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Top 10 Monsters from Lore

People have dreamed up monsters that go bump in the night since the dawn of time. Whether it be to frighten children into behaving, or to explain fear of the unknown, these monsters on the list are terrifying to amusing. And they show how powerful the human imagination can truly be. Enjoy!


Baba Yaga


In Slavic folklore – the wild old woman, the witch, and mistress of magic. She is also seen as a forest spirit, leading hosts of other spirits. She is thought to be a Hideous, evil witch with iron teeth. She is said to have an unquenchable appetite, but is still as skinny as a skeleton. She travels in a mortar with her knees touching her chin and pushes herself around with a pestle. Her home is said to stand on chicken legs and either spins around or keeps its back to the forest. She has three servants: the white horsemen, the red horsemen, and the black horsemen. When asked she will say these are my red sun, my bright dawn, and my black midnight.

There are so many variations of the Baba yaga legend that it’s not even certain if she’s evil or a wise woman. Some say she eats innocent maidens, and some say she helps. Either way it was worth putting her on here since she probably started as a tale to keep wayward children in line.




The Kraken is one monster that has roots with a real animal and how a sailor’s mind and imagination can make nightmares. The Kraken is a giant, monstrous squid (or octopus by some accounts) who was able to wrap its tentacles around a ship’s hull and capsize it; the unfortunate souls would then drown or be eaten by the beast. In 1752, when the Bishop of Bergen, Erik Ludvigsen Pontoppidan, wrote his Natural History of Norway, he described the Kraken as a “floating island” one and a half miles across. He also noted: “It seems these are the creature’s arms, and, it is said, if they were to lay hold of the largest man-of-war, they would pull it down to the bottom.” –

In the ’30s, ships were attacked by Krakens three times, and the squids got the worst of the attack from the propellers, leading scientists to believe the giant squids mistook the ships for whales.




The word ‘Wendigo'(pronounced wehn-dee-go) comes from the Native American Algonquian language, meaning ‘evil spirit that devours mankind.’

The Wendigo is a terrifying beast, but because they are so swift, it is extremely difficult to get a good look at the monster. Most are tall, have long limbs, and are extremely thin (because they are always hungry). Most have no hair at all, but those that dwell in extremely cold climates can sometimes be found with snow-white, gore-stained fur or matted, bloody hair. Its maw is filled with sharp yellowed fangs, and its hands and feet end in razor-like talons. The Wendigo’s twisted lips are flecked with blood, and their long tongues are a disgusting dark blue. Its eyes are one of its most frightening aspects, which range in color from glowing red to bright yellow.

The lore on this beast is enormously diverse, all of which emphasize its size. The Wendigo is so big that the human mind is unable to fully comprehend it, and the beast’s sheer size is enough to make the human heart stop. The Wendigo is a hideous, abhorrent beast. Its needle-like teeth are made all the more disturbing by its lack of lips (some say that the creature’s hunger is so great that it devoured its own lips!).

Although vaguely human in appearance, it is nonetheless what most would call terribly deformed. Its enormous eyes are yellow and protuberant like an owl’s (although some say that the eyes are pushed deep into the sockets, and all that one can see is the terrible yellow glow). They are far larger than human eyes, and are said to roll about in blood. It has massive, paw-like hands that end in talons that are a foot long, while the beast’s feet are said to be three foot in length and have but a single toe, tipped with a dagger-like nail. The Wendigo uses these to slash and tear at its victims. Some legends say that the Wendigo may be missing toes, due perhaps to frostbite




The Bogeyman has been scaring children for centuries. He (in this Lister’s opinion) has many forms and can be whatever scares the child the most. Who doesn’t remember having your parents check under your bed and in your closet because you just knew in your heart, that he was lurking somewhere, waiting to get you. The Bogeyman is a perfect example of ‘Fear of the Unknown’ – that something you can’t see is out there, in the dark, waiting for you.




The Basilisk name comes from the greek meaning “King” because it was said to have been the king of snakes, the most deadly and no one could quite describe it because to look upon it meant death for the beholder. But the best description they have for this creature was: head and legs of a rooster, tail of a snake, and body of a bird. Its wings were said to either have been covered by feathers, or by scales. It was said to have been born from a spherical, yolk less egg, laid during the days of Sirius (the Dog Star) by a seven year-old rooster and hatched by a toad. Its likeness, for some reason, is used as ornamentation on many medieval churches, capitols, and medallions, and also used in Middle-Age manuscripts. It also has the name of basilicok or cockatrice.



Knut Ekwall Fisherman And The Siren

Sirens were Niaids (sea nymphs) who lived on the multiple islands according to legend, and would sing to passing ships, entrancing the sailors to smash their ships into the rocky coasts, drowning. They were thought to have been Persephone’s playmates and were turned into the monsters of lore by Demeter for punishment over not saving Persephone when she was abducted. There are multiple descriptions but the basic one is a bird/woman hybrid who played instruments or sang. In later descriptions they were thought to be either seductive, beautiful women or mermaids. Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey escaped them by having his sailors stuff their ears with beeswax and had himself tied to his mast. A German variation of the Siren is the Lorelei.




In Ovid’s tale, Medusa, the Gorgon, was originally a beautiful priestess in Athena’s temple when she was raped by Poseidon. Athena was enraged and punished poor Medusa to be the hideous monster with snakes for hair, and a visage so terrible that a mere glimpse of her would turn a man to stone. She was beheaded by Perseus, who was sent to retrieve the head by King Polydectes of Seriphus.


Skin-walker or Yeenaaldlooshii

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A skin walker is a human who is able to shape-shift into various animal forms through witchcraft. Skin-walkers are generally considered frightening, evil, dangerous, and difficult to kill.
the word “yeenaaldlooshii” is a Navajo word that means “with it, he goes on all fours.”

One Navajo writer on Monstropedia was quoted: “They curse people and cause great suffering and death … At night, their eyes glow red like hot coals. It is said that if you see the face of a Naagloshii, they have to kill you. If you see one and know who it is, they will die. If you see them and you don’t know them, they have to kill you to keep you from finding out who they are. They use a mixture that some call corpse powder, which they blow into your face. Your tongue turns black and you go into convulsions and you eventually die. They are known to use evil spirits in their ceremonies. The Dine’ have learned ways to protect themselves against this evil and one has to always be on guard.”




Lovecraft’s terrifying, almost god-like creature that has an almost “coming soon” feel to it. He is described as a truly horrible monster with a body that is a combination of an octopus, a dragon, and a human. It is said to be “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness that is sunken in the depths of the pacific ocean. It was said to have been a high priest of the Great old ones – unnatural alien beings who ruled the earth before humanity formed, worshiped as gods by the few misguided people. It is said that they are a horrible nightmare, and will return causing worldwide insanity and mindless violence before finally displacing humanity forever.

“While psychically sensitive humans have been contacted by Cthulhu through telepathy (which is assumed to be the “language” of the Old Ones), the only reported sighting by a human in recorded history occurred on March 23, 1925. This was twenty-two days after R’lyeh rose above the water, only to sink once more shortly after when the merciful stars’ shifting position caused Cthulhu to resume his death (the conditions required for R’lyeh to rise are also required for the Old Ones to live). This was reported by Gustaf Johansen, the only remaining crew member of the Emma. He later died under mysterious circumstances in his hometown of Oslo.” – Urban Dictionary


The Devil or Satan


The reason I put the devil on the top of the list is because his many forms have been used since the dawn of time to frighten children and adults in many ways keep them in line. His forms are found in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Khemet (Ancient Egyptian), Syncreto-Paganism, Neopaganism, and the new age movement in Varying degrees of evil. His basic principal in religion and lore is as a scapegoat (no pun intended) for people bad or “evil” acts. He – in many religions – is always there, waiting to attack good, moral people and even possess them into doing things against their nature and in some cases take their souls to hell to burn for eternity. Whether you believe in the devil or not, you cannot dispute the stories that are told of him are very terrifying and the people who heard them through history were most likely petrified over the very though of him.

  • Arkon

    Monsters….yum, yum!

    • diablo135

      Cool list. I like things like this. I would not have included Cthulhu tho as that’s just a literary character.

  • Baba

    Dafuq. The devil in Islam is not to keep adults in line.

    • Ni99a

      Yea, they misguide Muslims to slam planes into buildings.

      • Nombre

        Sir. What the hell?

  • Lol at no.1 ……….but no.2 ftw! The devil is real god made him because he loves you and wants you to obey or burn! lol

  • chvlryisdead

    me no scured of monstas

    • chvlryisdead

      except for #3 btw…

      imagine waking up from a deep slumber to THAT

      • Steve

        You’ve never met my ex wife have you.

    • Ni99a

      Wendigo is nothing.

      An interesting monster among white people other than Bigfoots, Slenderman and Mothman is the Mandingo.

      It is said that white men fear him and feel insecure around him while white females pray for his appearance before them everyday to satisfy them.

      Go ahead, Google image it. You won’t sleep tonight.

      • The Trader

        You son of a bitch.

      • Jimbo

        Damn, I just got cockrolled.

        • zac


      • sammy sweet tit

        mandingo at your baby

  • Missy

    I remember the Baba Yaga tales told to me when I was a kid. Some were of kindness and others were horrible. Still think about them today.

  • Will Trame

    The kraken looked far different in Harryhausen’s “Clash of the Titans”. Perhaps it’s just down to various interpretations…many sources of folklore list it as a giant squid. The first time I ever heard of the wendigo was in an old “Incredible Hulk” comic book.

    Notable omissions include the rakshasha and peremalfait (but maybe I’ll let that one slide…as it classifies as a cajun bogeyman).

    An intriguing list, though not an apt one as I’m getting ready to hit the sack…I’m a daysleeper.

  • flgh

    Why no have the Newt Gingrich?

  • I would have thought that “yeenaaldlooshii” was the first word you uttered when you saw that friggin thing! I think that “yeenaaldlooshii” may actually be a Navajo term for “I just s.h.i.t. my trousers”.

    • ParusMajor

      You might be correct otherwise, except Navajos didn’t wear trousers. They had some kind of a loin cloth, didn’t they?

      • I’m not sure, but will go with your loin cloth theory.

  • Shane

    Pretty good list, but a lot of it seems to be quoted from other sites. And who would quote urban dictionary haha

  • chelle0

    Number 3 is scary.

  • Canada rules

    Everyone knows the Boogeyman was identified a while back it turn out to be Bigfoot all along .

    • cguy12

      oh canada.
      anyway great list, #2 is chilling

  • Terrible list.

    • Ni99a

      Of course, because according to the bible these creatures should not even exist right…..?

      How blasphemous of Listverse!!!!

    • ww

      It wasn’t that bad, but I don’t think satan counts as folklore.

      • While I believe that the devil is real, the images we use of him are mostly folklore, so I’m willing to give leeway on that.

      • sure its folk lore, what else could it possibly be?

        • ww

          The word folklore suggests that it’s not real, the devil though is real.

          • Karen

            lol. no. the devil was also mentioned in a work of fiction.

          • ww

            As well as a book of facts.

  • Ni99a

    Once again, an absence of Oriental entry. Typical Listverse. Hey Listverse, in case you don’t know, there is a continent called Africa and Asia.

    But of course, Chiang-shih, Kappa, Toyol and Erawan are just fairy tales, not worthy of a Listverse entry.

  • oouchan

    Feels a bit lacking and not original as these are very common. I don’t think that Cthulhu or Satan belong here…they just don’t fit the bill. Could have added a few Asian monsters like the Shinigami or Broxa.

    Overall, not a strong list.

    • Avi

      Why not? Cthulhu and Satan are monsters of lore. Unless you argue they’re gods, not monsters, but that’s a pretty vague difference.

  • ParusMajor

    Good list, but what about the sea bishop (or bishop-fish): According to the study “Tier und Mensch im Denken der Deutschen Renaissance” by Maria Suutala (Societas Historica Finlandiae, Helsinki Universty, 1990), this creature was feared by sailors because it only ate the soft tissue of its victim (i.e. the eyes, the testicles, etc) and left its victim alive, but badly incapacitated, probably wanting to die.

  • Sbtier

    Cthulhu is not exactly from ‘lore’, but made up in a horror novel in the 20s.

  • Void

    Bad, very bad list.

    And who thought that quoting or their Monstropaedia was a good idea? I worked at that site for years and I can tell you a lot of their information is ripped off of other sites; usually without credit being given to the original authors.

    Matter of fact; Diedre, haven’t you been a member over there for a few years now?

    • ni99a

      How much is the salary they gave you?

      • Void

        All of the berating I could take from the owner, a crass Frenchman.

  • Kthulhu is real. Metallica wrote a song of it. The Call of Kthulhu.

    • Sister Morphine

      love that song

      • best of the ‘classic’ instrumentals

        • Sister Morphine

          from Metallica I like Orion more. As far as ‘classic’ instrumentals go, Europa is #1 in my book, but Inquisition Symphony by Sepultura is pretty good.

          • i was speaking about metallicas classics :) Anesthesia (kill em all) Kthulhu(Lighting) Orion(Pupperts) To live is to die(Justice). i discount albums thereafter. Europa is awesome, yes.

          • Sister Morphine

            ah. makes sense.

          • Nik

            metallica Instrumentals aside bad horsie is amazing, watchim Steve vai perform it is even more so, I hate when people get down on late metallica though. St anger was pretty bad but suicide and redemption (death magnetic) is better than anaesthesia and to live is to die

          • Sister Morphine

            unforgiven I, II & III on repeat makes for nice afternoon. hmm theres an unforgivien IV isnt there?

        • Nik

          no unforgiven IV I’m aware of except lulu lol

          • nope only III they back in studio this month so we’ll see, but personally i hope they all fall off the wagon and go back to pre- 1990 insanity, kill em all is the best imho.

          • …And Justice For All is the best album. ever. and. never. will. be. topped. ever.

          • Nik

            they topped it before they recorded it. A good but very flawed album, even the band say so

  • The Trader

    Does anybody edit these lists? Wtf?

  • Teblor Tribe

    I like the list. The devil desirves number 1. About the cthulhu, I think it does warrent a spot as maybe it will become lore. That is how these things start. Will require a follow up list I think.

  • The Basilisk seems to be just a retelling of the Mayan god Quetzalcoatl.

    Thanks for the reminder of the Kraken! I’m going to going scuba diving off Kauai in Nov./Dec. I had only considered sharks as a possible danger before this list. Now I’ll have the Kraken in back of mind all the time ;-)

  • skeeter1971

    When I was really young, my parents would threaten to call “Mr. Bee” when I acted up. Mr. Bee, as it turned out, was the dial tone on the telephone. I was traumatized by the dial tone for years.

    • My goodness, what a weird way to make you toe the line! No wonder you were traumatized by the dial tone.

      Parents do, however, pull some odd stunts on kids. I know I pulled some weird stuff on mine.

      • skeeter1971

        Thank you for being kind. Too many people on here are just plain mean.

        I don’t think I was traumatized per se, but I can recall vaguely, one time being scared out of my gourd while they were holding the phone up to my ear. It’s funny now. The Snollygoster was another. He would come at night and eat your liver if you were really bad.

        • YIKES!

          No, I never read that, but I did have a copy of the original, unsanitized Brothers Grimm! That was pretty scary!

        • skeeter1971, that Snollygoster sounds awful! I’d never have slept!

      • ParusMajor

        Did you ever read the book Struwwelpeter as a kid? There was some really weird and scary stuff in dat book…

  • Link

    Would the banshee count for this list? My gran heard one and 12 days later her mum died….

    • Sister Morphine

      idk is it more mythological than monster?

      i had a yamaha banshee. it was wicked :)

  • Link

    Does the banshee count for this list? My gran heard one and 12 days later her mum died…

  • dana

    random pointless list

  • the Basilisk is a variation of a real prehistoric creature, Terror Bird

    • Avi

      Terror BIRD

      King Of SNAKES

      I don’t think so.

  • Diedre Kovatch

    Thank you! :) my first list wasnt sure about Cthiluhu and agree I should have used another :)

  • Diedre Kovatch

    will try and study up and do a list on Oriental lore. I didnt add them because my knowledge in asian culture is very slim but will try harder :)

  • Some guy

    Does anybody edit these things before they’re posted? This is basic shit. Come on.

  • HulkSmashNow

    Why include Cthulhu, when he is from literature, and not actual “lore?”

  • Headmire

    Listverse is on a roll here. Yet another terrible list, pointless uninteresting topic of absolute nonsense

  • HelgavB

    Big issue with idea that neopaganism has tenet of belief in Satan… Totally untrue – would love to see some credible sources on that. And I agree needs more Asian content – asian monsters/ghosts are CRAZY scary.

  • I grew up in northern Wisconsin and it was also said of the wendigo that it ate the moss off trees.

  • seen some of these

  • he cited Urbandictionary as a source?


    • Avi

      It was a joke..

  • The Opinion

    Basilisk! It got my attention. I know it was a chicken egg hatched by a toad, but I didn’t know about the Sirius part!

  • xxRach85xx

    What about Fenrir, the white wolf who fought Odin (and ate him) in Norse lore?

    Or the Titans from Greek/Roman lore? Some of them were scary.

    Just curious…
    Love this list tho. It was interesting. How about a part 2 when you get around to it? :)

  • BrotherMan the Return

    Love the American Werewolf in London face. I believe it’s from a life sized statue of the wolf monster from that movie.

  • Togo

    False. Ancient Egyptians didn’t believe in the devil. The closest thing they had was the god of Chaos, Set. Even then he wasn’t evil, Egyptians prayed to him for help at sea or in the desert, since he represented storms.

  • 777bernie

    Who else thinks Cthulhu looks kind of fruity in that pic?

  • Kronenbergsmith

    These are very weird List for the top 10 Monster .

  • Calin666

    Nice list, but I really don’t think Cthulhu should be on the list.
    The Cthulhu Mythos is a shared fictional universe, based on the work of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, and expanded on by other writers, primarily two writers that were good personal friends of Lovecraft.
    Check out the Cthulhu Mythos on Wikipedia for the full, very interesting history behind it.

  • New superstar

    Nice list…..although some entries have appeared before…..

  • FlatEric

    Satan does exist. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. I ain’t trying to convert any of you to any religion, I’m just saying.

    • Karen

      that’s sad.

      • FlatEric

        What’s sad? You think I’m mental? Maybe I am. Don’t be too sure, though. I have seen things most people haven’t, and they weren’t delusions or hallucinations. I have also seen hallucinations and I can tell the difference. You ain’t qualified to comment on this matter.

        • Karen

          i’ve seen a lot myself and accidentally let things through into this world. i’ve also hallucinated. repeatedly. on purpose. so you cannot tell me i am not qualified to comment.

          • fendabenda

            Karen. I might want to discuss with you about… things… :) If it’s OK?

        • fendabenda

          Eric, whatever we saw that night, it wasn’t Satan. It was just some kind of a ghost or a spirit. Satan does not exist, dude. Calm down now.

          • FlatEric

            fenda, did you actually SEE what I saw? I think you did. You’re just in denial now. And don’t call me “dude”, mate.

          • ParusMajor

            I didn’t see anything, and the video doesn’t show anything, but I definitely felt something that night. Would you folks like to go back to that house? If we could actually catch something on camera?

          • Karen

            just don’t let whatever it is in through you. i hate that.

          • fendabenda

            ParusMajor, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go back there. I didn’t see Satan, but I saw something, and it didn’t look very friendly.

          • ParusMajor

            But… we can take Karen with us to protect us!!??!! Karen, Fenda, Eric: let’s go ghostbusting!! :D

          • fendabenda

            You think this is a joke, Parus? There really is something evil in that house. Didn’t you feel it yourself? I DO NOT want to go back there.

          • fenda, you guys are freaking me out!

          • fendabenda

            sorry segues darling, I didn’t mean to scare you… :)

          • Karen

            what did you want to discuss

  • Smite

    What House?? Where??

  • Crosiersmith

    It is so very good List for the 10 Monster .

  • Misha

    Oddly enough even though lots of words were spent describing the wendigo’s scary appearance the most terrifying aspects weren’t mentioned. Wendigos are humans who turns monster after consuming another human’s flesh. Up in Canada (and some parts of U.S.A. where the Algonquin tribes dwell) the winters are pretty harsh, so back in the days it was difficult for aboriginal tribes to gather food in the winter. The wendigo was a story told to warn people off eating other humans when they were truly starving. It is said that the person, after eating another’s human, turns into the monster whose hunger for flesh is never sated no matter how much it eats, and that it is so thin that it disappears after turning sideways. The only way to destroy a wendigo had to do with something about fire, I forgot. I didn’t really listen to my lessons. LOL

  • jack

    Vampire, Zombie, Werewolf ? what top 10 monster list can’t have these?