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Mythological Creatures You (Probably) Haven’t Heard Of

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

It’s officially Halloween season! Which means every storefront, residence hall, and coffee shop is decked out in orange and black. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably bored of seeing the same old ghosts, witches, and zombies all the time. As much as I love Halloween, our run-of-the-mill monsters just aren’t cutting it anymore. To amp up the spooky season just a little bit, here are some mythological creatures you (probably) haven’t heard of.

Central and South America: La Llorona

If you have hispanic roots, chances are that you’ve heard tales of La Llorona since you were little. La Llorona translates to ‘the weeping woman’ in English, and tells the story of a woman scorned by her husband, who, in a fit of rage, drowns her children in a river and kills herself afterwards. After her death, she is denied entry into heaven and instead is banished to roam the earth for eternity, weeping for her lost children. Depending on the version you’ve heard, La Llorona loiters around bodies of water, ready to attack naughty children and cheating husbands alike. 

The Philippines: Manananggal

The Philippines is home to a vast array of mythological creatures, and the Manananggal is no exception. The Manananggal, whose name originates from the word ‘tanggal’ or separate, is a creature that is capable of severing its upper and lower body at night. In the daytime, the Manananggal is often described as a beautiful woman, completely indistinguishable from other humans. At night, its face becomes disfigured, while its upper body separates itself and sprouts large, bat-like wings. Though the Manananggal has no specific folktale, it is traditionally said to prey on pregnant women and use their fetuses as food. 

The British Isles: Black Shuck

One of the less gruesome creatures on this list is the Black Shuck. The Black Shuck is described as a large dog with black fur and red beady eyes, and is often regarded as an omen of death. It is said to roam around the coastline and countryside of East Anglia, making itself known to travellers with its distinct howl. According to legend, you must avoid looking at its eyes when crossing paths with the Black Shuck, otherwise you will be overcome with bad luck, and may die within the next year.

South Africa: Grootslang

According to South African mythology, the Grootslang is a creature as old as the gods themselves. The myth describes an elephant-serpent hybrid creature that was hastily made by gods who had not yet mastered the art of creation. Its physical appearance is often described as a large serpent with the head of an elephant. The Grootslang is said to have been extremely strong, intelligent, and cunning; fearful of their creation, the gods severed the creature, creating the first snakes and elephants. Today, natives believe that there is only one Grootslang, and that it guards a deep, diamond-filled cave in Richtersveld, South Africa. 

Maxine is a freshman studying applied linguistics and multilingualism at the University of California Santa Cruz. She enjoys writing about all things travel, lifestyle, and beauty. You'll likely find her napping, drinking boba, or injecting herself with an epipen. She also hopes to raise a cat one day.