Saturday, April 21, 2012

Discovering new monsters

Let it be said that I love vampires, weres, shifters, fairies, angels, and all the usual creatures of the night.

Manticore, Der Naturen Bloeme manuscript
c. 1350, National Library of the Netherlands
Having said that, I learnt of a new creature while doing a copyediting job during the week and it made me realise how easy it can be to continue to put on the familiar, the comforting, and not to go outside and find new monsters to delight and enthrall.

This author had used a creature called a manticore. Here's the definition from "THE MANTIKHORAS (or Manticore) was a fabulous man-eating Persian monster with the body of a lion, the face of a man, and a spike-tipped arrow-shooting tail. The name "Manticore" was reputedly derived from a Persian word meaning "man-eater."

This author turned that beast into something more in keeping with our urban fantasy/paranormal sensibilities - the mantikhoras (as he wrote) walked the world as a beautiful woman but would turn into this beast to kill when provoked.

It was all very, very cool.

I do not doubt there are other great monsters out there to enthrall and terrify us. Please, share with me your favourites!


Helen Lowe said...

Nicole, The manticore is definitely an interesting one! When researching heraldic beasts for 'The Gathering of the Lost' I also discovered the "bonacon" -- a bull like beast with the mane of a horse and curled horns, which emitted flaming dung to deter pursuers. Definitely different! :D

Nicole Murphy said...

Flaming dung! That is just all different levels of awesome :)

Sharon said...

gotta admit, it is hard to beat flaming dung . ancient cultures sure did know how to scare each other :) can you imagine growing up with those stories?

Nicole Murphy said...

Sharon, I agree! No wonder they all seem a bit twisted to modern sensibilities :)

Kim Falconer said...

OMG Helen, flaming as in on fire? Incredible!

I like the post, Nicole!

I've been researching mythologies around melusines and other hybrid creatures of the sea. Dangerous, magical . . . sometimes beautiful and enchanting, but no mention of dung fire. That's just amazing!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Love the unusual beasts, Nicole. Manticores is something I have seen pop up, but very rarely.

Nicole Murphy said...

I think we all agree the flaming dung is a winner! :)

Kim - the melusines sound fabulous. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

Eleni - Think maticores deserve a bit more - love? :)