Medieval Europe was a place dotted with myths and legends of fantastic creatures that we often see in movies and video games. You all know of dragons, unicorns, and griffins. But, the people of those times long gone by also knew of some other creatures that you don’t often hear about nowadays. Some of them were inspired by Christian folklore, while others had roots in pagan tales.
Often called Getulian Dogs, these animals were an extremely rare type of wild dog that lived in Europe and North Africa. Historians believe that this was a real breed of animals that went extinct centuries ago. It is said that they looked like a mix of a Samoyed and a greyhound. The people of the ancient and medieval era believed that this animal could mimic human speech and behavior. It could also dance and move like a human. Although this fuzzy-looking creature has probably existed in the past, it is highly unlikely that it could act like a character from a Disney cartoon.
A nightmarish creature of Scottish legends, Nuckelavee were undead human riders who were sitting atop horses. Both the rider and the animal were flayed alive. Black blood was coursing through their veins, and the horse had one huge eye that was burning with demon fire. The legends say that Nuckelavee’s arms were long enough to touch the ground. They would grab the victims and drag them underwater. Medieval Scots were so afraid of it, they believed that saying Nuckelavee’s name would bring great misfortune. It is said that only one person ever survived the encounter with this horrible creature.
Unlike other creatures on this list, Cynocephali continued to “live” even after the medieval era. These creatures looked like dog-headed men, and the rumors of Cynocephali were reported even in Asia and Africa. Believe it or not, people report the sightings of Cynocephali even in modern times. According to scriptures, these beings were smart, could talk like humans, and even shapeshift, which greatly differentiate them from werewolves who were not able to speak and acted like beasts. Also, Cynocephali disliked humans and were hostile towards them.
Mentioned in Ancient Greek legends, Blemmyae survived into medieval times. These creatures were a race of terrifying giants who had no heads and possessed great strength. Their faces were on their chests, and it is said that Blemmyae resented humans and were always on the lookout for them. According to the “reports,” these creatures were ugly, horrific, and dangerous. They were even able to craft and use weapons that they would use to attack the lost travelers and caravans.
First mentioned by Pliny, Monopods were a race of dwarves that had only one, giant foot. They were allegedly very fast creatures, able to cross (hop through?) large distances for a very short time. Also, Monopods were known as talented warriors who had no fear in battle. Pliny also mentioned that they were a crafty, tribal people that allegedly lived in Ethiopia. It is known that, during the day, Monopods would lie on the ground, resting in the shade of their large foot.