Have a good Hallowed Evening, followers and random readers!
I hope you enjoy Trick or Treating/watching scary movies! Or if you read this after Trick or Treating, I hope you had a good time and didn’t forget to leave out some victuals on the porch for wayfaring spirits.
If not Halloween, then as the choice be thine, Happy Scarecrow Day!
Most of us are familiar with the standard classical mythology creatures- satyrs, centaurs, nymphs, cyclopes, chimeras- but there are also quite a few lesser known creatures that deserve more appreciation. The next post shall deal mainly with those, but for a little free sample I present the Potamoi.
Brothers of the Oceanids (which were later absorbed into the concept of Mermaids), the Potamoi are exactly like mermaids but for their bull head. They are the river and stream gods. And plus, a mer-cow is just cool amiright?
Evil, short little men who walk around at night and capture children. They also steal stuff.
A vampire sock that turns into a snake and sucks your blood (from Sierra Leone).
A creature that literally has eyes on the back of its head, as well as an entire hyena face. To disguise this they wear their hair either as in long braids or all puffed up as an afro.
A demonic pool-dwelling serpent, twisting and furious, that emerges from the depths only to find food.
Looks like a normal leopard, but when it prepares to eat its mouth open huger and huger and sucks you in.
There are two races of raksasa, the blue and the green. They have long teeth, dirty hair, and vertical slits for eyes. Their fingers are backwards, and they walk around kidnapping children. They won’t, however, eat anybody who claims to be related to them. So that’s nice at least.
Though it pretends to be a futon, and looks strikingly like one when curled up, the Kumo is actually an impostor! When somebody sits on it the insectoid monster sticks out its furry legs, drags them down through a secret passage to its web, ties them up for later, and goes back to being a futon.
A zombie from China that emerges from its grave at night and sucks the blood of the living.
A giant bat with a long pointed tongue that lowers into houses and sucks the blood of people. Have you noticed that at least forty percent of mythical creatures suck the blood of humans? Must be some deep psychological fear or something.
The driver of the Death Carriage, the Ankou is a skeleton whose head revolves around looking for the people he is commanded to carry away. Only dying people see his cart pull up in the driveway or see him walk over while his horse gets a drink from your Koi Pond.
Invisible shadow creatures that suck the blood of babies while they sleep.
VUKODLAK AND KRESNIK
A type of zombie that is created when an evil person comes back to life. They are, like Nocnitsae, vampiric. When they drink enough blood they have the appearance of an empty skin ballooned to the size of an elephant. Their arch-enemies are the Kresnik, friendly spirits who guard homes from evil.
Fairy Lights, Will O’ the Wisp, Elf Fires, whatever. This is just another name for the same thing.
Forest dwelling monsters, covered in moss for camouflage. They are two legged, no arms, and will stack on top of each other to look like boulders. In this way they confuse travelers into wandering from the trail. Then they jump out suddenly with a cry of “Bllllaaaaaarggggiiieee!” I don’t know why they like to do that so much, because after scaring the person they let them continue their hike.
Basically poltergeists. Drive people crazy and cause messes.
Spirits that live in fields. They ask riddles to farmers and if you don’t know the answer you get eaten.
Always hungry and thirsty, Abiku crawl inside people and steal all the food they eat. Then they take it back to the Abiku lair and share with their friends. When the next mealtime comes around, the Abiku returns. Sadly, the person starves unless someone wise and/or completely random hangs a bell on their neck. Abiku hate that awful ringing sound and will give it up as a lost case.
Ghuls dwell in uninhabited deserts, waiting for travelers to come through. They are like ostriches, except they have one eye. And long, sharp teeth.
Greetings all. I realize I haven’t been consistently posting in a LONG time, and for that, I apologize. Right when I started getting a lot of followers (by my standards at least) I abandoned them all.
I hope you haven’t all left and gone on to other blogs during my absence.
The reason I’ve been so inconsistent is that I’ve been devoting all my time to the publishing of my first book- The Adventures of Gardus Ningo!
So, in repayment for my absence, I give you a special edition of the List, featuring ten ultra-obscure creatures from all three categories (Cool Creatures with Humanoid Features, Spirits of the Unknown, and Monsters) that I recently discovered.
Now, normally when we hear the word ‘pantheon’ we think of a group of gods, such as the Greek pantheon ruled over by Zeus or the Norse pantheon ruled over by Odin. Even the word pantheon means ‘of all the gods’.
(Shown- Greek, Norse, and Memeland Pantheons)
But you probably didn’t know there’s also an obscure heraldic creature called the Pantheon. Why they named it that? Who knows.
Anyway, the Pantheon is usually depicted as a fox or deer type creature, or chimericae thereof. They are white with purple stars or purple with gold stars. And that’s literally all there is to say about them. At least be grateful I gave you the collage.
A chimeric creature found in the ruins of Babylon, the Mushushu Dragon (sometimes translated as the shirrush) is part ‘dragon’, part lion, and part eagle. Mushushi are found on a couple other artifacts from Mesopotamia, but the main one is the one on the Ishtar Gate.
Shapeshifters that live in whirlpools and try to drown people.
Minuscule vampiric creatures from the Pacific Northwest, Alkuntani look and sound like mosquitoes and fly around feeding on people’s blood. They are evil abominations waging eternal war on all that is good. So in other words, they’re mosquitoes under a new name.
The only difference is these will also sometimes drill through your ear and suck out your brains. (I couldn’t find any Alkuntane pictures- besides one that was more of a wasp- so I went with mosquito memes.)
A god/monster from Mesopotamian mythology and folklore, Ningishzida is depicted as a Chaos archetype, similar to the Uktena or other snake beings of mythology. Though some stories depict him as bad or at least chaotic neutral, others give him the role of Vegetation God as well.
An ancient story written in the early days of this blog, the tickly tickly, involves these creatures. They are wild forest spirits, from Finland, that enjoy playing mean pranks. They are sometimes heard laughing and clapping deep in unexplored woods. They also like tickling people to death, thus its role in the above story.
A huge, poisonous stink-cloud shooting skunk found near the Great Lakes. Usually they just wander through the forest, but if they hear somebody inside a cave they spray right into it, killing the unfortunate spelunkers. Aniwye also will sometimes, though this is more rare, go crazy and start attacking houses- biting the roofs off and spraying inside.
Like most monsters, the giant squids of the Andean mountains have retreated into the wilderness, still attacking and killing with ferocity anything they can find. Some theorize they are related the the Kraken, but this is unlikely as Kraken live in the Ocean, and Huecu live in mountain lakes pretty far inland. Also, Huecu look pretty weird- flattish and pink with eyes all around it and four big ones in the center.
A giant, invisible, cannibalistic giant that rides around on an equally giant, invisible (and possibly even cannibalistic) canoe. They only way to see one coming is to keep a careful eye on the water, as you’ll be able to see the canoe’s wake.
Wild women who dwell deep in forests. They are tall, skinny, and have really long fingers and hair. All this makes them look incredibly creepy, but they are actually sweet people who take care of lost children until they can return them to their parents. The only problem is that they might accidentally squash babies while protecting them from the cold or tickle them to death, at which they cry and this eerie wailing makes other children beware of the forest and therefore not get lost, so it all adds up in the end.
Strange things follow wherever fairies appear. For instance- the Stray Sod. A weird plot of grass (similar in concept to a Fairy Ring) that was enchanted by the fairies. Whoever steps on it completely loses their sense of direction, causing them to wander around and bump into stuff/get eaten by a monster. The fairies find this very amusing. In modern works, Stray Sod are often sentient little Feybeasts.
A traditional symbol of death. A giant black dog only seen at night. Or preferably not seen at all, as anybody who lays eyes on it dies instantly. Sometimes associated with the Hellhound of Classical Mythology and the Barghest of English Folklore, this big black dog has been known by many titles- Goblin Hound, Black Dog, Devil Dog,etc.
One of the top four common undead- falling after Ghosts, Zombies, and Lich (not counting semi-undead like vampires, ghouls, or shadowmen- nor vague categorizations like Skeleton, Wraith, or Spectre). Whereas Ghosts are just the spirit, Zombies are just the corpse, and Lich are immortal warlocks/wizards/witches/enchantresses/sorcerers/magi whose skin rotted off leaving them still alive but as a skeleton, Wights are dead bodies possessed by an evil spirit.
The funny thing is, the word Wight just means a creature, or more specifically a human being. How did it come to be regarded as an undead monster? So glad you asked! See, in one translation of the Grettis Saga, the word Draug (Norwegian Undead Warriors that guarded their grave-treasures from robbers) was translated as Barrow Wights- essentially meaning People of the Barrow. In Lord of the Rings, the first modern fantasy book, they were also mentioned as such, probably Tolkien got the name from the Grettis Saga. The Hobbits run into a bunch of ‘Barrow-Wights’ (people of the barrow) living in an old burial mound. It can’t be expected for everybody that reads LOTR to know such an obscure archaic word as Wight, so they assumed Wight just meant Undead Monster.
DnD, following Tolkien’s lead, placed Wights in the very first edition of the game. Warcraft, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering, A Song of Ice and Fire, and many others soon included variants of Wights. Though the original meaning of the word Wight is now utterly lost, the Undead Warrior aspect of the Draug still remains, living on through the Barrow-Wights of Tyrn Gorthad.
Well, I’m not sure this is as much a creature as a creature template or even a class, but I’ll see what I can do. Most of our modern idea of ‘Elementals’ comes from the four classical elements- Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Each of these had a specific spirit-type associated with it in Alchemical Tradition, but pop-culture has changed most of these. Salamanders for Fire are often replaced by Efreets or Fire Monsters to avoid confusion with the non-mythical namesake. Sylphs for Air are usually represented as the archetypal Tinkerbell fairy. As for Water, Undines are pretty much unrivaled although suspiciously represented exactly like mermaids. Gnomes, on the other hand, have morphed so much into Garden Santas that any attempt to make them ‘Earthen’ is very rare, not to mention the fact it makes them overlap somewhat with the modern Dwarf. Therefore the role of Earth elemental is usually taken up by a Golem or something, besides when the element is taken out altogether and replaced with ‘Rock’. When authors feel like simplifying all this, they simply use the generic spirit image, give it four or five subspecies with different powers and decor, and call it a day.
As I look at my list of mythical creatures, I see that the next entry says Goomba.
I’m pretty sure they’re copyrighted, so I’ll skip to the ‘Chinese Unicorn’, the Kirin. Also called the Qilin. This mythical beast, originating as you probably guessed in China, was said to appear whenever a great man, such as a sage or a good ruler was about to be born. They are often depicted wreathed in fire, with beards and manes, and with two stubby horns atop their mythical noggins. Other than that, they range completely in description from culture to culture. Some of the earliest descriptions seem to describe giraffes. This is probably where the antlers come from, along with their ability to walk without disturbing the grass. One of the oldest stories describes the Emperor having captured a live Quilin. As time went on, and people saw no more giraffes, the Quilin changed in nature to be more mytholigized, and took on some features of the Long, or Chinese Dragon. They became holy symbols, the pets of the gods. When Europeans heard of the Kilin, they called them Chinese Unicorns, although this is goofy as they have two horns, not one. Plus, they are not very much like horses, more resembling golden lions or bulls.
The Caonineag, like most of the obscure mythical creatures this list has devolved into, has about a bazillion name-variants and just as many vaguely-defined magical traits. In this case, the ‘Caointeach’, by which I mean the ‘Caoidheag’, sometimes called the ‘Caointeachhag’, is a type of Banshee from the Scottish Highlands. She differentiates from the standard Banshee in that she is invisible. Or is it that she only foretells deaths within her clan? Or that she, in Islay versions, wears a tattered green shawl and can be banished by being given new clothes?
Small, armadillo-like creatures from South America, Inuyucuoy are benevolent creatures with a large gem in the middle of their forehead. These gems are reflective, like mirrors, but in the night glow red or blue (very patriotic). When young, the baby Inuyucuoy have a large flap of leather covering up the gem, which recedes as the child gets older. When they reach old age, they have a flowing beard which changes color with the Inuyucuoy’s mood. The females are feathered. According to some legends, Inuyucuoy curl into a ball when frightened, but other legends maintain they can emit a blinding flash of light from their forehead gem.
The Bird of the Moon from Hindu legends and Indian folk stories. That’s really all there is to say about that.
A bogeyman, usually seen wearing long coats with shells sewn onto them. They really like wearing coats. They make their homes by rivers, calling out to people and pretending to be drowning. When passerbys come rushing down to the water, the Shellycoat cackles and runs off. An overall harmless, if annoying, type of fairy.
A type of mischievous Hobgoblin/Brownie from English Folklore. Commonly associated with the ‘Household Spirit’ type of fairy (hence Dobby from Harry Potter).
As mythical creatures go, this is about as obscure as it gets before the zone of “Your Search did not match any documents”. It is literally a wagon. An eeeevil wagon. (‘,:- /
May or may not be filled with little centipede demons that might also be referred to as ‘Hellwains’.
Hi everybody and welcome to another post in the List of Mythical Creatures series! This list (the whole thing can be found here.) is coming to a close- I’d give it maybe five more posts- and I need ideas. One idea I have is to go back to the “Authorities” where I tackle one monster or a small group and beat that proverbial horse to death (not to advocate animal cruelty. I like animals. Especially dogs and hamsters).
If you readers have any suggestions, please let me know. In the mean time-
Ten Spirits of the Unknown!
The Ocasta is one of my personal favorite mythical creatures. They are made entirely out of tin, making them invincible, however there are very few of them- maybe even only one, and they live deep out in the wild places of the world. The Ocasta Stick is one of the most powerful magical objects. When thrown across chasms, it creates a bridge which disappears as soon as the Ocasta is finished walking over it. It can also guide the owner to whatever they are looking for- treasure, lost cell phones, etc. The Ocasta uses it to find livers for his lunch.
The Sprite is a water spirit that dwells deep in forests by pools or springs. They are often accompanied by frogs, fish, and other aquatic animals, not to mention lots and lots of mushrooms. Many mythologists consider them a later term for Naiads and they are sometimes called Spriggans.
This one may seem very weird and ridiculous, but I promise I didn’t make it up. Dracae are little mischievous wood fairies that turn into plates in order to drown people. That’s right, they transform into plates and float down the river hoping some thrifty housewife will come along and decide to save money on dishware. When she wades into water, the plates transform back to their original form and drown her.
In a world populated with so many evil fairies, it is refreshing to meet the Hyter Sprites, which take the form of Sand Martins. The story originates in Norfolk, England, and although they are not given a definitive description (even the name varies- hikry, ikry,) there seems to be a general idea that when children do not return home before dark, the hyter-sprites come and find them. After a sharp admonition, they lead the kid back home.
Their qualities are not always so light-hearted, however. Some descriptions say that rather than kind spirits that lead home the lost lamb, ‘the Hyter Sprites will get you’. They are sometimes described not as birds, but as long legged blood-sucking bat/spider things.
Child-eating monsters that roam the night, carrying a long-handled net. When they see their prey, they swoop the kid up in the net and carry it off to the icy cave of the Snee-Nee-IQ to be eaten.
A one legged swamp spirit (associated with ‘Fairy Lights’, e.g. Elf Fires, Will O’ The Wisp) that walks around carrying a lantern with which it tries to lead lost travelers astray. Some who set off on dark, cold nights through the swamps follow the Hinkypunk and are never seen again.
The Fuath is an evil water-dwelling creature (whose name means ‘hate’) in Gaelic folklore. There are three types: the Uruisg (the ‘normal’ kind), a lizardfolk type of creature which has webbed toes, lives in the water, and sometimes intermarries with humans, the Behir, a dragonic serpent with wings and a venomous sting, and the Peallaidh, a household spirit (I like to think of them as Dragon household spirits- maybe even a creature from dragon’s folklore- because of their association with the Behir and because it’s just a cool twist on the Household Spirit trope). The young are covered in a coat of thick yellow fur.
In Jorge Luis Borges’s 1967 Book of Imaginary Beings, a collection of folkloric creatures from around the world, the Abang Aku lives on the steps of the Tower of Victory. It comes from elsewhere, but got left behind by its comrades. The only way it can get back to it’s home is through the invisible gateway atop the tower. It wants to get to the top, but can’t unless it follows a human up. Whenever a human starts to climb, the beast wakes up. At first, it is shapeless and void, but as it nears the top it becomes more beautiful and clear. However, if the climber decides he is too tired to continued and starts to come back down, the poor Abang tumbles down the stairs and lays motionless on the first step.
A benevolent Bull Spirit from Basque Folklore that lives in caves and hollows. When it is stormy or when unwanted dangerous enemies are intruding on his ‘range of protection’ he wanders out and kills the danger. The Aatxe is usually rather fond of the people he protects, warning them and keeping them indoors when trouble is near.
A huge Ogre/Troll creature, the Buggane is equipped with a mane of thick black hair, tusks, eeeeevil red eyes, and other monster qualities. They are regarded by fairies as cruel, unsophisticated, and rude, but sometimes useful. When someone annoys the fairies, they call up the local Buggane from his lair (usually a bone-filled cavern or some such monster-worthy location). Always glad for a chance to destroy and wreak havoc, and also to get on the fairies’ good side, the Buggane obliges and destroys the offender.
WELCOME ALL to the first post in what will hopefully be an irregularly posted new series here at ImaginaryCreatureAuthority! At the suggestion of lex922013, I have decided to include a couple self-created creatures on this blog. I’m not sure how this will go, but I’ll never find out if I don’t try!
And so, without further ado I present…
That’s right- a seven headed marsh dwelling cat that breathes poison and can only be permanently beheaded with fire. The Hydrameow, like all the original creatures I post here, is public domain. It is scheduled to be a monster in my current project-in-progress, a pen-and-paper semi-traditional fantasy RPG (I doubt the game will be available for several years. It’s still in the first stages of creation), but in the meantime it will just be a goofy meme.
Apologies to D&D, I used your Hydra image for the Photoshop. Hope it’s OK.
I suppose I should include stats. In my game, the stats are going to be different, but for now I’ll use D&D stats. Correct me if I mess something up or write it wrong- I’m not an expert with D&D rules.