Over the years, we have been entranced, baffled, tantalized and even shocked by the monsters of well known mythologies, be it the ubiquitous dragon, the gargantuan kraken or the boisterous minotaur. Fortunately, the list of legendary beasts and creatures hasn’t run out of potential candidates, even after numerous of the ilk having ‘identified’ starring roles in various cinematic blockbusters from around the world. So, without further ado, let us talk about ten mythical monsters that have still not been able to take the center stage in pop-culture, in spite of their frightfully ‘monstrous’ credentials.
1) Amarok (from Inuit mythology) –
A fantastical giant wolf from the barren lands of the Arctic, the Amarok is said to hunt alone in contrast to the pack tendencies of its much smaller brethren. Many believe the legend of this lone wolf actually comes from real-time ecological periods when the untraveled deep woods were indeed populated by larger varieties of wolves (like the better known dire wolves). Some also draw parallels of this beast with the Waheela giant wolves that supposedly inhabited the northern parts of Canada.
Interestingly, according to famous Danish geologist Dr. Hinrich Johannes Rink, the term Amarok pertains to only a ‘fabulous’ monster for the Greenlanders, while other Arctic inhabitants believed the Amarok to be a monstrous wolf greater in size than a human being.
2) Aqrabuamelu (from Sumerian mythology) –
The Aqrabuamelu or the Scorpion Men are mentioned in many myths written in the Akkadian language, with the most famous descriptions being in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. They were said to be guardians of the sun god Shamash, and were found around his abode at the Mashu mountains.
In terms of portrayal, the Aqrabuamelu are described to have astronomical proportions, with their heads supposedly touching the sky and their mere glances resulting in death. However, they were also depicted as nominally benevolent beings who warned travelers of any danger in their future journeys.
3) Camazotz (from Mayan mythology) –
In terms of conventional zoology, all of the three known species of vampire bats are actually native to the New World. So, it really doesn’t come as a surprise that it is Mayan mythology that brings forth the legend of a mythical vampire creature. But the fascinating part is – the Camazotz’s legend does have many similarities to the well known vampire stories of the later eras. For example, the Camazotz has been described as a purely evil entity with the sole aim to cause terror.
In fact, the legends pertain to the folkloric occasion when the Mayan Gods deliberately let loose the monster from its prison so as to destroy the entire race of Mayans – which would have made way for a new order of humans. This was supposedly done as a punishment to the existing civilization, when the people revolted against the bloodthirsty divine will that demanded human sacrifices in return for protection.
4) Erymanthian Boar (from Greek mythology) –
Greek Mythological traditions have brought us host of exalted creatures, including Kraken, Cyclops, Minotaur, Manticore and Fury. But the enormous one-ton Erymanthian Boar have seemed to elude pop-cultural references for quite some time now. Residing in the vicinity of the Mt. Erymanthus, the boar was fabled because of its sharp yet strong canine teeth that were used to gore and impale unfortunate victims who had mistakenly wondered to the ominous location.
Oddly enough, the Erymanthian Boar was considered to be a repugnant form of the Greek god Apollo, who had changed himself into a monster to punish Adonis. But unfortunately for the ginormous creature, the demi-god Hercules successfully captured the boar – as outlined by one of his twelve heroic labors.
5) Ghatotkacha (from Indian mythology) –
Unlike many of the ‘villains’ we have been talking about until now, the giant Ghatotkacha was described as a humble and a loyal character in the world’s longest known epic poem Mahabharata. He was the son of Bhima, who was one of the heroes of this Sanskrit mythological work, and the giantess (rakshasa) Hidimbi.
Having the blood of the rakshasa endowed Ghatotkacha with many magical powers, including the ability to glide and the capacity to turn into a monstrous giant. Incidentally, he met his tragic death in his very giant form at the climactic Battle of Kurukshetra. According to the legend, when he fell down upon the adjacent soldiers, his massive body simultaneously buried 109,350 men and 21,870 elephants!