Saci, and other mythological creatures

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Luciana
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Saci, and other mythological creatures

Post by Luciana »

http://www.pakids.com.br/materias/imagens/saci.gif

This is Saci-Pererê, or Saci for short (pronounced Sah-SEE). It's a mythological creature that lives in the inner parts of Brazil.

Much has been written on his origins, and the consensus is that it's a mix of Indian (or Native Brazilians, if you will), West African and Iberian legends. The image above - a black child of small stature, with only one leg, naked, with a red hat and smoking a pipe is actually a 20th century invention (1940s, to be more exact, when the book shown below was published). Because of his mix, which no other mythological creature in the country has achieved, he's considered to be the truest Brazilian legend.

Sacis are magical creatures that hide during the day, and during the night invade the homes and barns close to forests in other to play various mischiefs. They will spoil the milk, break the eggs, throw mud in the hanging clothes, open latches to let the livestock out, etc. If you see a whirlwind stirring up leaves, it's because a Saci has just been there. His hat is magical, so, if you want to enslave a Saci and make it powerless, you must steal its hat.

No one believes in the Sacis anymore and, as a character for children, he's also out of fashion. In the few cases he shows up nowadays, he's always wearing shorts. Let's face it, with this pipe, he's not exactly a politically-correct model for children.

http://www.escoladamasco.com.br/profess ... a/saci.jpg

I have a deep liking for Saci, ever since I read the book above, a favorite in my childhood. I used to have a book on Indian mythology, and I love to hear about the mountains that turned into giants, the river mermaids that lured the fisherman, the dolphin who impregnated women... I can't find that book now. But Saci was my favorite, even though I, as a city girl, would never met it.

Any mythological creatures you enjoy and would like to share? Please do. :)

EDITED to change from pics to links to it.
Last edited by Luciana on Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Skeptoid »

My home state of Wisconsin has its own mythological creature, The Hodag. :D Many tales of the Hodag have been told sitting around campfires in northern Wisconsin. Loads of fun. Scares the crap out of kids. :D

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/photos/hodag.html
The Hodag, a creature native to Wisconsin, has the head of a bull, the back of a dinosaur, and the leering features of a giant man. Its legs are short, its claws are long, and its tail is spear-tipped.

It is a supernatural beast. According to legend, in its first life it took the form of an ox that belonged to Paul Bunyan. Upon its death, the ox was burned for seven years to cleanse it of the profanity of its master. But seven years was not long enough. The soul of the ox emerged from the ashes in the shape of a Hodag, exuding a foul odor.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hodag

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Post by Hexxenhammer »

Minnesota's favorite mythological figure is of course Paul Bunyan and his faithful companion Babe the Blue Ox.

Image

Just about everywhere in the country claims some connection to him, but local legend has his birthplace in Bemidji, MN, where that 18 ft tall statue in the picture is. Paul of course was a giant logger who could fell trees with one chop. He found Babe trapped in a glacier and chopped him out. He dredged the Mississippi and dug the Grand Canyon.
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Post by Hexxenhammer »

I can't neglect my home town's monster. The Devil's Lake Sea Monster!

http://www.devilslakend.com/tourism/legends.htm
Many, many moons ago, it seems, rumors had circulated among the Native Americans about a huge sea monster that had wiped out a whole army of Native Americans.

After his appearance, the water in Devils Lake had become so polluted that all the fish disappeared. The native Americans became so uneasy about the whole matter that Little Shell, Chief of our tribe, sent Ke-ask-ke (Big Liar), our medicine man and inventor, to investigate.
The local paper had a story in the late 1800's about this with a big illustration of indians running away from the shore as a big cartoony monster lunges out of the water. Couldn't find it online though.
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Post by Quester_X »

Where I live is boring, we don't have any local legends, at least as far as I know. My favorite mythological creatures come from Greek mythology. I'm especially fond of the Hydra, as I did a report on it when I was younger. Did you know that one of it's heads was immortal, so Hercules never did truely "kill" it. Had to bury that head under a rock!
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Post by Chaos »

In the area where I live there are no local mythological beasts. In Bavaria, though, further south from here, there´s the "Wolpertinger", some kind of forest creature.

Look here: http://www.w2000.de/reinl/wolpishp.htm (Text in German, with pictures)

I didn´t read the rest of the site, but from the text here they claim to sell real stuffed Wolpertingers. (frauds!)
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Post by Cleopatra »

In Greece we have the elves that appear at the beginning of each December until January 6 and they are called "Kalikantzaroi". They look terrible and they exist only to create troubles like spoiling the Christmas cookies and the baking of the Christmas bread, also they make travellers lose their ways, especially if they are priests.

Of course kalikantzaroi steal the kids that approach the Christmas cookies :wink:

We have many rituals/customs that suppose to keep them away. When I was younger my friends and I used to gather to neighborhoods and attemp to revive those customs, like lighting huge fires and dancing around them but now there is no time or mood for such pursuits.

Another legend that makes me giggle is the existence of the Fallen Fairies who enjoy to hide in the summer under shadowy trees and springs of fresh water around noon. They were specific spots that people should avoid every day at noon because the bad fairies could steal their voice.

My grandma used to tell me that those tales must have been invented by those who wanted to use the dangerous areas that were supposed to be haunted by the bad fairies to meet their lovers. :D It makes some sense, maybe she talked from experience.

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Post by Yahweh »

I am one who enjoy's the classics:

Vampires
Werewolves
Chupacabras
Underpants Gnomes


One mythical creature I am particularly fond of is here, out of the mists of history, the legendary esquilax, a horse with the head of a rabbit... and the body of a rabbit.

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Post by Some Friggin Guy »

Well here in Nashville, we only have one local mythological creature/

It's this really big, invisible man that seems to control weather and demand things of the locals in return for good fortune.

Oddly enough, even with the advances of education and technology, the majority of people around here are superstitious enough to still belive in this thing. It's HYSTERICAL.

They call it "God".
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

The Paiute Indians of my area have a few legendary creatures that have always interested me. The one I remember most is the "Pinenut Woman". She appears as an old woman carrying a reed basket on her back and a long hook, both usually used for harvesting pinenuts. She is kind of a boogey man like figure, used to keep chldren from wandering too far out into the widerness, because according to the stories if she catches children all alone, she uses the hook to catch the child and put it in the basket, then takes the child home and devours it.

There are also legends of "water babies", evil spirits that look like children who haunt the shores of lakes and rivers. They appear to drown and when a person comes to rescue them, the "water baby" pulls the would-be rescuer under and drowns him.

We have a bigfoot like creature, only the Paiute name for him is either ninu'u or nu'numic depending on the dialect. My step father, strangely, would use the word ninu'u as a slang for penis, just as an odd bit of trivia.

My last one isn't really a legendary creature, but it kind of fits. I used to have an old uncle who would try to scare me with old stories of flying coyotes and of mountain lions who could whistle like a human and would do so to try to lure people up close to attack and eat them.

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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Chaos wrote: I didn´t read the rest of the site, but from the text here they claim to sell real stuffed Wolpertingers. (frauds!)
Around here we have people who do the same thing with "Jackalopes", 1/2 Jack Rabbit & 1/2 Antelope. basically someone mounts antelope horns on a stuffed jack rabbit. Only no one ever took jackalopes seriously, they were always known as pranks, iirc.

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Post by Luciana »

Nyarlathotep wrote: We have a bigfoot like creature, only the Paiute name for him is either ninu'u or nu'numic depending on the dialect. My step father, strangely, would use the word ninu'u as a slang for penis, just as an odd bit of trivia.
Now that I think about it... on top of my head, all of Brazilian myths are of small stature. That makes sense, in that our forests never harbored the large mammals as those you see in Africa or Asia. Our largest land animal is the capybara, which is pretty much the size of a large dog. So it follows that we do not have any creature resembling the Bigfoot.
Nyarlathotep wrote:My last one isn't really a legendary creature, but it kind of fits. I used to have an old uncle who would try to scare me with old stories of flying coyotes and of mountain lions who could whistle like a human and would do so to try to lure people up close to attack and eat them.
I wonder how many mythological creatures were invented with the sole purpose of imposing discipline? :)

I remember being 12, and being with cousins, one 10 and the other 5. We were in a university campus, in an empty road, which was safe enough for all the important things... but the littlest one insisted on going astray, and we wanted to reach the building before it went dark. Soon my son came up with the story of a vampire to scare his brother... well, it worked! I played along as that sounded sensible of the time, but the poor little thing was so scared he had nightmares all night... so on the next day we travelled through the same road only to prove him there was no vampire there.

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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Luciana wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:My last one isn't really a legendary creature, but it kind of fits. I used to have an old uncle who would try to scare me with old stories of flying coyotes and of mountain lions who could whistle like a human and would do so to try to lure people up close to attack and eat them.
I wonder how many mythological creatures were invented with the sole purpose of imposing discipline? :)

I remember being 12, and being with cousins, one 10 and the other 5. We were in a university campus, in an empty road, which was safe enough for all the important things... but the littlest one insisted on going astray, and we wanted to reach the building before it went dark. Soon my son came up with the story of a vampire to scare his brother... well, it worked! I played along as that sounded sensible of the time, but the poor little thing was so scared he had nightmares all night... so on the next day we travelled through the same road only to prove him there was no vampire there.
A lot of them were invented for imposing discipline in some form or anotherI would think. When you think about various myths, how many monsters have habits that tend tomake them punish people who do bad and/or stupid things, or are the result of people breaking the taboos of their culture. Things like the pinenut woman and the boogeyman exist to keeps kids obedient to adults. Creatures like werewolves, and vampires are usually the result, in their mythologies, of breaking their cultures religious taboos. Heck, now that I think about it, even modern day Hollywood monsters kind of fit that pattern. The typical psycho-slasher goes after the kids having promiscous sex, the rampaging dinosaurs are the result of people unwisely tampering with genetics, etc.

If I were a less lazy man, I could write a book on this subject...

edited to fix a redundant, redundant sentence
Last edited by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Hexxenhammer »

On the other hand, both of the myths I posted are "just so" stories. Paul Bunyan never punishes or is punished for anything, he is an explanation for something. Same with the Devils Lake sea monster. It's an explanation for why the lake dried up. That thing should come back. In about 1900 you were able to walk across the lake at the bay my parents live by. Now that same bay is over a mile across and over 50 feet deep.
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Post by Luciana »

Nyar:

It also makes us wonder... nowadays, after seeing extensive press coverage on serial killers, and too many Hollywood movies, we have come to realize that human beings are capable of torturing, maiming, disemboweling, dismembering, cannibalizing, etc. a fellow human being.

Part of the mystique surrounding Jack the Ripper is that, up until then, few people realized that one person could set out to kill another for the pleasure of it. But he surely wasn't the first sexual predator out there.

So, earlier than that, if a string of bodies appeared with signs of extreme violence... wouldn't it be sensible to blame a werewolf/vampire/monster of the lake for that? Or tie it directly to the devil? It is much easier to blame a supernatural creature of a wrongdoing than admit that human beings are capable of those actions.

Whenever a serial killer is arrested, there's always someone who says "we never expected this from him". The truth is that you don't expect that from anyone. Weirdness has many shapes, but, when confronted with the idea, people are reluctant to believe that their own neighbor did that. Now, imagine a close-knit society, where everybody knows everybody...

Now I'm almost pitying the werewolves, I'm sure they took a lot of undeserved flack! :)

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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Hexxenhammer wrote:On the other hand, both of the myths I posted are "just so" stories. Paul Bunyan never punishes or is punished for anything, he is an explanation for something. Same with the Devils Lake sea monster. It's an explanation for why the lake dried up. That thing should come back. In about 1900 you were able to walk across the lake at the bay my parents live by. Now that same bay is over a mile across and over 50 feet deep.
I think the difference is that the creatures I was thinking of would be considered monsters in one form or other. Paul Bunyan isn't really a monster, in my book. The Devil's lake sea monster doesn't fit the pattern, but I never said that the pattern was an absolute rule, just a strong tendency. When I think about it, the Chupacabra doesn't punish anyone either (so far as I know), so I guess my thoery doesn't fit for all monster legends, just a lot of them.

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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Luciana wrote:Nyar:

It also makes us wonder... nowadays, after seeing extensive press coverage on serial killers, and too many Hollywood movies, we have come to realize that human beings are capable of torturing, maiming, disemboweling, dismembering, cannibalizing, etc. a fellow human being.

Part of the mystique surrounding Jack the Ripper is that, up until then, few people realized that one person could set out to kill another for the pleasure of it. But he surely wasn't the first sexual predator out there.

So, earlier than that, if a string of bodies appeared with signs of extreme violence... wouldn't it be sensible to blame a werewolf/vampire/monster of the lake for that? Or tie it directly to the devil? It is much easier to blame a supernatural creature of a wrongdoing than admit that human beings are capable of those actions.

Whenever a serial killer is arrested, there's always someone who says "we never expected this from him". The truth is that you don't expect that from anyone. Weirdness has many shapes, but, when confronted with the idea, people are reluctant to believe that their own neighbor did that. Now, imagine a close-knit society, where everybody knows everybody...

Now I'm almost pitying the werewolves, I'm sure they took a lot of undeserved flack! :)
Interesting idea, though you can find lurid stories of all too human mass murderers that pre-date Jack the Ripper by quite a bit. Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory come immediately to mind, as does the likely fictional but often touted as true story of Sawney Bean.

Still, it's an interesting idea, and you may be on to something there. Monsters have always fascinated me, even the human ones. This thread may get me off my butt and start doing some reasearch into why people invent monsters. The more I think about it, the more interesting it sounds.
Last edited by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Hexxenhammer »

Nyarlathotep wrote: Interesting idea, though you can find lurid stories of all too human mass murderers that pre-date Jack the Ripper by quite a bit. Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory come immediately to mind, as does the likely fictional but often touted as true story of [url=http://www.seanachaidh.org/sawney.htm]Sawney Bean[/url.
Are you telling me Sawney Bean wasn't real? I love that story! Damn you! Damn you and your "research" and "facts".
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Hexxenhammer wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote: Interesting idea, though you can find lurid stories of all too human mass murderers that pre-date Jack the Ripper by quite a bit. Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory come immediately to mind, as does the likely fictional but often touted as true story of [url=http://www.seanachaidh.org/sawney.htm]Sawney Bean[/url.
Are you telling me Sawney Bean wasn't real? I love that story! Damn you! Damn you and your "research" and "facts".
Sawney Bean is rather like Santa Claus. He's real if you beleive in your heart :)

Feel better now?

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Post by Hexxenhammer »

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Hexxenhammer wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote: Interesting idea, though you can find lurid stories of all too human mass murderers that pre-date Jack the Ripper by quite a bit. Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory come immediately to mind, as does the likely fictional but often touted as true story of [url=http://www.seanachaidh.org/sawney.htm]Sawney Bean[/url.
Are you telling me Sawney Bean wasn't real? I love that story! Damn you! Damn you and your "research" and "facts".
Sawney Bean is rather like Santa Claus. He's real if you beleive in your heart :)

Feel better now?
If I close my eyes reeeeaaaalllll tight...

Yes, I see Sawney...he's clubbing someone with a shillelagh...now he's dragging the body back to his cave...now the inbred children are eating the corpse's flesh...everything will be all right...
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