True Monster Horror Stories From Around the World
Everyone loves a good monster story. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that humans weren’t at the top of the food chain, and becoming another animal’s dinner was a very real possibility. In film and literature today, monster stories are a physical manifestation of our societal worries: the fear of exploitation in Alien, consequences of nuclear warfare and environmental disaster in Godzilla, the fear of an unknown, invasive species destroying our way of life in A Quiet Place. In the latest episode of Eli Roth’s History of Horror, Eli Roth is joined by some of the biggest names in movies to break down the legacy of cinematic monsters. Quentin Tarantino, Andy and Barbara Muschietti, Jack Black, Bill Hader, and more, dissect some of the most iconic monsters in movie history.
But some monsters are more than just movie magic. All over the world, there have been reports of unidentifiable creatures and terrifying predators that humans just can't wrap their heads around. Despite the advancement of modern technology, there's always that deep fear that we could become the prey of some unknown killing machine. Of course, some are quick to dismiss these kinds of reports as unfounded or misguided, but one thing is for sure: monster stories are a core part of the human experience. They aren’t going away any time soon. Below, dive into a collection of true monster sightings from around the world.
The Wendigo is a creature from the folklore of First Nations Algonquin tribes. They are said to stalk the cold, Northern forests of the United States and Canada. Physical descriptions of the creature do vary across the many Alonguin-speaking tribes, but all understand this monster to be cannibalistic. They are to be deeply feared by wayward travelers and isolated woods people. Some legends describe the creature as giant and looming, others as human-sized, but with gaunt features, glowing yellow eyes, and fearsome claws and fangs. According to some legends, Wendigos are created when a human resorts to cannibalism, typically in order to survive. The stories of the monster gave rise to the real, but very much disputed, medical term “Wendigo psychosis.” Reports of the condition date back to the 17th century, and describe its manifestation as rife with delusions, homicidal or suicidal thoughts, anti-social behavior, and a compulsion to eat human flesh. Though reported sightings and stories of Wendigos have decreased sharply in the 20th century, key aspects of the legend persist in popular culture.
A core figure in West Virginian folklore, the Mothman was famously first reported in 1966. Two couples travelling along a rural road in Point Pleasant, West Virginia claimed that their car was chased by a large, winged humanoid creature with glowing red eyes. Soon after, more reports of a similar creature swept through the area. Scientists have been quick to claim the Mothman is presumably a sandhill crane, which boasts a seven foot wingspan, or a large barn owl whose eyes reflected red when faced with a light source at night. Still, the town of Point Pleasant is happy to lean into the lore of their local monster. Since 2002, the town has hosted an annual Mothman Festival, which celebrates the cryptid with a weekend of Mothman-themed festivities, drawing about ten to twelve thousand visitors per year. Go deeper inside the mystery of the Mothman legend in True Terror With George Takei here.
The Beast of Bodmin Moor
The Beast of Bodmin Moor has become a persistent figure in modern British folklore. In the late 1970s, there were numerous sightings of a large, phantom-like cat and reports of mutilated livestock in Cornwall, England. While scientists are adamant that the Cornwall climate, food supply, and territory size are not conducive to fostering any significant number of large, panther-sized cats, that hasn’t stopped the stories of massive, shadowy felines stalking the farms of Bodmin Moor from spreading. Police in Cornwall still receive concerned calls about sightings of a large, cat-like beast. In October of 2016, a man captured photographs of large paw prints embedded in the mud. Some surmise that the beasts could be some kind of puma or lynx, or even a leopard or panther that escaped a local zoo, but there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence about the origins of the Beast... only the mysterious tales of those who have suddenly crossed its path.
The first sightings of the Spanish folklore creature, the Chupacabra, were reported in Puerto Rico in 1995. Since then, sightings of the creature have extended throughout the Americas, and even as far as Russia, India, and the Philippines. The Chupacabra has been described as a lizard-like creature, the size of a small bear, with a ridge of spines stretching from its neck to the base of its tail. Some reports liken it to more of a hairless dog-like animal. The creature supposedly kills its prey -- typically goats, cats, and other livestock -- and sucks their blood from a series of small incisions along its corpse. Of course, scientists have not been able to verify any of the reports of the mysterious creature, with most attributing the gruesome livestock attacks to coyotes or wild dogs with mange. Still, that hasn’t stopped the legend of the Chupacabra from spreading across the world.
The Snallygaster is a dragon-like creature that supposedly plagued the South Mountain region of Maryland. Some reports describe it as half-reptile, half-bird, with a beak lined with razor sharp teeth. It swoops down from the sky to pluck farm animals, pets, and even small children, carrying them off. Others describe it as having wings and octopus-like tentacles coming from its mouth which it uses to seize its prey. Originally sighted by German immigrants in the Maryland/Pennsylvania area in the 1730s, stories of the Snallygaster persisted well through the 1900s. When a story of a man who was carried off and drained of his blood was reported in the Maryland Valley Register, sightings spread throughout the country and gained so much traction that even President Theodore Roosevelt reportedly considered hunting it.
Explore the history and legacy of monsters on film in the latest episode of Eli Roth’s History of Horror now on amc.com. The latest full episodes are also available to watch on the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and AMC+, the company's premium subscription bundle (currently available to Comcast Xfinity, DISH and Sling TV customers).
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