Skip to main content

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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
40 votes
5 answers
25k 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 ...
Anthony Pham's user avatar
  • 2,075
37 votes
3 answers
16k 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 ...
logic's user avatar
  • 888
33 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
Kreann's user avatar
  • 2,070
27 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Luna's user avatar
  • 2,483
27 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Luna's user avatar
  • 2,483
25 votes
4 answers
27k views

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 ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 2,494
23 votes
5 answers
3k 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 (...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 1,183
22 votes
1 answer
4k 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, ...
Luna's user avatar
  • 2,483
21 votes
3 answers
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-...
user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
13k 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 ...
Yann Chabot's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
582 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 ...
Vixen Populi's user avatar
  • 1,073
17 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
John Demetriou's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
809 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-...
yannis's user avatar
  • 17k
16 votes
1 answer
395 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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
Young Guilo's user avatar
  • 2,299
15 votes
1 answer
6k 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'?
Young Guilo's user avatar
  • 2,299
15 votes
2 answers
446 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 ...
Ero Sɘnnin's user avatar
  • 3,443
14 votes
4 answers
61k 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?
user997's user avatar
  • 159
14 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
user2800789's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
887 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 ...
johnna_nyet's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
17k 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 ...
Diglett Dig's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
863 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 ...
durron597's user avatar
  • 4,469
13 votes
2 answers
2k 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?
Jordan Williams's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

What demons/fabulous creatures did the Sumerians mention?

I'm looking into fabulous creatures and demons specifically in Sumerian texts, or in Akkadian texts but where the creature/demon still had a Sumerian origin. I can't seem to find a complete list, if ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 7,346
12 votes
8 answers
3k 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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
Steven M. Long's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
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 ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 2,494
12 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Johnny's user avatar
  • 273
12 votes
1 answer
703 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 - ...
Jan 'splite' K.'s user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
694 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.
Stefan Voigt's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

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 ...
NathanS's user avatar
  • 213
11 votes
2 answers
242 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 ...
Lady F's user avatar
  • 743
11 votes
2 answers
16k 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 ...
Jessie's user avatar
  • 111
10 votes
2 answers
530 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?
Aspen the Artist and Author's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
24k 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 ...
creative_name's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
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. ...
anonymous's user avatar
  • 333
10 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Netsrym's user avatar
  • 159
9 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is the origin of the myth that witches burn in water?

As per most of the stories I know, witches usually burn when they come into contact with water. Why is this so and what is the origin of this myth? Also,why do witches burn? What about wizards?
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
Tom Sol's user avatar
  • 4,061
9 votes
2 answers
400 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 ...
Rodia's user avatar
  • 2,317
9 votes
3 answers
503 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 ...
Praxiteles's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Pardha.Saradhi's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
289 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 ...
Abraham Ray's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
ViviRukisha's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Thomas Jacobs's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
10k 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- ...
Dawny33's user avatar
  • 714
9 votes
1 answer
215 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 "...
AHandsomeAlien's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
430 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.
Rose's user avatar
  • 93
9 votes
1 answer
155 views

What gods were there that dealt with games?

What gods were there in ancient religions related to games? I know there were gods related to chance, but even in the ancient world, not all games relied on luck (Olympic games, other sports ...
Xyzk's user avatar
  • 245
9 votes
1 answer
403 views

Was Charybdis always a monster?

Charybdis, and its counterpart Scylla were two monsters in the Odyssey. However, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Scylla was once a nymph. "... had she not been transformed before they came into ...
tox123's user avatar
  • 275