Questions tagged [mythical-creatures]

For questions about animals or non-human beings described in folklore and legends, which may or may not be based on actual creatures.

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41
votes
4answers
19k views

Why does looking at Medusa with a mirror work?

Medusa is known for being so ugly that if men even look at her face, they would immediately be turned into stone statues. Perseus was somehow able to overcome this challenge of killing her by looking ...
36
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3answers
12k views

What is the earliest known dragon myth?

The myth of dragons can be found in many different traditions, with the major two being the European dragon and the Chinese dragon. "There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the ...
32
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4answers
8k views

What is the difference between giants, Jotuns and trolls in Norse mythology?

I am a little bit confused by the way the terms giant, frost giant, jotun (or jötunn), ettin and troll seem to overlap in Norse mythology. I don't understand if they refer to a single race or ...
27
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2answers
2k views

Was the Minotaur a single being, or a race?

In the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, we know that the Minotaur dwelled at the center of the maze built by Daedalus. However, the creature itself (part man, part bull) doesn't appear to show up ...
27
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1answer
920 views

What species is the Lady of the Lake?

In Arthurian legend, the Lady of the Lake is usually depicted as a beautiful woman. However, she is clearly not human (as she seems to spend most of her time hanging out underwater). One might think ...
24
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4answers
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Are Kitsune and Huli jing the same?

Both the kitsune and huli jing are "fox spirits" with 9 tails, tricksters that can shapeshift into, or possess, young women. One famous kitsune appears in the true story of Hideyoshi writing a letter ...
22
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1answer
3k views

What happened to Medusa's sisters?

It is fairly well known that Medusa, the snake-headed Gorgon, had two sisters, Stheno and Euryale. While the story of Medusa is concluded when Perseus beheads her, in modern retellings and versions, ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Hephaestus and Medusa had a son named Cacus. How was Hephaestus shielded from being turned to stone?

Hephaestus and Medusa had a son named Cacus. Cacus was the son of Hephaestus and Medusa. Inheriting the properties of fire from his father and monstrousness from his mother, Cacus was a fire-...
21
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3answers
2k views

Prevalence of Underwater Panther

I was researching my tribe's clan history and came across something interesting. Osages, like most American Indian tribes, name their clans after either mythological creatures, or common animals (...
18
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2answers
9k views

Is there a creature in mythology that is a frost bird or a frost phoenix?

I searched a lot but I couldn't find a creature that is similar to a frost phoenix or a frost bird, or a giant creature similar to a frost bird for example. It's for a project (I like to keep real ...
18
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2answers
520 views

What is the meaning of not giving clothes to supernatural helpers?

There is a theme that I found in several folk tales from Ireland to Russia - although mostly in Irish/Celtic stories. It is where a house has supernatural helpers, who do work overnight. However, the ...
17
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1answer
654 views

What is the story of the Chimera?

The Neo-Hittite Chimera (850–750 BC) from Karkemish is housed in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey: "Museum of Anatolian Civilizations080" by Georges Jansoone (JoJan) - Self-...
16
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3answers
2k views

Greek/Roman Mermaids

The Greeks and Romans had stories about mermaids and various other half man half fish beings. What creatures are they referring to? If it isn't a creature but more of a "fishing tale" then when was ...
16
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2answers
4k views

How and why was Talos killed?

In Greek mythology there was this ancient robot like (or god like) creature named Talos who was responsible for protecting Crete. In the Image above we can see depicted the death of Talos. But who ...
16
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1answer
305 views

Is there a connection between the use of the metaphor “black dog” for depression and the black dog of British folklore?

"The black dog" has been used as a metaphor for depression or sulking since at least 1790. Today it is used to denote depression and sometimes a broader range of mental illnesses. For example, in ...
15
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1answer
5k views

Why was Medusa's hair made of snakes?

Medusa was a mythical creature that could turn all living beings into stone. However why was her hair made into snakes? Was it Medusa's eyes that turned people or the snakes'?
15
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2answers
408 views

Is the Kraken a single being or a species?

In Norse mythology, the Kraken is said to be a gigantic octopus (or sometimes a squid) that attack sailing ships. It is said that the Kraken would surface at Ragnarök. So far, I haven't found any ...
14
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4answers
49k views

Is there a word for the type of creatures that feeds off human energy, such as emotions?

Is there a common, categorical name for creatures that become stronger and more powerful by feeding off living beings' emotions, such as fear, anger, greed?
14
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1answer
1k views

Was Cerberus supposed to have only one “mind” (despite having three brains)?

Cerberus is a three headed dog, so normally you could think that he has three minds, one for each head/brain. However, Ancient Greek medicine placed the rational soul in the heart, rather than the ...
14
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1answer
635 views

Pre-Tolkien Orcs in myths or folklore?

So what I'm trying to understand is what exactly pre-Tolkien orcs were like in regards to folklore. I understand that Tolkien has had a massive influence on how we conceptualize many creatures from ...
13
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4answers
10k views

What kind of dog breed would Cerberus be?

There are countless depictions of Cerberus with various number of heads or additional parts such as snake heads or tails. Some even say that Cerberus did not refer to a dog or hound at all, but rather ...
13
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2answers
788 views

Were Sirens humans or Monsters?

I can't seem to figure out if the Sirens were, like, half human-half bird monsters, attracting men with their magical song... or if they were also very beautiful women. Were they humans with magical ...
12
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8answers
2k views

Are there any gods who are in a different species than humans?

As we probably know, most gods look like humans e.g. Zeus, Osiris. I am interested to find out if there are any gods that are a different species than humans. The only god that I found so far is ...
12
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1answer
3k views

What are the origins of the mythic Shachihoko?

A shachihoko (鯱鉾) is an animal in Japanese folklore with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp. It is said to bring rain so is often used on roofs, most notably on Nagoya Castle: Since tigers ...
12
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1answer
717 views

Is there a common theme of dragon meat being toxic?

I have noticed a few stories that talk about dragons having toxic blood or meat. Their offshoots(?), wyverns, have a particular association with poison. Despite this, there is a lot of culture ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What demons/fabulous creatures did the Sumerians mention?

I'm looking into fabulous creatures and demons specifically in Sumerian texts, or, if possible, in Akkadian texts but where the creature/demon still had a Sumerian origin. I can't seem to find a ...
12
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1answer
506 views

Slavic mythology, human-animal hybrid creature

In Greek mythologies, there are a lot of human-animal hybrid creatures (Satyr, Centaur or Lamia, to name a few...), but I can't find any from Slavic mythos. The best list I found is on Wikipedia - ...
11
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2answers
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Could all three Gorgons turn people to stone, or just Medusa?

I've come across conflicting information about Medusa's sisters and whether or not they could turn people to stone like Medusa can. A lot of places online say that all three can; but some other ...
11
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4answers
3k views

What are some examples of “Mothers of Monsters”?

I'm looking for other "Mother of Monsters" examples to supplement a post I wrote involving Lilith and Angrboda and their status as "Mother of Monsters." Over time, I'd like to add more examples to the ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Are there any elf like creatures in non-European folklore?

I know that the elves didn't survive the transatlantic crossing but are there any stories of elves or similar creatures in other world mythologies?
11
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1answer
491 views

Trolls in Norway

I learned that people put a big stone on their chimney in Norway to prevent from trolls and I am wondering about the myth behind this story.
10
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2answers
453 views

What is the origin of the centaurs?

Can someone please explain to me how centaurs were created? Does it seem weird to anyone else that we know about it, but we don't know the full story?
10
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2answers
195 views

How Do The Fairies In Irish Mythology Spend Their Time

I have heard that they are "merrymaking and lovemaking" the entire time. But if there is someone more familiar with the lives of fairies, I would love to learn about their culture...at least some ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Are there any beasts/creatures that “feed on” grief or regrets?

I'm interested in knowing if there are any creatures, monsters, spirits, etc that feed on negative human emotions- specifically grief and regret. Alternately, anything that is specifically attracted ...
10
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1answer
3k views

What is the origin of the Hippogriff?

The Hippogriff is said to be the symbol of the Greek god Apollo. A Hippogriff is a mixture of a horse and an eagle/griffin. There are some practices that consider the Hippogriff a symbol of love. ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What more uses are there for dragon parts?

I read this article that tries to describe all things one could do with the body parts and blood of the dragon: The Uses of Dragon Parts in Mythology and Folklore Does anyone here know of other uses ...
9
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4answers
634 views

Who was the first Satan like deity/creature/person in mythology?

There are satan/devil representations in other faiths/myths. But who was the first to have a role and background similar to Satan? Since religions sometimes take over traits of the old ones there ...
9
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2answers
315 views

The repertoire of the Sphinx

In ancient Greek tradition, what riddles did have the Sphinx in her "repertoire", besides the famous: Which creature goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the ...
9
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3answers
364 views

Are there any mythologic Gods, creatures or equipment that have “exponential” characteristics?

The hydra is classically described as growing two heads back for every one cut down. Mjolnir, theoretically, became exponentially heavier to the unworthy. What other Gods, creatures or equipment have ...
9
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1answer
2k views

God/Goddess of clones or duplicates

Is there any god/goddess who had the power of clones or represented them? Like Dionysus is a god of wine and many other related things, is there a god of clones/duplicates/mirror images across any ...
9
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1answer
207 views

Zombies and ways of stopping them?

I know that there’s a wide variety of zombies. Now my question is what are the versions of them & how are they stopped from attacking the living? Zombies are (now these days) considered mindless ...
9
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2answers
1k views

What are the differences between fauns and satyrs?

From what I've gathered fauns and satyrs are pretty much the same thing; they're all male, hircine from the waist down. They like wine, women, and song. They walk around naked all the time and have an ...
9
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2answers
516 views

Are there any ancient unicorn myths that originated from Tibet or its bordering regions?

I remember reading some years back how missionaries in Tibet were told stories of how prevalent in the 1800's the belief that there were unicorns living in the mountains of Tibet! Do any ancient ...
9
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3answers
4k views

What are the special powers of a unicorn's horn?

The unicorn is a mythological creature similar in appearance to a horse but has a magical horn which is said to have very special powers. Can anyone mention a full list of powers of unicorn horn? I'm ...
9
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4answers
515 views

How did Christianity come to equate the place of punishment and the place of demons?

In Hinduism, the cosmology works roughly like this: there's Earth; there are worlds above the Earth called Swargas where you go as a reward for good deeds; there are worlds under the Earth called ...
9
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1answer
8k views

Why is the crow of a rooster fatal to a basilisk?

There are a lot of mythological references, which states that the crow of a rooster is fatal to a Basilisk. From CHAPTER XXXVI of the Bulfinch's mythology, MODERN MONSTERS- THE PHOENIX- BASILISK- ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Are there any four-armed creatures in any pantheon?

Related to my last question: Are there any races/species of creature in any pantheon with four arms (and two legs and one head)?
9
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1answer
177 views

Regarding Centaur's myth and etymology

It's usual to recall that the name Minotaur comes from the name of the king Minos and from the animal Tauros and that makes sense to me, however going a little farther I found the name "Centaur" or "...
9
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1answer
339 views

Can anyone identify what Chinese mythology creature this is?

I got this as a gift and I originally thought it was a foo dog but it has both paws on turtles, not on a cub or ball as foo dogs do. It may be a Pi Yao or Pixiu but I'm not so sure.
9
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2answers
18k views

What is the difference between a cockatrice and a basilisk?

What is the difference between a cockatrice and a basilisk? I have heard both described as a chicken's egg hatched under a toad, and that both are snake-like animals, and that both will turn you to ...