, based on an Iriquois myth
, illuminated by Raymond Van Over
in his now out-of-print
book Monsters You Never Heard Of
(1983, Tempo Books, ISBN
The Burr Woman appears as an apelike woman dressed in rags who attaches herself to the back of a victim by gripping with elongated fingers and toes so tightly that they begin to meld with the flesh. The pain is horrible, and attempts to dislodge her only cause her to grip harder. After a few days the Burr Woman is so deeply connected to the person mentally and physically that to remove her would kill them. In the story Van Over tells, the desperate, withering man makes a mad dash for the lip of a ravine, hurls himself over the edge, and dies upon impact. The narrator, viewing all this in horror, is then pursued as the Burr Woman dislodges herself from the corpse and begins to scramble up the side of the ravine toward him. The final scene of the story is that of the narrator whipping the cart horses onward furiously as, over his shoulder, he spies the Burr Woman clearing the top of the ravine and loping steadily after him.