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The Myths, The Magical and Mysterious

 

words by Kirsten Macdonald 

 

Our modern-day screens are overwhelmed with creepy blood-curdling monsters.  

 

These frequently overtly sexualised characters who morph into werewolves and vampires, sirens singing sailors to their deaths or the deep blue seas. Supernaturally charged, they have evolved from the village fireside precautionary tales and spins of old to the pop culture halls of fame. 

 

Have you read the original Grimm brothers Fairy tales? I studied them at University at they are not for the faint of heart. Don’t even get me started on Little Red riding hood, because that story isn’t what you think it is…

 

But what about the monsters lurking around the world who haven’t had much love? Let’s give these ghastly Villians some attention! Mind you, after you are well informed, you may understand why they are not so popular, they’re not the kind you want to bring home to Mum. 

 

The Näkki

 

In Finnish mythology, a Näkki (Estonian: Näkk) is a Neck. This shape-shifting water spirit usually appears in human form, residing in darkened pools, wells, docks, piers and under bridges.

 

Notorious for yanking young children down into the depths, it is advised for our young ones not to look into the water or lean into the depths. 

 

Nordic mythology tells us Midsummer’s night is when Näkki rises from the water to dance with people celebrating. BEAutiful to look at from the front, their back is bewhiskered and uncomely. 

 

Näkki is also called Vetehinen or Vesihiisi (water fey, see Hiisi).

 

Ponderings PHoto monsters NAakti

Nunyunuwi The Stone Man

 

Known to the Cherokee nation; the Stone Man or Nunyunuwi is a shuddersome character. 

A wicked cannibal, this flesh-eater prefers hunters for meals and takes on the disguise of an old man wearing a stone coat. Stories tell of his defeat and rising. There are many variations, but in all, he is dyspathetic when it comes to menstruating women. At that ‘time of the month, women became powerful allies in warding off the Stone monster and his enormous hunger for human flesh. 

 

Cuca   

 

From Brazilian folklore, Cuca is a diabolical female monster. She is a hideous witch, with some age, and who has an alligator head. Cuca kidnaps the naughty children who won’t go to sleep. She is a curmudgeonly and hellish hag that will commit evil deeds to those who don’t snooze: terrifying little ones everywhere and a fearsome ally to parents all over Brazil. Close your eyes, children! 

 

Although Cuca came from the Portuguese coca, in Tupi (an indigenous language of Brazil), Cuca means to swallow something with a single gulp.

Yikes. 

 

photo credit Real World Fatos

photo credit Real World Fatos

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Grýla 

 

Iceland has its own Ogre, and it isn’t a green loveable Dreamworks character.   Grýla is a terrorizing giantess who dwells in the mountains of Iceland. She wears a prickly and hairy chin, has eyes in the back of her head and has a pet Christmas cat, a fearsome creature who eats people who don’t get clothes for Christmas. 

 

Again a tale told to frighten children (poor kids, really parents!) Gryla is known for her keen hearing, and she can smell a child from miles away. She too has a hankering for human flesh, particularly that of wicked children. She stores them away for a Christmas stew. She was so awful that in 1746 public decree prohibited parents from traumatising their kids with the tale any longer. Thank the heavens. This one is dreadful. 

 

Picture: Brian Pilkington from the book The Yule Lads

Picture: Brian Pilkington from the book The Yule Lads

Draugen

Draugen is the sinister ghost of a man who died at sea terrifying Norweigiens. He is behemothic, coated in seaweed, and rows in half a boat. DRaugen’s trademark is an ear-piercing scream to announce his arrival, and he likes drowning sailors and those who want to fish. 

 

Weapons do not defeat him, only a warrior can wrestle him back to his gruesome cave, and this fiendish ghoul can enter the dreams of the living along with shapeshifting and future telling. According to the Function of the Living Dead in Medieval Norse and Celtic Literature, the mottled man is intelligent to boot; this Old Norse monster was undoubtedly worth a mention. 

listversepicturecredit

photo credit listverse pictures

The Capitalismus

 

Finally we have the last one- the nastiest of them all- The Capitalismus. 

A fire breathing monstrous beast, this one devours Brazillian rainforests with licks of fire, riding large mechanical beasts and filling it’s belly with the fear of the people. A terrifying traveller, this fiend travels the globe seeking victims. Often seen as attractive and seductive, the Capitalismus cloaks itself in badges of honour and munches on sea dwellers, driving them out of their homes and lands. Particularly shifty, this insidious trickster is very troll like and keeps dungeons of gold and silver tucked away. Not for the faint, this monster can only be defeated by the bravery of those who believe in equality and protecting the tribes with truth and honour. 

 

You can read more about them here: https://www.britannica.com/topic/capitalism 

 

credit photo Alexas Fotos Ponderings monsters

photo credit  Alexas Fotos

 

References and important notes for our Ponderers

 

The Cherokee Nation is a sovereign tribal government. Upon settling in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) after the Indian Removal Act, the Cherokee people established a new government in what is now the city of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. A constitution was adopted on September 6, 1839, 68 years before Oklahoma’s statehood. 

https://www.cherokee.org

 

The Sami are the indigenous peoples of the northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and much of the Kola Peninsula, and live in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. It is estimated that they represent between 50,000 and 100,000.

 

https://www.iwgia.org/en/sapmi.html

 

The Unknown Lore of Amexem’s Indigenous People: An Aboriginal Treatise

 

https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/NunyunuwiTheStoneMan-Cherokee.html

 

http://nativeamericanantiquity.blogspot.com/2013/05/cherokee-witchcraft-conquering-stone.html

 

https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/the-legend-of-the-cuca/

 

https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/regina/gryla-and-leppaludi-the-parents-of-the-icelandic-yule-lads

 

http://wayback.vefsafn.is/wayback/20130122160640/http://icelandreview.com/icelandreview/search/news/Default.asp?ew_0_a_id=317411

 

http://www.thjodminjasafn.is/jol/adrar-vaettir/nr/2983

 

https://izi.travel/en/b530-creatures-of-norwegian-mythology/en

 

The function of the living dead in medieval Norse and Celtic literature: death and desire. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press. 

 

Nordisk familjebok Linköping University

 

Old Norse: Draugr, plural draugar; modern Icelandic: draugur, Faroese: dreygur and Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian: draug) is an undead creature from Norse mythology, also called aptrganga or aptrgangr, literally “again-walker” (Icelandic: afturganga).

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/04/in-brazil-indigenous-people-fighting-to-keep-children/

 

https://www.hs.fi/english/article/Uncovering+the+secrets+of+the+Sámi/1135218761063/

 

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

Narnia, A Faraway Tree with a smidge of a Doc called Suess, and some Kahlil Gibran is the word charm that grew seeds in Kirsten Macdonald's imagination. She has an innate curiosity about the stories of "us" and a deep faith that is strongly supported by a dark sense of humour. Ask this wordsmith about anthropology, ancient religions, the curious nature of humanity and the incredible cuteness of sloths and you will have a conversation for hours. Writer, editor and researcher, Kirsten has developed Ponderings into a space that is now shared by a team and a shared vision that is infectiously positive and forged in good stuff.

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