All posts by Sheli

Bestiary #014: Go Suck a Goat

2015-09-29-Chupacabra Color

Name(s): Chupacabra

Country of Origin: Mexico (also Pureto Rico, Central & South America)


For most of my life I thought Chupacabra’s were just as prevalent in modern myth as anything else that haunts our stories- vampires, werewolves, gingerbread-house-residing witches. But it turns out our lovely little sucker is a far more modern invention.

We’ve got a creature that ranges in size from the size of your hand to the size of a bear. It probably has large eyes? But maybe not. It definitely has pointy teeth. And it wants to eat all of your goats. Or chickens?

Descriptions start popping up in the 1950s, but there’s a Chupacarbra craze in the 1990s. In the Americas, stories grab headline after headline, as the populous is nigh-ready to confirm the existence of this cryptozoological wonder.

Tragically, the proof that has been presented of this farm fiend isn’t enough to convince scientists (pssh, what do they know) that this possibly winged creature exists.

When the veracity of such eminent news organizations like the Weekly World News is called into question, what has the world come to?


“Chupacabra”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

Neer, Katherine.  “How Chupacabras Work”.  02 November 2001. How Stuff Works. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #013: Cry Me a River of Cash

2015-09-22-Samebito Color

Name(s): Samebito

Country of Origin: Japan


What do you do when your dragon-lord kicks you out of his underwater empire? Mope around on a bridge.

Then what’s your best course of action when a nice dude stops by and offers you a one-bedroom in his pond? You take him up on it.

When your benefactor worries himself sick over a dowry for a pretty lady? CRY BLOOD.

…that turns into gems! That you give to your bud. Then he lives happily ever after and your king forgives you. Yay for everybody!


“Samebito”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

Saunders, Chas, and Peter J. Allen, eds. “SAMEBITO – the Japanese fabulous creature (Japanese mythology).”, 05 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #012: Jesus Breath

2015-09-15-Heraldic Panther Color

Name(s): Heraldic Panther

Country of Origin: England


Here for your enjoyment, the Panther Incensed. A piece of heraldry that is just the tip of the iceberg of “Fun things you didn’t know were on shields”. For as silly as a polka-dotted panther looks, this actually has a pretty bad butt origin.

So all Bestiaries are fun to read (hence…this entire project) but there are some entries that are really interesting because it’s an animal we recognize, and the description for it’s behavior is very, very, wrong. Like, did you know giraffes (or camelopardus) are just a cross between a camel and a leopard? That’s modern science at work, guys. If you lived a millennia ago. Very cutting edge.

Our panther here has a better story than just being a cross between other known creatures. In the 13th century, this here was the only creature in nature that could take down a dragon. It roars a breath or fire so sweet, that it attracts all animals to it. Save for the dragon, which is repelled by it’s natural enemy, and so plays dead in its cavern. This purple fire, and the whole deal with slaying serpents – there’s your Jesus allegory. A figure whom everyone wants to hear its roar/breath/fire? Gather round heathens, a panther Jesus is here to address you all.

Bonus fun fact from Pliny – clawed creatures rarely give birth more than once. Near birth, the children start tearing at the womb from the inside.

Gotta love bestiaries.


Badke, David. “Panther”. The Medieval Bestiary. The Medieval Bestiary. 15 Jan. 2011. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

Barber, Richard. “Panther”. Bestiary. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999. Print.

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Bestiary #011: PyschoAwesome

2015-09-08-Xolotl Color

Name(s): Xolotl

Country of Origin: Mexico (Aztec)


Psychopomps fascinate me. These are any mythological figures that help usher someone to the land of the dead. Often they have an affect on both the real world and the after life. Other popular psychopomps: Hermes, Anubis, Charon, and of course, the Grim Reaper.

Xolotl is more than just a guide to death, he’s also the twin of arguably the most important figure in Aztec mythology, Quetzalcoatl. So you could pray to Xolotl with more than just your final travel plans. He was associated with disease and fire and lightning. …I’m not sure of the connection.

So yeah, we’ve got a dog, skeleton, sometimes backwards-footed, being that put the sun to bed every night. Not too shabby. Oh, we can also thank Xolotl for fire. Good dog.


Voorburg, Rene. “Xolotl”. Aztec Calendar. Rene Voorburg. Web. 3 Jan. 2014.

“Xolotl”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 3 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #010: Dream-Time Protector

2015-03-16-Baku Color

Name(s): Baku

Country of Origin: Japan


I really like Tapirs. A lot. So this chubby wonder, based on the Malaysian Tapir, makes me a very happy person.

Called a “Baku” the explanation for this creature comes from the Japanese. It might be depicted just as a Tapir. Or like my sketch, you can have elephant tusks and tiger paws. It can also have the head of a lion and body of a horse (with paws of a tiger). Because why not mix and match our favorite animals!

Now, what’s neat about Baku’s are their helpful abilities. They maintain their rotund figure by feeding off of nightmares. So they’re a jolly animal dreamcatcher.

For fans of Pokemon, these might sound and look familiar. The dream eating abilities and appearance of first Drowzee, then later Munna come directly from Baku lore.



“Baku”. Monster Mythos: A Folklore Bestiary. Tiki Machine, LLC, 2010. Print.

“Baku”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

Rose, Carol. “Baku”. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. 2000. Print.

Thanks for stopping!







Bestiary #009: This Cat Likes the Water

2015-03-09-Underwater Panther Color

Name(s): Underwater Panther

Country of Origin: Native American (Anishinaabe Tribes)


I think Thunderbirds are pretty well known, but this underwater lurker is it’s deep-dwelling counterpart. Scaled, horned, and as agile in water as it would be on land, the underwater panther is a lord of it’s realm. Revered by tribes around the Great Lakes, there was nothing in it’s territory that didn’t fear it.

This was another entry that was inviting because of it’s simple design:


Rose, Carol. “Underwater Panther”. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. 2000. Print.

“Underwater Panther”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 9 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #008: When Rabbits Fly

2015-03-02 Wolpertinger Color

Name(s): Wolpertinger

Country of Origin: Germany


It’s like an improved jackalope!

Now unlike all of the previous entries, I don’t have any stories for the Wolpertinger. That happens every once in awhile with an entry. The monster isn’t famous for causing terror, or battling it out with a legendary hero. They’re just remembered for being…odd.

A bunny mixed with a bird mixed with a deer? Yeah, that’s odd.


“Wolpertinger”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 5 Jan. 2014.

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Bestiary #007: Heartbreaker

2015-02-15-Ammit Color

Name(s): Ammit

Country of Origin: Egypt


Who doesn’t love a classic? Ammit is waiting right next to the Egyptian equivalent to the Pearly Gates. The catch? If Anubis weighs your heart and it’s found wanting, he’ll toss it right into the gaping jaws of this beauty.

A cross between a crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus, the Egyptians wanted to make sure you were scared. Instead of just threatening your immortal soul’s mauling by a scary animal, they combined the three most powerful animals in Egypt into one being.

Gotta love ‘em.


“Ammit”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 4 Jan. 2014.


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Bestiary #006: I Didn’t Make This Up

2015-02-02-Teehooltsoodi ColorSo I started this project a year ago…and it’s starting to dawn on me how poorly I prepped some of the research.

Most of the creatures come from very specific entries in favorite bestiaries. And then there are some like….this guy…where all I did was punch something into google and draw my version of a picture I saw.

SO. This is called a ‘teehooltsoodi’ according to my notes. There’s an entry in Giants, Monsters, and Dragons, but it’s not very substantial. Basically, there’s a lot of work I need to do when digging into Native American myths.


Rose, Carol. “Teehooltsoodi”. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. 2000. Print.

Mostly this picture:

Which….oh man, I didn’t research hard at all. I’ll do better in the future.

Thanks for stopping!