All posts by Raymond Heil

About Raymond Heil

I'm a student researching monsters and cryptids from across the globe and exploring how these legends may have started.

Yara-Ma-Ya-Who

(Image: itnet1, “The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who”) The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who is a monster in the Dreamtime legends of Australia. It is described as a small, red creature with a large stomach, wide jaws, and sticky tentacles. The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who uses its tentacles to suspend itself in the branches of a tree, waiting for someone to pass underneath. When an unsuspecting child comes […]

Huldrefolk

(Image: Hofberg 169) In Norse legend, the Huldra or Huldrer is a type of troll that takes the form of an attractive young person. The Huldra is a female troll, the Huldrer a male one, and Huldre or Huldrefolk covers the entire race of trolls. They look exactly like normal people, except for the long cow tails […]

Kappa

(Image: “Kappa from Bakemono no e” CC BY-SA 4.0/Cropped) The Kappa, or river child, is a Japanese water monster. Living in any body of water, these small, green monkey-like monsters pulled in those who got too close to the water. They swam using their webbed hands, and the creatures were much stronger than they looked. Kappas […]

Kami

(Image: “Shin Yoshiwara ōnamazu yurai”) The Japanese Kami is a gigantic, catfish-like creature that lived in the great ocean and underneath the islands of Japan. When the fish moved, it would cause waves to crest on the shores, and when it swam it caused horrible storms and waves. The great creature was sometimes said to make […]

Grassland Monster

(Image: Own Work) The Grassland Monster lived in the windy plains of South Africa. It had only one half of a human body, with monstrously long teeth and limbs, and where the other half of its body should be was dry grass waving in the wind. The monster prowled the grasslands during the day, stealing food […]

Kicking Monster

(Image: Hawk 21) The Kicking Monster, or The Monster Who Kicks People Down the Cliff, is a Navajo tale, and it was one of the first monsters that the Hero Twins slew in their many adventures. The Kicking Monster stood on the highest point of the steep, red sandstone cliffs of Wild Horse Mesa in Mesa […]

Leshy

(Image: “Leshy (1906)”) The leshy or leshii is a Russian forest being. Usually standing as tall as the trees in its forest, the leshy can also shapeshift to become as small as a blade of grass. It knows all of the noises of the forest and can imitate them perfectly, and so is able to […]

Raw Gums (Graphic Description)

A raw gums in a cradleboard (Image: Own work) The Raw Gums, originating from the legends of the Arapaho Native Americans, was a baby monster. When one is born from unknowing human parents, it does not eat and seems to sleep all hours of the day. However, at night, the baby creeps out without its parents knowing, travels to […]

Leviathan

(Image: Doré) In the mythology and scriptures of the Hebrew and Christian traditions, the Leviathan or Livjatan is a gigantic, primordial creature. Its thick hide makes it invulnerable to almost all weapons and projectiles, and it lived in the ocean, where its anger caused the sea to boil and fish to float up. Alternately, the Leviathan […]

Keen Keeng

(Image: Shadowulf1, “Keen Keeng”) The keen keengs of Australian Dreamtime mythology were gigantic humans who flew through the skies. Descending from primordial giants, the keen keengs had two fingers and a thumb on each hand, with ribbed, bat-like wings extending from their thumb down their arm. They lived in high mountain caves, guarding their angry […]

The Great Horned Beast

(Image: Hawk 25) The Great Horned Beast is a Navajo legend, passed down through the generations as an oral tale. The gigantic creature had two horns on its forehead and one on its nose, as well as armored plates similar to a turtle’s shell to protect its body, with thick fur underneath. The beast caused earthquakes when […]

The Rainbow Bird

(Image: “Animated Rainbow Phoenix 3D Model”) Originating from Tanzania, the rainbow bird or magical bird is a gigantic fowl with iridescent feathers of every color. It is not beneficent towards humans, usually stealing their crops and food reserves and attacking their livestock to feed itself. The bird can carry immense loads, but its most interesting […]

Azeman

(Image: “The Azeman Vampire”) Originating in Suriname, the azeman almost always takes the form of an alluring female. At night, the azeman puts on a shed-dried animal skin and becomes a type of vampire, attacking her friends and neighbors. There are also several distinct ways to catch an azeman, including laying a broom across the […]

Burach Bhadi

(Image: Own work) A Scottish monster, the burach bhadi or wizard’s shackle is a giant leech with nine eyes on top of its head. Living in shallow, still pools and lochs, it waited for a person or animal to step into the water and attached to their legs, soon pulling them under. The burach bhadi […]

Grindylow

(Image: chip) Hailing from Yorkshire, England, the grindylow is vaguely humanoid with horribly long arms and fingers. Living in deep marshes, it waits for unwary children to wander by and pulls them into the water, drowning and eating them. It was sometimes a scaled, fishlike creature, but other times it had fur. The grindylow also sometimes preys […]

Lake Monster (Alaskan)

(Image: Norman 241) The Alaskan lake monster is most often a giant fish, originating from the stories of the Gwich’in people. It eats all of the fish in its lake and often lures game in to be swallowed by a whirlpool, causing famine in any nearby settlements. Eventually, the residents attempt to drive the fish […]

Ereshigal

(Image: Own work) Not to be confused with Ereshkigal, the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld, the ereshigal is a hybrid monster from Sumerian mythology. Based on a cuneiform text, the creature had the body of a fish, the hindquarters and legs of a dog, the upper body of a woman, and the head of a young […]

Phoenix

(Image: Bertuch) The phoenix is a supernatural bird found in the folklore of Europe and the Middle East. It was the size of an eagle, with the shape of a pheasant and red-purple plumage. Its name is derived from the Greek word for purple. It was said to inhabit Persia, India, Ethiopia, and Arabia. Although its ability to […]

Fearsome Critter

(Image: Blade14) Early American lumberjacks invented the stories of the fearsome critters. These were creatures that often ruined cutting sessions, or played tricks on loggers (Rose 119). Their names often gave some insight into what sort of mischief they caused, such as the Teakettler, which makes the noise of a teakettle outside (Rose 355). The fearsome critters […]

Giant (Alaskan)

(Image: “The Giantess”) Alaskan Giants, specifically those in the stories of the Point Hope and Netsilik Eskimo, seem to be largely peaceful or even beneficial, despite their great size. They are about as afraid of humans as humans are of them, and prefer to hunt whales and fish and to stay out of human affairs. They […]

Kukuweaq (Ten-Legged Polar Bear)

(Image: Shadowulf1, “Kukuweaq”) Kukuweaq is a ten-legged polar bear in the legends of the Barrow Inuit. Living in a large glacier wider at the top than the bottom, it hunts seals and four-legged polar bears and keeps the leftovers in a frigid pool of water in the glacier. Based on one description, the kukuweaq may be […]

The Mother of Sea Beasts

(Image: Norman 213) A tale of the Netsilik Inuit, the mother of the sea beasts was once a young girl that nobody in the tribe cared about. When the tribe began boating to a new island to look for better hunting grounds, the girl was pushed off of the raft. As she tried to pull herself back […]

The Snake with Seven Heads

(Image: “Hydra Silhouette”) An African folktale, the snake with seven heads is a woman’s husband, transformed by a witch for some perceived treachery. In most stories, the wife somehow disrespects the witch by breaking a promise, although sometimes it is the husband who disrespects the witch. The witch retaliates by cursing the husband, causing him to […]

The Flying Fish

(Image: Paré 124) The Flying Fish was the name given to a sea monster that was said to have washed up three miles onshore of Northeast Italy, between the cities of Venice and Ravenna (Rose 124). It was described as being roughly five feet long and ten feet wide (Paré 123-124), with a large head and […]

Giant (African)

(Image: Numah) In African mythology, God created giants before all other creatures, later sizing the idea down with humans. They were large enough to use elephant hides as water skins and to eat entire cows for a single meal. These giants were very possessive of water, needing a lot of it, and many human warriors […]

Djinn

(Image: Perkins 143) Mainly found in the legends of Islam but sometimes appearing in the stories of other cultures, the Djinn are powerful elemental spirits created by Allah before their eventual rebellion in favor of chaos. They have shapeshifting abilities, preferring a gigantic human form but able to become invisible or change their bodies on […]

Rainbow Serpent

(Image: Fairchild, CC BY-SA 3.0/Cropped) The rainbow serpent is a great snake in the legends of Central and West Africa, Australia, and Haiti, but it is most prevalent in the Dreamtime legends of Australia. It is sometimes represented as a gigantic python with rainbow-colored scales, red and yellow stripes down its body, or a celestial blue hue, […]

Western Dragon

(Image: Perkins 97) The dragon of the western hemisphere is very different from those of the East. Found mainly in the stories of Europe and the Americas, it is described as a sort of giant lizard, with sharp claws and large bat-like wings to help it fly. These dragons often have the ability to breathe […]

Eastern Dragon

(Image: Gentry) The dragons of the East are varied but can be divided into those of Mesopotamia and Egypt and those of China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Egyptian and Mesopotamian dragons were often sea creatures, malevolent beings that found pleasure in wrecking trading ships and drowning the sailors within. They were all gigantic, with scales […]

Kelpie

(Image: Kittlesen, “Nøkken as a Horse”) A Scottish sea creature, the kelpie or kelpy lives in lochs, fjords, and other deep inlets. It was able to shapeshift into the form of an old man, a young boy, or a strong horse, each form able to fool the unwary passerby in its own way. For instance, a […]

Rakshasi (Devil)

(Image: Upadhya, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/Cropped) Indian ogresses, or rakshasi, are cunning and strong, invulnerable to most attacks. With shapeshifting abilities, they often appear as beautiful women to trick unlucky men into marrying them. A rakshasi has an unquenchable thirst for blood and raw meat, leading to tricked husbands realizing that their wife is a […]

Chupacabra

(Image: Hill) The word Chupacabra made up of the Spanish words chupar (to suck) and cabra (goat), is a Latin American tale of a vampiric creature that drains the blood from livestock. Spread all over Latin America, it has had the most impact in Costa Rica (Hill). The Chupacabra was described as either a reptilian kangaroo with red […]

Thunderbird

(Image: “Haida double thunderbird 1880.”) The Thunderbird is a great, celestial bird, often associated with rain and storms, found in Native American legends all over North America. The beating of its gigantic wings produces the sound of thunder, and the glance of its shining eyes produces lightning (Rose 359). Although it has different food sources […]

Wendigo

(Image: Melo) A Native American legend, the wendigo, windigo, or wiendigo has three distinct forms across multiple tribes. First, the wendigo is a lost hunter who ate human flesh during a hard winter and transformed into a monster in the tales of the Algonquin people. In the region of Ontario, Canada, it is an aquatic creature with the […]

Giant (European)

(Image: Perkins 155) The European giant is described as a humongous creature, from four to twenty times the height of a person (Rose 136-139). Unlike the giants of several other cultures, the European giant is most often portrayed as a menace to the people (Rose 138). It often eats precious livestock, stomps crops, and abducts citizens. […]

Wulgaru

(Image: itnet1, “The Wulgaru”) The wulgaru is an Australian monster. It is described as a large creature made of wood, straw, and stone, with large rocks for eyes and teeth. After being animated by a powerful magician, a wulgaru serves for a time, until it eventually rebels and kills its creator. Although it looks human from […]

Were-animal

(Image: Perkins 210). Were-creatures are any human who, either by their own will or someone else’s, become an animal on certain nights (Clarkson 202-206). Although the most commonly known in popular culture is the were-wolf, many other variations, such as the vicious were-dog of Papua New Guinea with a will of its own to kill and […]

Umibōzu

(Image: Kuniyoshi) Japanese sea devils sometimes wash up on shore after a storm or a fight between the demons that live underwater (Tyler 91-92). Sometimes they are simply found on the beach, but mostly they come out of a wrecked ship that has been beached in a storm. They are eight or nine feet tall, with […]

Bunyip

(Image: Macfarlane) The Bunyip is a legend first conceived by the Native Australians. It is said to be a huge, black-haired, creature with long, clawed limbs. It lives in any stagnant, inland body of water, where it raises its young on the bodies of its victims. If these baby bunyips somehow come into the possession of humans, […]

Sphinx

(Image: Housen, licensed under CC BY 3.0/Cropped) Sphinxes existed in the mythology of Egypt, the Middle East, and Greece. Although the most well-known sphinx is undoubtedly the great sandstone statue in Egypt, depicted with the body of a lion and head of a pharaoh (Androsphinx), some variants exist, such as one with the head of a […]

Kitsune

(Image: “Kitsune”) A famous Japanese legend, the Kitsune is a fox who can turn into a human, or vice versa, among other powers of illusion. It is almost impossible to tell a kitsune from a normal human unless they let some aspect of the fox show through, such as ears or a tail (Don 60-66). Kitsune […]

Witch (Latin American)

(Image: Wick) Much like those of other continents, Latin American witches are women with a connection to great power and evil. Specifically, Latin American witches have a bond with the devil. They can shapeshift into animals, such as coyotes or birds of prey (Bierhorst 64-65), and often wield powerful magic against those who oppose them. […]

Nisse

(Image: Kittlesen, “Dobbin and the Goblin”) A Nisse, also known as a farm spirit, is a Norwegian troll that lives at a farm. It does work for the owners of the farm, such as feeding the horses or cleaning up after meals, but it requires that it be given a bowl of porridge with butter, or […]

Baba Yaga

(Image: Bilibin) From a Russian folktale, the Baba Yaga is an old crone focused on taking the life force of those more beautiful than her. Often, a Baba Yaga has several magical servants ready to help her with this task, although she does not treat them well and they are quick to rebel if someone might […]

Brahmarakshasa / Brahmin Rakshasa

(Image: Chaitnyags, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0/Cropped) Coming from the Tamil words Brahmin and Rakshas, which mean a person of the upper class and a demon respectively, a brahmarakshasa is a person of great power who committed great sins during his or her life and has been reincarnated as a demon. A brahmarakshasa may have hoarded money and knowledge or […]

The Guardian of the Pool

(Image: Foresman) Originating from Central Africa, the Guardian of the Pool is a giant, silver water snake with healing powers. The guardian lives at the bottom of a whirlpool in a fast river. People come to it for help with diseases without knowing that it is a snake, and are scared away by it before […]

Golem

(Image: “The Golem”) The golem, originating from Judaism, is an earthen giant that follows commands. According to Jewish stories, a golem can be created by chanting the true name of God over a clay giant, by writing the word “emet” or “truth” on the golem’s head, or by putting a piece of parchment with God’s […]

Changeling

(Image: Davies) A changeling is a false baby, planted by malevolent fairies to replace a human child. the changeling looks similar to the human child who was abducted, but it is deformed and wicked (Yolen 50; Asala 128-130). Although a changeling appears as a young child, it is actually an adult fairy with thousands of years of […]

Great Flying Head

(Image: itnet1, “The Great Flying Head”) The Great Flying Head is a creature first told of by the Iroquois. According to legend, it is “four times as tall as the tallest man,” with gigantic wings growing from the sides of its head. Its mouth is full of fangs rather than teeth so that it can devour […]

Barguest / Barghest

(Image: “Night of the Black Wolf”) A barguest, or barghest, is typically a giant, demonic black dog, and it originates roughly from Northern England. Some stories describe it as having horns or red eyes, and one of the more common variants describe it as a large, black bear. In many stories, it is wrapped in chains […]