Engravings of hybrid monsters from Opera nela quale vi e molti mostri de tutte le parti del mondo antichi et moderni or “Work in which there are many monsters from all parts of the world, ancient and modern” by Giovanni Battista de’Cavalieri, 1585. Image: Wellcome Collection
In Malay and Indonesian mythology, the Langsuyar is the vampiric reanimated corpse of a woman who died while pregnant or giving birth. Described as beautiful women with ankle length black hair, green robes, and incredibly long hands and nails, they feast on the blood of newborn children.
A Mngwa or Nunda is massive legendary cat of Tanzanian folklore that’s fiercer than a lion and more agile than a leopard. The Mngwa is said to be human during the day, and turns into a ferocious beast at nightfall with grey, striped fur. Image: mngamojemo
The Aspidochelone is creature, found in medieval bestiaries, that appears to be an island with trees, dunes, and rocky crevices—but is in reality a giant whale, sea turtle, or other sea monster. Sailors who unwittingly explored the ‘island’ found their ships and themselves in peril. Image: JaniceDuke
The Italian manuscript Lusus naturae, Human and Natural Monstrosities, 18th Century, contained 54 watercolor illustrations of beasts and men with medical conditions or deformities, along with unworldly creatures. Source: John Rylands Library
The Ngondo is yearly festival in Douala, Cameroon. A ceremony is performed by the jengu cult, in which a devotee enters the water to visit the kingdom of the miengu. Miengu (plural for jengu) are mermaid-like spirits with long hair and beautiful gap-teeth, who bestow good luck to devotees, cure diseases and allow them to communicate with the world of spirits. Image: Photokadaffi on Wikimedia Commons
The Pooka or Puca or Pwca is a shape-shifting creature from Celtic foklore that can change into a horse, goat, cat, dog, or hare. If they take human form, they’ll have an animal feature like ears or a tail. Pookas are tricksters and can bring good or bad fortune. The character of Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was based on this creature. Image: British Goblins, W Sikes, 1881
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Louis Feuillée, a French explorer, botanist, astronomer, and geographer discoverd this curious creature in Buenos Aires during his journey to South America between 1707 – 1711. The monster was born of a ewe and had a “…contrast of three resemblances which it had, that of a child, a horse, and a calf” Source: Wikimedia Commons
Leviathan is a massive sea serpent that appears throughout the Hebrew Bible and related texts. Originally there was a female leviathan, but God killed it out of fear that they’d multiply and destroy the world. He saved the flesh of the beast for the banquet at tLeviathan is a massive sea serpent that appears throughout the Hebrew Bible and related texts. Originally there was a female leviathan, but God killed it out of fear that they’d multiply and destroy the world. He saved the flesh of the beast for the banquet at the advent of the Messiah.he advent of the Messiah. In Binsfeld’s classification of demons, Leviathan is considered the demon of envy. Image: Gustave Doré, 1865
The Beast of Gévaudan was a man-eating creature, sometimes identified as a wolf-dog hybrid, that attacked and killed citizens of Gévaudan, France in the late 18th century. Over 600 attacks were recorded, some victims having their throats torn out. Image: Gallica Digital Library
Cynocephaly or “having the head of a dog” is a characteristic found in many mythological and folklore traditions across the world, such as ancient Egypt, India, Greece, and China. These humanoid, dog-headed beings were often described by travelers coming back from far off lands. Images: Saint Christopher by Anonymous, 17th Century | The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 1550 BCE | Kievan Psalter by Unknown, 1397 | Man with dog head by Hartmann Schedel, 1493.
The kallikantzaroi are evil goblins, found in Greek folklore, who live underground and saw the World Tree to try to collapse the earth. When Christmas season begins, they abandon their task to terrorize humans. On Epiphany, they return but the tree has healed itself.