Today, mystical and fabled adventures are usually depicted on the big screen or through a succession of Netflix episodes. Go back a few hundred years though and you’ll find a vast canon of literary mythology depicting a whole host of blood-curdling monsters and spine-chilling creatures.
Here are ten frightening examples.
10. Laestrygonians (Greek Mythology)
For fans of the literary Greek classic, Homer’s Odyssey, then you’ll be aware of these unsettling savages. However, if your knowledge of Greek literature is murky, then these monsters can best be described as gigantic cannibals you wouldn’t want to share a cruise ride with anytime soon.
The Laestrygonians, as they were called, were said to roam the island of Lamos, in a city called Telepylos. But when the valiant Odysseus arrives on Lamos, his whole fleet is bombarded by boulders. You’d think that would be enough of a warning right? But no. While reaching land, three crew members get eaten while exploring the city. And as for the others? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they ran like mad. But even on returning to their ships, an avalanche of rocks get hurled their way. Some even get stabbed by spears. Not a nice way to die, that’s for sure.
9. Dybbuk (Jewish Mythology)
Essentially the Jewish equivalent of a demon, the Dybbuk hurls itself onto the souls of earnest and honest people and causes havoc and fatal destruction wherever it travels.
As for the thing itself? It’s a broken soul searching desperately for someone to support it. Oddly, the Dybbuk isn’t aware what’s going on so causes pandemonium without any known reason. Lacking a physical form, those who experience its wrath will forever wonder what it was that caused their life to turn so dreary.
8. Nachzehrer (German Mythology)
While vampires are now associated more with Edward Cullen and attractive men from CW’s The Vampire Diaries, German vampires of yesteryear took no prisoners- not even if they were moany and called Bella.
A mix of ghoul and vampire, the Nachzehrer sucks your soul as well as your blood. They can also kill you by ringing church bells that prove fatal to those lured to within touching distance of its shadow.
7. Gugalanna (Sumerian Mythology)
There are a plethora of great ancient stories and urban myths, but some, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, have a simple plot. Chronicling the journeys of a monster known as ‘The Bull of Heaven’ who tore through cities and murdered thousands, it’s monstrous rampage was only stopped when Gilgamesh and the wild man Enkidu came to the city.
The monster, ‘Gugalanna’, a god we now know as the astrological sign “Taurus” was sent by the goddess Inanna to kill Gilgamesh, the great king, after he refused her advances. Talk about having a short fuse….
6. Ichneumon (Medieval Mythology)
While not being a monster, The Ichneumon was said to be the only threat and enemy of the dragon, a creature whose wits and covert nature was more than a match for the zealous ferocity of Europe’s most famed monster.
But how exactly did the Ichneumon defeat the dragon? It crawled inside it. Concealing itself in mud, it would slither inside the dragon’s nostrils and burrow from the inside out. Gruesome stuff!
5. Strigoi (Romanian Mythology)
Romania is synonymous with vampires, thanks largely to the infamous Count Dracula, but it’s also the birthplace of one the greatest vampire stories told—the Strigoi.
A tortured soul from beyond the grave, the Strigoi is constantly ready to devour your blood and roam Earth once more. He is also invisible and can take the shape of a many an animal. So feared is the Strigoi in Romania, some have been known to dig graves of the deceased to eliminate the vampire’s threat.
4. Were-Tiger (Chinese Mythology)
To become a were-tiger, one must hold a unique curse passed down from generation to generation. Well, either that or you’ve trodden on the wrong shoes of an animal spirit.
Some myths even claim that every other race aside from the Chinese were originally animals who had forgotten who they were, with tigers being one such animal.
3. Dames Blanches’ (French Mythology)
If you think you take rejection badly, then wait till you hear this story. Dames Blanches’- or White Women – were beautiful, young women clad in white garments who lured handsome and charming men across a deserted bridge.
If crossed, she would ask the man to dance with her. If the gentleman accepted, she’d let him pass knowing he would never see her bad side. But if he rejected her advances, she would push the man to his death or worse, get goblins, owls, and cats to torture him till death.
2. Black Annis (English Mythology)
The English equivalent of the horrifying Russian mythological character Baba Yaga Bony-Legs, Black Annis was said to wander the countryside of Leicestershire, England looking for children. But she didn’t eat them. Instead, she’d tan their skin then use it as a waist belt.
So feared was the tale of Black Annis that English parents in the 19th century would regularly warn their children that any misbehaviour would result in Black Annis taking them away into her cave. A tad extreme, you could say……
1.Koschei the Deathless (Slavic Mythology)
Koschei the Deathless is one sick dude. And by sick, we mean in the literal sense. First, he steals the hero’s wife by attempting to be as chivalrous as is possible. But for a creep, a kidnapper, sadist and, if we’re brutally honest, incredibly ugly, she doesn’t exactly take to him. But how can she be saved? After all, as his name suggests, nobody can defeat him. Or can they?
Yes, there is one way. But it involves the complicated process of getting to his soul and dismantling it. Worse, his soul is hidden in the form of a needle which just happens to be inside of an egg, which is inside of a duck, which in turn is inside of a hare! In turn, the hare is concealed inside an iron box, which is buried under an oak tree on the mythical island of Buyan!
Yeah, good luck with anyone attempting to find that needle…..