Everyone has that crazy uncle that goes too far with the storytelling. Perhaps you thought his myths were crazy, but think again. There are several age-old tales that are actually based in fact. Let’s check out ten of them right now. By the end, you might owe crazy uncle Gunther an apology.
#1. Moby Dick
Let’s get this list started off right with one of the most famous myths around. This great white whale was the fictional beast behind Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. But was it based on a real creature? You bet your blubber it was. Back in the day, a massive whale named “Mocha Dick” terrorized sailors of the coast of Chile.
#2. Dire Wolf
Game of Thrones popularized the dire wolf today, but countless tales were spun about these beasts long before George R.R. Martin graced this Earth. In fact, these colossal wolves actually existed and were said to be rivals of Siberian tigers in size.
Keeping in line with the Game of Thrones reference here, dragons were also real. Actually, they are still real. You can even visit an entire island filled with dragons. Of course, these aren’t the fire-breathing, flying dragons you’ll see on T.V. However, that doesn’t make the Komodo dragon any less frightening. That’s nothing compared to their ancient relative the Megalania. These 26-foot long lizards had a poisonous bite that made its prey bleed to death. Good thing they’re extinct.
#4. The Kraken
For over 2,000 years, multiple tales of a monstrous, tentacled beast exploded around the globe. Scientists liken these stories to the giant squid. Seeing as the giant squid is extremely difficult to photograph even today, it makes sense why this elusive beast is the subject of so many mysteries.
#5. The Siren
In ancient mythology, the siren’s were beautiful women who lured sailors to death with their irresistible calls. While no such mermaid exists, anthropologists believe these sirens were inspired by dugongs. Dugong’s live close to the shore and were the cause of shipwrecks in the past. Hence, a myth was born.
#6. The Chupacabra
Chupacabra “sightings” began popping up in Puerto Rico during the 1990’s making this one of the few “modern myths.” Don’t worry though. Science has an answer for this blood sucking beast. Allegedly, Chupacabra’s are nothing more than wild coyotes suffering from an infectious skin disease, which explains it’s mangled and bloody appearance.
#7. The Griffin
Half-lion, half-eagle, surely, the Griffin is a myth, right? Well, yes and no. Historian Adrienne Mayor believes the griffin’s tale originated from ancient gold miners. Unbeknownst to them, the miners discovered the fossils of a protoceratops which has four legs and a large beak.
Before you get too excited, these aren’t the rainbow loving unicorns we all adore. Sadly, the real unicorn was much less attractive. The Siberian Unicorn looks more like a moose and rhinoceros had a baby, but it’s still technically a unicorn. Also, why don’t we call it a uni-horn? Doesn’t that make more sense?
#9. The Cyclops
The ancient Greeks often based their myths off of the world they lived in. For example, many of these crazy beasts came from bones the Greeks dug up. In the case of the cyclops, historians believe the Greeks stumbled upon the bones of Deinotherium gigantism. This elephant relative has a massive hole in its skull where the trunk would have gone. Hence, a cyclops was born.
Sasquatch (a.k.a Bigfoot) is a North American favorite. This hairy beast of a man has been spotted numerous times in the dense forests of Canada and the U.S. In classic myth tradition, all photos of the beast are poor and grainy. However, that doesn’t stop many from thinking Sasquatch is real and still out there.