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People of all cultures have created stories of supernatural beings on Earth to explain things they don’t understand. Or maybe these creatures exist because we love stories, – stories keep us going. Or maybe, like the invisible Dark Matter of the Universe, they really are real – just hiding out of sight where we can’t see them except on rare occasions.
There will be monsters, gods, fairies and tales of other supernatural beings on Earth, no matter where you live. We all know the vampire, the siren and Bigfoot. You may not have heard of some of the following supernatural creatures, but you’ll find they make good stories. And often, frightening ones!
10. Black Shuck
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In England’s East Anglia, the story goes that a ghostly black dog roams the country carrying omens of death. If the dog looks at you with its red, green or flaming eyes – the eye color changes in different stories around England – you’re probably going to die within a year. On the other hand, there are some stories that the big black dog is protective, and guides women or lost travelers on their way.
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There are stories of Tibetan monks being able to create, with immense concentration, imaginary beings or tulpas with a will of their own. A Belgian-French Buddhist Alexandra David-Neel is said to have created a jolly monk, rather like Friar Tuck, in her mind. She fed so much of her mental energy into her creation, that it quickly took on a life of its own. There are reports that others were able to see this creation as well. In fact, the tulpa is not very different from an imaginary friend. Except that this ‘friend’ may be more ‘real’ than any we’ve created as children.
8. Yuki-Onna or the Snow Hag
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There are many types of supernatural creatures that revolve around snow and women. The Japanese have the Yuki-onna. Depending on which part of Japan she’s in or which story they’re telling, she could be either a Snow Hag, a Snow Harlot, a Snow Girl, a Snow Granny or even a Snow Sister. She could also be benign and bring good harvest, or she could freeze people to death.
There’s a story in Niigata prefecture, for example, that on snowy nights, a yuki-onna takes the lives out of children and freezes them to death. In Fukui Prefecture, it is believed that those who turn their backs on one without responding to their calls get pushed into a valley. When you live in a snowy country and a blizzard rubs against the shoji paper on the door, what do you tell the kids to put them to sleep? The yuki-onna is knocking…
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This legendary sea monster off the coasts of Greenland and Norway is naturally built on stories around some species of giant squids that have been spotted by sailors from time to time. But the kraken are more menacing. There are stories of these supernatural creatures devouring the entire crew of a ship at a time. They may attack ships with their arms or create a powerful whirpool in the water to suck the ship down. In real life, the monstrous giant squids are fast swimmers with powerful tentacles, but they have a nemesis – the well-matched sperm whale. Who do you think would win in a battle between these two titans?
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Cats are mysterious creatures, having secret lives of their own. In Japan, sometimes an old cat transforms into a mischievous bakeneko (monster cat) that can speak like humans, shapeshift into humans, curse people who were brutal to them, and in some stories, inexplicably wear napkins on their heads and dance! There are also stories of cats controlling corpses with their paws and tails.
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The Dullahan is a legendary headless horseman with fascinating stories surrounding it. Dullahan in Irish means ‘dark man’. In the remote parts of Sligo and Down, there is a tale that on certain feast days or festivals, the wild, black-robed horseman is seen racing down the countryside on a snorting horse. What’s even more grotesque is that the horseman usually carries his head by his side. Wherever the horse stops, someone dies, because the Dullahan has powerful sight that lets him spot a dying person from far away. If you watch the Dullahan pass, you’re likely to have one of your eyes blinded or blood thrown in your face!
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The spider Anansi is an African spider-god that the Ashanti people of Ghana have plenty of stories about. If you were to come across Anansi, you’d either find him a very ordinary-looking spider, or a strange spider in human clothes or a human face. What’s particularly fascinating about Anansi is that he is his trickery and cunning, which inspired the slave resistance during the Atlantic slave trade in history to take him as its mascot.
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In Native American culture, a Nagual or Nahual is a person who can shapeshift into an animal. This animal could be a bird, like an eagle, or a puma, a jaguar, even coyotes, dogs and donkeys. Depending on whether the person who has this power is good or evil, they could use their powers for good or evil. It’s not only the Mexicans that tell stories of these supernatural beings on Earth. The Russians have Baba Yaga. Many cultures have stories of werewolves. Shapeshifting shamans in many cultures are highly respected for their premonition, wisdom and healing powers.
Image source: Seeks Ghosts
The most heartbreaking types of supernatural creatures are the Myling. In Scandinavia, children that are abandoned by their parents (usually in the woods, left to die) turn into restless and angry Myling. These creatures chase solo wanderers in the night so they can be carried into graveyards and buried properly. If the person carrying the myling can’t make it to the graveyard, the creature goes into a mad rage and kills him.
There are other similar types of supernatural creatures around the world, like the Konaki-jiji in Japan. This creature either appears like a child or an old man. Like the myling, it becomes heavier while it is being carried by its victim. Naturally, the end can’t be good.
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There is a fascinating legend surrounding the city of Pontianak, a capital of West Kalimantan in Indonesia. The area used to be the haunt of female vampiric ghosts called Pontianaks. The city’s first Sultan is said to have fought against these ghosts and cleared the area of them, before building a palace and a mosque right where the nest had been. As for why the sometimes beautiful women in bloody white clothes attack men and helpless people, it’s probably because they died while they were pregnant. If you meet one – a dog whining will tell you when she’s near – run. Or she will dig your organs out with her sharp fingernails and eat them. Or she will suck your eyes out of your head.
What do you think of this list of supernatural beings on Earth? Are there any types of supernatural creatures you’d like to add to the list? If you liked the list, please share!