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Monsters

Monsters

On the borderland between superstition, occultism, and science are the many monsters, human or animal, reported from many parts of the world throughout human history. The word "monster," from the Latin monstrum, implies a warning or portent. The term is used derogatorily in reference to malformed or misshapen animals and humans, as well as creatures of great size. Because of the awe and horror excited by monstrous births, they were traditionally regarded as an omen or a sign of God's wrath with a wicked world. Many street ballads of the sixteenth century moralized about monstrous animals or malformed human beings. Today, persons born with bodies outside the social normsgiants, dwarfs, and Siamese twinsare studied under the scientific label of "teratology." Deformed and limbless children are now known to be caused by rare genetic factors or by the use of such drugs as thalidomide in pregnancy.

In modern times, much of the superstitious awe surrounding legendary monsters has passed into the world of fiction, and talented novelists have created images of scientific or technological doom like Godzilla and Frankenstein, the evil from the subconscious like the vampire Dracula, or the product of unrestrained animal-like urges, Dr. Jekyll's Mr. Hyde. Such literary monsters have been powerfully represented in horror movies, which have presented increasingly terrifying creatures from the edge of civilization and human experienceswamps, ocean depths, and outer space. Such fictional monsters undoubtedly owe their power to the eternal fascination of the clash between good and evil in human affairs and the old theological themes of judgment and damnation.

Few stories achieved this metaphysical terror so powerfully as Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which the possibilities of evil inherent in all human beings are released from the kindly Dr. Jekyll in the shape of the demonic Mr. Hyde. Stevenson also varied this theme in his short story Markheim, where a debauched murderer is confronted by an angelic alter ego.

Mysterious creatures reported from isolated places, having an existence somewhere between myth and natural history, continue to fascinate and attract while playing on subconscious anxieties. The discovery by Western scientists of the gorilla and the colocynth have given substantive hope to the idea that some of the legends of monsters may refer to actual survivors of ancient species. This has generated a new field of research, cryptozoology.

Loch Ness Monster

A large, aquatic, dinosaur-like creature is said to inhabit the large area of Loch Ness in Scotland, a lake about 24 miles long and a mile wide with a depth of from 433 to 754 feet. Since a monster was reported in ancient Gaelic legends and in a biography of St. Columba circa 565 C.E. , it is supposed that there may be a colony of monsters.

Modern interest dates from the 1930s, when a number of witnesses reported sightings. The creature has been photographed repeatedly and even filmed, though some of the more frequently reproduced films have been shown to be frauds. It appears to be about 45 feet long, of which 10 feet is head and neck, 20 feet the body, and 15 feet the tail. The head is small and sometimes lifted out of the water on the neck, high above the body. The skin is rough and dark brown in color, and in movement the creature sometimes appears to contort its body into a series of humps. It can move at speeds of around 13 knots, and in general appearance resembles a prehistoric plesiosaurus.

On April 8, 1976, the monster made the front page of the New York Times, which featured records of an underwater camera using a sonar echo technique. Known in Britain affectionately as "Nessie," in the mid 1970s the creature was given the formal name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx by naturalist Sir Peter Scott in an attempt to secure official protection. A British Act of Parliament requires that any rare species of animal qualifying for conservation must have a scientific name.

The Loch Ness Monster is the most famous of a number of reported lake monsters, such as the similar creature reported at Lough Muck in Donegal. In other parts of England and Scotland, reported creatures include Morgawr in the area of Falmouth, Cornwall, and Mhorag (or Morag) in Loch Morar, West Inverness, Scotland. There are numerous reports of sightings, and some photographs. In 1910, a plesiosaurus-type creature was reported in Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia.

Interest in the Loch Ness monster was stimulated by reports of the decomposing body of a sea creature caught by the Japanese trawler "Zuiyo Maru" about 30 miles east of Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 25, 1977. The carcass was about 30 feet long, weighed two tons, and was raised from a depth of approximately 900 feet. For a time, it was suspended above the trawler deck by a crane, but the captain feared that the evil-smelling fluid dripping from the carcass would pollute his catch of whip-tail fish and ordered the creature to be dumped overboard. Before this was done, Michihiko Yano, an official of the Taiyo Fishery Company aboard the vessel, took four color photographs and made a sketch of the carcass, after taking measurements. He described the creature as like a snake with a turtle's body and with front and rear flippers and a tail six feet in length. This suggests a creature resembling the plesiosaurus, which flourished from 200 to 100 million years ago.

When Taiyo Fisheries executives heard about the unusual catch, they radioed their trawlers around New Zealand, ordering them to try to recover the carcass, but without success. Japanese journalists named the creature "The New Nessie" after Scotland's famous Loch Ness Monster, and a large Tokyo department store planned to market stuffed dolls of the creature. Fujior Yasuda of the faculty of fisheries at Tokyo University has examined Yano's photographs and concluded that the creature was definitely not a species of fish, and Toshio Shikama, a Yokohama University paleontologist, was convinced that the creature was not a fish or a mammoth seal. For reports of this incident see the London Daily Telegraph (July 21, 1977), London Times (July 21, 1977), and Fortean Times (no. 22, summer 1977).

Yeti (or Abominable Snowman)

The Yeti is a giant humanoid creature that has long been part of the folklore of the high Himalayan region in Asia. The popular name "Abominable Snowman" derives from the Tibetan term Metoh-Kangmi or "Wild Man of the Snows." Other names in the Himalayan regions of Kashmir and Nepal are Jungli-admi or Sogpa "Wild Men of the Woods." There are many stories told by Sherpas of the giant Yeti that carried away human children or even adults. In 1951, such stories suddenly attracted scientific interest when a photograph of a large Yeti footprint taken by mountaineer Eric Shipton on an Everest Reconnaissance Expedition appeared.

The Abominable Snowman had been reported by westerners as early as 1832 in an article by B. H. Hodgson for the initial volume of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The first European to see Yeti footprints was Major L. A. Waddell, who found them in the snows of northeastern Sikkim at 17,000 feet in 1889, but believed them to be tracks of the great yellow snow bear (Ursus isabellinus ). Additional reports filtered back to the west through the twentieth century.

In 1925, N. A. Tombazi, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, saw a large humanoid creature walking upright at a distance of 300 yards in Sikkim, and afterward examined footprints in the snow. In February 1942, Slavomir Rawicz escaped from a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp with six companions and crossed the Himalayas to India. In his book The Long Walk (1956), Rawicz claimed that he saw two Yeti-type creatures, eight feet tall, in an area between Bhutan and Sikkim.

In the 1950s, various expeditions to track down the Yeti failed to produce any tangible evidence of its existence, but in 1972 a Sherpa named Da Temba saw a 4'6" creature, possibly a small Yeti, in Nepal. The cumulative effect of the large number of reports of Yeti sightings from Sherpas reinforces the possibility that there is a large humanoid creature in the Himalayas, but the area is a vast one and the creature could be even more elusive than the Loch Ness monster.

Bigfoot

Other creatures of a Yeti type have been reported frequently from different areas of the world, notably isolated regions of the Pacific Northwest. The popular term "Bigfoot" seems to have been a newspaper invention for the creature named "Sasquatch" by the Salish Indians of southwest British Columbia. The Huppa tribe in the Klamath mountains of Northern California use the name Oh-mah-'ah, sometimes shortened to Omah, while the name Seeahtiks is used in Vancouver Island.

It is interesting to note that reports of Yeti-type creatures cover a fairly consistent trail through the remote mountainous regions of Asia across to similar regions in Alaska, Canada, and North America, suggesting a rare and elusive species distributed over similar isolated areas. In the Russian areas of Asia, such creatures have been named Almast, Alma or Shezhnyy Chelovek. Bigfoot has been frequently reported in Canadian and North American territories from the early nineteenth century on. In modern times, construction workers in Northern California claimed to have seen a large ape-like creature, eight to ten feet tall, in Bluff Creek in October 1958. It walked upright and left large footprints, which indicated a creature weighing 800 pounds. Investigations were stimulated after the widespread showing of a 16mm color film supposedly of the creature taken by Roger Patterson, a rancher in Bluff Creek, California, on October 7, 1967. This film shows what appears to be an erect ape-like figure at a distance of some 30 feet.

Such creatures were systematically investigated by Irish explorer and big-game hunter Peter Byrne, who organized a three-year search in 1971. He traveled many thousands of miles between Nepal, Canada, and the United States, interviewing hundreds of individuals and evaluating claimed sightings of Bigfoot. Byrne visited Patterson before his death in 1972 and found his story and the film convincing. Byrne, like fellow researchers, was repeatedly distracted by the likes of the 1968 prankster in Colville, Washington, who tied 16 inch foot-shaped plywood boards to his feet and made tracks in the woods. He sent a photograph to Peter Byrne, who dismissed it as an obvious fake. Meanwhile an ordinance in Skamania County, Washington, prohibits wanton slaying of ape-creatures, with substantial penalties.

Further interest in Bigfoot was generated in 1982 by the sighting reported by Paul Freeman, an employee of the U.S. Forest Service. He came face to face with the creature at a distance of no more than 200 feet. Both fled in fear of the other. Interest in Bigfoot continues and over the last generation several research centers such as the Bigfoot Information Center and the now defunct Sasquatch Investigations of Mid-America were established. While Forteans have kept interest in Bigfoot alive, the dearth of definitive encounters with the creature have caused many to doubt the authenticity of the legends.

Sources:

Baumann, Elwood David. Bigfoot: America's Abominable Snowman. New York: Franklin Watts, 1976. Reprint, New York: Dell, 1976.

Bord, Janet, and Colin Bord. Alien Animals. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1981.

. The Bigfoot Casebook. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1982.

Byrne, Peter. The Search for Big Foot: Monster, Myth or Man. Washington, DC: Acropolis Books, 1975. Reprint, New York: Pocket Books, 1976.

Campbell, Elizabeth M., and David Solomon. The Search for Morag. London: Tom Stacey, 1972.

Clark, Jerome. Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Phenomena. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.

Costello, Peter. In Search of Lake Monsters. London: Garnsteon Press; New York: Coward, 1974. Reprint, London: Panther, 1975.

Dinsdale, Tim. Loch Ness Monster. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961.

Farson, Daniel, and Angus Hall. Mysterious Monsters. London: Aldus Books, 1978.

Florescu, Radu. In Search of Frankenstein. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1975.

Gould, Rupert T. The Case for the Sea-Serpent. London: Philip Allan, 1930. Reprint, Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1969.

. The Loch Ness Monster and Others. London: Geoffrey Bles; New York: Citadel Press, 1976.

Halpin, Marjorie, and Michael M. Ames, eds. Manlike Monsters on Trial: Early Records and Modern Evidence. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, 1980.

Heuvlmans, Bernard. In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents. New York: Hill and Wang, 1868. Reprint, London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1968.

. On the Track of Unknown Animals. New York: Hill and Wang, 1958. Rev. ed. 1965. Reprint, London: Paladin Books, 1970.

Hodgson, B. H. "On the Mammalia of Nepal." Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 1 (1832).

Mackal, Roy Paul. The Monster of Loch Ness. Chicago: Swallow Press, 1976.

McNally, Raymont T., and Radu Florescu. In Search of Dracula: A True History of Dracula and Vampire Legends. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1972. Rev. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Meredith, Dennis L. Search at Loch Ness: The Expedition of the New York Times and The Academy of Applied Science. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1977.

Meurger, Michel, with Claude Gagnon. Lake Monster Traditions: A Cross Cultural Analysis. London: Fortean Tomes, 1988.

Moon, Mary. Ogopogo: The Okanagan Mystery. London: David & Charles, 1977.

Napier, John. Bigfoot: The Sasquatch and Yeti in Myth and Reality. London: Jonathan Cape, 1972. Reprint, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1973. Reprint, London: Abacus, 1976.

Price, Vincent, and V. B. Price. Monsters. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1981.

Sanderson, Ivan T. Abominable Snowman: Legend Comes to Life. New York: Chilton, 1961.

Scott, Peter. "Naming the Loch Ness Monster." Nature (December 11, 1975).

Shackley, Myra. Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma. London: Thames & Hudson, 1983.

Thompson, C. J. S. The Mystery and Lore of Monsters. London, 1930. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1968. New York: Citadel Press, 1970.

Witchell, Nicholas. The Loch Ness Story. London, 1974. Rev. ed. London: Penguin Books, 1975.

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Monsters

453. Monsters

  1. Abominable Snowman enigmatic yeti of the Himalayas. [Tibetan Lore: Wallechinsky, 443]
  2. Aegaeon gigantic monster with 100 arms, 50 heads. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 5]
  3. Ahuizotl small creature with monkey hands and feet, a hand at the end of its long tail. [Mex. Myth.: Leach]
  4. Ammit part hippopotamus, part lion, with jaws like a crocodiles. [Egypt. Myth.: Leach]
  5. Amphisbaena two-headed monster, either scaled like a snake or feathered; one head remains awake while the other sleeps. [Roman Myth.: White]
  6. Anubis jackal-headed god. [Egypt. Myth.: Jobes, 105]
  7. Argus hundred-eyed giant who guarded Io. [Gk. Myth. and Rom. Lit.: Metamorphoses ]
  8. banshee spirit with one nostril, a large projecting front tooth, and webbed feet. [Irish Folklore: Briggs, 14]
  9. basilisk lizard supposed to kill with its gaze. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Handbook, 93]
  10. beasts of the Apocalypse one has ten horns, seven heads, and ten crowns on the horns; the other has two horns and speaks like a dragon. [N.T.: Revelation 13:1,11]
  11. bonnacon Asian monster with bulls head and horses body, and fatally incendiary excrement. [Gk. & Rom. Myth.: White]
  12. bread-and-butter fly its head is a lump of sugar, its wings are made of thin slices of buttered bread, and its body is a crust. [Br. Lit.: Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass ]
  13. Briareus, Cottus, and Gyges the three Hecatoncheires (or Centimani), giants each having 50 heads and 100 arms. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 118]
  14. Brontes cruel thunder-maker of the three Cyclopes. [Gk. Myth.: Pan finder, 47; Jobes, 251, 400]
  15. cactus cat has thorny hair and ears, knifelike leg bones, and a branched tail. [Am. Folklore: Botkin]
  16. Cacus fire-breathing giant monster. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 49]
  17. Caliban misshapen missing link. [Br. Lit.: The Tempest ]
  18. capricornus half goat, half fish. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 450]
  19. Cecrops the traditional founder of Athens was half man, half serpent. [Gk. Myth.: Hamilton, 393]
  20. Cerberus three-headed watchdog of Hades. [Gk. Myth.: Avery, 270]
  21. Charybdis Poseidons daughter; monster of the deep. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ; Rom. Lit.: Aeneid ]
  22. chimera mythical creature: goat-lion-dragon; vomited flames. [Classical Myth.: LLEI, I: 325]
  23. cockatrice half-serpent, half-cock; kills with glance. [Heraldry: Brewer Dictionary, 243]
  24. Cyclopes Poseidons sons, each with one eye in the center of his forehead. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ]
  25. divis devils shown as cat-headed men with horns and hooves. [Pers. Myth.: Barber & Riches]
  26. Echidna half nymph, half snake; never grew old. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 85]
  27. Fenris frightful wolf, grew sinisterly in size and strength. [Scand. Myth.: LLEI, I: 328]
  28. Frankensteins monster created from parts of corpses. [Br. Lit.: Frankenstein ]
  29. Geryon celebrated monster with three united bodies or three heads. [Rom. Lit.: Aeneid ]
  30. Gorgons monsters with serpents for hair and brazen claws. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 114; Gk. Lit.: Iliad ]
  31. Grendel giant in human shape; lives in a murky pond. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf ]
  32. griffin fabulous animal, part eagle, part lion. [Gk. Myth. and Art: Hall, 143; Ital. Lit.: Purgatory ]
  33. harpy foul-smelling creature; half-vulture, half-woman. [Gk. Myth.: Mercatante, 212213]
  34. hippocampus fabulous marine creature; half fish, half horse. [Rom. Myth. and Art: Hall, 154]
  35. hippogriff offspring of griffin and mare. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Furioso ]
  36. Hydra seven-headed water snake; ravaged Lerna, near Argos. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Hall, 149]
  37. Jabberwock frightful burbling monster with flaming eyes. [Br. Lit.: Carroll Through the Looking-Glass ]
  38. Kirtimukha the Face of Glory, depicted as a lions head, without body or limbs. [Hindu Myth.: Barber & Riches]
  39. Kraken giant snakelike sea creature. [Dan. Folklore: Merca tante, 194195]
  40. Ladon dragon who guarded the Apples of the Hesperides. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 145]
  41. Lamia scaly, four-legged, hermaphrodite creature. [Br. Folklore: Briggs, 260262]
  42. Leviathan frighteningly powerful sea serpent. [O.T.: Job 41; Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isaiah 27:1]
  43. Loch Ness monster Nessie; sea serpent said to inhabit Loch Ness. [Scot. Folklore: Wallechinsky, 443]
  44. Medusa the only mortal Gorgon. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 161]
  45. Midgard serpent monstrous serpent that encircles the earth. [Norse Myth.: Leach, 723]
  46. Minotaur beast with bulls head and mans body. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 714]
  47. mock turtle turtle with a calfs head, hooves, and tail. [Br. Lit.: Lewis Carroll Alices Adventures in Wonderland ]
  48. Naga semi-divine beings with serpent bodies and human heads of terrible and ferocious aspect. [Hindu Myth.: Leach]
  49. Nicor Scandinavian sea monster; whence, Old Nick. [Br. Folklore: Espy, 44]
  50. Nidhogg terrible beast in Nastrond; gnaws ashtree, Yggdrasil. [Norse Myth.: Wheeler, 259]
  51. nix or nixie siren-like water-sprite, sometimes fish-tailed, that lured men to drown. [Teutonic Myth.: Barber & Riches]
  52. opinicus fabulous amalgam of dragon, camel, and lion. [Heraldry: Brewer Dictionary, 782]
  53. Orc monstrous sea creature; devours human beings. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Furioso ]
  54. Orthos two-headed dog; brother of Cerberus. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 186]
  55. python huge serpent which sprang from stagnant waters after the Deluge. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 227]
  56. Questing Beast serpent-headed leopard that emitted loud noises. [Br. Lit.: Malory Le Morte dArthur ]
  57. roc white bird of enormous size. [Arab. Lit.: Arabian Nights, Second Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor]
  58. Sagittary half man, half beast with eyes of fire. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Handbook, 947]
  59. Sasquatch giant hairy hominid said to lurk about the Pacific Northwest. [Am. Hist.: Payton, 601]
  60. Scylla half beautiful maiden, half hideous dog. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ; Rom. Lit.: Metamorphoses ]
  61. siren half-woman, half-bird, enticed seamen to their death with song. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 934]
  62. 666 number of the blasphemous beast with seven heads and ten horns. [N.T.: Revelation 1314]
  63. Sphinx head and breasts of a woman, body of a dog, and wings of a bird. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 246; Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex ]
  64. Typhoeus hundred-headed beast killed by Jovian thunderbolt. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 1111]
  65. Typhon tallest of the giants; his arms and legs ended in serpents. [Gk. Myth: Benét, 1034]
  66. werewolf a man transformed into a wolf. [Eur. Folklore: Benét, 1082]

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monsters

monsters The meaning of the word ‘monster’ has undergone drastic variations throughout history. The word involves a twofold Latin root — ‘monstrum’, from monere (to warn) or monstrare (to exhibit) — and was in principle the equivalent of the Greek teras, meaning sign or warning. The ‘monsters’ of the classical world were thus those signs, not necessarily of human or animal origin, that were clearly identifiable as such, and teratology, the science that studied those signs, was simply a different form of divination. It must be emphasized that it was precisely because of their unusualness that monsters were defined as being clear and distinguishable warnings.

It is important to take into consideration that during the Middle Ages a distinction was drawn between monstrous individuals and monstrous races or species, and that the members of these particular groups, who were first given a systematic classification by Pliny the Elder (23–79 ad), qualified as ‘monsters’ mainly as a consequence of their unusualness. They were monsters not so much because they were deformed, but because they were rare and extraordinary. From this point of view, a monster was a curiosity, a portent, an unusual sight.

The Renaissance saw the first serious attempt to bring the ambiguous nature of the word ‘monster’ to an end, and to bring the study of teratology within the scope of anatomical investigations. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century treatises on monsters the senses of ‘monster’ both as a divine or unnatural sign or omen, and as an unusual or curious phenomenon, were seriously challenged. According to Martin Weinrich, a German naturalist who wrote a treatise on monsters at the end of the sixteenth century, not every phenomenon that threatened the natural order could legitimately be called ‘a monster’. Teratology, on the other hand, could no longer be defined as a discourse related primarily to unusual events. It was suggested, by the French surgeon Jean Riolan and the Italian naturalist Ulysses Aldrovandi, that the new teratological science claimed to understand monstrosity exclusively in terms of physical deformity. By defining monsters as natural beings, it became possible to establish a classification of potential deformities based, for the first time, on anatomical criteria. But this new attitude towards the realm of monsters was not without its difficulties. First, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century anatomists, naturalists, and surgeons proposed so many different definitions of the word ‘monster’, on many occasions upon examination of a single and isolated case, that far too often there was no possibility of reaching a consensus about a ‘monstrous’ nature. Second, in order to separate the study of monsters from the popular imagery — still anchored during the Enlightenment in medieval and Renaissance sources — the enlightened teratologist understood that abnormalities had to be established as fact before any further investigation could legitimately take place. This lack of agreement in the definition of the term ‘monster’ helps to explain why the study of physical abnormalities was almost strictly confined to a collection of examples or instances during the eighteenth century. For example, in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society between 1665 and 1780, there were over 100 communications regarding forms of ‘monstrosity’, and the French Academy of Sciences published another 130 papers on the subject between 1699 and 1770.

A transition from the understanding of monsters as beings ‘from outside’ to seeing them as ‘deviations from within’ led in the mid nineteenth century to teratology becoming a modern science, whose main concern was no longer the enquiry into the nature and origins of monsters but the study of major physical abnormalities or malformations in humans or animals. In fact, when the French naturalist Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire published his Traité de Teratologie — the first important milestone in the contemporary history of teratology — in 1832, he explicitly mentioned that this new teratological science should refrain from using the word ‘monster’ to describe its new object of study. From the mid nineteenth century, those who suffered from major or minor physical abnormalities, no matter how serious or unusual their condition, were no longer termed ‘monsters’ in scientific literature. However, many of these, like Siamese twins for example, were still referred to as ‘monsters’ in the ‘freak shows’ and circuses popular during the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries.

Javier Moscoso


See also congenital abnormalities; freaks.

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monsters and imaginary beasts

monsters and imaginary beasts: The mythologies and legends of ancient and modern cultures teem with an enormous variety of monsters and imaginary beasts. A great number of these are composites of different existing animals and of human beings and animals. Among the animal composites are the Babylonian winged bulls and leopards; the Hindu winged elephants; the Greek three-headed dog Cerberus; the Western European griffin, with a lion's body and eagle's wings; the dragon, with a winged reptilian body and fiery breath; and the Chimera, with a goat's body, lion's head, and lizard's tail. Examples of human-animal composites abound in Greek mythology; the Triton, with a man's head and torso and a sea-serpent's tail; the Siren, with a woman's head and a bird's body or a woman's head and torso and a fish's tail; the satyr, with a man's head and torso, a ram's horns, legs, and hooves, and a horse's ears and tail; the sphinx, with the body of a lion and a woman's head and bust; and the centaur, with a man's head and torso and a horse's body. Most such creatures represent evil or at least mischievous forces. The restless souls of the living dead are embodied, in ubiquitous legends, by vampires. Equally grisly and widespread is the werewolf legend (see lycanthropy), in which a man is transformed by night into a wolf that devours human beings. A few imaginary creatures are benign, e.g., the gentle unicorn, a medieval European symbol of chastity and the power of love. The Native North Americans, particularly the Eskimo, who have no epic hero, have created a vast panorama of monsters, ogres, bodiless heads, cannibal mothers, and semihuman beasts. The Zuñi and Pueblo peoples respect many beasts that are considered curers of illness, guardians, and intercessors. Most of these spirits are associated with actual animals. In the folklore of the United States a host of fantastic, impossible "fearsome critters" have been developed. There are the prock, also called the sidehill dodger or the gwinter, an animal with shorter legs on one side that enable it to keep its balance while feeding on steep mountains; the augerino, an underground creature in Colorado that lets the water out of irrigation ditches; and the glitch of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that is responsible for general chaos. Legendary monsters and beasts, which appear to be a feature common to all cultures, are the subject of considerable scholarly study.

See S. Thompson, Tales of the North American Indians (1929); R. Barber and A. Riches, A Dictionary of Fabulous Beasts (1972); B. Evslin, Monsters of Mythology (25 vol., 1987–90).

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Monsters

278. Monsters

See also 286. MYTHOLOGY .

dysmorphophobia
an abnormal dread of deformity, usually in others.
monstrosity
1. the state or quality of being monstrous.
2. a monster or monsterlike thing or person. monstrous , adj.
prodigiosity
1. the state, quality, or phenomenon of being immense, wondrous, or extraordinary.
2. a prodigious thing, person, or event.
teratism
a love of monsters or marvels. Also called teratosis .
teratoid
Biology. resembling a monster.
teratology
1. the writing or collecting of fantasies containing monsters and prodigies.
2. Biology. the scientific study of monstrosities or abnormal formations in plants or animals. teratologist , n. teratological , adj.
teratophobia
an abnormal fear of monsters or of giving birth to a monster.
teratosis
teratism.

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Monsters

Monsters

Monsters peer and prowl, roar and ravage in myths and legends the world over. They are the stuff of nightmares, the looming presences outside the comforting circle of firelight, the menacing shapes glimpsed moving through the shadows of trees or in deep water. Monsters are creatures that represent everything that is fearful about the natural world and the darker corners of human nature. Mythological monsters inspire dread and embody evil. They challenge heroes and heroines to prove their worth in order to advance in their quests or simply to survive.


Types and Characteristics of Monsters. Monsters are by definition unnatural, something that should not exist. The word monster comes from the Latin monstrum, meaning a sign of future events. The Romans used the word to refer to bizarrely unusual eventssuch as a rain of mud or the birth of a two-headed calfthat were believed to show divine displeasure or a troubled future.

The world's mythmakers and storytellers have created hundreds of kinds of monsters, but all share two qualities. First, monsters are not human. Even those that look and act to some extent like people are not fully human. Second, monsters are hostile to people, enemies of the human world.

A monster may be a creature grown unnaturally large and strong. Fenrir, the immense world-devouring wolf of the Norse* gods, was so large that when he opened his mouth his jaws spanned the gulf between earth and sky. According to the Ambundu people of Angola, the hero Sudika-mbambi slew two giant creatures in the underworld: the great serpent Kinioka kia Tumba and the monstrous crocodile Kimbiji kia Malenda.

Many monsters are hybrids, the offspring of unions between deities or demons and animals or people. Hindu myths tell of Bhutas, monstrous beings born of unions between demons and ghosts. They hover over sleeping people and drop disease into their ears. In Chinese myth, Lei Jen Zu was the son of the thunder dragon and the earth. The egg from which he hatched was formed when lightning struck the earth. He started out as a human but then changed into a green-faced dragon with boars' tusks and an anteater's snout.

underworld l and of the dead

deity god or goddess

Monsters may be composites that combine the features of several kinds of beings. The Chimaera of Greek myth, for example, had the head of a lion, the body and legs of a goat, and the tail of a

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

snake. Another Greek mythological monster, the Lamia, occurred in various forms, one of which was a mixture of woman, rabid dog, cow, and mule. Even monsters that are not hybrids are generally deformed or hideous. The Flying Head of the Native American Iroquois people is a huge, hungry head with wings of flapping hair, fiery eyes, and knife-blade teeth. Palraiyuk, an Eskimo water monster, has two faces, two spiked tails, and three stomachs. Roman mythology features Cacus, a creature with an enormous spider body and three fire-breathing heads, who hunts at night for anything warm-blooded.

Some monsters combine human and animal qualities. The tengu of Japanese mythology, mysterious and mischievous supernatural creatures, are part human and part bird. Eastern and northern European cultures have legends of werewolves, beings that look like humans but take wolf form when the moon is full. Such shape shifting, or shape changing, is a common feature of monster legends. The Chaga, a Bantu people of Tanzania, have a tale about a young woman who met a handsome man at a village dance. She married him, but after they left her village together, she discovered that he was really a werewolf.

Not all such beings are hostile to people, at least not all the time. For example, the centaurs of Greek myth, creatures half human and half horse, were sometimes warlike and sometimes friendly. Dragons, the fire-breathing serpents of myth and legend, also appear benevolent on occasion, as do giants. The term monster is generally reserved for the destructive and cruel creatures who attack and torment people.

Many mythic monsters prey on human beings. The Aborigines of northern Australia have stories about the Namorodo, skeletons that fly by night. They create more Namorodo by sucking the flesh from living people and turning them into arid skeletons. The vampires of European legend also feed on humans by sucking their blood. The fearsome Minotaur of Greek mythology had to be fed a steady diet of young humans. Grendel, one of the monsters in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, preyed on the warriors of Denmark. Native American mythology, too, includes many eaters of human flesh. Among these are the Hantceciitehi or cannibal dwarfs of the Arapaho people, the Dzoavits or cannibal giants of the Shoshone, and dozens of people-eating giants, babies, grandmothers, water monsters, and more.


supernatural related to forces beyond the normal world; magical or miraculous

benevolent desiring good for others

epic long poem about legendary or historical heroes, written in a grand style

Monsters and Myths. The Orokaiva people of the Pacific island of New Guinea have a myth that includes the themes of shape shifting, unnatural union, and cannibalism. A monster named Totoima married a human woman. He was in human form at first, but when his wife had children, he turned into a wild boar and devoured them. His wife got the help of a magician. After Totoima ate his baby son, the magician made the boy grow up at once in the boar's stomach. The son then burst forth, killing the boar. The wife married the magician and fed the boar's meat to her neighbors.

A Native American myth from eastern North America illustrates the hero's role in protecting the community from monsters. Gluskap, a trickster god and hero, created a village where life was perfectuntil the spring that provided water dried up. A villager went to investigate and found a huge, grinning monster who had built a dam to hold all the water. Inside the monster's gaping mouth were the many things the monster had devoured, and the man did not like the way the monster was eyeing him. Gluskap saw what was happening and armed himself with a sharp knife made from a flint mountain. He fought the monster and slit its stomach open, causing a mighty river to flow forth. Then he seized the monster, squeezed it small, and tossed it into a swamp. It became no more than a croaking frog.

How to Defeat a Flying Head

Intelligence and good fortune may be more useful than brute force against monsters. In a myth of the Iroquois Indians, a clever woman outwits the Flying Head. Knowing that the Head would see her, she roasted chestnuts in a fire and ate them with obvious enjoyment. The Head thought she was eating stones heated by the fire and decided to share the feast. It flew into her hut and gobbled up the hot stones of the hearth and the entire fire. But the Head could not swallow the fiery stones, because it was only a head with no stomach. It could not spit them out past the barrier of its teeth. It had to hold the hot stones in its mouth until they burned it up.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples

Greek mythology contains a great number of monsters. Heroes such as Odysseus* and Hercules* are frequently pitted against them. Sometimes the outcome depends as much on good luck and sharp wits as on strength. Odysseus, for example, outwitted a one-eyed Cyclops after blinding him. One of Hercules' tasks was to clear the Stymphalian Marshes of the monstrous, man-eating birds that infested them. Hercules tried shooting the birds out of their nests with arrows, but there were far too many of them. When he shook his weapons in frustration, the rattling sound drove the birds into flight. At this, Hercules ran about shaking his weapons and uttering a loud battle cry, and the birds kept flying until they left the human world altogether.

See also Basilisk; Beowulf; Centaurs; Cyclopes; Devils and Demons; Dragons; Fenrir; Furies; Giants; Golem; Gorgons; Griffins; Harpies; Hydra; Leviathan; Loch Ness Monster; Manticore; Minotaur; Nemean Lion; Satyrs; Scylla and Charybdis; Serpents and Snakes; Sphinx; Thunderbird; Trolls; Unicorn; Vampires; Werewolves.

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monster

mon·ster / ˈmänstər/ • n. an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening. ∎  an inhumanly cruel or wicked person: he was an unfeeling, treacherous monster. ∎ often humorous a person, typically a child, who is rude or badly behaved: Christopher is only a year old, but already he is a little monster. ∎  a thing or animal that is excessively or dauntingly large: this is a monster of a book, almost 500 pages. ∎  a congenitally malformed or mutant animal or plant. • adj. inf. of an extraordinary and daunting size or extent: outfitted with a monster 120-mm gun.

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monster

monster misshapen creature XIII; † prodigy; horribly cruel or savage person; huge object XVI. — (O)F. monstre — L. mōnstrum something marvellous or prodigious, orig. divine portent, f. monēre warn.
So monstrous XV. — OF. or L. monstrosity XVI. — late L.

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monster

monsterall-nighter, biter, blighter, fighter, igniter, inciter, indicter, inviter, lighter, mitre (US miter), overnighter, reciter, righter, sighter, smiter, writer •shyster • rhymester • backbiter •expediter • prizefighter • dogfighter •bullfighter • gunfighter • lamplighter •highlighter • downlighter •moonlighter • uplighter • firelighter •screenwriter • scriptwriter •copywriter • signwriter • typewriter •songwriter • ghostwriter •underwriter •blotter, cotta, cottar, dotter, gotta, hotter, jotter, knotter, otter, pelota, plotter, potter, ricotta, rotter, spotter, squatter, terracotta, totter, trotter •crofter •concocter, doctor, proctor •Volta • prompter • wanter •adopter, dioptre •Costa, coster, defroster, foster, Gloucester, impostor, paternoster, roster •lobster, mobster •oxter • monster • songster •witchdoctor • helicopter •teleprompter • globetrotter

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Monster

Monster

5 Clock Tower Place
Maynard, Massachusetts 01754
USA
Telephone: (978) 461-8000
Fax: (978) 461-8100
Web site: www.monster.com

TODAY'S THE DAY CAMPAIGN

OVERVIEW

Monster, formerly known as Monster.com, persevered through the tech industry downturn of early 2001 by maintaining its position as the most used job website in the world. In 2004, besides being the top online recruitment company for Germany and India, Monster held half of America's online job-recruitment market and 10 percent of America's combined online and print market. Monster offered ads for employers that were cheaper and more visible than newspaper ads. For job seekers Monster offered a free résumé-building service and job-opening alert tools, and it allowed employees to post their résumés for free. This bundle of features, along with Monster's marketing strategy, helped the company's database of résumés rise from 26 million in 2003 to 34 million by 2005. In that year Monster.com boasted 800,000 unique monthly visitors.

Often criticized for overspending on marketing expenditures, Monster's founder and CEO, Andrew J. McKelvey, spent $125 million on worldwide advertising in 2004, launching campaigns across television, radio, print, and the Internet. One $50 million campaign, "Today's the Day," originated with New-York based ad agency Deutsch, which handled Monster's creative efforts until 2005. The first 30-second spot in the "Today's the Day" campaign aired on December 26, 2003, during the College Bowl Championship Series. Two others spots were aired on February 1, 2004, during Super Bowl XXXVIII. The three spots ran in rotation on network television and national cable until the campaign ended on April 12, 2004. Targeting a wide range of skilled, salaried, and hourly job seekers as well as both national and local employers, the first spot began with a voice-over asking, "Will today be the day …?" It then showed ordinary people, including a man and woman lying in bed, a woman showering, a young woman applying makeup while riding the bus, and a man adjusting his tie. Unlike Monster's 1999 "When I Grow Up" campaign, which had facetiously depicted children yearning for the banal qualities of corporate America, "Today's the Day" was meant to inspire employees to further their careers and their lives.

"Over the past ten years, Monster has become one of the most recognizable global brands," Jeff Taylor, Monster.com's global director, told Adweek. "Our 2004 plan, defined by continuous advertising, a multi-faceted online marketing strategy and ongoing sponsorships, is designed to further maximize our brand recognition as the online recruitment leader." Ten months after the first spot aired Monster reported $618.1 million in revenue, far surpassing the $499.2 million earned in the same period during 2003. The campaign helped Monster to continue its domination of the online job-recruitment market over competitors such as CareerBuilder and HotJobs.com, the latter a unit of Yahoo! Inc.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Monster Worldwide, Inc., the parent company of Monster, was founded by McKelvey in 1967 as TMP Worldwide. It grew to be one of the world's largest recruitment agency networks. Monster.com, which was launched in 1994, achieved industry renown in 1999 by being the first dot-com to air ads during the Super Bowl. Created by the Mullen agency in Wenham, Massachusetts, the campaign "When I Grow Up" included three 30-second spots that aired during Super Bowl XXXIII. Costing $4 million, the ads featured children saying such things as "When I grow up, I want to file all day" or "I want to climb my way up to middle management." By late 2003 Monster had awarded advertising responsibilities to Deutsch, an agency based in New York. Bryan Black, senior vice president of Deutsch, told Shoot, "Monster felt like they had grown up a bit, and they wanted the voice to be a little bit more mature and also a bit more appropriate for the day and age we live in right now." In 2003 Monster.com was renamed Monster.

Using the inexpensive advertising capabilities and worldwide visibility of the Internet, Monster tried overtaking newspapers' market share of help-wanted advertising. The concept fanned excitement during the 1990s tech boom and helped Monster Worldwide's stock peak at $10 billion. The company, and McKelvey especially, were criticized, however, for spending too much on advertising and not enough on the development of technology. Nonetheless, Monster saw its shares skyrocket from $10 in 1998 to $85 in 2000. Monster also increased its partnerships by sponsoring the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and joining with WeightWatchers.com after 19 percent of Monster's users listed "losing weight" as their top resolution for 2004. By 2005 Monster had shifted the creative responsibilities for its advertising from Deutsch to Boston-based agency Brand Content.

TARGET MARKET

In December 2003 Taylor told Adweek, "The 'Today's the Day' campaign is alive, encouraging and hopeful. As we embark on the new year, it is these inspirational qualities that empower job seekers everywhere to take control of their careers and realize their dreams and aspirations." The campaign's broad target, according to Scott Lahde of Deutsch, consisted of "salaried, hourly and skilled, national and local job seekers and employers." The campaign also targeted the growing population of young workers who were more inclined to use a computer than a newspaper when looking for help-wanted ads. "Monster's Website reportedly has become obligatory viewing among college-grad job seekers, and others hip to the online job-hunting scene," wrote Andrew Bary in Barron's. Television spots featured mostly white-collar urbanites wearing business attire and looking hopeful about finding new jobs.

Monster wanted the "Today's the Day" campaign to be different from the deadpan nature of its 1999 "When I Grow Up" ads and to inspire viewers to achieve greater things. " 'Today's the Day' is the perfect encouragement to get people to do something to change their lives right now. Right this second," Kathy Delaney, managing partner and executive creative director at Deutsch, told Business Wire. During the campaign Monster increased its sales staff and marketing expenditures to attract blue-collar workers and small-business employers. The initial effort hurt Monster's margins, but McKelvey believed that it would pay off for the company in years to come.

In the first month of the "Today's the Day" campaign Monster released findings that 93 percent of Americans would look for a new job during 2004. By the end of 2004 Monster's self-assessment index, called the Monster Employment Index, showed that the demand for employees had risen from 134 points in July to 151 points by September. According to the index, the health-care industry reflected the largest growth throughout 2004.

COMPETITION

Monster's closest competitor was CareerBuilder, founded in 1995 and based in Chicago. It sold advertisements to employers at $100 below Monster's baseline price. In 2003 visitors to the CareerBuilder website could peruse more than 600,000 jobs and 10 million résumés. That same year CareerBuilder's sales reached $31 million. Although this was only a small fraction of Monster's $424 million, CareerBuilder posted greater sales growth during 2003, 17 percent as opposed to only 1.9 percent for Monster. Cramer-Krasselt, an agency headquartered in Chicago, launched a national ad campaign for the company in 2003, coinciding with Monster's "Today's the Day" campaign. It was reported that CareerBuilder spent $20 million on the ads, which included television spots featuring employees trying to escape the monotony of their jobs. In one commercial, for example, a bank teller pretended to rob a bank and then meekly tiptoed away. Another 30-second spot featured a blue-collar worker escaping from his factory by crawling inside an enormous teddy bear. The ads were followed by the tagline "The smarter way to find a better job," a subtle jab at market leader Monster.

In 2004 HotJobs.com, which had been acquired by Yahoo! in 2002, ranked third in the online recruitment industry, with 10 percent of the market. HotJobs promoted itself primarily through HotJobs Career Expo job fairs and directly through Yahoo!.com, the world's second most used search engine. In 2003 HotJobs expanded its ad efforts with the release in the top 10 markets of 30- and 60-second television spots created by the New York-based agency Bouchez & Kent. In addition, there were print ads, and Internet ads were released across Yahoo!'s related websites. In 2004 HotJobs recruited applicants for The Apprentice, NBC's number one program, in return for brand placement, including HotJobs ads on the doors of the taxis carrying "fired" contestants leaving the show.

MARKETING STRATEGY

The initial 30-second spot in the "Today's the Day" campaign was "Today," first aired on December 26, 2003, during the College Bowl Championship Series. Edited by Hank Corwin of the film-editing company Lost Planet, "Today" featured a montage of 20- to 30-something urbanites getting ready for work. The commercial quickly moved through scenes that included a man and woman waking up in bed, a woman showering, a man exercising, and a woman applying makeup as she rode a city bus. During the montage a female voice-over asked various questions: "Will today be the day that starts the rest of the days?" "Will it be the day you put on your suit?" "Will it be the day you don't hit snooze?" The questions sometimes directly addressed the images. The spot ended with Monster's signature mascot, a bright-green and purple cartoon monster named Trump dancing beneath the words "Today's the day."

Jeff Preiss of production company Epoch Films directed "Today" in an apartment building overlooking downtown Los Angeles, along with nearby locations in Echo Park and Van Nuys, California. He strove to make the spots feel improvised by having actors repeat their lines in rehearsal before filming. He also wanted the spot to have vision and not just be "an anthem in the abstract." "We all felt like Jeff was the guy to go to," Scott Schindler, Deutsch's vice president/associate creative director/art director told Shoot. "He's amazing with casting, and we wanted something that wasn't overly designed and art directed." Preiss had worked previously with Deutsch on ads for MCI.

The format was changed slightly in the next two spots, which were aired during the 2004 Super Bowl. "Soulmates," airing during the first quarter of the game, used Robert Smith's "I Dig You," which repeated the lines "I dig you / you dig me." The spot began by showing the similar morning routines of a middle-aged executive and a young job applicant, for example, struggling over crossword puzzles and feeding their fish just before walking out their doors. The spot suggested that the two, although they were separated by age and by job positions, were compatible. The commercial ended with the two soul mates shaking hands at the start of a job interview and with the Trump mascot and the tagline "Find the one you dig." The third spot, "I Feel Love," featured a number of employees who were enthusiastic about beginning their workday and used the Blue Man Group's rendition of Donna Summer's song "I Feel Love." It ended with the tagline "Get ready for a job you love," again beneath Trump, the dancing Monster mascot.

Internet ads for "Today's the Day" appeared on websites such as Weather.com, Lycos, and About.com. Efforts also went into improving Monster's Web indexing on major search engines so that geographical and vocational keywords were more succinctly correlated with the content of Monster.com. Print ads, using "Today's the day" as the tagline, were also launched in 2004. One ad featured photographs of nine PC monitors, all sitting inside office cubicles and all decorated differently. Soon after the Super Bowl spots, Monster aired a campaign called "Portraits," which was derived from "Today's the Day." The spots featured real job seekers and recruiters explaining what they wanted out of employment. The spots aired throughout February on both network and cable television, including NBC, ABC, ESPN, VH-1, and USA.

TRUMP DANCES FOR MONSTER

Monster's signature mascot, Trump, the animated green monster that resembled a prehistoric toad, was redesigned for the "Today's the Day" campaign. Ad agency Deutsch hired the animation director John Kricfalusi, who had also developed the television hit The Ren & Stimpy Show, to reconstruct the mascot. The airing of the 30-second spot "Today" on December 26, 2003, was Trump's first appearance in cel animation, as opposed to his previous appearances in computer-generated animation (CGI). "He looks great in CGI, and I always thought that was an amazing piece of animation," Scott Schindler, Deutsch's vice president/associate creative director/art director, told Shoot. "But we felt this was a new campaign, and also when people do interact with Trump on the Monster site or see him in print, he is flat. He is a 2-D cartoon. So we wanted to capitalize on that and animate him so that he looked like what he does in print and on the Website."

OUTCOME

Not surprisingly, Monster saw the greatest spike of success on the days after the two ads aired during Super Bowl XXXVIII, thus reaching 143.6 million viewers. On February 2, the day after the game, 62,007 résumés were submitted on Monster.com, surpassing the 53,510 submitted the Monday after Monster's 2003 Super Bowl ads. On February 3, the second day after the 2004 Super Bowl, another 59,126 résumés were uploaded. "Once again, the Super Bowl has proven to be a rewarding venue to propel our brand and new message to millions of viewers all over the country and in almost every demographic," Taylor told Business Wire. "We're excited to build upon this momentum with the launch of a new series of ads featuring real users, the face and voice of Monster."

By October 2004 the Monster division's deferred revenue had reached a new high of $195.4 million, a 52 percent increase over the previous year. Despite the success of the "Today's the Day" campaign, however, by mid-2005 Monster had reassigned its creative responsibilities to a different ad agency, Brand Content. Explaining the shift from Deutsch, Brad Baker, chief product and marketing officer at Monster, told Adweek, "The new Monster voice celebrates the individual, their talents and aspirations … for employers, this means a more qualified candidate to meet their needs." Adweek suggested that the changeover resulted from disputes over fees and issues of "chemistry" in Monster and Deutsch's relationship during the 2003–2005 period. Deutsch retained Monster's media buying and planning duties, however.

FURTHER READING

Barker, Robert. "Monster's Monstrous Appetite for Cash." Business Week, May 17, 2004, p. 138.

Bary, Andrew. "Work in Progress: Monster's Job Website Has Huge Potential." Barron's, August 23, 2004, p. 17.

Capell, Perri. "Career Journal: Executive's Job Hunt Proves Pricey and Tough … but Worth It." Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2005, p. B4.

Champagne, Christine. "Monster Employs Dir. Preiss for 'Today': Deutsch-Created Commercial Encourages Jobseekers to Seize the Day." Shoot, January 23, 2004, p. 10.

Gianatasio, David, and Lisa Van der Pool. "Monster Names Brand Content Lead Agency." Adweek, June 1, 2005.

Kahlenberg, Rebecca. "Dad-Friendly Benefits Must Be Nurtured: Corporate Culture, Not Official Policy, Still Governs at Work." Washington Post, June 12, 2005, p. K1.

Kirby, Carrie. "Online Resumes Turn Risky: Job Seekers Post Data that Can Be Used by Identity Thieves." San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 2005, p. E1.

Konrad, Rachel. "Tech Job Outlook on the Decline in United States." Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate, June 26, 2005, p. I2.

Lazare, Lewis. "Blue Demon Pitch Taps Coach's Star Power." Chicago Sun-Times, January 6, 2004, p. 51.

Magill, Ken. "Monster.com to Spend $125M on Ads." New York Sun, December 18, 2003.

Reidy, Chris. "Monster.com Founder Planning to Step Down to Launch Venture." Boston Globe, June 15, 2005, p. D3.

Steinberg, Brian. "Advertising: Monster to Get Jump on Ad Season—Web Jobs Finder to Increase TV Spending on Dec. 26; Rivals Plan Own Campaigns." Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2003, p. B4.

                                            Kevin Teague

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Monsters

MONSTERS

MONSTERS . Strictly speaking, a monster is a mythical being and may be human or animal or a combination of both; it may be huge, misshapen, or grotesque, malevolent, savage, or terrifying. Such creatures have been a feature of popular lore and religious cult in all parts of the world from earliest times. The term is applied also to human "freaks," or "monstrous births," that is, persons with more or less than the normal number of limbs or organs, Siamese twins, hermaphrodites, and even albinos.

In popular legend, monsters are commonly portrayed as both stupid and gluttonous. What they have in brawn, they lack in brain, and when they devour their victims, it is not because they are innately hostile to the human race but because they possess insatiable appetites. It is often their obtuseness and greed that prove their undoing.

One kind of mythical monster is the dragon, the embodiment of primordial chaos, who is believed to have been subdued in battle by a leading god before the world order could be established. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia spoke of such a combat between the monster Azag ("demon") and the god Ninurta; the Babylonians, of the defeat of the rebellious Tiamat by their supreme god Marduk; the Hittites, of the defeat of a sea serpent named Illuyankas by the combined efforts of the goddess Inaras and a mortal hero; the Hebrews, of Yahveh's rout of Leviathan; the Hindus, of Indra's subjugation of Vtra; the Iranians, of the dispatch of the serpentine Azhi Dahaka; and the Greeks, of the triumph of Zeus over the contumacious Typhon.

The primordial monster appears not only in myth but also in ritual. It is a widespread custom to inaugurate a new year or season by staging a mimetic combat between two antagonists who represent respectively the old year and the new, winter and summer, drought and rainfall, and the likea combat that survives, albeit in distorted form, in the English Mummers' Play and similar seasonal performances elsewhere. What thus inaugurates each separate year or season is thought to have inaugurated the entire procession of years and seasons in any given era and to be destined to happen again before a further era can begin. The defeat of the monster is therefore retrojected into cosmogony and projected into eschatology: Leviathan, Vtra, Azhi Dahaka, and Fenrisúlfr of Norse mythology, for instance, are said to be imprisoned but not slain and will eventually burst their bonds and have to be subdued again.

In several myths, the monster personifies the swollen rivers or winter squalls that threaten to inundate the earth unless properly channeled. In Chinese folklore, the subjugation of raging streams is called "caging the dragon." Conversely, however, the monster sometimes personifies a malevolent power who impounds the subterranean waters that have to be released in order to prevent drought.

Adverse natural phenomena are also personified as monsters, though it is sometimes difficult to determine whether these represent the phenomena themselves or the demonic powers that are believed to cause them. One such monster is the gigantic North American deity called the Thunderbird, the flapping of whose wings is believed to cause storms. The ancient Sumerians spoke likewise of a gigantic bird named Heavy Wind (Im Dugud) who caused storms; the Teutons spoke of Hraesvelgr. Analogous figures appear in the folklore of such diverse peoples as the Chinese, the Burmese, and several American Indian tribes.

Hurricanes are often attributed to the rampages of monsters. In the Mesopotamian creation epic Enuma elish, the rebellious Tiamat is accompanied into battle by a cohort of gruesome monsters that includes Stormwind, Cyclone, and the like. The Seneca Indians saw in hurricanes the activity of a monstrous bear named Ya-o-gah. According to some scholars, the English word for this phenomenon derives ultimately from Hurucán, the name of a monstrous wind god of the Quiché Indians of Central America.

Equally widespread is the belief that eclipses are caused by a monster's swallowing and then disgorging the sun or moon. The Hindus spoke of a dragon called Svarbhanu; analogous figures appear almost universally. In the language of the Turkic-speaking Chuvash and of Estonian folklore, a verbal form translated into English as "eaten" is used to describe an eclipse. Drums and gongs are beaten, bells rung, and trumpets blown in many parts of the world to scare away the dire adversary. A variant of this notion asserts that the sun is pursued nightly by a voracious monsterin ancient Egypt by the serpent Apopis and in Norse mythology by the wolf Skoll.

Another natural phenomenon personified as a monster is the whirlpool, which is said by some scholars to be the original referent of the word gargoyle (from the Latin gurges ). In Arabic a waterspout is popularly termed tinnīn ("dragon"); in the Old Testament the sea monster Leviathan is sometimes referred to by the term tannin. So, too, Edmund Spenser describes a whirlpool as a whale.

Not only natural phenomena but also human situations and infirmities are personified as monsters or are attributed to their activities. In Babylonian magical incantations, epilepsy and palsy are represented as a demonic monster with a bird's head and human hands and feet, and impotence as one with a lion's mouth, a dragon's teeth, and an eagle's talons. In Jewish folklore, noontime sunstroke and dizziness are attributed to an ogre who has the head of a calf with a revolving horn in the center, one eye in its breast, and a body covered with scales, hair, and eyes.

Sexual dreams are commonly represented in popular lore as due to the assaults of monsters who consort with sleeping men and women. Those that assail men are known as succubi; however monstrous their activities, they are usually portrayed not as grotesque harridans but as voluptuous sylphs or femmes fatales. Those that assail women are known as incubi. Belief in such creatures was widespread especially in the Middle Ages and was held even by such noted churchmen as Augustine. They were thought to be the demon lovers of witches, and intercourse with them was said to produce "monstrous births," deformed persons, hermaphrodites, and sometimes albinos. Indeed, according to many medieval commentators the "sons of God," who are said in the Book of Genesis (6:14) to have consorted with mortal women and thus engendered a race of giants, were in fact incubi.

Fairly universal is the belief in a monstrous beldam who seizes and strangles newborn babes and kills their mothers or drains the mothers' milk. In ancient Mesopotamia, she was known as Lamashtu and was portrayed with a lion's head, a woman's body, and bird's feet. She held serpents in both hands and suckled a black hound and a pig at her breasts. The Hittites knew her as Wesurya ("strangler"); known among the Greeks as Gello, Lamia, or Strix, she could take the form of a screech owl or bat. The Arabs saw her as a goggle-eyed hag whose one foot was that of an ass and the other that of an ostrich. In German folklore, she is a sharp-nosed, scrawny harridan. Superstitious Jews identify her with Lilith, the legendary first wife of Adam, who was expelled childless from Eden for her rebellious behavior and who is therefore envious of all new mothers. In many parts of the world plaques and amulets are hung up to ward her off.

Not only diseases and human infirmities but also death and the netherworld are portrayed as monsters. In several passages of the Old Testament (Is. 5:14, Hb. 2:5, Prv. 1:12) hell is depicted as a being with jaws agape, a portrayal frequent in medieval art, for example, in the east window of York Minster. Supay, the Peruvian deity of the nether regions, is similarly characterized.

There are also animal monsters, creatures that combine the parts of several different beasts or of beasts and human beings. Not all of them are regarded as harmful; some, despite their grotesque forms, represent beneficent spirits or deities. Many of these monsters acquired acceptance through descriptions of them in medieval and later bestiaries, which in turn derive largely from a book about animals known as the Physiologus, compiled (probably in Greek) between the third and fifth centuries ce by an unidentified writer and subsequently translated into many European and Oriental languages. Under the hands of Christian redactors, symbolic and allegorical meanings were given to the fabulous beasts, and they were thus incorporated into heraldry (e.g., the lion and the unicorn of British heraldry). Prominent among such creatures are the unicorn, the phoenix, the griffin, and the manticore.

The unicorn is first mentioned by the Greek writer Ctesias (third century bce) as native to India and akin to the rhinoceros. It was later portrayed in art and literature as a white horse with a single horn protruding from the middle of its forehead. It is identified by some early translators of the Old Testament with the re'em, a beast mentioned in several passages, and on the basis of this identification it became prominent in Christian symbolism. The re'em, however, is said explicitly to have more than one horn (Dt. 33:17, Ps. 22:21) probably it is the now extinct aurochs. Legend asserted that the unicorn could be caught only if it leapt into the lap of a virgin sent into the woods to entice it.

The phoenix, a red bird variously identified as an egret or flamingo, is said to be native to Arabia. It was believed to live for five hundred years and then to burn itself in its nest. Out of the ashes arose a new phoenix. Modern scholars believe that this is simply a Greek transmogrification of the Egyptian mythical bennu bird, who represented the resurgent sun and rose daily from a flaming tree at Heliopolis.

The griffin is a creature with a lion's head and the wings of an eagle who, in Greek mythology, guarded the gold in the north. It is probably to be identified (even in name) with the biblical cherub (Babylonian karūbu ), who was not an angel, as is commonly supposed, but a monster who guarded the entrance of ancient Mesopotamian palaces and who is also related to the legendary dragon who guards the pot of gold.

The manticore is a hybrid monster described in the bestiaries as possessing a lion's face, a man's body, and a tail with a serpent's head and a scorpion's sting. It has gleaming eyes and can leap prodigious lengths. It is said to be native to the Far East but may in fact derive from the fabulous Indian monster makara.

In general, harmful demons are often portrayed as monstrous beasts. A representative example is the Russian Zmei Gorynych, a snake that typifies all evil and is prone to run off with mortal girls.

One example of a beneficent animal monster is the Iranian Senmurv, part dog, part bird, and sometimes part reptile, who gave mankind seeds scattered from a tree in which it lived. Another is the Chinese Qilin, a spirit of good luck who has a deer's body, a bushy tail, cloven hoofs, and horns.

Besides these individual theriomorphic monsters there are also classes of such beings, for example, centaurs, Gorgons, and harpies. Centaurs are most commonly described in Greek literature and portrayed in Greek art as half human and half horse. It should be observed, however, that this is but one variety of them, for their human parts are said to be combined alternatively with those of asses and other beasts. It has therefore been suggested by some modern scholars that centaurs are really the mythical counterpart of the bands of wild men who are said to rampage in animal pelts and perform ritual dances at certain seasons in Balkan countries and who find their congeners in the hobbyhorse performers of English folk custom. The Gorgons are, in Greek mythology, three horrendous sisters whose glance petrifies the beholder. Their hair consists of serpents, and they possess golden wings, brazen claws, and huge teeth. One of them, Medusa, is mortal. Harpies ("snatchers") are filthy winged monsters, part woman and part bird, who defile whatever they encounter and who, according to Hesiod, also carry off newborn babies. In the latter capacity, they have their counterpart in Canaanite lore. Hesiod calls two of them by the names Aello ("stormwind") and Ocypete ("swift flier"). These names are included to this day in the Jewish amuletic plaques mentioned above as a device for averting the child-stealing beldam.

Human "monsters" or freaks are popularly attributed to the union of mortal women (especially witches) with incubi, or demons. Included among them are misshapen children and adults, androgynes, and persons with extra limbs and organs. An outstanding example is the Pig-faced Lady, Tanakin Skinner, who appeared in London in the early seventeenth century. An otherwise gracious person, she was said to have the head of a sow and to eat from a trough. Her grotesque form was attributed to divine vengeance on her mother, who had refused alms to a poor woman begging for the sustenance of her child. Another example is the Elephant Man, the subject of a well-known play by Bernard Pomerance. Albinos too fall into this class, although the popular attitude toward them is ambivalent. In Senegal, for instance, they are regarded as ominous; in Gabon they are killed at birth, whereas in New Guinea they are deemed holy.

Remote, "outlandish" peoples are often depicted as monsters in traveler's yarns, medieval romances, and the writings of various ancient authors. Herodotus (485?425 bce) and Pliny the Elder (2379 bce), for example, mention a legendary people of the far North named the Arimaspeans, who have no heads but have eyes in their stomachs. Japanese legend tells of Jon-li, a remote island inhabited by people whose bodies are half human and half dog. Marco Polo says that the inhabitants of the Andaman Islands are dog-headed, and other writers similarly describe the Karen of Burma. The Jewish traveler Binyamin of Tudela (twelfth century) reports that men who live in the Turkish steppes have no noses, although this may refer to flat-nosed Mongolians. In the same vein, Jean Struys (1650) asserts that tailed men are to be found on the southern side of Formosa, and a similar statement is made by later writers about an allegedly cannibal race called the Nuam-ni'aros who lived between the Gulf of Benin and Ethiopia. Jews during the Middle Ages were also commonly accused of cannibalism.

Some monsters are not objects of actual belief but are deliberately invented to scare unruly children. The outstanding monster of this type is the Greek figure Mormo ("bogey"), also called Mormolukeion ("bogeywolf"), who survived in British nurseries as late as the nineteenth century. Similar creatures are the beldam Bebau in central France and the windigo of the Ojibwa Indians of North America.

The conquest of a draconic monster who ravages a country or holds a princess or other fair maiden captive is a standard motif in heroic legend. One is the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster, part lion, part dragon, and part goat, who ravaged Lycia and the neighboring lands but was slain by the hero Bellerophon mounted on the winged horse Pegasus. Typhon, a hundred-headed, fiery being, challenged the sovereignty of Zeus but was destroyed by a thunderbolt and buried under Mount Etna. The Minotaur, half bull and half man, was kept in a labyrinth by King Minos of Crete to devour the youths and maidens demanded of Athens as periodic tribute. He was eventually defeated by the hero Theseus with the aid of the princess Ariadne. (The exaction of periodic tribute by water spirits as the price of averting inundation is a not uncommon theme in world folklore.) The Hydra was a hundred-headed monster of the Peloponnese who was slain by Herakles as one of his twelve labors. Whenever one head was severed two grew in its place, but the hero eventually scorched the growth with a firebrand. Geryon was a monster with three heads or three bodies whose herds near Gades (Cadiz) Herakles carried off as his tenth labor, slaying their guardians, the giant Eurytion and the two-headed hound Orthros, as well as the Geryon itself. Fenrisúlfr (Fenriswolf) was the monstrous offspring of Loki in Norse mythology. The gods eventually bound him with a fetter made by dwarfs from the sound of a cat's footfall, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird, and then imprisoned him in the depths of the earth. He will break forth, however, at the final twilight of the gods (Ragnaro̜k) and slay Óðinn (Odin), only to be himself slain by Óðinn's son Víðarr. Battles against monstrous dragons are familiar also from the legends of Perseus, Beowulf, Saint George, and many other heroes.

From time to timeespecially in the present centuryreports have circulated of gigantic prehistoric monsters sighted in various parts of the world. These are commonly termed "monsters," but that designation is misleading, for a monster is essentially abnormal, whereas these creatures are supposedly surviving specimens of mammoths, mastodons, and the like. To this class belongs especially the celebrated Loch Ness monster of Scotland, said to have been seen sporadically throughout the ages, but a subject of public interest only since 1933. It is reputed to have been seen since then by no fewer than four thousand witnesses, and several scientific expeditions have attempted to photograph and identify it. A group of sonar and photographic images obtained in 1973 by the Academy of Applied Science has, for some, lent credence to its existence. It is usually described as being dark gray or brownish black in color, about fifteen to twenty feet long, with a thin neck, small head, long tail, four paddles or fins, and several humps. Another such alleged prehistoric monster is the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, said to have been sighted or to have left gigantic footprints in remote areas of the Himalayas. He is described as resembling an ape, standing nearly six feet tall, shaggy in appearance, with huge teeth in a large mouth, and a head tapering to a point. However, native Sherpas declare that he is far smaller and has red or black tufts of hair and the face of a monkey. He has no tail and apparently walks on two legs.

Cousin to the Yeti is Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, a hypothetical species of primates said, since 1840, to have been sighted in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. This creature is reported to be between seven and nine feet in height and to weigh from six hundred to nine hundred pounds. He is not ferocious. He looks like a furry ape, walks upright, and leaves footprints sixteen inches long and six inches wide. Sasquatch plays a role in the folklore of the Northwest Coast Indians and in turn has a cousin in the Mono Grande of the Andes. It has been suggested that the Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch, and Mono Grande may be surviving specimens of a prehistoric ape-man known as Gigantopithecus, fossils of which have been discovered in China and other parts of Asia.

Monsters and ogres survive also in popular lore in such figures as Frankenstein's monster, King Kong, and the likestaples of horror movies, television, and comic strips. An interesting development in this respect is the circulation of stories about visitors from outer space allegedly seen emerging from flying saucers. Significantly, many of these stories come from rapporteurs of Irish descent, and the creatures are described as having a form closely resembling that of the leprechauns of Irish folklore.

Finally, it may be observed that monsters also appear as figures of political propaganda. An outstanding instance is the protrayal of the Japanese in World War II as "monkeys"a tendentious revival of the old practice (mentioned above) of so characterizing remote, unfamiliar peoples. Similarly, barbaric historical personages are commonly designated "monsters," for example, Attila and, in our own day, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Mengele. In such characterizations, the essential nature of a monster is effectively expressed; huge, savage, and hostile, he is the direct opposite of the diminutive dwarf, elf, or gremlin, who, albeit mischievous, is essentially benevolent.

See Also

Dragons; Therianthropism.

Bibliography

For general works on the theme of monsters, see Charles Gould's Mythical Monsters (London, 1886) and C. J. S. Thompson's The Mystery and Lore of Monsters (London, 1930). On the cosmogonic dragon, see my Thespis: Ritual, Myth, and Drama in the Ancient Near East, 2d ed. (1961; New York, 1977), pp. 137153. Animal monsters are the subject of Peter Lum's Fabulous Beasts (London, 1952) and T. H. White's The Book of Beasts (London, 1956); more particularly, see, on the unicorn, Odell Shepard's The Lore of the Unicorn (New York, 1930) and, on centaurs, John Cuthbert Lawson's Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion (1910; New York, 1964), pp. 190225. On the child-stealing beldam, see my The Holy and the Profane (New York, 1980); on bogeys, see Elizabeth M. Wright's Rustic Speech and Folklore (Oxford, 1913). Sabine Baring-Gould discusses tailed men in Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (1866; New York, 1884), pp. 8689, and Richard Andree treats albinos in Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche (Leipzig, 1881), pp. 278280. John Napier discusses Sasquatch in Bigfoot (London, 1972) and the Yeti in The Abominable Snowman (New York, 1973).

New Sources

Daston, Lorraine, and Katharine Park. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 11501750. New York, 1998.

Davidson, Hilda Ellis, and Anna Chaudhri, eds. Supernatural Enemies. Durham, N.C., 2001.

Friedman, John Block. The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought. Medieval Studies. Syracuse, N.Y., 2000.

Gilmore, David D. Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors. Philadelphia, 2003.

Jones, Timothy S., and David A. Sprunger, eds. Marvels, Monsters, and Miracles: Studies in the Medieval and Early Modern Imaginations. Kalamazoo, Mich, 2002.

Platt, Peter G., ed. Wonders, Marvels, and Monsters in Early Modern Culture. Newark and London, 1999.

Theodor H. Gaster (1987)

Revised Bibliography

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