A particularly interesting story from Scandinavia relates to apparitions called Mylings. They seem to be the manifestation of social history, superstition and twinging collective consciences.
Life in northern Scandinavia was hard, there isn’t much in the way of fertile land, the winters are long and cold with very short growing periods for crops. Starvation and illness were commonplace. As such when a family had a new baby it wasn’t unheard of to take the baby out to the woods and either slay it or let it succumb to the elements rather than watch the infant die of starvation. The bodies of these children needed to be buried in secret, away from consecrated ground. The spirits of these children would haunt the woods and accost lone travellers. If walking through the woods of a night, you heard the sound of a child crying or laughing you had likely been spotted by a Myling and were unlikely to escape.
Side Note: Whilst not exactly ghostbuster standard issue I do wonder how these phantasmic little bastards would stand up against a SPAS-12, a combat shotgun I trained with a number of years ago that I saw blow through a tree. Failing that has anyone ever tried to tackle a ghost with a flamethrower?
The Myling would climb on your back and insist you take them to be buried in consecrated ground. You would then have to carry them to the nearest graveyard for burial. The further you have to walk the heavier the Myling gets, if the graveyard is too far away the person may be crushed to death by it and the Myling returns to the place of its burial to accost other travellers. If you refuse to take the Myling to consecrated ground they will break your neck.
Side Note: These are not subtle critters.
When times are hard and there is another mouth to feed its not unusual for the children of a society to be informally sacrificed. Fortunately this isn’t as big a problem in the modern western world but it was a shared human experience globally only a couple of centuries ago. I cant imagine anything harder than making the decision, if you don’t eat you will die and then the child will die with no one to look after it, if you drop the child off in the woods you will survive and maybe have more children when times are better. Whilst I wont comment on the ghosts of these children walking around and snapping necks, I absolutely believe the parents would be haunted emotionally, especially in a culture full of zeal in its new found Christianity.
None the less if a spirit comes at me, child-ghost or any other ghost, I have no concerns about blowing its fucking head off.
Side Note: Child ghosts freak me out!