The world is full of tales about mythical monsters, creatures, and legendary beasts. Some are inspired and brought to life by living animals or fossils, while others play a role in human society as symbolic representations of our deepest fears. Monsters thrill, terrify, and stimulate our imaginations. They live under our beds and go bump in the night. The fear of the monstrous is a collective nightmare. From Medusa’s gaze to the vampire’s bite, from Nessie and Big Foot to Moth Man and Chupacabra, monster narratives help us address our real anxieties and have brought communities and cultures together since the Dark Ages, at least.
A monster is something that is shown, pointed at, exhibited at fairs and freak shows, or sighted in the woods or along country roads on dark nights. At the same time, monsters show us who we really are, and what we’re really capable of - war, famine, plague, etc. A monster is a mirror to man’s heart of darkness. According to David Schmid, an English professor at the University of Buffalo, “the most distinctive monsters in any culture are the ones that we don’t immediately recognize.”
5 Black Annis
3 The Dullahan
2 Red Cap Goblins
The brahmaparusha is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill vampire. The malevolent spirit originated in Hindu mythology and has a hunger for human brains. Unlike the suave, dapper vampires that plague Romania, the brahmaparusha is a grotesque creature; it wears intestines of its victims around its neck and on its head. It carries around a human skull. When the vampire kills a new victim, its pours the blood into his or her skull and drinks it down. However, the brahmaparusha doesn’t stop there; it goes all Hannibal Lecter and starts feasting on its victim’s brain. No word on whether or not it also enjoys lava beans and a fine Chianti.
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