Every society in the world has its fair share of local myths and legends, and these range from strange or dangerous beasts, to ghosts, even to giants. After all, we’re a naturally curious species seeking to find answers to the big questions and explanations for the unknown quantities. When, as is bound to happen at some point in any civilisation’s history, some sees something strange in the woods or witnesses an oddly serendipitous set of circumstances, someone will inevitably spin this experience into a remarkable tale that survives generations.
Some might say that it’s simply human nature to invent sightings and stories where there’s nothing much: But can a myth with so many corroborating reports really be entirely false? Below is a list of mythological creatures from around the world that boast not just a few but hundreds if not thousands of eyewitness accounts, with some even taking pictures to accompany their testimonies. Are these merely examples of some sort of mass hysteria or ill-defined magical thinking, or could there be some truth behind the accounts of these fifteen mythical creatures?
Almost everyone who has lived in the Okanagan valley in B.C Canada has heard of the Ogopogo. As a long, water dwelling, serpentine creature, it resembles the Loch Ness Monster. It reportedly lives in Okanagan lake, and has for quite some time.
Sightings of the beast have been reported even earlier than Nessie, however. In 1926 it was described in the Vancouver Sun and numerous reports came in of people claiming to have seen it. Now, the Ogopogo is so famous in the area, stuffed animals, t-shirts and other items in tourist shops carry its image. Recently, there have been more sightings of the creature, but many believe that people are mistaking a log or a wave for the fabled water dweller. Nonetheless, the hundreds of sightings that have occurred over the years have served to strengthen the myth in the area.
Another Canadian favourite, the Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, has had hundreds of reported sightings over the years. It is a large, bipedal, ape-like creature that roams many different areas in Canada and the US. Recently, there has been video footage from a hiker that claims to capture the Sasquatch walking near a mountain. Despite the picture being grainy, many are certain that it is real footage of the beast.
A popular icon in modern culture, fairies, or faes, originate in European folklore. These fairies are not the nice, pretty creatures that modern culture has made them out to be, however. Rather, there are many accounts of people protecting themselves from a fairy’s malicious spirit.
While these creatures originate in Europe, there was one very famous sighting in Carolina. In 1891, a professor was urged by children to come see people floating on the hillside. Disregarding their pleas, he eventually went to check it out when an elderly woman told him largely the same thing. What he saw was indeed dozens of bright, floating people. Other than this case, there have been dozens of other reported fairy sightings in Europe as well as America.
The Yeti, or abominable snowman, is described as being a “white bigfoot”. It is said to be located in Tibet and has long existed in folklore from the area. The Yeti has reportedly been witnessed by locals on several individual occasions.
However, it has also been seen in North America. Just this year, a man in Maine reportedly saw the beast. He is the one who actually described it as a “white bigfoot”. Of course, the question is… How did it get all the way to America?
11. The Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is to be found in New Jersey. It has a goat’s head, bat-like wings and hooves. It resembles a demonic creature and many have described it as such. Indeed, it is said to have been born from relations between a mortal woman and Satan in 1735.
It’s said that it was exorcised for 100 years, but following this, began to appear once more. There have been many sightings of the beast, but most occurred at the beginning of the 20th century. Many still believe it is out there, despite a dearth of eyewitness reports.
The Dogman is a local favourite in Michigan, USA. Sightings first began in 1887 in Wexford County and since then have increased in regularity. The Dogman is just as its name suggests; a man with a dog’s head, akin to a werewolf. In 1987, as an April Fool’s joke, a song was recorded and broadcasted on the radio about the real reports of sightings of the Dogman. Following this, more reports began to flood in: Now, the Dogman is an integral part of Michigan’s culture.
This ugly beast was first reported in Puerto Rico, but sightings have since been in all the way in Texas. It is said to drink the blood of goats and as such, is a nightmarish creature that resembles a dog as well as a bat. Recent photos of a captured Chupacabra suggests that the creature really is the stuff of nightmares. However, many are skeptical of its existence. Those that do believe in the sightings say that the beast is the result of poor cross breeding between dog breeds to produce what looks like the mythological beast.
Mermaids have been around for hundreds of years, appearing in numerous cultures around the world. They have the bottom half of a fish and the top half of a human girl. Related to the sirens, mermaids have been linked to deadly events, such as storms and drownings, but have also been described in beneficial situations. While the mermaid has deep roots, it is recent sightings that have captured the world’s attention once more. In Kirvat Yam, Isreal, new reports of mermaid sightings induced a frenzy of fishermen attempting to capture one. There was a 1 million dollar reward for photo evidence or capture of a mermaid.
To some extent, this mythological creature really does exist. A giant squid said to doom sailors originated from Nordic legend, but there may have been some truth to its appearance. There is footage of giant squids in the depths of the Pacific Ocean that grow to be 26 feet in length. The filming took place at 2000 feet below and captures one of these magnificent creatures swimming where there is little light. While the actual Kraken may not exist, these gigantic squids certainly do.
This cross between a turtle, monkey and lizard is said to dwell in Japan. It appears in numerous folklore from across the country. It also has a bowl on its head with which to store its magical power. As it is malevolent, many people feared, and still fear, the Kappa. Over the years, especially more recently, there has been photo and even video evidence of the creature, however, it is grainy and impossible to tell whether or not it is indeed of the Kappa.
5. The Hawkesbury River Monster
In the Hawkesbury River in Wales, a mysterious creature is said to dwell. It resembles the Loch Ness monster, and the Ogopogo and ranges from 7 to 24 metres in length. First described by the Aboriginal people in the area, there have been numerous sightings since its discovery. Some say that it comes on shore to lay its eggs, which means there may be multiple creatures out there.
Bram Stoke’s Dracula arguably began the modern obsession with vampires, but in more recent years, the image of the vampire has changed considerably. Where once it was a terrifying, ugly humanoid creature, it now usually resembles a sexy human with pale skin. However, it is the earlier vampire that has been sighted recently: In Britain, there have been about 2 sightings per year, which is far more than in Transylvania, traditionally thought to be the home of vampires.
The Unicorn has been plastered on little girls’ clothes and bedsheets for years now. There have been television shows and toys made to look like it. This magical creature has delighted children with its beauty and grace; but did it ever actually exist? Originally, the unicorn resembles more of a goat-like creature, but now it is more of a horse with a horn. Of course, there are plenty of hoaxes wherein people put horns on their horses and take pictures, however, there have been a number of sightings of unicorns in Scotland, some of these being very recent. One of the most recent ones was reported to look more like an antelope than a horse. This would fit with more classical renderings of the unicorn.
2. Montauk Monster
This strange creature washed up under the Brooklyn bridge in 2012. There was a similar creature that appeared in 2008, leading many to speculate on what exactly this strange thing could be. It appears grotesque in many ways; hairless, bloated, grey in colour. It even has a mammalian body and a beak (although the more recent find may have a different facial structure). Many believe that it is just a rat or dog that has been decaying for a while in the water, while many others believe it’s an undiscovered, monstrous species.
Dragons have been in literature for hundreds of years, in numerous cultures. Recently, they appear in thousands of fantasy novels and television shows. But did dragons ever actually exist? Dinosaurs may be the answer to this question. There appear to have been winged dinosaurs that resembled dragons (though they did not have four legs). But did any form of dragon ever encounter humans? The Megalania may be the closest creature to the dragon in more recent times. While it did not have magical powers or wings, this lizard from Australia grew to be 8 metres long and weighed upwards of 1.9 tons. It came in contact, unfortunately perhaps, with the aboriginal peoples of Australia.
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