December 1, 2017

A representative of Swedish folklore, the Tomte is a well known character in Scandinavia.

The Swedish word Tomte roughly corresponds to gnome or elf.

The Tomte is small, about the size of a seven-year-old boy, has a long grey snowy beard and an old wrinkled face. He wears grey clothes and a pointed red hat, and lives on haylofts and barns, looking after the farm and the animals. Tomtes are shy and often move invisible but it is of utmost importance to treat the Tomte well. If so, he will help the...

November 28, 2017

The Barbegazi, are small hobgoblins from the French-Swiss folklore.

The name comes from the French barbe-glacée meaning “frozen beard” – probably in honor of their very long beards that are almost always frozen, as these little ones like to live in high mountains and stay outside in the winter enjoying the snow.

They travel around by using their feet, which are extremely long, as skis or snowshoes, depending of the conditions. They are said to have pointy ears and ice-blue eyes, and all their hair...

November 21, 2017

Among the Celts, the Old European wintertime Old Hag-Goddess became An Cailleach (literally An Old Woman) in Ireland, who in Scotland is known as Cailleach Bheur (meaning Genteel Old Lady) the blue-faced hag of winter, and as Caillagh Ny Groamagh (Old Woman of Gloominess)  in Manx Gaelic. This last version of the Old Hag appears to be particularly unlucky, for she fell into the crevice -that nowadays bears her name- after trying to step from the top of Barrule to the top of Cronk yn Irree Lhaa....

November 16, 2017

Several Nuu-chah-nulth stories have been recorded about the arrival of Captain James Cook’s vessels, the first British ships to make landfall on the shores of the Pacific Northwest. One of these accounts mentions that the people from Nootka Sound first thought the ship was an island appearing from under the water, but that as the object grew larger, they then thought it was the work of Haietlik, the lightning snake, that it was this supernatural creature working under the water that was making t...

February 26, 2017

The Xi-rhinoceros is a mythical three-horned beast that was described among the wildlife found on the Cauldron and Pray-and-Pass Mountains, and on Mount Min (East China). It was said to look like a black water buffalo with a large pig’s head, a distended belly, and short legs ending in three-toed elephant’s feet. Its most distinctive trait was that it has three horns, found on the back of its nose, forehead, and crown.

According to Strassberg in his Chinese Bestiary, the forehead and crown horns...

January 15, 2017

In the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan (what it's now Down Town Mexico City), several sculptural representations show the veneration that the natives had for frogs (Cueyatl or Cuiyatl). Some indication exist that the Cueyatl (frogs) are associated with the deity Tlaltecuhtli.

Tlaltecuhtli is the Aztec’s monstrous earth god. Tlaltecuhtli has both feminine and masculine attributes, although she is most often represented as a female deity. Her name means "The one who gives and devours life", and s...

December 25, 2016

A particularly odd monster, the Amphisbaena is a two-headed reptilian beast most often depicted as a dragon with a head growing out of the tip of its tail. The origin of the myth, however, speaks of a double-headed snake, both heads identical, with the ability to move both forwards and backwards to confuse its enemies. In fact, the word amphisbaena comes from the Greek words amphis (both ways) and bainein (to move), making reference to the main ability of this beast.

The study of depictions of th...

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