Truth and Legend: Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters of Myth

The VampirePhoto: via wikimedia

Legends of vampires and werewolves make the hairs on human necks stand on end, wherever they are told in the world, while those of elves, and faeries make us all smile. From trolls of Scandinavian folklore, to the impish leprechauns of Ireland, these creatures of myth are familiar to us all. Even Native Americans of the United States have similar legends, but how much of it is based in fact?

Most ‘evidence’ is in the form of eye-witness testimonies, and those who encounter elven creatures should know that to refuse their requests for food or shelter can bring bad luck. Fortunately, elves are said to avoid humans as much as possible, living secret lives hidden away in deep forests, so it is said. It’s very easy to dismiss such ‘sightings’ as pure imagination, but some archaeological discoveries could make you think again.

LeprechaunPhoto: via Wikimedia

In 1932, gold prospectors in the Pedro Mountains, 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming, found a 14-inch tall mummy. It was sitting on a ledge in a small granite cave, legs crossed and arms folded on its lap. It had a flat nose, low forehead, and a broad, thin-lipped mouth. After intensive x-rayed analysis, The Anthropology Department of Harvard University certified it as genuine, possibly the body of a 65-year old man.

Dr. George Gill reportedly thought that the mummy could have been an infant that had suffered from anencephaly, a congenital abnormality that causes tiny adult proportions. The mummy mysteriously disappeared sometime after, so no further research could be done. Interestingly, Shoshone and Crow Indian tribes from the area where it was found have legends of “little people” in their ancient folklore.