Creatures of Mythology
Stories from the dark corners of mythology, folklore and legend serve as reminders that the unexplained creatures lurking in the shadows of the unexplored permeate through our minds when we are lost, trapped or thrown into an unknown environment. In an age where more light is cast in the unexplored, these stories are still revered as lessons of consequence. When humanity oversteps its bounds, breaks the taboos of culture or lose sight of tradition and morality. Today, we are far removed from these stories, yet their violent, harrowing narratives lead to speculate: Do such creatures exist?
Ancient Horrors is an ongoing series, bringing the more obscure and stranger narratives of mythology, folklore and local legends into light.
If you ever see a horse by the sea, be aware of it presence. Its silhouette against the clashing waves is an illusion that has attracted wanderers to it for centuries. Diffused by its calm nature, many have fallen prey to this shapeshifter. Upon touching the skin of the Kelpie, the victim fuses with the creature skin, trapping them. As it runs off into the ocean, it then drags them into the depths to reveal its horrid form and consume their body and souls.
A child lost in the woods, off the path, might be encountered wandering aimlessly, or a hungry newborn, crying in the woods, is found by travelers. If one attempts to carry the child back to civilization, they start to feel weak, as the child gets heavier for the traveler to carry and their feet start to drag into the dirt path. The child, unbeknownst to the traveler is slowly feeding off their soul and energy. Slowly sinking their victims into the ground. These restless ghosts are victims themselves, of infanticide. Abandoned by their family, these wraiths haunt the countryside, seeking revenge on the living.
This massive demon comes from the mountains in the winter. Hungry, it destroys villages, crops and devours children. Its presence every year caused fear and uncertainty towards the well-being of the villages by the mountains. Eventually, an old man suggested to paint everything they had red and make loud noises the next time the beast arrives. The village did so, realizing that this demon was easily frightened of the disruption and the colors. They discovered the true nature of this cowardly beast.
After a lifetime of corruption, greed and gluttony, these individuals are rewarded, upon death, an afterlife of never-ending hunger. These emaciated humans, with their long limbs and bulging stomachs are cursed to wander a dismal realm that parallels our reality. They crawl through their world looking for food. In the rare instance when they do find sustenance, it rots or catches fire before they can even swallow a bite. These Hungry Ghosts are people that have never taken the chance to fulfill themselves spiritually, often finding comfort in material desires, they are now haunted with the voracious desire for consumption, but are denied it at every chance.
Accumulated from the tangled tails of rats in infested corners of the city, sewers and ships, this Bubonic King is an omen that the plague has reached their city, and will spread its disease and death to the masses.
Grave robbers in Medieval Germany breaking into recently buried graves and tombs encounter bloated creatures with mouth full of blood and incredibly deformed bodies. Their claim was this resting ghoul had recently consumed parts of itself, and with a full belly, it’s in deep slumber. This revenant cannot escape its coffin until it has fully eaten its own body and shroud. Only after fully consuming itself, is it free to escape its grave. Often, old skeletons are discovered with a large rock or brick placed in the mouth of the corpse. This was to assure that this ghoul would not be able to consume itself during the duration of its decay and escape its resting place.
Shamans who breaks from their tribe and turn towards selfish desires transform into skinwalkers. After murdering a member of their tribe or family, they gain unnatural powers of shapeshifting. They shift into various forms of animals and even other individuals. With their power they cause pain and suffering towards the individuals that they stalk.
These small forest spirits are manifested through various sticks, leaves and bones of small animals. They often play tricks to scare those who make camp in the middle of the wilds, making strange noises and hypnotizing their victims. The playful nature of these stick creatures can take a dark turn when their playful tricks go too far. They are known to kidnap, eat children, cause insanity and violently take revenge on humans that have disrespected them. Whistling in the night, in the middle of the woods, is often a sure way to encounter (and irritate) these spirits.
Witnessed by both Native Americans and European colonizers, these cannibalistic creatures were once humans that consumed the flesh of another human through desperation or possession by otherworldly spirits. Painfully, its humanity is molted away to reveal a mindless creatures that preys on human flesh.