Mythological creatures and beings have been present in cultures throughout history. Some are refined to isolated areas, while others span generations and distances. It’s likely that we’ve all heard about some kind of mythological monster, whether it be in a horror story or a firsthand account. As yet, there is no hard evidence to prove their existence, the possibility remains that there may be some mysterious or supernatural beings that share the earth with us.
Here are seven of the more terrifying monsters throughout cultural mythology, from remote Mongolia to urban New Jersey.
The legend of Mothman originated in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Two couples were driving near an old power plant around midnight when they saw a creature that resembled some sort of flying man. It had the characteristics of a human, but the wings and flight speed of something supernatural. A newspaper article was published about the claims, and a litany of reported sightings and other supernatural activity followed for the next year. On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed, killing 46 people. After that, sightings of the Mothman ceased. While sightings have ended, the questions remain, was the Mothman trying to tell us something? Or was the Mothman to blame for the bridge’s collapse?
The most recognizable name on this list is Sasquatch or Bigfoot. This creature is part of modern American mythology, originating with the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest region of the country. Large, apelike creatures that walked upright were known to steal the fish from nets and were thought to possess supernatural powers. In modern day, Bigfoot is one of the last remaining mythological creatures. This is probably because it isn’t completely illogical to believe he exists. A species of large apelike creatures that is evolved enough to know they should stay hidden from the more advanced humans doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
Originating in Indonesia, the translation of this mythological being is “woman who died in childbirth.” The Pontianak resemble sirens from Greek mythology, only much more brutal. They are beautiful women and announce their presence with the sound of a crying baby. As they creep closer, the sound grows fainter until you can no longer hear the sound and it’s too late to escape. The Pontianak prey on men, and if you look directly at them they will scoop out your eyeballs. They pick their victims by the scent of clothes as they hang outside to dry in the evening. For this reason, superstitious residents bring in the washing at the first sign of darkness, even if they are still a bit damp.
You know that dream where you’re naked in front of all of you classmates or at work? What about the one where all of your teeth are falling out of your head? In Persian mythology, these and dreams like them are blamed on a creature called Bakhtak. This invisible creature sits on the chest of its victims, turning sweet dreams into nightmares and, in some cases, causing sleep paralysis. This should ease the minds of scared children when they run into their parent’s room at night. “Don’t worry Jonny, it was just a dream caused by an invisible demon creature who sits on your belly while you sleep!”
This beast is among the newest mythological creatures, with the first reports coming in 1995. The tale originated in Puerto Rico, where farmers would find their goats and other livestock dead, with vampiric puncture wounds and a lack of blood. Firsthand accounts describe the creature as looking like a small bear, with fangs and spikes protruding from its spine. Sightings and similar accounts have since moved to the mainland US, suggesting the creature is beginning to proliferate and become more versatile. Stranger still, another creature called the Sigbin in the Philippines bears a striking resemblance to the accounts of the Chupacabra.
The Leshy is a friendlier mythological creature than some, resembling the tree people in Lord of the Rings. Originating in Slavic lore, these creatures are considered the protectors of the forests. They appear to be part animal and part plant, having the tail and hooves of an animal with hair made of vines and grass. They can change their shape and size on command, and use a wooden club for protection. They share a kinship with large predators of the forest, who also offer them protection. Loud cries can be heard from these creatures, but they are also known to mimic the voices and sounds of humans. They may not be aggressive, but they will be hostile if you are caught trespassing in their home.
7. Mongolian Death Worm
The legend of this creepy fellow originated in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Though sightings are often doubted and disputed, locals remain adamant that this creature is out there. This creature is a massive worm, ranging from 2ft to 5 ft in length, which spits acid and shoots electricity at its victims. If you are unfortunate enough to encounter this worm, it is likely that you will not live to tell the tale. With so many ways of disposing of a victim, this is one of the more dangerous creatures on the list. Even without the electric stare and acidic spit, a giant man-eating worm is still a thing of nightmares (or should I say, Bakhtak).
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