R is for… Rosmaputh

The Rosmaputh is a hideous creature found in the Caspian Sea. It has a man’s head covered with bristles and armed with long sharp teeth. It has a long neck, scaleless skin, broad shoulders, and flippers that reach to the tail. Its tongue is shaped like a laurel leaf. When out of the water it screams nightmarishly.

Q is for… Qique

Another of the many monstrous man-eaters of the Shan Hai Jing, the Qique or Qi-magpie looks like a white-headed chicken with rat’s feet and tiger’s claws. It lives on North Shouting Mountain.

P is for… Peteliae

Aelian describes the Peteliae as tiny, pale crabs that form in mud. They have small wings that are incapable of flight, instead generating only enough lift to speed them up a bit. Eating them is good for sciatica.

O is for… Opimachus

The chargol insect of Leviticus begat the ophiomachus (“snake fighter”) of the Septuagint, by way of Aristotle’s account of snake-eating locusts. This in turn begat the opimachus of the Ortus Sanitatis, which merges it with the snake-fighting secretary bird. Did it beget the word “opinicus” as well?

N is for… Nhang

“Nhang” is a Persian word for crocodile. In Armenian it refers to the Biblical crocodile and hippopotamus and a monstrous aquatic spirit that lives in the Euphrates. It can appear as a woman or a seal. It seizes people and drowns them, then drains them of their blood.

M is for… Markupo

The Markupo is a Philippine serpent with a red crest, a thorny tongue, a forked tail, and a pleasant singing voice. It exhales a poison of extraordinary deadliness – if the poison is sprinkled on a plant, the plant will wither and its very shadow will kill anyone it touches.