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Medusa, the Gorgon
Books on Folklore, Legends, and Myths
List of Common Folklore or Mythical Creatures
- The Griffin- is a common mythical creature in Ancient Greece. However, it is believed to be first documented in Ancient Eygptian Art. The Griffin is a large creature with the body of a lion and the head, beak, talons, and wing of an eagle. Sometimes the Griffin is also seen with a serpeant or scorpian tail.
•Phoenix- The Phoenix is a mythical fire bird of orange and red representing eternal life. Believed to have orginated from Ancient Eygptian Mythology. The Phoenix is known to live for hundreds and hundreds of years. At the end of it's life cycle the Phoenix builds a nest. The Phoenix will then light the nest on fire igniting itself in the process. From the ashes caused by the fire a young, new Phoenix is born.
•Unicorn – The Unicorn originated from European Folklore first mentioned by the Greeks. A very common mythical horse like creature. The unicorn resembles a white horse, however, it has one large, spiralled horn in the center of it’s head. And is sometimes said to have a goats beard and/or wings. The Unicorn is known as a pure, graceful creature with healing powers. It is believed that a unicorn will only appear to those with pure hearts and good intentions. With this majestic creatures great powers it is said that a Unicorn is also able to grant wishes.
•Satyr- A Satyr is a deity from Greek Mythology. In the beginning the Satyr was portrayed as an old, ugly man with horse or goat like qualities. As time went on, Greek art began to portray the Satyr as a softer and younger creatures. Invented by poets these mythical creatures were said to live in the mountains and woodlands. Satyrs are said to be good creatures who love both women and dancing. These creatures were often associated with sex and alcohol.
•Minotaur- A Minotaur is a horrible creature of Greek Mythology. This creature has a head of a bull and the body of a man. The Minotaur lived in the center of a maze called the Cretan Labyrinth. King Mino’s of Crete ordered the Minotaur and his wife to live in this maze together forever. To keep the Minotaur alive, from time to time humans were sent into the maze where they could not escape. The Minotaur is a symbol of violence and sacrifice.
•Mermaid- A Mermaid is a very common mythical creature with the upper body of a women and the lower body of a fish. The male version of this mythical creature is known as the “Merman” who is quite similar to the Mermaid just with masculine qualities rather than feminine. However, most stories suggest that there was never a Merman just the Mermaids. Mermaids are said to have beautiful voices and when they sang would distract both humans and God’s from their tasks at hand. This often resulted in the person or God to fall into the water where the Mermaid would carry them into their underwater kingdom. It is said that Mermaids often mean no harm however quite often forget that humans cannot breath underwater.
•Gorgon- A Gorgon is a dreadful female creature of Greek Mythology. These women had hair made of living, poisonous snakes. Sometimes said to have had golden wings, clawsAnd if anyone looked them in the eye they would instantly turn to stone. A very commonly known Gorgon is known as, Medusa. Unlike her two sisters, Medusa was not immortal and was slain by Perseus. Statues of these terrifying creatures were commonly places on the outsides of building for protection as the enemy feared they would turn to stone.
•Banshee- The Banshee is a female fairy of Irish Mythology. The Banshee is referred to as an Omen of Death and a messenger of the other world. It is said that the Banshee floats throughout the forest in the middle of the night and if you hear the Banshee’s wail it means that death is in the near future. Legend has it the Banshee would only appear before specific Irish families. However, there have been some revisions to this legend throughout the years.
•Giant- There are many, many different Giants and Giantesses from many different backgrounds. Giants are much larger and stronger than the average person. They are known to be quite wild and destructive and are therefore feared. In recent days these Giants have also been said to eat humans. If they are not mean and scary they are dumb and clumsy. However, some of the legends oldest Giants have been said to be gentle and friendly. Evil Giants are generally defeated despite their size and power when they are outwitted by either man or God.
•Kumiho- A Kumiho is a fox-like creature with nine tails that originates from Korea. If a regular fox lives for a thousand years it is said to turn into a Kumiho. The Kumiho is said to be an evil creature that can transform into any shape it pleases usually still having some fox-like qualities. The Kumiho often into beautiful women in order to seduce men. In the beginning the Kumiho wasn’t an evil fox-like creature but had actually assisted humans. As time went on the Kumiho became progressively more evil to the point that it needed to consume human hearts or livers in order to survive.
•Tengu- The word Tengu actually refers to heavenly dogs. However, this Japanese mythical creature is said to be part bird, part human. The Tengu is often described as a monstrous bird with a red face and an unusually large nose. The Tengu is said to have the ability to transform into other shapes and forms. And is often said to be holding a magical fan.
•Lesovik- The Lesovik or Leshy originated from Slavic mythology. The Leshy is a male woodlands creature who is said to protect all of the other forest creatures and the forest itself. As the caretaker of the forest the Leshy decides when migration will occur. These creatures are said to be the offspring of a human woman and a demon. And his body is made up of bits and pieces of the forest such as grass and twigs. And are sometimes said to have horns, hooves and a tail. The Leshy usually appears as a tall man, however, he has the ability to make himself tiny or very, very large. The Leshy is said to enjoy tricking travellers so that they can no longer find their way home. The Leshy is also said to lure young women into the forest where he will rape them and return them as mutes, never to be the same again. The Leshy is also known for kidnapping children and in their places returning dull changelings.
•Vampires- The Vampire is known all over the world. Years ago Vampire hunts were held and today they are a common movie character. This creature lives by feeding on human blood and is described as being neither dead nor alive. Many theories of how Vampires came about exist. One theory suggests that Vampires exist due to premature burials. While another suggests that a Vampire comes about when a person’s soul leaves the body after death and then returns to the corpse. However, most theories suggest that a Vampire is born when an unclean soul enters a decomposing body. In most theories a Vampire can create another Vampire by biting a human being and are commonly night creatures. However, there is some variation on whether a Vampire is killed by a stake through the heart, beheading, burning, or exposure to light. The story also changes according to whether or not a Vampire sleeps in a coffin or even sleeps at all. Some say that a Vampires weakness is garlic, crosses and/or holy water. And other theories even suggest that a Vampire can turn into a bat.
•Werewolves- A Werewolf is actually a human who will transform into an overly large wolf every full moon and sometimes whenever they choose too. A person has become a Werewolf either due to a curse or by choice by the means of their own magic. The Werewolf is not your ordinary wolf as it is not only larger in size, but has keener senses, is faster, and stronger than any other wolf. The Werewolf is believed to feed on humans. Some theories suggest that the cure of the Werewolf can be cured while others believe that the only cure is that of a silver bullet.
Folklore Creatures Part II
- Folklore Creatures Part II
Folklore, Mythology and Legendary creatures. The second part of my list of Creatures of Folklore. This list gives a brief description of what they are and where they originated from.