Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A-Z Challenge: V is for Vodyanoy

We're on to the letter V with the AtoZ Challenge. For my Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme, I'm featuring another Slavic folklore myth about a dark and disturbing sea creature called...



According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a Vodyanoy is a type of "water sprite" who is known to be "evil and vindictive" and can drown humans who enter their territory.  The myth warned people who chose to bathe in a stream on a holy day must make the sign of the cross before doing so or else the Vodyanoy would strike. Ugh. Some of these legends and their reasonings seem positively ridiculous. Then again, maybe people couldn't swim so a blessing before hitting the water certainly could hurt. Right? 

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Previously, I blogged about another Slavic creature, Rusalka who, like Vodyanoy enjoyed drowning humans too. Another source mentions this sea monster, like the Rusalka, hangs out in the water, only it's a male not female. His description varies from an overly-large frog-like creature with quasi-JaBba the Hutt features to an elderly male with greenish hair and a long beard. He's said to live near rivers and streams and if angered can also drown humans by destroying their damns, water mills etc... He's basically one deadly dude if you piss him off.

There's more about this creature in this video here that I didn't find in my research. Apparently, he lures and captures young maidens with a flower and then takes them to his underwater realm where they serve him. Uh, that's creepy and totally cool too.   


That's it for the letter V.  Tomorrow is W for Watcher in the Water.
If you missed yesterday, check out my post on Umibozu


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A-Z Challenge: U is for Umibozu

Today we're on to the letter U with the AtoZ Challenge. My Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme today features a really creepy sea monster from Japan called...

Umibozu


In Japan's folklore, the Umiboza legend is also known as the Sea Monk or Buddhist Monk because of his round head. There are many different accounts of what this creature looks like, but the description that's mentioned most is a gigantic blackened beast with two large eyes and oversized bald head, This legend has been around for centuries. The Umiboza rumors started originally from sightings which then spawned into creative tales about the mysterious creature. According to sources, one mention of the Umibozu can be found "in a collection of writings called Kanso Jigo" from the "Kansei era (1789 – 1801)."

These same sources reference that the Japanese historically feared the ocean and due to that fear, some myths like the Umibozu were created. This particular beast could appear in calm waters to ships. If the sailors saw the beast and tried to speak it, it would enrage the creature and cause certain demise to the ship and everyone on it. Umibozu were so terrifying they could "rise ten feet tall and break ships in two." Yikes! From the looks of this legend, it'd be hard to ignore the creature.

Now you may wonder if this sea myth is real or not? Well, as of 1971, one Mainichi Shinbun newspaper reported that a fishing boat near New Zealand caught a creature tangled in the fishing lines with a similar appearance to the sea monk. The Captain and crew believed the creature to be some sort of monster.  Freaky, huh? Even Japan sent an oceanography team to investigate. If you're interested in learning more about this creature and others Japanese folklore, ghost stories and myths, visit this amazing blog, Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.

Tomorrow it will be the letter V! Until then, see you later!


Monday, April 23, 2018

A-Z Challenge: S is for Sirens & T is for Triton

Today I'm posting a dual post for the letter S & T with the AtoZ Challenge. This next sea creature is a must with my Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme. For the letter S, I'm posting about one of the mysterious creatures of the sea. S is for

Sirens




According to Greek mythology, sirens were evil temptresses who would use their magical voices to seduce sailors and their ships toward treacherous rocks and cliffs, delivering them to their doom. Sailors were warned not to hear the call of the wanton sirens. These sea myths are not to be confused with mermaids. Although they are similar, sirens are deadlier. Sirens were referred to as part women, part bird for their sing-song beautiful voice. In ancient times, many ceramic references show Sirens with wings and feathered tails.

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I found this interesting since I never knew that about these mythological beings. Sources also say that they are descendants of the Greek god, Poseidon, which is incredibly cool.

Homer's Odyssey is one of the famous Greek stories passed down mentioning the sirens. The crux of this tale is that Odyssey had his sailors plug their ears with beeswax to deafen the siren's song and also had them tie himself to the mast. It was told that a siren would die if a person heard their song as was still about to pass through their waters. I guess Odyssey must have killed many sirens that day or so the story says. Pretty cool, huh?

That's ancient Greek mythology though. What about today? Well, other than some fantastic fiction novels and ancient mythological tales, there's little scientific evidence that proves the sirens are real. Sirens are monstrous creatures who live more in our imaginations and in folklore than in reality. If you're interested in watching a hip new television series that features siren/mermaid-like creatures, FreeForm, has "Siren" television show which recently debuted.  I watched a few episodes and it's okay. I think it would be cooler if it had less of a damsel in distress writing and more of a murderous mermaid on a rampage. I don't know. Has anyone else seen this?


The Letter T


For my Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme, I'm posting about Triton, the Greek mythological creature who's the son of the Poseidon and Amphitrite. I previously blogged about the Poseidon here so take a look if you're interested in learning about Triton's Dad.

Initially, I learned Poseidon is the Greek mythology's God of the sea. When he had his son, Triton, he named him the King of the sea, and according to sources, made Triton his messenger. 

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Triton is described as a merman, with part fish with fin and scales and the other part a human male. When we think of Triton, most of us think of Disney's The Little Mermaid, with King Triton, the father of Ariel. He's likable charming and overprotective of his children. As a king, he uses a trident similar to his Dad, Poseidon. Some people may not know this, but Triton's conch shell was a great source of power. When blown, he could summon or calm the waves or even rile other water creatures. As a son of Poseidon and a king in his own right, I suspect he had much power.

Later, Triton the mythological creature was referred to more of a group of mermaids and mermen, as were called the Tritons. Many schools and universities use the mythological creatures as their mascot, including University of California in San Diego.


And that's it for the letters S & T! We're getting close, guys. Six more days left! Whew!

Friday, April 20, 2018

A-Z Challenge: R is for Rusalka

It's Friday and I'm posting for the AtoZ Challenge for the letter R. My theme is Under the Sea Myths & Legends and I'm excited to feature Slavic mythology and folklore with the sea creature...

Rusalka


According to sources, these mythical creatures are referred to as a mermaid, siren, a water nymph-like sea legend who originated from  Pagan Slavic tribes. These creatures were at one time referred to as fertility blessings and it wasn't until the 19th century when they were deemed evil. Some of these myths say young women who died or drown in the water would come back to life and haunt the shoreline as a Rusalka. Unlike mermaids, they didn't have fins and must stay new the water, shore, using trees or rocks to lurk for their prey.

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The Rusalka find young men and lure them into the water, their beautiful looks. Once in the water, they use their long red tendrils of hair to wrap and perhaps strangle the unsuspecting lover.  If the victim realizes he's in danger, he may try to grapple, but the Rusalka's skin turns slippery and any effort to flee is futile. *shivers* Wow, that's creepy.

Slavic cultures celebrated these sea monsters well into the 20th century with an annual week called Rusalka Week.  Every summer, usually during the first week of June, people would avoid the water, no swimming etc... because the Rusalka would be most deadly and or powerful during these times. The Rusalka like to dance under the moonlight where onlookers would wander and capture a glimpse of the creatures. If caught by a Rusalka during this time, it meant certain death.  To ward off these evil-spirited creatures, the villagers would hold fake burials near the water. Doesn't sound like that would help, but I guess people did strange things back then.

If you're interested here's another cool video that features this creature and other Slavic myths. The Rusalka is number 1 on the list here so you can skip to the end or watch the whole thing. Enjoy.



That's it for my letter R. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

A-Z Challenge: Q is for Qalupalik

Today from the AtoZ Challenge, we're onto the letter Q. Usually, when you get these tough letters, it's nearly impossible to find a topic, but not today, my friends. My theme, Under the Sea Myths & Legends, features another myth that's terrifying and oh so delicious.


Now, these sea creatures come from Inuit People who are from the Canada Arctic territory and also areas extending to Alaska and northern Canada and to Greenland. According to sources, Inuit tales were passed down through story-telling, a sort-of macabre children's fairy tale.

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In this particular myth, a creature called, Qalupalik, was a sea-creature, that some say are a type of mermaid with scaly and also human-like features. The myths said these monsters like to steal children and take them to the sea. They disguised "themselves as humans" and would "wear similar ponchos," luring unsuspecting children and kidnapping them. Sources say it's possible these tales were created to keep children from wandering away or being disobedient to their parents. If you think about the freezing temperatures of the ocean and the dangerous terrain, it's conceivable why parents would want their kids to heed the legends. I guess that's one way to keep your kid obedient. Scare them into obedience? In the case of this sea creature, I'd prefer to obey instead of meeting a Qalupalik, wouldn't you?  Yikes, that's creepy, huh? 

Interested in watching video on this myth? It's pretty awesome and highly recommended. See below. 



Not bad for Q, huh? Have you ever hear of a Qalupalik?


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A-Z Challenge: P is for Poseidon

P is for  Poseidon for the AtoZ Challenge. For my Under the Sea Myths & Legends, I thought it was important to feature Greek mythology's god of the sea (and water, earthquakes, droughts, and horses).

If your Greek mythology fan or better yet, a Percy Jackson fan, then you already know about Poseidon. He's bad-ass personified. I never knew this, but he's actually the father of King Triton - which is another sea creature I'll be posting about for the theme. According to sources, Poseidon was the son of the Titan, Cronus, and Rheia. He also fathered Pegasus which is crazy cool and was said to create the first horse ever.  He had several aliases, including Sea-Father and the name Neptune.

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As a god, you can imagine what his powers were like what with summoning earthquakes, commandings the seas and even creating horses. Myths also mention that he used his trident to create springs, which would be great if you're stuck in a desert and thirsty. I think he might be one of my favorites. 

Poseidon is as much as a mystery today as he was in ancient times. Back before 300 BC, they even had coins created with Poseidon and his trident. 

Some of the most popular ancient tales feature the powerful god, Poseidon such as Homer's Odyssey or Iliad. Even today there are countless books about Poseidon.

That's it for the letter P. I'm curious if you have a favorite book with this Greek god?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A-Z Challenge: O is for Octopus

For the AtoZ Challenge and O is for Octopus or in sea monsters terms, the Kraken. My theme this year is Under the Sea Myths & Legends and so far I've unearthed some creepy-crawling creatures from the deep blue sea. 

The Octopus myth stared centuries ago, but none so famous as the deadly Kraken. Before I dive into the Kraken and why this legend is so notorious, I wanted to give you some background about the octopus.  
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Cephalopods have existed for hundreds of millions of years, many of which have been fossilized and are now extinct. These sea creatures have amazing talents like camouflaging and contorting that it's no wonder why we have myths like the Kraken.  Does anyone remember recently when they found a squid that was as large as a school bus? Youzers that's big!  

Now, this legend started in Norway about this creature haunting the seas.   When you think about it, it could be from sailors stuck at sea and thought they saw an oversized squid.  This sounds a bit more plausible, right? There are large creatures in the ocean for sure. Is it possible that the Kraken would attack a ship like this picture above depicts? Well, sure. Just take a look at some online footage of whales, sharks and, their sometimes aggressive or predatorial behavior. Now take a look at an octopus or a squid. According to sources, "cuttlefish, squid, and octopuses, are thought to be the most intelligent invertebrates." They can be playful, and have personality according to some researchers, but does that amount to the tale of the sea creature, Kraken? Well...there's frankly not enough proof. But with the technology we have today and the information we keep learning about this strange species, I wouldn't be surprised if this legend becomes a shocking reality.
Interesting in watching a fun video about the Kraken? Check it out.


At that's my letter O. What do you think about the Kraken? Do you think this myth is real?

Mina Burrows