You may have heard of the Kelpie, a shape-shifting water horse that lives in Scotland that usually inhabits the lochs and pools in the country. It is usually described as appearing as a beautiful black horse, but can also look like a human. There are some accounts that they still keep their hooves (which have been mentioned that they are reversed compared to regular horses) which leads them to be associated with the Devil. Almost every body of water in Scotland has a Kelpie story. The origin in the belief of these malevolent water horses has been thought to have started in human sacrifices once made to appease water gods. However, narratives about the Kelpie also served as a practical use in keeping children away from dangerous waters and warning young women to stay away from handsome strangers. Douglas Harper, a historian and founder of the Online Etymology Dictionary, defines Kelpie as “the Lowland name of a demon in the shape of a horse”.
It is considered one of the most common water spirits in Scottish folklore, but the name is attributed to a few different forms in narratives recorded throughout the country. In the late 19th century there was an onset of interest in transcribing folklore, but the records are inconsistent in spelling and frequently anglicized words which could result in differing names for the same spirit.
People have been rumored to capture kelpies using a halter stamped with a cross and harnessing its incredible strength to pull and transport heavy mill stones. It can also be killed with a silver bullet like a werewolf.
Now a new part that I will be adding to my posts will be my own opinion of the topic at hand. I believe that kelpies are a beautiful part of Scottish history. I do believe in many things and am always optimistic to possible beings that are living among us and the kelpie is such an interesting creature that I’d love to see it be real. I believe strongly that anything is really possible, and a kelpie just might be possible.
The Zaratan is a giant sea turtle (sometimes an octopus or a whale) that is described in folklore and literature that has a large shell that resembles a sloped rocky mound that is supposedly several hundred feet in diameter. Sailors who came across it always mistook it for a small island and they would anchor on it for the night, but as nighttime approached the turtle would swim down into the water which unfortunately drowned the sailors. The Zaratan has also been described as being a giant fish that tries to bring its tail to its mouth but can’t due to its massive size. When a Zaratan gets hungry it is said to open its mouth extremely wide and release a sweet smell and when the fish come near it snaps its jaws shut in a similar fashion to an alligator snapping turtle. The Zaratan has been depicted as a whale in “Sinbad the Sailor” and is also believed to be the same as the Aspidochelone or the Kraken. It’s also believed that the original city of Atlantis was on top of the turtle and that when the turtle dove it destroyed the city and that’s what happened to it. The most similar type of folklore creature would be the turtle that holds the world on its back from many origins of the world stories.
The Akkorokamui (or also known as the Ashketanne Mat which means “Long-fingered Woman) is a half-human half-octopus monster from the Ainu and Shinto folklore in Japan. It supposedly lurks in the Funka Bay in Hokkaido. It’s also been sighted in several other locations such as Taiwan and Korea for centuries.
According to the Shinto mythology, the creature is human-like and has a bright red color. John Batchelor wrote in his book “The Ainu and Their Folklore” he states that the creature is 120 meters (about 394 feet) in length and its color was “liken to the color of the reflection of the setting sun upon water”. It also has the ability to self-amputate like an octopus and regenerate limbs like one as well. This characteristic manifested itself in the belief in Shinto that Akkorokamui has healing powers. As a result of that belief among followers believe that giving offerings to Akkorokamui will heal ailments of the body, mainly those that are disfigured or have broken limbs.
The legend of how this creature became starts a long time ago in that spirits cursed a person named Rebunge who was a villager of Abuta Toyoura to see the destruction of his own village. They sent a half-spider half-human monster called Yaoshikepu to fulfill this curse. Yaoshikepu set out to destroy the village and slaughtered so many people that the streets were filled with blood. After hearing the townsfolk trembling and screaming with fear the sea kami (“kami” means divine beast in the Shinto religion) Repunkamui transformed Yaoshikepu into an octopus and sent her into the sea. After she was sent into the sea she began to grow and was consuming larger prey such as whales and attacking ships. One day Akkorokamui ate a boat full of fishermen and once in her stomach, the fishermen called out for help. After hearing these cries, Repunkamui poised Akkorokamui and caused her great pain. As she yelled in pain the fishermen managed to escaped. Akkorokamui learned how to harness the poison, however, and used it to attack her prey, including more ships with fishermen in them.
The Ainu reverence of Akkorokamui has become a permanent part of Shintoism which incorporated it as a minor kami. The self purification practices for this kami are strictly followed. One’s hands must be cleaned with water, with the exception that one’s feet must also be cleaned. While it is often presented as a benevolent kami with powers to heal and bestow knowledge it is also capable of doing harm. Also because of the nature of it being part octopus it means that it is persistent and it’s nearly impossible to escape its grasp without permission. Akkorokamui enjoys the sea and so the offerings that are the best would be fish, crab and mollusks. There are shrines dedicated with Akkorokamui and associated octopus deity which can be found throughout Japan. The most well known shrines are found in Kyoto and the island of Hokkaido.
This beautiful yet dangerous mythological creature is somewhat a cryptid in its sightings. Many would argue it is just visions of those who strongly believe in a higher power and that it is not a cryptid at all. I like to believe that there is always some truth in these types of stories. Who are we to say it isn’t so?
The fur-bearing trout, also known as the beaver trout, is a trout that possesses a thick coat of fur to keep it warm in the extremely cold northern waters it lives in. It was obviously since fish do not typically sprout fur and they are already adapt to the waters they live in.
According to the legend, it was first encountered by Europeans who settled in Canada and talked about many furred animals and fish in the lands and was asked to specify the fur fish and so it became to be the fur bearing fish. Now they are many mounted up on walls all through the Great Lakes of North America as a little tribute to that. There are some cases where fish will seem to have fur, but that due to a disease called saprolegnia which causes what looks like little tufts of fur.
Ah, yes. Everyone knows Champ. Or Champy. This lovely name is given to the creature that is living in Lake Champlain, which is shared by New York and Vermont with a bit of it going into Quebec, Canada. There are been over 300 sightings of Champ with some more being sighted today. Legends of the creature date back to the Native American tribes that once lived in those regions. Both the Iroquois and the Abenaki spoke of the creature, the Abenaki called it the “Tatoskok”.
The founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain was claimed to be the first European to spot the creature in 1609, however, the legend dates back actually to a quote that was fake published in the Summer 1970 issue of “Vermont Life” and in the article it states that Champlain documented seeing a “20-foot serpent thick as a barrel, and with a head like a horse” when in reality he did describe a creature of decent size but it most likely was a gar.
There have also been reports of a “Captain Crum” making a sighting of an enormous serpentine monster which he estimated to be about 187 feet long and was possibly 200 yards away from him. Despite the distance, he says he saw it being followed by two large sturgeons and a billfish. The creature had three teeth and eyes the color of peeled onions. It also had a belt of red around its neck and a white star on its forehead.
In 1883, Sheriff Nathan H. Mooney claimed that he saw a serpent about “20 rods” from where he was standing on the shore and said he was so close that he could see white spots inside its mouth and it appeared to be around 25-30 feet in length. Since Mooney’s report, many others have come forward to report their sightings as well. Even today people are making claims of seeing Champ as there are dozens upon dozens of photos and videos that can be found of the elusive beast.