|Powers and Abilities||When given human sacrifice, can ensure the prosperity of its environs. Possession.|
|Vulnerabilities||The destruction of the sacred tree it is bound to.|
|Appearance||Humanoid; made up of the flesh of its victims.|
'The V-Vanir? The Vanir were Norse gods of protection and prosperity, keeping the local settlements safe from harm. Some villages built effigies of the Vanir in their fields. Other villages practiced human sacrifice. One male, and one female.' Kind of looks like a scarecrow, huh?
A pagan god that resides in an ancient tree brought to the U.S. by Scandinavian immigrants. Each year the people of Burkittsville, Indiana, present it with a young man and woman as a sacrifice to ensure the prosperity of their town and its crops. The god inhabits the form of a scarecrow made from the body of its previous victims and kills the couple with a hooked blade, or scythe. The god is vanquished when the sacred tree is destroyed with fire.
Scarecrows in Lore
Scarecrows as evil or scary figures probably arise from two contributing factors. Scarecrows link to the planting and protection of crops and the changing of the seasons. In agrarian societies, Spring was celebrated as a time of resurrection – of life reborn after the dark winter. Sacrifice is bound up in this cycle. Winter kills that which grows, and breeds, until it is reborn in Spring. And for many societies existed the idea that some deity or power needed a gift to ensure the prosperity of the new season. The Vanir were a group of Norse gods connected with fertility that were associated with ritual sacrifice. Effigies representing the gods were erected, and is possibly where scarecrows originated. Scarecrows also possess attributes that lend themselves to being scary. They look human but are expressionless. As is the case with clowns, for us the inability to interpret facial expressions provokes fear – think also of horror villains from the Phantom of the Opera to Michael Myers from Halloween or Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.
Scarecrows in Film
- The Wizard of Oz - Not a horror film per se, but a movie referenced several times in Supernatural, this film features a talking scarecrow who sings "If I Only Had a Brain."
- The Wickerman - This chilling 1973 horror movie in which a policeman travels to a Hebridean island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Instead he finds a neo-pagan cult who demand a sacrifice each year – someone they burn inside a giant wicker figure.
- Children of the Corn - A young couple stumble onto a town of creepy children and “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”
- Doctor Who - In the episode “Family of Blood” formless aliens control an animate army of scarecrows. When the Doctor finally defeats them, he traps one of them inside the form of a scarecrow.