Ancient mythology and legends are filled with countless beings that are not mortal or are not seen under normal circumstances in everyday places. To properly describe these creatures of myth, scribes and storytellers brought in descriptions of animals that lived in the immediate area to create a type of hybrid animal that the average person would be able to imagine even if he or she had not come into contact with it or the realm of the supernatural. However, these old stories are full of creatures and beasts that are remarkably human-like—in both appearance and intelligence. The mythical beings that resemble humans have a special name in that they are considered “humanoid.” The nature of the human aspect could vary. Many popular forms (particularly in the legends of classic cultures like the Greeks) would merely split the difference between a creature and a human where the creature would have the head and torso of a human but the bottom half of a particular animal. Other cultures would keep the primary structure of a human body (a single head with two arms followed by two legs to walk upon) but change the skin coloring, amount of hair, or basic proportional sizes of the body parts. Their human attributes made them mystical on a whole different level than other hybrid beasts.
The race of creatures known as centaurs comes from the mythology of the Greeks and surrounding areas. Early vases and paintings from Attic and the Boeotian show centaurs as humans with merely an extended hindquarters that resembled the backside and back two legs of a horse. Later depictions perfect the form into something a little less unsettling and easier to imagine as being the full body of a horse with a human torso attached where the horse's neck would be which is the being most recognized today. Being part human and part horse puts their behaviors along the line of those two creatures—caught between two possibly conflicting natures. The fact that centaurs could basically sway to either side of their nature (the untamed horse that tended to the warring soldier or the nurturing mentor) makes the collection of stories that feature them seem somewhat contradictory at times but mostly shows that a human mind does not necessarily override the passion of a wild animal.
Another humanoid from Greek and Roman mythology that is widely known is the satyr. These half human, half goat beings (in the Roman tales) or humans with the tail of a horse attached to their rear ends (as in the original Greek stories) were considered to be the companions of both the deities Pan and Dionysus. Their role as the associate of these two gods heavily influence their behavior. Satyrs are frequently seen as great musicians of the flute pipe or “Pan pipe.” They are also notoriously big party people as well, linking back to their fellowship with Dionysus. Constantly being drunk off wine and chasing anything remotely female (as traditional satyrs are strictly male) is one of the most common depictions of this human torso with goat haunches or human with a long, fluffy horse tail on his behind. Satyrs rarely are seen doing anything more than being playful, flippant, and aroused.
The tikbalang (also known as tigbalang, tikbalan, or tigbalan) is a creature from legends and stories of the Philippines. While the animal form that is combined with attributes of a human structure can vary from island to island, the tikbalang is most frequently considered to be a horse. The tall and bony being that has very disproportionate limbs (to the point where its knees end up above its head when it squats down low enough) is generally seen as having the feet (hooves) and head of a horse attached to its large body. The origin of this form has a rather sinister beginning as it is claimed to be a transformed aborted fetus that is sent back to the earth from limbo. However, while they do play tricks on humans to the point where many cultures of the Philippines have superstitions about the tikbalang (such as wearing your shirt inside out on a long journey to keep the humanoid from playing a trick on you that leads you in the wrong direction), the tikbalang is generally considered to be a playful trickster more than an evil being. Some stories even tell how a tikbalang can be tamed and used by mortals.
High in the Himalayan Mountains there is said to be a group of people called the Abarimon who reside in a country of the same name that is in the large valley of Mount Imaus. In order to keep the valley secret and protected, any who breathe the air inside of it cannot leave the area without dying. The Abarimon people who live in this special place therefore do not leave or venture out. They seem almost completely human in form until one gets a closer look at their feet. The feet of these apparently uncivilized group that lives side by side with the wild animals of this enchanted valley in the mountains are said to point backwards rather than forward. Even though their backward facing feet look clumsy and quite off-putting, the Abarimon are incredibly fast runners and can easily out run any normal human that enters their dominion.
The ogre (or female ogress) is a creature from traditional folklore and fairy tales of continental Europe. They are often merely very large, strong, hairy humans with huge heads that held a booming voice and an insatiable appetite, particularly for small children. The current word for the humanoid creature of “ogre” is actually French in origin and is seen in poems of the late 12th century before it became widely used in the fairy tale boom of 16th and 17th centuries—in the works similar to those of Charles Perrault—but the actual origin for where the word “ogre” came from is still a mystery. Early storytellers tried to explain the existence of ogres in the world by saying they were actually an ancient race of people. Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed they were the original inhabitants of Britain before the settlement of humans.
Similar to the sphinx of Egypt, the manticore was part lion (specifically a red lion) in its form that held a human head on its shoulders. Inside this human head though were three rows of razor sharp teeth like those of a shark. This creature is originally from the myths and stories of ancient Persia where its name literally meant “man eater.” It was a very popular monster though that made its way nimbly through the passage of time by being absorbed into new folklore—Persians to the Greeks, Greeks into the Middle Ages of central Europe. Since this creature was so popular though, other than the body of a lion and the head of a man with knife like teeth the details can vary from legend to legend. Sometimes the the manticore will have wings, horns, or some combination of those two. The tail is generally of special importance though as even if it is the tail of a lion, occasionally a dragon, or even that of a scorpion it is used to shoot out poisonous darts to paralyze and perhaps even kill his victims.Author: Brooke Windsor Copyrighted © paranormalhaze.com
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