Of course, you’ve heard of the vampires of Transylvania, and stories of bloodthirsty werewolves. Terrifying as they may be, they do not even scratch the surface of the creepy mythical creatures that are said to have walked this Earth. Below is a list of the top 8 most eerie, gruesome, and downright creepy mythical creatures from all corners of the globe.
1. Mongolian Death Worm
The first entry in the list of horrifying creatures originates from Mongolian folklore and takes shape as a massive worm, its size ranging from 2 to 5 feet. It also has a thick headless body, and no legs. What gives the Death Worm its name is its tendency to spew acid on any living thing that comes into contact with its body. This acid corrodes and quickly kills anybody unfortunate enough to have touched the Mongolian Death Worm. It seems that is not enough for this killer critter, seeing as it also is able to kill at a distance as well, either by spraying venom at its prey or through electrical discharge.
Luckily, the Mongolian Death Worm is said to occupy the obsolete pits of the Gobi desert and is hard to come across. If you are planning a camping trip in the Gobi desert, however, be wary.
Pukwudgies are small creatures around 2 to 3 feet tall, with features resembling those of a human, except they are said to have exceedingly large ears, noses and fingers. They have grayish skin, which is said to even glow in the dark. Pukwudgies may not sound like they induce terror, but legends of the Pukwudgie terrifies all those who hear it. They originate from Native American folklore – specifically from the Wampanoag tribes.
Pukwudgies did not always torment and manipulate the Wampanoag tribes. In fact, they once had a good relationship, as the Pukwudgies had tried to help the tribe in any way they could. But the Pukwudgies were jealous of the affection the Wampanoag tribe had for Maushop, a giant who was known and revered for his kindness and generosity, for he often fed the tribe. As the Pukwudgies’ attempts at being kind and helpful backfired, they grew resentful and decided to aggravate the people instead. The natives went to ask for help from Maushop, and he complied. He went and collected as many Pukwudgies as he could, shook them until they were dazed and tossed them all around what is now known as New England.
Maushop, who was then satisfied with his efforts against the Pukwudgies, left the area for a while. The Pukwudgies, who were now angry, returned to the Wampanoag tribe and began attacking them. Even when Maushop returned, the Pukwudgies’ wrath was too terrible and they overcame him and shot him with poisonous arrows.
Pukwudgies are known to be able to appear and disappear at will, create fire, use poisonous arrows – all of which help them lure people to their deaths, burn down houses and kidnap children even to this day.
If you are prone to having restless nights and spine-chilling nightmares, you might have the mare to thank for your misfortune. A mare is an evil spirit or ghost of either a human or an animal , which rides the chests of sleeping people and channels bad thoughts and nightmares as they sleep, leading to nightmares and people waking up dazed, confused, and terrified. Not only does it cause nightmares, it also tangles the sleeper’s hair. Mares are said to affect mainly humans, but are also known to affect horses – leaving them exhausted and sweaty – and even trees, causing them to grow into complicated, twisted knots.
Although the mare seems to have first popped up in old German folklore, there are similar myths from around the globe, with stories of similar evil spirits coming out of Poland, Russia, Croatia, Hungary, Thailand, and Turkey, to name a few.
The Chupacabra is a legend originating from Northern and Latin America. Its name translates into literally, a ‘goat sucker’, owing to the fact that the creature’s tendency to attack and suck the blood of livestock. The first report of such a creature was back in 1995, where eight goats were discovered, all with three identical puncture wounds and completely drained of blood.
Sightings of the mysterious, blood-thirsty creature continue all around the Americas region. The Chupacabra’s appearance is said to be dog-like but with leathery, grayish skin and a trail of sharp spikes running down its back. It is roughly the size of a bear and hops on its hind legs, similar to a kangaroo. But the most striking feature of all is its sunken and bloodshot eye sockets, along with its razor-sharp claws and fangs.
With such a bloodthirsty creature on the loose, it is only a matter of time before it becomes a hazard to humans.
5. Spring-heeled Jack
One of the famous tales in horror books, the legend of Spring-heeled Jack first came about in the early 1800s and since then, they have been a permanent feature in old English folklore. Spring-heeled Jack is described as having the appearance of a devil, with eyes resembling great balls of fire. He is said to have a forked tail, clawed hands and he dons a black cloak. He also breathes fire and has sharp, metallic claws. Legend suggests he may also be able to change appearance as well, as he sometimes disguises himself as a regular gentleman, who is capable of speaking English – making him all the more dangerous.
One of the very first accounts of Spring-heeled Jack was back in 1837 London, where a young woman was suddenly cornered in a dark alley. Jack immobilized her with his strong arm, rendering her incapable of any movement. He began to move his clawed hands across her body before she screamed loudly, prompting him to escape.
Locals continued to hear reports of the terrifying figure, who terrorized all of England. Spring-heeled Jack targeted travelers on carriages, helpless women in the street and anyone in a similarly vulnerable position. He was reported all around England, and was never caught or identified. Spring-heeled jack has not been sighted since the early 1900s, but that probably means he’s just getting better at not being seen.
Ciguapa are not the first monsters featuring on the list who have been known to take on human forms. Legends in Dominican folklore describe Ciguapa as women with dark skin, and long, sleek black hair. But the main giveaway is their backwards-facing feet, making it so you’re never quite sure the direction their footprints are facing.
Ciguapa reside in the Dominican mountains and are said to lure wayward travelers – especially men – and bewitching them with their irresistible beauty. Their victims are either killed or driven mad.
Fortunately, the Dominican locals say there is a way to capture Ciguapa, although it is quite difficult. One must track them down during nighttime, on the night of a full moon with a cinqueño – a dog with 6 fingers on its paws.
African legends tell stories of a massive, black-and-white bird-like creature, known as the Impundulu. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Lightning Bird’. It can supposedly strike lightning from its wings and talons. The Impundulu is also capable of appearing human, meaning it could walk among us undetected. They are an omen of bad luck and strike fear into hearts of members of many African tribes.
The reason Impundulu is so highly feared is because their masters are evil witches, and the Impundulu is sent to do its master’s bidding. The Impundulu is vampire-like in nature. It feeds on blood and is immortal. It is passed down from one generation of evil witch to the next. It is indestructible but for one substance; arrows and bullets do not harm the Impundulu and it can’t be poisoned or drowned. Only fire can be used to kill the Impundulu.
8. The Manananggal
Another vampire-like, blood-sucking monster makes the final entry on our list. This time from Filipino folklore. The word Manananggal comes from the Tagalog word tanggal, meaning ‘to sever’. This is because the Manananggal, which takes the form of a hideous human woman, is said to sever its body from the waist up, sprout big, black bat-like wings and attack its victims.
The Manananggal is said to prefer attacking and eating sleeping women, specifically pregnant women. It attacks the women and uses their elongated, tubular mouths to suck the heart of the unborn fetus. The lower body remains stationary while this attack is occurring, and later the torso rejoins the rest of the body as the Manananggal flees.
However, if you are able to rub salt, garlic, or ash onto the vulnerable lower part of the body, then the lower body will perish. The upper part of the body will not be able to rejoin its now destroyed lower part, and will perish by sunrise.
You can draw parallels between the Manananggal and the modern stories of vampires.
So Many Ghastly Creatures!
The bad news is, there are so many more terrifying creatures, from angry spirits to bewitched animals. However, you’re not likely to be disturbed by any of these mythical creatures if you keep your head down, and don’t go around looking for trouble.