In all four corners of the globe, there are myths and folklore that have been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries. If you want to learn first-hand about some of the most famous myths and creatures while travelling, then here’s a list of the top destinations to discover around the world:
1 – Spectral Army, England
The Lake District in the North West of England is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its sweeping views. It’s also home to a pathway that was allegedly once marched on by an army of ghost soldiers in 1745 on Midsummer’s Day. A number of witnesses claimed that they saw the ghostly procession march over the panoramic hill of Souther Fell, before vanishing completely, leaving no traces behind.
2 – The Cornish Pirates, England
Cornwall has a wealth of history when it comes to Vikings, Saxons and Pirates, so it’s no wonder why it has so many folkloric tales. One such tale centres around Piper’s Hole, an 80-metre-deep cave, which apparently contains some hidden treasure troves, although legend has it that the caves are still haunted by Cornish ghost pirates..
3 – The MacKenzie Poltergeist, Scotland
Edinburgh is well known for its gothic and Renaissance architecture, and large parts of it resemble a 1920s horror movie, particularly along the old winding streets of Haymarket. Aside from all of the beautiful sights the city has to offer, you can also muster the courage and visit Greyfair’s cemetery, which is the burial spot of Sir George MacKenzie. The place has been dubbed by some as the ‘scariest place on Earth’, and some visitors have reportedly collapsed in fear at the sight of Sir George’s ghost!
4 – Anansi the Spider, Ghana
Perhaps the most famous mythical creature in Western Africa is Anansi, a part-spider, part-human that originates from Ghana. The creature is said to represent wisdom and the fight against slavery, and is heavily featured in other African and Caribbean folklore tales. If you happen to be taking in the beauty of Ghana’s uninterrupted nature, you’ll no doubt come across some locals who’ll fill you in on some of Anansi’s legendary tales.
5 – Yuki-Onna Snow Woman, Japan
Japan’s story telling is second to none, and there’s no shortage of legendary creatures and mythical tales here, such as the terrifying Yuki-Onna. According to ancient Japanese tales, the pale-skinned Yuki-Onna only appears at snowfall to consume the souls of humans, a point you should take into consideration if visiting Japan during the winter!
6 – The Hawkesbury River Monster, Australia
The Hawkesbury River Monster is said to dwell under the famous riverside in New South Wales, and is rumored to be a giant aquatic lizard, similar to the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland. A trip to New South Wales wouldn’t be complete without a midnight stroll along the Hawkesbury River.
7 – The Hawaiian Night Marchers, Hawaii
Hawaii is often seen as a paradisiacal location, with its blue lagoons and stunning scenery, but there also exists a darker side. During your stay on the tropical island, keep your ears peeled for the sounds of drumming at night, as this could be the Hawaiian Night Marchers, a group of spirit warriors armed with spears and helmets.
8 – Jaguar: God of Fire, Guatemala
Guatemala is Central America’s most diverse country, with many geological treasures to discover, including vast rainforests and breathtaking volcanoes. The country is also steeped in folklore, and if you happen to visit during the holy week of Semana Santa, you’ll be sure to learn some fascinating tales about Jaguar, the God of Fire, a cat-like being engulfed in flames.
9 – The Huldufolk, Faroe Islands
According to ancient Danish mythology, landslides, illnesses and crop diseases are caused by disgruntled elves known as Huldufolk. A trip over to the autonomous Faroe Islands will definitely leave you feeling like you’re in a mystical land, especially on St. Olaf’s Day, where folklore is celebrated from morning until night,
10 – Koschei the Deathless, Russia
The skeletal king, Koschei the Deathless, is infamous within Slavic folklore for kidnapping young women, and the only way to defeat him is to destroy his soul, which is located on Buyan, a disappearing island! You’ll notice many folkloric influences during your stay in Russia, particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg.