We all know about dragons, mermaids, and unicorns, but there are plenty of other fantastical beasts handed down through the centuries that don’t get as much as today. Yes, our ancestors had documented bestiaries full of half-understood animals illustrated by people who had never seen them, beasts with unbelievable powers, and made-up creatures from scary tales. Have you ever heard of a Gorgon?
The Gorgon may look like a harmless, scaly cow, but don’t be fooled. “It eateth deadly and poysonfull hearbs, and if at any time he see a Bull, or other creature whereof he is afraid… sendeth forth of his throat a certaine sharpe and horrible breath, which infecteth, and poysoneth the air above his head, so that all living creatures which draw the breath of that aire are greevously afflicted thereby.”
Also read about the Ravenna, the Manticora, the Su (no relation to the Snoo or the Shmoo) and more at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library/Digitized by University of California Libraries)