The purpose of the women's existence also varies, depending on the combination of elements that are driving their legend and the time and place in which the story is being told. Some are looking to rescue or replace the children that have been lost to them. Some appear to herald the deaths of others. And some find themselves stuck in a recursive loop, repeating their deaths over and over again, never resting and affecting nothing.
My guess is that it was children who began this folkloric game of telephone, because it's almost always the children. They hear a story, it begins to morph, they grow up, they repeat the story to their children, perhaps with a little spice added, and on it goes. Because children, then as now, seem to like to make any urban legend as gruesome as possible and one-up their friends, eventually we end up with a Christmas-themed scarecrow that eats kids.
This one is bonkers and doesn't appear to have an Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index tale type. This "story" actually consists of two gratuitously violent anecdotes involving a group of children who are playing at being butchers. It was included in the first edition of the Grimm stories but was left out in later editions.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War...
In the 1930s there was an Black goat farmer named Oscar Washburn who lived in the Denton, Texas area, near Old Alton Bridge. Washburn was an incredibly successful and popular farmer who was known for miles around for the quality of the meat, milk, cheese, and hides that his farm produced. Washburn became so well know, in fact, that he hung a sign near the bridge that said "This way to the Goatman," the better to direct people to his farm.
When the fields are full, they stand as protector to the crops. Once harvest comes, once the fields have been reaped, when everything is turning brown and decaying, the figure of the scarecrow stands in the fields alone, forever immobile (we hope!), watching over the land with hollow eyes, waiting for life to return.
At its root, the hunt is believed to serve as a symbol of the wildness and chaos of nature. It reminds us of nature's inherent darkness and that we should remember to be afraid of the black night because dangers abound for those who are careless enough to be caught out when the riders come to call.
[CW: animal cruelty] Now, there was a young man from a poor family who thought to himself, “Why not risk my life? I’ve got nothing to lose, and a lot to win. What’s there to think about?”
[CW: mentions of sexual assault/abuse, violence against women] First of all, I love horror movies, tv shows, and books. I always have. I saw Poltergeist when I was 8 and read The Shining when I was 10. That kind of thing leaves a mark. It really does. And I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the Final Girl.