5) Dobhar-Chu – or the giant, carnivorous, Irish ‘beaver-dog’
Depicted as a cross between a beaver (or an otter) and a dog, the Dobhar-chú (or Doyarchu) has been feature of Irish mythology since ancient times. Said to reside in rivers, they are more nimble than their Scottish counterpart Nessie, while exhibiting a more aggressive demeanor when it comes to humans and dogs. In that regard, the Dobhar-chú hunt in packs by forcefully dragging their unfortunate victims into the water.
Now, in folkloric traditions, the existence of Dobhar-chú treads the fine line between myth and actual beliefs, with many reported sightings of the monster. For example, one of the monsters had allegedly been spotted as recently as in 2003, when Irish artist Sean Corcoran supposedly came across a specimen on Omey Island (on the western edge of County Galway, Ireland).
4) Hecatoncheires – or the monster with only fifty heads
Represented in Greek mythology, the Hecatoncheires was the collective name given to three monsters (Briareus, Cottus and Gyges) who were the children of Gaia and Uranus. And, they were not only known for their frightful enormity, but also for their ghastly arrangement of hundred arms and fifty heads. Even Uranus was so taken back by their ugliness that he decided to push them back into their mother’s womb. On failing to do so, they were subsequently banished to the underworld of Tartarus.
However, the Hecatoncheires more than made up for their revolting appearance when they heroically helped the Greek gods in their fight against the Titans, who were also the offspring of Gaia and Uranus. As legend has it, the multi-limbed monsters had the better of their siblings partly aided by their capacity to launch a multitude of rocks at their opponents.
3) Karakasa-Obake – or the walking, sentient umbrella
Yes, you read that right, and yes, it is Japanese in origin. According to their folkloric traditions, the concept of Tsukumogami (or ‘Kami’ of tool) alludes to animation and sentience of inanimate objects. In this case, the Karakasa-Obake is an old umbrella that is enjoying its new-found sentience via the aforementioned Tsukumogami. The folk tales from Japan usually describe them as having a single eye and single leg that doubles as the actual stand. They use this pogostick-like bearing to jump around from place to place.
Furthermore, many of the Karakasa-Obake have claw-like hands and a long lolling tongue. However, in spite of a description that might truly hit the mark of ‘bizarre’, these sentient umbrella monsters are usually depicted as being benevolent entities.
2) Leshi – or the monster who tickles you to death
Depicted as a male woodland spirit in Slavic mythology, Leshi (or Lesovik) appears as a size of a well-built man. But he can menacingly grow tall as a tree while exhibiting his bright green eyes and pale-blue skin. Moreover, given his status as the guardian of forests, he does have a liking for head-crowns made of branches and flowers. And, as can be expected from such a reclusive spirit, Leshi can be mischievous and even downright dangerous at times, with its chief weapon being the prowess for tickling people to death.
He makes lures travelers deep into forests by stealing the sign-posts and then calling out to them in human voices. And, once the unfortunate souls are trapped in a cave, Leshi showcases his sadistic side by supposedly tickling them to death. On the other hand, the monster also upholds his liking for everything fresh and green, and thus form alliances with farmers to protect their crops.
1) Pazuzu – or the monster with head of a dog and a ‘serpentine’ penis
Remember that creepy looking statue from the beginning part of the The Exorcist? Well, it depicted the Pazuzu, the demon who is also the main antagonist in the movie. Now, in historical terms, Pazuzu (or Pazuza) was considered as the king of demons in both Assyrian and Babylonian mythologies. Oddly enough, in a contrasting manner, he was also called the lord of both storms and droughts – who had an apparent penchant for bring famines during rainy seasons.
Now, in terms of depiction, the monster is a hybrid anthropomorphic concoction at best, with its dog head, eagle feet, scorpion tail and a pair of wings. However, another ‘part’ literally stands out in many representations of this ancient demon lord, and it pertains to its convoluted yet always-erect penis. Suffice it to say, Pazuzu is not exactly a docile character – so much so that according to mythic traditions, the ‘king of demons’ was even invoked to fight other evil entities, like the Lamashtu.