Something I am very interested in is monsters and legends from various cultures and geographical locations. Some of these below are location specific, and others can be found in many different cultures with slight tweaks between certain aspects.
One of the most notorious of all urban legend ‘monsters’ is Big Foot, or The Sasquatch. Described in reports as a large, hairy ape creature, believed to be 2–3 m tall, and covered in dark brown hair.
Many claims have been made of the years of sighting big foot, the most infamous being the above picture. Most of these, including the above, have been written off as hoaxes, or misidentified animals.
Despite the lack of evidence, there are still the die hard believers out there.
From the Scottish Highlands comes the ever elusive sea monster in Loch Ness. The term “monster” was reportedly applied for the first time to the creature on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist. In the same year, a newspaper published article interviewing a London man, George Spicer, that a few weeks earlier while motoring around the Loch, he and his wife had seen “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life”, crawling across the road toward the Loch carrying “an animal” in its mouth.
Other letters began appearing in the newspaper, often anonymously, with claims of land or water sightings, either on the writer’s part or on the parts of family, acquaintances or stories they remembered being told. These stories soon reached the national (and later the international) press, which described a “monster fish”, “sea serpent”, or “dragon”, eventually settling on “Loch Ness Monster”. The first purported photograph of the monster was published, but the most famous was the second, featured above (known as the surgeon’s photograph).
Locals and veteran spotters still claim that the prehistoric creature exists.. but could it just be to boost tourists?
There isn’t a great deal of information on the legend of bunyips available. They are a mythical creature in Aboriginal Australian culture and early European settlement of Australia, varying in stories and descriptions depending on the location.
Descriptions of bunyips vary widely. George French Angus may have collected a description of a bunyip in his account of a ‘water spirit’ from the people of the Murray River before 1847, stating that it was “much dreaded by them… It inhabits the Murray; but…they have some difficulty describing it. Its most usual form…is said to be that of an enormous starfish.”
An enormous starfish sounds almost comical, but this picture makes me think otherwise. O_O
I first heard of a Wendigo thanks to the Supernatural TV series. Cheers Sam and Dean! The Wendigo is a demonic creature appearing in both the United States and Canada. The creature or spirit could either possess humans, or be a monster that had physically transformed from a person.
It’s particularly associated with cannibalism, or the warning to men against it. Those who indulge in eating human flesh are at particular risk; the legend appears to have reinforced the practice of cannibalism as a taboo.
Wendigos represent gluttony, greed, and excess: never satisfied after killing and consuming one person, they were constantly searching for new victims. The Wendigo myth thus served as a method of encouraging cooperation and moderation.
What are your favourite ‘monsters’ in culture? Do you have any legends in your area?