A general class of mythical creature. The generic concept of a mythical creature not limited by any particular instance of that concept.
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Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock or simply Shuck is the name given to a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the coastline and countryside of East Anglia. Accounts of the animal form part of the folklore of Norfolk, Suffolk, the Cambridgeshire fens and Essex.
The name Shuck may derive from the Old English word scucca meaning "demon", or possibly from the local dialect word shucky meaning "shaggy" or "hairy".
Black Shuck is one of many ghostly black dogs recorded across the British Isles. Sometimes recorded as an omen of death, sometimes a more companionable animal, it is classified as a cryptid, and there are varying accounts of the animal's appearance. Writing in 1877, Walter Rye stated that Shuck was "the most curious of our local apparitions, as they are no doubt varieties of the same animal.
Its alleged appearance in 1577 at Bungay and Blythburgh is a particularly famous account of the beast, and images of black sinister dogs have become part of the iconography of the area.
For centuries, inhabitants of England have told tales of a large black dog with malevolent flaming eyes (or in some variants of the legend a single eye) that are red or alternatively green. They are
Fenghuang (Chinese: 鳳凰; pinyin: fènghuáng) are mythological birds of East Asia that reign over all other birds. The males are called Feng and the females Huang. In modern times, however, such a distinction of gender is often no longer made and the Feng and Huang are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which has male connotations.
The Fenghuang is also called the "August Rooster" (Chinese: 鶤雞; pinyin: kūnjī) since it sometimes takes the place of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac. In the West, it is commonly referred to as the Chinese phoenix or simply Phoenix. Fenghuang Ancient City is an ancient community in Hunan Province.
A common depiction of Fenghuang was of it attacking snakes with its talons and its wings spread. According to scripture Erya — chapter 17 Shiniao, Fenghuang is said to be made up of the beak of a rooster, the face of a swallow, the forehead of a fowl, the neck of a snake, the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise, the hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a fish. Today, however, it is often described as a composite of many birds including the head of a golden pheasant, the body of a mandarin duck,
Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراق al-Burāq "lightning") is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is the title of one of the chapters (sura), Al-Isra, of the Qur'an.
While the Buraq is almost always portrayed with a human face in far-eastern and Persian art, no Hadiths or early Islamic references allude to it having a humanoid face. This, which found its way into Indian and Persian Islamic art, may have been influenced by a misrepresentation or translation from Arabic to Persian of texts and stories describing the winged steed as a "... beautiful faced creature."
An excerpt from a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari describes Al-Buraq:
Another description of the Buraq:
According to Islam, the Night Journey took place 12 years after Muhammad became a prophet, during the 7th century. Muhammad had been in his home city of Mecca, at his cousin's home (the house of Ummu Hani' binti Abu Talib). Afterwards,Prophet Muhammad went to the Masjid al-Haram. While he
A jötunn (anglicized jotunn or jotun; /ˈjoʊtən/, /ˈjoʊtʊn/, or /ˈjɔːtʊn/; Icelandic: [ˈjœːtʏn]; from Old Norse jǫtunn /ˈjɔtunː/; often glossed as giant or ettin) is a being seen throughout Norse mythology. The Jötunn are a mythological race, separate from the Æsir and Vanir but of comparable strength and ability. As seen through a great number of texts and poems the Jötunn are often in opposition or competition to the Æsir or Vanir. A number of Jötunn intermarry with the Æsir and Vanir or interact with them in a non-hostile manner. Their otherworldly homeland is Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology, separated from Midgard, the world of humans, by high mountains or dense forests. Other place names are also associated with them, including Niflheimr (land of ice, mist and fog occupied by Hrimthurs or Frost Giants), Utgarðr (Jötnar stronghold within the giants' realm) and Járnviðr (A heavily wooded area inhabited by troll-women who bear giants).
In Old Norse, the beings were called jǫtnar (singular jǫtunn, the regular reflex of the stem jǫtun- and the nominative singular ending -r), or risar (singular risi), in particular bergrisar ('mountain-risar'), or þursar
The Alkonost is, according to Russian mythos and folklore, a creature with the body of a bird but the head of a beautiful woman. It makes sounds that are amazingly beautiful, and those who hear these sounds forget everything they know and want nothing more ever again. She lives in the underworld with her counterpart the sirin. The alkonost lays her eggs on a beach and then rolls them into the sea. When the alkonost's eggs hatch, a thunderstorm sets in and the sea becomes so rough that it is untravelable. The name of the alkonost came from a Greek demigoddess whose name was Alcyone. In Greek mythology, Alcyone was transformed by the gods into a kingfisher.
The Chupacabra or Chupacabras (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾa], from chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker") is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.
Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and The Philippines. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.
Sighting reports of the Chupacabra have been disregarded as uncorroborated or lacking evidence, while most reports in northern Mexico and the southern United States have been verified as canids afflicted by mange. Biologists and wildlife
Kappa (河童, "river-child"), alternatively called Kawatarō (川太郎, "river-boy"), Komahiki (“horse puller”), or Kawako (川子, "river-child"), are legendary creatures, a type of water sprite found in Japanese folklore. In Shintō they are considered to be one of many suijin (水神,“water deity”). A hair-covered variation of a Kappa is called a Hyōsube (ひょうすべ). There are more than eighty other names associated with the kappa in different regions which include Kawappa, Gawappa, Kōgo, Mizushi, Mizuchi, Enkō, Kawaso, Suitengu, and Dangame.
Kappa are similar to Finnish Näkki, Scandinavian/Germanic Näck/Neck, Slavian Vodník and Scottish Kelpie in that all have been used to scare children of dangers lurking in waters.
It has been suggested that the kappa legends are based on the Japanese giant salamander or "hanzaki", an aggressive salamander which grabs its prey with its powerful jaws.
Kappa are typically depicted as roughly humanoid in form, and about the size of a child. Their scaly, reptilian skin ranges in color from green to yellow or blue. Kappa supposedly inhabit the ponds and rivers of Japan and have various features to aid them in this environment, such as webbed hands and feet. They are
In Greek mythology, the Limnades / Leimenides (Λιμνάδες / Λειμενίδες) were a type of Naiad. They lived in freshwater lakes. Their parents were river or lake gods.
The number of Limnades includes but is not limited to:
Works written about this creature:Once Dead, Twice Shy
A seraph (pl. seraphim ( /ˈsɛr.ə.fɪm/); Hebrew: שְׂרָפִים śərāfîm, singular שָׂרָף śārāf; Latin: seraphi[m], singular seraph[us]; Greek: σεραφείμ) is a type of celestial or heavenly being in the Abrahamic religions.
Literally "burning ones", the word seraph is normally a synonym for serpents when used in the Hebrew Bible. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah (6.1-8) used the term to describe fiery six-winged beings that fly around God's throne singing "holy, holy, holy". This throne scene, with its triple invocation of holiness (a formula that came to be known as the trisagion), profoundly influenced subsequent theology, literature and art. Its influence is frequently seen in works depicting angels, heaven and apotheosis. Seraphs are mentioned as celestial beings in an influential Hellenistic work, the Book of Enoch, and the Book of Revelation. Tradition places seraphs in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy and the highest rank in the Christian angelic hierarchy.
The word seraphim, literally "burning ones", transliterates a Hebrew plural noun; translation yields seraphs. The singular, "seraph", is more properly rendered sarap. The word sarap/seraphim appears
The Alan are deformed spirits from the folklore of the Tinguian tribe of the Philippines. They have wings, and their fingers and toes point backwards.
The Alan are said to take drops of menstrual blood, miscarried fetuses, afterbirth, or other reproductive waste and transform them into human children, whom they then raise as their own. They live near springs in extremely fine houses, made of gold and other valuables.
A Tinguian was once walking along a trail in the woods when he heard a strange sound in a large tree near him, and looking up he was startled to see that it was the home of the Alan-spirits who live in the wood.
He stopped and gazed for a moment at the horrible creatures, large as people, hanging from the limbs of the tree with their heads down like bats. They had wings to fly, and their toes were at the back of their feet, while their long fingers, which pointed backward, were fastened at the wrist.
"Surely," thought the man, "these terrible beings will eat me if they can catch me. I will run away as fast as I can while they are asleep." He tried to run but he was too frightened, and after a few steps he fell face down on the ground.
At this the Alan began to wail
The enfield is a fictitious creature sometimes used in heraldry, having the head of a fox, forelegs like an eagle's talons, the chest of a greyhound, the body of a lion, the hindquarters and tail of a wolf.
The earliest known example of the enfield is the crest of the Ó Cellaigh clan of Ireland. Ó Cellaigh of Uí Maine are the most documented O'Kelly sept in early Irish history and annals. The enfield appears in Leabhar Ua Maine.
The ancient tradition among the O'Kellys is that they have borne this fabulous animal since the days of King Tadhg Mór Ua Cellaigh who fell "fighting like a wolf dog" on the side of the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. When Tadhg Mor fell this mythical beast issued from the nearby sea to protect the dead body of the chief until it was retrieved for proper burial by his kinsmen.
The animal is sculptured on many old (c.1375–1650) tombstones of the O'Kelly family in the Abbey of Kilconnell (founded c. 1353 by King William Buidhe Ó Cellaigh), and in the old church of Cloonkeen.
In 1859, an excavation project found a bronze 15th century O'Kelly seal 20 ft deep in a bog, prompting considerable research on the origins of the
Mimis are fairy-like beings of Arnhem Land in the folklore of the Indigenous Australians of northern Australia. They are described as having extremely thin and elongated bodies, so thin as to be in danger of breaking in case of a high wind. To avoid this, they usually spend most of their time living in rock crevices. They are said to have taught the Aborigines of Australia how to hunt, prepare kangaroo meat and use fire. They are like humans but they live in a different dimension. They were depicted during the freshwater period (1200 kya).
Ifrit—also spelled, efreet, ifreet, afreet, afrite, and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريت, pl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت)—are supernatural creatures in Arabic and Islamic cultures. They are in a class of infernal Jinn (supernatural creature) noted for their strength and cunning. An ifrit is an enormous winged creature of fire, either male or female, who lives underground and frequents ruins. Ifrits live in a society structured along ancient Arab tribal lines, complete with kings, tribes, and clans. They generally marry one another, but they can also marry humans. While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them. As with the jinn, an ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever, good or evil, but he is most often depicted as a wicked and ruthless being.
Traditionally, Arab philologists derive it from عفر afara "to rub with dust". Western philologists, such as Johann Jakob Hess and Karl Vollers, attribute the word to Middle Persian afritan which corresponds to Modern Persian آفريدن ("to create").
An Ifrit is mentioned in the Qur'an, Sura An-Naml (27:39-40):
An ifrit (strong one) from the jinn
Kabouter is the Dutch/Afrikaans word for gnome or leprechaun. In folklore, the Dutch Kabouters are akin to the Irish Leprechaun, Scandinavian Tomte, the English Hob or Brownie and the German Klabauter or kobold.
In the folklore of the Low Countries, kabouters are tiny men who live underground or in mushrooms, or spirits who help in the home. The males have long, full beards (unlike dwarves, who do not always have full beards) and wear tall, pointed red hats. They are generally shy of humans.
There is a theory that their appearance, little red pointy hats running through the forest, can be attributed to hallucinations from eating mushrooms. Though not associated with narcotics by the general public, they appear in the iconography of smart shops.
In the Legend of the Wooden Shoes, an old Dutch folktale, a kabouter teaches a Dutch man how to make piles and how to make wooden shoes.
The Dutch illustrator Rien Poortvliet played an important part in modern Kabouter lore with his publication of Leven en werken van de Kabouter (English title "Lives and works of the Gnome"), later translated into English and published as "Gnomes".
In popular culture today, the business Travelocity uses a
Xiezhi or Haetae (Chinese: 獬豸; pinyin: Xièzhì; Wade–Giles: hsieh-chih; Korean: 해태, Haetae, often spelled Haitai) is a legendary creature in both Korean and Chinese myths. According to Korean and Chinese records, an animal with a horn in the center of its head lived in the frontier areas of Manchuria.
Xiezhi and Haetae sculptures in architecture were widely used in both Korea and China. In old China, emperors always preferred to utilize this sacred animal to symbolise justice. In ancient Korea, Haetae sculptures were used in architecture during the early Joseon dynasty, as their image was trusted to be able to protect Hanyang (now Seoul) from natural disasters and to give law and order among the populace. Seoul city has officially used Haechi (origin of Haetae) as the symbol of Seoul since 2009.
Azukiarai (小豆洗い, azuki bean washing), or Azukitogi (小豆とぎ, azuki bean grinding), is a ghostly phenomenon in Japanese folklore, in which a mysterious noise that sounds like azuki beans being washed or ground is heard. It usually occurs near a river or other body of water. Sometimes the creature or spirit responsible amuses itself by singing "azuki togou ka, hito totte kuou ka? shoki shoki." ("Will I grind my azuki beans, or will I get a person to eat? shoki shoki."), and anyone who approaches will inevitably fall into the water.
While the perpetrator is seldom seen, he is often described as a short-statured man of grotesque appearance with a large balding head, crooked teeth, thin moustache, large bulging yellow eyes, wearing ragged clothes and bent over a pail washing azuki beans. Azukiarai is sometimes blamed on a raccoon dog or weasel.
Datsue-ba (奪衣婆, lit. "old woman who strips clothes") is an old woman who sits at the edge of the Sanzu River in the Buddhist underworld. At the river, she has two primary duties.
According to Japanese Buddhist folklore (mostly from Japan's Pure Land sects), when a child dies its soul has to cross the Sanzu River. Traditionally, when a person dies, it is believed that they can cross the river at three different spots depending on how they lived their lives. Since children have not accumulated enough experiences, however, they are unable to cross. At the river's edge, the souls of deceased children are met by Datsue-ba. There, she strips the children of their clothes and advise them to build a pile of pebbles on which they can climb to reach paradise. But before the pile reaches any significant height, the hag and underworld demons maliciously knock it down. The Buddhist bodhisattva Jizō saves these souls from having to pile stones eternally on the bank of the river by hiding them in his robe.
When a soul is that of an adult, Datsue-ba forces the sinners to take off their clothes, and the old-man Keneō hangs these clothes on a riverside branch that bends to reflect the gravity of the
The Batibat or Bangungot is a vengeful demon found in Ilocano folklore. These demons were blamed as the cause of the fatal nocturnal disease called bangungot. A batibat takes the form of a huge, old, fat woman that resides in trees. They usually come in contact with humans when the tree that they reside in is felled and made into a support post for a house. This causes them to migrate into holes found in the post. The batibat forbids humans from sleeping near its post. When a person does sleep near it, the batibat transforms to its true form and attacks that person. It sits upon the chest of its victim until he suffocates. To ward off the batibat, one should bite one's thumb or wiggle one's toes. In this way, the person will awaken from the nightmare induced by the batibat.
Goryō (御霊) [go.ɽjoː] are vengeful Japanese ghosts, from the aristocratic classes, especially those who have been martyred.
The name consists of "two kanji, 御 (go) meaning honorable and 霊 (ryō) meaning soul or spirit."
Arising mainly in the Heian period, the belief was that "the spirits of powerful lords who had been wronged were capable of catastrophic vengeance, including destruction of crops and the summoning of a typhoon or an earthquake."
According to tradition, the only way to "quell the wrath of a goryō" was with the help of a yamabushi, who could "perform the necessary rites that would tame the spirit."
An example of a goryō is the Shinto kami known as Tenjin:
Government official Sugawara no Michizane was killed in a plot by a rival member of the Fujiwara clan. In the years after his death, the capital city was struck by heavy rain and lightning, and his chief Fujiwara adversary and Emperor Daigo's crown prince died, while fires caused by lightning and floods destroyed many of residences. The court drew the conclusion that the disturbances were caused by Michizane's angry spirit. In order to placate him, the emperor restored all his offices, burned the official order of
Works written about this creature:Lucky O'Leprechaun
Area of occurrence:Ireland
A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Like other fairy creatures, leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology. The Leprechauns spend all their time busily making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the Leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release. Popular depiction shows the Leprechaun as being no taller than a small child, with a beard and hat, although they may originally have been perceived as the tallest of the mound-dwellers (the Tuatha Dé Danann).
The name leprechaun is derived from the Irish word leipreachán, defined by Patrick Dinneen as "a pigmy, a sprite, or leprechaun". The further derivation is less certain; according to most sources, the word is thought to be a corruption of Middle Irish luchrupán, from the Old Irish luchorpán, a compound of the roots lú (small) and corp (body). The root corp, which was borrowed from the Latin corpus, attests to the early influence of Ecclesiastical Latin
Oni (鬼) are creatures from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls. They are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theatre.
Depictions of oni vary widely but usually portray them as hideous, gigantic ogre-like creatures with sharp claws, wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads. They are humanoid for the most part, but occasionally, they are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of eyes or extra fingers and toes. Their skin may be any number of colors, but red and blue are particularly common.
They are often depicted wearing tiger-skin loincloths and carrying iron clubs, called kanabō (金棒). This image leads to the expression "oni with an iron club" (鬼に金棒, oni-ni-kanabō), that is, to be invincible or undefeatable. It can also be used in the sense of "strong beyond strong", or having one's natural quality enhanced or supplemented by the use of some tool.
The word "oni" is sometimes speculated to be derived from on, the on'yomi reading of a character (隠) meaning to hide or conceal, as oni were originally invisible spirits or gods which caused disasters, disease, and other unpleasant things. These nebulous beings
Huli jing (Chinese: 狐狸精; pinyin: húli jīng; literally "fox spirit") in Chinese mythology are fox spirits that are akin to European fairies. Huli jing can be either good spirits or bad spirits.
In Chinese mythology, it is believed that all things are capable of acquiring human forms, magical powers, and immortality, provided that they receive sufficient energy, in such forms as human breath or essence from the moon and the sun.
The fox spirits encountered in tales and legends are usually females and appear as young, beautiful women. One of the most infamous fox spirits in Chinese mythology was Daji (妲己), who is portrayed in the Ming novel Fengshen Yanyi. A beautiful daughter of a general, she was married forcibly to the cruel tyrant Zhou Xin (紂辛 Zhòu Xīn). A nine-tailed fox spirit who served Nüwa, whom Zhou Xin had offended, entered into and possessed her body, expelling the true Daji's soul. The spirit, as Daji, and her new husband schemed cruelly and invented many devices of torture, such as forcing righteous officials to hug red-hot metal pillars. Because of such cruelties, many people, including Zhou Xin's own former generals, revolted and fought against Zhou Xin's dynasty,
An elf (plural: elves) is a type of supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. Elves are first attested in Old English and Old Norse texts and are prominent in traditional British and Scandinavian folklore.
Elves were originally thought of as ambivalent beings with certain magical abilities capable of helping or hindering humans, but in later traditions became increasingly sinister and were believed to afflict humans and livestock in various ways. In early modern folklore they became associated with the fairies of Romance culture. The Romanticist movement revived literary interest in folk beliefs and culture, and elves entered the 20th-century high fantasy genre in the wake of works published by authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien.
The "Christmas elves" of contemporary popular culture are of relatively recent tradition, popularized during the late 19th century in the United States, in publications such as Godey's Lady's Book.
The English word elf is from the Old English ælf or elf; in compound as ælfadl "nightmare," ælfsogoða "hiccup," afflictions apparently thought to be caused by elves.
The Old English word is derived from the Proto-Germanic *albiz, which also resulted
In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes (Ἄργος Πανόπτης) or Argos, guardian of the heifer-nymph Io and son of Arestor, was a primordial giant whose epithet, "Panoptes", "all-seeing", led to his being described with multiple, often one hundred, eyes. The epithet Panoptes was applied to the Titan of the Sun, Helios, and was taken up as an epithet by Zeus, Zeus Panoptes. "In a way," Walter Burkert observes, "the power and order of Argos the city are embodied in Argos the neatherd, lord of the herd and lord of the land, whose name itself is the name of the land."
The epithet Panoptes, reflecting his mythic role, set by Hera as a very effective watchman of Io, was described in a fragment of a lost poem Aigimios, attributed to Hesiod:
In the 5th century and later, Argus' wakeful alertness was explained for an increasingly literal culture as his having so many eyes that only a few of the eyes would sleep at a time: there were always eyes still awake. In the 2nd century CE Pausanias noted at Argos, in the temple of Zeus Larissaios, an archaic image of Zeus with a third eye in the center of his forehead, allegedly Priam's Zeus Herkeios purloined from Troy. According to Ovid, to commemorate her
Hitodama (Japanese 人魂; meaning “human soul”) is the term for a fictitious being from japanese folklore. It is thought to be the wandering soul of a newly deceased and therefore to be some sort of a ghost.
Hitodama are commonly described as floating, bluish to greenish fireballs with a long, hair-thin tail. It is said that they morph into countless tiny black beetles or scatter in pieces of black coal if they touch the ground.
Folklore has it that hitodama can be seen in dark, cool woods or near cemeteries. It is said that they are normally harmless, but sometimes playing pranks on travellers or seem to be attracted to people with strong karma. But there are also hitodama that can get evil and aggressive, especially when the person was accidentally killed or murdered. Generally hitodama are thought to be the souls of unlucky humans which could not find peace after passing away.
The legends about hitodama are possibly based on fireflies, of which three species are common in Japan: Luciola cruciata (源氏 ホタル, Genji hotaru; meaning „Genji´s firefly“), Luciola lateralis (平家 ホタル, Heike hotaru; meaning "firefly from Heike"), and Colophotia praeusta. All these snail-eating beetles and their
Kamaitachi (鎌鼬) is a Japanese yōkai, most common in the Kōshin'etsu region.
There are several conceptions of how it looked or operated, but the most common is one of a trio of weasels with sharp claws, riding on a gust of wind and cutting people's skin on the legs. According to this interpretation, the first weasel knocked the unsuspecting victim down, the second cut the victim's flesh and the third applied medication to the wounds, so that at the time the victim realised what was happening they were left only with painful wounds that weren't bleeding. Sometimes the three are described as brothers, sometimes as triplets. This account can be traced back to Toriyama Sekien, who was presumably also the first to imagine the apparition to have the form of a weasel. The weasel was a typical Toriyama pun - one of the folk names for the apparition was kamaetachi (構え太刀), meaning "attacking" which he changed slightly to mean "sickle weasel".
The idea of lightning fast weasels wielding razor-sharp claws appealed to manga and anime artists and the kamaitachi often appear in those media.
Luison, Luisõ or Lobison is the name of a monstrous creature from Guaraní mythology. Being one of the seven cursed children of Tau and Kerana, the Luison is one of the primary figures of legend in Guaraní-speaking cultures today, such as Paraguay. Of the original myths of the Guaraní people, the Luison is one of the few whose story has changed significantly in modern times.
The name of Luison is a variation of Lobizón, a name used in Argentina to describe the werewolf or a similar creature, which is itself a variation of the Brazilian name for the werewolf, Lobisomem, more literally wolf-man. What name Luison may have had prior to the influence of European-based mythology is likely lost to the world. Guaraní was not a written language and all myths passed on in storytelling only, thus no written record of his original name would have been made.
In the original version of the myth, Luison was the seventh and last child of Tau and Kerana, and thus was the most accursed of the bunch. He was of vaguely human appearance, but said to be extremely ugly, even horrendous looking. Luison had long, dirty hair that fell down to cover most of his form, pale and sickly looking skin and eyes, and
Shishi (Chinese: 石獅子 or 石狮子; pinyin: shíshīzi; literally "stone lion"), also called Lion of Fo / Foo / Fu, Lion of Buddha or Chinese guardian lions, is, in Chinese art, a stylized figure of a snarling lion. Its original significance was as a guardian presence in a Buddhist temple. Shishi are often created in pairs, with the male playing with a ball and the female with a cub. They occur in many types of Chinese pottery and in Western imitations.
Shishi were imported into Japanese mythology; the boddhisatva Monju-bosatsu is commonly depicted riding one. Japanese legend portrays shishi as playful in temperament but protective in nature, and they are invoked as protectors of children. Though they are said to be protective of their cubs, a folktale claims that shishi throw each cub over a cliff to test its strength.
Outside many Shinto shrines can be found the Komainu which, despite the "inu" (犬) (dog) in their name, look much like a Chinese lion.
Komainu are guardians against evil, showing many influences from both Chinese and Korean ancestry. Author Hiromi Iwai writes in the book "Nihon no Kamigami to Hotoke" ("The Gods and Buddha in Japan") that Komainu's lion-like design can be
The Curupira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kuɾuˈpiɾɐ]) is a mythological creature of Brazilian folklore. This creature blends many features of West African and European fairies but was usually regarded as a demonic figure.
His name comes from the Tupi language kuru'pir, meaning "covered in blisters". According to the cultural legends, this creature has bright red/orange hair, and resembles a man or a dwarf, but its feet are turned backwards. Curupira lives in the forests of Brazil and uses its backward feet to create footprints that lead to its starting point, thus making hunters and travelers confused. Besides that, he can also create illusions and produce a sound that's like a high pitched whistle, in order to scare and drive its victim to madness. It is commom to portray a Curupira riding a Collared peccary, much like another Brazilian creature called Caipora.
A Curupira will prey on poachers and hunters that take more than they need of the forest, and he also attacks people that hunt animals that were taking care of their offspring. There are many different versions of the legend, and so the creature's appearance and habits may vary from each region in Brazil. However, Curupira
According to Gunai/Kurnai tribal legends, the Nargun is a fierce half-human half-stone creature that lived in the Den of Nargun, a cave under a rock overhang behind a small waterfall in the Mitchell River National Park, Victoria, Australia. Aboriginal legend describes the Nargun as a beast that was all stone except for its hands, arms and breast. The fierce creature would drag unwary travellers into its den, and any weapon directed against it would be turned back on its owner.
The cave where the Nargun lived, called the Den of Nargun, is found on Woolshed Creek, a small tributary of the Mitchell River in the Mitchell River National Park, about one kilometre upstream from where the creek joins the river. The existence of the cave was first recorded by Alfred Howitt. After heavy rainfall, the opening of the cave may be hidden by a waterfall, which has excavated a pool at its base. The den was once rimmed with stalactites, but unfortunately these have been broken off as souvenirs by visitors over the years. Smaller stalactites may still exist inside the cave.
The area is a site of Aboriginal historical importance, and is located on the Batuluk Aboriginal Cultural Trail. Stories were
Baí Zé (simplified Chinese: 白泽; traditional Chinese: 白澤; Wade–Giles: Pai Tse), or hakutaku (白沢) in Japanese, is a fantastic beast from Chinese legend. Its name literally means "white marsh".
The Baí Zé was encountered by the Yellow Emperor or Huáng Dì while he was on patrol in the east. Thereafter the creature dictated to Huáng Dì a guide to the forms and habits of all 11,520 types of supernatural creatures in the world, and how to overcome their hauntings and attacks. The emperor had this information written down in a book called the Bái Zé Tǘ (白泽图/白澤圖). This book no longer exists, but many fragments of it survive in other texts.
According to legend, a creature called kutabe, thought to be identical to the Bai Ze of China, once appeared on Mount Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture and "predicted that a deadly plague would sweep through in the next few years. The beast prescribed that its own image be used as a talisman to ward off the disease, and since then the hakutaku has been worshipped as a guardian spirit of herbal medicine."
The common Japanese image generally depicts the hakutaku as a "bovine or monstrous felid creature with nine eyes and six horns, arranged in sets of three and
Abura-sumashi (油すまし, "Oil Presser") is a creature from the folklore of Amakusa in Kumamoto prefecture. This spirit, which surprises people on the Kusazumigoe mountain pass, is thought to be the ghost of a human who stole oil.
In modern media the abura-sumashi is often depicted as, "a squat creature with a straw-coat covered body and a potato-like or stony head," an appearance inspired by the artwork of Shigeru Mizuki.
According to Japanese folklore,Kiyohime (清姫) (or just Kiyo) was the daughter (or in some versions, the widow) of a village headman or landlord named Shōji, on the Hidaka riverbank. The family was wealthy enough to entertain and provide lodging for traveling priests, who often passed by on their way to a shrine famous for ascetic practices.
One day, a handsome visiting priest named Anchin fell in love with a beautiful woman named Kiyohime, but after a time he overcame his passions and refrained from further meetings. Kiyo became furious at the sudden change of heart and pursued him in rage. The priest and Kiyohime met at the edge of the Hidaka river, where the priest asked a boatman to help him to cross the river, but told him not to let her cross with his boat. When Kiyo saw that Anchin was escaping her, she jumped into the river and started to swim after him. While swimming in the torrent of the Hidaka river, she transformed into a large serpent because of her rage. When Anchin saw her coming after him in the form of a huge serpent, he ran into the temple called Dōjō-ji. He asked the priests of Dōjōji for help and they hid him under the bell of temple. However, the serpent smelled
An Apsara (also spelled as Apsarasa) is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
An Apsara (Sanskrit: अप्सराः apsarāḥ, plural अप्सरसः apsarasaḥ, stem apsaras-, a feminine consonant stem, អប្សរា), is also known as Vidhya Dhari or Tep Apsar (ទេពអប្សរ) in Khmer, Accharā (Pāli) or A Bố Sa La Tư (Vietnamese), Bidadari (Indonesian & Malay), Biraddali (Tausug), Hapsari or Widodari (Javanese) and Apson (Thai: อัปสร). English translations of the word "Apsara" include "nymph," "celestial nymph," and "celestial maiden."
Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As caretakers of fallen heroes, they may be compared to the valkyries of Norse mythology. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.
Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and
In Buddhist mythology and Hindu mythology, a kinnara is a paradigmatic lover, a celestial musician, half-human and half-horse (India) or half-bird (south-east Asia). Their character is clarified in the Adi parva of the Mahabharata, where they say:
They are also featured in a number of Buddhist texts, including the Lotus Sutra. An ancient Indian string instrument is known as the Kinnari Veena.
In Southeast Asian mythology, Kinnaris, the female counterpart of Kinnaras, are depicted as half-bird, half-woman creatures. One of the many creatures that inhabit the mythical Himavanta. Kinnaris have the head, torso, and arms of a woman and the wings, tail and feet of a swan. She is renowned for her dance, song and poetry, and is a traditional symbol of feminine beauty, grace and accomplishment.
'shang-shang' (Tibetan: ཤང་ཤང, Wylie: shang shang) (Sanskrit: civacivaka)
In Burma (Myanmar), kinnara are called keinnaya or kinnaya (ကိန္နရာ [kèɪɴnəjà]). Female kinnara are called keinnayi or kinnayi (ကိန္နရီ [kèɪɴnəjì]). In Shan, they are ၵိင်ႇၼရႃႇ (IPA: [kìŋ kǎ ràː]) and ၵိင်ႇၼရီႇ (IPA: [kìŋ nǎ rì]) respectively. Burmese Buddhists believe that out of the 136 past animal lives of Buddha, four were
Ubume (産女), a Japanese yōkai, appears in folk stories and literature as an old woman or Crone, with a child in her arms, imploring the passerby to hold her infant, only to then disappear. As legend has it, the weight of the child increases by degrees, until the bewitched “child” is revealed to be nothing more than a huge rock or boulder. The first version of this sort of tale was related by Urabe Suyetake, servant of Raiko.
Originally the name for a kind of small sea fish, in Japanese folklore the term is now applied to the ghost of a woman who had died in childbirth, or ‘‘birthing woman ghost.’’
Typically, the Ubume asks a passerby to hold her child for just a moment and disappears when her victim takes the swaddled baby. The baby then becomes increasingly heavy until it is impossible to hold. It is then revealed not to be a human child at all, but a boulder or a stone image of Jizo.
Many scholars have associated the Ubume with the legend of the hitobashira, where a sacrificial mother and child "are buried under one of the supporting pillars of a new bridge."
The Shoshin’in Temple, according to scholars, is where local women come to pray to conceive a child or to have a
Japanese dragons (日本の竜 Nihon no ryū) are diverse legendary creatures in Japanese truth and folklore. Japanese dragon amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and India. The style of the dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. The modern Japanese language has numerous "dragon" words, including indigenous tatsu from Old Japanese ta-tu, Sino-Japanese ryū or ryō 竜 from Chinese lóng 龍, nāga ナーガ from Sanskrit nāga, and doragon ドラゴン from English dragon.
The ca. 680 CE Kojiki and the ca. 720 CE Nihongi mytho-histories have the first Japanese textual references to dragons. "In the oldest annals the dragons are mentioned in various ways," explains de Visser (1913:135), "but mostly as water-gods, serpent- or dragon-shaped." The Kojiki and Nihongi mention several ancient dragons:
These myths about Emperor Jimmu descending from Toyatama-hime evidence the folklore that Japanese Emperors are descendants of dragons. Compare the ancient Chinese
Bakeneko (化け猫, "monster-cat"), in Japanese folklore, refers to cat yōkai (spiritual beings) with supernatural abilities akin to those of the kitsune (fox) or tanuki (raccoon dog). There are a number of superstitions that detail how ordinary cat may transform into a bakeneko. Bakeneko then haunt and menace their household.
A bakeneko with a forked tail is referred to as a nekomata (猫又, or 猫股 "forked-cat"). The popular good luck totem, the Maneki Neko (招き猫, "Beckoning Cat") found in shop fronts, is also a type of bakeneko.
Most of the stories about the bakeneko are told orally in Japan.
According to Japanese folklore, a cat may become a bakeneko by meeting any of the following three conditions:
The last superstition about tail-length possibly led some Japanese people to cut the tails off of cats to prevent their transformation into monsters. It may also have some connection to the breeding of short-tailed breeds like the Japanese Bobtail.
Cats that were caught drinking lamp oil were also considered to be bakeneko. Cats may have regularly been drinking lamp oil as it was based on fish oil.
The body of a killed bakeneko may be as much as five feet in length.
Once transformed, bakeneko
A brownie/brounie or urisk (Lowland Scots) or brùnaidh, ùruisg, or gruagach (Scottish Gaelic) is a legendary creature popular in folklore around Scotland and England (especially the north, though more commonly hobs have this role). It is the Scottish and Northern English counterpart of the Scandinavian tomte, the Slavic domovoi and the German Heinzelmännchen.
In folklore, a brownie resembles the hob, similar to a hobgoblin. Brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food. Among food, they especially enjoy porridge and honey. They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payments, or if the owners of the house misuse them. Brownies make their homes in an unused part of the house.
Folklorist John Gregorson Campbell distinguishes between the English brownie, which lived in houses, and the Scottish ùruisg or urisk, which lived outside in streams and waterfalls and was less likely to offer domestic help. The ùruisg enjoyed solitude at certain seasons of the year. Around the end of the harvest, he became more sociable, and hovered around
An incubus (nominal form constructed from the Latin verb, incubo, incubare, or "to lie upon") is a demon in male form who, according to a number of mythological and legendary traditions, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have intercourse with them. Its female counterpart is the succubus. An incubus may pursue sexual relations with a woman in order to father a child, as in the legend of Merlin. Religious tradition holds that repeated intercourse with an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, or even death.
One of the earliest mentions of an incubus comes from Mesopotamia on the Sumerian King List, ca. 2400 BC, where the hero Gilgamesh's father is listed as Lilu. It is said that Lilu disturbs and seduces women in their sleep, while Lilitu, a female demon, appears to men in their erotic dreams. Two other corresponding demons appear as well: Ardat lili, who visits men by night and begets ghostly children from them, and Irdu lili, who is known as a male counterpart to Ardat lili and visits women by night and begets from them. These demons were originally storm demons, but they eventually became regarded as night demons due to mistaken
In Greek mythology, the Cercopes (Greek: Κέρκωπες, plural of Κέρκωψ, from κέρκος (n.) kerkos "tail") were mischievous forest creatures who lived in Thermopylae or on Euboea but roamed the world and might turn up anywhere mischief was afoot. They were two brothers, but their names are given variously, Passalus and Acmon, Basalas and Achemon, Olus and Eurybatus, or Sillus and Triballus, depending on the context, but usually known as sons of Theia and Oceanus, thus ancient spirits.
They were proverbial as liars, cheats, and accomplished knaves. They once stole Heracles' weapons, during the time he was the penitent servant of Omphale in Lydia. He seized and bound them at Ephesus and punished them by tying them to a shoulder pole he slung over his shoulder with their faces pointing downwards, the only way they appear on Greek vases. The sight of Heracles' dark-tanned posterior set them both to laughing; when Heracles demanded to know what they were laughing at, he joined them in their laughter and let them go. This particular myth is depicted on a metope at Temple C at Selinus. In another myth, designed to explain their name ("tail-men" in Greek), Zeus changed the Cercopes into monkeys
Kurupira is the name of one of the important figures in Guaraní mythology. He is one of the seven monstrous children of Tau and Kerana, and as such is one of the central legendary figures in the region of Guaraní speaking cultures. He is also one of the few figures still prominent in the modern culture of the region.
Kurupi is said to be somewhat similar in appearance to another, more popular figure from Guaraní mythology, the Pombero. Like the Pombero, Kurupi is said to be short, ugly, and hairy. He makes his home in the wild forests of the region, and was considered to be the lord of the forests and protector of wild animals. Kurupi's most distinctive feature, however, was an enormous penis that was ordinarily wound several times around his waist like a belt. Due to this feature, he was at one time revered by the Guaraní as the spirit of fertility.
Much like the Pombero, Kurupi is often blamed for unexpected or unwanted pregnancies. His penis is said to be prehensile, and owing to its length he is supposed to be able to extend it through doors, windows, or other openings in a home and impregnate a sleeping woman without even having to enter the house. Together with the Pombero,
The condition of cynocephaly, having the head of a dog — or of a jackal— is a widely attested mythical phenomenon existing in many different forms and contexts.
Cynocephaly is taken from the Latin word cynocephalus, meaning "dog-head", which derives from Greek: κῠνοκέφᾰλοι. The prefix "cyno-" comes from the combining form of Greek: κύων meaning "dog". This prefix forms compound words having "the sense of dog". The suffix "-cephalic" comes from the Latin word cephalicus, meaning "head". This word finds its roots in Greek: κεφαλικός (kephalikos) meaning "capital" from Greek: κεφαλή (kephalē) meaning "head". The suffix "-cephaly", specifically, means "a specific condition or disease of the head". This together forms "a dog-like condition or disease of the head". The phrase cynocephaly also gave birth to the term cynomorph which means "dog-like". This phrase is used primarily as Cynomorpha, a sub-group of the family Cercopithecidae. This family of primates are known as "dog-like apes" and contain many species of macaques and baboons.
Cynocephaly was familiar to the Ancient Greeks from representations of the Egyptian gods Hapi (the son of Horus) and Anubis (the Egyptian god of the
Gandharva is a name used for distinct mythological beings in Hinduism and Buddhism; it is also a term for skilled singers in Indian classical music.
In Hinduism, the gandharvas (Sanskrit: गन्धर्व, gandharva, Kannada: ಗಂಧರ್ವ, Tamil:கந்தர்வர், Telugu:గంధర్వ) are male nature spirits, husbands of the Apsaras. Some are part animal, usually a bird or horse. They have superb musical skills. They guarded the Soma and made beautiful music for the gods in their palaces. A gandharva means a singer in the court of Gods.
In Hindu theology, gandharvas act as messengers between the gods and humans. In Hindu law, a Gandharva marriage is one contracted by mutual consent and without formal rituals.
Gandharvas are mentioned extensively in the epic Mahabharata as associated with the devas (as dancers and singers) and with the yakshas, as formidable warriors. They are mentioned as spread across various territories.
Various parentage is given for the gandharvas. They are called the creatures of Prajapati, of Brahma, of Kasyapa, of the Munis, of Arishta, or of Vāc.
A gandharva (Sanskrit) or gandhabba (Pāli) is one of the lowest-ranking devas in Buddhist cosmology. They are classed among the
Ittan-momen (一反木綿, "one-tenth hectare of cotton") is a Tsukumogami formed from a roll of cotton. In Japan, the Ittan-momen "flies through the air at night" and "attacks humans, often by wrapping around their faces to smother them."
The Khalkotauroi (tauroi khalkeoi, "bronze bulls") are mythical creatures that appear in the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece. They are two immense bulls with bronze hooves and bronze mouths through which they breathe fire. In the Argonautica, Jason is promised the prized fleece by King Aeetes if he can first yoke the Khalkotauroi and use them to plough a field. The field was then to be sown with dragon's teeth.
Jason survived the burning flames of the bronze bulls by smoking in a magical potion that protected him from the heat. The potion had been provided by Medea, King Aeetes own daughter, who had fallen in love with Jason.
The Khalkotauroi were a gift to King Aeetes from the Greek God's blacksmith Hephaestus.
He Hephaistos had also made for him Aeetes king of Kolkhis Bulls with feet of bronze the Khalkotauroi and bronze mouths from which the breath came out in flame, blazing and terrible. And he had forged a plough of indurated steel, all in one piece." - Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.215
Nick Willing's version of Jason and the Argonauts features a creature known as the Menaian Bull, a somewhat part-bull part-machine, which Jason has to tame. This version, however,
koropokkuru (コロポックル), also written Koro-pok-kuru, korobokkuru, or koropokkur, are a race of small people in folklore of the Ainu people of the northern Japanese islands. The name is traditionally analysed as a tripartite compound of kor or koro ("butterbur plant"), pok ("under, below"), and kur or kuru ("person") and interpreted to mean "people below the leaves of the butterbur plant" in the Ainu language.
The Ainu believe that the koro-pok-guru were the people who lived in the Ainu's land before the Ainu themselves lived there. They were short of stature, agile, and skilled at fishing. They lived in pits with roofs made from butterbur leaves.
Long ago, the koro-pok-guru were on good terms with the Ainu, and would send them deer, fish, and other game and exchange goods with them. The little people hated to be seen, however, so they would stealthily make their deliveries under cover of night.
One day, a young Ainu man decided he wanted to see a koro-pok-guru for himself, so he waited in ambush by the window where their gifts were usually left. When a koro-pok-guru came to place something there, the young man grabbed it by the hand and dragged it inside. It turned out to be a
In Japanese mythology, Kuchisake-onna (口裂け女, Kuchisake-onna) ("Slit-Mouthed Woman") is a woman who is mutilated by a jealous husband and returns as a malicious spirit. When rumors of alleged sightings began spreading in 1979, it spread throughout Japan and caused panic in many towns. There are even reports of schools allowing children to go home only in groups escorted by teachers for safety, and of police increasing their patrols.
According to the legend, children walking alone at night may encounter a woman wearing a surgical mask, which is not an unusual sight in Japan as people wear them to protect others from their colds or sickness. The woman will stop the child and ask, "Am I beautiful?" If the child answers no, the child is killed with a pair of scissors which the woman carries. If the child answers yes, the woman pulls away the mask, revealing that her mouth is slit from ear to ear, and asks "Am I beautiful now?". If the child answers no, he/she will be cut in half. If the child answers yes, then she will slit his/her mouth like hers. It is impossible to run away from her, as she will simply reappear in front of the victim. It is said she does this because of some marital
The Pombéro is a mythical humanoid creature of small stature being from Guaraní mythology. The legend, along with other mythological figures from the Guaraní, is an important part of the culture in the region spanning from northeast Argentina northward through the whole of Paraguay and southern Brazil.
Pombero's original name in the Guaraní language is Kuarahy Jára, literally "Owner of the Sun", though he is said to be a primarily nocturnal creature. In some parts of Argentina he is known primarily by the Spanish translation of his name, Dueño del Sol.
Although accounts of the Pombero's appearance and nature vary slightly from one community to the next, he is usually described as being short and ugly, with hairy hands and feet. His hairy feet are said to give him the ability to walk without being heard. He is also often described as wearing a large hat and carrying a knapsack over his shoulder. It is also said that the Pombero generally dwells in rural areas, living in the forest, although he will sometimes choose to inhabit an abandoned house.
As a forest dweller, the Pombero is said to be able to imitate the sounds of various forest creatures. Most specifically it is believed
In Bavarian folklore, a wolpertinger (also called wolperdinger, poontinger or woiperdinger) is an animal said to inhabit the alpine forests of Bavaria in Germany. It has a body comprised from various animal parts — generally wings, antlers, tails and fangs, all attached to the body of a small mammal. The most widespread description is that of a horned rabbit or a horned squirrel.
Stuffed "wolpertingers", composed of parts of actual stuffed animals, are often displayed in inns or sold to tourists as souvenirs in the animals' "native regions". The Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum in Munich, Germany features a permanent exhibit on the creature.
It is similar to other creatures from German folklore, such as the Rasselbock of the Thuringian Forest, or the Elwedritsche of the Palatinate region, which is described as a chicken-like creature with antlers; additionally the American Jackalope, as well as the Swedish Skvader are in ways similar to the Wolpertinger.
Wolpertingers are also featured in the MMORPG RuneScape as a creature that can be summoned. Additionally, it is present in World of Warcraft as a companion pet.
The Chinthe (Burmese: ခြင်္သေ့; MLCTS: hkrang se., IPA: [tɕʰɪ̀ɴðḛ]; Mon: ဇါဒိသိုၚ်, [cɛ̀atìʔsaŋ]; Shan: သၢင်ႇသီႈ, [sàːŋ si]) is a leogryph (lion-like creature) that is often seen at the entrances of pagodas and temples in Burma and other Southeast Asian countries. The chinthe is featured prominently on the kyat, the currency of Burma. The chinthe is almost always depicted in pairs, and serve to protect the pagoda. They typically appear as animals, but are sometimes found with human faces.
The story of why chinthes guard the entrances of pagodas and temples are given as such:
A princess had a son through her marriage to a lion, but later abandoned the lion who then became enraged and set out on a road of terror throughout the lands. The son then went out to slay this terrorizing lion. The son came back home to his mother stating he slew the lion, and then found out that he killed his own father. The son later constructed a statue of the lion as a guardian of a temple to atone for his sin.
The chinthe is revered and loved by the Burmese people and is used symbolically on the royal thrones of Burma. Predating the use of coins for money, brass weights cast in the shape of mythical
The Feathered Serpent was a prominent supernatural entity or deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It was called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya. The double symbolism used in its name is considered allegoric to the dual nature of the deity, where being feathered represents its divine nature or ability to fly to reach the skies and being a serpent represents its human nature or ability to creep on the ground among other animals of the Earth, a dualism very common in Mesoamerican deities.
The earliest representations of feathered serpents appear in the Olmec culture (circa 1400-400 BCE). Most surviving representations in Olmec art, such as Monument 19 at La Venta and a painting in the Juxtlahuaca cave (see below), show it as a crested rattlesnake, sometimes with feathers covering the body, and often in close proximity to humans. It is believed that Olmec supernatural entities such as the feathered serpent were the forerunners of many later Mesoamerican deities, although experts disagree on the feathered serpent's importance to the Olmec.
The pantheon of the people of Teotihuacan (200 BCE - 700 CE)
Simurgh (Persian: سیمرغ), also spelled simorgh, simurg, simoorg or simourv, also known as Angha (Persian: عنقا), is the modern Persian name for a benevolent, mythical flying creature. The figure can be found in all periods of Greater Iranian art and literature, and is evident also in the iconography of medieval Armenia, the Byzantine empire, and other regions that were within the sphere of Persian cultural influence. The mythical bird is also found in the mythology of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and is called Kerkés, Semrug, Semurg, Samran and Samruk.
The name simurgh derives from Middle Persian Pahlavi sēnmurw (and earlier sēnmuruγ), also attested in Middle Persian Pāzand as sīna-mrū. The Middle Persian term derives in turn from Avestan mərəγō Saēnō "the bird Saēna", originally a raptor, likely an eagle, falcon or sparrowhawk, as can be deduced from the etymological cognate Sanskrit śyenaḥ "raptor, eagle, bird of prey" that also appears as a divine figure. Saēna is also a personal name which is root of the name.
The most prestigious award given by Fajr International Film Festival, Iran's major annual film festival is called the Crystal Simorgh, after the mythical
Ankou is a personification of death in Breton mythology as well as in Cornish and Norman French folklore.
Ankou is also known as "Aräwn".
This character is reported by Anatole Le Braz, writer and legends collector of the 19th century. Here is what he wrote about the Ankou in his best-seller "The Legend of Death":
There are many tales involving Ankou, who appears as a man or skeleton wearing a cloak and wielding a scythe and in some stories he is described as a shadow that looks like a man with an old hat and a scythe, often atop a cart for collecting the dead. He is said to wear a black robe with a large hat which conceals his face. According to some, he was the first child of Adam and Eve. Other versions have it that the Ankou is the first dead person of the year (though he is always depicted as adult, and male), charged with collecting the others' soul before he can go to the afterlife. He is said to drive a large, black coach pulled by four black horses; accompanied by two ghostly figures on foot.
One tale says that there were three drunk friends walking home one night, when they came across an old man on a rickety cart. Two of the men started shouting at the Ankou, and then
A kodama (木魂) is a spirit from Japanese folklore, which is believed to live in certain trees (similar to the Dryad of Greek mythology).
Cutting down a tree which houses a kodama is thought to bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with shimenawa rope.
In the folklore of Bali, the Leyak (in Indonesian, people called it 'Leak' (le-ak)—the Y is not written or spoken) is a mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails (heart, lung, liver, etc.) still attached. Leyak is said to fly trying to find a pregnant woman in order to suck her baby's blood or a newborn child. There are three legendary Leyak, two females and one male.
Leyaks are humans who are practicing black magic and have cannibalistic behavior. Their mistress is the "queen of Leyak", a widow-witch named Rangda, who plays a prominent role in public rituals. Her mask is kept in the village death temple and during her temple festivals, she is paraded. Besides leyaks, demons are said to be the followers of Rangda.
Leyak are said to haunt graveyards, feed on corpses, have power to change themselves into animals, such as pigs, and fly. In normal Leyak form, they are said to have an unusually long tongue and large fangs. In daylight they appear as an ordinary human, but at night their head and entrails break loose from their body and fly. Leyak statues (a head with a very long tongue and sharp fangs) are sometimes hung on a wall for house decoration.
Melusine (or Melusina) is a figure of European legends and folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers.
She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down (much like a mermaid). She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails or both, and sometimes referred to as "nixie" or Neck.
Melusine is sometimes used as a heraldic figure, typically in German Coats of arms, where she supports one scaly tail in each arm. She may appear crowned. The Coat of Arms of Warsaw features a siren (identified in Polish as a syrenka) very much like a depiction of Melusine, brandishing a sword and shield. She is the water-spirit from the Vistula who identified the proper site for the city to Boreslaus of Masovia in the late 13th century.
The most famous literary version of Melusine tales, that of Jean d'Arras, compiled about 1382–1394, was worked into a collection of "spinning yarns" as told by ladies at their spinning. Coudrette (Couldrette) wrote The Romans of Partenay or of Lusignen: Otherwise known as the Tale of Melusine, giving source and historical notes, dates and background of the story. He goes in to detail and depth about the
Gamayun is a prophetic bird of Russian folklore. It is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge and lives on an island in the east, close to paradise. Like the Sirin and the Alkonost, the Gamayun is normally depicted as a large bird with a woman's head.
In his esoteric Christian-Buddhist cosmography Roza Mira, Daniil Andreev maintains that Sirins, Alkonosts, and Gamayuns are transformed into Archangels in Paradise.
In Greek mythology, the Giants were the children of Gaia, who was fertilized by the blood of Uranus, after Uranus was castrated by his son Cronus. Some depictions stated that these Giants had snake-like tails.
Gaia, incensed by the imprisonment of the Titans in Tartarus by the Olympians, incited the Giants to rise up in arms against them, end their reign, and restore the Titans' rule. Led on by Alcyoneus, and Porphyrion, they tested the strength of the Olympians in what is known as the Gigantomachia or Gigantomachy. The Giants Otus and Ephialtes hoped to reach the top of Mount Olympus by stacking the mountain ranges of Thessaly, Pelion, and Ossa on top of each other.
The Olympians called upon the aid of Heracles after a prophecy warned them that he was required to defeat the Giants, for the aid of a mortal was needed. Athena, instructed by Zeus, sought out Heracles and requested his participation in the battle. Heracles responded to Athena's request by shooting an arrow dipped in the poisonous blood of the dreaded Hydra at Alcyoneus, which made the Giant fall to the earth. However, the Giant was immortal so long as he remained in Pallene. Athena advised Heracles to drag Alcyoneus
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. Some have suggested that the word griffin is cognate with Cherub.
While griffins are most common in the art and lore of Ancient Greece, there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Egyptian art as far back as 3,300 BC. Most statues have bird-like talons, although in some older illustrations griffins have a lion's forelimbs; they
Laelaps (Ancient Greek: Λαῖλαψ, gen.: Λαίλαπος) was a Greek mythological dog who never failed to catch what he was hunting. In one version of Laelaps' origin, he was a gift from Zeus to Europa. The hound was passed down to King Minos. Procris's husband, Cephalus, decided to use the hound to hunt the Teumessian fox, a fox that could never be caught. This was a paradox: a dog who always caught his prey and a fox that could never be caught. The chase went on until Zeus, perplexed by their contradictory fates, turned both to stone and cast them into the stars.
At least one version of the Procris story asserts that Laelaps was a gift to her from the goddess Artemis.
Works written about this creature:The River of Winged Dreams
An angel is a supernatural being or spirit found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions they are often depicted as servants of God and celestial beings who act as intermediaries between heaven and Earth. In Zoroastrianism and Native American religions angels are depicted as a guiding influence or a guardian spirit.
The English word "angel" is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος (angelos), a translation of מלאך (mal'akh) in the Tanakh; a similar term, ملائكة (Malāīkah), is used in the Qur'an. The Hebrew and Greek words in ancient times meant messenger, and depending on the context may refer either to a human messenger or a supernatural messenger. The human messenger could possibly be a prophet or priest, such as Malachi, "my messenger", and the Greek superscription that the Book of Malachi was written "by the hand of his messenger" ἀγγήλου. Examples of a supernatural messenger, are the "Mal'akh YHWH," who is either a messenger from God, an aspect of God (such as the Logos), or God Himself as the messenger (the "theophanic angel.")
The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spirits found in many other religious traditions. Other roles of angels
Barong is a lion-like creature and character in the mythology of Bali, Indonesia. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders in the mythological traditions of Bali. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.
In Balinese mythology, the good spirit is identified as Banas Pati Raja. Banas Pati Raja is the fourth "brother" or spirit child that accompanies a child throughout their life, which is a similar concept to guardian angels. Banas Pati Raja is the spirit which animates Barong. A protector spirit, he is often represented as a lion. The Barong is often portrayed accompanied by two monkeys. Barong is portrayed as a lion with red head, covered in white thick fur, and wearing gilded jewelry adorned with pieces of mirrors. The shape of lion Barong is somewhat similar to a Pekingese dog.
On the other hand, Rangda is Barong's opposite. While Barong represent good, Rangda represent evil. Rangda is known as a demon queen, the incarnation of Calon Arang, the legendary witch that wrecking havoc in ancient Java during the reign
The monocerus is a legendary animal with only one horn. It derives from the Greek word Μονόκερος, a compound word from μόνος (monos) which means one and κέρας (neuter gender, keras) which means horn. Although the name has been applied to a variety of genuine and mythological animals, it is usually applied to the unicorn or rhinoceros. Medieval bestiaries describe the monocerus as "having a stag's head, a horse's body, an elephant's feet, a boar's tail, and a single very long black horn growing from the forehead. It makes deep lowing sounds. It is the enemy of the elephant and when fighting it aims at the belly of its opponent. The monocerus is probably based on the African or Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)".
In heraldry, the allocamelus, or ass-camel, was the depiction of a mythical creature with the head of a donkey and body of a camel; it is the legendary representation of the llama. It was first used as a crest for the English Eastland Company, and later by the Russia Company.
In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (English pronunciation: /ˈbæzɪlɪsk/, from the Greek βασιλίσκος basilískos, "little king;" Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake, "being not more than twelve fingers in length," that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal; its weakness is in the odor of the weasel, which, according to Pliny, was thrown into the basilisk's hole, recognizable because all the surrounding shrubs and grass had been scorched by its presence. It is possible that the legend of the basilisk and its association with the weasel in Europe was inspired by accounts of certain species of Asiatic snakes (such as the King Cobra) and their natural predator, the mongoose (see "Rationalized accounts" below).
The basilisk is called "king" because it is reputed to have on its head a mitre- or crown-shaped crest. Stories of the basilisk show that it is not completely distinguished from the cockatrice. The basilisk is alleged
In Greek mythology, the Cretan Bull was either the bull that carried away Europa or the bull Pasiphaë fell in love with, giving birth to the Minotaur.
When the sun has reached the constellation of Taurus, it has passed over an area that the ancients referred to as the sea - the region from Capricorn to the region containing Aries. It was referred to as the sea due to the high concentration of constellations identified as sea creatures within it, Aries being identified as a golden flying ram who flew over the sea. Crete is in a direct line from the natural harbor of Argo, a direction which due the shape of Argo's harbor, and surrounding coastline, requires that all ships initially take this course.
Apart from being a bull, Taurus contains a very bright and red star (Aldebaran), meaning that many took it to be evil. Some forms of Greek mythology associated the constellation with the tame white bull, in some versions Zeus in disguise, that seduced Europa and took her to Crete (Minos), whereas others associate it with the white bull that fathered the Minotaur. The Cretan Bull which fathered the Minotaur was originally calm and sent from Poseidon, but king Minos whom it was sent to fell
The fish-man of Liérganes (Spanish: Hombre Pez), is a cryptid which belongs to the mythology of Cantabria, located in the north of Spain. The fish-man of Liérganes would be an amphibian human-looking being, that looked a lot like a metamorphosis of a real human being who was lost at sea. His story was examined by the Enlightenment writer Benito Jerónimo Feijoo, who somehow claimed that the story of the fish-man of Liérganes was true.
According to Feijoo, legend has it that around 1650 there lived in Liérganes, a small village in Cantabria, northern Spain, a couple formed by Francisco de la Vega and María del Casar. The couple had four sons, and when the father died, the mother, lacking of means, decided to send one of her sons to Bilbao so that he could make his living as a carpenter. This son, which according to Feijoo was called Francisco de la Vega Casar, lived in Bilbao as a carpenter till 1674 when, on Saint John's day eve, he went with some friends to swim into Bilbao's estuary. Although he was allegedly a good swimmer, the currents of the river took him and could not get to the shore. He was last seen swimming away into the sea, and thought to had drown and died.
The Garuda (Sanskrit: गरुड garuḍa, "eagle") is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Garuda is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila and the Brahminy kite and Phoenix are considered to be the contemporary representations of Garuda. Indonesia adopts a more stylistic approach to the Garuda's depiction as its national symbol, where it depicts a Javanese eagle (being much larger than a kite).
In Hindu religion, Garuda is a lesser Hindu divinity, usually the mount (vahana) of the God Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle's beak and with a crown on his head. This ancient deity was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun.
Garuda is known as the eternal sworn enemy of the Nāga serpent race and known for feeding exclusively on snakes, such behavior may have referred to the actual Short-toed Eagle of India. The image of Garuda is often used as the charm or amulet to protect the bearer from snake attack and its poison, since the king of birds is an implacable enemy and "devourer of serpent". Garudi Vidya is the mantra against snake poison to
Leviathan (/lɨˈvaɪ.əθən/; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, Modern Livyatan Tiberian Liwyāṯān ; "twisted, coiled") is a sea monster referred to in the Bible.
The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature. In literature (e.g., Herman Melville's Moby-Dick) it refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it means simply "whale." It is described extensively in Job 41 and mentioned in Isaiah 27:1.
The Leviathan is mentioned six times in the Hebrew Bible, with Job 41:1-41:34 being dedicated to describing him in detail:
In Psalm 74 God is said to "break the heads of Leviathan in pieces" before giving his flesh to the people of the wilderness; in Psalm 104 God is praised for having made all things, including Leviathan; and in Isaiah 27:1 he is called the "wriggling serpent" who will be killed at the end of time.
Sea serpents feature prominently in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, attested as early as the 3rd millennium BCE in Sumerian iconography depicting the myth of the god Ninurta overcoming the seven-headed serpent. Examples of the storm god vs. sea serpent trope in the Ancient Near East can be seen with Baʿal vs. Yam (Canaanite), Marduk vs. Tiamat (Babylonian), and
The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland; the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach "heifer, colt".
In mythology, the kelpie is described as a strong and powerful horse. Its hide was supposedly black (though in some stories it was white), and appeared as a lost pony, but could be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its skin was said to be like that of a seal, smooth but as cold as death when touched. Kelpies were said to transform into beautiful women to lure men into their traps. They created illusions to keep themselves hidden, keeping only their eyes above water to scout the surface.
The fable of the kelpie varies by region. Other versions of the myth describe the kelpie as "green as glass with a black mane and tail that curves over its back like a wheel" or that, even in human form, they are always dripping wet and/or have water weeds in their hair.
The water horse is a common form of the kelpie, said to lure humans, especially children, into the water to drown and eat them. The water horse would encourage children to ride on its back, and once its victims fell
A gumiho (구미호 / 구 "gu" - nine) (literally "nine tailed fox") is a creature that appears in the oral tales and legends of Korea, and are akin to European fairies. According to those tales, a fox that lives a thousand years turns into a gumiho, like its Japanese and Chinese counterparts. It can freely transform, among other things, into a beautiful girl often set out to seduce men, and eat their liver or heart (depending on the legend). There are numerous tales in which the gumiho appears, several of which can be found in the encyclopedic Compendium of Korean Oral Literature (한국 구비문학 대계).
Originating in ancient Chinese myths dating back centuries, the Korean gumiho (pronounced "goo-me-hoe") shares many similarities to the Chinese huli jing and the Japanese kitsune. All explain fox spirits as being the result of great longevity or the accumulation of energy, with gumiho said to be foxes who have lived for a thousand years, and give them the power of shape-shifting, usually appearing in the guise of a woman. However, while huli jing and kitsune are often depicted with ambiguous moral compasses, possibly good or bad, the gumiho is almost always treated as a malignant figure who feasts
An Underwater panther, called Mishipeshu or Mishibijiw in Ojibwe, is one of the several and most important water beings among many Great Lakes and Northeastern Woodlands Native American tribes, particularly among the Anishinaabe peoples.
Mishipeshu translates into "The Great Lynx." It has the head and paws of a giant cat but is covered in scales and has dagger-like spikes running along its back and tail. Mishipeshu calls Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior his home. is a powerful creature in the mythological traditions of some Native American tribes, particularly Anishinaabe tribes, the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi, of the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States. In addition to the Anishinaabeg, Innu also have Mishibizhiw stories.
To the Algonquins, the underwater panther was the most powerful underworld being. The Ojibwe traditionally held them to be masters of all water creatures, including snakes. Some versions of the Nanabozho creation legend refer to whole communities of water lynx.
Some archaeologists believe that underwater panthers were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of the Mississippian culture in the prehistoric American Southeast.
The Bukit Timah Monkey Man, commonly abbreviated as BTM or BTMM, is a cryptid said to inhabit Singapore, chiefly in the forested Bukit Timah region. The creature is often cited as a forest-dwelling hominid or primate, and is also accounted for as being immortal; however, its exact identity remains unknown, and its existence disputed. Documentation of the BTM is sparse and scattered; the creature is largely considered a product of local folklore. Karl Shuker, a leading cryptozoologist, however has featured the BTM at length in his book Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007).
Alleged sightings of the animal are rare. Records come mainly from Malay folklore, accounts from Japanese soldiers in World War II, and occasional unconfirmed reports from local residents. The first claimed sighting is said to have occurred in about 1805; the most recent was in 2007. The BTM is said to be hominid-like, greyish in colour, and between one and two meters (3 to 6 feet) in height, with a bipedal gait. All sightings have been centred upon the Bukit Timah region, which gives rise to the cryptid's name.
If the creature truly existed, its living habitat would be markedly small. The Bukit Timah
The words dæmon and daimôn are Latinized spellings of the Greek "δαίμων", a reference to the daemons of ancient Greek religion and mythology, as well as later Hellenistic religion and philosophy.
Daemons are good or benevolent nature spirits, beings of the same nature as both mortals and gods, similar to ghosts, chthonic heroes, spirit guides, forces of nature or the gods themselves (see Plato's Symposium). Walter Burkert suggests that unlike the Judeo-Christian use of demon in a strictly malignant sense, “[a] general belief in spirits is not expressed by the term daimon until the 5th century when a doctor asserts that neurotic women and girls can be driven to suicide by imaginary apparitions, ‘evil daimones’. How far this is an expression of widespread popular superstition is not easy to judge… On the basis of Hesiod's myth, however, what did gain currency was for great and powerful figures to be honoured after death as a daimon…” Daimon is not so much type of quasi-divine being, according to Burkert, but rather a non-personified “peculiar mode” of their activity.
In Hesiod's Theogony, Phaëton becomes an incorporeal daimon, but, for example, the ills released by Pandora are
The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet. It is believed to be taller than an average human and is similar to Bigfoot. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology. Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century.
The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence, but it remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology. The Yeti may be considered a sort of parallel myth to the Bigfoot of North America.
The word Yeti is derived from Tibetan: གཡའ་དྲེད་, Wylie: g.ya' dred, ZYPY: Yachê), a compound of the words Tibetan: གཡའ་, Wylie: g.ya', ZYPY: ya "rocky", "rocky place" and (Tibetan: དྲེད་, Wylie: dred, ZYPY: chê) "bear". Pranavananda states that the words "ti", "te" and "teh" are derived from the spoken word 'tre' (spelled "dred"), Tibetan for bear, with the 'r' so softly pronounced as to be almost inaudible, thus making it "te" or "teh".
Other terms used by Himalayan peoples do not translate exactly the same, but refer to
The ahuizotl (or ahuitzotl) is a legendary creature in Aztec myth.
It was described as dog-like, with hands capable of manipulation and an additional hand on its tail. The ahuizotl was feared due to its liking for human flesh, especially nails, eyes, and teeth. It was said to live in or near the water and uses the hand on the end of its tail to snatch its prey.
The ahuizotl included within Book 11 of the Florentine Codex, which describes it as:
Al-mi'raj is a mythical beast from Islamic poetry said to live on a mysterious island called Jezîrat al-Tennyn within the confines of the Indian Ocean. Its name can be broken up several different ways, though is generally seen truncated as Mi'raj, Mir'aj or just Miraj. Its name is also synonymous with Muhammad's ascent into heaven.
Al-mi'raj is a large, harmless-looking yellow rabbit with a single, 2-foot-long (0.61 m), black, spiraling horn protruding from its forehead, much like that of a unicorn.
Despite its docile appearance, Al-Mir'aj is actually a ferociously territorial predator known to be able to kill animals and people many times their own size with a few stabs of its horn. It also has an immense appetite and can devour other living things several times its size without effort. Al-Mir'aj frightens other animals and they will always flee from its presence due to this.
The people of the island were so terrified of Al-Mi'raj eating them and their livestock that they would turn to witches to ward them away as soon as the rumor of a Miraj met their ears. It was reported that only a true witch would charm the Miraj, rendering it harmless so the people could remove the Miraj
The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male heroes took part, but also a powerful woman, Atalanta, who won its hide by first wounding it with an arrow. This outraged some of the men, with tragic results. Strabo was under the impression that the Calydonian Boar was an offspring of the Crommyonian Sow vanquished by Theseus.
The Calydonian Boar is one of the chthonic monsters in Greek mythology, each set in a specific locale. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia, it met its end in the Calydonian Hunt, in which all the heroes of the new age pressed to take part, with the exception of Heracles, who vanquished his own Goddess-sent Erymanthian Boar separately. Since the mythic event drew together numerous heroes—among whom were many who were venerated as progenitors of their local ruling houses among tribal groups of Hellenes into Classical times—the Calydonian Boar hunt offered a natural subject in classical art, for
The moura encantada is a supernatural being from the fairy tales of Portuguese and Galician folklore. She often appears singing and combing her beautiful long hair, golden as gold or black as the night with a golden comb, and promises to give treasures to whom sets her free by breaking her spell. (In Galicia, though, they are more commonly redheads). According to José Leite de Vasconcelos, mouras encantadas are “beings compelled by an occult power to live on a certain state of siege as if they were numb or asleep, insofar as a particular circumstance does not break their spell”. According to ancient lore, they are the souls of young maidens who were left guarding the treasures that the mouros encantados (enchanted mouros) hid before heading to the Mourama. The legends describe the mouras encantadas as young maidens of great beauty or as charming princesses who are "dangerously seductive". The mouras encantadas are shapeshifters and there are a number of legends, and versions of the same legend, as a result of centuries of oral tradition. They appear as guardians of the pathways into the earth and of the "limit" frontiers where it was believed that the supernatural could manifest
In Norse mythology, Fenrir (Old Norse: "fen-dweller"), Fenrisúlfr (Old Norse: "Fenris wolf"), Hróðvitnir (Old Norse: "fame-wolf"), or Vánagandr (Old Norse: "the monster of the river Ván") is a monstrous wolf. Fenrir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, Fenrir is the father of the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson, is a son of Loki, and is foretold to kill the god Odin during the events of Ragnarök, but will in turn be killed by Odin's son Víðarr.
In the Prose Edda, additional information is given about Fenrir, including that, due to the gods' knowledge of prophecies foretelling great trouble from Fenrir and his rapid growth, the gods bound him, and as a result Fenrir bit off the right hand of the god Týr. Depictions of Fenrir have been identified on various objects, and scholarly theories have been proposed regarding Fenrir's relation to other canine beings in Norse mythology. Fenrir has been the subject of artistic depictions, and he appears in literature.
Fenrir is mentioned in three stanzas of
The phoenix (Greek: Φοίνιξ Greek pronunciation: [ˈfiniks], Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء أو طائر الفينيق, Chinese: 鳳凰 or 不死鳥, Turkish: Tuğrul), Hebrew: פניקס), is a mythical sacred fire bird that can be found in the mythologies of the Arabian, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Turks, Indians and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians/Canaanites.
It is described as a bird with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally "sun-city" in Greek). It is said that the bird's cry is that of a beautiful song. The Phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal, though in some stories the new Phoenix is merely the offspring of
Monopods (also sciapods, skiapods, skiapodes, Monocoli) are mythological dwarf-like creatures with a single, large foot extending from one thick leg centered in the middle of their body. The name Skiapodes is derived from σκιαποδες - "shadow feet" in Greek, monocoli from μονοκωλοι - 'one legged' in Greek.
Skiapodes are featured in Aristophanes' play The Birds, first performed in 414 BCE.
These were described by Pliny the Elder in Naturalis Historia. Pliny describes how travelers have reported their encounters or sights of Monopods in India, and he records their stories. Pliny remarks that they are first mentioned by Ctesias in his book India, a record of the view of Persians of India which only remains in fragments. Pliny describes Monopods as thus (Natural History 7:2):
Philostratus mentions Skiapodes in his Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which was cited by Eusebius in his Treatise Against Hierocles. Apollonius of Tyana believes the Skiapodes live in India and Ethiopia, and asks the Indian sage Iarkhas about their existence.
St. Augustine mentions the "Skiopodes" in The City of God, Book 16 in the 8th chapter entitled, "Whether Certain Monstrous Races of Men Are Derived From the
Amphisbaena ( /ˌæmfɪsˈbiːnə/, plural: amphisbaenae), amphisbaina, amphisbene, amphisboena, amphisbona, amphista, amphivena, or anphivena (the last two being feminine), a Greek word, from amphis, meaning "both ways", and bainein, meaning "to go", also called the Mother of Ants, is a mythological, ant-eating serpent with a head at each end. According to Greek mythology, the amphisbaena was spawned from the blood that dripped from the Gorgon Medusa's head as Perseus flew over the Libyan Desert with it in his hand. Cato's army then encountered it along with other serpents on the march. Amphisbaenae fed off of the corpses left behind. The amphisbaena has been referred to by the poets, such as Nicander, John Milton, Alexander Pope, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and A. E. Housman, and the amphisbaena as a mythological and legendary creature has been referenced by Lucan, Pliny the Elder, Isidore of Seville, and Thomas Browne, the last of whom debunked its existence.
This early description of the amphisbaena depicts a venomous, dual-headed snakelike creature. However, Medieval and later drawings often show it with two or more scaled feet, particularly chicken feet, and
There are many references to ghosts in Chinese culture. Even Confucius said, "Respect ghosts and gods, but keep away from them."
The ghosts take many forms depending on the way in which the person died, and are often harmful. Many of the Chinese ghost beliefs have been accepted by neighboring cultures, notably Japan and south-east Asia. Ghost beliefs are closely associated with the traditional Chinese religion based on ancestor worship, many of which were incorporated in Taoism. Later beliefs were influenced by Buddhism, and in turn influenced and created uniquely Chinese Buddhist beliefs.
Many Chinese people today consider that it is possible to contact the spirits of their ancestors through a medium, and that the ancestor can help their descendants if properly respected and rewarded. The annual ghost festival is celebrated by Chinese around the world. On this day ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Ghosts are described in classical Chinese texts, and continue to be depicted in modern literature and movies.
Yan Wang (Chinese: 閻王), also called Yanluo (Chinese: 閻羅) is the god of death and the sovereign of the underworld. He
The Coco (or Cuco; Coca; Cuca; Cucuy) is a mythical ghost-monster; equivalent to the bogeyman, found in many Hispanic and Lusophone countries. He can also be considered a Hispanic version of a bugbear, as it is a commonly used figure of speech representing an irrational or exaggerated fear. The coco is a male being while coca is the female version of the mythical monster, although it is not possible to distinguish one from the other as both are the representation of the same being.
The myth of the coco originated in Portugal and Galicia. According to the Real Academia Española the word "coco" derives from the Portuguese language, and referred to a ghost with a pumpkin head. The word coco is used in colloquial speech to mean the human head in Portuguese and Spanish. Coco also means skull. The word "cocuruto" in Portuguese means the crown of the head and the highest place. Gogo in Basque means spirit. In Galicia crouca means head, from proto-Celtic *krowkā-,with variant cróca; and either coco or coca mean head. It cognates with Cornish 'crogen' meaning skull, and Breton 'krogen ar penn' also meaning skull.
In the Galician Lusitanian mythology Crouga is the name of an obscure deity.
A hag is a wizened old woman, or a kind of fairy or goddess having the appearance of such a woman, often found in folklore and children's tales such as Hansel and Gretel. Hags are often seen as malevolent, but may also be one of the chosen forms of shapeshifting deities, such as the Morrígan or Badb, who are seen as neither wholly beneficent nor malevolent. The term appears in Middle English, and was a shortening of hægtesse, an Old English term for witch, similarly the Dutch heks and German hexe are also shortenings, of the Middle Dutch haghetisse and Old High German hagzusa respectively. All these words derive from the Proto-Germanic *hagatusjon- which is of unknown origin, however the first element may be related to the word "hedge". As a stock character in fairy or folk tale, the hag shares characteristics with the crone, and the two words are sometimes used as if interchangeable.
Using the word "hag" to translate terms found in non-English (or non-modern English) is contentious, since use of the word is often associated with a misogynistic attitude.
A hag, or "the Old Hag", was a nightmare spirit in English and anglophone North American folklore. This variety of hag is
Dvergar or Norse dwarves (Old Norse dvergar, sing. dvergr) are entities in Norse mythology associated with rocks, the earth, deathliness, luck, technology, craft, metal work, wisdom, and greed. They are sometimes identified with Svartálfar ('black elves'), and Døkkálfar ('dark elves'), due to their apparently interchangeable use in early texts such as the Eddas.
While the word "Dvergar" is related etymologically to "dwarves", the early Norse concept of Dvergar is unlike the concept of "dwarves" in other cultures. For instance, Norse dwarves may originally have been envisaged as being of human size. They are not described as small before the 13th century, when the later legendary sagas portrayed them as such, often as a humorous element.
In later Scandinavian folklore, other kinds of nature spirits (Vættir), like the Troll and the Nisse, take over many of the functions of the Dvergar.
In the Dvergatal section, the Völuspá divides the dwarves into what may be three tribes, lead firstly by Mótsognir their first ruler, secondly by Durinn, and finally by Dvalinn. Hávamál mentions Dvalinn brought the rune writing to the Dvergar.
Scholars dispute the size of the Norse nature spirit, the
Works written about this creature:The Stress of Her Regard
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.
While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was interpretation of the vampire by the Christian Church and the success of vampire literature, namely John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that established the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampire; it is arguably
A lake monster or loch monster is a purported form of fresh-water-dwelling megafauna appearing in mythology, rumor, or local folklore, but whose existence lacks scientific support. A well known example is the Loch Ness Monster. Lake monsters' depictions are often similar to some sea monsters. They are principally the subject of investigations by followers of the study of cryptozoology and folklore.
Many skeptics consider lake monsters to be purely exaggerations or misinterpretations of known and natural phenomena, or else fabrications and hoaxes. Most lake monsters have no evidence besides alleged sightings and controversial photographs and a large portion are generally believed not to exist by conventional zoology and allied sciences. Misidentified sightings of seals, otters, deer, diving water birds, large fish such as giant sturgeons or wels catfish, logs, mirages, seiches, light distortion, crossing boat wakes, or unusual wave patterns have all been proposed to explain specific reports. Social scientists point out that descriptions of these creatures vary over time with the values and mood of the local cultures, following the pattern of folk beliefs and not what would be
In Aztec mythology, the Cihuateteo (Classical Nahuatl: Cihuātēteoh "Divine Women", singular Classical Nahuatl: Cihuātēotl) were the spirits of human women who died in childbirth (mociuaquetzque.). Childbirth was considered a form of battle, and its victims were honored as fallen warriors. Their physical remains were thought to strengthen soldiers in battle while their spirits became the much-feared Cihuateteo who accompanied the setting sun in the west. They also haunted crossroads at night, stealing children and causing sicknesses, especially seizures and madness, and seducing men to sexual misbehavior.
Their images appear with the beginning day signs of the five western trecena, (1 Deer, 1 Rain, 1 Monkey, 1 House, and 1 Eagle) during which they were thought to descend to the earth and cause particularly dangerous mischief. They are depicted with skeletal faces and with eagle claws for hands.
They are associated with the goddess Cihuacoatl and are sometimes considered envoys of Mictlan, the world of the dead. Cihuateteo are servants of the Aztec moon deities Tezcatlipoca and Tlazolteotl.
Kui (Chinese: 夔; pinyin: kuí; Wade–Giles: k'uei) is a polysemous figure in ancient Chinese mythology. Classic texts use this name for the legendary musician Kui who invented music and dancing; for the one-legged mountain demon or rain-god Kui variously said to resemble a Chinese dragon, a drum, or a monkey with a human face; and for the Kuiniu wild yak or buffalo.
While Kui 夔 originally named a mythic being, Modern Standard Chinese uses it in several other expressions. The reduplication kuikui 夔夔 means "awe-struck; fearful; grave" (see the Shujing below). The compounds kuilong 夔龍 (with "dragon") and kuiwen 夔紋 (with "pattern; design") name common motifs on Zhou Dynasty Chinese bronzes. The chengyu idiom yikuiyizu 一夔已足 (lit. one Kui already enough") means "one able person is enough for the job".
Kui is also a proper name. It is an uncommon one of the Hundred Family Surnames. Kuiguo 夔國 was a Warring States Period state, located in present-day Zigui County (Hubei), that Chu annexed in 634 BCE. Kuizhou 夔州, located in present-day Fengjie County of Chongqing (Sichuan), was established in 619 CE as a Tang Dynasty prefecture.
Kuiniu 夔牛 or 犪牛 is an old name for the "wild ox; wild yak". The
In ancient Greek religion, Agathos Daimon or Agathodaemon (Greek: ἀγαθὸς δαίμων, "noble spirit") was a daemon or presiding spirit of the vineyards and grainfields and a personal companion spirit, similar to the Roman genius, ensuring good luck, health, and wisdom.
Though he was little noted in Greek mythology (Pausanias conjectured that the name was a mere epithet of Zeus), he was prominent in Greek folk religion; it was customary to drink or pour out a few drops of unmixed wine to honor him in every symposium or formal banquet. In Aristophanes' Peace, when War has trapped Peace (Εἰρήνη Eirene) in a deep pit, Hermes comes to give aid: "Now, oh Greeks! is the moment when, freed of quarrels and fighting, we should rescue sweet Eirene and draw her out of this pit... This is the moment to drain a cup in honour of the Agathos Daimon." A temple dedicated to him was situated on the road from Megalopolis to Maenalus in Arcadia.
Agathos Daimon was the spouse or companion of Tyche Agathe (Τύχη Ἀγαθή "Good Fortune"; Latin, and dialect, Agatha); "Tyche we know at Lebadeia as the wife of the Agathos Daimon, the Good or Rich Spirit." His numinous presence could be represented in art as a serpent
Amanojaku, or Amanjaku (天邪鬼, "heavenly evil spirit") is a demon-like creature in Japanese folklore. It is usually depicted as a kind of small oni, and is thought to be able to provoke a person's darkest desires and thus instigate him into perpetrating wicked deeds.
One of the amanojaku's best known appearances is in the fairytale Urikohime (瓜子姫, "melon princess"), in which a girl miraculously born from a melon is doted upon by an elderly couple. They shelter her from the outside world, and she naively lets the amanojaku inside one day, where it kidnaps or devours her, and sometimes impersonates her by wearing her flayed skin.
The amanojaku is commonly held to be derived from Amanosagume (天探女), a wicked deity in Shintō myth, which shares the amanojaku's contrary nature and ability to see into a person's heart, "a very perverted demon".
The creature has also entered Buddhist thought, perhaps via syncretism with the yaksha, where it is considered an opponent of Buddhist teachings. It is commonly depicted as being trampled on and subdued into righteousness by Bishamonten or one of the other Shitennō. In this context it is also called a jaki (邪鬼).
Mizuki, Shigeru (2004). Mujara 5:
The Bakunawa, also spelled Bakonawa, Baconaua, or Bakonaua, is a dragon in Philippine mythology that is often represented as a gigantic sea serpent. It is believed to be the cause of eclipses.
It appears as a giant sea serpent with a mouth the size of a lake, a red tongue, whiskers, gills, small wires at its sides, and two sets of wings, one is large and ash-gray while the other is small and is found further down its body.
Tales about the Bakunawa say that it is the cause of eclipses. During ancient times, Filipinos believe that there are seven moons created by Bathala to light up the sky. The Bakunawa, amazed by their beauty, would rise from the ocean and swallow the moons whole, angering Bathala and causing them to be mortal enemies.
To keep the Bakunawa moons from completely being swallowed, ancient Filipinos would go out of their homes with pans and pots, and would make noise in order to scare the Bakunawa into spitting out the moon back into the sky. Some of the people in the villages would play soothing sounds with their musical instruments, in hopes that the dragon would fall into a deep sleep. Thus, the brave men of the village hoped that while the dragon was hypnotized by
The sea bishop or bishop-fish was a type of sea monster reported in the 16th century. According to legend, it was taken to the King of Poland, who wished to keep it. It was also shown to a group of Catholic bishops, to whom the bishop-fish gestured, appealing to be released. They granted its wish, at which point it made the sign of the cross and disappeared into the sea.
Another was supposedly captured in the ocean near Germany in 1531. It refused to eat and died after three days. It was described and pictured in the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner's famous Historiae animalium.
The Blemmyes (Latin Blemmyae) were a nomadic Nubian tribe described in Roman histories of the later empire. From the late 3rd century on, along with another tribe, the Nobadae, they repeatedly fought the Romans. They were said to live in Africa, in Nubia, Kush, or Ethiopia, generally south of Egypt.
They also became fictionalized as a legendary race of acephalous (headless) monsters who had eyes and mouths on their chest.
The Greek geographer Strabo describes the Blemmyes as a peaceful people living in the East Desert near Meroe.
Their cultural and military power started to enlarge to such a level that in 197 Pescennius Niger asked a Blemmye king of Thebas to help him in the battle against the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. In 250 the Roman Emperor Decius took a lot of effort to win over an invasion army of Blemmyes. A few years later, in 253, they attacked Lower Aegyptus (Thebais) again but were quickly defeated. In 265 they were defeated again by the Roman Prefect Firmus who later in 273 would rebel against the Empire and the Queen of Palmyra Zenobia with the help of the Blemmyes themselves. The Roman general Probus took sometime to defeat the usurper and his allies but
The catoblepas (from the Greek καταβλέπω, (katablépō) "to look downwards") is a legendary creature from Ethiopia, described first by Pliny the Elder and later by Claudius Aelianus. It is said to have the body of a buffalo and the head of a wild boar. Its back has scales that protect the beast, and its head is always pointing downwards. Its stare or breath could either turn people into stone, or kill them. The catoblepas is often thought to be based on real-life encounters with wildebeest, such that some dictionaries say that the word is synonymous with "gnu."
Pliny the Elder (Natural History, 8.77) described the catoblepas as a mid-sized creature, sluggish, with a heavy head and a face always turned to the ground. He thought its gaze, like that of the basilisk, was lethal, making the heaviness of its head quite fortunate.
Claudius Aelianus (On the Nature of Animals, 7.6) provided a fuller description: the creature was a mid-sized herbivore, about the size of a domestic bull, with a heavy mane, narrow, bloodshot eyes, a scaly back and shaggy eyebrows. The head was so heavy that the beast could only look down. In his description, the animal's gaze was not lethal, but its breath was
A cyclops ( /ˈsaɪklɒps/; Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kuklōps; plural cyclopes /saɪˈkloʊpiːz/; Greek: Κύκλωπες, Kuklōpes), in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead. The name is widely thought to mean "circle-eyed".
Hesiod described one group of cyclopes and the epic poet Homer described another, though other accounts have also been written by the playwright Euripides, poet Theocritus and Roman epic poet Virgil. In Hesiod's Theogony, Zeus releases three Cyclopes, the sons of Uranus and Gaia, from the dark pit of Tartarus. They provide Zeus' thunderbolt, Hades' helmet of invisibility, and Poseidon's trident, and the gods use these weapons to defeat the Titans. In a famous episode of Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus encounters the Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon and Thoosa (a nereid), who lives with his fellow Cyclopes in a distant country. The connection between the two groups has been debated in antiquity and by modern scholars. It is upon Homer's account that Euripides and Virgil based their accounts of the mythical creatures.
Various ancient Greek and Roman authors wrote about the
The jinn (Arabic: جن ǧinn, singular جني ǧinnī; also spelled djinn), or genies, are supernatural spirits mentioned in the Quran and Islamic mythology who inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans. Together, the jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of God. The Quran mentions that the jinn are made of a smokeless and "scorching fire", and they have the physical property of weight. Like human beings, the jinn can also be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent.
The jinn are mentioned frequently in the Quran, and the 72nd sura of the Quran is entitled Sūrat al-Jinn.
Jinn is a noun of the collective number in Arabic literally meaning "hidden from sight", and it derives from the Arabic root ǧ-n-n meaning "to hide" or "be hidden". Other words derived from this root are maǧnūn 'mad' (literally, 'one whose intellect is hidden'), ǧunūn 'madness', and ǧanīn 'embryo, fetus' ('hidden inside the womb').
The Arabic root ǧ-n-n means 'to hide, conceal'. A word for garden or Paradise, جنّة ǧannah, is a cognate of the Hebrew word גן gan 'garden', derived from the same Semitic root. In arid climates, gardens have to be protected against
A Hippogriff (also spelled Hippogryph and Hippogryphe, Italian: Ippogrifo) is a legendary creature, supposedly the offspring of a griffin and a mare.
Ludovico Ariosto's poem, Orlando furioso (1516) contains an early description (canto IV):
According to Thomas Bulfinch's Legends of Charlemagne:
The reason for its great rarity is that griffins regard horses as prey. It has been suggested this idea was strong enough in medieval times to produce an expression, "to mate griffins with horses", which meant about the same as the modern expression, "When pigs fly". The hippogriff was therefore a symbol of impossibility and love. The hippogriff, in legends is said to be far faster, stronger and more intelligent than their fathers, the griffin, apparently traveling at the "speed of lightning". This was supposedly inspired by Virgil's Eclogues: ... mate Gryphons with mares, and in the coming age shy deer and hounds together come to drink.., which would also be the source for the reputed medieval expression, if indeed it was one.
Among the animal combat themes in Scythian gold adornments may be found griffins attacking horses.
The hippogriff seemed easier to tame than a griffin. In the few
"Kami" (神) is the Japanese word for the divinity; the supreme being. It is also for the spirits, natural forces, and essence in the Shinto faith. Although the word is sometimes translated as "god" or "deity", some Shinto scholars argue that such a translation can cause a misunderstanding of the term. The wide variety of usage of the word can be compared to the Sanskrit Deva and the Hebrew Elohim, which also refer to God, gods, angels or spirits.
In some instances, such as Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto, kami are personified deities, similar to the gods of ancient Greece or Rome. In other cases, such as those concerning the phenomenon of natural emanation, kami are the spirits dwelling in trees, or forces of nature.
Kami may, at its root, simply mean "spirit", or an aspect of spirituality. It is written with the kanji "神", Sino-Japanese reading shin or jin; in Chinese, the character is used to refer to various nature spirits of traditional Chinese religion, but not to the Taoist deities or the Supreme Being. An apparently cognate form, perhaps a loanword, occurs in the Ainu language as kamuy and refers to an animistic concept very similar to Japanese kami. Following the
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra (Ancient Greek: Λερναία Ὕδρα) was an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits, (as its name evinces) that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly. The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Heracles as the second of his Twelve Labours. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, though archaeology has borne out the myth that the sacred site was older even than the Mycenaean city of Argos since Lerna was the site of the myth of the Danaids. Beneath the waters was an entrance to the Underworld, and the Hydra was its guardian.
The Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna (Theogony, 313), both of whom were noisome offspring of the earth goddess Gaia.
After slaying the Nemean lion, Eurystheus sent Heracles to slay the Hydra, which Hera had raised just to slay Heracles. Upon reaching the swamp near Lake Lerna, where the Hydra dwelt, Heracles covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to protect himself from the poisonous fumes. He fired flaming arrows into the Hydra's
The Mares of Diomedes, also called the Mares of Thrace, were four man-eating horses in Greek mythology. Magnificent, wild, and uncontrollable, they belonged to the giant Diomedes (not to be confused with Diomedes, son of Tydeus), king of Thrace, a son of Ares and Cyrene who lived on the shores of the Black Sea. Bucephalus, Alexander the Great's horse was said to be descended from these mares.
After capturing the Cretan bull, Heracles was to steal the Mares. In one version of the story, Heracles brought a number of youths to help him. They took the mares and were chased by Diomedes and his men.
Heracles was not aware that the horses, called Podagros (the fast), Lampon (the shining), Xanthos (the blond) and Deimos (the terrible), were kept tethered to a bronze manger because they were wild; their madness being attributed to an unnatural diet of human flesh. Some versions say that they expelled fire when they breathed. They were man-eating and uncontrollable, and Heracles left his favoured companion, Abderus, in charge of them while he fought Diomedes, and found out that the boy was eaten. In revenge, Heracles fed Diomedes to his own horses, then founded Abdera next to the boy's
(not to be confused with Hemera, the Greek goddess of daytime)
The Chimera (also Chimaera or Chimæra) ( /kɨˈmɪərə/ or /kaɪˈmɪərə/; Greek: Χίμαιρα, Khimaira, from χίμαρος, khimaros, "she-goat") was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing female creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of three animals: a lion, a serpent and a goat. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended in a snakes's head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has also come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals.
Homer's brief description in the Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". Elsewhere in the Iliad, Homer attributes the rearing of Chimera to Amisodorus. Hesiod's Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of Echidna: "She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs. In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang and complements a yin fenghuang ("Chinese phoenix").
Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength.
In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to the dragon while incapable people with no achievements are compared with other, disesteemed creatures, such as the worm. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to the dragon, for example: "Hoping one's son will become a dragon" (望子成龍, i.e. be as a dragon).
Historically, the dragon was the symbol of the Emperor of China. In the Zhou Dynasty, the 5-clawed dragon was assigned to the Son of Heaven, the 4-clawed dragon to the nobles (zhuhou, seigneur), and the 3-clawed dragon to the ministers (daifu). In the Qin Dynasty, the
In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as "familiars") were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal, but also at times as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound" by those alleging to have come into contact with them, unlike later descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form[s]".
When they served witches, they were often thought to be malevolent, while when working for cunning-folk they were often thought of as benevolent (although there was some ambiguity in both cases). The former were often categorised as demons, while the latter were more commonly thought of and described as fairies. The main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for him/her as they come into their new powers.
Since the twentieth century a number of magical practitioners, including adherents of the Neopagan religion of
Kapre (related to the Agta in the Visayan languages) is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a tree demon, but with more human characteristics. It is described as being a tall (7 to 9 ft), brown, hairy male with a beard. Kapres are normally described as smoking a big ganja pipe, whose strong smell would attract human attention. The term kapre comes from the Arabic "kaffir", meaning a non-believer in Islam. The early Arabs and the Moors used it to refer to the non-Muslim Dravidians who were dark-skinned. The term was later brought to the Philippines by the Spanish who had previous contact with the Moors. Some historians speculate that the legend was propagated by the Spanish to prevent Filipinos from assisting any escaped African slaves.
Kapres are said to dwell in big trees like acacias, mangoes, bamboo and banyan (known in the Philippines as balete). It is also mostly seen sitting under those trees. The Kapre is said to wear the indigenous Northern Philippine loincloth known as bahag, and according to some, often wears a belt which gives the kapre the ability to be invisible to humans. In some versions, the kapre is supposed to hold a magical white stone,
In Greek mythology, the Naiads ( /ˈneɪæd/ or /ˈneɪəd/ or /ˈnaɪæd/ or /ˈnaɪəd/; Ancient Greek: Ναϊάδες, Naiades, from νάειν, "to flow", or νᾶμα, "running water") were a type of nymph (female spirit) who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater.
They are distinct from river gods, who embodied rivers, and the very ancient spirits that inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid.
Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap. Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily.
They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to humans. Boys and girls at coming-of-age ceremonies dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters' ritual cleansings were credited with
Wayob is the plural form of way (or uay), a Maya word with a basic meaning of 'sleep(ing)', but which in Yucatec Maya is a term specifically denoting the Mesoamerican nagual, that is, a person who can transform into an animal while asleep in order to do harm, or else the resulting animal transformation itself. Already in Classic Mayan belief, way animals, identifiable by a special hieroglyph, had an important role to play.
In Yucatec ethnography, the animal transformation involved is usually a common domestic or domesticated animal, but may also be a ghost or apparition, for example 'a creature with wings of straw mats'. Moreover, in the 16th century, wild animals such as jaguar and grey fox are mentioned as animal shapes of the sorcerer, together with the ah uaay xibalba or 'underworld transformer'. Some sort of 'devil's pact' seems to be implied. The Yucatec way has its counterparts among other Mayan groups. In Tzotzil ethnography, the way (here called wayohel) is more often an animal companion and refers not only to domestic animals, but also to igneous powers such as meteor and lightning. In Tzeltal Cancuc, the nagual animal companion is considered a 'caster of disease'.
Charybdis or Kharybdis ( /kəˈrɪbdɨs/; Greek: Χάρυβδις) was a sea monster, later rationalised as a whirlpool and considered a shipping hazard in the Strait of Messina.
In Greek mythology, Charybdis or Kharybdis was once a beautiful naiad and the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia. She takes the form of a huge bladder of a creature whose face is all mouth and whose arms and legs are flippers. She swallows a huge amount of water three times a day before belching it back out again, creating large whirlpools capable of dragging a ship underwater. In some variations of the tale, Charybdis is just a large whirlpool rather than a sea monster. Charybdis was very loyal to her father in his endless feud with Zeus; it was she who rode the hungry tides after Poseidon had stirred up a storm, and led them onto the beaches, gobbling up whole villages, submerging fields, drowning forests, claiming them for the sea. She won so much land for her father's kingdom that Zeus became enraged and changed her into a monster.
The myth has Charybdis lying on one side of a narrow channel of water. On the other side of the strait was Scylla, another sea-monster. The two sides of the strait are within an arrow's
The clurichaun ( /ˈklʊərɨkɔːn/), or clobhair in O'Kearney, is an Irish fairy which resembles the leprechaun. Some folklorists describe the clurichaun as a night "form" of the leprechaun, who goes out to drink after finishing his daily chores. Others regard them as regional variations on the same creature.
Clurichauns are said to always be drunk. However, unlike their cousins, they are surly. Many fables conclude clurichauns enjoy riding sheep and dogs at night. If you treat them well they will protect your wine cellar, and if mistreated, they will wreak havoc on your home and spoil your wine stock. In some tales, they act as buttery spirits, plaguing drunkards or dishonest servants who steal wine; if the victim attempts to move away from their tormentor, the clurichaun will hop into a cask to accompany them.
The Gandaberunda (also known as the Berunda) is a two-headed mythological bird of Hindu mythology thought to possess magical strength. It is used as the official emblem by the Karnataka government and it is seen as an intricately sculptured motif in Hindu temples.
The Ganda Berunda took physical form in the Narasimha(Man-Lion) incarnation of Vishnu.
After Narasimha has slain the demon Hiranyakaship, through the taste of blood, Narasimha did not let go of his dreadful form and the demigods were even more afraid from the supreme lord now, than before the demon. Shiva, the best friend of Vishnu, thus incarnated himself as Sharabha, a part-lion and part-bird beast. With his Wings, representing Goddess Durga and Kali, he embraced Narasimha and pacified him. But out of Narasimha (Vishnu) emerged an even more fearful form: Ganda Berunda, having two heads, fearful rows of teeth, black in complexion and with wide blazing wings. The destructive energy of Narasimha (Vishnu) in the form of the two-headed bird, began to fight fiercely with Sharabha (Shiva) for eighteen days. After the eighteenth day, Narasimha (Vishnu) was finally able to overcome his infinite fierce energy, and regained
A kachina ( /kəˈtʃiːnə/; also katchina or katcina; Hopi: katsina /kətˈsiːnə/, plural katsinim /kətˈsiːnɨm/) is a spirit being in western Pueblo cosmology and religious practices. The western Pueblo, Native American cultures located in the southwestern United States, include Hopi, Zuni, Tewa Village (on the Hopi Reservation), Acoma Pueblo, and Laguna Pueblo. The kachina religion has spread to more eastern Pueblos, e.g. from Laguna to Isleta. The term also refers to the kachina dancers, masked members of the tribe who dress up as kachinas for religious ceremonies, and kachina dolls, wooden figures representing kachinas which are given as gifts to children.
Kachinas are spirits or personifications of things in the real world. A kachina can represent anything in the natural world or cosmos, from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon, or a concept. There are more than 400 different kachinas in Hopi and Pueblo culture. The local pantheon of kachinas varies in each pueblo community; there may be kachinas for the sun, stars, thunderstorms, wind, corn, insects, and many other concepts. Kachinas are understood as having humanlike relationships; they
Kitsune (狐, IPA: [kitsɯne] ( listen)) is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Foremost among these is the ability to assume human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
Foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox's supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.
It is widely agreed that many fox myths in Japan can be traced to China, Korea, or India. Chinese folk tales tell of fox spirits called huli jing that may have up to nine tails,
Mami Wata is venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. Mami Wata spirits are usually female, but are sometimes male.
Mami Wata possesses African beauty. The appearance of her hair ranges from straight, curly to kinky black and combed straight back. In many parts of West and Central Africa, "Mami Wata" serves as a slang term for a gorgeous woman.
Mami Wata is often described as a mermaid-like figure, with a woman's upper body (often nude) and the hindquarters of a fish or serpent. In other tales, Mami Wata is fully human in appearance (though never human). The existence and spiritual importance of Mami Wata is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of the coastal southeastern Nigerians (Efik, Ibibio and Annang people). Mami Wata often carries expensive baubles such as combs, mirrors, and watches. A large snake (symbol of divination and divinity) frequently accompanies her, wrapping itself around her and laying its head between her breasts. Other times, she may try to pass as completely human, wandering busy markets or patronising bars. She may also manifest in a number of other forms,
The Horned Serpent appears in the mythologies of many Native Americans. Details vary among tribes, with many of the stories associating the mystical figure with water, rain, lightning and/or thunder. Horned Serpents were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of North American prehistory.
Horned serpents also appear in European and Near Eastern mythology.
Horned serpents appear in the oral history of numerous Native American cultures, especially in the Southeastern Woodlands and Great Lakes.
Muscogee Creek traditions include a Horned Serpent and a Tie-Snake, estakwvnayv in the Muscogee Creek language. These are sometimes interpreted as being the same creature and sometimes different — similar, but the Horned Serpent is larger than the Tie-Snake. To the Muscogee people, the Horned Serpent is a type of underwater serpent covered with iridescent, crystalline scales and a single, large crystal in its forehead. Both the scales and crystals are prized for their powers of divination. The horns, called chitto gab-by, were used in medicine. Jackson Lewis, a Muscogee Creek informant to John R. Swanton, said, "This snake lives in the water has has horns like the stag. It is
Namahage (生剥) in traditional Japanese folklore is a demonlike being, portrayed by men wearing oversized ogre masks and traditional straw capes (mino) during a New Year's ritual of the Oga Peninsula area of Akita Prefecture in northern Honshū, Japan.
The frightfully dressed men, armed with deba knives (albeit fake ones that are wooden or made of papier-mâché) and toting a teoke (手桶, "hand pail" made of wood), marching in pairs or threes going door-to-door making rounds of peoples' homes, admonishing children who may be guilty of laziness or bad behavior, yelling phrases like "Are there any crybabies around?" (泣く子はいねがぁ, nakugo wa inēgā?) or "Are naughty kids around?" (悪い子はいねえか, waruigo wa inēka?). (The speech is in the pronunciation and accent of the local dialect).
For a list of similar practice in Akita (yamahage, nagomehagi), Tohoku area (suneka), and other regions of Japan see under #Similar ogre traditions.
The above description is the modern rendition of the namahage visit, but the practice has shifted over the years.
The namahage visits are nowadays practiced on New Year's Eve (using the Western calendar). But it used to be practiced on the so-called "Little New Year" (小正月,
A demigod (or demi-god), meaning half-god, is a originally Greek mythological figure whose one parent was a god and whose other parent was human; as such, demigods are human-god hybrids. In some mythologies it also describes humans who became gods, or simply extremely powerful figures whose powers approach those of the gods even though they are not gods themselves.
Examples of well-known demigods include Greek hero Heracles (Roman Hercules), the Celtic hero Cuchulain, the Sumerian king Gilgamesh (who supposedly was actually two thirds god), and the ancient Germanic woodsman Ansel,.
Part of the dual nature of Greek heroes that gave rise to the modern demigod conception of them is that one parent is a mortal, and another is a god. This scenario is also occasionally embellished with the theme of double paternity: the hero's mother lying with king and god in the same night (the mother of Theseus, for example) or to be visited secretly by the god (like Danaë, mother of Perseus), and the seed of the two fathers is mixed in her womb. Thus the heroes have liminal qualities that enable them to have great strength, to cross the threshold between the worlds of the living and the dead yet
In classical Roman religion a genius loci was the protective spirit of a place. It was often depicted in religious iconography as a figure holding a Cornucopia, patera and/or a snake. There are many Roman altars found in Western Europe dedicated in whole or in part to the particular Genius Loci. The Roman imperial cults of the Emperor and the imperial house are in part derived from the Genius Loci. Professor Greg Woolf, in his article Divinity and Power in Ancient Rome states that "Regular sacrifices were also paid to the genius of the reigning emperor by local neighborhood associations". These 265 local districts had their cult organised around the Lares Compitales (deities of the crossroads) but the Emperor Augustus "reorganized the cult into a worship of the Lares Augusti along with the Genius Augusti". The idea, approximately, being the Emperor's genius is the genius loci of the entirety of the "place" of the Roman empire.
Roman examples of these Genii can be found, for example, at the church of St. Giles, Tockenham, Wiltshire where the genius loci is depicted as a relief in the wall of a Norman church built of Roman material. This shows "a youthful and curly-haired Roman
The hippocamp or hippocampus (plural: hippocamps or hippocampi; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "monster"), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek. It was also adopted into Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fishlike hindquarter.
Homer describes Poseidon, who was god of horses (Poseidon Hippios), earthquakes, and the sea, drawn by "brazen-hoofed" horses over the sea's surface, and Apollonius of Rhodes, being consciously archaic in Argonautica (iv.1353ff), describes the horse of Poseidon emerging from the sea and galloping away across the Libyan sands. In Hellenistic and Roman imagery, however, Poseidon (or Roman Neptune) often drives a sea-chariot drawn by hippocampi. Thus hippocamps sport with this god in both ancient depictions and much more modern ones, such as in the waters of the 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome surveyed by Neptune from his niche above. (illustration, right)
The appearance of hippocamps in both freshwater and saltwater is counter-intuitive to a modern
Iku-Turso (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈikuˌturso], "the eternal Turso"; also known as Iku-Tursas, Iki-Tursas, Meritursas, Tursas, Turisas among others) is a malevolent sea monster in the Finnish mythology. Nowadays Meritursas means octopus in Finnish, named after Iku-Turso, but originally tursas is an old name for walrus while the more common term is mursu. However, it is more common to see the word Mustekala (lit. "ink fish"), the name of its Subclass Coleoidea in Finnish, for the octopus.
His appearance remains unclear, but he is described with several epithets: partalainen (the one who lives on the brink, or alternatively, the bearded one), Tuonen härkä (the ox of Tuoni, Death), tuhatpää (thousand-headed), tuhatsarvi (thousand-horned). It was sometimes said that he lived in Pohjola, but that may be because Pohjola was often perceived as the home of all evil.
In some versions of the spell The Birth of Nine Diseases Iku-Turso is mentioned as the father of diseases with Loviatar, the blind daughter of Tuoni, the god of death. The Scandinavian giants (þursar, sg. þurs) had the ability to shoot arrows which caused diseases in people. This and the fact that þurs resembles Tursas gives
A Chollima (also Qianlima or Senrima, literally "thousand-li horse"), is a mythical winged horse which originates from the Chinese classics and is commonly portrayed in East Asian cultures. This winged horse is said to be too swift and elegant to be mounted (by any mortal man).
Beginning around the 3rd century BCE, Chinese classics mention Bole, a mythological horse-tamer, as an exemplar of horse judging. Bole is frequently associated with the fabled qianlima (Chinese: 千里馬) "thousand-li horse", which was supposedly able to gallop one thousand li (approximately 400 km) in a single day (e.g., Red Hare). Qianlima was a literary Chinese word for people with latent talent and ability; and Spring (1988:180) suggests, "For centuries of Chinese history, horses had been considered animals capable of performing feats requiring exceptional strength and endurance. Possibly it is for this reason that from early times horses have been used allegorically to represent extraordinary people." Bole recognizing a qianlima was a metaphor for a wise ruler selecting talented shi "scholar-officials". Thus, (Henry 1987:28) "Geniuses in obscurity were called thousand li horses who had not yet met their
The kobold (occasionally cobold) is a sprite stemming from Germanic mythology and surviving into modern times in German folklore. Although usually invisible, a kobold can materialise in the form of an animal, fire, a human being, and a candle. The most common depictions of kobolds show them as humanlike figures the size of small children. Kobolds who live in human homes wear the clothing of peasants; those who live in mines are hunched and ugly; and kobolds who live on ships smoke pipes and wear sailor clothing.
Legends tell of three major types of kobolds. Most commonly, the creatures are house spirits of ambivalent nature; while they sometimes perform domestic chores, they play malicious tricks if insulted or neglected. Famous kobolds of this type include King Goldemar, Heinzelmann, Hödekin. In some regions, kobolds are known by local names, such as the Galgenmännlein of southern Germany and the Heinzelmännchen of Cologne. Another type of kobold haunts underground places, such as mines. A third kind of kobold, the Klabautermann, lives aboard ships and helps sailors.
Kobold beliefs are evidence of the survival of pagan customs after the Christianisation of Germany. Belief in
The Loch Ness Monster (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next. Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings.
The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) since the 1950s.
The term "monster" was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist, in a report in the Inverness Courier. On 4 August 1933, the Courier published as a full news item
The unicorn is a legendary animal from European folklore that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard and cloven hooves. First mentioned by the ancient Greeks, it became the most important imaginary animal of the Middle Ages and Renaissance when it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. Until the 19th century, belief in unicorns was widespread among historians, alchemists, writers, poets, naturalists, physicians, and theologians.
Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology, but rather in accounts of natural history, for Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them. The earliest description is from Ctesias who described them as wild asses, fleet of foot, having a horn a cubit and a half in length and colored white, red and black. Aristotle must be following Ctesias when he mentions two one-horned
An Amphiptere (also called Amphithere, Amphitere, or Phipthere) is a type of legless winged serpent found in European heraldry.
In the Dragonology series of fiction books, amphitheres are an American type of dragon, having only its wings as limbs, apart from four vestigial legs, which are very small and so unserviceable. There are two species of amphiptere (Draco americanus tex, Draco americanus mex,) living in the Americas. They are based on the feathered serpents of mythology rather than heraldic amphipteres, except for the Draco americanus tex, (or Am. amphiptere) which is depicted with moth-like wings.
Amphipteres are generally perceived to have greenish-yellow feathers, bat-type green wings with feathered bone and a feather-tipped tail much like an arrow-tipped demon's tail. Other versions are described as entirely covered in feathers with a spiked tail, bird-like wings, and a beak-like snout. Even more uncommon is the description of one with legs.
The bunyip, or kianpraty, is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of South-Eastern Australia. However, the bunyip appears to have formed part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia, although its name varied according to tribal nomenclature. In his 2001 book, writer Robert Holden identified at least nine regional variations for the creature known as the bunyip across Aboriginal Australia. Various written accounts of bunyips were made by Europeans in the early and mid-19th century, as settlement spread across the country.
The word bunyip is usually translated by Aboriginal Australians today as "devil" or "evil spirit". However, this translation may not accurately represent the role of the bunyip in Aboriginal mythology or its possible origins before written accounts were made. Some modern sources allude to a linguistic connection between the bunyip and Bunjil, "a mythic 'Great Man' who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals." The word bunyip may
A dryad (Δρυάδες, sing.: Δρυάς) is a tree nymph, that is a female spirit of a tree, in Greek mythology. In Greek drys signifies "oak". Thus dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. "Such deities are very much overshadowed by the divine figures defined through poetry and cult," Walter Burkert remarked of Greek nature deities. They were normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis, who was known to be a friend to most nymphs.
The dryads of ash trees were called the Meliai. The ash-tree sisters tended the infant Zeus in Rhea's Cretan cave. Gaea gave birth to the Meliai after being made fertile by the blood of castrated Uranus. Nymphs associated with apple trees were Epimeliad, and walnut-trees Caryatids.
Dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes, but some were a step beyond most nymphs. These were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For these reasons, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first propitiating the
In Philippine mythology, Ekek (or Ek Ek) are creatures who are bird-like humans. In English, it is also called Agina. They are winged-humans who search for victims at night. They hunger for flesh and blood. They are usually described by old folks as flying creatures that look like the Manananggal but are unable to divide or split their body. Apart from the Manananggal, they are also associated to the Wak Wak because of some similar characteristics. The only difference between a Wak Wak and Ekek is that Ekek has a bill like birds whereas the Wak Wak has none.
The Ekek can transform into a huge bird/bat at night and prowls. Similar to the Manananggal, the Ekek looks for sleeping pregnant women. Then it extends a very long proboscis into the womb and kills the fetus by draining its blood. It is said that while this is taking place, a "ek-ek-ek" sound is often heard. The Ekek fools people into thinking it is far by producing a faint sound when it is actually near.
In Norse mythology, Garmr or Garm (Old Norse "rag") is a dog associated with Ragnarök, and described as a blood-stained watchdog that guards Hel's gate.
The Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál mentions Garmr:
One of the refrains of Völuspá uses Garmr's howling to herald the coming of Ragnarök:
After the first occurrence of this refrain the Fimbulvetr is related; the second occurrence is succeeded by the invasion of Jötnar (giants) in the world of gods; after the last occurrence, the rise of a new and better world is described.
Baldrs draumar describes a journey which Odin makes to Hel. Along the way he meets a dog.
Although unnamed, this dog is normally assumed to be Garmr. Alternatively, Garmr is sometimes assumed to be identical to Fenrir. In either case it is often suggested that Snorri invented the battle between Garmr and Týr, since it is not mentioned in the surviving poetry. Garmr is sometimes seen as a hellhound, comparable to Cerberus.
The Prose Edda book Gylfaginning assigns him a role in Ragnarök:
Bruce Lincoln brings together Garmr and the Greek mythological dog Cerberus, deriving both names from a Proto-Indo-European root *ger- "to growl" (perhaps with the suffixes -*m/*b and
Preta, प्रेत (Sanskrit), Peta (Pāli) or Yidak (ཡི་དྭགས་) in Tibetan ) is the name for a type of (arguably supernatural) being described in Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain texts that undergoes more than human suffering, particularly an extreme degree of hunger and thirst. They are often translated into English as "hungry ghosts", from the Chinese, which in turn is derived from later Indian sources generally followed in Mahayana Buddhism. In early sources such as the Petavatthu, they are much more varied. The descriptions below apply mainly in this narrower context.
Pretas are believed to have been jealous or greedy people in a previous life. As a result of their karma, they are afflicted with an insatiable hunger for a particular substance or object. Traditionally, this is something repugnant or humiliating, such as human corpses or feces, though in more recent stories, it can be anything, however bizarre.
The Sanskrit term preta means "departed, deceased, a dead person", from pra-ita, literally "gone forth, departed". In Classical Sanskrit, the term refers to the spirit of any dead person, but especially before the obsequial rites are performed, but also more narrowly to a ghost or
Vampire pumpkins and watermelons are a folk legend from the Balkans, in southeastern Europe, described by ethnologist Tatomir Vukanović. The story is associated with the Roma people of the region, from whom much of traditional vampire folklore originated.
The belief in vampire fruit is similar to the belief that any inanimate object left outside during the night of a full moon will become a vampire. One of the main indications that a pumpkin or melon is about to undergo a vampiric transformation (or has just completed one) is said to be the appearance of a drop of blood on its skin.
The only known reference in scholarship is Tatomir Vukanović's account of his journeys in Serbia from 1933 to 1948. He wrote several years later:
The majority of Vukanović's article discusses human vampires; vampiric agricultural tools are also mentioned. Though modern readers may be skeptical that such beliefs ever existed, the superstitions of Gypsy culture are well documented. The Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society has many articles that are collections of Gypsy tales, presumably oral history. However others are horror stories that allegedly include the direct involvement of the source (e.g., the
An alp is a nightmare creature originating in German folklore.
Not to be mistaken with the similarly named Alp-luachra, the alp is sometimes likened to a vampire, but its behavior is more akin to that of the incubus. It is unique from both of these creatures in that it wears a magic hat called a Tarnkappe, from which it draws its powers. The word "alp" is a variation on the word "elf". It is also known by the following names: trud, mar, mart, mahr, schrat, and walrider. Many variations of the creature exist in surrounding European areas, such as the Druden and Schratteli, or Old Hag in English-speaking countries.
An alp is typically male, while the mara and mart appear to be more feminine versions of the same creature. Its victims are often females, whom it attacks during the night, controlling their dreams and creating horrible nightmares (hence the German word Alptraum ("elf dream"), meaning a nightmare). An alp attack is called an Alpdruck, or often Alpdrücke, which means "elf pressure". Alpdruck is when an alp sits astride a sleeper's chest and becomes heavier until the crushing weight awakens the terrified and breathless dreamer. The victim awakes unable to move under the
Dark elves (Old Norse: Dökkálfar, usually called the Svartálfar "black elves") are known as a class of elves living underground in Old Norse mythology, the counterparts to the Ljósálfar ("Light-elves"). They are very similar to dwarfs as they mainly live in places where there is little light, though unlike both high elves and dwarves the dark elves are an evil race that like suffering and pain. Their physical appearance is of darkly colored hair and black/dark eyes, as opposed to light elves with blond hair and blue eyes. Their skin tone could be any shade of color just like humans. The dark elves originated in the Eddic and Germanic myths.
Beginning with the Dungeons & Dragons module Descent into the Depths of the Earth, dark elves have become a common feature of fantasy fiction. They generally have little in common with the dark elves of legend, being rather evil opposites of the elves. See for example Drow (Dungeons & Dragons) and Dark Elves in fiction.
A domovoi or domovoy (Russian: домово́й; IPA: [dəmɐˈvoj]; literally, "[he] of the house") is a house spirit in Slavic folklore. The plural form in Russian can be transliterated domoviye or domovye (with accent on the vowel after the v).
Domovye are masculine, typically small, bearded, and sometimes covered in hair all over. According to some traditions, domovye take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house and have a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns. There are tales of neighbours seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master is asleep in bed. It has also been said that domovye can take on the appearance of cats or dogs, but reports of this are fewer than of that mentioned before. Other stories either give them completely monstrous appearance, or none at all.
The actions performed by a domovoi vaguely resemble (but are not limited to) those of poltergeists and are not necessarily harmful.
In the course of the 20th century,there have been notable reported sightings of domovye in Russia, many of which were purportedly "caught on tape".
It is believed that saying the word "master" in front of a domovoy who shows itself to
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and which is ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries.
The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word "dragon" derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), "dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake", which probably comes from the verb δρακεῖν (drakeîn) "to see clearly".
The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin draconem (nominative draco) meaning "huge serpent, dragon," from the Greek word δράκων, drakon (genitive drakontos, δράκοντος) "serpent, giant seafish", which is believed to have come from an earlier stem drak-, a stem of derkesthai, "to see clearly," from Proto-Indo-European derk- "to see" or "the one with the (deadly)
In Greek mythology, the Erymanthian Boar (Greek: ὁ Ἐρυμάνθιος κάπρος; Latin: aper Erymanthius) is remembered in connection with The Twelve Labours, in which Heracles, the (reconciled) enemy of Hera, visited in turn "all the other sites of the Goddess throughout the world, to conquer every conceivable 'monster' of nature and rededicate the primordial world to its new master, his Olympian father," Zeus.
In the primitive highlands of Arcadia, where old practices lingered, the Erymanthian Boar was a giant fear-inspiring creature of the wilds that lived on Mount Erymanthos, a mountain that was apparently once sacred to the Mistress of the Animals, for in classical times it remained the haunt of Artemis (Homer, Odyssey, VI.105). A boar was a dangerous animal: "When the goddess turned a wrathful countenance upon a country, as in the story of Meleager, she would send a raging boar, which laid waste the farmers' fields." In some accounts, Apollo sent the boar to kill Adonis, a favorite of Aphrodite, as revenge for the goddess blinding Apollo's son Erymanthus when he saw her bathing. Robert Graves suggested that Aphrodite had been substituted for Artemis in this retelling of the mytheme of
Inugami (犬神, lit. "dog god") is the name of a fictitious being from japanese mythology, which is similar to the Shikigami and who belongs to the range of the spirits, the Kami.
Japanese folklore describes Inugami as zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, dog-like beings, often similar to werewolves. They are masters of black magic.
Folklore has it, that Inugami can be conjured due a complex and cruel ceremony: A common pet dog must be buried up to his neck, only the head remains free. Then a bowl with food or water must be placed close but in unreachable distance before the snout of the dog. Several days after that, when the dog is about to perish and tortured by hallucinations, his head must be severed and buried beneath a noisy street. After a certain time, head and body must be placed in a well prepared shrine. Now an Inugami can be evoked.
Similar to Shikigami, possessed paper mannekins, Inugami are evoked for criminal activities, such as murdering, kidnapping and mutilation of the victims. If the evoker is perfectly trained, he can order his Inugami to possess humans and manipulate them. The victim is often forced to kill itself or other peoples, or to act like being lunatic. But
In Breton folklore, a Korrigan ([kɔˈriːɡɑ̃n]) is a fairy or dwarf-like spirit. The word means (Korr dwarf, ig is a diminutive and the suffix an is an hypocoristic) "small-dwarf". Their name changes according to the place. Among the other names, there are kornandon, ozigan, nozigan, torrigan, viltañs, poulpikan, paotred ar sabad...
The term is used variously by different writers on Breton folklore. Théodore de Villemarqué in Barzaz Breiz uses the term interchangeably with "fairy" and distinguishes them from dwarves ("nains"). In contrast Walter Evans-Wentz in The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries argued that in the mythology of Morbihan there is no clear distinction between korrigans and nains, "Very often corrigans regarded as nains, equally with all kinds of lutins, are believed to be evil spirits or demons condemned to live here on earth in a penitential state for an indefinite time." They like to dance around fountains. However, they give themselves away when they cannot enumerate the full list of the days of the week (because of the sacredness of the full week).
Other authors use the term only to refer to siren-like female fairies who inhabit springs and rivers, "lovely lustful
Krasnoludek (or krasnal) is a Polish mythological type of gnome, common in many Polish and translated folk tales (for example, Brothers Grimm Snow White and Rose Red is translated into Polish language as Królewna Śnieżka i Siedmiu Krasnoludków). They resemble small humans and wear pointy red hats. Due to the popularization of fantasy literature, they are now differentiated from both gnomes (Polish: gnom) and dwarfs (Polish: krasnolud), both of which are used in fantasy literature context, while the word krasnoludek still remains mostly the domain of older folk tales. The word krasnal ogrodowy is also used to describe garden dwarfs.
Krasnoludek may also be used to insult Swedish taxi drivers in which case it substitutes the Swedish word "tomte".
The word krasnoludek comes from the Russian красный (krasny - red) and Polish ludek (small person or human-like creature).
The Ushi-Oni (牛鬼, Ox Oni (demon)), or gyūki, is a creature which appears in the folklore of Japan. There are various kinds of ushi-oni, all of them some sort of monster with a horned, bovine head.
Perhaps the most famous ushi-oni appears as a protective symbol in the Uwajima Ushi-oni Festival, which is held in late July in Uwajima of Ehime Prefecture. Something like the dragon dancers at a Chinese New Year celebration, this ushi-oni is represented with a huge, multiple-person costume with a cloth body and a carved, painted head held upon a pole. It has a sword for a tail, and is thought to drive away evil spirits.
Another well-known ushi-oni is a massive, brutal sea-monster which lives off the coast of Shimane Prefecture and other places in Western Japan and attacks fishermen. It is often depicted with a spider- or crab-like body. This ushi-oni seems to be connected to another monster called the nure-onna, who sometimes appears before an ushi-oni attack and tricks the victim into holding her child, which then becomes stuck to the person's hands and grows heavier in order to hinder escape.
Yet another ushi-oni is depicted as a statue on the grounds of the Negoroji temple in
A draugr, draug or (Icelandic) draugur (original Old Norse plural draugar, as used here, not "draugrs"), or draugen (Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, meaning "the draug"), also known as aptrganga ("afturgöngur" in modern Icelandic) (literally "after-walker", or "one who walks after death") is an undead creature from Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology. The original Norse meaning of the word is ghost, and older literature makes clear distinctions between sea-draug and land-draug. Draugar were believed to live in the graves of the dead, with a draugr being the animated body of the dead. As the graves of important men often contained a good amount of wealth, the draugr jealously guards his treasures, even after death.
The Old English cognate was dréag ("apparition, ghost"). The Gaelic word dréag or driug meaning "portent, meteor" is borrowed from either the Old English or the Old Norse word.
Draugar possess superhuman strength, can increase their size at will, and carry the unmistakable stench of decay. They are undead Vikings that retain some semblance of intelligence, and who delight in the suffering that they cause. The draugr's ability to increase its size also increased
Antaeus (also Antaios) (Ἀνταῖος) in Greek and Berber mythology was a half-giant, the son of Poseidon and Gaia, whose wife was goddess Tinge. Antaeus had a daughter named Alceis or Barce.
Greeks of the sixth century BC, who had established colonies along the coast, located Antaeus in the interior desert of Libya.
He would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches, kill them, and collect their skulls, so that he might one day build out of them a temple to his father Poseidon. He was indefatigably strong as long as he remained in contact with the ground (his mother earth), but once lifted into the air he became as weak as other men.
Antaeus had defeated most of his opponents until it came to his fight with Heracles (who was on his way to the Garden of Hesperides for his 11th Labour). Upon finding that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground as he would regain his strength and be fortified, Heracles discovered the secret of his power. Holding Antaeus aloft, Heracles crushed him in a bearhug. The story of Antaeus has been used as a symbol of the spiritual strength which accrues when one rests one's faith on the immediate fact of things. The struggle between Antaeus
According to the tradition of the Physiologus and medieval bestiaries, the aspidochelone is a fabled sea creature, variously described as a large whale or sea turtle, that is as large as an island. The name aspidochelone appears to be a compound word combining Greek aspis (which means either "asp" or "shield"), and chelone, the turtle. It rises to the surface from the depths of the sea, and entices unwitting sailors to make landfall on its huge shell. In the moralistic allegory of the Physiologus and bestiary tradition, the aspidochelone represents Satan, who deceives those whom he seeks to devour.
Accounts of seafarers' encounters with gigantic fish appear in various other works, including the Book of Jonah and the 19th century books Pinocchio and The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen.
One version of the Latin text of the Physiologus reads:
A similar tale is told by the Old English poem The Whale, where the monster appears under the name Fastitocalon. This is apparently a variant of Aspidochelone, and the name given to the Devil. The poem has an unknown author, and is one of three poems in the Exeter Book that are allegorical in nature, the other two being The Phoenix and The
Behemoth ( /bɨˈhiːməθ/ or /ˈbiː.əməθ/, also /ˈbeɪ.əmɔːθ/; Hebrew בהמות, behemoth (modern: behemot)) is a mythological beast mentioned in Job 40:15-24. Metaphorically, the name has come to be used for any extremely large or powerful entity.
Job 40 is an example of the use of a plural noun suffix to mean "great", rather than plural. The feminine plural Hebrew noun behemoth is also used in Joel 1:20.
Job 40:15-24 describes Behemoth, and then the sea-monster Leviathan, to demonstrate to Job the futility of questioning God, who alone has created these beings and who alone can capture them. Both beasts are chaos monsters destroyed by the deity at the time of creation, although such a conflict is not found in the creation account.
Leviathan is identified figuratively with both the primeval sea (Job 3:8, Psalms 74:13) and in apocalyptic literature - describing the end-time - as that adversary, the Devil, from before creation who will finally be defeated. In the divine speeches in Job, Behemoth and Leviathan may both be seen as composite and mythical creatures with enormous strength, which humans like Job could not hope to control. But both are reduced to the status of divine pets, with
The cadejo (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈðexo]) is a character from Salvadoran, Belizean, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Honduran, Guatemalan and southern Mexican folklore. There is a good white cadejo and an evil black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travelers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil), to kill them. The colors of the Cadejo are sometimes exchanged according to local tradition. In some places the black cadejo is seen as the good one and the white cadejo the evil one. They usually appear in the form of a large (up to the size of a cow), shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat's hooves, although in some areas they have more bull-like characteristics. According to the stories, many have tried to kill the black cadejo but have failed and perished. Also it is said that if a cadejo is killed, it will smell terrible for several days, and then its body will disappear. Some Guatemalan folklore also tells of a cadejo that guards drunks against anyone who tries to rob or hurt them. When the cadejo is near, it is said to bring about a strong goat-like smell. Most people say never to turn your back
The each uisge (Scottish Gaelic: [ɛxˈɯʃkʲə], literally "water horse") is a mythological Scottish water spirit, called the Aughisky in Ireland. It is similar to the kelpie, but far more vicious.
The Each Uisge, a supernatural water horse found in the Highlands of Scotland, is supposedly the most dangerous water-dwelling creature in the British Isles. Often mistaken as the Kelpie (which inhabits streams and rivers), the each uisge lives in the sea, sea lochs, and fresh water lochs. The Each Uisge is a shape-shifter, disguising itself as a fine horse, pony, or handsome man. If, while in horse form, a man mounts it, he is only safe as long as the each uisge is ridden in the interior of land. However, the merest glimpse or smell of water means the end of the rider: the each uisge's skin becomes adhesive and the creature immediately goes to the deepest part of the loch with its victim. After the victim drowned, the each uisge tears the victim apart and devours the entire body except for the liver, which floats to the surface.
In its human form it is said to appear as a handsome man, and can be recognised as a mythological creature only by the water weeds in its hair; because of this,
Area of occurrence:Electoral Palatinate of the Rhine
The Elwetritsch (aka Elwedritsch, Ilwedritsch and so on), plural Elwetritsche or Elwetritschen, in (pseudoscientific) Latin bestia palatinensis) is a birdlike mythical creature which is reported to be found in South-West-Germany, especially in Palatinate. The Elwetritsch can be seen as a local equivalent to mythical creatures of other regions, i.e. the Bavarian Wolpertinger or the Thuringian Rasselbock.
The Elwedritsch had been quite forgotten in a while, till a Gentleman, named Espenschied "rediscovered" them. He began to organize "Hunting Parties" which were nothing more than playing a harmless prank on people. One of the Bavarian Kings was once served roasted, small birds for dinner, which were declared to be Elwetritsche, but were actually Quail.
The Elwedritsch is a cryptid or mythical creature that supposedly inhabits the Palatinate of Germany. It is described as being a chicken-like creature with antlers. It also has scales instead of Feathers. However, it is said that their wings are of little use. That is why they live mainly in underbrush and under vine stocks. Sometimes Elwetritschen are depicted with antlers of a stag and their beaks often appear to be very long. In the
A gnome /ˈnoʊm/ is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature. Its characteristics have been reinterpreted to suit the needs of various story-tellers, but it is typically said to be a small, humanoid creature that lives underground.
The word comes from Renaissance Latin gnomus, which first appears in the works of 16th Century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus. He is perhaps deriving the term from Latin gēnomos (itself representing a Greek γη-νομος, literally "earth-dweller"). In this case, the omission of the ē is, as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) calls it, a blunder. Alternatively, the term may be an original invention of Paracelsus.
Paracelsus uses Gnomi as a synonym of Pygmæi, and classifies them as earth elementals. He describes them as two spans high, very reluctant to interact with humans, and able to move through solid earth as easily as humans move through air.
The chthonic spirit has precedents in numerous ancient and medieval mythologies, often guarding mines and precious underground treasures, notably in the Germanic dwarves and the Greek
In Greek mythology, the Gorgon (plural: Gorgons) (Greek: Γοργών or Γοργώ Gorgon/Gorgo) was a terrifying female creature. The name derives from the Greek word gorgós, which means "dreadful." While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature and occurs in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus.
Gorgons were a popular image in Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer, which may date to as early as 1194–1184 BC. Because of their legendary and powerful gaze that could turn one to stone, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection. An image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu, which is the oldest stone pediment in Greece, and is dated to c. 600 BC.
The concept of the Gorgon is at least as old in classical Greek
Hobgoblin is a term typically applied in folktales to describe a friendly but troublesome creature of the Seelie Court. The most commonly known hobgoblin is the character Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Hobgoblins seem to be small, hairy little men who—like their close relative, brownies—are often found within human dwellings, doing odd jobs around the house while the family is lost in sleep. Such chores are typically small deeds, like dusting and ironing. Oftentimes, the only compensation necessary in return for these was food. Attempts to give them clothing would often banish them forever, though whether they take offense to such gifts or are simply too proud to work in new clothes differs from teller to teller.
While brownies are more peaceful creatures, hobgoblins are more fond of practical jokes. They also seem to be able to shape-shift, as seen in one of Puck's monologues in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Robin Goodfellow is perhaps the most mischievous and most infamous of all his kind, but many are less antagonizing. However, like all of the fae folk, hobgoblins are easily annoyed. When teased or misused excessively, brownies become boggarts—creatures whose
The Karura (迦楼羅) is a divine creature with human torso and birdlike head in Japanese Hindu-Buddhist mythology.
The name is a transliteration of Garuda (Sanskrit: Garuḍa गरुड ; Pāli: Garuḷa) a race of enoromously gigantic birds in Hinduism, upon which the Japanese Buddhist version is based. The same creature may go by the name of konjichō (金翅鳥, lit., "gold-winged bird") (Skr. suparṇa).
The karura is said to be enormous, fire-breathing, and to feed on dragons/serpents, just as Garuda is the bane of Nāgas. Only a dragon who possesses a Buddhist talisman, or one who has converted to the Buddhist teaching, can escape unharmed from the Karura. Shumisen or Mount Meru is said to be its habitat.
Karura is one of the proselytized and converted creatures recruited to form a guardian unit called the Hachibushū (八部衆, "Devas of the Eight Classes").
One famous example is the karura statue at Kōfukuji temple, Nara (amongst the eight deva statues presented at Eye-opening ceremony dated to the year Tenpyō 6 or 734 AD, pictured top right). This karura is depicted as wearing Chinese Tang dynasty style armor, and thus is seen wingless.
But more conventionally, the karura (garuda) is depicted as a
A Klabautermann is a water kobold (or nix) who assists sailors and fishermen on the Baltic and North Sea in their duties. He is a merry and diligent creature, with an expert understanding of most watercraft, and an unsupressable musical talent. He also rescues sailors washed overboard. The name comes from the Low German verb klabastern meaning "rumble" or "make a noise". An etymology deriving the name from the verb kalfatern ("to caulk") has also been suggested.
His image is of a small sailor in yellow with a tobacco pipe and woollen sailor's cap, often wearing a caulking hammer. This likeness is carved and attached to the mast as a symbol of good luck.
Despite the positive attributes, there is one omen associated with his presence: no member of a ship blessed by his presence shall ever set eyes on him. He only ever becomes visible to the crew of a doomed ship.
More recently, the Klabautermann is sometimes described as having more sinister attributes, and blamed for things that go wrong on the ship. This incarnation of the Klabautermann is more demon- or goblin-like, prone to play pranks and, eventually, doom the ship and her crew. This deterioration of image probably stems from
The Wakwak is a vampiric, bird-like creature in Philippine mythology. It is said to snatch humans at night as prey, similar to the Manananggal and the Ekek in rural areas of the Philippines, due to its ability to fly. The difference between the Mananggal and the Wakwak is that Wakwak cannot separate its torso from its body while the Manananggal can. Some believe it is also a form a vampire takes. Other people contend that a "Wakwak" is a Philippine night bird belonging to a witch.
The sound of a Wakwak is usually associated with the presence of an Unglu (vampire) or Ungo (ghost or monster). It is also believed that this monster is called "Wakwak" due to this sound it makes when it flaps its wings while flying. When one hears the Wakwak, it is looking for possible victims. If the sound of the Wakwak is loud, it means it is far from you. Otherwise, it is near and worse yet, it is about to attack. It slashes and mutilates its victims and feeds on their hearts.
The Wakwak is often described by old folks to have long sharp talons and a pair of wings similar to those of a bat. It uses its talons or claws to slash its victims and to get their heart. Many say that its wings are also sharp
Ao Ao is the name of a monstrous creature from Guaraní mythology. As one of the cursed sons of Tau and Kerana, it is one of the central mythological creatures among Guaraní-speaking cultures.
The Ao Ao is often described as being a voracious sheep-like creature with a massive set of fangs. Alternatively, it is also described as being a large, carnivorous peccary. Its name is derived from the sound that it makes, howling "Ao ao ao!" when it is pursuing its victims. The original Ao Ao is said to have profound reproductive powers and thus sometimes is identified as being the Guaraní spirit of fertility. Ao Ao produced many offspring who are cursed in the same manner, and collectively they served as lords and protectors of the hills and the mountains.
Ao Ao is said to have humans as its sole source of food. Although the creature is clearly not human in description, it is at least half-human by birth, which accounts for its cannibalism. According to most versions of the myth, the Ao Ao, upon locating a victim for its next meal, will pursue the unfortunate human over any distance and over any terrain, not stopping until it has had its meal. If a person attempts to escape by climbing a
In Roman mythology, Cacus was a fire-breathing giant and the son of Vulcan. He was killed by Hercules after terrorizing the Palatine Hill before the founding of Rome.
Cacus lived in a cave in the Palatine Hill in Italy, the future site of Rome. To the horror of nearby inhabitants, Cacus lived on human flesh and would nail the heads of victims to the doors of his cave. He was eventually overcome by Hercules.
According to Evander, Hercules stopped to pasture the cattle he had stolen from Geryon near Cacus' lair. As Hercules slept, the monster took a liking to the cattle and slyly stole eight of them - four bulls and four cows - by dragging them by their tails, so as to leave a trail in the wrong direction. When Hercules awoke and made to leave, the remaining herd made plaintive noises towards the cave, and a single cow lowed in reply.
Angered, Hercules stormed towards the cave. A terrified Cacus blocked the entrance with a vast, immoveable boulder, forcing Heracles to tear at the top of the mountain to reach his adversary. Cacus attacked Heracles by spewing fire and smoke, while Heracles responded with tree branches and rocks the size of millstones. Eventually losing patience,
A changeling is a creature found in Western European folklore and folk religion. It is typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll, elf or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who was taken. The apparent changeling could also be a stock or fetch, an enchanted piece of wood that would soon appear to grow sick and die. The theme of the swapped child is common among medieval literature and reflects concern over infants afflicted by as-then unknown diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities.
A human child might be taken due to many factors: to act as a servant, the love of a human child, or malice. Most often it was thought that fairies exchanged the children. Some Norwegian tales tell that the change was made to prevent inbreeding: to give trolls and humans new blood, humans were given children with enormous strength as a reward. In some rare cases, the very elderly of the Fairy people would be exchanged in the place of a human baby, and then the old fairy could live in comfort, being coddled by its human parents. Simple charms, such as an inverted coat or open
European dragons are legendary creatures in folklore and mythology among the overlapping cultures of Europe.
In European folklore, a dragon is a serpentine legendary creature with two pairs of lizard-type legs and bat-type wings growing from its back. A dragon-like creature with no front legs is known as a wyvern.
In Western folklore, dragons are usually portrayed as evil, with the exceptions mainly in Welsh folklore and modern fiction. This is in contrast to Asian dragons, who are traditionally depicted as more benevolent creatures. In the modern period, the European dragon is typically depicted as a huge fire-breathing, scaly and horned lizard-like creature, with (leathery, bat-like) wings, with four legs and a long muscular tail. It is sometimes shown with feathered wings, crests, fiery manes, ivory spikes running down its spine and various exotic colorations. Dragon's blood often has magical properties: for example in the opera Siegfried it let Siegfried understand the language of the Forest Bird. The typical dragon protects a cavern or castle filled with gold and treasure and is often associated with a great hero who tries to slay it. Though a winged creature, the dragon is
A futakuchi-onna (二口女, lit. "two-mouthed woman") is a type of yōkai or Japanese monster. They are characterized by their two mouths – a normal one located on her face and second one on the back of the head beneath the hair. There, the woman's skull splits apart, forming lips, teeth and a tongue, creating an entirely functional second mouth.
In Japanese mythology and folklore, the futakuchi-onna belongs to the same class of stories as the rokurokubi, kuchisake-onna and the yama-uba, women afflicted with a curse or supernatural disease that transforms them into yōkai. The supernatural nature of the women in these stories is usually concealed until the last minute, when the true self is revealed.
The origin of a futakuchi-onna's second mouth is often linked to how little a woman eats. In many stories, the soon-to-be futakuchi-onna is a wife of a miser and rarely eats. To counteract this, a second mouth mysteriously appears on the back of the woman's head. The second mouth often mumbles spiteful and threatening things to the woman and demands food. If it is not fed, it can screech obscenely and cause the woman tremendous pain. Eventually, the woman's hair begins to move like a pair of
Hiderigami (日照り神, "god of drought") is a mythical species of yōkai in Japanese folklore that holds the power to cause droughts.
According to a quote from Bencao Gangmu in the Edo period encyclopedia Wakan Sansai Zue, the Hiderigami is "from sixty to ninety centimeters long, has eyes on the top of its head, and moves quickly like the wind."
In Toriyama Sekien's Illustrated One Hundred Demons from the Present and the Past, it is referred to as Hiderigami (魃, "drought") or Kanbo (旱母, "drought mother") and is drawn as a beast with one arm and one eye.
In China, the same entity is called Batsu (魃).
Morgens, Morgans or Mari-Morgans are Welsh and Breton water spirits that drown men. They may lure men to their death by their own sylphic beauty, or with glimpses of underwater gardens with buildings of gold or crystal. They are also blamed for heavy flooding that destroys crops or villages. In the story of the drowning of Ys, a city in Brittany, the king's daughter, Dahut, is the cause, and she becomes a sea morgen.
The morgens are eternally young, and like sirens they sit in the water and comb their hair seductively. In Arthurian legend, particularly Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini, the ruler of Avalon is referred to as "Morgen". As such, the origin of Morgan le Fay may be connected to these Breton myths.
Tales of morgens are preserved in the British countryside, even some parts of South West England, like the one from western Somerset, where a fisherman adopts an infant morgen, only to have her revert to the sea when she grows up.
In English folklore, a boggart (or bogart) is a household spirit which causes mischief and things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame. Always malevolent, the boggart will follow its family wherever they flee. In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, for when the boggart was given a name, it would not be reasoned with nor persuaded, but would become uncontrollable and destructive.
It is said that the boggart crawls into people's beds at night and puts a clammy hand on their faces. Sometimes he strips the bedsheets off them. Sometimes a boggart will also pull on a person's ears. Hanging a horseshoe on the door of a house and leaving a pile of salt outside your bedroom are said to keep a boggart away.
In the folklore of North-West England, boggarts live under bridges on dangerous sharp bends on roads as well as in chimneys. The Scottish variant is the bogle (or boggle).
In one old tale said to originate from the village of Mumby in the Lincolnshire countryside, the boggart is described as being rather squat, hairy and smelly. The story goes that a farmer bought a patch of land that was inhabited by the boggart. When the
In Greek mythology, a centaur (from Ancient Greek: Κένταυρος, Kéntauros) or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings (see below), they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.
This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron.
The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himself the son of Ixion and Nephele (inserting an additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of the story his twin brother was Lapithes, ancestor of the Lapiths, thus making the two warring
The Hanau epe (also, hanau eepe: supposed to mean "Long-ears") were a semi-legendary people who are said to have lived in Easter Island, where they came into conflict with another people known as the Hanau momoko or "short-ears". A decisive battle occurred which led to the defeat and extermination of the Hanau epe. According to the legend, these events are supposed to have happened at some point between the 16th and 18th centuries, probably in the late 17th century.
The historical facts, if any, behind this story are disputed. Since the victorious "Hanau momoko" are usually assumed to be the surviving Polynesian population, there has been much speculation about the identity of the vanished Hanau epe. Various theories have been put forward, most notably Thor Heyerdahl's claim that they were ancient migrants from Peru who were the original occupants of the island and the creators of its famous stone monuments.
Heyerdahl's theories have not received much support among modern scholars, many of whom doubt whether the events described in the story ever took place. It has also been argued that the traditional designations of "long ears" and "short ears" derive from a misinterpretation of
A sphinx (Greek: Σφίγξ /sphinx, Bœotian: Φίξ /Phix) is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and the head of a human or a cat.
In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster. Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version and was thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.
In European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.
Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures such as
The Askafroa (Swedish "wife of the ash tree"), also known as the Danish Askefrue and German Eschenfrau, is a type of legendary creature in Scandinavian and German folklore, similar to the Greek Hamadryads. The Askafroa is the guardian of the ash tree. The Askafroa was thought be a malicious creature which did much damage, and to propriate her it was necessary to make a sacrifice to her on Ash Wednesday.
The Swedish scholar Hyltén-Cavallius recorded in his ethnographic work Wärend och Wirdarne a belief of a female creature living in the ash tree, in Ljunit Hundred. The elders used to sacrifice to the Askafroa on the morning of Ash Wednesday. Before the sun had risen, they poured water over the roots of the ash tree. While doing this they said: "Nu offrar jag, så gör du oss ingen skada" meaning "Now I sacrifice [to you], so that you do us no harm". Hyltén-Cavallius further writes that they believed that if anyone broke branches or twigs from the ash tree, they would become ill.
The Askafroa is, by any name, quite obscure, and consequently not prominently featured in modern fiction, although the online role-playing game Dark Age of Camelot features enemies in the form of
In the mythology of Bundjalung Nation (represented by 15 Australian Aboriginal tribes, within which are many groups, clans and bands), the Dirawong (a goanna) is the Creator Being that taught the people the Aboriginal astronomy, body designs, bullroarers, bush cosmetics, bush foods, bush medicines, cave paintings and designs cut into trees, ceremonial headgear, ceremonial poles, cultural lore, dances, dreamings, games, geographical locations, how people are required to behave in their communities, initiations, laws of community, paintings, rock art, rock engravings, rules for social behaviour, sacred chants, sacred earth mounds, sacred ground paintings, songlines, songs, stone artefacts, stone objects, stories, structures of society, symbols, technologies, the ceremonies performed in order to ensure continuity of life and land, values, wooden articles, wooden sacred objects, and also the beliefs, values, rules and practices concerning their relationship to the land and water of their country. It is known as a benevolent protector of its people (in the Bundjalung Nation) from the Rainbow Snake (also known as the 'Snake' or 'Rainbow Serpent').
Goanna Headland, at Evans Head (one of
In Germanic mythology, a dwarf (Old English dweorg, Old Norse dvergr, Old High German zwerc and gitwerc) is a being that dwells in mountains and in the earth, and is associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting. Dwarfs are also sometimes described as short and ugly, although some scholars have questioned whether this is a later development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings.
The etymology of the word dwarf is contested, and scholars have proposed varying theories about the origins of the being, including that dwarfs may have originated as nature spirits or beings associated with death, or as a mixture of concepts. Competing etymologies include a basis in the Indo-European root *dheur- (meaning "damage"), the Indo-European root *dhreugh (whence modern German Traum/English dream and trug "deception"), and comparisons have been made with Sanskrit dhvaras (a type of demonic being).
Norse mythology, as recorded in the Poetic Edda (compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources) and the Prose Edda (written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century) provide different mythical origins for the beings. The Poetic Edda poem Völuspá details that the dwarfs
In Orkney folklore, Finfolk (sometimes Finnfolk) are sorcerous shapeshifters of the sea, the dark mysterious race from Finfolkaheem who regularly make an amphibious journey from the depths of the Finfolk ocean home to the Orkney Islands. They wade, swim or sometimes row upon the Orkney shores in the spring and summer months, searching for human captives. The Finfolk ( both Finman and Finwife ) kidnap unsuspecting fishermen, or frolicking youth, near the shore and force them into lifelong servitude as a spouse.
According to folklore, the under water dwelling of the Finfolk, known as Finfolkaheem (literally "Finfolk's Home") is regarded as the place of origin for the Finfolk, and their ancestral home. A fantastic under water palace with massive crystal halls, Finfolkaheem is surrounded, inside and out, by ornate gardens of multi-coloured seaweed. It's never dark in Finfolkaheem, because it is lit by the phosphorescent glow of tiny sea creatures at night. Its great halls and vast rooms are decorated with moving underwater draped curtains whose colours move and dance with the underwater currents.
Unlike the "Selkie" made famous by the "The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry", the Finfolk are
Hamadryads (Greek: Ἁμαδρυάδες, Hamadryádes) are Greek mythological beings that live in trees. They are a particular type of dryad, which in turn are a particular type of nymph. Hamadryads are born bonded to a particular tree. Some believe that hamadryads are the actual tree, while normal dryads are simply the entities, or spirits, of the trees. If the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For that reason, dryads and the gods punished any mortals who harmed trees. The Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus lists eight Hamadryads, the daughters of Oxylus and Hamadryas:
Their mother, Hamadryas, is immortalized in the name of two genera, that of the Cracker butterfly, of the northernmost monkey in Asia Minor, the Hamadryas baboon. The Cracker Butterfly is more arboreal than most butterflies, as it commonly camouflages itself on trees. It feeds not on nectar but on sap, rotting fruit and dung. The Hamadryas baboon however is one of the least arboreal monkeys but it was the most common monkey in Hellenic lands.
Hamadryad is referenced as a whole in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "Sonnet To Science." Hamadryad is referenced in Anthony Ashley Cooper's (The Third Earl of
Kraken ( /ˈkreɪkən/ or /ˈkrɑːkən/) are legendary sea monsters of giant proportions said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.
The legend may actually have originated from sightings of real giant squid that are variously estimated to grow to 13–15 m (40–50 ft) in length, including the tentacles. These creatures normally live at great depths, but have been sighted at the surface and have reportedly attacked ships.
The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works.
The 13th century Old Icelandic saga Örvar-Odds saga tells of two massive sea-monsters called Hafgufa ("sea mist") and Lyngbakr ("heather-back"). The hafgufa is believed to be a reference to the kraken:
After returning from Greenland, the anonymous author of the Old Norwegian scientific work Konungs skuggsjá (circa 1250) described in detail the physical characteristics and feeding behavior of these beasts. The narrator proposed there must only be two in existence, stemming from the observation that the beasts have always been sighted in the same parts of the Greenland Sea, and that each seemed incapable of reproduction, as there
In Hawaiian mythology, the Menehune [pronounced meh-neh-HOO-neh] are said to be a people, sometimes described as dwarfs in size, who live in the deep forests and hidden valleys of the Hawaiian Islands, far from the eyes of normal humans. Their favorite food is the maiʻa (banana), but they also like fish.
The Menehune were said to be superb craftspeople. Legends say that the Menehune built temples (heiau), fishponds, roads, canoes, and houses. They are said to have lived in Hawaiʻi before settlers arrived from Polynesia many centuries ago.
In Beckwith's Hawaiian Mythology, there are references to several other forest dwelling races: the Nawao, who were large-sized wild hunters descended from Lua-nuʻu, the mu people, and the wa people.
Some early scholars theorized that there was a first settlement of Hawaiʻi, by settlers from the Marquesas Islands, and a second, from Tahiti. The Tahitian settlers oppressed the "commoners", the manahune in the Tahitian language, who fled to the mountains and were called Menahune. Proponents of this theory point to an 1820 census of Kauaʻi by Kaumualiʻi, the ruling Aliʻi Aimoku of the island, which listed 65 people as menehune.
The Dobhar-chú is a creature of Irish folklore and a cryptid. Dobhar-chú is roughly translated into "water hound." It resembles both a dog and an otter though sometimes is described as a half dog, half fish. It lives in water and has fur with protective properties.
Many sightings have been documented down through the years. Most recently in 2003 Irish Artist Sean Corcoran and his wife claim to have witnessed a Dobhar-Chú on Omey Island in Connemara, County Galway. In his description the large dark creature made a haunting screech, could swim fast and had orange flipper like feet.
A headstone, found in Conwall cemetery in Glenade, Co. Leitrim depicts the Dobhar-chú and is related to a tale of an attack on a local woman by the creature. The stone is claimed to be the headstone of a grave of a woman killed by the Dobhar-chú in the 17th century. Her name was supposedly Gráinne. Her husband supposedly heard her scream as she was washing clothes down at Glenade lough, Co. Leitrim and came to her aid. When he got there she was already dead, with the Dobhar-chú upon her bloody and mutilated body. The man killed the Dobhar-chú, stabbing it in the heart. As it died, it made a whistling
Harionago (Japanese: 針女子), also known as Harionna (Japanese: 針女), is a "frightening female ghoul" in Japanese mythology. Her name literally meaning "Barbed woman" the Harionago is said to be a "beautiful woman with extremely long hair tipped with thorn-like barbs," Her hair is under her "direct control, and she uses it to ensnare men." She is said to wander the roads of the Japanese prefecture of Ehime on the island of Shikoku. When she finds a "young man, she will laugh at him, and if the young man dares to laugh back, Harionago will drop her terrible, barbed hair and attack."
Lares ( /ˈlɑːriːz/, singular Lar), archaically Lases, were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. Their origin is uncertain; they may have been hero-ancestors, guardians of the hearth, fields, boundaries or fruitfulness, or an amalgam of these.
Lares were believed to observe, protect and influence all that happened within the boundaries of their location or function. The statues of domestic Lares were placed at table during family meals; their presence, cult and blessing seem to have been required at all important family events. Roman writers sometimes identify or conflate them with ancestor-deities, domestic Penates and the hearth. Because of these associations, Lares are sometimes categorised as household gods but some had much broader domains. Roadways, seaways, agriculture, livestock, towns, cities, the state and its military were all under the protection of their particular Lar or Lares. Those who protected local neighbourhoods (vici) were housed in the crossroad shrines (Compitales) which served as a focus for the religious, social and political life of their local, overwhelmingly plebeian communities. Their cult officials included freedmen and slaves, otherwise excluded
Works written about this creature:White Witch, Black Curse
Area of occurrence:Ireland
The banshee ( /ˈbænʃiː/ BAN-shee), from the Irish bean sí [bʲæn ˈʃiː] ("woman of the sídhe" or "woman of the fairy mounds") is a feminine spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.
In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. In Scottish mythology the creature is called the bean sìth or bean-nighe and is seen washing the blood stained clothes or armour of those who are about to die. Alleged sightings of banshees have been reported as recently as 1948. Similar creatures are also found in Welsh, Norse and American folklore, such as aos sí ("tumulus folk").
The story of the banshee began as a fairy woman keening at the death of important personages. In later stories, the appearance of the banshee could foretell death. Banshees were said to appear for particular Irish families, though which families made it onto this list varied depending on who was telling the story. Stories of banshees were also prevalent in the West Highlands of Scotland.
The banshee can appear in a variety of guises. Most often she appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also appear as a stunningly beautiful woman
The crocotta (or corocotta, crocuta, leucrocotta, or yena), is a mythical dog-wolf of India or Ethiopia, linked to the hyena and said to be a deadly enemy of men and dogs.
Strabo, who uses the word crocuttas, describes the beast as the mixed progeny of a wolf and a dog (Geographica, XVI.4.16).
Pliny in his work Natural History (VIII.72 and 107) variously described the crocotta as a combination between dog and wolf or between hyena and lion. Of the hyena, Pliny writes that it "is popularly believed to be bisexual and to become male and female in alternate years, the female bearing offspring without any male," and that "among the shepherds’s homesteads it simulates human speech, and picks up the name of one of them so as to call him to come out of doors and tear him to pieces, and also that it imitates a person being sick, to attract the dogs so that it may attack them; that this animal alone digs up corpses; that a female is seldom caught; that its eyes have a thousand variations of color; moreover that when its shadow falls on dogs they are struck dumb; and that it has certain magic arts by which it causes every animal at which it gazes three times to stand rooted to the spot. When
The Huma (Persian: هما, pronounced Homā, Old Iranian: Humaya ), also Homa, is a legendary bird especially of the Persian branch of Iranian mythology and Sufi fable. It is said to never come to rest, living its entire life flying invisibly high above the earth, and never alighting on the ground (in some legends it is said to have no legs).
The word Huma which has a Persian origin is reflected in Old Iranian Humāya . In Arabic we find the term Bulah corresponding to Huma. The Sufi teacher Inayat Khan supposed that "in the word Huma, hu represents spirit, and the word mah originates from the Arabic "Ma'a" ماء which means water." However, this is disputed, as Arabic influence on the Persian language came after the Islamization in Iran, and the Old Iranian name Humāya existed long before any invasion. In Turkic mythology, it is referred as bird of Kumay or Umay which was used as a symbol of Çepni, one of the 24 tribal organizations of Oghuz Turks. Umay is the goddess of fertility and virginity in Turkic mythology and Tengriism.
In some variations, the Huma bird is said to be phoenix-like, consuming itself in fire every few hundred years, only to rise anew from the ashes. The creature
The Lightning bird or Impundulu or Thekwane (or izulu, inyoni yezulu) is a mythological creature in the folklore of the tribes of South Africa including the Pondo, the Zulu and the Xhosa. The impundulu (which translates as "lightning bird") takes the form of a black and white bird, the size of a human, which is said to summon thunder and lightning with its wings and talons. It is a vampiric creature associated with witchcraft which was often the servant or familiar of a witch or witch doctor, attacking the witch's enemies. It is said to have an insatiable appetite for blood. It is said to sometimes take the form of a beautiful young man and seduce women.
Among certain African tribes the Hammerkop is believed to be the lightning bird. Among others the lightning bird is believed to manifest itself only through lightning, except to women, to whom it reveals itself as a bird. In these instances the bird is of imaginary nature and may take several forms. In one instance a village girl described a black rooster-like bird that ran up her hoe and left claw marks on her body before it flew back to the clouds. In other instances it is described as having iridescent feathers like a peacock's
Lindworm (cognate with Old Norse linnormr 'constrictor snake', Norwegian linnorm 'dragon', Swedish, lindorm, Danish, lindorm 'serpent', German Lindwurm 'dragon') in British heraldry, is a technical term for a wingless bipedal dragon often with a venomous bite.
In modern Scandinavian languages, the cognate lindorm can refer to any 'serpent' or monstrous snake, but in Norwegian heraldry, it is also a technical term for a 'seaserpent' (sjøorm), although it may also stand for a 'lindworm' in British heraldry.
Generally, the word lindworm stood for the Latin word draco (whence Norse dreki), thus could refer to any draconic creature, from a real life constrictor snake to a legendary dragon. In European mythology and folklore, creatures identified as a 'lindworm' may be winged or wingless, plus quadrupedal, bipedal or limbless. However late persistent tradition designates the lindworm as having no limbs, or just front claws (so that it must slither) in contrast to wyverns that have only hind-quarters (and possible claws on the end of its wings) and in contrast to dragons which have four limbs and may either be winged or wingless.
Saxo Grammaticus begins his story about Ragnar Loðbrók, a
The manananggal (sometimes confused with the Wak Wak) is a mythical creature of the Philippines. It resembles a Western vampire, as an evil, man-eating monster or witch. The myth of the manananggal is popular in the Visayan region of the Philippines, especially in the western provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique. There are varying accounts of the features of a manananggal. Like vampires, Visayan folklore creatures, and aswangs, manananggals are also said to abhor garlic and salt. They were also known to avoid daggers, light, vinegar, spices and the tail of a stingray, which can be fashioned as a whip. Folklore of similar creatures can be found in the neighbouring nations of Indonesia and Malaysia.
A manananggal is described as a hideous, scary, vampire-like creature (as opposed to an aswang), often depicted as female, and capable of severing its upper torso, sprout huge bat-like wings to fly into the night in search of its next victim. It is said that they mostly prey on sleeping, pregnant women, using an elongated proboscis-like tongue to suck the hearts of fetuses, or the blood of someone who is sleeping. The severed lower torso is left standing, and it is said to be the more
A mare or nightmare (Proto-Germanic: *marōn; Old English: mære; Old Norse: mara; German: Mahr; Dutch: nachtmerrie; Swedish: mara; Icelandic: mara; Faroese: mara; Danish: mare; Norwegian: mare/mara) is an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or "nightmares"). The mare is attested as early as in the Norse Ynglinga saga from the 13th century, but the belief itself is likely to be considerably older. As in English, the name appears in the word for "nightmare" in the Nordic languages (e.g. the Swedish word "mardröm" literally meaning mara-dream, the Norwegian word "mareritt" and the Danish "Mareridt", both meaning Mare-ride or the Icelandic word "martröð" meaning mara-dreaming repeatedly). The mare is often similar to the mythical creatures succubus and incubus, and was likely inspired by sleep paralysis.
The word "mare" comes (through Middle English mare) from Old English mære, mare, or mere, all feminine nouns. These in turn come from Common Germanic *marōn. *Marōn is the source of Old Norse mara (from which come Icelandic, Faroese, and Swedish mara, Danish mare and Norwegian mare/mara), Dutch
Merrow (from Gaelic murúch) or Murrough (Galloway) is the Scottish and Irish Gaelic equivalent of the mermaid and mermen of other cultures. These beings are said to appear as human from the waist up but have the body of a fish from the waist down. They have a gentle, modest, affectionate and benevolent disposition.
There are other names pertaining to them in Gaelic: Muir-gheilt, Samhghubha, Muidhuachán, and Suire. They would seem to have been around for millennia because according to the bardic chroniclers, when the Milesians first landed on Irish shores the Suire, or sea-nymphs, played around them on their passage.
The merrow were capable of attachment to human beings and there are reports of them inter-marrying and living among humans for many years. However, most times they eventually return to their former homes beneath the sea.
Merrow-maidens are reputed to lure young men to follow them beneath the waves where afterwards they live in an enchanted state. Merrows wear a special hat called a cohuleen druith which enables them to dive beneath the waves. If they lose this cap, it is said they have no power to return beneath the water. Sometimes they are said to leave their outer
Narasimha (Sanskrit: नरसिंह, Narasiṃha) or Nrusimha (नृसिंह, Nṛsiṃha), also spelled as Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha, whose name literally translates from Sanskrit as "Man-lion", is an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu and one of Hinduism's most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium.
Narasimha is often visualized as half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups. He is known primarily as the 'Great Protector' who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need.
References to Narasimha are found in a wide variety of the Puranic scriptures, with seventeen versions of the main narrative, some in more detail than others. The Bhagavata Purana (Canto 7), Agni Purana (4.2-3), Brahmanda Purana (2.5.3-29), Vayu Purana (67.61-66), Harivamsa (41 & 3.41-47), Brahma Purana (213.44-79), Vishnudharmottara Purana (1.54), Kurma Purana (1.15.18-72), Matsya Purana (161-163), Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 5.42), Shiva Purana (2.5.43 & 3.10-12), Linga Purana (1.95-96), Skanda
Matsya (Sanskrit: मत्स्य) (Fish in Sanskrit) was the first Avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. The great flood finds mention in Hinduism texts like the Satapatha Brahmana, where in the Matsya Avatar takes place to save the pious and the first man, Manu, and advises him to build a giant boat.
According to the Matsya Purana, the king of pre-ancient DravidaDesa and a devotee of Vishnu, Satyavrata who later was known as Manu was washing his hands in a river when a little fish swam into his hands and pleaded with him to save its life. He put it in a jar, which it soon outgrew. He then moved it to a tank, a river and then finally the ocean but to no avail. The fish then revealed himself to be Vishnu and told him that a deluge would occur within seven days that would destroy all life. Therefore, Satyavrata was instructed to take "all medicinal herbs, all the varieties of seeds, and accompanied by the seven saints” along with the serpent Vasuki and other animals. Lord Matsya is generally represented as a four-armed figure with the upper torso of a man and the lower of a fish. His consort is Shri.
In Chobis Avatar composition present in Dasam Granth, Second Scripture of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh
An Agta (sometimes associated to Kapre) is a Philippine mythical creature described as tall, brown, and hairy, and usually portrayed as smoking and drinking tuba wine. As to why a cave in the southeastern town of Argao in Cebu should be named Balay sa Agta (House of the Agta) should soon get clear when one gets to the very end of the structure.
Agta is a creature very similar to the Kapre. If the Kapre is naughty, the Agta is romantic. They are hairy giants often found smoking tobacco in the forests. The only distinguishing trait of an Agta from a Kapre is that it kidnaps beautiful village girls. It showers flower petals to its victim and abduct them taking them to the forest and make them entertain him. What one can do to stop the Agta is to poke and scald his sensitive part with a flaming object.
In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri, (Cabiri, Kabeiroi, Kabiri or Greek: Κάβειροι) were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace —at the Samothrace temple complex— and at Thebes. In their distant origins the Cabeiri and the Samothracian gods may include pre-Greek elements Hittite, Thracian, proto-Etruscan, or Phrygian elements. The Lemnian cult was always local to Lemnos, but the Samothracian mystery cult spread rapidly throughout the Greek world during the Hellenistic period, eventually initiating Romans.
The ancient sources disagree about whether the deities of Samothrace were Cabeiri or not; and the accounts of the two cults differ in detail. But the two islands are close to each other, at the northern end of the Aegean, and the cults are at least similar, and neither fits easily into the Olympic pantheon: the Cabeiri were given a mythic genealogy as sons of Hephaestus. The accounts of the Samothracian gods, whose names were secret, vary in the number and sexes of the gods, usually between two and four, some of either sex. The number
In Greek mythology, a harpy (Greek: ἅρπυια, harpyia; Latin: harpeia) was one of the winged spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineus. The literal meaning of the word seems to be "that which snatches" as it comes from the ancient Greek word harpazein (ἁρπάζειν), which means "to snatch".
A harpy was the mother of the horses of Achilles sired by the West Wind Zephyros .
Hesiod calls them two "lovely-haired" creatures, and pottery art depicting the harpies featured beautiful women with wings. Harpies as ugly winged bird-women, e.g. in Aeschylus' The Eumenides (line 50) are a late development, due to a confusion with the Sirens. Roman and Byzantine writers detailed their ugliness.
The harpies were sisters of Iris, daughters of Thaumas and Electra.
Phineus, a king of Thrace, had the gift of prophecy. Zeus, angry that Phineas revealed too much, punished him by blinding him and putting him on an island with a buffet of food which he could never eat. The harpies always arrived and stole the food out of his hands before he could satisfy his hunger, and befouled the remains of his food. This continued until the arrival of Jason and the Argonauts. The Boreads, sons of
Mayura (a Sanskrit word for peacock) is one of the sacred birds of the Hindu mythology. It is referred to in a number of Hindu scriptures. It is also a contemporary Hindu name used in many parts of India.
The legend states that the Mayura was created from the feathers of Garuda, another semi-divine mythical birds of Hindu mythology. Garuda is believed to be a vahana (conveyance) of Vishnu, one of the Trimurti. In images of the mayura as a mythical bird, it is depicted as killing a snake, which according to a number of Hindu scriptures, is a symbol of cycle of time.
Mayura is associated with a number of gods and deities of the Hindus including the following:
In general, feathers of mayura are considered sacred and are used to dust the religious images and implements of Hindus.
The Nemean lion (Greek: Λέων τῆς Νεμέας (Léōn tēs Neméas); Latin: Leo Nemaeus) was a vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than mortal swords and could cut through any armor.
The lion is usually considered to have been the offspring of Typhon (or Orthrus) and Echidna; it is also said to have fallen from the moon as the offspring of Zeus and Selene, or alternatively born of the Chimera. The Nemean lion was sent to Nemea in the Peloponnesus to terrorize the city.
The first of Heracles' twelve labours, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin) was to slay the Nemean lion.
According to one version of the myth, the Nemean lion took women as hostages to its lair in a cave near Nemea, luring warriors from nearby towns to save the damsel in distress. After entering the cave, the warrior would see the woman (usually feigning injury) and rush to her side. Once he was close, the woman would turn into a lion and kill the warrior, devouring his remains and giving the bones to Hades.
Heracles wandered the area until he came to the
Although fictional and the subject of myth, the legend of the Kraken continues to present day, with numerous references existing in popular culture, including film, literature, television, video games and other miscellaneous examples (e.g. postage stamps, a rollercoaster ride and a rum product).
The Kraken appears in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans as a giant, four-armed humanoid with scales and a fishtail. A 2006 telemovie called Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep featured a different variation, while the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest included a more cephalopod-like creature that followed the commands of the equally mythical Davy Jones. In the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans, the Kraken featured as a servant of the Olympian Gods, with Zeus' (Liam Neeson) order to "release the Kraken!" unleashing Hades' imposing creation. This version has a more Lovecraftian appearance compared to the original version.
In 1830 Alfred Tennyson published the irregular sonnet The Kraken, which described a massive creature that dwelled at the bottom of the sea.
Jules Verne's 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea featured a group of giant squid that attack the submarine
In Greco-Roman mythology, Leuce or Leuka ("White" or specifically "White Poplar") was the most beautiful of the nymphs and a daughter of Oceanus. Pluto fell in love with her and abducted her to the underworld. She lived out the span of her life in his realm, and when she died, the god sought consolation by creating a suitable memorial of their love: in the Elysian Fields where the pious spend their afterlife, he brought a white tree into existence. It was this tree with which Herakles crowned himself to celebrate his return from the underworld.
Servius identifies the tree as the white poplar, the leaf of which is distinctively two-sided, one white and one dark. The double color, Servius says, made a wreath that represented the duality of the hero's labors in both the upper and the underworld. The association of white poplar leaves with Herakles is also attested by archaeological remains, such as the poplar-leaf motif carved on a statue base found in a small sanctuary to Herakles (Roman Hercules) along the Tiber river. It has been suggested that behind the vague outlines of this tale lurks an older myth having to do with Herakles' encounter with the river deity Achelous, who had
In Norse mythology, the einherjar (Old Norse "lone fighters") are those that have died in battle and are brought to Valhalla by valkyries. In Valhalla, the einherjar eat their fill of the nightly-resurrecting beast Sæhrímnir, and are brought their fill of mead (from the udder of the goat Heiðrún) by valkyries. The einherjar prepare daily for the events of Ragnarök, when they will advance for an immense battle at the field of Vígríðr.
The einherjar are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, the poem Hákonarmál (by the 10th century skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir) as collected in Heimskringla, and a stanza of an anonymous 10th century poem commemorating the death of Eric Bloodaxe known as Eiríksmál as compiled in Fagrskinna.
Scholarly theories have been proposed etymologically connecting the einherjar to the Harii (a Germanic tribe attested in the 1st century CE), the eternal battle of Hjaðningavíg, and the Wild Hunt. The einherjar have been the subject of works of art and poetry.
In the poem Vafþrúðnismál, Odin engages the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir in a game of wits.
The Erlking (German: Erlkönig, "Alder King") is depicted in a number of German poems and ballads as a malevolent creature who haunts forests and carries off travellers to their deaths. The name may be an 18th-century mistranslation of the original Danish word elverkonge, "elf-king". The character is most famous as the antagonist in Goethe's poem Der Erlkönig and Schubert's musical adaptation of the same name.
The Erlking as a character has its origins in a common European folkloric archetype, the seductive but deadly fairy or siren (compare La Belle Dame sans Merci and the nix). In its original form in Scandinavian folklore, the character was a female spirit, the elf-king's daughter (Elverkongens datter). Similar stories existed in numerous ballads throughout Scandinavia in which an elverpige (female elf) was responsible for ensnaring human beings to satisfy her desire, jealousy or lust for revenge.
Johann Gottfried von Herder introduced this character into German literature in Erlkönigs Tochter, a ballad published in his 1778 volume Stimmen der Völker in Liedern. It was based on the Danish folk ballad Hr. Oluf han rider "Sir Oluf he rides" published in the 1739 Danske Kæmpeviser.
Isonade (磯撫で, "beach stroker" is an enormous, shark-like sea monster said to live off the coast of Matsuura and other places in Western Japan.
Its body has never been seen, as it is always "hidden beneath the waves, save for its huge tail fin which is covered in small barbs." In theory it:
Jiaolong (simplified Chinese: 蛟龙; traditional Chinese: 蛟龍; pinyin: jiāolóng; Wade–Giles: chiao-lung) or jiao is a polysemous aquatic dragon in Chinese mythology. Edward H. Schafer describes the jiao.
Spiritually akin to the crocodile, and perhaps originally the same reptile, was a mysterious creature capable of many forms called the chiao (kău). Most often it was regarded as a kind of lung – a "dragon" as we say. But sometimes it was manlike, and sometimes it was merely a fish. All of its realizations were interchangeable. (1967:217-8)
In traditional Chinese character classification, jiao 蛟 is a "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic character", combining the "insect radical" 虫 with a jiao 交 "cross; mix; mingle; mate with; exchange" phonetic. This 虫 radical is frequently used in characters for insects, worms, and reptiles, and occasionally for dragons (e.g., shen 蜃 and hong 虹). This phonetic jiao 交 (originally a pictograph of a person with crossed legs) is also used with the "fish radical" 魚 in jiao 鲛 "shark" (see below) and the "horse radical" 馬 in bo 駮, which is a variant Chinese character for bo 駁 "mixed colors; piebald; confused".
In the Japanese writing system, the kanji 蛟 can
The Karzełek (diminutive of karzeł – a small one, used for describing non-fantasy dwarfs) or Skarbnik (the Treasurer) in Polish mythology live in mines and underground workings and are the guardians of gems, crystals, and precious metals. It is said, that they will protect miners from danger, and lead them back when they are lost. They will also lead them to veins of ore. To people who are evil or insult them they are deadly; pushing them into dark chasms or send tunnels crashing down upon them. Hurling rocks, whistling or covering one’s head are actions that are offensive to the Skarbnik; who will warn the offender with handfuls of pelted soil in their direction before taking serious action. The word for treasurers is still a mystery, the Polish name being the closest resemblance.
In ancient Roman religion, the Manes or Di Manes are chthonic deities sometimes thought to represent souls of deceased loved ones. They were associated with the Lares, Lemures, Genii, and Di Penates as deities (di) that pertained to domestic, local, and personal cult. They belonged broadly to the category of di inferi, "those who dwell below," the undifferentiated collective of divine dead. The Manes were honored during the Parentalia and Feralia in February.
The theologian Augustine, writing about the subject a few centuries after most of the Latin pagan references to such spirits, differentiated Manes from other types of Roman spirits:
"Apuleius says, indeed, that the souls of men are demons, and that men become Lares if they are good, Lemures or Larvae if they are bad, and Manes if it is uncertain whether they deserve well or ill. For, however wicked men have been, if they suppose they shall become Larvae or divine Manes, they will become the worse the more love they have for inflicting injury; for, as the Larvae are hurtful demons made out of wicked men, these men must suppose that after death they will be invoked with sacrifices and divine honors that they may inflict
Ibong Malaya' is an Epic poetry/poetry written in the 18th Century about an eponymous magical bird. The title's longer form during the Spanish Era was "Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlóng Principeng anak nang Haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Cahariang Berbania" (Filipino for "Corrido and Life Lived by the Three Princes, children of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana in the Kingdom of Berbania"). The author of the largely known epic was claimed to be José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw", but until now the real author was never known.
King Fernando of Berbania had three sons, Pedro, Diego and Juan – of whom the last was the favorite. He so loved Juan that when one night, he dreamed that two traitors conspired against Don Juan, and the king became so frightened and depressed that he did not even want to eat or take a rest, and fell sick with a malady, of which none of the physicians of the kingdom were able to cure. Persons were not lacking, however, who would advise him that the Adarna bird was the only creature in the world which could restore to him his lost health and tranquility by using its song. Acting on this advice, he sent out his oldest son Don Pedro to look
The Buckriders (called the bokkenrijders in Dutch) is a legend of Limburg. There are however as many versions of the legend as there are story tellers.
As the legend goes, the Buckriders were a gang of ruthless robbers who made the Overmaas region (the current Limburg) an unsafe place to live from the 1730s to the 1780s. It was said that the members had made a pact with Satan and rode through the sky on the backs of goats.
According to popular belief, goats were the riders spirits. Of this popular belief was a gang of thieves and burglars, particularly in South Limburg to frighten the population. This latter bucks riders were a gang of robbers in the 18th century the countries of Overmaas (now Dutch Limburg , Belgian border region and Herve) and the region around Liege, the areas just across the German border and roamed the Kempen. The raids were generally directed against farms and rectories.
The first mention of the term buck drivers (old spelling "bockereyders") comes from the book: Oorzaeke, bewys and discoveries of a godless, sworn gang night-thieves and within the countries and Overmaeze, written in 1779 by SJP Sleinada (a pseudonym of Father A. Daniels - read the name
Jasy Jatere is the name of an important figure in Guaraní mythology. One of the seven cursed children of Tau and Kerana, Jasy Jatere is one of the most important gods among the Guaraní speaking cultures of South America, especially in Paraguay.
Jasy Jatere, which means literally "a little piece of the moon", is unique among his brothers in that he does not have a monstrous appearance. He is usually described as being a small man or perhaps a child, with light blonde hair and sometimes blue eyes. He is fair in appearance, sometimes described as even beautiful or enchanting, and carries with him a magical wand or staff, although what clothing he wears, if any at all, does not seem to be an important part of the legend. Like most of his brothers he dwells in the wild, he is considered to be the protector of the yerba mate plant. Sometimes he is also viewed as a protector of hidden treasures.
Jasy Jatere is also considered to be the lord of the siesta, the traditional mid-day nap taken in many Latin American cultures. According to one widespread version of the myth, Jasy Jatere leaves the forest and wanders the villages looking for children who are not napping during their siesta.
In Japanese mythology, the Namazu (鯰) or Ōnamazu (大鯰) is a giant catfish who causes earthquakes. He lives in the mud under the islands of Japan, and is guarded by the god Kashima who restrains the catfish with a stone. When Kashima lets his guard fall, Namazu thrashes about, causing violent earthquakes. Following an earthquake near Edo (modern day Tokyo) in 1855 (one of the Ansei Great Quakes), the Namazu became worshiped as a yonaoshi daimyojin (god of world rectification).
Namazu-e (catfish prints) are a minor genre of ukiyo-e. They are usually unsigned and encompass a large variety of scenes such as a namazu forcing the wealthy to excrete coins for the poor, and a namazu atoning for the earthquake he caused.
It is believed by some that the origin of the story is the notion that catfish can sense the small tremors that happen before many earthquakes, and are more active at such times. Supposedly, the sudden activity was observed in ancient times and people believed the quakes to be the result of a giant catfish.
Catfish are depicted on pictures of emergency earthquake preparedness activities in Japan. For Example, the Earthquake Early Warning (Japan) logo by the Japan
Works written about this creature:The Stress of Her Regard
The Nephilim ( /ˈnɛfɨˌlɪm/) were the offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" according to Genesis 6:4; and gigantic men who inhabited Canaan according to Numbers 13:33. A similar biblical Hebrew word with different vowel-sounds is used in Ezekiel 32:27 to refer to dead Philistine warriors.
"Nephilim" (נְפִילִים) probably derives from the Semitic root npl (נָפַל), "to fall" which also includes "to cause to fall" and "to kill, to ruin". The Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon gives the meaning as "giants" Robert Baker Girdlestone argued the word comes from the Hiphil causative stem. Adam Clarke took it as passive, "fallen", "apostates". Ronald Hendel states that it is a passive form "ones who have fallen", equivalent grammatically to paqid "one who is appointed" (i.e. overseer), asir, "one who is bound", (i.e. prisoner) etc.
The term "Nephilim" occurs just twice in the Hebrew Bible, both in the Torah. The first is Genesis 6:1–4, immediately before the story of Noah's ark:
The second is Numbers 13:32–33, where The Twelve Spies report that they have seen fearsome giants in Canaan:
The nature of the nephilim is complicated by the ambiguity of Genesis 6:4, "the sons of God
Works written about this creature:Gianni and the Ogre
Ogres (feminine singular: ogress, plural: ogresses) are imaginary beings which are usually depicted as large, hideous, humanoid monsters. They are frequently featured in mythology, folklore, and fiction throughout the world. Ogres appear in many classic works of literature, and are most often described in fairy tales and folklore as feeding on human beings. In visual art, ogres are often depicted as having a large head, abundant hair and beard, a voracious appetite, and a strong body''''. The term 'ogre' is often applied in a metaphorical sense to persons who exploit, brutalize, harass or bully others. In both this sense and a literary context, the troll is often seen as a comparable figure.
The word ogre is of French origin. Its earliest attestation is in Chrétien de Troyes' late 12th century verse romance Perceval, li contes del graal, which contains the lines:
et s'est escrit que il ert ancore
que toz li reaumes de Logres,
qui ja dis fu la terre as ogres,
ert destruite par cele lance
"And it is written that he will come again to all the realms of Logres, known as the land of ogres, and destroy them with that lance." The ogres in this rhyme may refer to the ogres who, in the
An Alphyn (from the Germanic word for "chaser" or "wolf") is a rare heraldic creature. It is much like a heraldic tiger, but stockier and with tufts of hair covering its body, and also has a thick mane and long thin tongue. Another notable characteristic is its knotted tail, reminiscent of Celtic design and similar to that of the griffin. Sometimes it is depicted as having an eagle's or dragon's talons on its forelegs, other times they are cloven, like a goat's. Occasionally all four feet are depicted as having the claws of a lion. In English heraldry, the Alphyn was used as a heraldic badge of the Lords de la Warr, and also appeared on the guidon held by the knight in the Milleflour Tapestry in Somerset.
In England's first printed book, William Caxton's Game and Playe of the Chesse (First Edition, 1474) the chessmen now known as bishops are described instead as Alphyns, representing judges: "The Alphyns ought to be made and formed in manere of Juges syttynge in a chayer wyth a book open to fore their eyen" Alphyns are known to be calm and kind to people.
A black dog is the name given to a being found primarily in the folklores of the British Isles. The black dog is essentially a nocturnal apparition, often said to be associated with the Devil, and its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. It is generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog, and often has large, glowing eyes. It is often associated with electrical storms (such as Black Shuck's appearance at Bungay, Suffolk), and also with crossroads, places of execution and ancient pathways.
The origins of the black dog are difficult to discern. It is impossible to ascertain whether the creature originated in the Celtic or Germanic elements in British culture. Throughout European mythology, dogs have been associated with death. Examples of this are the Cŵn Annwn, Garmr and Cerberus, all of whom were in some way guardians of the underworld. This association seems to be due to the scavenging habits of dogs. It is possible that the black dog is a survival of these beliefs. Black dogs are almost universally regarded as malevolent, and a few (such as the Barghest) are said to be directly harmful. Some, however, like the Gurt Dog in Somerset and the Black Dog of the Hanging
In Greek mythology, the Hesperides (Ancient Greek: Ἑσπερίδες) are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean.
According to the Sicilian Greek poet Stesichorus, in his poem the "Song of Geryon", and the Greek geographer Strabo, in his book Geographika (volume III), the Hesperides are in Tartessos, a location placed in the south of the Iberian peninsula.
By Ancient Roman times, the garden of the Hesperides had lost its archaic place in religion and had dwindled to a poetic convention, in which form it was revived in Renaissance poetry, to refer both to the garden and to the nymphs that dwelt there.
The name means originating from Hesperus, the evening star Venus, equivalent to vesper.
Ordinarily the Hesperides number three, like the other Greek triads (the Three Graces and the Moirai). "Since the Hesperides themselves are mere symbols of the gifts the apples embody, they cannot be actors in a human drama. Their abstract, interchangeable names are a symptom of their impersonality," Evelyn Harrison has observed. Nevertheless, among the names given to
Iara, also spelled Uira or Yara, is the name of a figure from Brazilian mythology based on ancient Tupi and Guaraní mythology. The word derives from Old Tupi yîara = y + îara (water + lord/lady) = lady of the lake (water queen). She is seen as either a water nymph, siren, or mermaid depending upon the context of the story told about her. The Brazilian town of Nova Olinda claims the Cama da Mãe D’água as the home of Iara.
Iara was a beautiful young woman, sometimes described as having green hair and light skin, connected to a freshwater water body (the Tupi word y did not have a distinct meaning, being used in general for any such place) who would sit on a rock by the river combing her hair or dozing under the sun. When she felt a man around she would start to sing gently to lure him. Once under the spell of the Iara a man would leave anything to live with her underwater forever, which was not necessarily a bad thing, as she was pretty and would cater for all needs of her lover for the rest of his life.
Iaras are immortal (like the nymphs of Greek mythology), but her lovers do age and die, which means that they live most of eternity alone.
The legend of the Iara was one of the usual
The Arimaspi were a legendary people of northern Scythia who lived in the foothills of the Riphean Mountains, variously identified with the Ural Mountains or the Carpathians. All tales of their struggles with the gold-guarding griffins in the Hyperborean lands near the cave of Boreas, the North Wind (Geskleithron), had their origin in a lost work by Aristeas, reported in Herodotus.
The Arimaspi were described by Aristeas of Proconnesus in his lost archaic poem Arimaspea. Proconnesus is a small island in the Sea of Marmora near the mouth of the Black Sea, well situated for hearing travellers' tales of regions far north of the Black Sea. Aristeas narrates in the course of his poem that he was "wrapt in Bacchic fury" when he travelled to the north and saw the Arimaspians, as reported by Herodotus:
This Aristeas, possessed by Phoibos, visited the Issedones; beyond these (he said) live the one-eyed Arimaspoi, beyond whom are the Grypes that guard gold, and beyond these again the Hyperboreoi, whose territory reaches to the sea. Except for the Hyperboreoi, all these nations (and first the Arimaspoi) are always at war with their neighbors.
Arimaspi and griffins remained stock images
Brân the Blessed (Welsh: Bendigeidfran or Brân Fendigaidd, literally "Blessed Raven") is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Branwen ferch Llŷr. He is a son of Llŷr and Penarddun, and the brother of Brânwen, Manawydan, Nisien and Efnysien. The name "Brân" translates from Welsh as "Crow".
The Irish king Matholwch sails to Harlech to speak with Bran the Blessed high king of the Island of the Mighty and to ask for the hand of his sister Branwen in marriage, thus forging an alliance between the two islands. Bendigeidfran agrees to Matholwch's request, but the celebrations are cut short when Efnisien, a half-brother to the children of Llŷr, brutally mutilates Matholwch's horses, angry that his permission was not sought in regards to the marriage. Matholwch is deeply offended until Bran offers him compensation in the form of a magic cauldron that can restore the dead to life. Pleased with the gift, Matholwch and Branwen sail back to Ireland to reign.
Once in Matholwch's kingdom, Branwen gives birth to a son, Gwern, but Efnysien's insult continues to rankle among
A ghoul is a (folkloric) monster associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh, often classified as undead. These creatures are thought to dwell in burial grounds and other uninhabited places. The oldest surviving literature that mention ghouls is likely One Thousand and One Nights. The term was first attested to in English in 1786, in William Beckford's Orientalist novel Vathek, which describes the ghūl of Arabian folklore.
By extension, the word ghoul is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to a person who delights in the macabre, or whose profession is linked directly to death, such as a gravedigger.
Ghoul is from the Arabic الغولghul, from ghala "to seize". Marc Cramer and others believe the term to be etymologically related to Gallu, a Mesopotamian demon.
In ancient Arabian folklore, the ghūl (Arabic: literally demon) dwells in burial grounds and other uninhabited places. The ghul is a fiendish type of jinn believed to be sired by Iblis.
A ghoul is a desert-dwelling shapeshifting demon that can assume the guise of an animal especially a hyena. It lures unwary people into the desert wastes or abandoned places to slay and devour them. The creature also preys on young
The Pénghoú (彭侯) is a tree spirit from Chinese folklore. It is described in an old book called the Soushenji (搜神記, English "In Search of the Supernatural"):
*The long lost tome of the Bai Ze.
The Pénghoú (read in Japanese as Hōkō 彭侯) was included in the "Konjaku Hyakki Shūi, one of Toriyama Sekien's collections of monster illustrations." Sekien gave it the same description as "the Soushenji, as well as having it live in a thousand-year-old tree."
In Japanese mythology, an ikiryō (生霊) (also read shōryō, seirei, or ikisudama) is a manifestation of the soul of a living person separately from their body.
Traditionally, if someone holds a sufficient grudge against another person, it is believed that a part or the whole of their soul can temporarily leave their body and appear before the target of their hate in order to curse or otherwise harm them, similar to an evil eye. However, this temporary separation would result in sickness. "If the separation became permanent, the person who held the grudge would die."
The Ikiryo are said to be able "to possess another living person without the originator even being aware of it." The spirits are not "tied to whomever they possess," however, and "may freely move about bodies."
Buddhist literature describes the Ikiryo as being particularly difficult to exorcise.
An imp is a mythological being similar to a fairy or demon, frequently described in folklore and superstition. The word may perhaps derive from the term ympe, used to denote a young grafted tree.
Originating from Germanic folklore, the imp was a small lesser demon. It should also be noted that demons in Germanic legends were not necessarily always evil. Imps were often mischievous rather than evil or harmful, and in some regions they were portrayed as attendants of the gods.
Imps are often shown as small and not very attractive creatures. Their behavior is described as being wild and uncontrollable, much the same as fairies, and in some cultures they were considered the same beings, both sharing the same sense of free spirit and enjoyment of all things fun. It was later in history that people began to associate fairies with being good and imps with being malicious and evil. However, both creatures were fond of pranks and misleading people. Most of the time, the pranks were harmless fun, but some could be upsetting and harmful, such as switching babies or leading travellers astray in places with which they were not familiar. Though imps are often thought of as being immortal, many
In ancient Greek mythology, Lamia (Greek: Λάμια) was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon. Aristophanes claimed her name derived from the Greek word for gullet (λαιμός; laimos), referring to her habit of devouring children.
Some accounts say she has a serpent's tail below the waist. This popular description of her is largely due to Lamia, a poem by John Keats published in 1819. Antoninus Liberalis uses Lamia as an alternate name for the serpentine drakaina Sybaris; however, Diodorus Siculus describes her as having nothing more than a distorted face.
Later traditions referred to many lamiae; these were folkloric monsters similar to vampires and succubi that seduced young men and then fed on their blood.
Zeus then gave her the ability to remove her eyes. The purpose of this ability is unclear in Diodorus, but other versions state Lamia's ability to remove her eyes came with the gift of prophecy. Zeus did this to appease Lamia in her grief over the loss of her children.
In later stories, Lamia was cursed with the inability to close her eyes so that she would always obsess over the image of her dead children. Some accounts (see Horace, below) say Hera forced
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur (Ancient Greek: Μῑνώταυρος [miːnɔ̌ːtau̯ros], Latin: Minotaurus, Etruscan Θevrumineś), was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, "part man and part bull". He dwelt at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
The term Minotaur derives from the Ancient Greek Μῑνώταυρος, a compound of the name Μίνως (Minos) and the noun ταύρος "bull", translated as "(the) Bull of Minos". In Crete, the Minotaur was known by its proper name, Asterion, a name shared with Minos' foster-father.
"Minotaur" was originally a proper noun in reference to this mythical figure. The use of "minotaur" as a common noun to refer to members of a generic race of bull-headed creatures developed much later, in 20th-century fantasy genre fiction.
After he ascended the throne of Crete, Minos competed with his brothers to rule. Minos prayed to Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign of support. He was to kill the bull to show honor
Works written about this creature:Kitty and the Midnight Hour
A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope (from the Greek λυκάνθρωπος: λύκος, lukos, "wolf", and ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, "man"), is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a curse and/or lycanthropic affliction via a bite or scratch from a werewolf, or some other means. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon, as popularly noted by the medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury, and perhaps in earlier times among the ancient Greeks through the writings of Petronius.
In addition to the natural characteristics inherent to both wolves and humans, werewolves are often attributed strength and speed far beyond those of wolves or men. The werewolf is generally held as a European character, although its lore spread through the world in later times. Shape-shifters, similar to werewolves, are common in tales from all over the world, most notably amongst the Native Americans, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves.
Werewolves are a frequent subject of modern fiction, although fictional werewolves have been attributed traits
Cipactli 'Crocodile' or 'Caiman', was the first day of the Aztec divinatory count of 13 X 20 days (the tonalpohualli), and Cipactonal 'Sign of Cipactli' was considered to have been the first diviner. In Aztec cosmology, the crocodile symbolized the earth floating in the primeval waters. According to one Aztec tradition, Teocipactli 'Divine Crocodile' was the name of a survivor of the flood who rescued himself in a canoe and again peopled the earth. In the Mixtec Vienna Codex (Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I), Crocodile is a day associated with dynastic beginnings.
In Aztec mythology, Cipactli was a primeval sea monster, part crocodile, part fish and part toad, of indefinite gender. Always hungry, every joint on its body was adorned with an extra mouth. The deity Tezcatlipoca sacrificed a foot when he used it as bait to draw the monster nearer. He and Quetzalcoatl created the earth from its body.
In the Maya tzolk'in, the day Cipactli corresponds to Imix. In the Mayan Popol Vuh, the name of the earthquake demon, Sipakna, apparently derives from Cipactli. Sipakna is the demon Sipak of 20th-century Highland Maya oral tradition.
Caladrius, according to the Roman mythology, is a snow-white bird that lives in kings' houses. Supposedly, the bird refuses to look at any patient that is not going to make a full recovery. Caladrius existed in the Greek mythology under the name Dhalion.
It is said to also be able to take the sickness into itself and then fly away, dispersing the sickness and healing both itself and the sick person.
This is said to be analogous to Jesus Christ, whose crucifixion is said to have drawn out "the sickness" (sin, see Biblical sin-sickness analogy) and, through his "flight" from the grave, saved the sinner.
There are numerous theories as to where the myth of the Caladrius was started. One of them would be that it is merely the product of some overactive imaginations or that it was created purely as an analogy.
Another is that the Caladrius is based on a real bird. According to the descriptions of its being completely white with no black on it, it is possible that it was based on the dove, or possibly some sort of water bird such as the heron. Louis Reau believes it was most likely a white plover.
In the Saturday Night Live sketch, "Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber", the title character
In Greek mythology, Karkinos or Carcinus (a transliteration of the Greek word for "crab") was a crab that came to the aid of the Lernaean Hydra as it battled Heracles, bottom left. Karkinos bit Heracles in the foot, but was crushed beneath the hero's heel. For its efforts, however, Hera placed the crab amongst the stars as the constellation Cancer. It is one of a large number of constellations that memorialise the labours of Heracles. The Karkinos is mentioned in the Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus, the Euthydemus of Plato, and the Astronomica of Pseudo-Hyginus.
Amazake-babaa (甘酒婆, "amazake hag") is an old woman yōkai from the folklore of Miyagi and Aomori prefectures. She comes to the doors of houses at late night asking for amazake in a child like voice, but if anyone answers they fall ill. It was said that to keep her away, a cedar leaf is placed in the doorway. She was also known as the goddess of chickenpox.
Baba Yaga or Baba Roga (also known by various other names) is a being in Slavic folklore. She flies around on a giant mortar, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs. In most Slavic tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters in other mythological stories have been known to seek her out for her wisdom, and she has been known on rare occasions to offer guidance to lost souls. According to Vladimir Propp, she often fulfills the function of donor; that is, her role is in supplying the hero (sometimes unwillingly) with something necessary to further his quest.
The name of Baba-Yaga is composed of two elements. Baba means "old woman" or "grandmother" in most Slavic languages; it derives from babytalk and often has come to have pejorative connotations in modern Slavic languages. The second element, yaga, is from Proto-Slavic (j)ęga, "Jędza" Polish, which is probably related to Lithuanian ingis ("lazybones" or "sluggard"), Old Norse ekki ("pain"), and Old English inca ("question, scruple, doubt; grievance, quarrel").
An early recorded reference to yaga-baba in English appears in Of the Russe Common Wealth by Giles
Baku (獏 or 貘) are Japanese supernatural beings that devour dreams and nightmares. They have a long history in Japanese folklore and art, and more recently have appeared in Japanese anime and manga (see examples cited below).
The Japanese term baku has two current meanings, referring to both the traditional dream-devouring creature and to the zoological tapir (e.g., the Malayan tapir). In recent years, there have been changes in how the baku is depicted.
The traditional Japanese nightmare-devouring baku originates in Chinese folklore and was familiar in Japan as early as the Muromachi period (14th-15th century). Hori Tadao has described the dream-eating abilities attributed to the traditional baku and relates them to other preventatives against nightmare such as amulets. Kaii-Yōkai Denshō Database, citing a 1957 paper, and Mizuki also describe the dream-devouring capacities of the traditional baku.
An early 17th century Japanese manuscript, the Sankai Ibutsu (山海異物), describes the baku as a shy, Chinese mythical chimera with an elephant’s trunk, rhinoceros eyes, an ox tail, and tiger paws, which protected against pestilence and evil, although eating nightmares was not included among
Berehynia or Bereginia (Russian and Ukrainian: Береги́ня) is a female spirit (Vila) in Slavic mythology, which recently came to be regarded as a "Slavic goddess" with a function of "hearth mother, protectoress of the home" in late 20th century Ukrainian romantic nationalism centered on matriarchal myth.
The word originates in the pre-Christian Slavic mythology but in the modern usage it has two meanings. The confusion in the name's etymology owes to the fact that a Slavic word bereh (Ukrainian) or bereg (Russian) means a river bank, while the word berehty (Ukrainian) or berech' (Russian) is a verb that means to protect.
Originally, obscure shadowy ghost-like naiads similar to Rusalkas lived along the rivers, lakes, and ponds, and were considered ill-tempered and dangerous. A water-bank where they were thought to be found was to be avoided by young men and women, especially in the dark.
Early in the 20th century fakeloristic scholarship speculated that the Berehyni combined a prehistoric Scythian earth-goddess and rusalky (guardians of the banks).
Since Ukrainian independence in 1991, she has undergone a fakeloric metamorphosis, and today is identified as a combination of the
The Bonnacon (also called the Bonacon or the Bonasus) is a mythical animal from Asia. It has curled horns and emits burning dung. The legend may be based on a type of bison in reality. A supposed representation of it appears on the Coat of Arms belonging to the Hollingshead Family, possibly alluding to a legendary confrontation between one of their ancestors and this beast.
The animal was described by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia: "There are reports of a wild animal in Paionia called the bonasus, which has the mane of a horse, but in all other respects resembles a bull; its horns are curved back in such a manner as to be of no use for fighting, and it is said that because of this it saves itself by running away, meanwhile emitting a trail of dung that sometimes covers a distance of as much as three furlongs [604 m], contact with which scorches pursuers like a sort of fire."
The Bonnacon is also mentioned in The Aberdeen Bestiary.
In Greek mythology, the Ceryneian Hind (Greek: ἡ Κερυνῖτις ἔλαφος), also called Cerynitis, was an enormous hind (deer), who lived in Keryneia, Greece. It was sacred to Artemis, the chaste goddess of the hunt, animals and unmarried women. It had golden antlers like a stag and hooves of bronze or brass, and it was said that it could outrun an arrow in flight. The capture of the hind was one of the labors of Heracles (Hercules).
Eurystheus and Hera were greatly angered to find that Heracles had managed to escape from the claws of the Nemean Lion and the fangs of the Lernaean Hydra, and so decided to spend more time thinking up a third task that would spell doom for the hero. The third task did not involve killing a beast, as it had already been established that Heracles could overcome even the most fearsome opponents, so Eurystheus decided to make him capture the Ceryneian Hind, as it was so fast it could outrun an arrow.
After beginning the search, Heracles awoke from sleeping and he could see the hind from the glint on its antlers. Heracles then chased the hind on foot for a full year through Greece, Thrace, Istria and the land of the Hyperboreans. In some versions, he captured the
Chōchinobake (提灯お化け, "paper lantern ghost") are a type of Tsukumogami, "[the] lantern-spook (chochinobake) ... a stock character in the pantheon of ghouls and earned mention in the definitive demonology of 1784."
The Chōchinobake in particular was created from a chōchin lantern, composed of "bamboo and paper or silk." They are portrayed with "one eye, and a long tongue protruding from an open mouth."
Works written about this creature:De naturis rerum
A cockatrice is a legendary creature, essentially a two-legged dragon with a rooster's head. "An ornament in the drama and poetry of the Elizabethans", Laurence Breiner described it. It featured prominently in English thought and myth for centuries.
The cockatrice was first described in its current form in the late twelfth century.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives a derivation from Old French cocatris, from medieval Latin calcatrix, a translation of the Greek ichneumon, meaning tracker. The twelfth century legend was based on a reference in Pliny's Natural History that the ichneumon lay in wait for the crocodile to open its jaws for the trochilus bird to enter and pick its teeth clean. An extended description of the cockatriz by the 15th-century Spanish traveler in Egypt, Pedro Tafur, makes it clear that the Nile crocodile is intended.
According to Alexander Neckam's De naturis rerum (ca 1180), the cockatrice was supposed to be born from an egg laid by a cock and incubated by a toad; a snake might be substituted in re-tellings. Cockatrice became seen as synonymous with basilisk when the basiliscus in Bartholomeus Anglicus' De proprietatibus rerum (ca 1260) was translated by John
In ancient Roman religion, the Di Penates or Penates ( /pɨˈneɪtiːz/) were among the dii familiares, or household deities, invoked most often in domestic rituals. When the family had a meal, they threw a bit into the fire on the hearth for the Penates. They were thus associated with Vesta, the Lares, and the Genius of the paterfamilias in the "little universe" of the domus.
Like other domestic deities, the Penates had a public counterpart, the cult of the ancestral gods of the Roman people, originating in Lavinium, where they were also closely linked with Vesta. According to one strand of tradition pertaining to the public Penates, they were identified as the sacred objects rescued by Aeneas from Troy and carried by him to Italy; they, or rival duplicates, were eventually housed in the Temple of Vesta in the forum. Thus the Penates, unlike the localized Lares, are portable deities.
Archaeological evidence from Lavinium shows marked Greek influence in the archaic period, and Aeneas himself was venerated there as Father Indiges. At the new year, Roman magistrates first sacrificed to Capitoline Jupiter at Rome, and then traveled to Lavinium for sacrifices to Jupiter Indiges and Vesta,
Dokkaebi is a common word for a type of spirit in Korean folklore or fairy tales.
The Dokkaebi is a mythical being that appears in many old Korean folktales. Although usually frightening, it could also represent a humorous, grotesque-looking sprite or goblin. These creatures loved mischief and playing mean tricks on bad people and they rewarded good people with wealth and blessings. They are different from ghosts (귀신) in that they are not formed by the death of a human being, but rather by the transformation of an inanimate object.
Different versions of the Korean Dokkaebi mythology assign different attributes to them. In some cases they are considered harmless but nevertheless mischievous, usually playing pranks on people or challenging wayward travellers to a ssireum (Korean wrestling) match for the right to pass.
Most Dokkaebi to carry a kind of club or mallet called a dokkaebi bangmang'i (도깨비 방망이). They are like magic wands, from which it can summon anything it wants. Unfortunately, when it gets something by using it, it gets things by "stealing" from someone else, because this bangmang'i can only summon existing things, and it doesn't create objects out of thin air.
A duende is a fairy- or goblin-like mythological creature from Iberian, Latin American and Filipino folklore. While its nature varies throughout Spain, Portugal, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking America and the Philippines, analogues from other cultures include the Danish-Norwegian Nisse, the French lutin and Nain Rouge, the Irish clurichaun, leprechaun, and far darrig, the Manx fenodyree and mooinjer veggey, the Scottish/English brownie, the Welsh Tylwyth Teg, and the Swedish Tomte. The etymology of the word "duende" reinforces the equivalence to the latter (tomte from tomt="home") as it shares the same origin as the Spanish word dueño, "owner" (the "real owner" of the house). As Federico García Lorca uses the term, it seems closer to fairy as a realm of being. Duendes may also have some traits similar to goblins and kobolds.
The word is often considered to be the Spanish equivalent of the English word "sprite" or the Japanese word yōkai and is used as an umbrella term for any fairy-like being such as goblins, pixies and elves.
The word is also used in Portuguese folklore, being used to describe Goblins, pixies, brownies and leprechauns. They are believed to be of a small stature
The Fatu-liva is a fictional species of bird invented by George S. Chappell in his travel parody The Cruise of the Kawa: Wanderings in the South Seas, by Walter E. Traprock (1921). Fatu-liva were said to be found only in the fictional "Filbert Islands" in the South Pacific Ocean where they laid cube-like, black-spotted eggs that were very similar in appearance to dice. The bird's nest was described in the book as:
"...a semi-spheric bowl of closely woven grass in which lay four snow-white, polka-dotted cubes, the marvelous square eggs of the fatu-liva."
Additionally, a black-and-white photograph of what was supposedly the bird's dice-like eggs was provided. Its caption read:
"This is without question the most extraordinary picture which has ever been taken of any natural history subject. It corroborates in most convincing manner the author's claim to the discovery of the wonderful fatu-liva bird with its unique gift of laying square eggs. Here we see the eggs themselves in all the beauty of their cubical form and quaint marking; here we see the nest itself, made of delicately woven haro and brought carefully from the tree's summit by its discoverer, Babai-Alova-Babai. An extremely
Funayūrei (船幽霊, lit. "marine spirit") are spirits found in Japanese mythology. They are the ghosts of people who have died at sea. They approach people on boats and ask to borrow a Hishaku (ja:柄杓), a utensil for scooping up water. If they are given a ladle, they will pour sea water into the boat until it sinks.
In Greek mythology, Geryon /ˈdʒɪəriən/ or /ˈɡɛriən/ (Ancient Greek: Γηρυών; genitive: Γηρυόνος) son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe and grandson of Medusa, was a fearsome giant who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. A more literal-minded later generation of Greeks associated the region with Tartessos in southern Iberia.
Geryon was often described as a monster with human faces. According to Hesiod Geryon had one body and three heads, whereas the tradition followed by Aeschylus gave him three bodies. A lost description by Stesichoros said that he has six hands and six feet and is winged; there are some mid-sixth-century Chalcidian vases portraying Geryon as winged. Some accounts state that he had six legs as well while others state that the three bodies were joined to one pair of legs. Apart from these bizarre features, his appearance was that of a warrior. He owned a two-headed hound named Orthrus, which was the brother of Cerberus, and a herd of magnificent red cattle that were guarded by Orthrus, and a herder Eurytion, son of Erytheia.
In the fullest account in the Bibliotheke of Pseudo-Apollodoros, Heracles was required to
Works written about this creature:The Amityville Horror
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance.
The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.
The English word ghost continues Old English gást, from a hypothetical Common Germanic *gaistaz. It is common to West Germanic, but lacking in North and East Germanic (the equivalent word in
In Jewish folklore, a golem ( /ˈɡoʊləm/ GOH-ləm; Hebrew: גולם) is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing.
The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague.
The word golem occurs once in the Bible in Psalm 139:16, which uses the word גלמי, meaning "my unshaped form". The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person: "Seven characteristics are in an uncultivated person, and seven in a learned one," (שבעה דברים בגולם) Pirkei Avot 5:6 in the Hebrew text (English translations vary). In modern Hebrew golem is used to mean "dumb" or "helpless". Similarly, it is often used today as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him under others. "Golem" passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow.
The earliest stories of golems date to early Judaism. In the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b), Adam was initially created as a golem (גולם) when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless husk." Like Adam, all golems are created from
A gremlin is an imaginary creature commonly depicted as mischievous and mechanically oriented, with a specific interest in aircraft. Gremlins' mischievous natures are similar to those of English folkloric imps, while their inclination to damage or dismantle machinery is more modern.
Although their origin is found in myths among airmen, claiming that the gremlins were responsible for sabotaging aircraft, John W. Hazen states that "some people" derive the name from the Old English word gremian, "to vex." Since the Second World War, different fantastical creatures have been referred to as gremlins, bearing varying degrees of resemblance to the originals.
The term "gremlin" denoting a mischievous creature that sabotages aircraft, originates in Royal Air Force (RAF) slang in the 1920s among the British pilots stationed in Malta, the Middle East and India, with the earliest recorded printed use being in a poem published in the journal Aeroplane, in Malta on April 10, 1929. Later sources have sometimes claimed that the concept goes back to World War I, but there is no print evidence of this.
An early reference to the Gremlin is in aviator Pauline Gower's The ATA: Women with Wings (1938)
The Hamsa (from Sanskrit हंस haṃsa) is an aquatic bird, often considered to be a goose or sometimes a swan. It is used in Indian and Southeast Asian culture as a symbol and a decorative element.
The word is cognate with Latin "(h)anser", Greek "χήν", German "Gans", English "goose" and Russian "гусь" (all meaning a goose). Standard translations of the term from Sanskrit are as a goose first, and swans, other aquatic birds, or mythical birds as an alternative. It is normally considered by ornithologists to be most likely to be the bar-headed goose (Anser indicus), a migratory bird that is commonly found in winter in the north of the subcontinent.
While the term has traditionally been translated into English as swan, it is considered unlikely to be the original meaning. In India swans are never found in feral populations and hardly ever in zoos, though they occur occasionally as vagrants.
The Hamsa represents perfect union, balance and life. A constant repetition of the word "hamso" changes it to "Soaham", which means "That I am". Hence the hamsa is often identified with the Supreme Spirit or Brahman. The flight of the Hamsa also symbolizes the escape from the cycle of samsara. The
Hitotsume-kozō (一つ目小僧, "one-eyed boys") are obake found in Japanese folklore.
Hitotsume-kozō are roughly "the size of ten-year-old children," but otherwise "resemble bald Buddhist monks." Their most distinctive feature, however, is a "single, giant eye peering from the center of the face, along with a long tongue, much like a Tsukomogami."
Hitotsume-kozō are relatively harmless creatures, content to "run about frightening people or telling loud people to be quiet."
Since many people consider an encounter with a [Hitotsume-kozō] to be a bad omen ... often [they] leave bamboo baskets in front of their houses, as these are reputed to repel the creatures. A reason for this may be that, in seeing the basket's many holes, the Hitotsume-kozō will see the basket as having many eyes, and run away jealous and ashamed at only having one.
In Islam, the ḥūr or ḥūrīyah (Arabic: حورية) are commonly translated as "(splendid) companions of equal age (well-matched)", "lovely eyed", of "modest gaze", "pure beings" or "companions pure" of paradise, denoting humans and jinn who enter paradise after being recreated anew in the hereafter. Islam also has a strong mystical tradition which places these heavenly delights in the context of the ecstatic awareness of God.
Qur'anic description: The houri have variously been described as being "restraining their glances (chaste)", "modest gaze", "wide and beautiful/lovely eyes", "like pearls", "spouse", "companions of equal age", "splendid" and much more besides. Qur'an does not specify a gender which means it could be a male or a female.
Shia Scholar description: Still all in accordance with Qur'an, the basic fact of the description of this beauty is how good deeds take the ideal order and proportion to physical forms, how they won't fade away over time, and how they accompany their performers. This description is widely used in Sufism and Mysticism.
Other descriptions: Some descriptions are more superficial rather than scholarly. For example, "non-menstruating/urinating/defecating
The Huldra is a seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore. (Her name derives from a root meaning "covered" or "secret".) In Norwegian folklore, she is known as the skogsrå or skogsfru/skovfrue (meaning "Lady (read, counterpart of a Lord) of the forest"). She is known as Tallemaja (pine tree Mary) in Swedish folklore, and Ulda in Sámi folklore. Her name suggests that she is originally the same being as the völva Huld and the German Holda. A male hulder is called a huldu, or, in Norway, a huldrekall.
Male huldes, called Huldrekall, also appear in Norwegian folklore. This being is closely related to other underground dwellers, usually called tusser. Like the female counterpart, the huldrkall is a shapeshifter who often lures girls under a fair countenance.
The word huldra/huldri/hulderen is the definite form in Norwegian ("the hulder") – the indefinite form is en/ei hulder ("a hulder"). The plural indefinite form is huldre(r) ("hulders"), and the plural definite form is huldrene ("the hulders"). In the plural one could also use huldrefolk (indefinite) and huldrefolket (definite) meaning "the hulder people" to refer to all huldrer as a single entity. There is also an
The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a so-called "fearsome critter") described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail (and often hind legs). The word "jackalope" is a portmanteau of "jackrabbit" and "antalope", an archaic spelling of "antelope". It is also known as Lepus temperamentalus.
It is possible that the tales of jackalopes were inspired by sightings of rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus, which causes the growth of horn- and antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit's head and body. This can occur in cottontail rabbits under natural conditions and in domestic rabbits under experimental conditions. Systemic regression of warts occurs in a variable proportion of rabbits as a consequence of a specific cell-mediated immune response. Persistent warts may progress into invasive carcinomas. Progression into carcinomas is observed in approximately 25% of cottontail rabbits and in up to 75% of domestic rabbits with persistent warts. However, the concept of an animal hybrid occurs in many cultures, for example as the griffin and the chimera. Indeed, the term chimera has become the categorical
Kikimora (Russian: кики́мора; IPA: [kʲɪˈkʲimərə]) is a legendary creature, a female house spirit in Slavic mythology, fin: Kikke Mörkö (sve: Mårran), sometimes said to be married to the Domovoi. She usually lives behind the stove or in the cellar of the house she haunts. The word "kikimora" allegedly derives from a phrase meaning "malicious spirit of Mara." The OED links "mora" with the "mare" of nightmare.
There are two different kinds of Kikimoras. One kind lives in the forest; the other kind lives in the swamp. The Swamp Kikimora (Russian: кики́мора боло́тная) is the wife of Leshy. Her presence can be recognized by wet footprints.
In some tales, she looks like an average woman with her hair down. (Married Slavic women typically kept their hair covered, and young unmarried girls kept it braided.) She may also be described as a small humpbacked woman in dirty clothes.
When home builders were unhappy with their clients, and wanted to do something harmful, they could introduce Kikimora into the new house, by making a doll in her fashion and placing it under the main beam or under the front corner of the house. Once Kikimora is in a house, it is difficult to get rid of her.
Kuda-gitsune or Kanko (管狐, "pipe fox") is a creature supposedly employed by Japanese kitsune-tsukai, those who use foxes as spirit familiars. Its use is described in various books, as follows:
In the Sōzan Chomon Kishū (想山著聞奇集) the kuda-gitsune is described as a rat-sized fox which can be kept in a pipe.
According to the Zen'an Zuihitsu (善庵随筆) the kanko is a fox the size of a weasel or rat, with vertical eyes and thin hair. The magic-user summons the kanko to appear inside a bamboo pipe which he is holding, whereupon the fox will answer all the questions it is asked. The origin of this practice is traced back to a yamabushi who obtained this art while undergoing strict asceticism on Mount Kinpu. These Kanko are said to be numerous in the northern mountains of Suruga, Tōtōmi, and Mikawa Provinces.
Researcher Inoue Enryō in his Yōkaigaku Kōgi (妖怪學講義), quotes a newspaper article regarding the kanko, in which it is a tiny, mouse-sized creature which hails from Shinano Province. It is named for its tail, which is like a pipe cut in half. It can be tamed and kept in a pocket or sleeve, and uses its supernatural power to seek out assorted information which it then whispers to its master.
The Laestrygonians (or Laestrygones, Laistrygones, Laistrygonians, Lestrygonians; Greek: Λαιστρυγόνες) are a tribe of giant cannibals from ancient Greek mythology. Odysseus, the main character of Homer's Odyssey, visited them during his journey back home to Ithaca. The giants ate many of Odysseus' men and destroyed eleven of his twelve ships by launching rocks from high cliffs. Odysseus' ship was not destroyed as it was hidden in a cove near shore. Everyone on Odysseus' ship survived.
Lamos is not mentioned again, perhaps being understood as the founder of the city or the name of the island on which the city is situated. In this land, a man who could do without sleep could earn double wages; once as a herdsman of cattle and another as a shepherd, as they worked by night as they did by day. The ships entered a harbor surrounded by steep cliffs, with a single entrance between two headlands. The captains took their ships inside and made them fast close to one another, where it was dead calm.
Odysseus kept his own ship outside the harbor, moored to a rock. He climbed a high rock to reconnoiter, but could see nothing but some smoke rising from the ground. He sent two of his company and
The manticore (Early Middle Persian Martyaxwar) is a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), and a trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot poisonous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims. It devours its prey whole and leaves no clothes, bones, or possessions of the prey behind.
The manticore myth was of Persian origin, where its name was "man-eater" (from early Middle Persian مارتیا martya "man" (as in human) and خوار xwar- "to eat"). The English term "manticore" was borrowed from Latin mantichora, itself derived from the Greek rendering of the Persian name, μαρτιχώρα, martichora. It passed into European folklore first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BC, in his notes on India ("Indika"), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history but have not survived. The Romanised Greek Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, recalled strange animals
Mujina (貉) is an old Japanese term primarily referring to the badger. In some regions the term refers instead to the Japanese raccoon dog (also called tanuki) or to introduced civets. Adding to the confusion, in some regions badger-like animals are also known as mami, and in one part of Tochigi Prefecture badgers are referred to as tanuki and raccoon dogs are referred to as mujina.
Like the tanuki and the fox, the mujina of Japanese folklore is an avid shapeshifter and deceiver of humans. One of the forms the mujina is purported to take, as popularized in a story by Lafcadio Hearn, is that of a "faceless ghost". This particular sort of monster is sometimes referred to by English speakers as a mujina, but the Japanese know it as noppera-bō.
On May 19, 1959, Honolulu Advertiser reporter Bob Krauss reported a sighting of a mujina at the Waialae Drive-In Theatre in Kahala. Krauss reported that the witness watched a woman combing her hair in the women's restroom, and when the witness came close enough, the mujina turned, revealing her featureless face. The witness was reported to have been admitted to the hospital for a nervous breakdown. Noted Hawaiian historian, folklorist and author