Mytical Creatures

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    Golem

    The earliest stories ofgolems date to early Judaism. Adam is described in the Talmud (Tractate

    Sanhedrin 38b) as initially created as a golem when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless husk". Like

    Adam, all golems are created from mud. They were a creation of those who were very holy and close to

    God. A very holy person was one who strove to approach God, and in that pursuit would gain some of

    God's wisdom and power. One of these powers was the creation of life. No matter how holy a person

    became, however, a being created by that person would be but a shadow of one created by God.

    Early on, the notion developed, that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak. In

    Sanhedrin65b, is the description of Ravacreating a man (gavra). He sent him to Rav Zeira; Rav Zeira

    spoke to him, but he did not answer. Said Rav Zeira: "You were created by the magicians; return to your

    dust."

    Golems are elemental beings ofthe four primary elements: fire, water, air and earth.

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    Basilisk

    In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (English pronunciation: /bzlsk/, from the Greek

    basilskos, "little king"; Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents

    and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. It is produced in the province of Cyrene,

    being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot on the head, strongly resembling a sort

    of a diadem. When it hisses, all the other serpents fly from it: and it does not advance its body, like the

    others, by a succession of folds, but moves along upright and erect upon the middle. It destroys all

    shrubs, not only by its contact, but those even that it has breathed upon; it burns up all the grass too,

    and breaks the stones, so tremendous is its noxious influence. It was formerly a general belief that if a

    man on horseback killed one of these animals with a spear, the poison would run up the weapon and

    kill, not only the rider, but the horse as well. To this dreadful monster the effluvium of the weasel is

    fatal, a thing that has been tried with success, for kings have often desired to see its body when killed;

    so true is it that it has pleased Nature that there should be nothing without its antidote. The animal is

    thrown into the hole of the basilisk, which is easily known from the soil around it being infected. The

    weasel destroys the basilisk by its odour, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self.

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    Hydra

    Hydra is an ancient Greek mythical beast that was mentioned in the tale of the twelve labours of

    Hercules (also called Heracles). The hydra has 9 heads, the number of head varies from different

    versions of the legend, however, more accounts agree on nine. It was said that the middle one was

    immortal and it has very poisonous venom and breath.

    If the heads are cut off, the heads would grow back. One head cut-off would result to two heads

    growing back in its place.

    The Hydra was believed to have lived in the Lernean marsh which is located near Argolis, the region

    around Argos, Greece.

    The serpent-woman Echinda and the hundred headed Typhon are Hydras parents. His siblings include

    the Cerberus and the Chimera .

    The Hydra guards the entrance to the Underworld and from the murky swamps of the Lake of Lerna the

    monstrous serpent would rise and terrorize the city.

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    Cerberus

    Cerberus, (pronounced /srb()rs/; Greek form: , [kerberos]) in Greek and Roman

    mythology, is a multi-headed hound (usually three-headed) which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent

    those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping.

    Cerberus is said to be the sibling of the Hydra and the Chimera.

    Cerberus was the offspring of Echidna, a hybrid half-woman and half-serpent, and Typhon, a fire-

    breathing giant whom even the Olympian gods feared. Its brother is Orthrus, always depicted as a two-

    headed hellhound. The common depiction of Cerberus in Greek mythology and art is as having three

    heads, a mane of live serpents (similar to Medusa's hair) and a snake's tail. In most works the three-

    heads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other sources

    suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. Each of Cerberus' heads is said to have an

    appetite only for live meat and thus allow the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld, butallow none to leave. Cerberus was always employed as Hades' loyal watchdog, and guarded the gates

    that granted access and exit to the underworld (also called Hades).

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    ChimeraIn Greek mythology, the Chimera (Greek (Chmaira); Latin Chimaera) was a monstrous fire-

    breathing creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a

    lioness with a tail that terminated in a snake's head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center

    of her spine. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters

    as Cerberus and the Hydra.

    Homer's brief description in the Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: "a thing of immortal

    make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of

    the terrible flame of bright fire". Elsewhere in the Iliad, Homer attributes the rearing of Chimaera to

    Amisodorus. Hesiod's Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of

    Echidna: "She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-

    footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her

    middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon

    slay"

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    Centaur

    In Greek mythology, the centaurs (from Ancient Greek: - Kntauroi) are a composite race of

    creatures, part human and part horse. In early Attic and Boeotian vase-paintings, as on the kantharos

    (illustrated below left), they are depicted with the hindquarters of a horse attached to them; in later

    renderings centaurs are given the torso of a human joined at the waist to the horse's withers, where the

    horse's neck would be.

    The centaurs were usually said to have been born of Ixion and Nephele (the cloud made in the image of

    Hera). Another version, however, makes them children of a certain Centaurus, who mated with the

    Magnesian mares. This Centaurus was either himselfthe son ofIxion and Nephele (inserting an

    additional generation) or of Apollo and Stilbe, daughter of the river god Peneus. In the later version of

    the story his twin brother was Lapithus, ancestor of the Lapiths,thus making the two warring peoples

    cousins.

    Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi

    oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.

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    Minotaur

    In Greek mythology, the Minotaur (Greek: , Latin: Minotaurus, Etruscan evrumine), as

    the Greeks imagined him, was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man or, as described

    by Ovid, "part man and part bull". He dwelt at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an

    elaborate maze-like construction built for King Minos of Crete and designed by the architect Daedalus

    and his son Icarus who were ordered to build it to hold the Minotaur.

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    Imp

    An imp is a mythological being similar to a fairy or demon, frequently described in folklore and

    superstition. Their behavior is described as being wild and uncontrollable, much the same as fairies, and

    in some cultures they are considered the same beings, both sharing the same sense of free spirit and

    enjoyment of all things fun. It was later in history that people began to associate fairies with being good

    and imps with being malicious and evil. However, both creatures were fond of pranks and misleading

    people. Most of the time, the pranks were harmless fun, but some could be upsetting and harmful, such

    as switching babies or leading travelers astray in places they were not familiar with. Imps are often

    shown as small and not very attractive creatures.

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    Boggart

    A boggart (or bogart) is a household fairy which causes things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go

    lame. Always malevolent, the boggart will follow its family wherever they flee. The boggart is described

    as being rather squat, hairy and smelly. A boggart is a shape-shifting creature that can take on the form

    ofthe viewer's worst fear. When facing a boggart, it is best to have someone else along, to try to

    confuse it when he trys to scare you. Boggarts are collectors of sensation. While they aren't particularly

    intelligent thinkers, they are extremely perceptive, in that they perceive a lot. Their senses are intense: if

    we were to have a neurosurgeon look in on their brains, we'd probably find that the nervesfrom their

    sensory organs lead directly into their pleasure centers. Boggarts can never get enough novelty, which

    gives rise to behavior of exploring