5 Ancient Creatures of Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand and known for having some of the weirdest, scariest creatures on the planet. From deadly ocean creatures, to poisonous snakes and spiders, to massive carnivorous reptiles, to pine-cones big enough to kill you, these countries don’t mess around in the flora and fauna department. So naturally, their mythological creatures are weird and wonderful(ly terrifying) too!

I found at least twenty mythological beasts from New Zealand alone, so really it’s not fair to clump the two countries together, but I have one more stop to hit before Halloween! Maybe I’ll have to make this feature a regular thing so we can do some more in-depth exploration of local monsters.

Anyway, here are the scariest creatures I found…

#5 New Zealand’s Fairies

I’m cheating here and giving you a four-in-one deal. These creatures all fit together in the generic “fairy” category, and they’re very cool!

TE-TINI-O-HAKUTURI

A band of bow legged sprites that live in the forest for the sole purpose of seeking retribution for anything taken or desecrated without a proper offering to the forest spirits. They often take the form of insects or birds, and they are watching you.

PATUPAIAREHE

These fairies are usually human sized, with fair skin and bright red hair. They live in forested and mountainous regions. Interestingly, stories of these creatures seem to have been around since before white Europeans colonized NZ. Albino Maori children sometimes have pale skin and orange-ish coloured hair, and were once thought to be fathered by one of the patupaiarehe. These fair folk are extremely sensitive to sunlight, and are usually only found at night or on grey, misty days. They are said to lure humans with their ethereal fluting into the forest from which you may never return.

PAKEPAKEHA

These fairies, also fair skinned with red hair, are much smaller in stature. The gnome-like creatures are usually spotted riding down the river on a piece of wood or bark, and may be heard singing. White colonists of New Zealand came to be called Pakeha by the Maori people.

PONA-TURI

Grouping the pona-turi with the fairies is perhaps unfair. These pale skinned creatures are more like sea-goblins with long thin fingers and sharp claws, and a vampiric aversion to sunlight. At night, they pull themselves out of the waves and onto the shore to commit all kinds of mischief.

#4 Poua-Kai

The poua-kai are huge man-eating birds depicted with black and white wings with red crests. The creatures let out a terrifying cry, plunge out of the sky, pluck unsuspecting people right off the ground, and carry them away to their nests to imminent death by beak and talon. The scariest thing about the poua-kai is that this myth is based on a very real creature, the Haast’s Eagle which fed mainly on the flightless moa before they were hunted to extinction by humans. Moa’s being significantly larger than most people, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine the Haast’s Eagle moving on to human prey once its main food source was eliminated.

#3 Taniwha

What’s scarier than underwater dragons? Shape-shifting dragons that can disguise themselves as aquatic creatures before snatching unsuspecting bathers or fishermen, dragging them below the surface to be raped and/or devoured! There are many, many stories of the Taniwha. Sometimes they act as guardians, protecting an area or a person. But they are always to be feared and never to be trusted.

#2 Ape Men

Another combo deal for you!

YOWIE

The Yowie is the Australian version of the Sasquatch myth, a large upright ape-like creature sometimes spotted wandering around the woods. Unlike most Australian fauna, these guys don’t seem to be particularly malevolent. They just like to keep to themselves in forested areas and occasionally pose for poorly focused photographs.

MOEHAU/MAERO

The moehau or maero are a New Zealand variation on the bipedal gorilla of the forest myth. These creatures are more aggressive than the Australian ones, though. They are thought to be about the same size as a human man, with long shaggy hair covering their bodies and ape-like faces. They carry carry stone clubs, have long knife-like claws, and an appetite for human flesh. In the late 1800s a woman and a prospector were slain, the woman’s neck was broken and the man had been partially eaten. The attack was blamed on moehau.

#1 Yara-ma-yha-who

Don’t let the cutesie, yodeling name fool you. The Yara-ma-yha-who is a terrifying creature. Australia’s own home-grown vampire which comes from Aboriginal mythology and is likely older than the European versions. While it doesn’t quite have the same sex appeal as modern vampire stories, the Yara-ma-yha-who is guaranteed to terrify. This creature is a squat, red frog-like demon with a huge mouth and no teeth.

How does it drink blood, you ask? Well…

The Yara-ma-yha-who waits in a fig tree for an unsuspecting traveler. Then it drops out of the branches and wraps it’s arms and legs around its victim, like a four legged octopus. As if that’s not bad enough, each of the creature’s hands and feet have a blood-sucking mouth on them. This thing sucks its victim dry with it’s leech-like appendages.

After gorging itself on the blood of a human victim, the Yara-ma-yha-who will take a nap, wake up and vomit the contents of its stomach up on the ground, crawl back into the tree, and wait for another victim.

Sometimes it will leave the victim alive, which is good news! Unless of course, you are attacked again. If your blood is sampled too many times, you may become one of the Yara-ma-yha-who, yourself.

Conclusion

And you thought giant spiders and salt-water crocodiles were bad! Have you ever visited Australia or New Zealand? Better yet, are you from there? Did I miss any of your favourite cryptids or mythological monsters? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this piece, come check out some of the other Fantastic Beasts from around the world: Canada, Serbia, the British Isles, Korea, Persia, Scandinavia, India, and Africa.

Thanks for reading!

5 Startlingly Strange Cryptids of African Myth

Africa is a vast continent with 3000 different ethnic groups, speaking more than 2000 different languages. Each of these groups has their own local myths and legends, some of which blend with those of nearby groups, and some of which are completely unique. To narrow this sea of myths and legends down to a top five list is a laughable feat.

I’m going to try, anyway, and at some point I would like to come back and explore these myths in more detail by region. If you’d like to see more or know of something I’ve missed, let me know in the comments!

If you enjoy African mythology I highly suggest reading some Nnedi Okorafor who writes fantasy which draws on some of these myths and is simply one of my favourite storytellers. I recommended Who Fears Death for adults and Akata Witch or Binti for Young Adult.

#5 Ninki Nanka

The Ninki Nanka is a reptilian creature with a crocodile-like body, a long giraffe-like neck, and a horse-shaped head with horns. Did you just picture a dragon? So did I! This one lives in the swamps and rivers of West Africa. The swamp dragon is huge and probably thinks nothing of chomping off your head for a snack. Naturally, parents use tales of the Ninki Naka to keep disobedient children from wandering off into the swamp without a grown up. I would have thought the crocodiles would be enough, but hey. Kids will be kids.

#4 Inkanyamba

The Inkanyamba is a river monster of the Zulu people in South Africa. It is said to look like an enormous eel, sometimes with a snake head or with a horses head. It is believed that the Inkanyamba can control the weather. The creatures travels between its home at the base of Howick Falls and other bodies of water and is most often spotted in misty conditions. The Inkanyamba may be inspired by real life giant eels, and enlarged by myth. Or perhaps there is something else lurking in the primordial ooze. Either way, the Inkanyamba is blamed when livestock go missing and for the seasonal storms that ravage the area.

#3 Bouda

The Bouda are the most terrifying shape-shifters I came across while researching African myths, although they aren’t unique to Africa. They stories vary by region, but Bouda are half-man half-hyena, and are particularly blood-thirsty creatures.

Often, werehyenas are thought to be witches or wizards who have learned to transform themselves in order to hunt the countryside at night. In Ethiopia, for example, blacksmiths are thought to be witches with the power to become Bouda. Blacksmithing is a hereditary trade, and therefore the mysteries of the craft are kept secret from outsiders, which invites suspicion.

Werehyenas are cannibalistic creatures who particularly enjoy terrorizing lovers and children.

As these myths travelled into Arabia, they transformed again, so that all hyenas are vampiric creatures who stalk the night, mesmerizing their victims with their eyes before they attack.

# 2 Adze

Speaking of vampires, the Adze is one type of African vampire from the Ewe people of Togo and Ghana. Rather than a bat, this vampire transforms into a firefly before feeding on its sleeping victims. It will transform back into a human when caught, however they are still dangerous. Adze are thought to be the spirits of witches who can possess other humans when they are in their human form. Possession by an Adze was used to explain all sorts of human behaviour and experiences from jealousy to poverty. In their firefly form, the Adze transmit disease, and were blamed for sudden epidemics of malaria and other illnesses.

#1 Popobawa

The Popobawa is a shape-shifting spirit which can take the form of an animal or a human. It’s name literally means “bat wing” because it often appears as a demon with bat wings. The Popobawa is a relatively new myth, perhaps better described as an urban legend. It caused mass hysteria in the 1990s when a rash of attacks by the creature were reported.

Sometimes the Popobawa is blamed for poltergeist-like activity in a home, or for physical assaults that happen at night. Men, women, and children have all been reported to be attacked by the Popobawa. But the most feared aspect of these creatures is their sexual attacks. The bat-winged demons sodomize their victims, and then threaten to come back and do it again if the victim doesn’t tell the rest of the community what happened. Popobawa are particularly fond of raping those who don’t believe in them. This might explain why the stories took off so quickly, and it makes you wonder… if there is no such thing as a Popobawa, who is creeping into peoples homes and assaulting them at night?

Conclusion

That’s the end of this round of mythological African beasts! I chose these particular creatures because I thought they were the creepiest coming up to Halloween. But Africa has so many I could easily do another two or three articles! There are enough dinosaur-like monsters to have a feature of their own…

If you enjoyed this feature, be sure to check out the rest of this series as we explore the legendary monsters of the world. So far we have been to Canada, Serbia, the British Isles, Korea, Persia, Scandanavia, and India.

Where will we stop off next? You decide! Let me know in the comments.

5 Uncanny Indian Creatures to Spice Up Your Nightmares

India is a continent rich with history and mythology (and spices!). As with any decent pantheon of gods and goddesses, India also has its fair share of monstrous creatures. Many of them are benign and protective spirits. But there are a few Indian fiends you definitely don’t want to meet on a lonely road. terrifying

I was drawn to Indian mythology thanks to a middle grade fantasy book I read with my children, which makes use of many of these creatures (and more!) and which made me realize how much popular culture is missing out on by its unmovable fascination with western culture. Check out The Serpent’s Secret: Book One of Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond for an absolutely fantastic read loved by both my kids and me!

#5 Hanuman

Hanuman is the great monkey general of a monkey army, depicted as a huge ape with a red face who walks upright like a man. He has the magical ability to fly and to change his size at will, but he has been cursed to forget about this unless he is reminded of his magic.

Like Icarus, Hanuman once flew up and tried to seize the sun, mistaking it for a big juicy fruit. The king of the gods, Indra, struck him down with a bold of lightening to the jaw. Like any good trickster figure, Hanuman was not to be dissuaded from his mischief and he continued to cause trouble. A band of powerful sages got together to place the curse upon him.

Even without his powers, though, Hanuman was a brave creature. He commanded his monkey army to aid Rama in his battle against the demon Ravana, king of Lanka. After being reminded of his powers by the king of bears, Hanuman charged into the fray and lit the entire city of Lanka on fire with his tail (which had been set alight). He stole a mountain of the Himalayas full of healing herbs and delivered it to Rama’s wounded army.

Due to his service to Rama (who was an avatar of Vishna), Hanuman is worshiped in temples devoted to Rama or to Hanuman himself. Because monkeys cannot be mistreated in these places they can often be found congregating within and near Hanuman’s temples as real life reminders of his bravery.

Turns out he wasn’t such a bad guy, but a giant monkeys with monkey armies at his command is not a creature to be trifled with.

#4 Timingila

The mythological Timingila (not to be confused with the word Timingilam which in the Tamil language means “whales”) is a massive sea-creature lurking in the depths of the ocean. Not much is known about the Timingila, but they appear to be a species of enormous shark (like Megalodon) or whale (like Leviatan) which is so large it can swallow whales whole.

I don’t have any cool stories about these guys, probably because anyone who encounters one of the gargantuan shark-beasts is no longer around to tell the tale.

#3 Nagini

The Nagini of Indian mythology are the females of a race of snake deity called the Naga. Both male and female Naga can shape-shift between human and snake form, most often preferring the shape of a hooded cobra. Nagini are said to be exquisitely beautiful women, and they were considered the ultimate marital catch.

However, the Nagini sometimes act as succubi, seducing and killing men in order to become more powerful. And you definitely don’t want to make these ladies angry. If their lover is murdered, the Nagini are said to be relentlessly in their pursuit of revenge.

The most famous Nagini is Manasā, of Hindu mythology, the goddess of snakes. Manasā is worshiped as a fertility goddess and invoked to protect against snakebites. She may be depicted as a woman covered in snakes or standing on the back of a snake. Her face is often surrounded and shaded by the hoods of seven king cobras at her back.

Manasā remains half-mortal and is bitter than Shiva did not make her a goddess. She is kind to those who worship her and can be very cruel to those who do not. She is often portrayed as being vicious and foul-tempered.

J.K. Rowling borrowed from these myths in order to create Voldemort’s side-kick, Nagini.

#2 Rakshasa

Rakshasa are Hindu/Buddhist demons or goblins. Ravan, the demon King of Lanka, is one of the most famous Rakshasa and is the main villain of the Ramayana. Rakshasa can have super strength, change their size, and can shape-shift at will to assume human and animal forms (or any terrifying creature they can dream up.) Of course, the Rākṣasī (females), love to transform into beautiful women. And we all know how that’s going to turn out…

As with all self-respecting demons, the Rakshasa are most powerful at night. The New Moon phase in particular is one to be wary of. These creatures haunt cemeteries and tombs, eating corpse-flesh and sucking cows dry of milk.

Pūtanā, a female demon, tried to kill Krishna when he was a babe by offering him the poisoned milk of her breasts. This didn’t go so well for her, as the infant immortal sucked the life right out of her (breast-feeding mothers around the world know this fear.)

#1 Pishachas

One group of flesh-eating demons wasn’t enough, so the Brahma created the Pishachas, too. These creatures can be found lurking in the shadows of cemeteries and charnel houses, quietly infecting all who pass near them with disease and madness, or devouring the bodies of both the living and the dead. They are drawn to places where violent death has occurred, and have a penchant for the flesh of pregnant women.

Villagers in southern India will often carry a piece of iron or neem leaves in their pocket to ward off these demons if they have to travel any dark roads through the forest at night.

Thankfully the creatures can’t abide sunshine or bright lights, so we don’t have to fear them during the daylight hours. You might want to sleep with a night light from now on.

Honorable Mentions: The Manticore v 1.0

So, I included the Manticore in my list of Persian monsters and it turns out the Persians actually borrowed this particular fiend from India after Pliny the Elder failed to do his due diligence and included the mythical creature in the Naturalis Historia. The Manticore immediately embraced its claim to fame and has been popping up in world literature ever since. I thought I should mention that here in case anyone is wondering why I neglected this truly monstrous, flesh-eating beast.

Conclusion

Giant shark-beasts, snake women, monkey warriors, and flesh-eating demons… what’s not to love (and fear) about the mythological creatures of India. Had you heard of any of these? Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the others in this series. Come take a peek behind the dream-veil at the stuff nightmares are made of!

So far we have visited Canada, Serbia, the British Isles, Korea, Persia, and Scandinavia. Also, if you have any suggestions for where we should stop next on our terrifying tour of world monsters, I’d love to hear it!

5 Blood-Curdling Beasts of Norse Mythology

It’s Monday, and time for another week of nightmare inducing monsters from around the world. So far we have seen creatures from Canada, Serbia, the British Isles, Korea, and Persia.

Today we’re stopping by northern Europe to investigate the ancient tales of the Viking bards, or skalds. My husband suggested today’s topic, as our kids love learning about their Viking heritage and the myths and legends of Scandinavia.

He brought up Beowulf and Grendel. Beowulf is a fabulous story and Grendel is one of the most famous monsters in literary history. However, it is actually an Old English story set in Denmark and Grendel is based on Christian mythology rather than Nordic. So you won’t find Grendel on this list.

Unlike some mythological creatures of the world, many of those from Norse Mythology are still very much with us today. The Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, and Giants that we are familiar with all come from Nordic myths, and were popularized by the fantastic canon of J.R.R. Tolkien.

But these are not the creatures that I want to share with you, either. We want the weird, forgotten monsters that haven’t heard of yet. The things that could be lurking in the dark which you didn’t even know you should be afraid of.

So here you go…

#5 The Mare

Whether or not you know it, you have been visited by one of these creatures. The Mare are malevolent spirits that creep into your bedroom at night, perch upon your chest, and torment you with cruel dreams.

Sometimes the Mare is depicted as an entity conjured by a sorcerer or enchantress in order to punish their victim for some misdeed. It was often thought that the Mare were disembodied spirits of living people, which went wandering at night, unbeknownst to their hosts. The spirit of a witch, for example, might take the form of an animal and go exploring while she was in a trance. Children, too, have restless souls that like to wander while the child is sleeping.

These creatures are the origin of our word for bad dreams, or “nightmares.”

#4 Fossegrim

The Fossegrim, or simply the Grim, are a kind of male water spirit that is especially connected to rivers and waterfalls. They are associated with music, and considered the most accomplished fiddlers on earth. The Grim plays the fiddle with such precision that it can imitate the sounds of nature from trees rustling to birds chirping or the burbling of a stream. Their skills were highly sought after by those who desired to master the instrument.

The Fossegrim might be convinced to teach a person, too, if the right offering was made. But if the supplicant’s sacrifice was deemed unworthy, the Fossegrim would drag their hand and fingers over the strings until they bled and the flesh peeled away from the bone.

The music of the Fossegrim is said to be so beautiful that it would lure women and children away from their villages to the water, where they would drown.

#3 The Huldra

The Huldra are a type of sinister elf which would appear as–you guessed it–a beautiful young maiden. These apparitions had flowing white gowns, fair skin, and long pale hair and were commonly found dancing atop burial mounds. If a man saw a Huldra dancing, he would become entranced and approach them… not a great idea.

Of course, the Huldra only appear to be beautiful young women. In reality they are hideous creatures with skin like tree bark and a cow-like tail. Their mission was to entrance a human man and get him to marry her. She could maintain the glamour at all times, except for her back where her true skin and tail were visible. If the man saw her tail, the glamour would be destroyed and he would see her for her monstrous self. If this happened, she would kill him.

If she managed to trick the man into marrying her, she would enslave him, use him for sex, drive him to madness, and eventually kill him anyway. So maybe it’s better to ask your fiancé to lift her skirts before you tie the knot officially? I can imagine more than one Nordic lad of old used that excuse to get past second base.

#2 Kraken

Maybe not the most obscure creature on the list, but certainly one of the most terrifying, is the Kraken. As sea-faring people, it is only natural that the Nords would have at least one or two blood-curdling beasts said to be lurking beneath the waves. The Kraken were one of two main nemeses of Nordic sailors. Jormungandr, one of the children of Loki, was one of them. We’ll discuss it in the bonus section.

The Kraken were sea-monsters so huge that their bodies were sometimes mistaken for islands. When an approaching ship landed upon its shores, the island would suddenly sink into the water, creating a massive vortex of swirling water and suck sailors and boats into the ocean’s depths.

The Kraken were depicted as huge squid-like creatures. Some stories tell of ships pulled beneath the waves by great, crushing tentacles. Its possible that these myths were inspired by the discovery of the bodies of actual Giant Squid washed up on shore which, thousands of years ago, would have been considered beasts of mythic proportions.

#1 Draugr

Draugr are creatures that blur the line between zombies and vampires, and they are probably the creepiest creatures on this list. Draugr are the rotten corpses of long-dead people, often found in crypts and tombs and sometimes thought to be guarding the deceased’s valuables. Draugr have inhuman strength, can magically alter their size, and will kill and eat anyone that they catch on their cryptic turfs.

The Draugr can cause madness in anyone who stumbles across them, and were even blamed for madness in animals thought to have been eating too close to one of their burial mounds. They were said to be shape-shifters (one of the creatures they can transform into is a Mare), and to have magical abilities like those of witches and sorcerers. If a Draugr visited you in your nightmares it would leave a token for you to find when you awoke, assuring you that it was indeed not a simple dream.

Draugr can live on for many centuries, but they are not invincible. You can kill them by lighting them on fire, like the Windigo, or if their reanimated bodies are destroyed via dismemberment or simply un-living until they rot away completely.

Bonus Monsters!: Loki’s Children

Loki himself is not really a villain in Nordic mythology so much as he is a trickster. His children, however, born of the monstrous union between Loki and the giantess Angrboda.

Fenrir

Fenrir was a huge, savage wolf so fearsome that even the Gods dared not challenge him. It was said that no chains could contain the beast. One day the Gods held a meeting and decided that something must be done about Loki’s son before he ravaged all of the eight worlds.

Loki refused to have anything to do with it, so the Gods decided to try to trick the wolf-beast. They told Fenrir they wanted to play a game in which he tried to escape from various bonds. Fenrir agreed, knowing that no chains could hold him. After he effortlessly broke free of a number of restraints, the Gods brought out a thin, fragile looking chain. These had been made by the Dwarves, and thought they appeared light they were unbreakable. Fenrir, being suspicious, asks for one of the Gods to place a hand inside his mouth while they tied him, as a demonstration of trust. The God Tyr volunteered, although he knew he would lose his hand, and Fenrir was bound. He is still bound today, awaiting Ragnarok, when he will be freed and will seek his revenge upon the Aesir Gods.

Jörmungandr 

Jörmungandr is also known as the Midgard (World) Serpent. When Odin discovered Loki’s monstrous children he banished Jörmungandr to the ocean where he hoped the creature would do less harm. But Jörmungandr grew and grew until he surrounded the whole world, which is where it got its name. The beast encircles the world, biting its own tail, and it is said that when Jörmungandr releases its tail, Ragnarok will begin.

There is a legend in which Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir and accidently catches Jörmungandr, thereby winning a bet about who would catch the biggest fish. When Thor is about to slay Jörmungandr with his magic hammer, Mjölnir, the giant panics and cuts the line allowing the serpent to escape.

Hel

The giantess Hel is Loki’s only daughter. She is said to have been half beautiful woman on one side of her body, and half corpse on the other side. As such, Odin banishes her to rule over the underworld Helheim. The Nordic Hel is different from the Christian Hell, as it is more like a continuation of life for those who don’t ascend to Valhalla by dying valiantly in battle.

Hel, took, awaits Ragnarok, biding her time until she can seek vengeance upon the Gods of Asgard. She will ride upon them with Loki and an army of the dishonorable dead at her back. Odin had better watch out for this one!

Conclusion

Well, what do you think of these baddies from the tales of ancient Nordic skalds? Would you be able to sleep at night knowing Draugr and Mare haunted the darkness around you? Which one is your favourite?

Where shall we travel next?

Indie Feature Friday: THE FADIAN EXPERIMENT by W.A. Ford

Pretend for a moment that it is not actually Saturday, that I didn’t cleverly forget what day of the week it was yesterday. Everyone loves a book review, right? You don’t mind.

I blame homeschooling.

Today, for my version #IndieFeatureFriday I give you The Fadian Experiment by W.A. Ford!

Click through to Amazon.com

W.A. Ford can be found on Instagram @thefarbackroom. Following her has been a lesson in how to run a beautiful and effective IG feed as an author. Ford, like her main character in The Fadian Experiment, is a card reader. She does daily pulls, and using the cards for guidance, she explains what the day might have in store. It’s like a daily horoscope, but cooler. Card reading is a skill that has been passed down through the women in Ford’s family and you can tell she knows what she’s doing. I’m not really into astrology or horoscopes, but I swear, reading her posts is like having a mini-therapy session. Anyway, onto the review!

The Fadian Experiment Review

A couple of months ago I joined a wonderful author support group called The Kick-Ass Author’s Club. I mean, how can you not join a group with a name like that? Over the past few weeks it has been an invaluable support to me in terms of getting a handle on the “business end” of being an author.

One of the first things I did was to start reading the books of my other Kick-Ass Authors because I really wanted to see what the group was all about. I have been so blown away by the variety and depth of these storytellers! So I’ll be sharing my favourites with you on the blog every Friday (theoretically).

This book sucked me in from the first page. It starts out tough and gritty, you jump into some high-stakes action right off the bat and it really doesn’t let up the whole way through.

The Plot

The main character, Kaleigha, is living a brutal life. After failing a childhood assessment that would have placed her in a job, she now wanders the streets looking for temp work or hustling as a fortune teller while dodging the unwanted advances and abuses of police and other citizens. As if that’s not bad enough, Kaleigha hears voices in her head. That’s why she failed her assessment, and it’s getting worse instead of better.

I loved the set up for this novel. The way Ford describes the world and city, I was reminded of N.K. Jemisin’s settings where the city is almost a character in its own right. There is nothing kind about this world, and Ford’s depictions of future class division are frighteningly realistic.

Oh, shit!

As we get deeper into the story, the plot spirals and everything we think we understand from the beginning of the book is turned upside down. The characters are intense, the pace is relentless, and the world is complex. You just have to keep reading to see what’s coming.

The Fadian Experiment blends science and magic, reality and fantasy, dreams and memory with so many twists and turns you never know what is going to happen next. At its core, though, this is the story about a poor young women who will do anything to help her city and improve the lives of her people.

My thoughts…

Some scenes move a little too quickly. There were a few times I wanted to sit and stay a while in this fascinating world, but the plot forces us forward before we’ve gotten our bearings. It works with the dreamlike quality of Kaleigha’s experience, and I can understand why Ford chose to do it this way. The sense of dissociation as a reader is intense! But there are some places I would have liked to linger a bit longer. This book could easily have been 50% longer and I’d have still been happy.

Technical Details

This is a section I feel I have to add to Indie book reviews. Some people have some preconceptions about Indie authors that we need to address. I don’t want anyone avoiding this, or any of these books, for the fear that they are not getting a professional product.

Indie writers have to do it all themselves, or spend a lot of money paying someone to do it for them. Everything from cover design, interior formatting, developmental editing and copy editing. And it is tough. Even putting out a crappy book is difficult, and I hope if you know anyone who has written and published a book independently, that you give that person a slap on the back and buy them a hot drink, because they probably need it!

However, The Fadian Experiment is well-edited and formatted. I spotted a couple of minor issues that did not detract from my reading experience at all. I’ve read Big House published books with more typos (that is a rant for another time). I do not hesitate at all to recommend this book to you. W.A. Ford clearly takes herself and her writing seriously and The Fadian Experiment is a reflection of her professionalism.

My Rating: *****

I loved this book. I flew through it. And I cannot wait for book 2, coming out next year. As and Indie read, this is absolutely worth 5 Stars. Had it been a Big House publisher, I might have been a little harder on The Fadian Experiment and given 4 Stars simply because I really wanted a little more time in some scenes. But when your biggest complaint is that you loved it so much you wanted it to be longer, I think that tells you what you need to know!

If you love science fiction and want to give something totally new and original a try, I recommend giving this indie book a shot! However, if you like linear plot lines, with cut and dry scenes, you might feel out of your element here.

Reviews

If you decide to pick up The Fadian Experiment be sure to stop by and let me know what you think! But before you do that, I want you to promise me that you will leave a review wherever you bought it so other like-minded readers can find it too.

Thanks for reading!

Indie Recommendations

Do you have a recommendation for an Indie Sci-Fi read you’d like me to review? Perhaps you’ve written one yourself? Let me know in the comments! I’m happy to support other writers, but only the best books will make it onto the blog.

Note: I have read a lot of Indie books that just don’t cut it in the professionalism department and, you know what? I won’t review them here. I will privately let the author know what my expectations are and let them address it (or not) but I’m not going to add to the Indie struggle with a bad review.

5 Petrifying Persian Monsters You Don’t Want to Meet in a Dark Alley

Halloween is drawing nearer and the air is thick with ghosts. After yesterday I can’t even go into the bathroom without checking the ceiling for creepy women clinging to the corners. Seriously. The only thing worse than being haunted by malevolent spirits is being haunted by malevolent spirits who attack when you’re pooping!

So far we’ve checked out Canada, Serbia, the British Isles, and Korea. The terrifying tour of world monsters continues and today we’re stopping off in Persia. Thank you to my friend Marisa for this suggestion! You can check out her writing at Marisa Fink Blogs or her Instagram where she shows of her amazing makeup artistry!

Now, onto the monsters…

#5 Jinn/Peri

The Jinn and Peri of ancient Persian mythology are not evil creatures. They are decidedly neutral in the ever present battle between good and evil. The Peri are depicted as tiny winged spirits similar to the more commonly known fairies. They are thought to be the spirits of creatures who are trapped in these bodies as punishment for past misdeeds, though never human souls. The Peri are mischievous creatures and cause all kinds of daily frustrations by hiding objects, tugging hair, tripping people, and the like. The sometimes delivered messages from the gods, but they were just as likely to be lying as telling the truth, so ancient Persians mistrusted the funny little sprites.

Jinn were more powerful creatures, and usually avoided human interaction. They could be found hiding in caves, far outside the city limits. Jinn have the power to grant wishes and sometimes they did. Sometimes, though, they would twist the dreamer’s words and cause a world of suffering. They are neither good nor evil, and one never knows what kind of mood you’ll find a Jinn in, so it’s best to avoid them.

#4 Manticore

The Manticore is another familiar mythological beast. It has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a scorpion (or a tail with poisoned quills that it can shoot at you… I’m not sure which is worse) These creatures love nothing more than hunting and devouring people who wander too far away from their cities. It’s hide was impenetrable and the Manticore was largely believed to be invincible. It could run faster than any living thing. The only thing it couldn’t eat was an elephant.

These creatures stalked the roads between cities, crouched in the grass, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting travelers. People who disappeared on journeys were thought to have been attacked by one of these beasts. When a Manticore did decide to eat someone, it left nothing behind except perhaps a smear of blood.

#3 Azhi Dahaka

This three-headed dragon is about as evil as they come. Dragons in Persian mythology existed as a balance to law and order in the world. They embodied all that is negative and chaotic, spreading disorder wherever they roamed. Azhi Dahaka was the fiercest of them all. This beast had the supernatural ability to pinpoint exactly where its foe was located. You can’t hide from it. You can’t kill it. Basically all you can do is run screaming and probably die. Although Azhi Dahaka was eventually defeated by one of the great Persian heroes, it was never killed. The creature is kept in chains until the end of the world when another resurrected hero will have to finish the job. Hopefully no one unwittingly unleashes him in the meantime…

#2 Kamak

One of two giant mythological birds, Kamak is the embodiment of all things awful. It is said to have been so large it’s wings could block the rain from fields, causing drought. It feasted upon livestock. It snacked on people. It basically spent its entire existence flying around wreaking havoc.

Fortunately, this particular baddie was killed by the great Persian warrior Karsasp who filled it so full of arrows it looked like a pin-cushion. Karsasp is the hero we are waiting for to come back and rid the world of Azhi Dahaka, too. But by then the world as we know it will be over anyway, so at least he took care of the evil bird for us, right?

#1 Al

The Al is a particularly horrifying monster. So far I haven’t come across any other creatures that have specifically set their beady little eyes upon pregnant women and infants, which is surprising since pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy were a pretty tough go back in the day. Perhaps the Al are responsible for the hardships of motherhood all around the world.

The Al is a night stalker. She appears as an old woman with pointed teeth, thin, stringy hair, and claw-like fingernails which she used to tear into pregnant women to get at the fetus. The Al was invisible unless she chose to be seen so she can attack in broad daylight without anyone being the wiser. At night, you are more likely to see her terrifying face before she attacks.

Worse than that, the Al had a taste for newborn babies. She was blamed for miscarriages, stillbirths, and what we now call Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and was the most feared of all demons in the Persian pantheon because the effects of her evil nature were inescapable. Whether or not you can see her, she is always there, waiting…

Conclusion

What do you think of the Persian monsters? I have never studied Persian mythology before, and it was interesting to see how many versions of these ancient tales persist today. Another giant bird creature called Simurgh, for example, is a precursor for the Pheonix. The Azhi probably influenced the dragon myths that later spread across Europe. The Peri are almost exactly the same as the fairies and sprites of the British Isles, but their history reaches much farther back.

What else might we discover on our exploration of myths and monsters? Where to next? Let me know in the comments!

5 Hair-Raising Haunts of Korean Folklore

Good morning, friends and fellow-creep addicts. Did you sleep well? Perhaps not if you’ve been reading this pre-Halloween series on folklore monsters from around the globe.

So far we’ve seen spine-chilling creatures from Canada, Serbia, and the British Isles. But we aren’t done our terrifying tour just yet.

Today’s post is in honour of one of my very best friends, who is Korean-Canadian and loves spooky stories! Come with me as we explore the supernatural side of Korea…

#5 Dragons

Dragons are not the scariest of creatures, at least in Korean culture. In fact, Korean dragons are pretty sweet-natured. They are water guardians and are associated with agriculture. Korean dragons can be found living in lakes, rivers, and deep mountain springs, and they are benevolent creatures who don’t mind helping out human kind. Some of them are pictured with an orb called an Yeouiju, which makes the dragon all-knowing and all-seeing. If you can find one of these dragons, they are sure to be an invaluable ally on whatever quest you’ve embarked upon. Korean dragons are thought to be able to affect weather, and would make a formidable enemy if provoked.

#4 Dokkaebi

The Dokkaebi are Korean trolls or goblins. They are said to have been created from an inanimate object stained by human blood. Dokkaebi are crafty trouble-makers. These tricksters love a practical joke and playing games. They especially like to challenge people to wrestling matches!

Besides being fearsome grappling opponents, Dokkaebi have a couple other tricks up their sleeves. They have hats that can make them invisible, and they have a club which can summon any object, which likely comes in handy if the wrestling match doesn’t go their way.

The most ancient references to Dokkaebi in Korean literature demonstrate that they were once worshipped as almost god-like creatures. Sometimes their tricks were blamed for bad crops, plagues, and famines. But for all their jokes and playful natures, though, what the Dokkaebi wants most in the world is to live with humans.

#3 Gumiho

These crafty characters have had a surge in popularity recently. I’ve seen them popping up in Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, and even little cartoon creatures in my kids’ “How to Draw Cute Things” tutorial books.

But there is nothing cute about the Gumiho–the Nine-Tailed Fox. The Gumiho are said to be transformed from a fox that has lived 1000 years. After achieving this notable feat, the creature is given the ability to shape-shift. Most often, they choose to present themselves as beautiful women, although the Gumiho itself is usually represented as having a male spirit.

We all know what happens when supernatural creatures wear the glamour of a beautiful woman, though. That’s right. You’re about to get eaten.

Gumiho are said to eat the livers and hearts of the people they seduce. And if you’re not into ladies, don’t feel too secure, because the Gumiho can transform itself into men, too. Or whatever it is that is going to get you within chomping distance.

When they can’t feed on living people, the Gumiho can sometimes be found digging up freshly buried people to eat their hearts and prolong their lives.

#2 Cheuksin

The Cheuksin are literally Outhouse Goddesses. I see you smirking there. But there is nothing funny about having to creep out to the outhouse in the middle of the night and know that this creature could be waiting for you inside.

The Cheuksin hides in outhouses, grooming her long black hair and plotting against the world of the living. If you cough three times and wait before entering the toilet, you give her time to scuttle away, and you can safely do your business.

However, if you forget and just barge in on her, the Cheuksin is going to be mad. She waits for you to sit down, and then pounces on you from the shadows above. Her long tresses coil around you, strangling like thousands of snakes. Even if you escape at this point, you will suffer incurable maladies for the rest of your presumably shortened life.

This myth has evolved with the times and, although outhouses are not so common any more, Koreans still have to live with hoajangshil gwisins, or “toilet ghosts.” And I don’t mean Moaning Myrtle. Now you know why girls like to travel to the toilet in packs!

#1 Gwishin

Ghosts. Ghosts are everywhere in Korean folklore, horror movies, and urban legends. The Cheuksin is a special type of ghost, and I gave her her own post because I know and respect the fear of midnight outhouse trips. But there are a few more ghosts that we need to mention.

Cheonyeo Gwisin is the “Virgin Ghost,” or a “Maiden Ghost.” Cheonyeo are usually depicted wearing long, white funerary clothes, and have long black hair falling over their faces. These lonely spirits just wanted to find true love, but died before their time. They’re kind of bitter about it, so watch out.

Mul Gwishin is the “Water Ghost.” These creatures are the souls of people who have drowned. These sad creatures often don’t realize they are dead and are looking for companions in the water. They sometimes help others who are drowning. Or, sometimes, they want to pull you under. Usually, these ghosts are invisible. But in the event of offering a helpful or harmful hand, they may appear as long thin arms reaching up from the depths.

Dalgyal Gwishin is the “Egg Ghost.” They are the spirits of childless men and women who, having left no decedents, have no one left to remember them. As the living forget, they are stripped of their features, and become more a and more unhappy. They aren’t evil as such, but seeing a Dalgyal Gwishin means certain death for you, and extended torture in the afterlife for the ghost. If you do come across an egg ghost, I hope for your sake, that you’ve left a child or two behind.

Conclusion

What do you think? I found it interesting in researching this article that it is actually quite difficult to find malevolent Korean creatures. They go all in on the ghosts, and most other supernatural beings are benevolent or neutral, and can be appeased with offerings and prayer. Which is your favourite? Where would you like me to visit next? Tell me in the comments!

5 Fearsome Fae of the British Isles

Today we are continuing our exploration of mythical monsters from around the world with a trip to the British Isles. This particular journey was inspired by a comment by writer S.J. Howland of Norfolk, England who popped into our Instagram discussion on 5 Creepy Canadian Creatures. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss out on those beasties or the 5 Goulish Monsters of Serbian Folklore!

Now, onto the good stuff. The British Isles are chock full of mythological creatures both benign and beastly. It was tough to narrow it down to five. These are the ones that caught my eye… probably that means I’m doomed.

#5 Kelpie

These pretty little Scottish water spirits are anything but benign. The kelpie may appear as a beautiful woman bathing by a stream or river, or sometimes a ragged hairy beast ready to pounce on unsuspecting travelers. Most often, thought, the kelpie appears as a horse drinking at the stream.

Naturally, these equine spirits appeal particularly to children, which makes them even more malevolent. The kelpie will present itself as a wild white pony, an irresistible treat to a child. But if the child is silly enough to try to touch this creature they will never be released. The kelpie’s sticky hide fastens itself to human flesh and, with its prey in tow, the creature then dives into the water to drown its victim and feast upon their corpse.

There is something particularly horrifying about carnivorous horses, isn’t there?

#4 Gwyllgi

Black dogs are an especial favourite of folklore from the British Isles. But this Welsh demon is particularly sinister. It appears to travelers as a huge black hound or mastiff, sometimes a black wolf, with blazing red eyes and the stinking, sulphuric breath of hell itself. Naturally, crossing paths with this monster is considered a bad omen. But if you only cross paths with it, you can consider yourself lucky.

Gwyllgi, or “The Dog of Darkness,” will trot alongside you in the shadows of a lonely road. Sometimes it will stalk a person for hours before attacking. If you are caught by the baleful eyes of the Gwyllgi, you will be instantly paralyzed by its gaze, making you a convenient snack for the ravenous beast.

Black Dogs go by a variety of regional names, including Black Shuck, Skriker, Trash and the Padfoot. You may recognize the latter as J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for the character Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

#3 Alp-luachra

This Irish spirit’s name literally means “joint-eater.” Now, before you get too horrified, the thing doesn’t actually eat your joints. That would be disgusting. However, this nasty little creature will take the form of a newt and crawl down your throat while you are sleeping to feast on the contents of your stomach. That’s much better, right?

#2 Dearg-Due

Ireland’s very own vampire myth is one of my favourites. Meet Dearg-Due. She was once a beautiful young woman who fell in love with a common man from her village. You know how this story goes. Her family did not approve of her relationship with such a low-born boy, and arranged a more fitting union for her instead. Distraught over her lost love and at the thought of her upcoming wedding, Dearg-Due killed herself. (Some versions of the story say she wasted away after her marriage, but I like the more dramatic version!)

But that wasn’t quite enough for dear Dearg-Due. After her funeral, she dragged herself out of the freshly dug grave and slaughtered her entire family, including her husband-to-be, and in a frenzied blood-lust actually sucked the life right out of them. Fresh blood made her feel alive again, and she thirsted for more and more. She went on to seduce countless young men, only to sink her monstrous teeth into their necks and have their lives in order to extend her own.

The remains of Dearg-Due are said to be buried at Strongbow’s Tree in Waterford. She only arises on the anniversary of her death, so the locals cover her grave with heavy stones in hopes of keeping her below ground. Sometimes, thought, the stones are misplaced or not heavy enough, and she is able to escape for a night of bloody revenge upon the countryside.

#1 Nuckelavee

What is it with the Scots and making horses scary as fuck? The Nuckelavee is an Orcadian legend similar to the centaur. Not so bad, you think. But these creatures are to centaurs what zombies are to humans. These horse-like demons pull themselves from the ocean in order to ravage nearby farmlands and villages.

Nuckelavee is described as having a man’s torso upon a horses back–so far, familiar–but the creature’s arms are so long they drag on the ground and it has no skin. Exposed veins and ligaments writhe around raw muscles and bone. Their rotting bodies ooze contagion, and they sicken crops and livestock wherever they roam. It was believed to be at fault for epidemic disease, crop failures, and the death of livestock, which often led to starvation of the people. The Nuckelavee was so feared in the Orkney Islands that locals wouldn’t say its name without uttering a prayer.

Conclusion

Did I miss one of your favourite Fearsome Fae? Where would you like to see this series go next? Let me know in the comments!

Check out S.J. Howland’s Book!

As a thank you for this fabulous inspiration (particularly the Padfoot detail!), please check out Book One in S.J. Howland’s The Haven series:

From Amazon:

Xander King does not believe in fairytales. He prefers rational explanations, keeping his head down and trying to avoid the inevitable comparisons with his genius mother. The last thing he expects is to have his life turned upside down by terrifying shadows and an encounter with a mysterious stone tablet, challenging his entire view of reality and catapulting him into the parallel world of Haven.

Faced with extraordinary creatures, ancient secrets and a heritage he does not understand, Xander is drawn into the struggle to protect the border between his own reality and Haven, and prevent disaster overcoming them both. But, as darkness spreads, he must confront new questions. Where does he belong, and is anything in Haven really as it seems?

Discover the mesmerising world of Haven and the truths long-hidden in the ancient stories in this gripping fantasy adventure.

5 Ghoulish Monsters of Serbian Folklore to Haunt Your Nightmares

Yesterday, there was a great discussion on Instagram following my post about the 5 Creepy Canadian Creatures You’ve Probably Never Heard Of post I did here yesterday. I have so many interesting ideas for the rest of this week’s posts!

The most terrifying suggestions so far came from another writer friend of mine, Eli Gilic, who is from Serbia. So you can thank her for the nightmares the following creatures might inspire…

#5 The Vila

At first glance, the Vila don’t seem so bad. These shape-shifting nymphs can be found in rivers, lakes, and forests and may appear as any number of wild creatures such as horses, wolves, or falcons. Usually, though, they prefer the form of beautiful maidens in the nude. And hey, who can blame them? This form is the best for luring unsuspecting humans to their sexy dance parties.

The Vila are not to be trifled with, however. If a human angers them, or breaks their word, these ladies are unforgiving. They can kill with a glance, but that’s kind of boring. The Vila are also warriors so mighty that they shake the earth when they battle. They will kill anyone who defies them.

The coolest thing about the Vila is that they choose when to die. They are immortal unless they decide they’re ready to go. And you know they aren’t going to do that while they’re hunting you down for pissing them off. So watch yourself.

#4 Zmaj

The Zmaj is a dragon-like creature which, like the Vila, can be either evil or benevolent depending on his mood. Like most mythological dragons, the Zmaj can appear as a winged, fire-spitting creature screeching through the skies overhead. But the Zmaj are believed to be half-human shapeshifters who can take whatever form they like in order to seduce or trick the foolish humans who cross their paths.

The Zmaj are generally seen as protectors, and were often worshiped as ancestor spirits. But the Zmaj suffer from very human appetites, and can be distracted from the people they are supposed to protect when the fall in love with a beautiful maiden. Then crops suffer, people get sick and die, and bad weather sweeps in to finish everyone off. On top of all of this, the prized woman usually dies from the strength and ferocity of a Zmaj’s love. So yeah, best to keep these guys at a safe distance.

#3 Aždaja

The Aždajas are another dragon-like creature, similar to the Zmal. This one is pure evil, though. There’s no falling in love and neglecting of crops here, an Aždaja just wants to hunt you down and eat you.

Described as a huge, bat-winged snake or lizard with multiple heads, this creature likes to hang out in dark, creepy places waiting for a tasty human snack to wander haplessly past. The Aždaja spits blue fire, terrifies with its monstrous shrieking, and would like nothing better than to devour every last creature on earth.

Consider this the next time you think of entering a cave or, hey, even a dark alley for that matter. These guys don’t mess around.

#2 Karakondžula

These vicious little goblins are etymologically related to the Turkish words for “bloodsucker,” “vampire,” and “werewolf.” But they are usually described as little black goblins. They are described as squat and ugly, and favour (of course) the black of night to perform their evil deeds. The 12 Days of Christmas, or the “unbaptized days,” are said to be the most dangerous. If a person goes outside at night during this time a Karakondžula will jump on their back and demand to be carried to wherever they want to go. The person is saved by the crow of a rooster announcing the rising sun.

These fiendish little goblins are particularly hard on adulterers. Anyone thinking of sneaking out of their house in order to visit a brothel, mistress, or prostitute must beware. The Karakondžula might be waiting in your doorway to leap upon your back, bite and scratch you with long talons, and ride you into the forest all night. So, you know, philander at your own risk.

#1 Drekavac

This creature’s name literally translates to “screamer” or “screecher.” Variously described as an undead man risen from the grave, or a dead unbaptized child come back to haunt its parents, or a dog-like creature that walks on its hind legs, the Drekavac is undoubtedly a nightmarish creature.

These little delights are also most active during the 12 Days of Christmas, and early spring, when evil spirits were thought to be roaming about. Like the Banshee, the cries of a Dekavac are said to foretell of a person’s death. When it is in its animal form, it may predict disease for farm animals. If its shadow falls upon you, you will grow sick and die.

Fear of the Drekavac causes it’s own issues, too, as some stories tell of fishermen being so terrified of the creatures that they refuse to fish while their village slowly starved.

Conclusion

Well, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go wandering around the Serbian country side at night. Especially around Christmas! It sounds like Christmas is like a second Halloween for much of Eastern Europe. But there is something much more terrifying about evil spirits wandering around in the dead of winter than bright and cheerful autumn. What do you think? Any local legends you’d like to explore? Tell me in the comments.

PS: Check out Eli Gilic’s book!

From Amazon: Charles Baudelaire, Rasputin, Anna Karenina, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Fyodor Dostoevsky, George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Vincent Van Gogh, Antonin Artaud, Maria Izquierdo, James Joyce, Federico Garcia Lorca, Salvador Dali.

Can Rasputin find redemption through the sins of others? What awaits Anna Karenina on the other side? Does passion still flow through the veins of the lovers from Verona? Can Hamlet and Ophelia escape their fate? Is Van Gogh’s loneliness a blessing or a curse? And can Dali dispel Lorca’s fear.

Eli Gilić deftly weaves fact and fiction to bring some of the world’s great writers, literary characters, artists and composers to life as they reach the heights of passion and the depths of despair in this mesmerising erotic short story collection.

5 Creepy Canadian Creatures You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Since we’re getting closer to Halloween, I thought this week we would explore some mythological monsters and creepy creatures from around the world. And what better place for me to start than in my own backyard?

Er… It’s a good thing Canada is a big place…

#5 Le Loup-Garou

Most of you have probably heard of le loup-garou. It’s just the French word for “werewolf.” But did you know that French Canadians have their own spin on the werewolf myth? The Quebecois have tied this particular monster up in pretty pink Easter ribbons, using it as a warning to those who fail to perform their religious duties. If a person eschews their Easter rites for seven years in a row, they are transformed into the blood-thirsty loup-garou.

Strangely, the loup-garou does not necessarily become a wolf. Tales of werepigs, -cats, -oxen, and other farm animals abound. One thing is sure, though. The loup-garou appears human by day and is transformed at night, driven by an insatiable desire for human flesh. You can save a person from the loup-garou curse only by drawing their blood. Sounds easy enough, until you remember that this creature will be trying to eat you…

Can you think of anything more terrifying than a werepig? I thought not.

#4 The Waheela

The Nahanni Valley in Canada’s Northwest Territories has a charming nickname: “The Valley of the Headless Men.” It got this catchy moniker by–you guessed it!–being a place where decapitated corpses have a history of turning up.

Theories abound as to what makes the Nahanni Valley so terrifying: everything from warlike native tribes, to grizzly bears, to alien encounters. But the one myth that seems to stick is that of the waheela.

Waheela are creatures somewhere between a bear and a wolf, similar to the prehistoric dire wolves. Unlike the fearless battle wolves of your favourite fantasy books and video games, dire wolves actually used to actually roam the NWT. Some people think they still do, leaving only headless corpses in their wake.

#3 The Great Serpent of the South Saskatchewan River

Canada loves its lake monsters. From Ogopogo of the Okanagan to Mussie in Ontario, every large body of water in this country seems to have its own local lore. But one creature from the depths is less well-known.

The city of Medicine Hat, Alberta is named for an ancient encounter with the Great Spirit who once appeared to a scout of the Blood Indians. The Great Spirit took the form of a giant serpent who offered to make the man a great warrior and medicine man. In exchange, the serpent demanded the man make a sacrifice of his wife’s flesh. At first, the man tried to bargain, offering the serpent his favourite dog instead. But the serpent refused. The woman, desperate to see her husband become the great man the serpent foretold of, willing allowed herself to be sacrificed.

After the Great Spirit had been given the woman’s flesh, he told the man where to find a bag of medicines and a hat trimmed with ermine. The serpent explained how to use the medicines, and the hat–which guaranteed victory in any battle to the wearer–to the man and he did indeed become a great medicine man and warrior. The city of Medicine Hat is named for the headdress he wore.

The serpent lurks beneath the surface of the South Saskatchewan River, awaiting the next worthy sacrifice.

#2 Adlet

The adlet is an Inuit myth of human people with dogs legs. The adlet are the children born of a union between an Inuit woman named Uinigumissuitung and a huge, sentient dog called Ijirqang. They run as fast as wolves and feast upon hapless wanderers and the people of unprotected villages.

Legend has it that five of the abominations raced across the ice and become the first Europeans. In light of the devastation wrought by the waves of European settlers, one can understand where the vicious dog-men might be seen as similarly monstrous.

#1 Windigo

The Windigo are skeletal creatures with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The spirits possess humans in order to feed their desires, turning people into cannibals. Windigo may possess a person long after their human body dies and nothing remains but the emaciated corpse with rotting lips and bleeding gums.

Eating human flesh is enough to invite the spirits into your body and turn you into a monster. In traditional native cultures it is considered better to kill oneself than to resort to cannibalism if faced with starvation. Once a person has become possessed by a Windigo spirit, the only way to kill it is to burn the person and melt the spirit’s heart of ice.

Windigo, or Wendigo, myths are common enough in North America, each a little different from the next. The Windigo of northern Saskatchewan have a special place within my own personal history and variations on these creatures appear in some of my short stories and even an unfinished novel I’ve been working on. Where I grew up, Windigo stories were the equivalent of the ghost story. We all knew someone who had an encounter with one, and some of us have been lucky enough to escape such an encounter ourselves. But speaking of the Windigo is forbidden, and it is nearly impossible to get people to talk about their experiences.

Many Windigo have been burned here. Still others remain, waiting.

Conclusion

Do you have any local myths and legends where you are from? Tell me about them in the comments! Which area of the world should I feature next?