Mythical creatures have always been part of our history books. Some are even thought to exist at present, lurking in the shadows and trying to be discreet as it exists together with humans. Some are believed to be fictional, some a relative of an extinct species. No matter how we view these creatures, the truth remains that the fascination we have for them remains to be as eager as it was in the past.
Today these creatures seem to be an impractical imagination of a particular civilization or person, but at one time some of them were believed to be real. However, there is no evidence to prove their existence which is why they are now considered mythical.
In this list we are considering the most famous mythical creatures originating from different cultures and societies, whether they are known for their beauty, ferocity or magical powers. Some of the creatures from different cultures have similar traits but their names are different so, we decided to combine them to diversify the list. Here are 12 most popular mythical creatures:
Top 12 popular mythical creatures that may have actually existed.
Amazons are often depicted as female warriors living in the deep heart of the forest without the presence of men. They are believed to be man-haters as well but would capture a few every now and then to continue their lineage.
They are often described as trained archers, can climb and move from trees to trees and are very skilled in the art of fighting. However, their extinction were never explained concretely in history books and stories.
See Also: 10 Legendary Greek Mythological Creatures.
Berserkers are believed to be savaged warriors that have lost all their humanity. They are killing machines that shows no mercy, some even say that this is because they have already lost their souls. However, in Norse mythology, they are considered as body guards to royal and noble courts.
They are described as bare-chested warrior, others depict them wearing wolf or bear skins. They are often portrayed as villains and would constantly rape and murder villages that they capture. In history, berserkers served as guards of the Norwegian King Haralad I Fairhair in 872-930.
Kraken is a giant squid octopus like creature with unstoppable aggression, while Leviathan is Ridgeling seven headed monster famed for his spectacular size. But seas are unsafe with either of these monsters around. Nobody knows whether they are real or fictional but they are some of the angriest monsters that roam the oceans, at least according to the stories about them.
The Kraken was popularized as Alice’s greates foe in the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’. However, in the late 13th century, the Kraken is believes to be synonymous with the Hafgulfa, one of the two massive sea-monsters roaming in the waters of the Greenland Sea.
The creature is believed to lack the capabilities of production explaining their small numbers. However, due to their massive size and ferociousness, its life spans as long as several millenniums swallowing men, ships, whales and everything within its reach.
9. Composite Species
Human body on horse legs, a bull’s head on human body and lion’s body with human face there are countless composite species from different cultures around the globe. Even Chimera which combines lion, dragon and goat can be classified in this category.
Some species have more positive reputation than others like horseman and Pegasus while some represent evilness like Chimera. Under composite species there are a number of popular mythical creatures.
Originating from Greek mythology this colorful bird was adopted as the symbol of early Christianity. A Phoenix lives a long life and dies in the show of flame and combustion only to reborn from the ashes of its predecessor and start a new eternal life.
Some text show that Phoenix could live up to 1400 years before rebirth. It is one of the most popular creature that can be found in many literature texts including in the J. R. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.
The beast that resemble the horse but with a pointed horn projecting from its forehead, this legendary animal is among the most popular mythical creatures. They represent purity and gracefulness and they can only be captured by a virgin. Some believe that unicorn may have existed but were driven to extinction perhaps because their horns were set to have medicinal properties. But there’s not a solid evidence for this theory.
The unicorn, as well all grew knowing is a legendary horse with wings that gives it the capabilities to fly. It is considered as one of the most antique beasts in stories with a large, spiraling and pointed horn that is projected from its forehead.
It is completely wild and is often a symbol of grace and purity. Many believed that it can only be captured by a virgin. The horns are considered very valuable with the capabilities to make poisoned water potable and heal various sicknesses.
6. Mermaids/Sirens and Fairies
One thing is common in these creatures that they are the seducers of the legend. These aquatic creatures having upper body of female human and lower body of fish along with their distant relative Sirens in Greek mythology are the sailor’s nightmare. They make any sailor fall in love with them by using their beauty and melodious singing. Mermaids are the most popular subject in various arts, literature and films.
Despite having the numerous historic accounts on their existence even those by Christopher Columbus during exploration of Caribbean, there is no evidence that mermaids exist anywhere outside folklore.
The fairfolk are believed to be protectors and harnessers of the power of nature. They live deep in the forest where they protect the wilderness from people trying to exhaust nature’s reserves and treasures. Fairies are believed to spend considerable time with man, taking the form of a human blending in and trying to go unnoticed as they live among them.
See Also: 10 Hybridized Humanoids Types in Mythology.
They are the folkloric humans with the ability to shape shift into a wolf or wolf-like figure. If you are bitten or even scratched by them you’ll be painfully transformed into one of these shapes shifting wolfman. In a popular English version of this tale said that wolf-man only transform on the full moon and they are immune to any kind of weapon except for those made by silver. Werewolf ranked third in our list of popular mythical creatures.
Werewolves are shape shifter believed to be half men, half wolves and were living among us. According to legends, these men were possessed by their animal spirits, the wolf, during in times of need and danger to protect their village. However, one chieftain had to avenge his tribe from another chief who has used the wolf power to bring terror to their lands.
He had to host the wolf spirit for a long period of time to the point that they could not separate man from the animal. This is believed to be the first werewolf, a man and his spirit wolf living in a single body.
Bigfoots are basically giant humans covered in hairs. They’re said to inhibit in forests mainly in Pacific northeast. Despite having photographic evidence scientists discount the existence of these monsters. They consider it to be a combination of folklore, mis-identification and hoax rather than a living animal, reason is the lack of physical evidence.
3. Vampires/ El Chupacabra/ Dracula
Vampires are some of the rare creatures that can be found in multiple cultures, though with different names. They are the undead popular mythical creatures that roam the country-sides and looking for a person to bite and suck all of the blood from their body. They are expert seducers and also have the ability to shape shift.
Dracula is a vampire, believed to have the powers to hypnotize men to be able to devour their blood. Believed to be immortals, vampires are commonly believed to be afraid of the sunlight and can be killed with a wooden stake to its heart. Due to its capabilities to drink blood, their youth remains even for hundreds of years. Vlad, the impaler is also one of the persons in history from whom Dracula originated.
These legendary creatures with reptilian traits can be found in countless cultures around the globe but Asian and European versions are most popular. Asian dragons are usually shown with the body of huge lizard or snake with two pairs of lizard legs and are able to breathe fire from their mouth, while European dragons have an extra set of wings. In Asia they represent bravery and wisdom while European dragons are just the beasts to be slaved.
Dragons have always been a favorite and included in most folklores and enchanted stories. It has been depicted as a massive creature with wings or without that can fly in the skies and breathe fire.
Historical books depict dragons both as foes and allies. The present day Komodo dragon is believed to be a descendant of the mythical creatures minus the size, the flying prowess and the ability to breathe fire. It has been a favorite mythical legend included in books and movies, both in the past as well as now at present.
1. Loch Ness Monster
At number one in our list of popular mythical creatures is the Loch Ness Monster. She is not world’s only lake monster, she is also the most famous creature that inhibit in the Loch Ness, a lake in Scottish highlands.
There are limitless reports of sightings of Nessie since 6th century including the one in 1930s that sparked the craze among the explorers. But scientists constantly decline the existence of these creatures calling it a modern day myth and explain sightings as misidentified object, hoaxes and wishful thinking.
There are indeed several other terrifying mythical creatures out there. Whether they do exist or not, they remain as frightening creatures we all fear of spending the dark with.