Stories are what make us who we are, there’s no denying that. History is essentially what our fathers and forefathers tell us through actions, paintings, writings, and more.
That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a story or more that won’t terrify us to our very core, but these little embellishments and their paranormal characters are what make them unique.
Each country in the world has its own mythical and fantastical beasts, ranging from dragons to werewolves, and the Middle East isn’t any different.
So we got you six of the mystifying creatures that came out of the Middle East that will make you wonder.
If you see any of these creatures run!
One of the most well-known creatures from the region, it has roots in several cultures throughout the Middle East for hundreds of years.
Created from fire, they’re usually invisible to the human eye; unless they want you to see them. When they decide to do that, they can shapeshift into animals or other humans, which makes it for people to recognize.
According to legend, there are many of them. While they live in a different plane of existence separate from ours, they sometimes cross over. Some are harmful, while others are friendly.
Their belief in the creature’s existence in the Arab region has been around for over a thousand years ago, with pre-Islamic literature mentioning the beings.
At the time, people used to associate the term with all kinds of supernatural beings, but over time that changed to pertain to the certain creature that we know of today.
The west heard of these mischievous creatures thanks to the tales in “One Thousand and One Nights” and, in particular, the Aladdin storyline because Jinn translates to Genie in English.
Another well-known creature from the Arabian peninsula that, “One Thousand and One Nights” made famous is El-Rokh.
Think of it as a huge eagle the size of a dragon; eccentric explorer Ibn Battuta described it as a mountain floating in the air.
In legends, storytellers describe El-Rokh as a gigantic creature big enough to carry an elephant in its talons.
Some historians like Rudolf Wittkower, claim that the story seeped into Arab culture from neighboring India which had similar stories.
Two Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana mention the gigantic creature in their legends. This may have captured the minds of Arab travelers in the region, who brought it back with them.
Can you imagine a creature flying through the air? A flap of its wings would destroy buildings nowadays!
A mythical creature from North Africa and the Levant, werehyenas aren’t that different from werewolves.
However, unlike werewolves, they don’t need a full moon to transform; some of them are originally hyenas that transform into humans, not the other way around!
These bloodthirsty creatures look for unsuspecting victims, whom they mesmerize with their eyes, paralyzing them. They, unfortunately, also hunt for children as easy prey, but that doesn’t stop them from looking for vulnerable people.
The legend of the werehyena spans a large area including several African cultures as well. Some of them believed that the creature had vampiric qualities and sucked the blood out of their victims.
In Somalia, it’s believed that a man can transform into the scary creature by rubbing a magic stick onto their body.
In the Lake Chad region, there were claims that villages were entirely populated by werehyenas!
If you’ve seen the “Batman Begins” movie or read any of the Batman’s comics, you might have passed by the character Ras Al-Ghoul, aka the Demon’s head. The Arabian Peninsula is where the name Ghoul came from, as part of the local folklore.
Legends tell of a zombie-like mythical monster that lives in graveyards and other abandoned places. The creature tends to eat human flesh that wasn’t buried correctly!
Female ghouls are as terrifying as their male counterparts, as they tend to lure unsuspecting men into dark areas, where they would kill and consume them.
The creature’s name and characteristics were carried over to the west and into western culture. Believe it or not, this didn’t happen until “One Thousand and One Nights” was translated to French in the 1700s.
5. Aicha Kandicha
Similar to how Greece has Sirens, Morocco has Aicha Kandicha.
Aicha Kandicha is essentially a female evil spirit that roams near bodies of water and lures men to their doom either by maddening or killing them.
Kandicha takes the form of a beautiful woman with camel or goat hooves for feet, as well as an alluring and sultry voice.
When a potential victim passes by, she starts to sing to grab their attention. That’s when her beauty seduces them toward the water, where they will eventually drown.
The creature became a Moroccan icon appearing in all kinds of different movies, books, songs, and more.
The Egyptian “El-Nadaha” shares several of the same tropes as Kandicha, in that “El-Nadaha” also roams near the Nile killing men too. However, El Nadaha doesn’t have hooves for feet.
A terrifying creature in every sense of the word. The half of everything; half a body, half a head, one leg, one arm, and hop around with incredible speed!
Not only that, but if they catch their victims, they kill them with a single touch! A touch from these monsters and the flesh from your whole body melts off in seconds.
In Somali culture, there is a very similar creature named “Xunguruuf” or “Hungruf” too.
The Nasnas is also mentioned in Gustave Flaubert’s “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”.
If you ever see it, run or it will end with a messy game of tag.
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