18 Fascinating Mythical Creatures in Fiction
One of the most beautiful things about fiction writing is the make-believe that even creatures that don’t exist in real life do exist. It is all about the narration and the character development that make all the difference. It could include something demonic or even something round the score of a fairy. And while the readers often tend to think that it’s the author’s mind that created the creature in the first place, which could be possible, it is often the mythology that inspires the characters that they come up with.
Nothing is set in stone with the mythical creatures because some are the author’s imaginations, while some stems from the history of the mythology that reigns back to the old era. The possibilities are endless, and so are some of these characters which have taken up the interest of several readers along the way.
If you have been inquisitive to know about some, we have sorted you out. Scroll up!
List of mythical creatures and their origin
When it comes to the mythical creatures, you’d be surprised to know that there are quite a few. But, while you could be aware of the creatures, you might not know of the origin that they trace. This is where curiosity lies. If you didn’t know any better, we have some insights that can help enrich your knowledge further.
The concept of Bogeyman is quite scary for the children. The main reason why that is the case is that they are made to scare the living daylights out of the children. They also do have an ulterior motive of promoting and instilling good behaviour in them, but not all Bogeyman is portrayed like that. In several times, there are chances for a bogeyman to be all human or even sometimes dressed as something else that the children fear. For the most part, it does include a supernatural element into it, which further makes it even scarier.
If you are wondering where you can find one, Stephen King’s character, Pennywise is one of them. The hidden meanings are dangerous, but your kids must encounter such characters in reel life every once in a while.
Another mythical creature that does snatch away people’s sleep at night with the kind of horror that came laced with was Acephali. These are believed to reign from the country of Libya and were nothing but human-like creatures.
Mythology suggests that the reason Acephali had their heads on the chest was that they were beheaded by the Gods to teach a lesson for the rebellious behaviour. While some from these were able to locate their heads and carry it back with them, some could.
The word Acephali itself means “without a head.” You will often find the mention of such characters in the works of Herodotus.
When it comes to supernatural and mythical creatures, it isn’t a surprise that vampires claim a spot on the list. The pictorial representation of the vampire, be it in the movies or even in the books, has ingrained a very vivid picture of what these creatures are like and what their motives are.
It goes without saying that whatever the situation be, it isn’t an unknown fact that the vampires simply feed on the living to become immortal. They also do avoid sunlight and have an aversion to sharp objects because they know their hearts are at risk with those.
These mythical characters are often sexualized and portrayed in a way that retains the audience’s attention, but there’s not much more to it. If you want to find a recent development to know more about this character, binge-watches The Vampire Diaries or even the Twilight series.
If you haven’t heard of Acheri, you need to look into it. The creature, Acheri, is believed to be a revenge spirit, so you know the kind of negative vibes they bring along. Legends suggest that Acheri is a ghost of a young girl who was either abused, murdered, or left to die. It is believed that since her soul didn’t get the peace, it should have, it haunts still to this day.
She is believed to be found along the mountainside where she comes down during the nights and spreads deaths among children by making them extremely sick. Even though studies suggest that it is a revenge spirit, there aren’t any specific events of revenge or even attacks on the adults. It is the children who face her wrath.
It is also believed that the same could be the case because she couldn’t enjoy her childhood and now doesn’t want others to as well. Legends say that to protect yourself from Archery; one should wear red clothes, bracelets, and necklaces. As for the origin, it is said to stem from North American folklore.
Jews are not just known for their challah and their wine, but some of the most popular mythical creatures too. Dybbuk is one of them and is believed to be part of the Jewish folklore. The explanation for dybbuk is said to be the soul of someone who has dissociated and then taken host into the body of someone living.
The representation of dybbuks in movies and books is very similar to what the creature does, so it isn’t surprising that it is one of the common routes that horror movies take nowadays.
As for you trying to find some recommendation for the origin of these, you can check out A Serious Man, The Warsaw Anagrams, and a lot more around.
6. Amarok the Wolf
Often spelled as Amaroq, he is a giant wolf who belongs to the Inuit mythology and has gained a lot of popularity over the years. The legends say that this wolf was believed to kill people who went out on a hunt alone in the forests at night.
Also, there are tales that once a boy who couldn’t move prayed to God and Amarok came by his side to help. The wolf then knocked the boy down on the ground with his tail and then broke a few more bones to further facilitate the cure for the child.
The boy then came back to Amarok daily to fight and learn the process and in the meantime, became so strong that he was able to fight three bears alone.
The trilogy of shunka warakin, hyaenodon, and waheela are the ones that take credit for its origin, but many also often indulge saying that the same could be bound to the Eskimo people.
Another negative mythical creature that has the capability of scaring the living daylights out of people is Banshee. It is a female spirit whose howls are not just haunting but summon death as well. They trace their origin back from Irish mythology and have a lot of inclusions in several movies and books these days. The word is often used as a metaphor, too, but the tales behind these creatures are just not pleasant at all.
If you want to read more on it and explore, read The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger, which explains everything that one needs to know about this creature and more.
While the term doppelganger is used quite casually nowadays to explain the concept of “twin flames,” this was part of a mythological creation back in history. These creatures are the ones that were believed and told to be the double spirits of the people.
The unique thing about these creatures was the fact that they looked at the replica of each other but were not the twin of the same person in question. Legends also suggest that the doppelgangers didn’t leave behind anycast or shadow and didn’t have any reflection on the mirror as well.
Just witnessing a doppelganger was believed to be a bad omen for people. If you want to know more about it and read it in a setting, Washington’s in Lincoln’s Time is a good read for that. Also, John Dune, who is a famous author, reported seeing his wife’s Doppelganger while he was in Paris.
As weird as the name is, the creature is just as weird and one of a kind as well. It is one of the most popular evil spirits that stems from its origins from the countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Pontianak is described as the souls of the women who passed away while they were pregnant.
They are often regarded with a very stereotypical appearance, one that you will often encounter in some of the most popular Korean horror movies. They have a very pale skin paired with long and lanky hair and white dress.
Legends say that these mythical creatures get their satisfaction by killing unsuspecting men. They are also believed to have a very significant smell like that of the frangipani. So, if you smell something like that, run for your life. Watch Ponti if you want to get to know more about Pontianak.
If you are a Harry Potter fanatics, the chances are that the mention of basilisk would be enough to trigger sweet memories. These mythical creatures find their origin from European mythology and are nothing but giant reptile who was also considered the king of serpents.
The word basilisk, however, is derived from a Greek word basiliskos, which means king of serpents. According to the early mythology, the basilisk was seen in three forms, the snake, lizard, or a reptile with scaly wings.
The basilisk also had the power to kill anybody by simply looking them in the eyes, which are very similar to the Gorgons from Greek mythology.
If you want to see more on it and learn more about it, watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets can do that for you.
While we use the word zombie around very casually nowadays, these had a very big influence on the history of the days back in. It stemmed from its origin from Haitian folklore and originated in the mid-20th century.
These creatures have a detached feeling and semblance from their original self and are highly infectious, and the only objective that they have is to feed off of human flesh.
The use of zombies in books and movies have become very prominent nowadays. If you wish to know more and witness it in action, Warm Body is a good option to read or even watch the movie, whatever floats your boat.
When it comes to mythical creatures, the list may contain a Greek character. The Briareus was a Greek monster and was also known as Aegaeon. It is dedicated as one of the Hecatoncheires in the popular Greek mythology who was then born from Uranus and Gaia.
The unique thing about this creature is that it has 100 arms and 50 heads. The mention of that itself is enough to creep people out for good.
Some legends believe that Briareus, along with his brothers, were responsible for helping Zeus when he was fighting the Titans. Several tales are surrounding this creature, some good and some the complete opposite.
The creature of Chimera is simply known for its one of a kind appearance. It has an appearance filing a combination of part lion, part goat, and part snake. Many believe that the possibility of the existence of Chimera could be a vivid dream, but some believe that it does exist.
The prospect of Chimera is now used to explain the puzzling situations, but clarity is still missing when it comes to the same. For those in need of exploring more about the creature, reading J.K. Rowling’s Quidditch Through the Ages can be a good option.
Another common mythical creature that is part of Greek mythology and is a popular appearance in the movies and books is Centaur, wherein the torso of the creature was that of a human being while the lower portion of the book was that of a horse.
As per the tales and the legends from Greek folklore, Centaur is also believed to be the children of Nephele, which was a cloud created in Hera’s image. Some other legends believe that the Cantaur’s were born from the unity of the Magnesian mares and Centaurus.
If you want to explore knowing more about it, reading the myths of Chiron can give you a good glimpse into the same. They also include several other Greek mythical characters include Achilles.
While we have been consistently talking about the powerful and the negative, Unicorn is that one mythical creature that spread around a positive aura. People nowadays have a very stereotypical thought and knowledge of the unicorns, correlating the same with rainbows and pastels.
But, the unique thing about this creature and the rendition of the same is the fact that even the mythology explains it similarly. It is often a very popular figure in the books of children and does make for a good learning skill.
If you want to read more on it, reading Stardust, written by Neil Gaiman, is a good choice.
Another popular animalistic mythical creature is Orthrus, which also stems from Greek mythology. It is a two-headed greyhound that was responsible for guarding the cattle of Geryon.
Legends suggest that he was the child of Echidna and Typhon, who was then killed by Heracles while he was out fulfilling tenth of the twelfth task.
There aren’t many renditions of the same in books and movies, which is why not many know of this creature and are popularized around.
Another mythical creature that is worth mentioning is the Phoenix, which you can again find the Harry Potter series.
It is considered to be a universal symbol of resurrection, which is believed to be able to be born again from their ashes. They also have a metaphorical meaning to their existing, suggesting the rebirth of a character following their end.
If you have already seen Harry Potter, try Carpe Jugulum, which does have a similar tone to the mythical creature and the story.
Last but not least, that is worth mentioning in the list is the werewolf. It finds its deep origin in European mythology and is believed to be the superior version of a normal wolf who comes out in the full moon nights when their power is maximum.
With the growing popularity around this subject, it has become quite a popular addition to the horror stories on today’s date. Try and read Hemlock Grove, which has good undertones of this mythical creature.
How many of these mythical creatures did you know about? These are just a few, and the mythology from across the world depicts several other variations, some crueler and some gentler than we realize.