Inktober Day 10: Ancient Dragon (and Gigantic) According to the ancient Han Dynasty, and from the words of the scholar Wang Fu, dragons in China contained nine distinct characteristics that came from different species. These chimera-like creatures were very powerful and had control over flight and the ability to bend the elements of weather to their will. Unlike their European relatives, Eastern Dragons were benevolent beings and over the centuries were even elevated to the status of diety. They were so revered that the people who shared their lands considered themselves to be the descendents of dragons.
Inktober Day 11: Black Hound (and Run) Over the centuries, the forests and coastlines of England have been home to a host of spectral, black hounds. They've even inspired Sherlock Holmes' escapade in The Hounds of Baskerville. The locals of East Anglia have their own black dog that they have given the name of Black Shuck. If you happen to be walking the countryside in the dead of night, beware the glow of an eye or two peering out at you from the shadows. Pay particular attention to the color of the that glow. If red, you are a most unfortunate soul. But if green, you may have a companion to guide you home on your lonely journey through the dark.
Inktober Day 15: Kitsune (and Mysterious) The Kitsune may well be one of the most favored yokai in all of Japan. As natural shapeshifters, these foxes may blend into any environment. They may take the form of that beloved orange critter or maybe even your neighbor next door. If you happen to catch a glance of one, take note of the number of its tails--the more that are present, the more powerful they are. Often kindhearted and goodwilled, Kitsune have had a long history of being close and connected to humans. Occasionally, like another wiley canine from the Americas, the Kitsune may display a mischievous or even deceitful behavior. However, if you find that you have accidently made a lover of one of these Kitsune, just know that they make excellent homemakers and spouses.
Inktober Day 12: Vampire (and Shattered) The vampire is a blood sucking creature of the undead who has its roots in many cultures around the globe. Perhaps the most popular depiction of this exploitative creature is the pale, gaunt--perhaps attractive--humanoid with sharp fangs, but it was not always described so. Older depictions of the venal vampire were rightly revolting; the outer shell mirroring the rot inside. In fact, the contemporary version of the vampire is only near 200 years old. However, the garlic-hating, cross-averting, silver-allergic, suburn-prone and reflectionless entity is the one who has captivated our imaginations and sometimes... even our fancies. Ever wonder how a creature so supposedly vile could transform over the ages into something so alluring?
Inktober Day 7: Unicorn Twins (and Shy) Unicorns are such a rare sight in the forests of Europe, who is to say what they truly look like? Often, they are depicted in contemporary fashion as a graceful horse with a magnificent horn adorning it's brow. However, if you look into the medieval depiction--which is closer to the source, you might say--they appear to be a hybrid between cloven-hooved artiodactyles and traditional equines.
Inktober Day 17: Irish Swans (and Graceful) Gods walked the hills and forests of Ireland for a long, long time. They loved, killed, rescued and even dreamed of one another. One particular dream would haunt the sleeping hours of Aengus, a god of love, youth and poetic inspiration. In his dreams, he was visited by a girl with the name of Caer. Sadly, this girl and one hundred and fifty others would become swans on the first of November every other year during Samhain--and were nearly indistinguishable from one another and chained in pairs. He could only have Caer if he could identify her in this swan form. It was said that to do so, Aengus became a swan himself, finding her immediately. They flew off into the sky, singing in delight along the way and putting anyone who heard their call to sleep for three nights and days.
Inktober Day 8: Dryad (and Crooked) A personification of nature, the dryad or wood nymph originates from Greece and typically takes the form of a beautiful maiden. Although she never has to fear of death from old age, unlike her cohorts of powerful gods and goddesses, she is not immortal. This elegant spirit will often make her home within the trunks and boughs of trees such as the olive tree, so next time you think about cutting down that twisted, old timber in your backyard, take a second look before you do.
Inktober Day 9: Banshee (and Screech) Hailing from the depths of Irish lore, the shriek of a mourning banshee may still be heard rolling off the misty hills of this green island. To hear her cry is to know that someone dear to you will soon depart this realm. In her endless, rage-fueled grief, she hovers on the boundary between the living and the dead--in essence, she is a ghost. She is often described as having blonde or red hair that shimmers as if it is on fire.
Inktober Day 14: Wendigo (and Fierce) While there might be forgiveness in your heart for some unfortunate monsters, the Wendigo should not be among them. They are the epitome of evil. The Algonquins knew these human-like creatures (or malevolent spirits) to stalk the wintry forests of North America, in the search for flesh. Much like the modern day Zombie, Wendigos were cannibals of humankind--always hunting and never satiated. Some even grew to be Giants, and with each meal they consumed, their bodies grew more, so that they could never be full. In a few traditions, it was said that any person could become a Wendigo, if only greed overcame them. By consistently taking more than your fair share from your fellow tribesmen, you could be at risk of turning as well.
Inktober Day 13: Cerberus (and Teeming) The reputation that Cerberus--multi-headed hell hound of the Greek underworld--maintains is one of savagery and horror. He is after all Hades guard-dog, keeping the souls of the dead from escaping. However born of monsters, Cerberus was also treated unjustly in his lifetime by the hero Heracles, who once captured the beast by strong-arming him, and proceeded to parade him among the people of Greece on a chain, setting children to run screaming. It was said that Cerberus eventually made his escape, finding his way back into the underworld and to the only place he could call home.
Inktober Day 6: Philosophical Goblin (and Sword) When you think of the goblins of lore, what comes to your mind? An ugly, mischievous creature whose only purpose in life is to sow chaos and trouble? A nasty sprite attacking your hero in a video game? Is it a shady critter that can be blamed for bad luck and unexplainable misfortune? Or... do you ever wonder if they've been somehow misunderstood? 🗡🍃🤔 You might find this goblin's pose to be familiar, especially if you've seen "The Thinker" statue. His attire was also inspired by traditional garb from the Phillipines, where the duende (the goblin's cousin) lives.
Inktober Day 3: Jackalope (and Poison) Would you trust eating one of these? (I might be stretching the concept, and running purely from inspiration from Miike Snow). This Jackalope is specifically of the Snowshoe Hare/Caribou genealogy and is native to the frigid wilderness near the Arctic Circle, unlike it's more common cousin of the American West.
Inktober Day 16: Camahueto (and Fat) Although cattle are not a native species to the lands of Chile, their arrival some 500 years ago with the Spaniards sparked the inspiration of the local healers, the Machi. They discovered among the cattle, a special kind of bull, one that only grew a single horn. When shattered into pieces and buried into the soil, the horn would grow new Camahuetos. Of course, you should always save a bit of that horn for yourself--mix into a brew for a special night or to heal a few wounds... But once sown, the horn grew new Camahuetos, who--once matured--would burst from the soil and carry the landside with it into the sea.
Inktober Day 4: Bakekujira (and Underwater) Misfortune will befall any region in which this ghost whale has been seen. Although the Bakekujira has been identified as baleen whale with a host of strange birds and fish in its wake, who is to say that it is the only yokai who roams the coastlines, searching for retribution in the afterlife?