Medieval and Ancient Monsters

Wow! I wish I could have taken this class. Sounds like fun!

I have some monsters for you. πŸ˜‰ I happened upon this website: List of Medieval and Ancient Monsters.

Here be dragons! And glowing bird. (See Ercinee) And humorous monsters (see Gryllus). Or white feathery people (see Hsien — ooh! They’re calling for a story!)

I had to look up those three, see what I could find. πŸ™‚

Ercinee: Totally bummed that my mythology encyclopedia did not come through!Β  What I did find was a bit odd. They’re supposed to be very large birds that appear like giant eagles except that they glow faintly green. They primarily hunt rabbits, dogs, and small deer, but may take on a human (if they’re extra hungry, I suppose). Evidently seeing one at the beginning of a journey was good luck (if they didn’t try to eat you, I’m guessing). If you want to be a bummer, it’s reputed that this bird is actually just a firefly (and someone REALLY misjudged the size). Otherwise, I’m not the only one attracted to a glowing bird. He shows up on the internet all over the place, in games and new adopted legends. Hmm. Curious.

Onto Gryllus. Not-so-trusty encyclopedia lists a “grylli” as a talisman in the form of a chimaera or griffin. The original page lists the species as: “Humorous monster in medieval manuscripts, usually depicted with two legs, a head, a tail, and no body or arms. Often furry or maned.” Hmm … watch out for the crickets; evidently there’s a whole genus of gryllus crickets, and seeing how much I despite crickets and grasshoppers, this sure scares me! Best source so far: a blog on what appears to be role play. The author kindly supplies pictures and medieval sources. Another source lists the plural as grylli, and gives them Greek origin from the legend of Odysseus when one of the men wants to remain a swine … and evidently becomes stuck as a gryllus.

Finally, we move onto the Hsien. The original text from the List says: “In Chinese mythology, angelic “feathered folk” with winged or feathered images appearing in Chou art. The book of Chuang-Tzu pictures hsien as white-skinned, delicate superhuman beings: “These are divine persons dwelling there, whose flesh and skin resemble ice and snow, soft and delicate like sequestered girl-children; they do not eat the five cereals; they suck the wind and drink the dew; they mount on clouds and vapors and drive the flying dragons–thus they rove beyond the four seas” (quoted in Schafer 63). See Schafer, Edward H. Ancient China. Great Ages of Man: A History of the World’s Cultures. NY: Time Life Books, 1967.”

Finally, the mythology encyclopedia comes through! The home of the immortal deities was San Hsien Shan. I also found sources looking at the Pa Hsien, a group of eight (the number being lucky) immortals. Three were historical figures, while the other five only appear in myth and legend. No mention of feathers though. Feathers show up when you find Xian (perhaps a different spelling or Anglicization?). The word belongs to the Taoist beliefs, and can refer to an enlightened person. They are often described as having child-like smooth features, the ability to fly, and there is mention of feathers.

So, find any monsters you were intrigued by?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Random Scribblings pt 1: Potential Paranormal Villains

Do you have one of those weird books where you scribble down random research notes or thoughts that occur to you for the next book, potential characters, interesting species? I do. It’s a mess of a thing (I’m going to get more organized, I swear … one of these days). But, it does provide for interesting reading when you go back and wonder, what, exactly was I thinking when I wrote THAT?

It also sometimes becomes the short-hand for just the type of creature / paranormal I was looking for. Perhaps today’s post will help you, since I’m sharing my potential list of ΓΌber bad-guys (or who knows, they could become the hero). πŸ™‚

Asahkku – name of an ancient Babylonian disease demon, considered responsible for tuberculosis. (Wasn’t sure I wanted everyone getting sick, but if you do, hey, this one has potential.)

Asto Vidatu – from Persian myth, this is a demon, chief agent of supreme evil, and his name means “Disintegrator of Bodies” (sounds like fun at a party, huh?). He is given the task of consuming those destined for hell, and was eventually venerated as the God of Death. (Just to let you know, this program wouldn’t allow the correct spelling. It’s actually A-S-T-O with a line on-top, then V-I-D-A with a line on top – T-U. Sorry, I have no idea what the letters with a line on top are called.)

Irra – A disease demon in Babylonian myth, particularly known for the plague.

Kikiades – a name for demons in the folklore of modern Greece. The name means “Bad Ones.” (Doesn’t this scream with potential for some kind of gang of sexy men? So much so, wonder who’s found it already?)

Namtar – An Egyptian demon, guardian of the underworld. In ancient Mesopotamia, the name meant “That Which is Cut Off.”

The Seven Whistlers – A group of evil spirits in the folklore of Worcestershire, who manifest on stormy nights or at sunset. They portend misfortune and disaster to any who hear their shrieks and whistling across the skies. They come one by one. If all seven should come together, the end of the world is nigh. (Yes, I’ve probably mentioned them before. Who can resist what sounds like Snow White’s seven evil dwarfs? They even whistle as they work … at ending the world.)

Dragon of the Apocalypse – an apocalyptic beast (bet you didn’t see that coming what with the name and all). Many serpent-like beasts mark the potential apocalypse. (And I’m a sucker for dragons, which is why this guy gets listed).

So, do any of these fellows catch your attention, grab you imagination? How do you keep track of your supernatural world or find potential myths and legends to work with?

Thanks for reading, and have an awesome week. πŸ™‚