The real prototypes of mythical creatures

Every culture has its own mythical creatures. Some of the fantastic creatures are typical for several cultural groups at a time which is making them quite well-known. Even though today we might not understand how people were able with such amazing ideas creating all of these phenomena which are still widely used in the literature, game development and film production. Yet, there is a real prototype for every mythical creature. You will learn more about them in this article.

Vampires and werewolves

Vampires and werewolves are one of the most favourite mythological creatures you can ever come across. There are entire fantasy genres dedicated specifically to these beasts which are show in absolutely different ways depending on the creativity of an artist. Some of the artists are depicting them as extremely beautiful people with inhumanly powers who can seduce anyone to get what they need to keep their life which is undeniably blood. For other people werewolves and vampires are very close to cannibals which is making them ugly and frightening.

Actually, vampires and werewolves are two separate mythical species and in some artworks and legends they are even depicted as two rivalling groups. Not everyone knows that these creatures have the same prototype which is not thus appealing as it might seem.

What did really make create these amusing stories about werewolves and vampires? The prototype for these creatures were people ill with rabid. Rabid had been a rather mysterious disease with various symptoms untypical for other health conditions. At the same time, the illness was not curable and, as you can imagine, not the fear and lack of understanding of this health condition turned it into an inspiration to create supernatural creatures.

Not everyone is aware of the popularity of the belief in these creatures in Europe in the Middle Ages. In fact, at that time many people explained different unusual behaviour of others by being a vampire or a werewolf. Needless to say, some dogs were regarded to be people who had turned into an animal. The medieval courts faced a lot of complaints from people accusing their acquaintances of being a werewolf based on seeing a rabid or just aggressive dog soon after having an argument with that person.


Mermaid are another well-known mythical creature, however, there is a lot of misunderstanding related to them. In general, mermaids are exceptionally beautiful women who can really mesmerise men making them forget about everything and just follow them. This can be rather dangerous for them and put them into a real trouble.

The confusion related to mermaids comes from a poor translation of the word “mermaid” into Slavonic languages. In fact, mermaids are the creatures looking like very appealing women with fish tails. One of their typical features is amazing singing which can actually hypnotise their victims. At the same time, many Slavonic cultures also have their own fantastic creatures looking like beautiful women living in the water. Yet, sometimes they are referred to as undines and they do not have any tails. They are resemble more of water nymphs, albeit there is a large difference between them. In order to become a undine, a woman has to get drowned in the water of a lake or a river. Undines are not living in the seas like mermaids.

In all likelihood, the reason behind the existence of undines is the fear of people to get lost forever. It is quite possible that not being able to find a way out of a forest for a long time and reaching some spots, for example, swamps, tired people were not able to survive, while others were creating fantastic stories about undines making the lost people stay with them. At the same time, tired sailors spending months surrounded by water could easily mistake any creature for a beautiful woman.


Just like dragons are making people so scared on the land, the most frightening creature of the sea is kraken. The stories about a gigantic beast were particularly popular among the sailors travelling around the waters of Norway and Greenland. In the Scandinavian countries people even use a phrase of fishing with a kraken. The history behind this phrase comes from the belief that kraken swallows a lot of food however, it does not fully digest this food vomiting it into the water. Presumably, this attracts a large amount of other fish in search for food.

Kraken resembles an octopus a lot, however, the first one is featured with an enormous size. Gigantic octopuses do really exist with their length reaching 13 metres. The weight of such animals can be of almost 300 kilograms. In fact, these octopuses can really attack boats and easily turn them over. Still, as you can imagine, it is not enough to attack an entire ship.