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Anemone

Creature Reference Thread

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Levi was asking us before for creatures from mythology/folklore. In this thread, either post information about creatures from mythology/folklore or else post images of interesting mythological/folklorish/forest-dwelling creatures.

You never know what the team might think is cool! (Other than you, for posting in this thread.)

Kumiho (Korean)

The kumiho is a creature that appears in the oral tales and legends of Korea. According to those tales, a fox that lives a thousand years turns into a kumiho. It can freely transform, among other things, into a beautiful girl often set out to seduce men. The legends tell that while the kumiho is capable of changing its appearance, there is still something persistently fox-like about it; its countenance changes, but its nature does not. A kumiho is known to transform into an identical likeness of a bride at a wedding. Not even the bride’s mother can tell the difference. The kumiho is only discovered when her clothes are removed. Although it is typically depicted as a woman when it transforms into a human being, it can also turn into a young man that attempts to trick the women in marrying him to continue its generation. Although they are considered as having the ability to morph into other forms, the true identity of a Kumiho was said to be zealously guarded by the Kumihos themselves. There are also legends in which these transformations are said to be involuntary.

Kumiho-600x600.jpg

Tengu (Japanese)

Tengu are a class of supernatural creatures found in Japanese folklore, art, theater, and literature. Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. Myth tells that when they take human form, they have the ability to grow or shrink other human’s nose and when bird they are attributed the power to stir up great winds, they are known to be cannine monsters and most often it is fierce and anthropophagous. It makes a noise like thunder and brings war wherever it falls.

Tengu-600x476.jpg

Caipora / Curupira (Brazilian)

The caipora is a fantastic creature of the forest, in the Tupi-Guarani mythology: a giant creature, covered with dark hair, who always rides a large boar.

The curupira is also a fantastic creature of the forest, but he is short like a boy and his feet are reversed, with the toes pointing to the back. He is the protector of animals and trees, and according to the legend, will lead hunters and other invaders of his domain astray. In the state of São Paulo, the curupira is the official symbolic protector of the forests and all the animals that live in them.

COL483A-lenda-da-Caipora.jpg

Negrinho do Pastoreio (Brazilian)

A legend of southern Brazil, the negrinho (little black shepherd) lost the horses he was looking after. His cruel master had the little boy whipped and thrown, bleeding, into an anthill, where he died. He came back, invisible, and rides his horse on remote hills. If you promise to light up a candle in his honor, he will help you find lost objects.

The_Ghost_Horse_by_kailorien.jpg

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Nidhogg.png

tumblr_lo1808w3in1qemva8o1_500.jpg

Níðhöggr (Malice Striker): a dragon from Norse mythology that gnaws at the root of the Yggdrasill (The World Tree, the giant tree that supports the heavens, and connects the world, the heavens, and the underworld through its roots).

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@Kumiho Well, I’m used to call it Gumiho, but that’s not the point. Some of the versions of those tales additionally tell about “fox rain”. That is a situation when it is sunny, there are no clouds visible anywhere, but there is strong rain going on. It like starts instantly from nowhere and ends as unexpectedly as started. It is said that, it is then, when Gumiho, nine-tailed fox spirit, is sad and crying.

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Qilin_by_WolfOfSahara.jpg Qilin. Chinese Unicorn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qilin

coyote.jpg Coyote, the classic mythological trickster figure in native mythology.

2la58o9.jpg Cù Sìth, Scottish Dog of the underworld.

jackalope.jpg Jackalope! Jackalope! Jackalope! :D The name says it all.

art_origins5.jpg Sphinx

Manticore.jpg Manticore

ouroboros.gif Poor little Ouroboros

photo-k7f.jpg Mishipeshu, Water Panther http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_panther

ask20091013155118_lg.jpg Yatagarasu, the Three Legged Crow.

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Not quite an animal, but perhaps examples of metamorphosis could be equally insightful.

http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/MWEBimages/ja_mm/full/M84_31_124.jpg

"An image of a rat. Raigo was a stern man, a priest whose duties included maintaining discipline among the acolytes of Mii Temple. A member of the influential Fujiwara family, he became spiritual adviser to Emperor Shirakawa (reigned 1072-86). For many years Shirakawa had no male heir by his Fujiwara empress and made several pilgrimages to Mii Temple in Kumano to pray for a son. An heir, Prince Atsuhisa, was at last born as a result of Raigo's prayers. Shirakawa was overjoyed and offered Raigo anything he wanted. Raigo asked nothing for himself but requested a raised platform for his temple upon which prayers could be offered. This was a privilege granted only to the fortified monastery of Mount Hiei, a stronghold of the yamabushi, literally "mountain warriors." These warrior-monks were a constant menace to Kyoto, periodically sweeping down and terrorizing the capital. Shirakawa (who had once complained that the fall of the dice, the waters of the Kamo River, and the monks of Mount Hiei were the only forces he could not control) was too afraid to grant Raigo's request. Raigo was infuriated. He retired to his cell where he shut himself away and refused to eat. Shirakawa sent conciliatory messages, but Raigo was implacable and eventually starved himself to death. Prince Atsuhisa died soon afterwards. Raigo's vengeful spirit changed into a thousand rats which infested the temple, destroying the Emperor's sacred books and scrolls and doing untold damage. Here we see a transformed Raigo, still in his priestly robe, chewing on a folded book. His ears and nose are not quite ratlike and suggest his human past. Smaller rats assist him in his destructive work, and a pack of rats dashes by excitedly in the background. "

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Here's a few Russian inspired characters and creatures.

Leshy

x_5dcca8b5.jpg

The Leshy or Lesovik is a male woodland spirit in Slavic mythology who protects wild animals and forests.

A leshy has a close bond with the gray wolf, and is often seen in the company of bears as well. He is the Forest Lord and carries a club to express that he is the master of the wood.

If a person befriends a leshy, the latter will teach them the secrets of magic.

Kikimora

220px-Kikimora.jpg

There are two different kinds of Kikimoras. One kind lives in the forest; the other kind lives in the swamp. The Swamp Kikimora is the wife of Leshy. Her presence can be recognized by wet footprints.

The legend is the basis of her the poem written by Anatoly Lyadov, wrote that she "grows up with a magician in the mountains. From dawn to sunset the magician’s cat regales Kikimora with fantastic tales of ancient times and faraway places, as Kikimora rocks in a cradle made of crystal. It takes her seven years to reach maturity, by which time her head is no larger than a thimble and her body no wider than a strand of straw. Kikimora spins flax from dusk and to dawn, with evil intentions for the world."

Snegurochka

snegurochka.jpg

In one story, she is the daughter of Spring and Frost, and yearns for the companionship of mortal humans. She grows to like a shepherd named Lel, but her heart is unable to know love. Her mother takes pity and gives her this ability, but as soon as she falls in love, her heart warms and she melts.

And of course, Baba Yaga

BabaYaga2.jpg

Baba Yaga is a witch-like character. She flies around on a giant mortar or broomstick, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a house which stands on chicken legs. In most Slavic folk tales she is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters in other mythological folk stories have been known to seek her out for her wisdom, and she has been known on occasion to offer guidance to lost souls, although this is seen as rare.

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Nidhogg.png

tumblr_lo1808w3in1qemva8o1_500.jpg

Níðhöggr (Malice Striker): a dragon from Norse mythology that gnaws at the root of the Yggdrasill (The World Tree, the giant tree that supports the heavens, and connects the world, the heavens, and the underworld through its roots).

Posting creature reference Like a Boss

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Was reading Joseph Campbell this evening. Got all excited about him again once he got brought up in one of our BL threads. (BL... Black Lake? Brutal Legend? Eh?)

Anyway, Joseph shares this primitive myth/rite that has so many cool ideas floating around in it.

I'm recalling from memory, but BASICALLY he is trying to explain the myth underlying a seemingly barbaric ritual in one island culture that marks the pubescent boys' rite of passage. All such boys are gathered, there is dancing and so on, and then there is a massive orgy that lasts for several days, everyone having their way with everyone. At the conclusion, one beautiful young girl, dressed in incredibly ornate ritual clothing, is led to the center of the celebration and made to lay beneath a sort of "gate" constructed of large, heavy logs. One by one, the boys who are being admitted to adulthood proceed to... well... you know. Except for the boy who is chosen to be last. When the very last boy embraces the girl, the supports are pulled out from the gate, and the large, heavy logs come crashing down, making a loud BOOM and killing both boy and girl instantly. They are then pulled out, cut up, and eaten.

WOAH.

Joseph explains the myth that this craziness is based on. (Again, this is from memory.)

The myth goes that IN THE BEGINNING, all men of the earth were born from the ripe flesh of fresh bananas, and in this time the earth was very simple, having very few plants, and only a few other beasts aside from man. One of these men was named (if I am remembering correctly) Ameta, and one day Ameta went out to hunt and discovered a wild boar drowning in a pond. He waited patiently for the boar to drown, then he went and claimed it. Upon doing so, he discovered a coconut spiked onto one of the boar's tusks, which was a very strange sight to his eyes, because neither coconuts nor coconut trees existed in the world at this time. That being said, he did not know what it was, but his curiosity caused him to take it home.

Later, he injures himself and accidentally spills a drop of his blood onto the coconut, and over the coarse of several days, he notices the coconut is starting to resemble a human head. A trunk emerges from the base of the coconut, and gradually it starts to take the shape of a body. Over many weeks, the odd human-shaped plant growing from the strange object he found spiked on a boar's tusk grows into a beautiful and impeccably human little girl. She is just like a real human girl in every way, except for excrement. Ameta discovers that the girl excretes objects of incredible value. He names her Hainuwele, takes her in as a daughter, and becomes very wealthy.

To make a long story slightly less long, other people become jealous of Hainuwele and her endless wealth. Even though she shares the wealth with them freely, they do not think it is fair that she has it, and they decide to kill her on the last night of a celebration in the middle of the village circle. They do so, and her death marks the very first murder. When Hainuwele does not return home, Ameta senses that she has been slain. He takes the arms of his daughter to Satene, a woman who is said to have emerged from the flesh of an UNRIPE banana (unlike regular men who were born from ripe ones).

Two things then happen:

1) The dead body of Ameta's daughter causes all manner of never-before-seen plant life to begin growing from the earth.

2) Satene becomes furious at man for the murder of Hainuwele. She appears to men atop an enormous wooden gate, and in each one of her hands, she holds one of Hainuwele's arms. She shouts from the top of the gate that all men must pass through. Those who pass through successfully shall proceed to be men. Those who do not pass through successfully will proceed otherwise. One by one, all men of the earth passed through the gate. Some stepped through the other side and remained men while others transformed into all manner of beasts that had never been seen before, such as deer and rabbits.

Once this was done, the remaining men were made to pass on either side of the gate, and as they did so, Satene smacked every man on the left with Hainuwele's left arm and every man on the right with Hainuwele's right arm as they pass by. Those on the left were made to jump across five bamboo poles, and those on the right were made to jump across nine. And this is how man become divided into the fivers and the niners. (I do not remember what fivers and niners are.)

The cruel ritual is based on the murder of Hainuwele and Satene's gate. Both myth and ritual are rooted in the belief that all life stems from death.

It's like the Lion King's circle of life! But weirder and with more cannibalism and severed arms!

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You guys have got to put a wendigo in! It's a classic piece of malevolent forest mythology. Here's a really well thought out piece on the origin of Wendigos and their place in current storytelling: Link 1 and this one describes it in more of a fantastical sense and includes some really cool picture reference: Link 2

From the second: "Within its hideous, malformed body, there beats not a flesh-and-blood heart but a pitiless block of ice. The Windigo is as cruel murderous, and unstoppable as any monster conceived by the mind of man." "Within his gigantic head is a cavernous mouth made more awful by the lack of lips. This odd feature requires its own explanation. Most Indian informants say that the monster is so hungry for flesh that he has eaten off his own lips!" "A Windigo can be dispatched only by a human melting its frozen heart"

He pretty much writes himself into the game!

windigo.jpg

windigo.jpg.d09e7e22bcb4844a27d1ae6a1912

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