Introduction – From myth to reality

In the face of a natural world of infinite wonder, humanity found it necessary to create beings of their own. These are the creatures of the imagination, invented to explain phenomena, provide cautionary tales, or simply amuse the listeners. Some are garbled accounts of animals too bizarre to comprehend, others are divine attendants, lurking mischief-makers, or even helpful servants.

Our desire for order is almost as strong. Everything has to be described, classified, labeled, and pigeon-holed; there had to be a reason for everything. Thus the medieval bestiary was born, providing both moral guidance and a catalogue of what was known and unknown.

Since then, our interest in catalogues of the bizarre and unusual has never truly waned. J. L. Borges, in writing his Book of Imaginary Beings, set the foundations for the modern bestiary, and others have followed suit.

We will never truly be able to catalogue every last folkloric and mythical entity. It is an exercise in futility, the interest of the scholar and the artist degenerating into obsessive collection of the smallest details. While acknowledging this fact, it still doesn’t hurt to try. This work, which will be updated gradually, is the culmination of a deep interest in the unnatural world combined with years of research. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together.