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The Taotao Mo’na

I’m fascinated by the way folklore and legend flow together. In Europe of the Dark Ages, people feared the Fairie Folk. Some of these were believed to be harmless, but most had nefarious intentions. A person could, if he wasn’t careful, be abducted by them. If one encountered one of them, there were certain rules that had to be followed, to avoid upsetting them, which would lead to all sorts of bad luck. There were those who believed the Fairies were in fact the spirits of the dead. The traditional Fairie was about as far from the modern image of the cute little Tinkerbell figure with insect wings as you can get.

Take all the things believed about the Fairies and transpose it to the Taotao Mo’na of the Polynesian Islands. It could be argued, in fact, that the two are in fact the same entities, just called by different names. If they don’t exist in reality, where does this belief originate? The Europeans of the Dark Ages and the islanders had no contact with each other. (The American Indians had their own tradition of Fairie-like beings, too. And they had no contact with either the Micronesians or the Europeans.)

One unique characteristic, as far as I can tell, attributed to the Taotao Mo’na, is that they have a particular hatred for pregnant women. Fear of them is so real that pregnant women will stay indoors, or go about in disguise at night, to avoid them. Perhaps this indicates a link to the vampire of Indonesia, the “pontianak,” which comes into being when a woman dies in childbirth and returns to life to seek vengeance on the living.

Now if you really want to blow your own mind, contemplate that the Greek “lamia” is said to prey sometimes exclusively on babies or nursing mothers, and that the same is true of Lilitu, the Babylonian demoness who transformed with time into Lilith, the Mother of Vampires. Yet all these belief systems are believed to have originated independent of each other. Trippy, huh?

(Credit to artist Ric Castro for the awesome image. I dig it.)

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here:


TheCheezman • February 2, 2018

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