SITA: The “ABC”s of Mythological Creatures

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SITA: The “ABC”s of Mythological Creatures

Let us travel around the world and check out various monstrous creatures that are not commonly known to the general public.  Tonight we shall start at the beginning with the “A”s and in some cases it will be getting kind of weird.


Abchanchu - Bolivian vampire. The abchanchu pretends to be a kindly old man who loses his way. His well-meaning, helpful victims are either stricken with a fatal disease or are sucked dry of their blood while they are asleep.


Adlet - The Adlet (or Erqigdlet) are a race of creatures in the Inuit mythology of Greenland, as well as the Labrador and Hudson Bay coasts supposedly created by the union of a large red dog and an Inuit woman.  While the word refers to inland native American tribes, it also denotes a tribe with dogs' legs and human bodies.  The lower part of the body of the canine Adlet is like that of a dog and their upper part is like a man's.  All Adlet run quickly, and usually encounters between men end up in battle, with man as the victor. 

In Inuit lore, they are often portrayed as in conflict with humans, and are supposed to be taller than Inuit and white people.  In some stories they are cannibals.  Inuit from Labrador use the term Adlet, tribes west of the Hudson Bay use the word Erqigdlet.  The monstrous race begotten by the Adlet was identified with inland native Americans by the Labrador and Hudson Bay tribes; Inuit from Greenland and Baffin Land, which had no native American neighbors, use the term to refer to the half human, half canine creatures.


Al - In Armenian lore, a half-human, half-animal creature that especially likes to attack pregnant women.  The al may have originated in the Babylonian lore of the alu, a malevolent spirit in the form of a black dog that causes diseases. 

The al has one fiery eye, iron teeth, brass fingernails, the tusks of a wild boar, and long, snakelike hair.  It possesses a pointed hat covered with bells that renders it invisible.  The al likes to live in damp and dirty places, including homes and stables.  It also frequents wet and sandy places along roads.

The al strangles pregnant women and their unborn children and pulls out their livers.  It causes miscarriages and steals newborn infants up to seven months old.


Ala - A Turkish term, borrowed by Serbs and Greeks, for an eclipse vampire.  The ala replaced the names of VARCOLAC and VUKODLAK as the sky creature who eats the sun and moon.  Ale (plural) assume human form and drink boiled milk, wine, and vodka like water.  They bring storms that ruin crops.

According to a Serbian folktale, a peasant who lost all his money because his vineyard was plucked clean by an ala is told how to kill the vampire: he must wait under his pear tree with a shotgun loaded with pellets of lead, silver, gold, and steel.  The peasant replants his vineyard, which produces an abundant harvest. The ala comes to eat the grapes, and the sky becomes dark and menacing, with lightning, thunder, and hail.  The peasant loads his shotgun and waits beneath the pear tree.  Soon the ala arrives in the form of an eagle.  The peasant shoots it and it falls to the ground; he kills it.  The sky immediately clears.  The peasant regains his wealth.


Alp - In German lore, a vampiric, shape-shifting spirit associated with the nightmare, bogeyman, and incubus.  Alps can be demons or revenants.  Children are at risk of becoming alps if their mothers use horse collars to ease the difficulties of childbirth.

Alps can manifest as a butterfly vampire released by the breath of the horerczy demon (a demonic creature originating in German folklore), which sucks the life breath out of its victims.  They also appear as cats, pigs, birds, and lecherous dogs.  Even in animal form, the alp likes to wear a magical hat, which confers upon it invisibility and supernatural power.


Andandara - In the lore of the Azande of Africa, a race of malevolent wild cats that have intercourse with human women, who then bear both human children and cats.  The women suckle the cats.  The andandara possess a killing look, and the mere sight of them can cause death.  It is extremely unlucky to hear their cries in the bush. Their presence brings misfortune.


Anspach Werewolf (1685) - Strange German werewolf case with vampire overtones, in which a ravaging wolf was believed to be a returning dead person.  In 1685 a wolf terrorized Anspach (now Ansbach), Germany, killing women, children, and domestic animals.

The townspeople believed the wolf to be the late burgomaster, a most detested man, who was returning to wreak havoc.  A great hunt was mounted, and at last the wolf was chased into a well and killed.  The carcass of the wolf was then dressed up like the burgomaster in a flesh-colored suit, mask, wig, and beard.  It was hung from a gibbet. Later, the carcass was put on display in a museum as a werewolf.

The belief of the townspeople that the burgomaster had returned from the dead to attack them made him a vampire of sorts, but in wolf form and not in his own form as the reanimated dead.


Asasabonsam (Asanbosam) - African VAMPIRES.  In Ghana lore the asasabonsam have hooks instead of feet.  They like to bite their victims on the thumb.  They can be men, women, or children.


Asrapa - In Indian lore, a blood-sucking witch who attends Kali, the fierce human flesh-eating goddess from whom the asrapa draws its power.  The asrapa roams naked in cemeteries, where it raises the dead to life and practices shape-shifting.


Aswang Manananggal – Shape-shifting Philippine viscera sucker that flies about as a bodiless head with trailing entrails, feeding on human flesh, blood, organs, and mucus, especially of fetuses and newborns.  It has a long tongue that can suck a fetus out of a womb.

The aswang manananggal is accompanied by small birds who act as familiars and reconnaissance, locating prey.  By day, the vampire is either a man or a woman who is likely to be a respected member of the community.

Pregnant women can protect themselves by wearing a necklace made of bullets on a string and by smearing coal dust on their abdomens.


Auvergne Werewolf (1558) - Woman executed for being a werewolf.  The case of the Auvergne Werewolf took place in 1558 and was reported by the demonologist Henri Boguet in his book Discours des Sorciers (1602).

According to an account related to Boguet by a “reliable source,” the events in the case unfolded in the following manner:

A gentleman asked a passing hunter to bring him some of his kill.  The hunter was attacked in the woods by an
enormous wolf.  He tried to shoot it but could not wound it, and was forced to fight it with his hands.  He was able to
cut off one of its paws with his hunting knife.  Howling, the wolf fled.  The hunter took the paw to show to the gentleman, who lived near the place where the attack had occurred.  When the hunter took it from his pocket, he was astonished to see that it had changed into a woman’s hand with a ring on one finger.  The gentleman recognized the ring as belonging to his wife.  He went immediately into the kitchen, where he found his wife hiding her arm in her apron.  He seized it and saw that she was missing one hand.

The wife confessed to transforming herself into a wolf in order to attend a SABBAT. She was burned alive at the stake in Ryon.

Related Articles:

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters New Edition by Guiley, Rosemary Ellen published by Checkmark Books (2005): Amazon.com: Books

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