List of hybrid creatures in folklore

The following is a list of hybrid entities from the folklore record grouped morphologically based on their constituent species. Hybrids not found in classical mythology but developed in the context of modern pop culture are listed in a separate section. For actual hybridization in zoology, see Hybrid (biology)#In different taxa.

Partly humanEdit

Upper part humanEdit

Human-horse hybrids (centauroid)Edit

 
A Centaur fighting a man
  • Anggitay – A strictly-female creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a horse.
  • Centaur – A creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a horse.
  • Onocentaur – A creature that has the upper body of a human with the lower body of a donkey.
  • Ipotane – A human with the hindquarters of a horse.
  • Satyr – Originally an ancient Greek nature spirit with the body of a man, but the long tail and pointed ears of a horse.[1][2] From the beginning, satyrs were inextricably associated with drunkenness and ribaldry, known for their love of wine, music, and women.[1][2][3] By the Hellenistic Period, satyrs gradually began to the be depicted as men with the horns and legs of goats, likely due to conflation with Pan.[1][2] They were eventually conflated with the Roman fauns and, since roughly the second century AD, they have been indistinguishable from each other.[1][2][4]
  • Silenos - A tutor to Dionysus who is virtually identical to satyrs and normally indistinguishable, although sometimes depicted as more elderly.[3][2]

Human-goat hybridsEdit

 
Satyr men, satyr women, and satyr children.

Goat people are a class of mythological beings who physically resemble humans from the waist up, and had goat-like features usually including the hind legs of goats. They fall into various categories, such as sprites, gods, demons, and demigods.[5]

  • Faun – An ancient Roman nature spirit with the body of a man, but the legs and horns of a goat.[1][2] Originally they differed from the Greek satyrs because they were less frequently associated with drunkenness and ribaldry and were instead seen as "shy, woodland creatures".[4] Starting in the first century BC, the Romans frequently conflated them with satyrs and, after the second century AD, the two are virtually indistinguishable.[1][2][4]
  • Glaistig – A Scottish fairy or ghost who can take the form of a goat-human hybrid.[6][7]
  • Pan – The god of the wild and protector of shepherds, who has the body of a man, but the legs and horns of a goat. He is often heard playing a flute.
  • Krampus — A Germanic mythical figure of obscure origin. It is often depicted with the legs and horns of a goat, the body of a man, and animalistic facial features.

Human-bird hybridsEdit

 
A medieval depiction of a harpy as a bird-woman
  • Alkonost – A creature from Russian folklore with the head of a woman with the body of a bird, said to make beautiful sounds that make anyone who hears them forget all that they know and not want anything more ever again.
  • Gamayun – A Russian creature portrayed with the head of a woman and the body of a bird.
  • Inmyeonjo – A human face with bird body creature in ancient Korean mythology.
  • Harpy – A half-bird, half-woman creature of Greek mythology, portrayed sometimes as a woman with bird wings and legs.
  • Kinnara – Half-human, half-bird in later Indian mythology.
  • Lamia – Woman with duck feet.
  • Lilitu – A woman with bird legs (and sometimes wings) found in Mesopotamian mythology.
  • Siren – Half-bird, half-woman creature of Greek mythology, who lured sailors to their deaths with their singing voices.
  • Sirin – Half-bird, half-human creature with the head and chest of a woman from Russian folklore. Its bird half is generally that of an owl's body.
  • Uchek Langmeidong - A half-woman and half-hornbill creature in Manipuri folklore, depicted as a girl who was turned into a bird to escape from her stepmother's torture in the absence of her father.

Human-fish hybridsEdit

  • Atargatis – Human face, fish body.
  • Ichthyocentaurs – Creatures that have the torsos of a man or woman, the front legs of a horse, and the tails of a fish.
  • Jengu – A water spirit
  • Matsya – An avatar of Lord Vishnu that is half-man half-fish.
  • Mermaid/Merman – A race of half-human, half-fish creatures.
  • Sirena – A mermaid from Philippine folklore.
  • Siyokoy – Mermen with scaled bodies from Philippine folklore. It is the male counterpart of the Sirena.
  • Triton - A Greek God and the son of Poseidon who has the same description as the Merman. Some depictions have him with two fish tails.

Human-snake hybridsEdit

 
A nure-onna as depicted in Sawaki Suushi's Hyakkai-Zukan
  • Draconope (snake-feet) – "Snake-feet are large and powerful serpents, with faces very like those of human maidens and necks ending in serpent bodies" as described by Vincent of Beauvais.[8]
  • Echidna – A half-woman and half-snake monster that lives inside a cave.
  • Fu Xi – A god said to have been made by Nu Wa.
  • Ketu – An Asura who has the lower parts of a snake and said to have four arms.
  • Lamia – Like a mermaid but with the lower body like that of a snake and is usually female.
  • Nāga – A term referring to human/snake mixes of all kinds.
  • Nü Wa – A woman with the lower body of a serpent in Chinese folklore.
  • Nure-onna – A creature with the head of a woman and body of a snake.
  • Tlanchana – An aquatic deity that is part woman and part snake.
  • Zhuyin – A creature with the face of a man and the body of a snake.

Other hybridsEdit

  • Adlet – A human with dog legs.
  • Bes – An Egyptian god with the hindquarters of a lion.
  • Keibu Keioiba - A tiger-headed human in Manipuri folklore.
  • Kurma – Upper-half human, lower half tortoise.
  • Kusarikku – A demon with the head, arms, and torso of a human and the ears, horns, and hindquarters of a bovine.
  • Nandi – Some Puranas describe Nandi or Nandikeshvara as bull-faced, with a human body that resembles that of Shiva in proportion and aspect.
  • Penghou – A creature with the face of a man and the body of a dog.
  • Scorpion Man – Half-man half-scorpion.

Human-headed, complex body (often with parts from multiple animals)Edit

 
Assyrian lamassu dated 721, BCE Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago.
  • Avatea – A Mangaian god that has the right half of a man and the left half of a fish.
  • Bai Ze – The descriptions vary for this beast.
  • Buraq – A creature from Arabic iconography that has the head of a man and the body of a winged horse.
  • Hatuibwari – A dragon-like creature with the head of a human with four eyes, the body of a serpent, and the wings of a bat.
  • Kamadhenu – A bovine creature with the head of a human, the body of a cow, the wings of a bird, and the tail of a peacock.
  • Kusarikku – A demon with the head, arms, and torso of a human and the ears, horns, and hindquarters of a bovine.
  • Manticore – A Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human face with three rows of teeth, sometimes bat-like wings, and a trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot venomous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims.
  • Meduza – A sea creature from Russian folklore with the head of a maiden and the body of a striped beast, having a dragon tail with a snake's mouth and elephant legs with the same snake mouths.
  • Sphinx – A creature with the head of a human, the body of a lion, and occasional wings of a bird.
  • Shedu – A deity that is often depicted with a human head, a bull's body or lion's body, and a bird's wings.

Human with animal headEdit

 
Ganesha, with Elephant's head
 
Horus, with Falcon's head

Human with added animal partsEdit

 
Horns of a goat and a ram, goat's fur and ears, nose and canines of a pig, a typical depiction of the devil in Christian art. The goat, ram and pig are consistently associated with the Devil.[9] Detail of a 16th-century painting by Jacob de Backer in the National Museum in Warsaw.
  • Winged
    • Angel – Humanoid creatures who are generally depicted with bird-like wings. In Abrahamic mythology and Zoroastrianism mythology, angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as messengers between God and humans.
    • Drakaina – A female species from Greek mythology that is draconian in nature, primarily depicted as a woman with dragon features.
    • Fairy – A humanoid with insect-like wings.
    • Mothman – A humanoid moth.
    • Seraph – An elite angel with multiple wings.
    • Winged genie – A genie with bird wings.
  • Legs
    • Anansi - A West African god, also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy. In the Americas he is known as Nancy, Aunt Nancy and Sis' Nancy. Anansi is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. He is also one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. Anansi is depicted in many different ways: sometimes he looks like an ordinary spider, sometimes he is a spider wearing clothes or with a human face, and sometimes he looks much more like a human with spider elements, such as eight legs.
  • Horned
    • Hathor – An Egyptian goddess with cow horns.
    • Horned God – A god with horns.
    • Bat – An Egyptian goddess with the horns and ears of a cow.
  • Snake-haired
    • Gorgon – Each of them has snakes in place of their hair; sometimes also depicted with a snake-like lower body.

Part animal, part human (transitioning between the two)Edit

 
Garuda carrying his master Vishnu. Garuda has an eagle's head, wings and legs
  • Selkie – A creature that a seal becomes a human by shedding its skin on land.
  • Werecat – A creature that is part cat, part human, or switches between the two.
  • Werewolf – A creature that becomes a wolf/human-like beast during the nights of full moons, but is human otherwise.

Non-humanEdit

Quadrupeds with the wings of a birdEdit

 
Pegasus, as the horse of Muses, was put on the roof of Poznań Opera House (Max Littmann, 1910)

Two kinds of animal partsEdit

 
Detail of the embroidered dress of an Apkallu, showing a pair of 4-legged winged animals. From Nimrud, Iraq. 883-859 BCE. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul
 
'Gajasimha', Museum of Cham Sculpture

Three kinds of animal partsEdit

  • Ammit – An Egyptian creature with the head of a crocodile, the front legs of a lion, and the back legs and hindquarters of a hippopotamus.
  • Chimera – A Greek mythology creature with the head and front legs of a lion, the head and back legs of a goat, and the head of a snake for a tail. Said to be able to breathe fire from lion's mouth.
  • Jackalope – A jackrabbit with the horns of a pronghorn and sometimes the tail and/or legs of a pheasant.
  • Sharabha – A Hindu mythological creature having the head of a lion, the legs of deer, and the wings of bird.
  • Simurgh – A griffin-like creature of Persian mythology with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion.
  • Wyvern – A creature with a dragon's head and wings, a reptilian body, two legs, and a tail often ending in a diamond- or arrow-shaped tip.

Four kinds of animal partsEdit

Five or more kinds of animal partsEdit

 
Navagunjara, has limb representing eight animals, including a human hand.
  • Alebrije – A brightly colored creature from Mexican mythology.
  • Baku – A Japanese creature with the head of an elephant, the eyes of a rhinoceros, the legs of a tiger, the body of a bear and the tail of an ox.
  • Calygreyhound – A mythical creature described as having the head of a wildcat, the torso of a deer or antelope, the claws of an eagle as its forefeet, ox hooves, antlers or horns on its head, the hind legs of a lion or ox and its tail like a lion or poodle.
  • Fenghuang – A Chinese creature with the head of a golden pheasant, the body of a mandarin duck, the tail of a peacock, the legs of a crane, the mouth of a parrot and the wings of a swallow.
  • Navagunjara – A Hindu creature with the head of a rooster, neck of a peacock, back of a bull, tail as a serpent, three legs of an elephant, tiger and deer or horse, fourth limb being a human hand holding a lotus.
  • Pulgasari [ko]/Bulgasari - see Pulgasari for modern rendering
  • Pyinsarupa – A Burmese creature made of a bullock, carp, elephant, horse and the dragon.
  • Qilin – A Chinese creature with the head of a dragon, the antlers of a deer, the scales of a fish, the hooves of an ox, and the tail of a lion. The Japanese version is described as a deer-shaped dragon with the tail of an ox.
  • Wolpertinger - Descriptions vary.

Modern fictionEdit

The following hybrid creatures appear in modern fiction:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Riggs, Don (2014). "Faun and Satyr". In Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew (ed.). The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. New York City, New York and London, England: Ashgate Publishing. pp. 233–236. ISBN 978-1-4094-2563-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hansen, William F. (2004). Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 279–280. ISBN 978-0-19-530035-2.
  3. ^ a b West, Martin Litchfield (2007). Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9.
  4. ^ a b c Miles, Geoffrey (2009) [1999]. Classical Mythology in English Literature: A Critical Anthology. New York City, New York and London, England: Routledge. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-203-19483-6.
  5. ^ Nathan Robert Brown (30 September 2014). The Mythology of Grimm: The Fairy Tale and Folklore Roots of the Popular TV Show. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 195–. ISBN 978-0-698-13788-2.
  6. ^ Rev. J. G. Campbell, "Superstitions of the islands and Highlands of Scotland", Scottish Celtic Review 4 (1885), pp155, 157, noted in J. G. McKay, "The Deer-Cult and the Deer-Goddess Cult of the Ancient Caledonians" Folklore 43.2 (June 1932), pp. 144–174). p. 152.
  7. ^ Sue Weaver (16 April 2011). The Backyard Goat: An Introductory Guide to Keeping and Enjoying Pet Goats, from Feeding and Housing to Making Your Own Cheese. Storey Publishing, LLC. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-60342-699-2.
  8. ^ Franklin-Brown, Mary (2012). Reading the world : encyclopedic writing in the scholastic age. Chicago London: The University of Chicago Press. p. 258. ISBN 9780226260709.
  9. ^ Fritscher, Jack (2004). Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth. Popular Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-299-20304-2. The pig, goat, ram — all of these creatures are consistently associated with the Devil.
  10. ^ Stratton, Carol (2004). Buddhist Sculpture of Northern Thailand. Serindia Publications, Inc. ISBN 9781932476095.