One thing that the human race seems to be very good at is creating mythical creatures. Since the beginning of recorded history these mythical creatures have been referred to in writings, by word of mouth and in pictures. Some of these creatures are very famous such as dragons while others have hardly been heard of like abatwa. These were supposedly the tiniest people in the world and lived in anthills in South Africa. Sometimes you have to wonder if the more popular tales of what can only be termed as monsters had any basis in real life. It is thought that the dragon tale came from the finding of dinosaur bones. The theory states that primitive people (and even not so primitive ones) had no way of knowing that these bones were millions of years old and they thought that these creatures had died recently. In their minds the bones represented dead dragons. When you think about it, people finding these bones even 500 years ago could very easily think that they were from currently living animals. This must have been a very scary thought for them when they unearthed these huge bones.
The Anka is famous in different Arabian tales. It is a bird of such a huge size that it can fly away with an elephant. It lived for 1700 years and became very mean. After its life span was over it burned and rose again from the ashes, much like the phoenix. The story goes on to say the the bird began to carry off children and the people became so scared of it that they prayed for help. God heard their prayers and prevented the bird from procreating thus it died out. It seems that there is a flaw here, I am just wondering how it could die out if it kept coming back after 1700 years, the legend is not clear on this point. Some of you may know this bird as the roc.
The Chinese Fox is a little known mythical creature. It looked like a normal fox but lived for a thousand years. It had many special powers. It could start fires with its tail, it was a shape shifter and had the power to see into the future. This fox was really different because it could appear in human form. When you saw a Chinese fox it was a bad omen. Many of these foxes were found in grave yards where the souls of the dead had entered into the fox.
An interesting creature is the Doppelganger. This creature is with every human in the form of a shadow. It is invisible to everyone except the person to whom it belongs. Some animals such as dogs and cats can sometimes see it. It casts no mirror reflection and is almost always behind a person. They can send ideas into your mind. If you see your Doppelganger it is bad luck. Sometimes these creatures are malicious.
If you are ever in the woods in Poland watch out for the Dziwozony. The Dziwozony are a race of very tall, strong women that live in the forests. They attack lone travelers and force themselves on young men. They are known to steal human babies and leave changelings in their place. An aside, some think this is a mythical Russian tribe.
But the Dziwozony are nothing compared to the eight-forked serpent of Koshi. This huge Japanese serpent has eight heads and eight tails. In each head is two glaring red eyes. How big is this serpent? It is so big that its length reaches over eight hills and eight valleys. I'd say that is pretty big! It eats young girls, but not too many, just one per year for seven years. It tried to eat an eighth princess but a brave knight killed it. There is a sword on display in Japan in the temple of Atsuta that commemorates the killing of this giant serpent.
Never date a Gorgon. They were three sisters that were the daughters of the sea god. They had no hair but instead snakes were on top of their heads. Their necks were covered with scales. The Gorgon Medusa was once a very beautiful woman, but because she kept boasting that she was more beautiful than Athena, she was punished and turned into a hideous creature. She was so hideous that just looking at here turned you into stone. Medusa had one quality here sisters didn't have, she was mortal. Perseus killed her. The blood of a Gorgon could bring the dead back to life. Pegasus was created from the blood of Medusa. Perseus cut off her head and put it into a bag and later used it to turn a sea monster to stone.
The Norse also had their creatures. One was the Fenrir or Fenris-wolf. This creature was huge and very fierce. It was a giant wolf. Even the gods had a problem controlling it so they kept it in chains. The Fenir kept breaking the chains so the gods had to finally use magical ones to control it. During the battle of Ragnorok the Fenrir broke free and devoured everything including Odin but Vidar, son of Odin kills it with a sword.
There are enough mythical creatures to fill a book and I am sure they have. This is a fascinating subject and I am sure it will be revisited by me in the future.