Folklore is littered with accounts of unusual beasts of all shapes and sizes. Some, like Bigfoot, are household names. Others, like the Japanese wate
Folklore is littered with accounts of unusual beasts of all shapes and sizes. Some, like Bigfoot, are household names. Others, like the Japanese water demon Kappa, are not so well-known. But they all offer the same thing: excitement, a sense of wonder, and a chance to take a peek into an unusual world.
Stories about strange beasts are told the world over. You might remember tales of the bogeyman or the tooth fairy when you were a child. These appeal to our imagination and make us long for something a little bit different. And not all strange beasts mean us humans harm – some are here to send us friendly warnings, or do us a little good.
So without further ado, let’s take a sidestep into another world – one where mythical beasts reign supreme and everything is possible. Here are five mythical creatures, and where in the world you can find them:
The famous Bigfoot. By Alexandria Huntington for expedia.co.uk
Spring-Heeled Jack – London, Liverpool, Midlands, UK
Spring-Heeled Jack isn’t one of the nice mythical creatures. First spotted in Victorian England, Jack, variously described as demonic and bizarre-looking , was often seen dashing across rooftops, jumping across hedges and making his way up drainpipes. His speed and agility was perfect for his main pursuit: ambushing unsuspecting victims and terrorising them before speeding off.
Chupacabra – mainly Puerto Rico and Mexico
In Spanish, chupacabra literally means ‘goat sucker’ . So relax, it’s unlikely you’re going to be attacked by this beast during a holiday in the Caribbean or Mexico. Sightings of El Chupacabra first started in the 1990s, predominantly in Puerto Rico. From there, the sightings spread and the beast has since been seen in Mexico, the US southwest as well as Russia and China, with reports of attacks on goats, sheep, and other animals.
Unicorns – China
As travel experts Expedia explain in their online map of mythical creatures around the world , the unicorn enjoys a central role in Chinese mythology, with the first sightings of them – referring to a creature called the qilin – recorded in the 5th century BC. Since then, China’s rich culture of works of history and fiction is littered with unicorn references – one emperor claimed to have caught a live qilin in 122 BC. Like many creatures of lore, the qilin is a portent of future events and is said to appear at critical moments, such as when a great leader is about to be born, or die.
The mythical unicorn. By Alexandria Huntington for expedia.co.uk
Bunyip – Australia
Off on a trip to Australia? Keep your eyes peeled for the bunyip, which means ‘evil spirit’. The bunyip is not the nicest of mythical creatures. Its exact physical form is up for debate, with different accounts describing it as part human, part animal, dog-like, walrus-like, and with flippers and a tail. But what can be agreed on is the bunyip’s modus operandi: it lives in waterways like swamps and rivers, lurking for its preferred prey: children. Yikes.
The Australian Bunyip. By Alexandria Huntington for expedia.co.uk
Hoop snakes – North America
So-called ‘hoop snakes’ – the clue is in the name – date back to colonial times in North America . This creature grabs hold of its tail with its mouth so it’s in a hoop-like shape, before rolling at its prey at high speed and killing with a venomous poison. Terrifyingly, it’s also thought to be able to glow in the dark. The hoop snake is perhaps based on the behaviour of the (very real) mud snake, which is known to press the tip of its tail against people’s skin.
If you want to be the lucky one who snaps the Chupacabra or films the legendary Yeti, help is at hand with a new Expedia guide to mythical creatures around the globe. Discover what fantastical creatures might be out there, where to track down the most elusive beasts, and what else to see while you’re on your quest. Happy hunting!
Top image: A ‘skinwalker’. By Alexandria Huntington for expedia.co.uk