Archive for the ‘imaginary animals’ category

Tales of the Cat Sith…

October 31, 2018


Let us talk about the Cat Sith this Halloween, who has nothing to do with the Star Wars universe, although he may be feline the Force, ahahahaha!  The Cat Sith (or Cat Sidhe) is a creature from Celtic mythology described as resembling a large black cat with a white spot on his chest.  By some accounts, he is a fairy, while by others the Cat Sith is a witch capable of transforming into a cat and back eight times; should the witch transform a ninth time, they would remain a cat for life.  This gives origin to the notion of a cat having nine lives…

Now the Cat Sith is said to be capable of stealing the soul of the deceased should it pass over it before burial, which led ancient Celtic people to create diversions for the cat like wrestling, jumping games, and riddle-telling in rooms adjacent to where a body was laid out so as to entertain the cat and divert him from soul-stealing. Party animal that he was, the Cat Sith would partake of the fun and forget about stealing any souls…

It was considered prudent to leave out a saucer of milk for the Cat Sith on Samhain as a treat, lest he trick you with a curse, such as causing your cows to dry up and yield no milk; remember, a dry cow is a Milk Dud!  The spectral cat figures primarily in Scottish mythology, where he is said to haunt the Scottish Highlands; references are also made in Irish mythology.  There may also be a link with the King of the Cats tale in British folklore.  In this story, a farmer saw eight black cats (some accounts say nine) carrying a coffin with a royal crown seal on it.  The cats are lamenting the death of their king, and the farmer goes home to tell of his encounter to his wife and cat, Old Tom.  Upon hearing the account, the farmer’s cat cries, “Old Tim is dead?  Then I’m King of the Cats!”  Up the chimney he goes, never to be seen again…a calling was received from on high…  

 
 So this All Hallow’s Eve, you may want to put out a saucer of milk on your doorstep, lest you hear a whisper in your ear to look behind you…AHAHAHAHA!

 
 

 

 

Monkeying Around on the Syfy Channel…

March 10, 2013

Flying Monkeys– – To me, they looked more demonic than simian, but that was perhaps the point.  The Flying Monkeys on the Syfy movie of the same name which aired on March 9th were evil, shape-shifting monsters, pets by day and killers by night.  Unrelated but with a number of shameless nods to the Oz saga (the movie’s even set in Gale, Kansas), these are nasty, flying beasties that swoop down to shred and tear…something to “get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” – -Shameless but captivating low-budget entertainment, and as much fun as a barrel of flying monkeys!  Just click your heels together while repeating, “There’s no place like the Syfy Channel!

Mythic Mayhem!

March 29, 2012

— It’s not easy being a demigod; everyone expects great things out of you!  Pity poor Perseus; as if whipping the Kraken wasn’t enough in 2010’s Clash of the Titans, now he has to beat a whole host of other assorted monsters in Wrath of the Titans.  There will be a slew of them to boot in this special effects extravaganza, everything from a thirty-foot high Cyclops to a Minotaur to my personal fave, a Chimera…I just like things with multiple heads and incongruous parts that spew fire, that’s the way I roll!  Mighty Kronos himself enters the fray,  just dripping with lava…what more could a boy want?  Yes, I know, robots, zombies, mummies, aliens, and werewolves are extremely cool too, but you can’t have them all in the same movie and preserve artistic integrity.- -Besides, I’d die of too much happiness!

While most of the beasties are computer generated, the Minotaur is played by an actor in a latex suit who underwent four hours of makeup for each day on the set!   You’ll also see Perseus’ noble winged steed Pegasus, and the demonic Makhai, who attack like whirling dervishes.  

This isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s good guy fun…and what’s wrong with that?  Wrath of the Titans opens March 30th…and it’s a cornucopia of creatures!!!– -Woo-hoo!

The Island of Unconventionally Proportioned Animals…

February 25, 2012

– – If you’re up to seeing Michael Caine riding a giant wasp in a movie that includes  former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as well as wildlife such as really small elephants, you just might like to view the sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth 3D, awkwardly called,  Journey 2:  The Mysterious Island.  

Advance reviews of the movie appear marvelous in their negativity, with professional film critics noting day-glo vegetation, giant rocks clearly made of styrofoam, and terming the flick, “…everything a twelve-year-old boy could want.”  Jules Verne is probably spinning in his grave over this one…

Pepto Bismol’s “Turducken”

December 15, 2011

 – – A turducken by definition is a boned turkey stuffed with a boned duck that is itself stuffed with a small boned chicken which sometimes also contains a breadcrumb or sausage meat stuffing!   It is perhaps a commentary on western society that with starvation still rampant in the third world and even parts of the west, a way has been  found to combine and consume the flesh of three (perhaps four) animals simultaneously, but we’ll leave such musings to the philosophers…perhaps such could be considered at the next Republican debate, which might prove amusing…

Governor Perry:  “If one of them things comes near me, I’ll shoot it and eat it myself!”

…but for our purposes, we are left to consider what a mythical creature such as a turducken might actually look like, and Pepto Bismol has come to our rescue here in both gastric and  imaginative terms!  The Smoke & Mirrors design, animation and VFX studio created a vision of the turducken that combined the green-hued head, beak, and webbed feet of the mallard duck with the comb and wattle of a chicken and the wings and tail feather configuration of a turkey.  The body incorporates a gradation of the feathering of all three animals. 

We may see the fruits of these creative efforts in the latest Pepto Bismol commercial, where we are shown a flock(?) of the mighty turducken as they move in a great tide over the plains!  The creature might be a natural for an animated kiddie series…

Cartoon Cryptids

May 2, 2011

 – – Gossamer is a hulking, hairy reddish monster somewhat reminiscent of Bigfoot who is part of the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies universe.  He wears enormous tennis shoes,  and has a heart-shaped face in which may be seen oval eyes and a wide mouth.  Beyond these features and dirty clawed fingers, little else may be discerned about Gossamer, whose primary characteristic is the trademark hair; indeed, Gossamer may be made entirely of hair!   He is anything but gossamer, a name referring to a delicate type of spider silk.

First appearing in the 1946 film Hair-Raising Hare, Gossamer was the henchman of a mad scientist who bears a strong resemblance to Peter Lorre; if you don’t know who that is, you don’t watch enough old classic films !  Anyways,  Bugs Bunny is lured by a mechanical female rabbit to the lair of the mad scientist to be a meal for Gossamer, but makes merry sport of the monster instead (“I’m always interested in meeting interesting people!,” Bugs tells the creature while working on his nails).  Gossamer is revealed to be frightened of people, who it must be admitted can be pretty frightening. 

Originally nameless, Gossamer was referred to as Rudolph in a 1952 short, and didn’t land the name Gossamer until such was bestowed on him by none less than Marvin the Martian in the 1980 Duck Dodgers feature.  Gossamer has enjoyed small roles in a number of Warner Bros. productions since…

The Japanese Kappa Monster on Destination Truth

October 9, 2010

– –  Once feared as an evil cross between a demon and a turtle, the Kappa has become somewhat of a Japanese national mascot, more loved than feared and depicted on such innocuous items as lunchboxes.   The darker incarnation of the Kappa, however, is blamed for the disappearance of livestock and even children, prompting a segment on a Destination Truth investigation.

Journeying to the location of a recent reported Kappa sighting near Tono, Josh Gates and his team set up infrared and trap cameras to capture any images of the elusive beast, and broke into two groups to sweep the area.  They saw a large dark shape in the water,  which was later regarded by experts to be a large fish or perhaps an eel.  Also checking out skeletal remains of a reported Kappa foot at a Japanese shrine, the team returned with photographs of the same,  which were regarded by a mammalogist to be bones of a canine.

The conclusion?–Evidence for the Kappa is not convincing, and the creature exists at the juncture of folklore and animal misidentification…