Sea Monsters of Legend and Lore
Come summer we all seek to return to the sea. There is something both haunting and calming about the great oceans that give peace to the mind and soul. But there are also a multitude of sea monsters to destroy your tranquility.
The Carta Marina – is a medieval chart depicting the oceans and the many dangers that await.
Monsters of the Sea
some common monsters and creatures of the sea
Polypus – a giant lobster/octopus hybrid
The Sea Swine – swine of the sea that will eat men
The Sea Unicorn – its large horn can sink a ship
The Ziphius – a fish with a sword nose
Kraken – legendary sea monster thought to be a giant squid or a serpent with squid-like tentacles.
The Giant Sea Snail – it’s a big one!
Aspidochelone – a turtle or a whale with craggy formations on its back. It is big enough to be mistaken for a small island luring sailors to their deaths
Sirens – beautiful women with angelic voices who lure sailors to their deaths by shipwrecking them upon the rocky coast.
Cecaelias – Octopus people
Mermaids/Mermen – half men / half fish
Scylla – a six-headed, twelve-legged serpentine that devours six men from each ship that passes through the Strait of Messina (Italy and Sicily)
Charybdis – is a huge beast living underwater that swallows a huge amount of water creating a whirlpool
Icthyocentaur – is part human, part horse and part fish
Leviathan – a giant sea serpent familiar to many cultures and mythologies. Known as the bringer of chaos, a demon or a representation of the element of water.
Legends and Lore
I’ve assembled and paraphrased a few interesting legends here.
Umibōzu – are spirits with a large round shaven head and thought to be formed by drowned priests or monks. They can capsize ships of those that speak to it and in one legend, asked crew members for a barrel. When given the barrel the Umibōzu filled it with water for the sailor to be drowned in. The way around that is to offer it a bottomless barrel.
Bakunawa – a giant sea serpent of Philippine mythology that would eat the moon if the people didn’t stop it by a ritual of banging on pans. The loud noise would make the Bakunawa spit out the moon. Then the people would play soothing music to put it back to sleep. The story is tied to explanation of the eclipse of the moon.
Blue Men of the Minch – legend inhabitants of Scottland’s coast between the Island of Lewis and Shant Island were known for sinking passing ships. The only way to save the ship is for the captain to talk to them in rhyme and get the last word (last rhyme). They live in underwater caves.
Vodnik – Originating from Slavic folklore, Vodniks are waterdemons that began their existence after a child has been drowned. They lure people into the water where they suffocate them, and either take on the form of a green haired human or a fish.
Rusalka – The water spirit created when a woman drowns
Andromeda – the woman from Greek mythology who was chained to a rock to be sacrificed to the Kraken as divine punishment for her mother’s bragging. She was saved from death by Perseus