• Nadine Selem

Egyptian Urban Legends

Nadine tells us some interesting urban legends from her home country of Egypt.


Egyptians, with their love for drama and good stories, have a bucketful of urban legends about genies, ghouls, ghosts and all sorts of creatures that’ll keep you up at night. These folklore tales are deeply rooted in our culture and are passed down through generations.

El-Nadaha, “The Caller” This one originates from the Egyptian country-side of the Nile Delta, where people claim that a siren- like, beautiful, mysterious woman appears in the fields at night. El-Nadaha comes out of her water cavern and waits on the shores of the river or among the bushes. She speaks a man’s name, bewitching him with a chanting call, so that he drops whatever he’s doing and whoever he’s with to follow the sound of her hypnotizing voice. The poor fellow then finds himself lured into the Nile where he inevitably drowns and goes to the underworld.

Al-Jathoom It is essentially a dark creature that descends upon a person at night when he is sleeping. In ancient Egypt, it was believed to be an evil African Queen’s ghost that is haunting souls and trying to capture them.

Omena El-Ghoula Ghouls are Arabian mythological creatures that have been used in pop culture. Basically, Omena El-Ghoula is a regular lady that transforms into a ghoul at night and goes out to eat people (mostly little kids) and grave-rob the dead. El-Sel’awa

This mysterious wolf-jackal-fox hybrid is said to live in the mountains, deserts, and the remote places of Egypt. It actually originated in the times of the Pharaohs, when it was told that this creature attacked anyone who tried to trespass a temple or graveyard. In more modern times, our grandparents will tell you quite a different story, one that includes a man and his wife, and his wife’s sister who transforms into the Sel’awa every night.


These Egyptian legends are fantastical examples of culture, and hopefully they give you a taste of Egyptian folklore.