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Basilisk

The basilisk is a legendary serpent or dragon from classical mythology whose hissing could drive away all other serpents. Is breath and even its glance was lethal.

It is also a small crested arboreal lizard found in tropical America that is able to run on its hind legs of the genus Basiliscus.

Make me not sighted like the basilisk. ~Shakespeare

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Banshee

The mournful song of the banshee warns families that a swift death is coming to one of its members. She sings her song beneath their windows at night. Gaelic in origin.

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Bat

Bats are nocturnal creatures that rely on sonar to get around. Bats have fox-like faces and leathery wings. There are many sizes, shapes, and colors of bats. The vampire bat, which most people think of on Halloween, is a real South American bat. It survives by sucking small amounts of blood from livestock and other animals at night. It has never, drained any creature dry, nor to our knowledge ever attacked a human.

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Bloody Mary

Halloween greeting card from the early 20th century.

An all-time favorite slumber party game is to summon Bloody Mary. According to popular belief a women named Mary was killed and her face was mutilated. Her spirit unable to rest would spend eternity roaming dark places. To see Mary, you must stand in front of a mirror in a darkened room, close your eyes, say Bloody Mary “x” number of times, and when you open your eyes there she will be–bloody face and all. Some stories say that if you do see her she will try and scratch your face off.

Although there is no way off knowing if there was a real Bloody Mary many people have speculated as to who she might have been. A few ideas are Queen Mary Tudor of England (Mary I of England and daughter of Henry VIII, she murdered hundreds of Protestants in the name of Catholicism), Mary Magdalene (burned as a witch), and Mary Worth.

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Bogeyman

Goya’s “The Bogey-Man is coming” (Que viene el Coco) c.1797

The bogeyman, also known as bugbear, bugaboo, boogeyman, and booger, is an imaginary yet terrifying monster from British folklore. He hides under beds, in closets, and under the stairwell. His chief purpose is to scare children. He is mischievous and is known to pull the sheets off sleeping people on blustery winter nights and make noises in the dark.

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Cat

Cats have long been associated with witches. Partly due to their nocturnal habits, and partly due to their uncanny ability to sense emotions in people. Cats were worshiped in ancient Egypt and statues were erected in their honor. Several superstitions surround these creatures: if a black cat crosses your path, this is bad luck; however, if a white cat crosses your path this is good luck; if a cat sneezes in the bedroom, someone will be sick; if a cat sneezes in the living room, expect company.

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Centipede

Centipedes are a type of myriapod with flattened bodies and between 15 and 173 body segments. Each segment has two pairs of legs. The front pair are actually poisonous fangs. They are nocturnal predators and are usually found in tropical climates. They take their name from the Latin centi for hundred and ped for foot.

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Changeling

When fairies steal a child they leave a duplicate in its place known as changeling. The duplicate is often a simpleton.

“Such, men do changelings call,
so changed by fairies’ theft”
~Spenser

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Creature from the Black Lagoon

A classic monster immortalized in the 1954 film The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The creature was a prehistoric monster discovered in an Amazon lagoon. After his home was invaded, the creature rebelled by attacking humans. The creature fell for a female research assistant who he tried to whisk away to his underwater home.

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Cyclops

Cyclopes are ill-tempered giants with one eye in the middle of their foreheads. They were the sons of Titans, and their names were Arges, Brontes, and Steropes. They were craftsmen and are said to have lived on the island of Sicily where they assisted in the workshops of Vulcan (under Mt. Edna). However, their father feared them due to their colossal strength and locked them away in Tartarus. Zeus freed them and the Cyclopes fought with Zeus against the Titans. They forged Zeus’ thunderbolts. They are also credited with creating Pluto’s helmet of invisibility and Poseidon’s Trident.

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Demon

In modern times, demons are malignant spirits separate from the devil. Their origin is not clear although the Catholic Church describes them as fallen angles who did not return God’s love.

Demons did not always have such a negative connotation; in fact, Homer used the term “demon” interchangeably with “gods”.

Demons who spawned the Seven Deadly Sins:

Pride – Lucifer
The angel who rebelled against God and fell from Heaven.

Avarice – Mammon
Demon of riches and covetousness.

Lust – Asmodeus
Demon of lust and marital discord.

Anger -Satan
The supreme Lord of Hell and all it’s Demons.

Gluttony – Beelzebub
Satan’s second-in-command.

Envy – Leviathan
The great serpent demon of Hell and ruler of the oceans.

Sloth – Belphegor
A demon that seduces men with wealth.

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Dracula

Vlad the Impaler

In the 1800s, Bram Stoker, created the first mythical vampire, Count Dracula. It is possible that Bram Stoker recreated and elaborated the life of Romanian prince, Vlad Dracula III (DRAH-coo-lah). He was a Wallachian prince who ruled Romania from 1456 to 1462.

Dracula means “Son of the Dragon”. “Dracul” means dragon and the “a” stands for “children of.”

During the 15th century, the Turks conquered Central and Eastern Europe and headed towards Romania. As a sign to the invading Turks, Dracula would impale his enemies on spikes and thrust them high in the air. He is said to have killed over 40,000 people. This earned him the title of “Vlad the Impaler”. The invaders got the hint and backed off. It is thought he was mad and legends tell of cruelty, unimaginable torture, and horrid treatment of others. There were even rumors that he would drink the blood of his victims.

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