Travel Magazine

The Stuff of Legend: Mythical Creatures Around the World

By Frontiergap @FrontierGap

This week Into the Wild has been taking a look at the Earth’s strangest animals, but today we’re bringing you creatures from the world of myth, legend and mystery. Steeped in folklore and plagued by hoax footage, these creatures have captured our imaginations for centuries. From the worldwide phenomenon of the Abominable Snowman to the elusive Mongolian Death Worm, these legends have become pure cinematic gold. But the question still remains...are they out there somewhere?

BIG FOOT
Big Foot is of course famous for its enormous human like footprints spanning between 15 to 20 inches or more in length. Also known as ‘sasquatch’ or ‘wild man’ in the Salish Native American language; this large hairy bipedal ape-like creature is said to roam the mountainous terrains of the Pacific Northwest region, North America, the Rocky Mountains, the southern USA and south-western Canada.

There have been many sightings of Big Foot, one particularly bizarre account is that of Albert Ostman, who in 1924 claimed that he was kidnapped and held captive for several days by a family of Big Foots in British Columbia. In 1967 Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin captured footage of a Big Foot in Bluff Creek, California; the footage has been widely scrutinised; Bill Munns’ analysis for the National Geographic Channel is particularly enlightening. There is still strong debate over whether the footage was faked or not.

Scientists heavily dispute the existence of Big Foot, deeming it a culmination of unsubstantiated folklore and hoax photos and videos. However, those dedicated believers at the Big Foot Researchers Organisation continue ardently to search for evidence that the creature is real.

The Stuff of Legend: Mythical Creatures Around the World

MONGOLIAN DEATH WORM
The Mongolian Death Worm, known by locals as Allghoi (meaning ‘blood filled intestine worm’) is believed to terrorise the Gobi Desert killing locals at a distance using an electric discharge. Mongolian locals also claim that the worm is capable of spewing sulphuric acid, turning its victims yellow and corroded.

Reported as being bright red, 150 cm in length and up to 60cm wide, the worm is described as looking like a cow intestine. No official sightings of the Mongolian Death Worm have ever been recorded and scientists believe that it is impossible for a worm of this magnitude to exist, especially in the conditions of the Gobi Desert.

Despite this, the legend of the Mongolian Death Worm lives on in films, spoofs and online games. Here at Into the Wild, we’ve unearthed the very entertaining trailer for Mongolian Death Worm the movie.

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN

Also known as the Yeti or Meh-Teh, this bipedal ape-like beast is said to dwell in the snowy harsh conditions of the Himalayas. Reported sightings of the creature stretch back to at least 1832 and describe the Yeti as being between 7ft and 10ft tall, with feet twice the size of the average human and having a very pungent and unpleasant aroma. However the scientific community disputes the existence of the Yeti due to a lack of conclusive evidence, with many believing that the misidentification of Himalayan wildlife and hoaxes are responsible for the myth.

The legend of the Abominable Snowman has been embraced by film and TV alike, featuring in films including The Snow Creature (1954), The Abominable Snowman (1957) and more recently The Rage of the Yeti (2011). Also, popping up in Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and Doctor Who, the Yeti has become a true cultural icon.


MOKELE-MBEMBE

Also known as the Congo Monster, Mokele-mbembe, which translated literally means the ‘one that stops the flow of river’, is said to live in the swamps of the Congo, in central Africa. In Pygmy tribes, stories and sightings of Mokele-mbembe go back over more than 200 years describing the Congo Monster as looking like a sauropod dinosaur between 5ft and 10ft long.

Despite being reported as herbivorous, stories tell of the Mokele-mbembe attacking people who come too close to it - killing them in boats and canoes. Photos and films of Mokele-mbembe are highly controversial and despite several expeditions by scientists to try and find the creature, so far there is no official evidence to support its existence.

In 1992, a Japanese film crew shooting documentary footage from a small plane captured images of a very large creature swimming at speed through a lake (above). Many are sceptical about the footage, which is very jerky and blurred, and insist that the object is in fact probably just a canoe crossing the water. Read this recent BBC article on Mokele-mbembe

YOWIE

The Yowie is Australia’s answer to Big Foot. Reported to be a large, gorilla-like creature which roams the Australian wilderness, the Yowie is a legend among Aboriginal folklore. During the 19th Century Sightings of the Yowie were particularly common, especially in remote mountainous and forested regions.

Recently there have been claims that Yowie attacks have been responsible for the death and mutilation of household pets. However there have never been any official confirmed sightings of the Yowie and many believe wild animals such as dingoes are responsible for the recent so called ‘Yowie attacks’. However, the Australians haven’t given up on finding the creature yet: a very dedicated team at yowiehunters.com are keeping up the search. 

Like Big Foot and the Abominable Snowman, the legend of the Yowie has not evaded the scope of the movie industry, although it’s clearly not Hollywood budgets for this film (above).

By Hannah Jones


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