33 Legendary Mythical Creatures
As the sunsets, legendary mythical creatures slowly creep out from the shadows. According to legend, these mysterious mythical creatures have been roaming the earth for centuries. They’ve terrorized small towns in North America, destroyed small villages in Europe, and caused havoc in the Middle East. They often live somewhere in the woods, high up in the mountains, or deep in the sea.
Indeed, each culture has mythological creatures that haunt nightmares. They all have their own folklore about mythical creatures. To be fair, not every creature is evil. Some simply want to be left alone. Humans just don’t understand some of these mythical beasts. A few of the mythical creatures are world-famous icons. Everyone knows their names and wonders if they really exist.
On the other hand, several mythical creatures are not as famous but equally as fascinating. Each creature’s legacy lives on for centuries and continues to endure as you will discover by reading on.
1. Wawel Dragon
In Polish folklore, the Wawel Dragon is a famous mythical creature. The dragon appeared during the reign of King Krak in the 13th century and terrorized the kingdom. The King and his people gave the Wawel Dragon daily offerings of cattle to keep it happy. Eventually, the King’s sons killed the dragon by putting sulfur in the cattle. However, the younger prince killed his older brother to take full credit. The legend of the Wawel Dragon remains popular in Poland.
The griffin is a legendary creature appearing in Ancient folklore, Iranian mythology, and The Wizarding World. A griffin has the head, wings, and talons of an eagle with a lion’s body and tail. According to legend, the creature has magical powers and its feathers can cure blindness. The griffin is also a prominent creature in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
3. Boto Encantado
In Brazilian mythology, Boto Encantado is one of the most legendary mythical creatures. According to South American folklore, Boto Encantado is a pink dolphin in the Amazon River and a shapeshifter. The creature often turns into a man at night so that it can seduce beautiful women and impregnate them. Like a typical guy, he wakes up the following day and turns back into a dolphin. Boto is one of the Amazon River’s most famous mythical creatures.
4. Golem of Prague
The Golem of Prague is a mythical creature in Jewish folklore. According to legend, Rabbi Loew created the Golem to protect the Jewish people of Prague from the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century. The supernatural Golem summoned the dead and became invisible to defeat the army. However, the Golem eventually went on a destructive rampage, murdering everyone in its path. Finally, Rabbi Loew destroyed the Golem and stored its body in the attic of The Old New Synagogue in Prague. European folklore claims the body of the Gollum is still in the synagogue’s attic to this day.
There isn’t a person in the world that hasn’t heard of Bigfoot. Indeed, he’s one of the greatest mythical creatures in North American folklore. According to legend, he’s a giant hairy hybrid of an ape and man. There have been sightings of this ape-like creature all over America for centuries, including in North Carolina, California, and New York. There are similar characters to Bigfoot around the globe, including The Yeti, Skunk Ape, and Yowie.
Pontianak or Kuntilanak is a mythical creature in Indonesian mythology and Malaysian folklore. The creature also appears in Singaporean folklore and Southeast Asia mythology. She’s a vengeful vampire beast that often appears as a pregnant woman in a blood-stained white dress with red eyes, long black hair, and pale skin. Of course, she’s simply luring her victims into a false sense of security. Pontianak is one of the scariest mythical creatures in that part of the world.
The Kraken is another of the most famous mythical creatures in history. Indeed, the legendary monster is a prominent creature in Norse mythology. Since the 18th century, the incredible sea monster has terrorized sailors on the coast of Norway. The myth of the beast continues to grow. There have been numerous sightings of the creature in history. It appears to be a giant squid, octopus, or starfish. According to legend, the Kraken has multiple eyes and limbs.
8. Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness monster is a famous mythical creature in Scottish folklore. The myth of a giant sea monster living in the Loch Ness sea dates back to the 6th century. The most famous sighting occurred in 1933, and the Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie, became a household name. Several brave souls searched for the legendary Loch Ness to prove the myth was true. Of course, they never found the giant monster with massive humps. Sightings of Nessie still occurred as recently as 2013. The Loch Ness Monster remains one of history’s most extraordinary mythical creatures.
In Japanese mythology, there is no character eviler than Shuten-doji. According to legend, the mythical oni has a red body, fifteen eyes, and a five-horned head. Plus, he is 50 feet tall with various colors all over his body. As the story goes, the demon leader was behind the abduction of several young women during the reign of Emperor Ichijo. Eventually, Minamoto Raiko entered the creature’s lair in the mountains and killed the demon by cutting off his head. However, Shuten-doji’s head was still alive and managed to bite Raiko. The mythical monster’s horrifying legend lives on in Japan.
For centuries, the Boogeyman has scarred little children that don’t follow the rules, talk back to their parents, or get into trouble. Indeed, the horrifying Boogeyman doesn’t belong to any specific folklore. Parents created the Boogeyman to frighten their kids when they misbehave. The Boogeyman’s appearance is different in each culture and family. However, he usually has sharp teeth, giant talons, claws, and horns. According to legend, the Boogeyman abducts kids in the middle of the night when they don’t listen, brush their teeth, or punch their baby brother in the head.
The Wendigo is a mythical creature in Indigenous folklore that spread across parts of Canada and the US. The horrifying creature lives along the East Coast forests of Canada and the Great Lakes region in America. According to the myth, the Wendigo is a giant creature or demon that loves to eat humans and take them under its control. It’s one of the scariest mythical creatures.
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Sirens are famous mythical creatures in Greek mythology with two distinctive appearances. Initially, they were bird-like creatures with a giant woman’s head. That evolved into a woman’s body with bird legs and wings. Eventually, they became half-women and half-fish creatures similar to mermaids. In all versions, they have beautiful, seductive voices. They remain one of Greek mythology’s greatest creatures.
In Irish folklore, the Banshee is a mythical creature that represents death. Indeed, the hideous monster often shows up to warn a family about a relative’s impending death. Despite being a scary creature, the Banshee has good motives for the most part. She’s warning the family about the end, so they cherish the time they have left. Of course, she warns them with a blood-curdling scream. She’s easily one of the scariest mythical creatures in Irish folklore.
Mermaids are iconic mythical beings that transcend the ocean. Not all mythical creatures are horrifying monsters or evil demons. Indeed, there are a few cute mythical creatures as well. For instance, the mermaid is a legendary creature in folklore around the globe. The half-woman and half-fish creature often appears in romantic folk tales. However, in some mythology, mermaids appear as a warning before disasters, storms, and death.
Unicorns are mythical creatures that have appeared in European folklore for centuries. although the unicorn myth quickly spread across the world. These beautiful mythical creatures look similar to a horse but have a single horn. In other versions, a unicorn’s body is more like a goat but still has a single horn. According to legend, their horns can heal the wounded and sick. Unicorns are possibly the most famous mythical creatures that are also cute.
Medusa is one of the most famous mythical creatures in Ancient Greece. Even those that don’t follow Greek mythology know of Medusa. She’s an iconic mythical creature that transcends time. Medusa’s an evil Gorgon with vile snakes for hair. Famously, she’ll turn anyone to stone that looks at her. Eventually, the fearless Perseus chopped off her head and began using it as a weapon. Medusa’s one of Greek mythology’s greatest mythical creatures.
In European folklore, the Basilisk is one of the scariest mythical creatures. According to legend, the creature emerged from a rooster’s egg incubated by a toad. The Basilisk is a small snake, but looks can be deceiving. Indeed, it’s a deadly and poisonous snake with venom that destroys everything in its path. If that wasn’t enough, the Basilisk’s stare is just as fatal as its venom. The only way to defeat the Basilisk is with the odor of a weasel.
18. The Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil remains one of America’s most frightening myths. According to North American folklore, The Jersey Devil has the body of a kangaroo with a goat’s head, a forked tail, giant wings, and horns. As the legend goes, The Jersey Devil is the 13th child of a witch. The hideous monster let out a loud scream the night it was born and flew into the night. Since the 1730s, the Jersey Devil has terrorized the New Jersey Pine Barrens. There have been several sightings over the years, starting in 1909.
In Arabic folklore, a ghoul is one of the Middle East’s most horrifying creatures. The mythical beast is a zombie-like creature that loves to roam graveyards and eat human flesh. According to legend, they’re shapeshifting creatures that can take any form. However, they love to take the form of a hyena to lure their victims to their death. There are both male and female ghouls, with each one being equally as terrifying.
20. Mongolian Death Worm
In the Gobi desert lives one of mythology’s most extraordinary and scariest creatures, the Mongolian Death Worm. There have been sightings of the monstrous worm for centuries. However, in the 1920s, the creature became an international sensation. According to folklore, the giant creature has no head or legs. Anyone that touches the creature instantly dies. It remains one of East Asia’s scariest creatures.
21. Tahoe Tessie
In one of North America’s largest lakes – Lake Tahoe – lives the giant sea monster Tahoe Tessie. According to legend, the monstrous serpent-like creature has lived below Cave Rock in an underwater tunnel for centuries. The first sightings began in the 19th century and continue to this day. Tahoe Tessie varies in size and color depending on the sightings. The creature is so popular in Tahoe that several companies use Tahoe Tessie as their logo and mascot.
22. The Minotaur
The Minotaur is one of Greek mythology’s scariest mythical creatures. The mythical monster had the body of a man but a bull’s head and tail. Rumors suggest that King Minos was the child of the Greek God Zeus. According to folklore, King Minos built an elaborate maze, The Labyrinth, as the home for the Minotaur. Minos would often send his rivals and enemies into the Labyrinth where the Minotaur would gladly eat them.
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Leprechauns are possibly the most famous mythical creatures in Irish folklore. They might seem like a joke because of their appearance and short size, however, in Irish mythology, they use supernatural powers to cause destruction. They often appear to be little men with beards that cause trouble and mayhem. Later versions of Leprechauns describe them as shoemakers with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
The mythical beast Chimera is a legendary creature in Greek mythology. The fire-breathing monster has the body and head of a lion with a goat’s head on its back and a tail with a snake’s head. The creature’s the child of the half-snake/half-woman Echidna and the giant serpent Typhon. Chimera comes from a family of terrifying creatures and monsters. Indeed, Chimera is one of the most feared creatures in Greek mythology.
Zombies in horror movies pale in comparison to the zombies in Haitian mythology. Indeed, zombies or the undead are mythical creatures in African and Haitian mythology. According to Haitian folklore, a Bokor would use magic and voodoo in a ritual to bring the undead back to life. However, the zombie is not the person they were before. The Bokor has complete control over the zombie’s body and mind.
In Māori mythology, Taniwha are mythical beings that helped shape parts of New Zealand. They resemble a lizard but are the size of a great white shark. They live deep in the sea in dark caves but can tunnel through the earth. According to legend, two Taniwha created the Wellington harbor or Te Whanganui-a-Tara when they made a tunnel to the ocean. One of the taniwha’s dead bodies is now a giant hill watching over the city. In some versions, Taniwha are protectors of the land and humans. In other cases, they’re destructive monsters that abduct young women to be their wives.
In European folklore, vampires are undead mythical creatures that are different from today’s more stylish bloodsucker. The undead creatures often visited their loved ones and enjoyed causing trouble. In folklore, vampires are nothing like the pale, charming creatures they are now. Indeed, mythical vampires appeared bloated with blood dripping out of their bodies. They also had a dark purple-ish complexion.
Werewolves are one of the most famous mythical creatures in European folklore. According to legend, a werewolf is a person that can shapeshift into a wolf. They gain the ability either from a curse or another werewolf’s bite. Of course, they often transform from human to werewolf during a full moon. Werewolves were actually a small part of the witch trials’ hysteria. Many people were equally concerned about werewolves as they were witches. Werewolves are possibly the most iconic European mythical creature.
Cyclopes are one of Greek mythology’s most feared mythical monsters. In most versions, they’re one-eyed monsters but have various personalities. Three different types of cyclops appear in Greek mythology. At one point, they’re three intelligent brothers that make Zeus’s thunderbolt weapon. In another version, they’re mannerless shepherds that care about nothing. Lastly, they’re also great builders that constructed iconic walls.
Goblins have appeared in various European folklore throughout history. The tiny but hideous monsters cause as much havoc as a giant squid. In some versions, they’re innocent little trouble markers, but other times they’re evil demons. Goblins are also supernatural shapeshifters that can take on any form. The famous mythical creatures went from folklore legends to mainstream beasts.
In ancient Mesopotamia folklore, Tiamat created the Aqrabuamelu, aka scorpion men, to gain revenge on the younger gods. They’re terrifying creatures with the upper body of a man but the lower body of a scorpion with a giant tail. Despite being so scary, they’re noble creatures who always do the right thing. They are loyal guards that protect their people but would also warn travelers of any danger they might encounter. Scorpion men are classic mythical creatures.
Fairies are mythological creatures appearing in English folklore, Norse mythology, French folklore, and more. They’re one of the most famous mythical creatures in history. Indeed, there are several different kinds of fairies. In some versions, they’re Greek gods that everyone worships. Other times, they were once angels kicked out of Heaven for rebelling. In other folklore, they’re evil demons that are as dangerous as goblins.
Greek mythology and folklore feature some of the scariest and ugliest mythical creatures. However, not every legendary creature wants to eat humans. The Phoenix is one of Greek mythology’s most iconic creatures and is usually associated with the sun. The Phoenix is easily recognizable with its vibrant red and yellow colors. The eternal bird often bursts into flames and regenerates. Indeed, it rises from the ashes and regains new life. The mythical creature continues to thrive in the modern age.
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