Asia has interesting cultures and history, with some stories that you’d yearn to hear again and again. Among the most remarkable things in the Asian culture are legendary creatures, some associated with terrifying beliefs while others are linked with inspirational stories. Here are some of the most well-known Asian legendary creatures:
- Mongolian Death Worm
Mongolian Death Worm aka intestine worm or Olgoi-Khorkhoi is a creature that looks like the intestines of a cow, but it is red. Its length ranges from two to five feet and it’s believed to spit acid at any person who provokes it, including coming near it or touching near it.
The most scaring thing about it is that if it spits on you, you’ll die instantly. The creature allegedly lives in the Gobi desert and feeds on rodents. Considering that it looks like a worm, you’d expect Mongolian Death worm to be cold-blooded, but it is a warm-blooded creature. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have any noticeable eyes, nose, or a mouth-creepy, right?
Kappa also known as kawatora or suiko is a vampirelike lecherous amphibious demon creature that’s lives in the Japanese rivers and waterways. Although it looks like a turtle because of its turtle shell, this creature it larger. Sometimes it is seen with as scaly skin as a fish and at times with fur.
Interestingly, despite having these amphibian features, Kappa can walk like a person and there’s a depression its skull where it stores water. It gets its power from the water stored in the skull’s depression. This creature is said to come out of the water occasionally to lure kids to get into the river and if they fall into the trap, it eats them. The story is told to kids to make them fear approaching rivers and waterways. There’s also a mythical belief that its fart repels children.
Almasty looks like a human being because it has two arms and two legs. However, its body is covered with hair like that of a bear. The hair is dark-pretty scary. Another thing that differentiates it from humans is its inability to speak. It only mumbles or bellows.
It fears dogs but not people. Almastys are found at the Caucasus Mountains in central Asia as well as the Altai Mountains in western Mongolia. A live Almasty is said to have been sighted in the Caucasus in the 1870s, but science doesn’t s recognize or catalog it.
- Chinese Dragon
The history of Chinese Dragons (East Asian Dragons) is believed to date back to about 5th millennium BC. These creatures are depicted in different forms including as turtles, fish or snakes with four legs.
A Chinese dragon is used in East Asian culture as a symbol of power, fortune, and strength. In some situations, the Chinese dragons are linked to elemental powers such as control over floods, hurricanes, rain as well as water.
Pixiu is another Chinese mythical hybrid creature. It looks like a strong, winged lion and is considered a great protector of Feng Shui practitioners. It is believed that Pixiu yearns for the smell of gold and silver and so, has the capability of bringing money and gold to its master using its mouth. As in feng shui, the statues of Pixiu are mostly erected to attract wealth. Feng Shui practitioners also believe that this creature can ward off evil spirits.
Dokkaebi (Korean goblins) are Korean mythology legendary creatures that are believed to be nature deities or spirits with strange powers. Dokkaebi love mischief and they are said to play cruel tricks on bad people and also have the ability to reward good people by giving them wealth and other forms of blessings. Also, these creatures are believed to have a special hat known as dokkaebi gamut which if you wear it, you get the ability to become invisible.
Dokkaebis don’t have a defined look; they can transform into various forms including old inanimate objects, glimmering light and tall blue flames. It’s said that they are extremely good wrestlers who are rarely beaten unless their right side is broken.
A nue is a legendary creature featured in Japanese folklore. The creature is said to have the head like that of a monkey while its body is like that of a raccoon dog and the legs are of a tiger. Its tail resembles a snake. However, a nue can change into a black cloud, a form that enables it to fly. It’s also called Japanese chimera, thanks to its appearance. The sight of this creature is feared by the Japanese as it is believed to bring misfortunes such as diseases.
The misfortune-bringing ability of nue is featured in The Tale of the Heike where the Emperor of Japan known as Emperor Konoe fell sick allegedly because of the presence of Nue which was in the form of a dark cloud on the roof of the palace. Fortunately, the creature was killed by the samurai Minamoto no Yorimasa and its body was sunk in the Sea of Japan. The locals later buried the corpse as a result of fear for a possible curse. A mound which is seen at a certain bay in the sea is believed to be its grave.
- Phaya Naga
The Phaya Naga is a Laotian mythical serpent-like creature which is believed to live in the Mekong River or estuaries. It’s seen as a benign deity that offers supernatural protection to the Vientiane city. Those who believe in the existence and powers of this creature claim that it produces Naga Fireballs, “ghost lights” that are said to be seen every year on the Mekong River. However, scientists claim that these lights are as a result of the fermentation that occurs beneath the surface of the river.
Common descriptions of the appearance of Phaya Naga depict the creatures as elongated fish with red crests.
The Manticore is believed to be a creature with a human head, a lion’s body and a tail with venomous spines which resemble porcupine quills. However, other descriptions portray the tail as like that of a scorpion. Ancient writers used the manticore to symbolize the devil, considering that it is a man-eater with such horrifying features.
These are some of the most famous legendary creatures in Asian cultures.