Yup, here it is, my very own Bestiary, chock full of marvelous creatures of myth and legend! I'm hoping to get pictures of and descriptions for as many mythical monsters as possible. So, to that end, I'd happily post any pictures or descriptions that you people would care to send to me. Subject to certain limitations, of course:
1) Space here on Keenspace is technically unlimited but I don't want to abuse my host's generosity. This is, afterall, supposed to be a comics server, not a "Random gallery of whatever the hell you happen to be oddly obsessed with" server. So I'm limiting it to one pic per monster. If someone else beat you to whatever monster you wanted to draw, tough. The only exception might be the pictures that I draw myself. I might be willing to replace them with guest pictures, but, if I bothered to post my own pics, it's a pretty good bet that they're pics that I'm especially proud of and that I like to have them there. So while it's not a guarantee, I'm willing to look at anything sent to me.
2) I'm not offering any money or art or anything in exchange for this. I'll credit you for the pic or info, of course, and put up your email address or web link if you want. Otherwise, all you get is the knowledge that you've made a lonely man very happy.
3) If you know of a monster that I don't have listed here, let me know (I'll credit you for the info). Likewise, if you see a mistake or omission here, set me straight and I'll credit you again. See what a nice guy I am?
4) My definition of monsters includes, but is not limited to, humanoids (Giants, trolls, ogres, etc.), little people (Dwarves, elves, leprachauns, etc.), half-human animals (Centaurs, satyrs, mermaids, etc.), monstrous plants (Upas tree, barometz, etc.), monsters of urban legend (Phantom clowns, men in black, Hopkinsville goblins, etc.), cryptozoological creatures that haven't been confirmed yet (Bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, Caddy, etc.), the supernatural (Ghosts, vampires, wraiths, etc.), shapeshifters ( Kitsune, werewolves, etc.), Nursery bogles (Baba Yaga, Black Annis, Jenny Greenteeth, etc.), and demons (Judeo-Christian demons, Jinn, Rakshasha, etc.). Okay, pretty much anything that I don't specifically forbid is fair game. I'm not picky.
5) It's probably faster to list all the things I don't count as monsters. I won't include creatures from movies or literature. That means no Frankensteins, no Great Old Ones, and no hobbits. I do include orcs because, although Tolkein pretty much created the orc as we know it today, he based the species (loosely) on a pre-existing mythical monster. Granted, the traditional orc was a sea monster (That's where we get the word "orca" from. See, kids, told you this would be educational!) not a little goblin critter, but still. I also do not include gods - even "monstrous" gods like Anubis or Thoth.
6) This is an index of monsters not mythology. Don't send me anything about Gilgamesh or Ulysses because I don't care. Unless you're sending me stuff about the monsters they fought. Then I do care. A lot.
That said, on to the monsters!
Abatwa- One of the little peoples of Africa was the Abatwa. Abatwa were probably the smallest of all little people. They were so small that they could ride on ants! Like the Wakonyingo, they were very self-conscious about this. When they spoke with humans, which they often did, the human had to be careful to pretend that they were the same size. If the Abatwa became offended, he might shoot the human with tiny poison arrows. In general, though, Abatwa were helpful creatures who liked to aid humans by giving them good advice.
Abiku- West African children were always in danger from the Abiku. The abiku were shapeless, cloud-like beings. Having no bodies, and thus no stomachs, they were always hungry. The only way for them to get any food was to possess a child and 'steal' all the food that it ate. African parents always had to watch their children closely. If they started losing weight all of a sudden, it was obvious that they were possessed by an abiku. The abiku could only be driven out by making cuts in the child's skin and rubbing them with pepper, or sometimes by just ringing bells. The Abiku hated pain and bell-ringing, and would be forced to leave the child's body.
Acheri-The acheri were evil spirits of several North American Indian tribes. They looked like thin girls with gray skin, and they liked to cause misfortune and misery for humans. They especially liked to hurt children, but couldn't hurt anyone wearing red. Knowing this, Indian mothers always made sure that their children wore some of this color.
Ahuizotl- All South American fishermen once feared Ahuizotl, guardian of the lake. No one ever saw Ahuizotl, but he is thought to look something like a sea serpent. Ahuizotl's job was to guard the lake, and the fish. Thus he had a very low opinion of fishermen, and often tried to sink their boats. Luckily, fishermen figured out a way to trick Ahuizotl. When one pulled his nets in, he always threw a few fish back. Ahuizotl apparently couldn't count too well, and assumed that all the fish had been thrown back. Sometimes Ahuizotl would grab people walking on shore with his tail, which was easily recognized as it had a hand at its end. The next day the body would wash ashore. No one is quite sure why Ahuizotl did this. He just didn't seem to like people.
Aigamuchab- A race of fanged African giants. They are cannibals, but a resourceful man can escape their grasp by throwing tobacco into their eyes, which incidentally, are located on the insteps of their feet.
Al -A race little, hairy, ape-like people of Russia.
Amphisbaena- snake with a head at each end. Reported by Pliny as living in India.
Amun- The Devourer. An Eygptian monster with the head of a crocodile, the fore quarters of a lion, and the hind quarters of a hippopotomus. Ate those souls which did not qualify for eternal life.
Ankou-Old British figure of death. The Ankou often appeared as a gaunt, skeletal figure driving an old, battered cart, drawn by a similarly scrawny horse. The ankou was usually accompanyed by two robed, hooded figures, one walking on either side of the cart. In other instances, the description of the Ankou was less elaborate, amking him look more like our modern idea of the Grim Reaper.
Apukallu- A creature with the body of a fish and the legs of a man. They had two heads, one resembling a human, the other resembling a fish. An Apukallu named Oannes taught the Sumerians all about agriculture, industry, and the arts. Returned to the water every night and slept there.
Aswang- Generic term for any sort of monster or sorceror in the Philippines. Most commonly used to refer to the Mananagal. Look like women during the day. At night, an aswang grows a pair of bat-like wings and separates its upper torso from its lower torso. It then flies off, intestines trailing, in search of food. The legs and lower torso are hidden in the bushes till morning when the two halves must reconnect or die. Pouring salt or vinegar on the exposed innards of the lower torso will prevent reconnection. The aswang has a very long tongue which it inserts into the orifices of sleepers in order to suck out their internal organs. It especially likes livers, intestines, and unborn fetuses. The aswang will drool at the sight of a pregnant woman.
Ax handle hound-Dog that eats ax handles
Baku- benevolent tapir-like creature of Japan. Eats dreams, especially nightmares.
Bannik- Russian spirit of the bath house, the bannik's touch can foretell the future. If a bather feel a light, feathery touch on his back, good times are ahead. If the bannik scratches him, however, misfortune lies in wait.
Banshee-Irish spirit. Appears as an ancient old woman. Its howls foretell a death in the family. Most Irish clans have their own family banshee.
Barometz- Pliny the Elder was a renowned Roman naturalist and author. Today we can safely say that he got just about everything wrong. His observations, collected in his book,'Historia Naturalius'15, include such animals as unicorn birds and snakes with heads at each end. One of Pliny's most interesting report was on the barometz, or vegetable lamb. Actually, this was not an animal, but a plant. Pliny claimed that this plant grew living sheep as fruit. Unfortunately, these sheep, being rooted to the ground, found it very difficult to either find food or escape predators. Thus they didn't live long.
Basilisk- Every so often, when the stars are in the correct positions, a rooster will lay an egg. This egg is then incubated for a period of time by either a toad or snake. Eventually, it hatches into a basilisk1. This European monster was a small creature resembling a chicken with a snake's head and tail2. Although it looked quite harmless, it was, in reality, one of the most deadly monsters in the world. The touch of a basilisk would kill animals, melt stone, and cause plants to wither. Because of this, every basilisk lived alone in a self-created desert. Even worse than this, anyone that so much as looked at a basilisk would die. As if this wasn't bad enough, a basilisk could also breathe fire. With all these powers, one would think that these monsters would soon wipe out everything. Luckily, this is not so, due to the basilisk's two enemies. One of these is, of all things, the lowly weasel, which is immune to the powers of the basilisk. The other is the cock, its crow being fatal to the basilisk. However, these are not the only ways to kill a basilisk, as the following story shows. Once upon a time there was a poor farmer who lived in an old shack, on the outskirts of a village, with his daughter and his chickens. One day the farmer noticed that his rooster was acting oddly. Even so the farmer did not expect it to lay an egg. He was even more surprised when a basilisk hatched out of it. The newborn basilisk lost no time getting started on its reign of terror. The desperate villagers sent out for a knight to solve the problem. Once he was briefed on the situation, the knight blindfolded himself and his horse, and rode out to find the monster. After a while, he met the basilisk, and lanced it, but its blood was so poisonous that both the knight and his horse died from coming in contact with it. The basilisk, meanwhile, continued to devastate the land. Finally, the farmer and his daughter decided to consult a local wise man. After listening to their problem, he advised them to place a large mirror in a place where the basilisk could see it. They did so, and the basilisk died upon seeing its reflection3. It just goes to show that big problems sometimes have amazingly simple solutions.
Bay-kok -Native American figure of Death, the bay-kok remembles a human skeleton covered by a thin, transparent layer of skin. I think it's Chippewa but I'll have to look it up again to be sure. The bay-Kok only attacked warriors, who could hear it sapproach by the rattling of its bones.
Behemouth-Enormous Animal mentioned in the Bible. Fought the Leviathan, a monstrous Sea Serpent. Probably based on an account of an attack beween a hippo and a crocodile.
Big Foot -North American Ape-like Creature. May be a missing link of some sort.
Billdad-Beaver of North America that slaps passing fish unconsious with its tail.
Black Annis-Children in England knew better than to explore the moors at night for that was when Black Annis was about. Black Annis was an old, one-eyed, blue-skinned, sharp-clawed hag. She had two permanent homes, an ancient oak tree and a cave, known as 'Black Annis' Bower', in the hills around Leichester, but she was rarely at home. She usually wandered the countryside looking for tasty children. If she couldn't find any, she made do with sheep and deer. Whenever someone spotted Black Annis in the neighborhood, a party was immediately organized to drive her away. Somehow Black Annis always got wind of this operation, and moved on, leaving nothing but a pile of old bones.
Black Dog (Padfoot, Striker, Bargest, Black Shuck) -Goblin dog of England. Black dogs only come out at night and anyone who get s a clear look at one will be dead by morning. hose that only get a glimpse will linger on for a few months. Certain Varieties have backwards-pointing feet.
Blemmyra-Race of African cannibals with no heads and faces on their chests
Bodach- In Scotland, children always went to bed the first time their parents told them to. If they didn't a bodach might come down the chimney, and tease them all night. The bodach was a wizened old man who lived in the chimney, listening for naughty kids. Some children, however, learned that if salt were put on the fireplace, the bodach would stay away. These kids were then able to misbehave all they wanted, much to their parents' dismay.
Bogart -Scottish goblin
Boogie Man -The guy that lives under the bed.
Bouncer fish -A round, North-American fish capable of bouncing on water
Bugbear - Nasty little goblin dog, mostly just bothersome. Probably English in origin, although variations are found throughout Europe. (Picture by Kitsune25)
Bunyip- Australian water monster.
The Cactus Cat had thorny hair, especially exaggerated on its ears. Its tail was branched. Its front legs were equipped with savage, sharp blades of bone, which it used to slash open the giant saguaro cacti to get at the sap within. The cactus sap fermented, the cat then drank it and became intoxicated, and then ran off uttering horrible screams. (Donated by Dan Hopkins)
Caddy - A sea monster that lurks in the waters off the Pacific Nothwest coast of North America, the Cadborosaurus (so named by Victoria, British Columbia newspaper editor Archie Willis in the early 30's ) is said to resemble an enormous snake. The monster has been reported everywhere from Oregon to Alaska, but is most commonly spotted in the the inland waters around Vancouver Island and northern Olympic Peninsula. Vancouver biologist Dr. Edward L. Bousfield and Dr. Paul H. Leblond, a professor of oceanography at the University of British Columbia have created a composite discription of the creature based on numerous sightings, describing it as a serpentine creature ranging somewhere from 5 to 15 meters in length with a camel-like head, an elongated neck, a series of "humps" down its back, and a "fluked" tail. It is said to be a very fast swimmer, capable of speeds up to 40 knots at the surface. (Thanks to Brentos for the info!)
Catoblepas -African beast with a deadly gaze.
Caladrius -Medieval bird with the ability to draw sickness out of a human and into itself. It will then fly towards the sun to dispose of the illness (?). If a caladrius looks at a sick person, that person will recover, but if it turns its back, well, then he's as good as dead.
Celofay- A North American animal with both fur and feathers
Cereberus-The enormous three-headed demon dog that guarded Hades in Greek and Roman mythology. Hercules defeated him in a wrestling match and brought him to the surface as one of his twelve labors but later returned him to his post. (Picture by Brentos)
Champ- lake monster of Lake Champlain
Changeling -Elf child left in place of a kidnapped human child.
Chimera- Monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. Killed by Bellephron
Chupacabra (Goat Sucker)-Monster of Puerto Rico. Also seen in Florida. Looks similar to the Dover Demon. Kills goats and other farm animals and sucks their blood.
Clayk (Barnacle Goose)
Clothes line snake
Cockatrice- See Basilisk
Cross feather Snee- Bird of North America that shoots beams of light from its eyes.
Cyclops- One eyed giant
Devil Jack Blue-Diamond Fish -Fish with steel scales (N.America)
Dog Mosquito of Mexico- A mosquito that bays at the moon.
Dogai - The Dogai are a breed of huge-eared witch that lives in the wilds of Russia. Although proficient in magic, dogai are easily repelled by iron. Russian parents are advised to keep some of the metal on hand in their child's nursery as dogai are fond of kidnapping sleeping infants. (Picture by Brentos)
Domovoi -Benevolent Russian House spirit. Every Russian household was once watched over by a domovoi. Domovoi hid in the shadows during the day, but at night he came out to make sure that everthing was in perfect order. He tried to avoid being seen, but people sometimes caught a glimpse of him. Usually, they mistook him for a cat, dog, bundle of hay, or dust ball. He actually looked like a very small man covered with hair. People used to listen for Domovoi during the night. If they heard him laughing, it meant that they would have good luck in the future. If they heard him moaning or sighing, it meant bad luck. If he was weeping, it meant that someone they knew would die shortly.
Doppelganger -one's exact double.
Dover Demon -alien being seen near Dover. Duh.
Dragon - Big scaly lizard thing, you know the drill. (Picture by Kitsune25)
Duppy -A sort of zombie.
Elf-Magical fairy people from a parallel dimension of some sort known by various names. Sometimes mischievous, sometimes malevolent, the elves are ruled by the darkly beautiful Erlking, who likes to kidnap human children, raising them as his own while leaving deformed 'changlings' in their place. Elves will try to tempt humans into tasting their magical fairy food; any human foolish enough to do so will find it so delicious that they will be unable to stomach anything else afterwards. Elves, being nasty little buggers, rarely oblige humans with a second taste, so such unfortunates are doomed to starvation.
Elvetrischer- Undiscovered bird of Southern Germany. Locals often organize Elvetritscher hunts which include drinking a lot of beer.
Fates- Also gray women.
Fefnir- A dragon killed by German hero Siegfried. Guarded the cloak of invisibility
Fenrir- Giant wolf that, according to Norse legend, will eat the sun on Doomsday
Flying Hawk fish
Fomorian -Race of misshapen giants that once ruled Ireland.
Firedrake - Subspecies of European dragon, noted for its ability to breathe fire. (Picture by Kitsune25)
Gabriel's Ratchets- See Wild Hunt.
Gally-wampus - This animal was so large that its legs got tired holding it up all the time. Luckily, it was equipped with several 'hooks' on its tail. When its legs became tired, he simply hung himself on a tree branch by his tail.
Gargoyle- Generic term for any demon or monster carved in stone. (Picture by Kitsune25)
Ghost- A person usually becomes a ghost either because they suffered some sort of betrayal, the shock of which prevents them from resting, or because they themselves betrayed someone. Occasionally, a ghost may appear to warn one of its still living friends of impending disaster. Thus if you should recognize a ghost, take warning! However, if a ghost appears to have taken up permanent residence on this side, exorcism is probably the most humane, and most effective, solution.
Goofang -North-American fish that swims backwards. Related to Goofus Bird.
Goofus Bird- The goofus bird flew backwards because it didn't care where it was going as long as it knew where it had been.
Gorgon-1)Medusa 2)A scaly ox-like animal of Africa. It's gaze is fatal.
Grant- A coal-black horse with glowing red eyes. It walked on its hind legs and was always chased by a pack of spectral hounds
Grendel- Water monster slain by Danish hero Beowolf. Grendel probably resembled an ogre of some sort. In many representations, he appears as a huge hairy, horned man. Afterwards, Grendel's mother (?) came seeking revenge for her son's death.
Gremlin - Little goblins that cause machines to break down. First discovered during WW1 by British airman Prune. (Picture by Brentos)
Grunch-Little furry monsters that attack parked cars. Monster of Lover's Lane.
Gurrangatch- Giant monster fish of Australia's dreamtime.
Hairy Hands- Embodiment of primal forces on Dartmoor moor
Haut Beast - sloth
Hide - A giant monster octopus found in Chile, the hide is distinguishable by its four huge central eyes. Oh, yeah, and the hundreds of smaller eyes that line its tentacles.
Hide-Behind - North American Fearsome critter that hinds behind trees to surprise woodsmen
Hopkinsville Goblin (Kelly's little man)
Hoop snake- snake that bites its own tail inorder to form a 'hoop' and roll around.
Hyena Man- African monsters that appear human but have hyena snouts on the back of their heads
Igopogo- Another lake monster
Incubus -Dream demons that seduce women in their sleep.
Jackalope -NA jack rabbit with antelope antlers
Jenny Greenteeth-A nursery bogey, a horrible mossy hag that dwells in ponds, bogs and other bodies of stagnant water. Jenny Greenteeth especially loves to drown children who wander to close to the water's edge.
Jenny Haniver- False monster made out of a dried sting ray
Jimmy Squarefoot- Docile goblin with the head of a pig that haunts the Isle of Man
Joint Snake - NA Snake capable of breaking into pieces and reforming
Hydra-many headed dragon, which would grow two heads for every one that was cut off. One head, however, was immortal and could not be killed. Hercules defeated the hydra by cutting off all its mortal heads and quickly sealing the wounds with a torch before they could regenerate. He then trapped the immortal head beneath a huge boulder. The octopus is said to have been the model for this monster.
Kamaitachi - Also called sickle weasels, Kamaitachi hail from Japan. They are mildly evil whirlwind demons who move too fast to be seen. (An amusing part of the legend is how an creature that can't be seen is known to be a type of weasel. Since nobody has ever seen one, they must move too fast to be seen; since the only animal that can move too fast to be seen is a weasel, they must look like weasels.) Various legends say they carry sickle blades, or have sickle-like teeth or claws, or have sickles on their bodies. They work in teams of three: the first trips a victim, the second causes a small cut on the victim, and the third puts medicine on the wound so it won't bleed or get infected. They cause the unexplained bloodless cuts that people sometimes get in very high winds. References would be the anime/manga series "Ushio & Tora", or a handful of online sources. (Donated by Eric A. Schwartz)
Kappa-Japanese water sprite. The kappa has a depression in the top of its head, which, when filled with water, gives it awesome strength. Kappas are fond of cucumbers but are afraid of monkies.
Kapri- Demon of the Philippines. Appears as a large black man smoking a cigar.
Karkadann- wolf-like monster of persia. Looked like a wolf with a single, spiraled horn growing from its forehead. Calmed by the song of the ringdove.
Kelpie - Scottish lakes were often inhabited by kelpies. A kelpie usually appeared as a fine, white horse. It would stand by a road going past his lake, waiting for travelers to come by. If a person came by, and tried to ride the strong horse he saw, he was in for an unpleasant surprise. The kelpie took off so fast that the rider could do nothing but hang on for dear life. The kelpie would run around for a while, but, when it tired of the game, it plunged back into the lake. The frightened rider was left floating in the middle of a pond. If that person was smart, he'd bring his own saddle next time. If you replaced a kelpie's saddle with one of your own, the kelpie was forced to obey you. Still, you shouldn't force it to work too long or hard, or it might curse you and your descendants forever16.
Kinkle-snifter- little people who live in the beards of old men
Kirin - Oriental unicorn
Kitsune - Japanese fox spirit
Kobold- Benevolent German house spirit.
Kornwolf- German harvest spirit, a spectral wolf that constantly retreats through the wheat fields before the thrashing scythes of the harvesters until it is trapped in the very last leaf. Some communities ritualistically sacrifice this leaf to ensure a fruitful harvest for the next year.
Kraken-Giant Squid from the northern seas.
Kushtaka (also called Gageets by the Haida tribe) - Kushtaka are from the Tlingit, although most of the Northwest Coast Indians have similar creatures. Kushtaka were people who had been turned into otters, by other otters or kushtaka, in order to rescue them from drowning at sea or dying from exposure if lost in the wilderness. However, as otters (and kushtaka) get bored easily, they will often take the appearance of deceased relatives or friends in order to lure people into drowning or getting lost in the woods, so that they will have someone to save. They can disappear at will, and change appearances at will, although they will always have sharp otter fangs and dark brown otter eyes with no whites. Although they are immune to the elements, and fearsomely powerful at magic, some legends say they are harmed by metal, and some say they do protect actual relatives. References would be "hamans and Kushtakas" by Mary Giraudo-Beck, and "Raven Stole the Moon" by Garth Stein. (Donated by Eric A. Scwartz)
Lamia-lion-like female beast that devours its own young
Leap-Upon -Generic name for any evil spirit that jumps night travelers and rides them like horses until dawn breaks or the traveler dies of exhaustion, whichever comes first.
Leathery Gumberoo (Terrashot)
Leshy - Every central European forest once had a leshy to guard it. A leshy looked like a green man with a long, green beard, and long, green hair. Leshies, unlike most forest spirits, were not evil. Most of the time they helped lost people find their way out of the forest. If someone offended a leshy, however, he could make him dance through the woods until he died from exhaustion. If you had reason to suspect that you had offended a leshy, you had only to wear your shoes and clothes backwards. If you did this, the leshy would not know whether you were coming or going, and forget to cast his 'dancing' spell. A leshy's size depended on his distance from the forest: At the forest's center he was as big as a giant, but at its edge it was as small as an ant. Loves to gamble and pays debts in animals. Lemming suicide might actually be because a leshy lost a bet to a vodyanoi
Leviathan- Giant sea monster. Crocodile?
Lilith, Queen of the Night-First wife of Adam. Joined the forces of evil. Can be kept away by scrawling "Adam and Eve may enter here, but not Lilith, Queen of the Night" on one's door.
Log Gar- NA gar as big as a log
Loch Ness Monster-
More Wonders Await!