Just like that, the year is almost over and Halloween rounds the corner once more! And for that matter, the next Pokémon games are coming out soon too! So in the spirit of Pokéspooks, here’s a list of Pokémon whose concepts were born from truly unsettling and creepy origins; because while many on this list can be seen as cute and cuddly, the lore behind them is often less so.
Let’s get one of the obvious ones out of the way first. Parasect. Right off the bat you can tell something’s not quite right with this one as the once cute and bright-eyed Paras has evolved into a seemingly soulless hermit crab-mushroom hybrid. That’s probably (actually definitely) because Parasect as an entity is more the mushroom than the insect at the bottom.
See Parasect is actually based on a real-life parasitic fungus called Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, or caterpillar fungus. The fungus essentially infects ghost moth caterpillars with its spores and over time, drains its host’s body nutrients before eventually outgrowing the host and killing it from within. There are many variations of the cordyceps fungi, all of which have one thing in common – their brutal method of reproduction. They infect insects with spores, the insects become unknowing hosts, the fungus grows from within and sprouts, the insect dies and what remains is a husk releasing more spores so the cycle can begin anew. You may recognize this from The Last of Us as it was pretty much the same thing, just with humans. Similarly, Parasect is the mushroom really; the insect below merely a mindless thrall to the fungi’s whim, definitely a less brutal take on this harsh circle of life, but not any less unnerving.
Sableye stands in a weird position teetering between adorable and freaky. On one hand it’s small and fidgety like a cat, on the other hand it always poses like it’s about to jump you and it doesn’t help that it has giant, vacant diamonds for eyes.
One would think, being a part Ghost-type, that Sableye would be based on a ghost as well, or some apparition from folklore. In reality, blue eyes purple…thing here is based on the Hopkinsville Goblin-extra-terrestrials claimed to have been seen by a family on August 21st, 1955 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They claimed to have seen the creatures attacking their farmhouse and a gruelling; almost 4 hour gun battle ensued. While evidence of these aliens’ existence is shaky at best, the case is unique in that a sizable group reported on it with similar witness accounts; the creatures were claimed to be two to four feet tall with large pointed ears, claw like hands, eyes that glowed yellow and spindly legs. The Hopkinsville Goblin “look” has inspired many alien designs today, right next to the ubiquitous Grey Aliens. Whether or not a family did fight a bunch of aliens or were just high as a kite, we will never know.
Sitting right next to Sableye on the Pokédex list is another Pokémon with a creepy origin story. Mawile is based on the futakuchi-onna meaning “two-mouthed woman” from Japanese folklore. The women in these tales are often depicted as normal and quite attractive before the climax in which their skulls split apart revealing a fully functioning mouth on the back of their heads. These stories are often uncomfortable and harrowing in tone with various possible reasons as to why the woman has a second mouth; in one instance the woman is hit in the back of the head with an axe and the unsealing wound becomes the mouth, in another it is the spirit of a neglected child that lodges itself into its mother’s head as an act of revenge. Whatever the backstory, the second mouth is almost always malicious in nature and yearns for nothing else but vast quantities of food.
Similarly in the Pokémon world, Mawile lures prey and enemies in with its cute face and body; giving the illusion it is meek and helpless before turning round and viciously biting down on whatever fell for its façade. If this wasn’t unsettling enough, Nintendo upped the ante and gave Mega Mawile a far more menacing, devious and horrifying addition to its already morbid arsenal:
It’s got a third mouth.
A Pokémon that gathers fear as its energy; sounds like we’ve got a potential employee at Monsters Inc.! In all seriousness though, Misdreavus’ in game lore is just all around bad news from the start. Let’s have a look at some of the choice entries:
“It likes playing mischievous tricks such as screaming and wailing to startle people at night.” – Pokémon Gold Pokédex entry.
“It loves to bite and yank people’s hair from behind without warning, just to see their shocked reactions.” – Pokémon Silver Pokédex entry.
Indeed Misdreavus sounds like an outright nuisance and a sheer pain to be around, but what it’s based on might just be a tad bit worse. Misdreavus draws it’s concept from another apparition of Japanese folklore known as the nukekubi. Nukekubi are usually female heads that have detached from their bodies and float around independently, scaring others by wailing, attacking at night and drinking their victim’s blood. Nekukubi themselves are actually related to rokurokubi, beings that look just like normal humans…save for the fact they have immensely elongated necks. It is said that nekukubi are heads detached from rokurokubi, though some claim the necks weren’t necks at all and were actually strings tethering the floating heads to their bodies. Basically whatever they’re called it all boils down to this: would I run if I saw one coming towards me? Yes. A thousand times yes.
That’s it for our list! Let us know what you think in the comments below, or perhaps you know some Pokemon that creep you out as well that are worth mentioning! Either way, Happy Halloween from us at The MAGIC RAIN!