Every culture throughout history has had their own mythical fantasy creatures that are the subjects of both wondering and terror. From the Banshee of Ireland to China’s Pan Gu, the Yara-ma-yha-who of Australia to Africa’s Spider-woman, there are creatures of fantasy from all over the world. Here we have gathered a list of the best known of these creatures and how they relate to their respective cultures. You’ll learn about the origins and abilities of each of these creatures, as well as their cultural myths and significance.
The Adaro is half human, like a merman. Adaro’s are said travel to earth by rainbows from their home in the sun. Adaro are said to travel the oceans on waterspouts. Unlike merfolk, adaro are learned creatures.
Angels in fantasy and literature are always portrayed as a beautiful warrior or one of God’s warriors. A guardian angel can be seen as the spiritual counterpart of the secular medieval knight, with some overlap with the champion.
You can learn more about angels in our article about angels.
Balor is a half-demon, half-man creature of Irish mythology.
Banshee is a spirit of Irish and Scots Gaelic mythology that sounds the death knell.
Bruxa is a half-woman, half-snake creature of Dutch mythology.
Basilisk is a creature of Greek mythology that is said to have hatched from an egg laid by a serpent or toad.
Bigfoot is an apelike creature of North American folklore that is also called Sasquatch.
Birdmen are mythical creatures that have the body and wings of a bird and the head of a human.
Bunyip is an Australian mythological creature in the form of a water beast.
Boogeyman is a creature of American folklore in the form of a malevolent ghost.
Bugbears are said to be half-man, half-beast creatures of medieval English and Scottish folklore.
Baku are said to be eating machines that live off the dreams of sleeping people.
Buraq (or Borak) are magical horse-like animals that live in Heaven and sleep at night, their hooves, not touching the earth.
Brownies are creatures of the forest and they come out of the forest at night to play with young children. They are almost always female, young and beautiful. They wear a variety of colors, both bright and dark ones, as well as some accessories such as flowers in their hair. Brownies love all kinds of nature, especially flowers, so they weave them into baskets that will be given to children as gifts.
Calygreyhound is a Calydus, a hybrid creature of the various types of mythical fantasy creatures. A Calygreyhound has the body of a the claws of an eagle.
Clymene is a beautiful creature who was brought to earth by Zeus.
The Chupacabra is a mysterious creature that comes from Central and South America.
Crocotta is the offspring of a wolf and a dog.
Camelota is a mythical creature of Greek mythology that resembles a camel with human legs.
A centaur is an animal of Greek mythology that has the body of a human and the head and torso of a horse.
Cephalopods are said to be intelligent creatures that live in the deep ocean and that have a tentacled shell.
Cerberus is a three-headed dog-like creature of Greek mythology that guards the gates of the underworld.
A chimera is a creature of Greek mythology that has a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a serpent for a tail.
Cthulhu is an evil creature from the writings of H. P. Lovecraft.
A Cockatrice is a creature of Greek mythology from the writings of Homer.
A Cowman is a mythical creature that has the body and horns of a cow, and the head of a man.
Cyclops are creatures of Greek mythology that have one eye in their center of their forehead.
Daedra are creatures of “The Elder Scrolls” fictional universe.
Daemonettes are creatures of the Warhammer 40,000 fictional universe.
A demon is an evil entity or being that is said to be a fallen angel or other celestial being.
Dragons are mythical creatures of Chinese, European and Asian mythology. The word dragon comes from the Latin word “draco” which means “serpent”. Dragons are depicted as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs and two wings. They are usually colored red, green, blue or black. Dragons breathe fire and have great powers.
You can learn more about dragons in our dragon guide.
Dryads are nature spirits in Greek mythology. This creature can also be considered a ghost or spirit.
Dullahans are creatures of English folklore in the form of a horse that is partly a human. These creatures serve as mounts for witches. This creature can also be considered a ghost or spirit.
Dire Wolf is a dog-like mythical creature of North America. Dire Wolfs are similar to a large wolf, but they are twice as large as a normal wolf.
A Draugr is an undead creature of Scandinavian mythology. The Draugr is said to be able to leave their graves at will, with these bodies being called “Nithings”. The Draugar as a whole are described as corpse-like, and are thought to be the spirits of dead Vikings who vex other people until they themselves can rest in peace.
Doppelganger / Doppelgänger
Doppelganger is a creature of Asian mythology that is a sort of double. This creature can also be considered a ghost or spirit.
Drows are creatures of the Dungeons and Dragons fictional universe. These creatures are described as dark elves.
Duendes are creatures of Spanish folklore that are said to be mischievous house spirits.
Dwarves are creatures of the Dungeons and Dragons fictional universe. These creatures are described as short with pointy ears and covered in dark hair.
Echidna is a creature from Greek mythology that can be considered a snake or a sea monster. This creature has also been known as a fawn or goat.
Eft are said to be half-snake, half-human creatures that live in the depths of the ocean.
An eidolon is a temporary guardian spirit in Zoroastrianism and other religions.
Elves are creatures in the Dungeons and Dragons, fictional universe. These creatures are described as human-like in appearance with pointed ears. Elven communities live in natural surroundings and have a strong connection to nature.
You can learn more about elves in our beginners guide to elves.
Fairies are creatures in folk lore and the Dungeons & Dragons fictional universe. These creatures are said to be beautiful and live in forests throughout the world.
You can learn more about fairies in our beginners guide to fairies.
A falling man is a ghost from English folklore that is said to have died by falling from a great height. This creature proceeds to haunt the location of its death.
Fauns are creatures of Roman mythology that are part goat and part human. They are also known as satyrs.
Firebird is a mythical creature that is say to live in deserts. It is supposed to be a creature of fire that has the head of a bird and the body of a human.
A flesh-eating plant is a mythical plant with the ability to eat human flesh. These plants are also known as “death trees.” There are many different types of mythical plants in different cultures.
Genies are mythical creatures of Arabian mythology. They are said to be intelligent, good in battle, and have the ability to grant three wishes to humans.
Ghouls are depicted in Japanese folklore and myths as pale, humanoid creatures with large eyes, a long neck, and pointed ears. They are also known as “mummy-men,” “gaki,” and “horo.” The ghouls are said to be animated corpses who live secretly amongst humans. They have the ability to overcome their bodies’ decay over time.
Giants are creatures in the Dungeons and Dragons fictional universe. These creatures are said to be very large and have the strength of twenty men.
Ginny Greenteeth is a creature of English folklore that lives in rivers. This creature supposedly has a snaggletooth to catch its prey.
A gnome is mythical creature of European folklore that is said to live underground or in trees. It is also said that gnomes are able to help and sometimes harm humans.
Goblins are ugly and grotesque creatures from European folklore that are said to be mischievous and spiteful.
Griffin is a creature with the head, wings, and front legs of an eagle and the body of a lion. These creatures are from Greek mythology.
Guivre is a creature of French folklore that resembles both a snake and a dragon. It has the ability to poison its victims, but people can avoid this by seeing its reflection in water or similar surface before going near it.
A golem is a magically animated humanoid creature from Jewish folklore. It is typically an anthropomorphic being who can be either good or bad, depending on its creation.
Gorgons are creatures in Greek mythology that are said to look like attractive women who can change their faces into a horrible mask. It is said that the gorgons kill their victims by looking at them with their eyes.
A gremlin is a creature of medieval English folklore that causes problems for humans and machines. They are said to be mischievous and are described to have a short stature, and pointy ears.
Grendel is “Very terrible to look upon.” In Beowulf , Grendel is the monster that is terrorizing a great kingdom.
Grimm (Nature Spirit)
Grimm are creatures of German mythology that resemble a human and have blue eyes. This creature can also be considered a ghost or spirit.
Halflings are creatures from the Dungeons and Dragons fictional universe. These creatures are said to be short with a large nose and ears they use to listen for danger. They are good-natured and peaceful people, but they do not normally associate with other races.
A harpy is a creature of Greek mythology in the form of a woman with the body, head, and wings of an eagle.
Hamadryads are tree spirits from Greek mythology. They are usually considered to be the spirit of the tree that they inhabit.
A hippogrif is a creature of Greek mythology in the form of a griffin and a horse.
Hobgoblins are creatures of European folklore in the form of a goblin with a human appearance. These creatures are said to be pugnacious and lazy.
Hodags are creatures from American folklore in the form of a creature with the head of an ox, the body of a badger, and long claws.
A Hyrkanian Wolf is a creature of the fictional universe of the “Chronicles of Narnia”.
A hydra is a creature from Greek mythology that resembles many heads and snakes for its body. This monster was said to live near water and would often scare travelers who passed by its lair.
Imps are mythical creatures, usually servants of evil, but can be good if they are used correctly. They range from small magical ball of magic to a human-size being with magical powers. In most legends, Imps appear in human form and have the same kinds of abilities as any other humans do.
Kelpie is a water-spirit that is said to take the form of a horse.
Kobolds are creatures of European folklore that are said to look like short, ugly people. They are also known as gnomes.
Krakens are creatures from Norse mythology in the form of a giant, monster sea creature with many tentacles.
A leprechaun is a creature from Irish folklore that is said to be a solitary, human-like creature with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Lizardmen are mythical creatures of the “Dungeons & Dragons” fictional universe. These creatures live in tropical or desert areas and are said to be tall with a tail, clawed feet, and scaly skin.
Loch Ness Monster
“Nessie” is the name of the Loch Ness monster. This creature is said to live in Loch Ness in Scotland.
A manticore is a creature from Greek mythology. This creature looks like a lion-like monster with the head of a human, the tail of a lion, and the body of a goat.
Mara is a mythical creature of nordic mythology that is said to be the personification of melancholy.
Medusa is a creature from Greek mythology that has snakes for hair and can turn anyone who looks at her into stone.
Merfolk is a creature of the “Dungeons & Dragons” fictional universe. These creatures are said have a human-like upper half and the tail of a fish.
Mermaids are creatures of European folklore that are said to be half woman and half fish.
A merman is a creature of Greek mythology that has a man-like upper half and the body of a fish.
Minotaurs are creatures of Greek mythology that look like a man with a bull’s head. These creatures were usually the result of crossbreeding between humans and bulls.
A naga is a creature from Asian folklore in the form of a large serpent with a human-like head. These creatures are also referred to as serpents or dragons.
Nymphs are creatures of Greek mythology that are said to be daughters of Zeus. These creatures were usually connected to a particular place or area such as water, mountains, etc. Nymphs are said to be beautiful and very sensual.
Onis are creatures from Japanese folklore that are said to have horns, sharp claws, and a single eye.
Ogres are creatures of European mythology. These monsters were said to be tall, slow, and strong with the ability to throw boulders. Ogres love to eat humans, and they often attack unsuspecting travelers.
Orcs are creatures of the “Dungeons & Dragons” fictional universe. These creatures are said to have green skin, tusks, and pointed ears. Orcs have been described as “barbaric, savage and violent” and are depicted as living in subterranean caves or underground lairs with their communities trapped by a magical barrier.
Orcs share many common characteristics with other fictional dark races, such as strength, intelligence and a love of treasure.
Ouphes are creatures of Native American folklore that resemble human-like women with a pointed nose and a protruding chin.
Owlmen are creatures of English folklore that are said to live in caves and lairs with their families.
Pegasus is a creature of Greek mythology that looks like a winged horse. These creatures are also referred to as “winged horses” but that does not capture the beauty of these creatures.
A phoenix is a mythical creature of Greek mythology that is said to be the reincarnation of an incredibly beautiful and noble woman.
A pixie is a fairy creature of English folklore. Pixies are said to be mischievous and have magic powers that they use on people for their entertainment. Pixies love to play tricks on people and to make mischief.
A pooka is a creature from Celtic folklore that is said to be an animal or human-formed fairy with a donkey’s body and legs, a goat’s head, and an owl’s wings.
Ratmen are creatures of European folklore that are said to be tall, slender, and with long claws. Their skins are said to be dry and cracked and their faces are described as being misshapen.
A salamander is a creature of European folklore in the form of a large, lizard-like creature. What is special with salamanders is that they are not a fire-based creature, but they are said to be covered in flames.
A satyr is a creature of Greek mythology that looks like a large man with ears and horns. These creatures are also known as fauns.
A sasquatch is a creature from American folklore that is said to be a large, hairy, ape-like creature.
Scorpion-Men are creatures from Mesopotamian mythology in the form of a warrior with the head and claws of a scorpion.
Scylla is a creature from Greek mythology. This monstrous creature has a woman’s head, a cat’s back and body, and the legs of a crab.
Selkies are creatures of Scottish folklore in the form of a seal that is said to be able to transform into a human.
A sea serpent is a creature of the “Dungeons & Dragons” fictional universe. These creatures are said to live in oceans and seas and have a human-like upper body with a large fluid-filled under belly.
A siren is a mythical creature from Greek mythology that is said to be a beautiful woman who lures sailors to their death with her song.
Snotlings are creatures from German folklore that are said to be evil creatures with the ability to control others with their saliva.
A sphinx is a creature from Greek mythology that is said to have the body of a winged lion, the face of a woman, and wings.
A sprite is a creature from European folklore that is said to be in the form of an attractive, small human.
The creature ‘s name is derived from the French word “tarasque”, which is a variant of the Latin word “targa”. The dragon-like, hybrid animal was part of many legends in Provence and Catalonia.
A titan is one of a race of beings that appeared in the ancient Greek culture. They were regarded as gods in classical antiquity and, consequently, they are often described with specific attributes. The oldest known Greek titan was Ourea, the Titaness of Wisdom.
Treemen are characters in the fictional universe of Middle-earth, part of J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium. They are immensely tall humanoid beings who live in forests and are ruled by the Ents.
Troglodytes are fictional monsters known primarily from the fictional works of J. R. R. Tolkien. They are a race of humanoid animals, characterized by their cannibalistic natures and their dislike for light and emotions, with the exception of love and hate.
A troll is a type of being in Scandinavian folklore and mythology which is typically described as a large, misshapen, grotesque humanoid.
Typhon is a creature from Greek mythology, believed to be one of the most ferocious and terrifying monsters in all of existence. Although Typhon may have had many different appearances throughout various depictions, he is almost always portrayed as a giant with his wife Ekhidna, which is a form of Medusa.
Unicorns are legendary and semi-mythical creatures of great magic intelligence, gentleness, and grace. They are most often depicted as white horses with a single, spiraling horn projecting from the forehead. You can learn more about unicorns here in our ultimate guide to unicorns.
Vampires are fictional monsters and characters in folklore, fiction, and popular culture. A vampire is a being from folklore who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally blood) of living creatures or humans, an act that typically causes its victims’ deaths.
Wendigo is a fictional monster primarily found in the American folkloric and Native American belief system of Algonquian and Ojibwe origin. It is characterized by an insatiable hunger for human flesh, which drives it to attack humans relentlessly.
Werewolves are fictional monsters and characters in folklore, fiction, and popular culture. A werewolf is a type of shapeshifting creature or demon in folklore which can transform itself into a wolf or another type of animal.
A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft. The definition of witchcraft differs depending on which culture is being discussed, but it is often described as a type of sorcery.
A wraith is a ghost-like undead or immortal being found in Western European folklore, especially that of Scotland and Ireland. It is said to resemble a living person, except for an apparent flatness of the face.
Yuki-onna are creatures from Japanese folklore.
A wurm is a fictional beast in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It is a large, slow, but very strong creature with four short legs and a long tail.
A wyvern is a fictional creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a dragon. It is commonly depicted in European legend as a giant, reptilian winged beast with a scaly hide.
A yeti is an alleged ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet.
A zombie is a fictional undead being created through the reanimation of a human corpse. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy themed works.
The Bottom Line
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