13 Bizarre Mythical Monsters to Haunt Your Halloween


mythical monsters

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Is that strange woman who lives next door to you actually a vampiric witch? In Bali, the mythical, blood-drinking leyak looks and acts like an ordinary person — during the day. At night, however, it visits the graveyards to search for entrails, and if it can't find any there, it steals them from one of its sleeping neighbors. With the entrails, it makes a special potion that enables it to transform into a variety of terrifying shapes, including a monkey with golden teeth, a bald-headed giant, an enormous rat, or a riderless motorcycle, according to the "Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend and Folklore" (McFarland, 2016).


mythical monsters

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The winged, vampirelike zburator, whose name means "the flying thing," is a creature from Romanian mythology that resembles a handsome dark-eyed and black-haired young man. Zburators seduce young women and steal their life energy, draining their victims until they are pale, sickly wraiths, according to the "Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore" (McFarland, 2016).


mythical monsters

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These terrifying flyers from Filipino folklore gain their name from the Tagalog word "tanggal," which means "to split." Generally depicted as female, the manananggal hunts for blood and human flesh by sprouting wings and severing the upper half of its body. It flies with its entrails dragging along after it, sucking the blood of sleepers and feasting on the hearts of fetuses still in their mothers' wombs, using a proboscis-like tongue, according to "Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology" (University of the Philippines Press, 1971).

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.  Her book "Rise of the Zombie Bugs: The Surprising Science of Parasitic Mind Control" will be published in spring 2025 by Johns Hopkins University Press.