Neil Mach

Author – Fantasy Realism

ten folkloric monsters

Are you looking for unusual monsters and less frequently referenced mythological beasts? Check out this list of weirder, rarer, and singularly uncommon creatures for your next fantasy inspiration.

Forest Almaz

1: Almaz

The Almaz (above) are evil creatures of the forest with magical powers. The Almaz female is very beautiful with large breasts and golden hair, and she dances naked in the moonlight. A certain degree of circumspection and caution is required if a mortal man sees a remarkable dancer in the forest (or, indeed, anywhere, for that matter) and her beauty and availability seems almost “too good to be true” — since it might be an Almaz and she will devour you if you come too close! An Almaz is a creature that cautions men to be wary of tantalizing promises: they seldom come true!

Eloko

2: Eloko

Eloko are dwarf-like creatures that live in the densest, darkest, and deepest parts of the forest. They are protectors of their treasures, so will gobble-up a human who approaches. A traveler can get lost in dark forests, so these creatures caution against travelling alone in the forest, or after dark. In the forest there are always pitfalls you can’t see!

Mokele-mbembe

3: Mokele-mbembe

Mokele-mbembe are water-dwelling entities described as “half elephant, half dragon” that might appear to be similar to what we call Loch Ness monsters. Hippos (and alligators) often attack people on the riverbank and you can’t always see them (because they’re often submerged), so these mythological creatures (seen above) serve as a cautionary reminder of the dangers of hanging round on river banks.

Obambo

4: Obambo

The Obambo are diabolical spirits that “escape” from someone who has not been interred/ buried correctly. It is believed that if mourners sing, dance, shout and bang things around a properly buried person, they will drive the Obambo away. So these creatures serve as a reminder to always bury your dead away from the town boundaries and take care to perform the funeral rites correctly!

Peri

5: Peri

The Peri are beautiful but mischievous winged spirits (they look a bit like naughty angels) and their job is to deny entry into paradise until the soul of a person has completed penance. These creatures therefore warn people about a life of sin and the stupidity of not seeking reconciliation while still alive!

Ponaturi

6: Ponaturi

Ponaturi are a group of hostile goblinoid creatures that live under the sea during the day, but return to shore each night to play. They fear daylight, which is fatal to them. If these nasty goblins find a child swimming in the dark, they will take him to the bottom of their ocean, to drown him. You will never see one of these (or catch one) because they never come out in the daylight… but beware of night-time swimming or the Ponaturi will kill you!

Tipua demon

7: Tipua

Tipua are demons that “take the shape” of uncanny yet familiar objects. These objects might be common enough but will seem to be in the “wrong” place; or sometimes they might just be “weird” looking examples of everyday things. So, for example, the Tipua (true form seen above) often take the shape of a contorted branch or unusual tree root or perhaps a distinctly odd-looking rock. So, never approach or touch anything that seems strange or unfamiliar (especially if you are young or inexperienced) even if the object is a commonplace item. The object might suddenly turn into a Tipua demon and then it will eat you up!

Taotao Mo'na

8: Taotao Mo’na

The Taotao Mo’na are ancient ancestral spirits (above) who live wild and untamed in the highest mountains and lurk in the remotest of places. They frequently haunt the banyan tree. They can be mischievous and / or monstrous and will catch or trick an incautious traveler. Never travel into wild places on your own or they will come out of the trees to grab you! If they capture you, you will never be seen again.

Vishap

9: Vishap

Vishaps are winged snakes that come out in thunderstorms. They also appear during earthquakes. They tend to devour or steal young children and toddlers. Parents: please keep your kids inside during lightning storms and quakes!

Yuxa

10: Yuxa

Yuxa are cunning snake-like creatures that can magically transform into beautiful women. Once transformed into a beautiful damsel, they will attempt to marry a vulnerable and unwitting man…with the express intention of begetting offspring to continue their snake dynasty. Sometimes this monster will transform itself into a handsome male, to despoil a vulnerable & unwitting female. Once a victim successfully fertilizes them /with them, they revert to their original snake-form

Got any unusual monsters or less frequently referenced mythological beasts you’d like to share? Tweet @neilmach

Words: @neilmach May 2021 ©

Neil Mach is the author of “So You Want to Write Fantasy?” and host of the Myth & Magic fantasy writer’s podcast

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