In the days of yore, tales of mythological beasties and monsters were told around campfires or in the dark corners of dingy, desolate taverns. Nowadays, sightings and stories of legendary monsters exist within the realms of the internet. Weird videos and ambiguous photos of cryptids and paranormal creatures abound, but despite this, we're still no closer to conclusively proving or disproving their existence. Let's take a look at six close modern day encounters with mythological creatures.
1. The Lagarfljotsormurinn
Iceland has a slightly different approach to mythological creatures than most countries. You see, beasts, monsters and strange creatures have long been part of Icelandic history - whether it's the Kraken, Ziphius or invisible elves - and they play such an important role they've even been known to stop the construction of roads.
Take for example the Lagarfljotsormurinn - a creature whose name is actually easier to spell than to pronounce. This aquatic monster is often seen as synonymous with Scotland's more famous Loch Ness Monster, and like Nessie it is known to inhabit a particular body of water, Lake Lagarfljot near Egilsstadir in eastern Iceland. The creature, also known as the 'wyrm' is a long, sea serpent-type monster which has been told in tales since the 14th century.
In 2012, a Youtuber uploaded a video of a mysterious serpent-shaped figure apparently moving through the water. Check it out below:
The video caused such a stir that the local government formed a truth commission to determine whether this was indeed the famous Lagarfljotsormurinn. Eventually, seven of the thirteen panel members concluded it was actual proof of the beast. Skeptics, however, argue that it is nothing but a fishing net laden with junk. Furthermore, Finnish researcher Miisa McKeown also claimed the object isn't actually moving in the water at all. Instead, it has become snagged on something and is simply remaining stationary.
Does this prove the Lagarfljotsormurinn?
2. Chinese Dragons
Dragons are known to exist in lore throughout the world, but they are perhaps most prevalent in China. However, whereas most countries and cultures see dragons as purely mythological beasts, some Chinese residents claim to have spotted the serpent like creatures flying through the sky.
For example, in August 2014, students at Jilin University claimed to have videoed a massive 33ft long dragon in the sky over their campus. They claimed it has four legs and a tail, although this is hard to make out in the video. However, another student provided some more phone camera photos which appear to add more detail to the phenomenon. Check out both below:
Once again those pesky skeptics claim this is nothing but a natural optic illusion caused by a recent tornado and sandstorm.
Does this prove the existence of dragons?
3. Cornish Pixie
Cornwall in England is famous for two things: Delicious pastry-based savory treats and tiny fairy creatures. Until recently, most rational Brits thought only the former actually existed, that was at least until an anonymous bird enthusiast found the remains of a pixie in a falcon nest.
The man, who called in to an alternative arts podcast in the UK, claimed he is a researcher who investigates falcon nests to check breeding numbers and prevent egg theft. He stated that on one occasion he came across some strange bones which seemed to belong to a tiny humanoid. Check them out below:
So, what is really going on here? Well, it seems most likely this skeleton is a hoax. There is no definitive proof, but the host of the podcast is none other than Dan Baines, a man who was implicated in a widely-reported mummified fairy hoax in Ireland in 2007. Just saying.
Does this prove the existence of pixies?
Although mermaids are perhaps most often associated with Denmark, it seems they recently all decided to head to the warmer waters off the coast of Israel. The town of Kiryat Yam has recently become a hot destination for would-be mermaid spotters - with many tourists claiming they've sighted the fishy-humanoids.
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a creature, which resembles a young girl crossed with a dolphin, performing acrobatic tricks before disappearing back into the Mediterranean Sea. The frenzy over the sightings reached such a fever pitch that the local council offered $1 million to anyone who could conclusively prove the existence of mermaids. In 2010, an NBC film crew also headed to the area to try and film the mermaid, however they were unable to trace it beneath the waves. Despite this, the head of the team of researchers claimed the mermaid might indeed be real.
In 2013, it seemed like the world had found the proof it needed when the following video, titled 'The Mermaid that was Caught on tape in Kiryat Yam, Israel' was uploaded to the internet. Check it out below:
Unfortunately, this footage has also conclusively been proven as fake. It is fact from an Animal Planet mockumentary about mermaids.
Does this prove the existence of mermaids?
5. The Taniwha
The Taniwha is kind of a big deal in its native New Zealand. Some Maori tribes believe it is a dragon-like guardian spirit, while others believe it is nefarious and evil. Whatever it actually is, adorable Kiwi children now sing songs about it in school, while fears of disturbing a taniwha delayed the building of a railway tunnel in Auckland.
In late 2014, New Zealand engineer Pita Witehira was using Google Earth to check out his property around Oke Bay on New Zealand's North Island, when he saw a strange shape in the water. He told The Daily Mail:
"The Native Maori would call this a taniwha as it appears not to be a whale and it is far too big to be a shark. It is moving too fast and turning too sharply to be a whale."
Take a look at the supposed beastie below:
Some have claimed he is merely looking at the wake of a boat, however Witehira has dismissed this, claiming the picture does not show the white foam usually created by a motorboat. Skeptics hit back saying white foam would not be typical for a small recreational boat, while another identified the object at the head of the wake as a catamaran traveling at around seven knots.
Does this prove the existence of the taniwha?
These horned horses were rather important back in ye olde times. So much so, Scotland ended up selecting the unicorn as its national animal. Nowadays we see unicorns as soft, lovable creatures who prance around on rainbows looking all lovely, but during the medieval period they were known for their viciousness and tendency to kill hunters.
Unicorns aren't exactly sighted very often, but back in 2014 an eagle-eyed walker spotted and filmed one in the wilds of England. They were obviously so shocked they had real trouble keeping the camera still. Take a look below:
So are unicorns real? Well, if you ask me this is either a hoax, or quite simply the horse's ears. But what do I know?
Does this prove unicorns?