10 Scary Supernatural Monsters From Lore, Urban Legends, and Myths

supernatural monsters

Have you seen a ghost? If so, you’re not alone: 18% of Americans say they’ve seen one. Some supernatural phenomena are peaceful. But, hauntings and supernatural monster sightings can also disturb people. These events may be signs of spiritual shifts, or they may reflect signals put out by our psyches. Supernatural stories make sense of tragedy, strange experiences, or our own dark impulses. What are the scariest supernatural monsters from lore and legend? And what can they tell us about ourselves?

1. Leviathan

Mythology is full of monstrous angels and demons. Leviathan is one of the most powerful.

Leviathan is a mythical monster in Christianity, Judaism, and Gnosticism. It’s a demon in the shape of a sea-serpent. 

It is unbeatable. Ultimately, the Leviathan will be destroyed at the end of the world, and righteous people will eat its flesh. 

In some myths, the Leviathan’s tail is in its mouth. This symbolizes the underlying unity of the universe. 

2. The Sphinx

The Sphinx is a monster in Greek and Egyptian mythology. She has the head of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bird on her back. 

In myth, she protects the entrance to an ancient city. She asks travelers a riddle that tests their wisdom. If the traveler can’t answer, she devours them. 

The Sphinx became a symbol in many ancient cultures. Her riddles have literal answers, but they also have symbolic meanings. She is a monster about our fears of nature, sex, and the unknown. 

3. Ammit

Ammit is the most destructive monster in Egyptian mythology. She was considered both a demoness and a goddess. Ammit has the head of a crocodile, and a body that’s part-hippo, part-lion. 

The Book of the Dead describes Ammit devouring hearts. This is an ancient book of ritual magic in Egyptian mythology

Ammit only ate hearts of people judged to be against Ma’at after they’ve died. Then, the remaining soul was condemned to eternal restlessness. This restlessness is a synecdoche for the greatest fears of death, and wasted life.  

4. Mercy Brown

People have feared vampires for millennia. Vampires symbolize mysterious, deadly forces: literal blood-suckers or symbolic soul-suckers. One historical figure is the source of an old vampire legend and a ghost story.

Mercy Brown died of tuberculosis in her adolescence, in the late 19th century. So did her whole family. She lived and died in Exeter, Rhode Island.

Rumors spread that she wasn’t dead at all. The people of Exeter dug up her body and found it hadn’t decayed.

They feared she was a vampire, so they cut out her heart and burned it. To this day, some say Mercy Brown’s ghost haunts the people of Exeter. 

The real-life story of Mercy Brown, accused vampire, inspired many works of fiction. This includes the character Lucy Westenra in the classic novel Dracula. Brown wasn’t a vampire: the real monster in her story was fear itself. 

5. Zombi

Contemporary zombie stories have roots in ancient “Zombi” myths from Haiti. While TV zombies are often caused by plagues, a Zombi is created by voodoo magic. They are dead people who have been resurrected but lost their souls in the process. 

Voodoo magicians are said to manipulate zombi. As unwilling servants to dark forces, we can see why zombi legends blend into slave narratives. Some zombi do ghost-like things, sneaking in and painting or moving furniture in the dead of night. 

A zombi is a mere shadow of a living person. It isn’t truly in heaven and hell, nor another afterlife; nor is it fully on earth. It is a tragic figure. 

6. Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is a mythical character–and sometimes a monster–in Slavic folklore. She lives in a house that walks with tall chicken legs.

She’s a spindly witch with a long, bone-like nose. She learns things, and people, by scent. 

In some myths, there are three Baba Yagas, all sisters. Baba Yagas can be child-eating antagonists. Yet, they help protagonists in other stories.

Baba Yaga represents our fear of the intuitive and our fear of hunger. These can be our own hunger or the hungry urges of our own antagonists. 

7. Sirens

Sirens were beautiful, winged women who tormented sailors. In Greek mythology, sirens perched on rocks at sea wearing crystal jewelry. They sang beautiful songs that lured seamen in, causing them to wreck their ships on the rocks. 

In some tellings, the Sirens are friends of Persephone, the queen of Hades. They are protected by Persephone’s mother, Demeter.

Sirens have come to symbolize men’s fear of female sexuality and desire. They also represent many facets of feminine power: music, beauty, companionship, and lust.   

8. Nábrók Witch 

Nábrók is an ancient Icelandic spell cultivated by a witch. The spellcaster sews pants out of a corpse’s skin. The spell only works if the dead person bequeathed their body and skin to the witch before they die.

Dark legends say an Nábrók Witch can create an endless supply of wealth with this act. Histories of Scandinavian witchcraft talk about this macabre creation. Yet, it’s unclear whether any ancient Icelandic witches actually created necropants.  

9. Enfield Poltergeist

Witnesses say the Enfield Poltergeist haunted a council house in Enfield, London, England. The poltergeist stirred up supernatural activity in the house from 1977 to 1979. 

Peggy Hodgeson, a single mom, lived in the house at the time. She and her two daughters claimed to hear knocking and banging on the walls, moving furniture, and disembodied voices. 

It was one of the most widely-reported hauntings in that era. The Enfield Poltergeist has affected our understanding of ghosts and hauntings to this day. 

10. Mal de Ojo (Evil Eye)

Mal de Ojo is an evil spirit. It is the most famous monster, and it appears in mythologies all over the world. In English, we call it The Evil Eye.

This spirit is draining. Envious people are said to cast Mal de Ojo as an act of malicious witchcraft.

The Evil Eye drains cursed people’s energy. When a witch sics the Evil Eye spirit on someone they envy, the spirit turns that person’s good luck into bad.

Mal de Ojo is a spiritual version of the green-eyed monster. Fortunately, you can defend yourself from this spirit, and any other curse.  

Find Meaning in Supernatural Monsters

Your supernatural monsters and experiences may tell you something powerful. Mythical stories can draw hidden depths out of our spirits. 

Psychics can help you understand your experiences. Talk to a tarot reader to learn from the past and prepare for the future. Or, explore the wide variety of what psychics can offer with our directory. 

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