So, I’ve been doing a little Wiki-reading (a fine way to throw away a few hours) about wherever the Wiki-clicking has taken me, which is often tangential little adventures into Austrian hamlets or the Wikipedia page for Wikipedia (don’t click this link, it seriously is just the Wiki page for Wikipedia.) I’ve also stumbled across a few very interesting pages, though, and one of these in particular has got me thinking about forgotten monsters. Speculative Fiction (and it’s horrid love child with Romance – Supernatural Romance) seems to have monsters covered, from the all too ubiquitous Vampires (pale imitations they are) to zombies, ghosts, little mermaids and ferocious little gremlins. Forgotten monsters, left sheltering on the sidelines. I haven’t read any Sasquatch stories, thank goodness. But here’s some if you’re interested (ugh!) Where’re all the manticores at? Probably hiding in Sword and Sorcery novels, I suppose.
Forgotten monsters, like the Hugag. American lumberjacks invented a host of these monsters, more as a means to test the credulity of new recruits than as things that actually existed in the dark, unexplored forests they found themselves surrounded by. They would swap myths as often as they swapped campfires, and these fantastical creatures grew in the imagination. More famous examples would include animals like the Jackalope and the ol’ wristwatch-wearing, Beatles-impersonating Sasquatch. Some of these animals have, in fact turned out to have real-life counterparts, like the Upland Trout, which nests in rotten trees on the edges of swamps (real life: the Mangrove Kilifish.) Most don’t, and seem to be crying out for a cameo in a Neill Gaiman novel. Or in the work of some up-and-coming writers (that’s us you guys!)
Forgotten monsters, like Gef the Talking Mongoose. Yes, you read that correctly. Go back and have another little look at those words – Gef. The Talking Mongoose. He haunted a Manx household – a poltergeist, who was a mongoose. Where’s his Neverwhere? He used to help out around the house, choosing which food would be his payment, eating it whenever he thought no-one was looking.
Seriously, people thought this little guy was real. Newspaper journalists flocked to the island, desperate for a sighting…
I love this photo.
Too awesome, Mr. Jackalope, too awesome.
The Bake-zōri – an ancient Japanese legend about a Ghost Sandal.
The Assyrian Shedu and numerous other half-lion, half-something-else hybrids from Mesopotamia, or, as Wikipedia less than glamorously describes them: Centauroid Hybrids.
The Gamayun – a Russian bird with the head of a man and capable of predicting the future.
Blemmys – those dudes from Medieval manuscripts who have no heads, rather their faces are in their torsos.
Basically, what I’m saying is, there are so many awesome monsters out there who are under-represented.
Get on that.