Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hungarian Halloween: You thought vampires were scary

Ever had sleep paralysis? That terrifying feeling when you feel awake and aware, and yet can't move? Did you feel it was hard to breathe, as if someone was sitting on your chest?

Congratulations, you have a lidérc.
Call the Winchesters.

The lidérc is one of the most commonly known creatures of Hungarian folk belief. It can actually mean quite a few things:

1. Will-o'-the-Wisps (we call them lidérc lights)
2. Handsome men or women that seduce mortals and then make them sick or dead - sometimes by drinking their blood while they are asleep (lidérc lovers)
3. A chicken from the egg of a black hen, hatched under the armpit of a man (who has to sit still for 6 weeks) - it can bring wealth for its master, but it has to be kept constantly fed and occupied, otherwise it feeds on its owner. (lidérc chicken)
4. A creature that sits on your chest, sometimes drinks your blood, and makes you ill.

Four wonderful options, obviously.

A lidérc sitting on the chest of a sleeping person (and sometimes drinking their blood, or sucking on their nipples until they swell up) (you're welcome, have fun sleeping in a bra) causes a lidércnyomás - literally, lidérc pressure. Not to mention other kinds of pressure, like having to deal with swollen nipples. Brrr.
Lidércnyomás or lidérc dream (lidérces álom) also happens to be our term for nightmares.

The good news: There are ways to get rid of a lidérc.

1. If you are one of those idiots people that made one (from an egg), you simply have to give it an impossible task and work it to death. The most popular is "bring me a bundle of sand with a rope." Another classic is "bring me water in this sieve," but be careful with that - some lidérc have figured out that ice qualifies as water. Don't try to beat a demon at technicality.

2. First aid: If a person has a lidérc on their chest, you might try to swat it into a jar with slow hand movements from head to toe. Here is one more thing you can use mason jars for, Pinterest.

3. You can keep them from coming into the house in a couple of ways - mostly with incense or birch twigs, or by magical binding.


Be safe, people. Friends don't let friends make a devil chicken under their armpits. 
Add a black hen to your Halloween decorations.


  1. My favorite part is the poor guy having to sit still for 6 weeks with an egg under his armpit. I mean, are bathroom breaks allowed? The whole process and then aftermath of it seems so not worth it. ;)

    1. Nope, no bathroom breaks allowed. That's specified in the stories :) Then again, a lidérc can fill your house with gold, so some people might see it as worth it...

  2. Somewhere I can hear some one's thirteen year old hemming and hawing about keeping an egg under their arm to create a liderc. I just wanted to see if it would really happen mom.

  3. That guy has some patience to sit that long to make one. Damn.
    I've had sleep paralysis before. Usually, I'm also stuck in a dream, so it never freaks me out and I end up later trying to figure out if I was really dreaming or not because it's a mix of dream and reality.

    1. Yeah, I have those too. I learn to recognize it. "Oh, I guess I'm not really awake then. Alright, on with the dreaming..." XD

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