10 Mythical Creatures That Actually Existed! 1
There is a fine line between mythical lore and, you know, reality. Just ask the countless folks who swear to have encountered every type of fantastical creature from Bigfoot to mermaids to Sasquatch to Tupac Shakur. These sightings could be cases of people’s minds playing tricks on them or made up stories to make themselves more interesting, but is it possible that they might just possibly be telling the truth? Without legitimate, clear and non-doctored photo evidence, these claims are both implausible and impossible to prove, but remain impossible to absolutely rule out.
That may seem like a ridiculous pretext, but the very nature of myth-making often serves as a bridge between the imagined and the real. Very few legends are pulled strictly from one’s dreamed up imagination. Instead, stories often carry some basis in fact and personal experience that are then exaggerated, embellished upon and played up with added flair. A regular old pig can become a ferocious wild boar, a snake can be transformed into a massive serpent, a man with above-average height can soon become a towering giant. As those stories get passed along from generation to generation, the true details become filtered out and we are left with the hyperbole, making the myth all the more thrilling, albeit still not entirely fictional.
We may not even realize it, but this instinctive tendency to massage, twist and tweak the truth through the sharing of fables has impacted our present understanding of the world. Some of what we believe to be myth based on simply hearing it as part of a bedtime story might not have been entirely made up. This list contains 10 creatures who have served as the basis for fantastical stories and lore passed down through both literary and oral history. But on top of being firmly entrenched in the imaginations of those who have heard the stories, these creatures – or some less dramatized variation of them – also happen to have existed in real life. Take the legend of the Imoogi, for example, a serpent that has long been a staple of Korean folklore with a similar-looking relative whose giant fossilized remains were discovered just eight years ago.
We modern humans are skeptical by nature, generally distrustful of what we hear from others, a trait that has only grown in an age of instant communication where the line between legitimate information and hearsay presented as fact has been blurred. Most of us have grown accustomed to a lifetime of being regaled by thrilling stories, only to find those stories to have little basis in reality. For these 10 familiar tales, then, it might be worth setting your skepticism aside and appreciating that these remarkable, ostensibly fictionalized accounts do, in fact, carry a firm basis in reality. Yep, these things are actually real, which is pretty terrifying to think that we once – and, in some cases, could still – live amongst them.