Bizarre Mythical Beings
When we think of mythical beings the usual suspects come to mind: unicorns, dragons, pixies and elves! But what about those creatures that come from other myths and legends? The creepy and down-right bizarre beasts that come from all corners of the earth and dwell in the deep.
Let’s delve in and take a look…
The Wolpertinger: a hybrid creature from Bavarian folklore, suggested to be originally created as a story to freak out tourists in the 1800s, it is a hare and deer amalgamation but has also been known to be formed from many other parts of different animals.. a bit like a Frankenstein’s monster creation!
This being is often shown on display in places like pubs and tourist attractions as a taxidermy mishmash. A seemingly harmless creature of legend, it is said to be formed from a cross-breeding and that you should be on the look out for it’s mischievous behaviour. The Wolpertinger also has a patent for female beauty and is said to be drawn to young attractive women!
The Hippocampus: From Greek legends, this creature is depicted as a horse with the tail of a fish and is said to be one of the creatures that pulled the God of the Sea Poseidon’s chariot. Although it’s name loosely translates as ‘Sea Monster‘ the legend claims that this creature is benevolent and is a symbol of hope and strength. These kind-hearted beasts are respected by all other sea beings and they are known for saving sailors from drowning and helping underwater creatures.
The Hippocampus was said to have been formed within the waves of the ocean and relate two both Greek and Roman mythology with their appearance reflecting the God Neptune as well as the aforementioned Poseidon. Despite resembling a horse, they are often portrayed as having scaly green or blue skin and looking very much like a gigantic seahorse! So even though they travel in groups and are large in size, these seem to be the creatures you would want on your side when you set sail.
Monsters of the Deep
The Bakekujira: From a Japanese folk tale, this terrifying looking creature is also known as the ‘Ghost Whale’ and takes the form of a whale skeleton. It is suggested that the legend was created when fisherman on the Shimane peninsula tried to harpoon what appeared to be an enormous white whale but every attempt went straight through the creature as if it were only bone – they soon realised that they were attacking a skeletal monster!
In the olden days, when whales were plentiful, the sight of one would be considered a blessing but this creature brings a deadly curse. According to the legend, the Bakekujira are the spirits of whales who were killed for their meat and oil, and that they will seek vengeance on those who had killed them and curse them with great misfortune, bringing disease and disaster to their community.
The Basilisk: Now some of you Potter-fans may have heard of this one, the snake creature depicted in JK Rowling’s bestselling books. However, the European legend itself is a lot more varied. The being comes from Hellenistic and Roman times and is known to have a lizard form and even referred to as the Serpent King. The beast is truly dangerous and has the most poisonous venom coursing through it’s body that it’s very breath causes plants to wither!
It also possesses a deadly stare that will kill anyone that looks directly at it. But differing from what we may know about the myth, it isn’t actually that big in size and was supposedly formed from a egg laid by a cockerel and then hatched by a snake giving it’s other name ‘Cockatrice.’ It is also thought that the sound of a cockerel crowing would kill the Basilisk. At least that’s some defence from it’s destructive powers!
The Mare: From Norse legend, this creature is literally the personification of a nightmare! The name refers to the ‘Mara demon’ and the Slavic and Greek roots of the name relate to “death” and “nightmare.” This sinister sounding being comes in the form of different creatures, sometimes a horse, cat, frog and even human form, and were said to enter the rooms of victims and sit upon their chest giving them terrible nightmares.
Some victims reported that they felt as if they were being crushed or suffocated in their sleep and even that they had dreamt they had been riding a demonic horse and aptly visions from these creatures have been known to be called ‘mare rides.’ The legend stems from the concept of old witches or hags with malicious intent to inflict torture and anguish on their sleeping victims. Creepy to say the least.
The Banshee: This creature comes from Irish Folklore and is portrayed as an Omen of Death. The being shows itself in the form of a female spectre, either a young woman or very old and haggard, often shrouded and with red eyes from endless sobbing. The legend says that the Banshee knows when death is coming for you or a family member and warns people by shrieking.
Their screams are said to shatter glass! The origins go as far back as the 8th Century and seem to refer to women known as ‘keeners’ who would sing lamentations for the dead or dying. This seems to have evolved into a terrifying notion that these women somehow know when death is coming and thus created the frightening creatures of legend that will send fear into the hearts of many who are unfortunate enough to hear their wailing cries!
There you have it! A collection of some weird and deadly creatures of past legends to feast your eyes on. And if you have a particular fondness for creatures big, small and bizarre then check out these Alchemy pieces below:
– Rose Jekylle 🌹