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Top 10 Unique Mythological Monsters

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What monsters emerge from the ancient nightmares of cultures long past? Well quite a few actually, but amidst the menagerie of assorted demons, half-humans, spectres, godspawn and all varieties of supernatural creatures are certain peerless legends, unequalled, unparalleled, un-third-thing that I didn’t think of.

Welcome back you lovely people, to our Top 10 Unique Mythological Monsters!


10) The Kraken

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The mighty ship-sinker, the weapon of gods, the devourer of those who wander too long at sea! Of course we generally accept these days that the truth of the legend probably has more to do with colossal squid and the exaggerations of sailors, or it becomes a name attributed to any oceanic leviathan. Depictions vary, having any number of aquatic facets, like crab-claws, serpentine tails or a whale’s bulk.

The legends and writings surrounding the Norse monster generally depict it as unique, described by 18th century zoologist Carolus Linnaeus as a singulare monstrum. Now how often is it we get to go Latin in a top 10?

9) Typhon and Echidna

One is the most fearsome monster in the whole of Greek mythology, the other was his half-woman half-snake mate, Typhon and Echidna are two of the most well known monsters of their time. Starting with the man of this duo, Typhon was literally made as a destructive force to be reckoned with. Heck, this guy even ends up going toe to toe with Zeus and even manages to secure a victory over the god! Typhon is even mentioned in Dante Alighieri‘s Inferno, so clearly this destructive force is deserving of a nod, at the very least.

On the otherhand, Echidna was half of a beautiful maiden, though it was never explained which parts made her beautiful. People assume it’d be the upper half that made her beautiful and the lower half would be a terrifying, writhing snake. Well, I guess it takes all sorts to make the world go around. Echidna however played an important part in mythology: She was the mother of many of Greek mythologies famous monsters. Born in a cave, forever immortalised. But perhaps this duos biggest claim to fame comes now, as this oh so dreamy pair are on our Top 10 list. Yay..?!

8) C’Thulhu

Credit: TeePublic

Credit: TeePublic

Ah, everybody’s favourite alien-squid-cultist-priest-madness-driving-colossal-monstrosity.

Yes, C’Thulhu had to make our list of unique mythological creatures. He has quite the unique presence about him, able to drive even the sanest of mortals to a blubbering pile of flesh and bones. Insanity is what this creature delivers the best and he’s also been featured heavily outside of the C’Thulhu mythos of which he was derived. Indeed, he has even been seen on a few episodes of South Park.

But that’s not why he makes our list. He’s got a special place in all of our hearts as geeks and fans of horror. Plus, have you ever seen the T-Shirt of Cute’Thulhu? It’s so cute and cuddly that you can kind of forgive the massively monstrous abomination that hides behind that cute exterior. Aww… Tentacles!

7) Quetzalcoatl

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How far could this list go without the mighty winged serpent of the ancient Aztec religion? Though he could adopt the form of a human, the great angelic snake that bridges earth and sky is the most legendary depiction.

Quetzalcoatl is often attributed with the creation of mankind by mixing his blood with the bones of a race that came before with the death of the fourth sun. In some stories, he kills himself by setting himself on fire, and that his burning heart becomes the fifth sun in the dawning of the current age.

6) Sleipnir

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Odin rides into battle on his grandson. Well that about sums that up.

In a scheme to try and avoid paying a builder, Loki the trickster god turns himself into a mare, sleeps with the man’s horse, and later gives birth to an eight-legged foal, the greatest and fastest horse in existence. This particular story is unlikely to be featured in the upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. I hope…

Odin once raced the Jotunn Hrungnir on his grandson. He’s also been to Hel and back. You know what? The Greek gods may be overtly messed up with a family tree that’s uprooting itself just to get away from them, but can we all agree that Odin riding his grandson around is a bit disquieting?

5) Slenderman

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Creepypasta.

What a word, eh? Creepypasta. I mean is this like the Flying Spaghetti Monster if he were to turn into a Halloween icon? No, a Creepypasta is a story that was shared virally, usually via website such as Creepypasta. This was one of the earliest examples and do you want to know the funniest thing about it all? Since the Creepypasta was released, suddenly lots of people have reported having seen the real life Slenderman.

Say whatever you will of the cultural phenom of the modern era of horror, which may have been more recently overtaken by scarier Creepypastas, but this was the guy that truly started the scene off. Between him and Jeff the Killer, people were locking their doors tight out of paranoia. Ah thank you media, you take something, blow it out of context and help deliver mass hysteria. Also check out Marble Hornets!

4) Krampus

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Returning triumphant from our Top 10 Alternative Santas to actually place on the list this time. The festive child-snatcher of Germanic folklore is a sad loss to common-place mythology, somehow a lump of coal just isn’t snapping kids into shape through December, but I bet if we started bringing back the chain rattling demon we could get them on their best behaviour from Hallowe’en all the way to February!

If you notice, I mentioned I was researching Krampus. One day I’ll tell you all about the ongoing saga that is my Christmas themed D&D universe and the role the Krampus plays therein, but it may have to wait until this years epic continuation.

3) The Loch Ness Monster

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It’s Nessie! The UK’s most famous monster of all, but if you want to disagree with me, go for it. I’d bet that more people, no matter what their walk of life is, know of the legend that is Nessie, or The Loch Ness Monster. But what exactly was this beast? Was it a friendly creature hanging around the Loch Ness? Or was it a terrifying monstrosity, waiting to consume all of humanity with its unbearably large jaws, worse than a snapping crocodile?

Well actually, it’s turned out so far to be a fruitless search for ol’ Nessie here. In fact, all sightings to date have been exposed as a fake. There have been reported incidents where someone said they found it and it turned out to be a log. Oh dear. Still, for those out there who believe Nessie is real, I hope that the legend lives on and stays in everyone’s hearts. I hope Nessie is never found. There’s something magical about the unknown… And that’s how Nessie should remain. Otherwise, we’ll have to update this article in the future and remove Nessie.

2) Anubis

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This God of Egyptian lore is one of the most famous, yet he didn’t feature too heavily in Egyptian Mythology. It doesn’t stop him being an impressive God of his people, overseeing a job that many would consider quite disgusting and also being the guardian as it were. Plus, he’s the only Egyptian god I know of that has a song dedicated to him (Metal).

But that’s not what has made Anubis such a prominent figure within Egyptian Mythology. He was the God of Mummification and the Afterlife. That’s no small feat, as the Egyptians were firm believers in the Afterlife. With the head of a Jackal, Anubis was more or less as the band Septic Flesh puts it: He was the guardian of the damned, appointed by the gods to be their final chance. With such an extravagant outfit and holding the Flail and the Fetish, this god was all about justice. He would weigh up the souls of the departed to see if they were fit for the afterlife. If you were bad, you’d better be ready to repent for your sins… Not like that’d help you by that point.

1) Medusa

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Youngest, and most famous sister of Stheno and Euryale, children of ocean gods Phorcys and Ceto, Medusa is alone amongst her siblings for being mortal. Does that make her any less awesome and terrifying? Not even a little. Even after Perseus decapitates her, he still uses her petrifying gaze as a weapon. Indeed the only thing seemingly able to kill Medusa, was herself! What weapon is effective against a woman who can kill with a glance?

Despite what many games would have you believe (Dungeons & Dragons being the most profoundly sinful) there are not multiple Medusae. No matter that the name lends itself to pluralization rather elegantly, she is one of many serpent haired Gorgons. She’s also a legend amongst legends, leaving behind her gods, titans, and elder things, statuesque as she claims our number one slot!


Honourable Mentions

Of course we’re not through. “Encore” we fantasize you shouting as we toil away at our keyboards to lavish our opinions upon you.

Legends, stories, myths and monsters are as old as humanity itself. Since we could make marks on a wall we’ve passed our knowledge and our thoughts from person to person, generation to generation. We could never narrow down our list to merely Ten, but only the deserving make the list. Here are few that we debated and decided against, but that we um’d and ah’d too long to simply pass them by without continuing their story.

Death

Oh, Death. You and your many disguises. Who or what are you now? Here’s a small gallery of Death, the Ultimate Cosplayer.

The World Turtle

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Great A’Tuin is based on some very real mythology. India, China and North America all have some variation on the visual spectacle that is the great turtle that swims the world on its’ endless journey through the cosmos. The phrase “turtles all the way down” is a sentiment used to disregard the mythology, as the idea that the turtle is supported by another turtle, which itself sits on the back of another turtle, which has another turtle between it and the one under… where was I going with this?


 

Now it’s your turn to get involved in commenting on this weeks Top 10 and for next weeks Top 10!

What other unique monsters have we missed? Who else is deserving of our esteemed list? As always, vote for next weeks Top 10 and let us know what you think we’ve done right and what you think we’ve done wrong. Is our order right? Let us know – tell us off! We’d love the discussion! Give us the business in the comments section, or on Facebook and Twitter.

5 responses

  1. You should enter Sleipnir in a race. He can replace the horse you lost in that game.

    Like

    June 7, 2015 at 9:03 am

    • ;~; Why did Sidero have to go, Mr. Judge? I miss Sidero. Perhaps I should revisit that game… and search for my Sidero!

      Liked by 1 person

      June 7, 2015 at 10:15 pm

  2. Of course, we’ll never agree on the ten but I thought you were doing well until slenderman and sleipnir. Medusa as the most famed gorgon deserves a place but not number 1 in my view. Some of the more powerful names you covered already should be up there. For rpg purposes, of course, there are one set and then for dark tales or potential cinema, another set. For being impressive, I think you’ve missed a decent devil, Set takes Anubis pretty much always, the Fenris Wolf and Midegard Serpent make Sleipnir look like a mere foal and much as we love the gorgons, Medusa was taken by a mortal. There are tougher beasties that you could put up. Interesting category, anyway. Why not follow up with top ten depictions of mythical beasts & creatures on film. Medusa in the first version of “Clash of the Titans” would be in my ten and I think the Kaijus from “Pacific Rim” and how about the big trolls in “Trollhunter”?

    Like

    June 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm

  3. This wasn’t a question of who takes who, hence we didn’t go on that basis. A monster, a unique one, should have some impact in some way shape or form. Let’s take our #1 slot, Medusa for instance. ‘Medusa’ specifically has been a staple in DnD, as well as having been used in countless other media (Medusa heads in Castlevania for one? ._.; Damn them!) Interestingly, you mentioned she is felled by a human, yet that human didn’t really fully do the deed, else her severed head wouldn’t have been usable as a weapon (Yes, even in death, she was a weapon.)

    As for Set and Anubis, to be fair, I possibly should have said “The Egyptian Gods”. I could have also wrangled YuGiOh into the matter… But I chose Anubis because of his actual connotations over the underworld. Interestingly, we had Cerberus as a candidate, too! I also may have been fanboying over Anubis a little hard, so I can accept he may not be the strongest of the Egyptian Gods to put here. Nevertheless, depictions of the Jackal head, to me, are the most widely known. I could be wrong!

    Sleipnir… That was Joels doing. This is Odin’s horse though, man! It’s possibly a demi-god-horse? Plus it’s a funny tale of how even a god will do anything to get out of certain situations.

    As for Slenderman, his impact on the creepypasta scene has been staggering! With him, we’ve had 3 Slenderman games, a movie coming out and much more. All from a single creepypasta. People in the real world have claimed to have /spotted him/ (sometimes using the amazing Marble Hornet videos as their “proof”). He’s a myth now… An incredibly modern one, but a myth none the less. He’s had a wide cultural impact, hence I firmly believe he, or a creepypasta that has hit the market equally as hard, should have made the list :)

    Phew! There’s some rebuttals for you, so I hope you understand our reasoning – But I’m curious to know: What’s your Top 10 list? :) Let us know, as I know I’m gonna have fun reading it. (Also seriously, thanks for the suggestions for Top 10s!)

    Like

    June 8, 2015 at 1:20 am

  4. Pingback: Review – Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro | GeekOut South-West

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