

Qalupalik:  Alaskan sea people who steal disobedient children

Selkies: Scottish seal-people

Sirena and Siyokoy: Phillippines

Tokolosh: South African baboon-shaped river spirit who frightens travelers

Vodyanoy: Slavic male water spirit


Aumakua:  Sandwich Islands helpful succubus

Ciguapa: Dominican seductive tricksters with backward feet

Deer Woman:  Midwestern U.S. forest succubus

Fiura:  Chilean hideous wife to the Trauco

Glaistig: watery woman who hides her goat attributes

Iara:  Brazilian fish woman with a blowhole

La Llorona:  Mexican slayer of children

Mogwai: Harmful Chinese spiritsd

Patasola and Tunda:  Columbian seductresses with deformed feet

Patupaiarehe:  Māori pale ethereal seducers

Qarînah:  Arabic invisible succubus

Trauco:  Chilean tiny forest goblin and irresistibly seductive satyr

Wilis:  Slavic spirits of betrothed girls who die before their wedding night

Xana:  Spanish seductress

Will o’ the wisp

Mulla:  Sumerian will o’ the wisp

Red caps: British killers in the swamps

Feufollet: Cajun/Bayou fairies from the 1920s



Coyote:  Plains Indian cultural hero and trickster

Caipora:  Brazilian fox-headed forest spirit

Kitsune/Kumiho/Huli jing: Japanese/Korean/Chinese fox spirits

Kushtaka: Alaskan “land otter man,” shape-shifting otter men

Pukwudgie: Wampanoag (Native American) short troll with enlarged nose, fingers,

and ears

Saci:  Brazilian shape-shifter




Adlivun:  Inuit underworld spirits

Adze:  West African firefly-shaped child killers

Angiaks – dead children of Eskimo lore

Ankou – the British faerie grim reaper.

Asanbosam: West African tree-dwelling child-dwellers

Bhoot:  South Asian ghost able to assume forms of animals and people

Cihuateteo:  Aztec skeletal-faced spirits who died in childbirth

Corrigan: Cruel forest spirit of Brittany

Dybbuk:  Jewish possessing ghost

Ghouls:  Arabian reanimated corpses

Jiāngshī:  Chinese reanimated corpses

Patasola:  South American “one foot” blood-drinking succubus

Ramanga:  Madagascar living vampires

Sigbin:  Filipino bloodsucking night-dwellers

Soucouyant:  Trinidadian flying female bloodsucker

Sluagh: Highland Scots vengeful dead or fallen angels

Tlahuelpuchi:  Mexican bloodsucking shape-shifter

Tokoloshe:  Zulu zombie created by vengeful shamans

Vetala:  South Asian ghoul-like being that inhabits corpses

Wendigo:  Algonquian cannibalistic spirit



Banshee: British, she wails to warn of death

Ekimmu: Assyrian, their wailing foretold death

Virikas: these creatures gibbered outside homes of those soon to die

Assorted Otherworld/Bright Court spirits

Bediadari:  Malaysian “good people”

Gans: Apache protectors who attract good fortune.
Mogwoi:  Australian humanlike folk

Muan:  South and Central American souls of the dead and ancestor spirits

Pillan: Chilean good spirits who live in Wenumapu, the Bright Court, or in volcanoes

White Ladies: French/German healing spirits

Tuurngaq:  Alaskan incorporeal “helping spirit” that aids or possesses people

Yakshas/Yakshinis:  Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain treasure guardians/nature spirits

Yōkai:  Japanese supernatural beings (kitsune, oni, and many others are subtypes)





Further Reading




  1. Michael Ashkenazy,Handbook of Japanese Mythology. USA: ABC-Clio, 2003.
  2. N. N. Bhattacharyya,Indian Demonology: The Inverted Pantheon. India:  Manohar, 2002.
  3. Leo Tak-Hung Chan,The Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts: Ji Yun and Eighteenth-Century Literati Storytelling. USA: University of Hawaii Press, 1998.
  4. Daniel Cohen,The Encyclopedia of Monsters. USA: Avon Books, 1991.
  5. Bob Curran,Encyclopedia of the Undead. USA: Career Press, 2006.
  6. Anna L. Dallapiccola,Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend. USA: Thames & Hudson, 2002.
  7. George M. Eberhart,Mysterious Creatures. USA: ABC-CLIO, 2002.
  8. Donald A. Mackenzie, “Chapter IV: Demons and Giants and Fairies.”Indian Myth

and Legend. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/iml/iml09.htm.

  1. Pu Song Ling,Strange Tales of Liaozhai. http://academia.issendai.com/fox-chinese.shtml.
  2. Chris McNab,Mythological Monsters. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2007.
  3. John E. Roth,American Elves: An Encyclopedia of Little People from the Lore of 380 Ethnic Groups of the Western Hemisphere. USA: McFarland, 1997.
  4. Richard E. Strassberg,A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. USA: University of California Press, 2002.
  5. Thomas G. Thrum, “Chapter X: Hawaii: The Original Home of the Brownies,”Stories of the Menehunes. http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/hft/hft13.htm.
  6. J. Vogel,Indian Serpent Lore or The Nagas in Hindu Legend and Art. USA: Kessinger Publishing, 2005.
  7. Shveta Thakrar, “In Search of Apsaras” http://www.cabinetdesfees.com/2010/in-search-of-apsaras-by-shveta-thakrar/


  1. eFairies.com:  Fairy Lore (a listing of fey from all over the world): http://www.efairies.com/fairy_lore.htm.
  2. The Internet Sacred Text Archive (has all the world’s holy books and many tale collections): http://sacred-texts.com.
  3. List of Legendary Creatures (from Wikipedia): www.eons.com/uploads/8/4/84540104_List_of%20legendary%20creature-clean.doc 
  4. Marie Brennan’s List of Multicultural Fantasy Novelizations:http://www.swantower.com/marie/misc/settings.html.
  5. Nin Harris, “The Myths, Folklore and Legends of South East Asia: An Annotated List.”  http://www.cabinetdesfees.com/2010/the-myths-folklore-and-legends-of-south-east-asia-an-annotated-list/.
  6. Sur La Lune Fairy Tales (online fairy tale collections from all over the world):  http://surlalunefairytales.com.


Panelist Websites


Shveta Thakrar:  http://shvetufae.livejournal.com

Valerie Frankel:  http://vefrankel.com

Andrea Horbinski:  http://ahorbinski.dreamwidth.org

Cindy Pon:  http://www.cindypon.com