Nukekubi (ぬけくび) are female yōkai whose heads detach from their bodies at night to hunt and prey on human blood. Their heads can either detach completely or remain attached by a string-like neck. They are a variation of the rokurokubi (轆轤首) yōkai. Nukekubi are ordinary women by day but bloodthirsty hunters at night, all without their knowledge. Their methods of hunting include sucking their victims’ blood or biting them. The curse of nukekubi is often spread from mothers to daughters, and there is no certain cure. Stories of the nukekubi appear as early as the Heian period (794-1185). –Edie Ellison

Yōkai in Context