Have any of us really thought about the Megalodon? Like, really think about it? Something that large and that intimidating once lived on the planet where it needed to live, eat, and breed. Meaning there was more than one! That's insane to truly comprehend, but the scarier thing is there were once other creatures outside our imaginations that once roamed, or still roam, the Earth.
Reddit user, u/WanderingRoninXIII, wanted scientists to give us nightmares when they asked:
[SERIOUS] Historians, marine biologists, biologists and cryptozoologists of Reddit: As far as legends in history go, what legendary creature do you believe may have been real and probably existed in some way, or what supposedly legendary person in history was more than likely real?
So, They're Not Hanging Out In The Matterhorn?Giphy
The Wendigo probably existed, just not as a creature.
People in the far north who survived a brutal winter by eating a family member had a psychological escape hatch for the guilt and horror by convincing themselves they were transforming into a ravenous, murderous beast. They'd continue killing and eating in a hysteric delusion that they had no control over it.
Wendigo hunters would then have to come and kill them and perform a shamanic ritual to assure the rest of the tribe that the taint wouldn't spread.
Its actually an incredibly fascinating study into culturally specific mental illness. The lengths the mind will go to in order to avoid dealing with a traumatic event are so extraordinary that in that culture they would actually continue to murder and cannibalize fellow tribe members under the delusion they had transformed into a monster.
Consider Me "Team Edward"
There are many diseases that the origin of the 'Vampire/Vampyr' myth can be traced back to however I think rabies fits it the most.
In the olden days, people would tie those suspected of it to trees, in about three days time the disease would drastically change them. Extreme light sensitivity, paleness, aggression, excessive drooling. They could/would try to attack you and have bouts of either extreme slow fatigue or even adrenaline.
Also, Rabies can be passed from person to person through a bite, not just an infected animal.
Just Another Reason To Fear BirdsGiphy
The Māori people of New Zealand have long told stories of the Pouakai, a monstrous bird that was big enough to hunt and eat humans.
Many believe that these stories are referring to the Haast's Eagle. It was the largest species of eagle ever to have lived on Earth, with weights of around 30 lbs and wingspans almost reaching 10 feet. It lived on New Zealand's South Island and primarily hunted the flightless moa bird, which weighed around 500 lbs.
Given the large size of its main prey, it's likely that the eagle may have also targeted lone humans as well.
Interestingly enough, the Haast's eagle went extinct around the year 1400, not long after the Māori arrived in New Zealand. It's thought that its extinction can be attributed to habitat destruction combined with the extinction of the moa due to hunting by the Māori.
Aim For The Eye
The cyclopes of Greek mythology.
Go Google up an elephant skull. There's this huge hole right in the middle of it looking to all the world like a single eye.
Now add this to the knowledge that the Cretan dwarf mammoth left subfossil bones on Crete easily discoverable, was one metre at the shoulder, and could be more or less assembled into a giant humanoid.
It Primarily Fights Giant Sharks
The Luska, giant octopus.
It supposedly lives in the blue holes of the coast of Florida and the amount of food and temperature of water both support the theory of an octopus living long enough to grow way larger than we expect based on our current records
Keep Your Dogs IndoorsGiphy
It has to be some poor sick animal with mange. Mange is highly contagious so if a pack of coyotes or wild dogs got it they would all have a weird a-- appearance and attack other animals out of hunger.
The kraken probably existed.
It could just be a colossal squid, but those sailors had to have seen something.
A Trick Of The Eye
I regularly get to see pods of humpback whales at the beach where I surf. Most of the time, all you see is their backs as they partially surface from the water. Occasionally, one of them breaches mouth-first, so you see a giant mouth emerge from the water. Other times, you see a giant tail emerge.
If you were watching them and had no idea what a whale was, or that you were looking at multiple of them, I could easily imagine mistaking multiple whale backs as the coils of a colossal snake. I strongly suspect that this is the origin of legends of sea serpents.
Don't Drink Their BloodGiphy
There's a small population of albino deer in my area and they are beautiful.
Definitely ethereal looking and totally match the European description of a unicorn.
They Knew About Dinosaurs??
Archaeologist here. There's a really interesting ancient Egyptian story called the Shipwrecked Sailor in which a man is washed ashore a beautiful island and is apprehended briefly by an enormous serpent. In the story, the serpent tells him that there used to be hundreds of others like him but a falling star wiped them all out.
I think it's unlikely that the Egyptians had knowledge of dinosaurs, but there's a site called Wadi Hitan that has thousands of ancient whale skeletons from the Eocene. I think it's possible they could have seen these skeletons and mistaken them for giant snakes. Herodotus actually tells similar tales of giant flying snakes in Egypt and I suppose if you saw these skeletons but no trails you might think they were capable of flight.