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Myths & Legends

All over the world there are extraordinary stories—stories that once upon a time were believed to be true but are today limited to the sphere of ancient myths and legends. The question remains, are those myths and legends something that existed in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? It is true that most of those ancient myths and legends appear to the scientific world to be fictitious products of vivid imaginations whose goals were purely to explain phenomena beyond their comprehension. Yet is it not arrogant to accuse our ancestors of being uncivilised and ignorant in one breath, then offer them praise and admiration over their monuments, buildings, art, sculptures, and societies in the next? This only proves that our modern society has two contradictory attitudes toward our past.

In this section we will explore some of the most amazing myths and legends from around the world—legends that may hold truths that can unlock the secrets of our ancient origins.

Digital representation of a trap-feeding humpback, thought to be the phenomenon explaining Hafgufa and other sea monsters. Source: J. McCarthy/Marine Mammal Science

Medieval Sea Monster Was Likely a Whale, New Research Reveals

A team of Australian researchers has come up with an intriguing theory about a gigantic sea creature referenced in 13th century Norse manuscripts. Known as the Hafgufa in Norway, this huge sea...
Each of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse represent different aspects of the cleansing of the Earth, by Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov. Source: Public domain

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Unleashing the End of the World

Throughout the history of civilization, the notion of the apocalypse has been a recurring theme in human history, transcending cultures and religions. It represents the ultimate reckoning, a...
Sculpture depicting the gnarly-faced character of Baba Yaga. Source: Public domain

Baba Yaga: The Wicked Witch of Slavic Folklore

As ambiguous as she is hideous, Baba Yaga is an anomaly. In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is both a maternal, mother nature figure and an evil villain who kidnaps and eats children. Numerous renditions...
Many hags/witches are depicted as possessing supernatural powers and the use of magic. Source: TeodorLazarev/AdobeStock

8 of History’s Most Terrifying Hags

Whether one is studying European, Asian, or American folklore, different variations of the same nightmarish creatures tend to crop up. Of all the things that go bump in the night, the most prominent...
Manananggal, mythical creature of the Philippines. Source: Public Domain

Alleged Sighting of the Mythical ‘Manananggal’ in the Philippines Causes Public Anxiety

Police in the Philippines are working to ease the fears of residents in a city where reports of a fearsome creature have been circulating. The strange incident began last Thursday evening in the...
Edinburgh Castle is reputed to be one of the most haunted monuments in the world! This is unsurprising, given all the bloodshed it’s seen since the 12th century.	Source: Savvapanf Photo / Adobe Stock

Seven Haunted Monuments and Their Violent Past

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Historic monuments throughout the globe are said to be home to ghostly goings-on. Travel to any city in the world and you’re likely to find haunted landmarks and...
The supposed giants ring, with condor decoration. Source: Courtesy of Celso García Vargas / Author supplied

An Extraordinary Discovery: A Giant’s Ring of the Inca Era?

A long time before the Inka reigned, there were in those parts men in the manner of giants, as grown as they showed the figures that were sculpted in the stones. Pedro de Cieza de León Crónica de...
The mythical city of Shambhala, as generated by AI technology. Source: EwaStudio / Adobe Stock

What is Shambhala? Understanding the Mysterious Kingdom of Shambhala

Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “place of silence,” is a mythical paradise spoken of in ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient scriptures of...
Hundreds of people report cryptid sightings like Bigfoot every year. Will definitive proof ever be found?           Source: Dave / Adobe Stock

7 Monstrously Famous Cryptids We’re Still Looking For

A cryptid is a type of animal that some people believe to be real, despite the fact that its existence is disputed or “unproven”. Sometimes these are animals that science believes to be extinct, but...
Are the Misty Peaks of the Azores Remnants of the Legendary Atlantis?

Are the Misty Peaks of the Azores Remnants of the Legendary Atlantis?

Jutting from the deep briny mists of the mid-Atlantic, some 800 miles (1287 km) due west of Portugal, the Azores strike one as bejeweled, fern and flower-encrusted baubles in a vast expanse of blue...
The Saga of the Völsungs features Norse hero Sigurd hunting the dragon Fafnir. Source: Wachirawit / Adobe Stock

The Saga of the Völsungs: Epic Story of the Greatest Norse Heroes

Much of what we know about Norse mythology and history comes from their sagas. These are stories written in the Old Norse language that recount early Viking voyages, battles, and feuds between...
Phantoms islands never existed in the first place, but their origins are varied. Source: Indstock / Adobe Stock

7 Phantom Islands We Never Really Discovered

The Earth is a big place, and it has taken us a long, long time to fully map it. Today, it is easy to feel like the last of the great adventures is over, and we’ve found all that there is to be found...
Right; Dancers in a fresco in the Etruscan Tomb of the Triclinium, Left; Tarchon mosaic, Tarquinia, Lazio, Italy.  Source: Left; Public Domain, Right; Public Domain

Tarchon and Tyrrhenus: The Etruscan Romulus and Remus?

The Etruscans, although enigmatic compared to the familiar civilizations of Greece and Rome, had a significant impact on the development of Roman civilization. As a result, it is unsurprising that...
Tŷ Hyll (The Ugly House) near Betws-Y-Coed, inspired by the one night house tradition Source: Steve Daniels / CC BY SA 2.0

The One Night House: Squatters from Welsh Folklore

The story of the one night house, or tŷ unnos, is something heard from a friend or relative. The Welsh custom is a quaint tradition with interesting roots. Oral history is keeping the concept alive,...
Mythical creatures from around the world include the legendary Griffin shown here. Source: ShiaoHuai / Adobe Stock

Ten Mythical Creatures in Ancient Folklore from Around the World

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts , and supernatural, mystical, and god-like beings have fascinated us since ancient times. They have filled folklore, stories, songs, and works of art. Sometimes...
Elves and dwarves played crucial roles in Norse mythology. Dancing Fairies, painting by August Malmström, 1866. Source: Public Domain

The Magical, Mythical Elves and Dwarves of Norse Legend

Today if one thinks of either elves or dwarves, the first thing to come to mind is likely to be the works of J.R.R Tolkien. Thanks to him, fantasy fiction goes hand in hand with elves and dwarves...
Talk of folklore creatures have terrified people for centuries, but how many were based on real monsters? Source: Анна Богатырева / Adobe Stock

8 Bizarre Folklore Creatures That Will Keep You Up at Night

We’ve all heard of mythical creatures and cryptids like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, but those aren’t the only strange creatures rumored to be wandering the earth. Throughout history, there have...
A Byzantine depiction of the Three Wise Men (526 AD) from the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Source: Nina-no / CC BY-SA 2.5

The Feast of Epiphany: Who Were The Three Kings and Where Did They Come From?

In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day, is celebrated annually on the 6th January to commemorate the visit of the Magi , wise men, or kings from the East to...
This capacocha victim, a boy recovered from Cerro El Plomo in 1954, was the first finding of its kind to be the subject of scientific studies. Pictured with excavated grave goods: a female silver statuette, gold llamas and spondylus shell, a chuspa stuffed with coca leaves, scrotum and animal intestine bags with clippings of nails, hair and teeth, and a silver bracelet. Source: Jisa39 / CC BY SA 4.0

Capacocha: Ritualized Child Sacrifice in the Inca Empire

The Inca were an impressive people. From the 1400s to 1532, they created an empire so large it spread from modern Ecuador to central Chile. Master builders that rivaled the ancient Egyptians, their...
Cultures around the world have developed superstitions in an attempt to bring luck or avoid pain. Many of these dealt with ordinary activities and objects, including goats, grapes and gum!          Source: Justinas / Adobe Stock

Eight Bizarre Superstitions from Ancient History

Whether you toss salt over your shoulder or avoid opening umbrellas indoors, we’ve all got our own superstitions. Superstitious beliefs are nothing new - humans have been abiding by these interesting...
What is a Wendigo? A depiction of the mythical creature of Native American legend. Source: GARETH / Adobe Stock

What is a Wendigo? The Beast with an insatiable Hunger for Human Flesh

The Wendigo is a horrifying creature of Algonquian Native American legends said to devour human flesh to survive a harsh winter. But are they only part of Native American mythology or are there...
Coin sword made of an iron rod with Chinese cash coins of the 19th century tied to it with red and green string in the shape of a sword, with hanging ornaments. Source: British Museum / CC BY NC SA 4.0

Ancient Chinese Coin Swords: Demon Fighting Weapons of the East

One of the most fascinating discoveries from ancient China are coin swords. Coin swords, also known as cash swords, are an ancient type of feng shui talisman that has been around since the Qing...
The Legend of the Christmas Spider is a folktale that dates back hundreds of years from German and Ukrainian origin. Source: VideoCorpus / Adobe Stock

Silver and Gold: The Legend of the Christmas Spider and Tinsel

If you celebrate Christmas, you likely have annual traditions when it comes to decorating your Christmas tree. There are many accessories we like to decorate our trees with, but one of the most...
These historic lies may change the way you view history and our world. Source: photoschmidt / Adobe Stock

Eight Historic Lies about the Ancient World that will Blow Your Mind

Our understanding of the past is fluid. Very often things we think we know about the past turn out to be false or highly distorted. Historians aren’t perfect; sometimes they make mistakes, other...

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