Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The peryton is definitely one of the neatest cryptids I have come across. It is said they are the spirits of travelers who died while far away from home. They are winged gazelles or deer, quite beautiful and colored in shades of light blue and deep forest green. Originally hailing from Atlantis, they are unique in a couple ways. One, they cast the shadow of a man rather than their own shadow. And two, although when in flocks they have been known to attack, and they are completely impervious to all weapons, they can only kill one person each. After that they are as tame and safe as can be. They are most often sighted flying over the striaght of Gibraltar.
The manticore, a potentially scary and yet pitiable beast. About the size of a pony , it has the face of a human on a lion's body with the tail of a scorpion and three rows of gumless teeth. Manticores are sometimes winged but always flightless. Sometimes walking upright like a human other times walking on all fours like a lion. This cryptid has a particular taste for humans, these creatures are always on the hunt as they are ever hungry. The Manticore can speak like a human though with a strange accent that has often been likened to the sound of a trumpet or the baleful calls of cattle. They are described as wild, foolish, emotional and gluttonous, not a very safe combination. Although we, as humans, do have the advantage of superior intellect which is our only saving grace. Trickery is your best defence should you encounter one. The manticore has been around for ages and appears in several regions throughout the middle east and Europe. Accordingly it has sparked the imagination of many. My personal favorite depiction of a manticore is in Madeline L'Engel's "Many Waters". She gives such a clear picture of the beast and shows it to be terrifying and formidable but at the same time she pulls on your heart a little for the poor foolish beast who only wants a meal. Don't feel too bad though as the manticore wasn't starving, like I said they are terribly gluttonous. Happy Travels!
Monday, November 9, 2009
An Arkan Sonney (literally lucky urchin or plentiful pig), is the Manx word for hedgehog. In Manx folklore, is a type of fairy creature which looks like a pig with long prickly hairs. They are said to bring good luck to one who catches them. For this reason, they're also called "lucky piggies". They flee from humans, and are very quick, making them difficult to catch. If however you do manage to catch an Arkan Sonney it is said that you will find a silver piece in your pocket.
The Yuki-onna is a beautiful Japanese creature. She appears on snowy nights as a tall, beautiful woman with long hair. Her inhumanly pale sometimes transparent skin makes her blend into the snowy landscape. She sometimes wears a white kimono, but in other legends she is naked, with only her face and hair standing out against the snow. Despite her inhuman beauty, her eyes can strike terror into mortals. She floats across the snow, leaving no footprints (in fact, some tales say she has no feet) and she can transform into a cloud of mist or snow if threatened.
Some legends say the Yuki-onna, being associated with winter and snowstorms, is the spirit of someone who perished in the snow. She is at the same time beautiful and serene, yet ruthless in killing unsuspecting mortals. Until the 18th century, she was almost uniformly portrayed as evil. Today, however, stories often color her as more human, emphasizing her ghost-like nature and ephemeral beauty, more of a vengeful victim then an evil creature.
In many stories, Yuki-onna appears to travelers trapped in snowstorms, and uses her icy breath to leave them as frost-coated corpses. Other legends say she leads them astray so they simply die of exposure. Other times, she manifests holding a child. When a well-intentioned soul takes the "child" from her, they are frozen in place. Parents searching for lost children are particularly susceptible to this tactic. Other legends make Yuki-onna much more aggressive. In these stories, she often invades homes, blowing in the door with a gust of wind to kill residents in their sleep, but she must be invited in first.
What Yuki-onna is after varies from tale to tale. Sometimes she is simply satisfied to see a victim die. Other times, she is more vampiric, draining her victims' blood or "life force." She occasionally takes on a succubus-like manner, preying on weak-willed men to drain or freeze them through sex or a kiss.
Like the snow and winter weather she represents, Yuki-onna has a softer side. She sometimes lets would-be victims go for various reasons. In one popular Yuki-onna legend, for example, she sets a young boy free because of his beauty and age. She makes him promise never to speak of her, but later in life, he tells the story to his wife who reveals herself to be the snow woman. She reviles him for breaking his promise, but spares him again, this time out of concern for their children (but if he dares mistreat their children, she will return with no mercy. Luckily for him, he is a loving father). In a similar legend, Yuki-onna melts away once her husband discovers her true nature.
The Yuki-onna is both illusive and a force to be reckoned with, beautiful and downright scary. This creature is certainly an interesting one, embodying all the characteristics of winter.
(much of this information was gathered from the site wikipedia.org)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
These two luminescent birds are native to two distinctly different regions but their commonalities lead me to believe they are sister species. The Hercinia is native to the Hercynian forest of Germany. A mystical and magical place that is the also home to such creatures as the unicorn. The Hercinia was well associated with the forest, known to be a bird with glowing feathers, some described it as plated in metals of silver and gold. The radiant bird would light the way for those traversing the ofttimes treacherous paths through the dense growth of the forest. They served as guides and earned an honored reputation as a good omen for those who came upon them. They are associated with luck and hope in the darkness. This is truly a creature that I would love to encounter.
The Zulu abatwa are a tiny ant-riding race of people who live beneath blades of grass. They first came about when the nature spirit Vash'Nok cried and his tears fell to the earth, burst and formed into this diminutive little race. They are very shy little creatures who only allow them selves to be seen by young children, pregnant women, and magicians. Being that they are very small you must watch where you walk because if you step on an Abatwa it is a death sentence for you. They carry potently poinsoned arrows and will not hesitate to shoot someone who has offended them. Legends have it that if you come across an abatwa it will ask you a question, something like "From where did you first see me?" to this you must respond "from that mountain far off in the distance" or " from miles out to sea" these answer will save your skin, for the abatwa are very sensitive about their size. These answer reasure them that their stature is so great they are visible from a great distance off. If you answer wrong and inform an abatwa that you just came upon them and saw them in that moment then you will meet your end by the point of their poison darts. The abatwa are a nomadic people, most often encountered when they are hunting from the backs of ants.