Goblin Mythological Creature

An Overview of Popular Mythological Creatures in Folklore and Fairytales

Tales of mythological creatures have captivated our imaginations for years. It’s since childhood our grandparents have shared stories about legendary animals, mythical monsters, and other amazing mythical creatures, isn’t it?

There are innumerable of these mythological creatures. Some of these mystical animals are purely symbolic and give us a deeper insight into a specific culture’s concerns, or ideals. There are also other folk stories that have charming mythological creatures and focus primarily on human nature. People innately draw attention to these tales and folklore, regardless of their origin or intent.

Today we bring to you some popular mythological creatures from folklore fairytales and what our grandparents used to tell stories of! So, dive in!

Popular Mythological Creatures

Kraken

Kraken
Credit: The Conversation

The kraken initially emerged in mythology as a massive octopus or squid sighted by fishermen off the shores of Norway and Greenland. An 18th-century depiction depicts it as a squid-like beast huge enough that when it stuck out of the water, a portion of its body resembled an island. The sea kraken ensnares ships’ masts and drags them to the cold depths with its numerous tentacles. It may also create a lethal whirlpool by immersing itself underwater. The kraken’s fury may be exaggerated in legend, but the beast itself is not totally fictitious.

Golems

Golems are popular in Jewish mythology and are represented as beings made of inanimate materials like clay or mud. They come into life to fulfil specific purposes. For example, in some legends, a golem forms to protect against antisemitic attacks. Also, legends state that golems are loyal and will dutifully obey exact and literal commands. As such, their builders had to be cautious about what they ordered them to accomplish.

Oni

Oni are people from Japanese mythology who were so evil that they transformed to demons in hell. Some were so terrible that they were changed while they were alive! These colossal, terrifying beasts with crimson or blue skin, horns, and tusks are the servants of hell. They punish evil people with violence and devour almost anything, even humans. While the tales and representations of Oni differ, they are usually deadly and strong antagonists.

Cyclops

Cyclops means ‘circle-eyed’ and has its origin in Greek mythology. They have a single eye, live in solitude and tend to sheep or goats. They are less popular than the ancient Greek gods. While many despise them for their lawlessness, cyclopes were responsible for elements like the thunderbolts of Zeus, the helmet of Hades, the trident of Poseidon, and the silver bow of Artemis.

Popular Mythological Creatures

Ogre

Ogre
Credit: Art Station

Ogres is a popular character that appears in folktales from all over the world. While Ogre is a French-origin term, the creature refers to a man-eating ancient Etruscan deity, Orcus. Many people are familiar with the Ogre because of the character Shrek. However, Shrek is not the usual ogre. Ogres are massive in size, taller, and heavy muscular. They have a lot of hair and a voracious appetite. Ogres are either stupid and dim-witted or aggressive. They are layered beings!

Leprechauns

Leprechauns are popular and easily identified beings. And especially if you ever eat a certain morning cereal! Leprechauns first appeared in mediaeval Irish tradition. However, they did not gain popularity until a later time. Leprechauns are lonely creatures who like mischief and practical pranks. They are smaller, tiny human-like entities. Surprisingly, folklore states that a leprechaun’s look and attire might vary in terms of area!

Gnomes

When we say gnome, the first thing that comes to mind is a garden gnome, isn’t it? The gnome is a tiny, cheery protector of flora and animals. In a way, this portrayal isn’t inaccurate. Gnomes are dwarf-like earth entities. They guarded buried treasures in legendary European tales. Mediaeval mythology portrayed gnomes as creatures that resemble tiny old men, with bent backs.

Goblins

Goblins first appeared in Germanic and British folk stories. Their skills, abilities, physical looks, and goals differ as per the narrative and purpose. The origins of goblin mythology are unknown. However, many tales and people refer to them as troublemakers with venom and avarice.

Popular Mythological Creatures

Fairies

Fairy Mythological Creature
Credit: Eric Edwards

The origin of fairies goes back to mediaeval romance novels in Old French times. These supernatural beings or spirits show their appearance in several myths, tales, and stories from ancient times. Even in present times, people believe in fairies. The majority of people believe fairies are tiny, winged, magical beings. Victorian art and mythology depict fairies as beings with wings. In folklore, fairies have magic and occasionally hitchhike on the back of a friendly bird.

Gorgon

Gorgons, like the legendary Medusa, are terrible creatures that can turn people to stone with a single look. They are popular characters in Greek mythology. The Gorgons’ appearance was an intriguing blend of beautiful and terrifying. Their most distinguishing characteristic is that they have real snakes instead of hair. Gorgon stories teach us not to be fooled by appearances alone.

Mermaid

Mermaids have a certain charm and have enchanted humans throughout history. Myths of mermaids as half-human and half-fish beings date back to ancient Babylon. Mermaids also find mention in Syrian, Polynesian, and Greek mythology. While some civilizations represent mermaids as lovely and romantic, other cultures portray mermaids as malevolent, capable of foretelling and delivering calamity. Irish legends portray mermaids as shape-shifting beings- from mermaid shape to human form and married humans too!

Aqrabuamelu

Aqrabuamelu, or the scorpion man, is a horrifying monster that arose in ancient Mesopotamia. It finds mention especially in Babylonian creation stories. These creatures are a cross between a scorpion and a man, with a scorpion’s body and a man’s face, torso, and arms. While Aqrabuamelu seem scary and are meant to wage battle against the gods, they are also portrayed as guardians and frequently warn visitors who may be in danger.

Popular Mythological Creatures

Minotaur

Minotaur Mythological Creature
Credit: Blog

The Minotaur is a Greek mythological character. The creature was the offspring of the queen of Crete and a majestic bull that descended from the sea. The Minotaur has a human body with a bull’s head and tail. King Minos was so terrified by this creature that he had the Labyrinth, a complex maze, created to confine him.

Centaurs

The centaur is another human-animal combination Greek mythology. Centaurs have a horse’s body with a human’s head and chest. While these creatures were commonly represented as savages, there was one centaur named Chiron or Cheiron who was wise. He was a teacher to numerous Greek mythological figures.

Fauns

Fauns or goat men were introduced into Roman mythology by the Greek Satyrs. Satyrs, on their part, were modelled after the deity Pan. Fauns have the goat’s legs and tail and upper torso of a human. In art forms, they have horns and pointy ears, and other goat-like characteristics. The fauns help lost travelers find their way.

Werewolf

The werewolf or lycanthrope has a rich history and finds mention in legends like Germanic pagan civilizations, Slavic Europe, and ancient Greek mythology. Werewolves are popular even today, despite their ancient beginnings! A werewolf is a human who can transform or shapeshift into a wolf. However, legends of this creature vary tradition-wise.

Loch Ness Monster

The tale of the Loch Ness Monster, also popular as Nessie, dates back to the Picts, an ancient Scottish ethnic group. There are several mythological aquatic monsters in Scottish mythology, but Nessie is by far the most popular. It resembles a plesiosaur, a water-dwelling dinosaur. The monster is commonly thought to be a myth as most photographs or eyewitness testimonies are frauds. Many people believe Nessie is still alive today!

Popular Mythological Creatures

Griffin

Griffin Mythological Creature
Credit: Kidzworld

Gryphon is a hybrid between a lion and an eagle. It is a strong and magnificent monster of Egyptian and Persian mythology. Historically, gryphons had a lion’s body, tail, and rear legs, and an eagle’s head, wings, and talons. However, art depicts gryphons as animals with lions’ front paws too. In folklore, gryphons guarded enormous treasures and riches.

Phoenix

The phoenix is a mythological eagle-like creature famed for bursting into flame at the end of its life. It again reappears as a new phoenix from the ashes (or rises from the ashes). The phoenix connects to sun worship both in ancient Egyptian and Classical myth. Myths portray it as a huge bird with gold and crimson plumage and could live for hundreds of years. The phoenix stands for immortality, eternity, and resurrection.

Basilisk

The basilisk is a serpentine creature popular in European folklore. It is similar to the Gorgons of Greek myth and can kill with a single glance. Basilisks, also popular as snake kings, appear in literature and art. These include works by Chaucer and Leonardo da Vinci, and religious writings like the Bible. Basilisks were thought to be killed by exposing them to the stink of weasels, gryphon tears, or witnessing their own reflection.

Unicorn

Unicorns are legendary creatures and finds mention as a horse or goat-like mammal with a single horn. People have been intrigued by these majestic animals from ancient mythology (like in Mesopotamia, India, Greece, and China) and even to the present era. Unicorns possess healing qualities. For example, if a person drinks from a unicorn horn cup, they will become immune to poisons.

Popular Mythological Creatures

Dragon

Dragon
Credit: Oriceran

Dragons are flying serpent-like monsters that appear in various stories from around the world. Despite its popularity, the genesis of the dragon tale remains a mystery. However, there are cultures that believe that dragons are not legendary at all, but rather massive creatures that have long since died out, similar to the dinosaurs.

Bigfoot

While many people believe that Bigfoot or Sasquatch is the missing link between apes and humans, Bigfoot or Sasquatch is actually a mythical figure. It is characterized as a huge, hairy humanoid monster of height around six to nine feet tall. There have been said sightings of Bigfoot in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, as per North American mythology.

Hydra

Hydra is another mythological creature from Greek mythology. It is a massive, snake-like monster with multiple heads, each of which can spew out acid. According to mythology, cutting off one of the Hydra’s heads causes two more to sprout in its place. The Hydra was known to frighten the villagers who lived in the Lerna marshes before his death at the hands of Hercules.

Zombie

Any person who loves horror films knows zombies. Zombies are popular not only in Hollywood but also in folklore. They first appeared in Haitian legend, with origins in the Haitian French name “zombi” or the Haitian Creole “zonbi”. It refers to a body reanimated by sorcery or other means. Zombie myths have evolved over time to reflect contemporary societal anxieties and circumstances. The bodies are frequently reanimated via viruses or other scientific procedures.

Popular Mythological Creatures

Chimera

Chimera
Credit: Pinterest

The Chimera was a legendary fire-breathing creature popular in Greek mythology. It is a lion fused with a goat and a serpent and connects to monsters like Cerberus. However, the term chimaera now designates any creature that is a mix of numerous species, typically with radically disparate components.

Pontianak

The Pontianak tale is one of the most terrifying ghost stories in the world. As per Indonesian and Malay mythology, it is a female ghost of a lady who died while pregnant. While the Pontianak is a pale monster with long dark hair and crimson eyes, she may turn into a lovely woman to prey on men. She emerges during the full moon and feasts on the body organs of her victims.

Banshee

The Banshee is a popular figure in Irish folklore. It is a female ghost who appears before the death of a loved one. She screams or weeps to warn family members of the impending tragedy. The physical appearance of the Banshee varies, from a one-foot-tall old woman to a young woman in the family who died at an early age.

Dybbuk

The Dybbuk has origins in Jewish folk stories. It is about a deceased person’s spirit or dislocated soul possessing a living human. This malicious spirit finds origins in Hebrew meaning “adhere” or “cling.” It is supposed to only leave its host until it has fulfilled some type of objective, allowing it to pass on.

Vampire

Vampires have taken several shapes over history and the years. While the origins of vampire myths are purely in Europe, the folk stories about vampiric monsters exist in almost every culture. These creatures characterize by their consumption of the vital essence of a person, and most commonly in the form of blood.

Bogeyman

True or not, but surely the bogeyman came into being solely to scare youngsters into good conduct. There are varieties of the bogeyman in every culture, with their origins as challenging. Also, the appearance of the boogeyman varies by culture. Somewhere, they appear with horns, claws, talons, or hooves. However, the bogeyman mythology, in its various incarnations, is an almost global myth.

Conclusion

Is it true that all mythological beings are made up? Well, we don’t know. But the characters are interesting! Let us know what other mythical characters you heard about.

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