Monday, April 30, 2018

A-Z Challenge: Y is for Source and Z is for Zambian Water Spirits

It's the final day for the AtoZ Challenge and we are at the letter's Y & Z.  I'm posting about two different sea creatures in the Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme today. For the letter Y, I'm featuring a myth that as far as mythical beings go, is pretty creepy looking. This sea creature lives near the rivers in the Amazon.

Yacuruna



This legend, according to sources, lives in underwater cities and resemble humans, and is described as hairy beings with abnormal feet and--here's something strange--they can rotate their head backward. Yuck.

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The image here depicts a Yacurana holding a snake and riding a crocodile. Legend says the Yacuruna mythical beings sometimes kept company with the reptiles. Additionally, they lived in crystal palaces under the water.  Like other myths, they liked to kidnap humans, preferably young women. That's a shocker, huh? I often wonder if young women disappeared for other reasons, not unlike today, and their local villagers created these wicked tales to cover up something even more nefarious done by humans rather than legends. Who knows? Anyway, these Yacuruna were considered dangerous. They liked to shapeshift into other humans and then lure females into their water worlds. One tale said a young female vanished by the Yacurana and later she appeared as a mermaid with healing powers.

Whatever mystical powers they have, the one that's most interesting is their healing powers.  Sources say a shaman can summon a Yacurana to help with the healing of their humans who are sick. This was the first time I learned about a creature that could be summoned to heal a person's illness. Apparently, an important bond can be created solely between a shaman and a Yacurana to help aid humans.  Among the locals, these creatures are considered gods with untold powers in the Amazon. That said, I'd have to say they are formidable beings.


The Letter Z


The letter Z was a doozy to find an underwater creature or myth. The first creature I found was for a water spirit called Zin. Unfortunately, I didn't find much information about it, so I decided to feature a different one. For my letter Z, check out

Zambian Water Spirits

There are many legends based on the Zambezi River in Africa to include water spirits and mermaids like the powerful god, Nyami Nyami (a.k.a. “Zambezi Snake Spirit”) or the famous water spirit, Mami Wata. The waters of Zambezi River and Victoria Falls are considered magical. Some of the legends say the mythical deities would roam the area and expect offerings from the locals and can become lethal when not honored. 
Nyami Nyami was said to be content until the 1940's when outside civilization entered their territory and built a damn. The damn offended the god and kept him from his wife.  During its construction, the area suffered mass flooding and deaths and many believed it was the wrath of Nyami. After it was completed, the myth said the irritated god disappeared back to his world and away from humans. Interesting, huh? 

Mami Wata translates to "Mother Water" which is really quite lovely. This water spirit represents water, healing, sex, and fertility according to folklore.

That's it for the letter Y and Z and thankfully for this challenge.

If you missed my last post for the letter X for Xana, a water fairy.

Mina Burrows

Friday, April 27, 2018

A-Z Challenge: X is for Xana

Today for the AtoZ Challenge we are at the letter X.  My Under the Sea Myths & Legends theme found an interesting creature to discuss.

Xana


Xana is described as a fairy from Asturian mythology in north-west Spain. This fairy female has long blond locks and prefers to hang out near water fountains, streams, waterfalls etc... Some references depict the Xana as bad while others say she can bring fortune and untold wealth to humans.

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A Xana looks like a young beautiful female, but the being is more fae then human and has magical powers. A Xana's voice can be alluring to humans and it's said a pure soul can hear her melodic sound and feel love and peace. An evil person who hears the voice can go mad. Xanas can be kind or they can be evil. Some myths say they've attacked humans and stolen their children and food.

As far as water creatures go, this one seems to be a bit milder than the rest which is fine with me. I'm just glad I found a creature for the letter X.  Right?

Yesterday, I posted about Tolkien's fictional character, Watcher of the Water. If you get a chance, check out that one too!

See you next time for the letter Y & Z!

Mina Burrows

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A-Z Challenge: W is for Watcher in the Water

We are at the letter W today for the AtoZ Challenge. Whew! We're down to the final letters on for this challenge. Yes!  For the Under the Sea Myths & Legends, I thought about many different myths such as another type of Water Sprites and other types of whales but then decided to post about a fictional creature who embodies the idea of myth.

Watcher in the Water


 J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy series The Lord of the Ring took the concept of myth with it's fictional Middle-earth world of creatures, places, and beings and created an epic tale that felt mysterious, ancient and a tad real at times. This series is a masterpiece on how a fictional story can create the illusion of lore and legends. 


The sea monster, Watcher of the Water appears in The Fellowship of the Ring, where he's lives in a lake near the entrance to the dwarf-realm Moria. The description of the creature is a monstrous underwater beast with mass amounts of tentacles and a head that could be comparable to that of a spider. He has razor sharp teeth and his tentacles can slice it's prey dead. That's the general appearance of the monster, but usually, when it came to Tolkien, he could take a creature like an octopus and revamp it into something that could devour a Kraken.

I found this in-depth character review of the Watcher of the Water. It's incredibly entertaining and I highly recommend it if you're a fantasy-geek like me.



In this video, it references one of Gandolf's famous quotes about the unknown darkness that lurks deep within the Moria mountain and on Middle-Earth. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandolf says, "There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world." When I think about the sea and the vast amounts of creatures burrowed deep--both known and unknown, I can't help but wonder the very same thing. I suspect Tolkien thought the same thing.

That's it for the letter W. If you missed yesterday, check out another Slavic lore creature called Vodyanoy.

See you tomorrow for the letter X!

Mina Burrows

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

Monday, April 16, 2018

A-Z Challenge: M is for Mermaids & N is for Ningen

Next up on the AtoZ Challenge is another double post for the letters M & N! For the letter M for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm posting about a sea creature myth that everyone already knows about...

Mermaids



Mermaids have been around for centuries. Some say as far back as the 25 century BC. These sea creatures come in both male and female and are described as half human and half fish. There have been many maritime stories about
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 these beasts. Some say these superstitious tales started from hallucinating sailors after being stranded at sea long periods of time. It's not a far stretch that a sailor with little food and water could hallucinate just about anything. It's unlikely that anything could be proven some hundred plus years ago either. Today, however, people have so much access to their cell phones to capture the mysterious on video and frankly, anything's possible. Right? Maybe. Take a look at this video below and determine if you think this myth is real or not.

There have been historical sightings of mermaids since the 1400's from Christopher Columbus and even in the 1600's from John Smith, the famous explorer who worked with Pocahontas.  According to this legend, Captain Smith said "he was sailing off an island in the West Indies and saw a woman “swimming with all possible grace” who, despite her “long green hair” was “by no means unattractive.” The intrigued Captain Smith then observed that “from below the stomach the woman gave way to the fish” as the lovely siren slipped away." 



Cool, huh? Who knows?


The Letter N



For the letter N for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm diving into Japanese folklore about a strange sea monster that, to be honest, I've never heard about before.

N is for Ningen


This sea monster is considered more of a humanoid-life form and some consider them to be the Japenese mermaid. The term "Ningen" means human and the creature, according to sources, is described as being white, approximately 20+ meters long and having a human-like shape with fingers and a possible tail. Other sources describe these creatures with fins and tentacles or possibly mermaid-like. Whatever these sea beasts look like, some have mistaken them for white whale because of their size? That seems a bit far off to confuse a whale for a bizarre-looking sea creature. Still, these under the sea creatures have caught a ton of buzz lately. There have been numerous sightings, causing much speculation about these monster origins.
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Many sources say these massive beasts live in Antarctica, while others say they've traveled as far as Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Are they real? Well, other than some grainy images/videos caught on film, these creatures seem to be more myth than anything else. Still, watching videos like the ones below, certainly makes you wonder...




That's it for the letter M & N. What do you think? Is the footage weak or wicked?

Friday, April 13, 2018

A-Z Challenge: L is for Leviathan

Today's letter for the AtoZ Challenge is the letter L. The creature I've chosen for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends is "a primordial sea serpent" known as...

Leviathan


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The sea monster is fierce with ties to the Old Testament. It's said that this multi-headed sea monster was said to have been killed by God himself. He is a pretty bad ass beast. If I had to put him against the Hydra, I'm not sure who'd win. I think probably this creature because of his biblical references. Right? Who knows.

The Leviathan is also known as the dragon of the sea.  This Jewish mythology mentioned that there were two created originally and they were so powerful they threatened to rule to world. One was a male, the other a female. To protect humans from such terror, God destroyed the female and spayed the male. There's more to that myth, including the beast's slain hyde was used to clothe Adam and Eve. Weird, huh? You betcha!


Modern Day Leviathan 

For those who love science fiction and in my opinion cheese movies, you'll be glad to know that there was a movie Leviathan released in 1989 perpetuated the myth of the ancient sea creature. According to IMDB, the movie description states, "An American deep-sea mining colony stumbles upon a sunken Soviet vessel hiding a horrific secret." Here's the trailer if you're interested.



Is this myth real? Probably not, but the fact that they are referenced in the bible is pretty impressive.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

A-Z Challenge: K is for Kelpies

It's time for the letter K. I'm posting for the AtoZ Challenge about Under the Sea Myths & Legends,. Again, I'm featuring a sea creature that takes the form of a horse.

K is for Kelpies



A Kelpie is a shape-shifting water sprite, not to be confused with Each Uisge, the other Scottish mythical sea creature. This one, according to folklore is more demonic than the other one and hangs out near lochs or lakes--not oceans. Like the Loch Ness Monster, Kelpies have a legendary tale from nearly every body of water in Scottland. Centuries ago it was said horses were slaughtered as an offering to the gods, thus creating the Kelpie myth. Other stories say these mystical tales were created to keep the children away from the water.


This beast may shape-shift into a human males mostly but there are some stories that feature a females. When in human form, it's said that humans can spot them by their hooves on their feet and also water weeds in the hair.

Kelpie's like to lure humans into the water and eat them, of course. *shivers* It's said the only way to kill them with a silver bullet which is like the werewolf. Maybe these killing methods are alike because of the shape-shifting component? Who knows?


There some really cool folklore tales about these creatures and others. One book I found was The Celtic Breeze: Stories of the Otherworld from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales by Heather McNeil. This book features many Scottish mythical tales, including that of the Kelpie. Some art from the 18 and 1900s are just as mesmerizing as the folklore. See the picture here of artist, Herbert James Draper, 1913 as he interprets a female Kelpie. Stunning, huh?

Now, these are totally myths right? Yeah, but cool just the same.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A-Z Challenge: I is for Iku-Turso and J is for Jaws

Okay, I'm doing a double post today for the AtoZ Challenge. I'm a bit behind schedule, but I'm catching up.   For the letter I for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm posting about another extraordinary sea creature.

I is for Iku-Turso



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This particular monster comes from the Finnish mythology and promises to bring forth evil and death. This beast description varies. Some say it's more like a giant octopus with tentacles and suction cups and also dragon wings? Yes, that's one description. Another mentioned no wings, and instead of tenticles, the beast had more of a beard and horns too--much like the picture to the right.  Some sources say its myth is as old as the 16th century. According to this source, the Kalevala, a Finnish national epic by Elias Lönnrot, mentioned the Iku-Turso which described him as a beast which was summoned from deep waters. According to the tale, " Later, Iku-Turso is summoned by Louhi, the Lady of the North, to stop the theft of the magical artifact Sampo. Väinämöinen, the leader of the plunderers, grabs Iku-Turso from his ears and using magical words makes him promise to never return from the bottom of the sea."  I actually feel bad for the beast with all that summoning, ordering and magical conjuring controlling his every move. If I were him, I'd be pissed.

Now, is this sea creature myth real? Probably not, although some myths don't die, do they?


The Letter J



For the letter J for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends,  I'm posting about another  ferocious monster.

J is for Jaws


Believe it or not, a century ago many scientists believed that sharks were "benign creatures" and "posed no threat to swimmers, and not powerful enough to maul a human." Boy were they wrong! Oh, there were old stores from sailors about shark attacks, but those were considered myths. Well, the idea of a shark attacking humans came to a reality back in 1916.

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According to the History channel, sharks like Jaws started attacking Americans on a beach in New Jersey over a hundred years ago.  It was the fourth of July and these real-life sea creatures attacked four swimmers on the Jersey shore in a span of nearly two weeks, killing one of its victims. Worse than that, the attacking spree spawned a massive hunt where humans tracked and killed many sharks in response to the Jersey shore terror. See here the picture of fishermen exhibiting their prize. At the time, the shark attacks were believed to be either great white sharks or possibly bull sharks. Some conspiracy theorists say the sharks were even trained by Germany during the war to attack Americans. Ugh. That's a bit too much but some people believed that one.

Anyway, the great white shark, according to the BBC documentary from Planet Earth is the largest "predatory fish on the planet." Many people believe that and when author
 Peter Benchley published Jaws in 1974, the legend of the vicious great white shark was born. I remember I couldn't get through that movie when I tried to watch it. I loved the ocean and Jaws tormented me for years when I tried to get back into the water. Ridiculous, I know, but it did. Anyway, no one knows why those sharks chose to attack all these swimmers in the early 1900s. It wasn't like there was an MTV crew shooting bad reality TV, using Snooki as bate back then. Who knows what drew them to the shore. All we know is that this legend of the attacking shark--albeit not as large as Jaws--is very real. Take a look at the BBC clip.



That's it for the letter I & J. Creepy, huh? I thought so too.

Monday, April 9, 2018

A-Z Challenge: H is for Hydra

Today is the start of week two of the AtoZ Challenge and we're on the letter H! So far, I've featured some really cool creatues for my Under the Sea Myths & Legends and today is probably one of my favorite.

H is for Hydra



Imagine a multi-headed, serpent-like dragon from Greek Mythology that can't kill.  This water freak-beast is awe-inspiring and you guessed it...evil. If I had to bet on a sea creature kicking the most ass this would be the one. 

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According to Britannica, Hydra was a "gigantic water-snake-like monster with nine heads (the number varies), one of which was immortal." He had wicked-sharp teeth and supposedly deadly breath to humans. The creature had regenerative capabilities and also, poisonous blood. If one head was cut off, several would grow in its place. With all these traits and the fact that it was immortal, this sea monster was formidable.

Gustave Moreau's 19th-century
depiction of the Hydra,
influenced by the Beast from
the Book of Revelation
The Hydra lived in a cave near  "Amymone spring" which legend states was an entrance to the underworld. Hydra was the gatekeeper to the mouth of hell and would often terrorize and eat local villagers. Hercules was said to have killed the beast by beheading Hydra, one snake-head at a time. Eventually, he cut off the immortal head and was said to bury the head under a rock. This image below depicts a larger version of Hydra.

Older Greek references have the beast looking more snake-like than dragon.  It's parents were  Typhon, "a grisly monster with a hundred dragons’ heads"  and Echidna, a snake-like monster who was half woman, half serpent. Hydra's father, Typhon, who was beyond vile, was cast out by Zues himself and sent to the underworld. Yikes, that's one terrifying sea monster with a heck of a family tree.

That's it for the letter H!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A-Z Challenge: Finfolk & Ghost Ships

Today's AtoZ Challenge is a dual post for the letter's F & G. My theme, Under the Sea Myths & Legends, has not disappointed me with my findings thus far. For the letter F, I'm posting about a curious legend about...

Finfolk



Does that sound cool or what? These legendary sea creatures are like magicians under the water. They are said to be from Orkney folklore and have sorcery and shapeshifting abilities.  Much like the Each-uise, they like to lure humans into deep water and turn them into domestic slaves in their world. What I found most interesting was their underwater fairy-like castle dwellings known as "Finfolkaheem." Underwater, their city is described as never being dark as it is "lit by the phosphorescent glow of tiny sea creatures." They look like they live in a Victorian underworld era, huh? Sounds wicked too and a place I'd like to visit too.



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And now we're onto the letter G. This one might seem a bit blase, but with how much water covers the earth, you shouldn't be surprised about...

Ghost Ships



So think about how many sea vessels venture out every day. Far too many to count, huh? Well, boats and ships--all sizes-- have been sailing waters on earth for centuries and with that many have lost their way. Either by weather, poor sea conditions, loss of direction, war and even sea creatures, ships have met their demise at sea. Way too many to count too. To give you a perspective, according to the most recent report in the shipping industry, "“every year, on average, more than two dozen large ships sink, or otherwise go missing, taking their crews along with them.” If you can picture how many ships have been submerged in the ocean over the centuries, ghost ships legends shouldn't be too difficult to comprehend.


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Do you remember the movie Ghost Ship with Julianna Margulies? It probably wasn't much of a fan or critic favorite, but I liked it. Anyway, the Ghost Ship legends could be for real. A ghost ship, also known as a phantom ship -- is one without a crew. Or one with a ghost crew. One fictional ghost ship the I've blogged about before is The Flying Dutchman. Have you read that one?

What's probably most eerie about this ghost ships is the trail of skeletons, ships, artillery and you name it lying at the bottom of the sea. Death and abandonment are all these things have in common. With so many lives lost, no doubt there are many souls haunting the wide open sea. Sailors, who are a superstitious lot, believe ghost ships to be true. It could be that sailors were hallucinating or it could be the real thing. According to various sources, there are many historical references to ghost ships. One account between1750 or 1760, the SV Sea Bird, a merchant ship grounded at Rhode Island without a crew and only "the only living things found on the ship were a dog and a cat."  Creepy, huh? And that's only one account.  


That's it for the letters F & G.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A-Z Challenge: E is for Each-uisge

I am continuing on with the AtoZ Challenge we're on the letter E! My theme is Under the Sea Myths & Legends and today I'm posting about a mysterious folklore tale about a creature that is part-horse, part sea creature and much, much more. Today's sea monster is....


Each-uisge



These sea creatures are from the Scottish and Ireland folklore tales and involve a water horse with supernatural powers. 

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The beast is a shapeshifter who, according to the tales, can shift into "pony, a handsome man or an enormous bird." And they are extremely dangerous. Not to be confused with Kelpie's these creatures can live in the sea as well as rivers and lakes. They are deadly and lure unsuspecting victims to mount them, where they return to the water and drown them.  Yikes! That's creepy. It's best described as a beautiful black horse with "with a greenish patina" and when shifted into human form, they can be recognized by the "water weeds or profuse sand and mud in its hair."



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The Scotts take this beast very seriously. It is said each Loch has a Each-uisge and there many stories about these creatures. According to A Book of Creatures.com, one story mentions a group of kids--all girls except for one boy who met up with an each-usiage one Sunday afternoon. It coaxed them one by one for a ride. As each girl mounted, the boy saw the beast's back grew larger to make room for the children. The boy thought it was strange. As the monster demanded he climb on too, the boy ran off.  The girls then tried to get down, but their hands were stuck to the water horse. The creature then took it's victims deep into the loch and the next morning their bodies were found at the surface. *shivers* Disturbing and creepy tale, huh? Yes, but we love it. There should be more stores written about these creatures.

They are said to be drawn to women which is quite laughable when you think about it. If this legend looks anything like the picture to the right, they Each-uisge are deadly, so watch out ladies. Don't get taken in by this sea monsters horseplay. 

Cool huh? The Each-uisge might be my favorite so far.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ISWG & A-Z Challenge: D is for Sea Dragons

Today I'm posting for IWSG & also the A-Z Challenge. Now that Spring Break and Easter are in the past, I'm back into work-mode which for me is fantastic.

Before I begin with my IWSG insecurity, I'd like to recognize it's founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's helpers or co-hosts Olga Godim,Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan! Thanks, guys!

To learn more about the IWSG program and how it can help your insecurities, visit the website here.

IWSG April


April 4 question - When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

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Guilt is an effective tool to push me. I talk to myself incessantly and give myself a guilt trip. I guess I should do something a bit more positive, but alas no. Whatever works, right? Another thing I do which may sound crazy, but I often have my characters talk to me. It's pretty annoying sometimes and usually stops when I'm done writing the story. Does anyone else have this problem?




A-Z Challenge: D is for Sea Dragons


The AtoZ Challenge continues with the letter D! My theme is Under the Sea Myths & Legends and I'm featuring another sea creature. These marvelous beasts are known to fly, breathe fire and massacre fictional worlds. This time, however, they hang out in the sea. My sea monster myth is....

Sea Dragon


Also known as the Sea Serpent or from Norse Mythology, Jörmungandr, this creature is in short...awesome.  Now many people may think about the Loch Ness Monster, but we're way past that. The legend of Jörmungandr is beyond cool. This sea dragon is said to be one of Loki's three children and is pure evil. He's massive with snake-like skin mixed with dragon scales, wings, fins and barbed tale. I didn't see anything that mentioned fire-breathing but with the submerged mostly in water bit, fire might not be feasible.

Are sea dragons a myth or real? Well, there have been centureis of stories about dragons in general, some of which mention sea dragons, like Norse Mythology. Probably the closest evidence in real life of a sea dragon is a Ichthyosaur  or Plesiosauria, which lived over 200 million years ago. Were they as exciting as the sea dragon depicted below? Definiely not as cool, but still monsterous.

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Do you think sea dragons are real? The bodies of water on earth are so enormous, it's like their a whole other planet. And frankly, quite possible.

Mina B.