Top Five Scariest Creatures of Mythology

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Mythology proves that horror knows no borders. Every culture has its monsters, and these monsters want to kill you, your loved ones, your unborn children or, at the very least, your livestock. While many monsters have dreadful appearances and less-than-charming characteristics, these Top 5 have that extra creepy something special.

5 Bakhtak

If your doctor says you have sleep apnea, she might be wrong. Perhaps the Bakhtak is lounging on your chest while you sleep, stealing your breath, paralyzing you and filling your mind with awful dreams. Why does this Persian goblin get so much satisfaction from terrorizing you in your sleep? Because that’s just the kind of thing monsters love to do.

4 Kikiyaon

This giant owl with human arms and legs is often heard in the African savanna but seldom seen. It makes two sounds, a throaty grunt and a noise like somebody choking. Some Africans believe just hearing this latter sound is fatal. The kikiyaon mutilates humans with its giant teeth and talons. Or it can kill you in your dreams. Worst of all is what it wants: your soul. Locals also call it soul cannibal.

3 Pope Lick Monster

The Pope Lick Monster, unfortunately, is not what its names suggests; then, only the pope would have to worry. As it is, many in the vicinity of Louisville, Kentucky, fear this human/goat hybrid. The romance between a farmer near Pope Lick Creek and his dearest goat did not have a happy ending. Now the offspring avenges its mother by luring victims to a railroad trestle perched high above the creek. If they don’t fall or get hit by a train in a timely manner, the goatman has a back-up plan: One big axe.

2 Mongolian Death Worm

Squirming and rolling its way across the Gobi Desert, the Mongolian Death Worm resembles a cow’s intestine. In fact, locals know it as “allghoi khorkhoi,” which means “intestine worm.” Believers claim its thick red body is a blotchy red and measures two to five feet long. What makes it scary—not just gross looking—is its alleged ability to either spray you with acid that causes instant death, or electrocute you from a distance. Some have likened it to a land electric eel. Supposedly it favors yellow, so take that into account while packing.

1 Pontianak

Malay folklore brings us the Pontianak, the unhappy spirit of a woman who died in childbirth. She returns to eat the innards and tear out the sex organs of playboys and pregnant women. If you’re in Indonesia or Malaysia and a beautiful woman with long hair and dressed in a white gown whispers in your ear—well, let’s just say we hope your estate is in order. This monster is not to be confused with the town of Pontianak in Borneo.

Teresa Bergen writes about fitness, health, yoga, travel and the arts. She is the author of "Vegetarian Asia Travel Guide" and has written hundreds of articles for publications online and off. Bergen also teaches yoga, spinning and group fitness classes, and is an ACE-certified personal trainer.

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