Chesma iyesi

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Chesma iyesi

Region of origin: Turkic regions

A shape-shifting female water spirit, the chesma iyesi will primarily appear as a cat but may take on numerous forms resembling other animals, fairy- and mermaids-like creatures or often simply an attractive human woman, their identity given away by the hems of their clothes being wet. Each chesma iyesi inhabits a particular well, fountain or spring. They are commonly considered dangerous, using their forms to entice young people into the water and drown them, however the kuyu iyesi is a more benevolent guardians of their wells, the water from which is believed to have curative or luck-granting properties.

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Mahamba

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Mahamba

Region of origin: Likouala swamplands, central Africa

The Bobangi and other nearby Central African tribes have mentioned a massive reptilian creature described as being some fifty feet in length inhabiting the larger bodies of water of the swamps around Likouala, comparing it to a massive crocodile or to other local lake monsters of cryptozoological fame such as the nguma-monene or mokèlé-mbèmbé, the latter said to inhabit Lake Tele also in the Likouala region. Some cryptozoologists assume it may be a giant crocodile, or an extant member of one of their prehistoric ancestors such as the deinosuchus, however descriptions which say it is similar to but distinct from a crocodile have led some to propose it may actually be a unidentified species related to the mosasaur that has adapted to living in fresh water.

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Jenny Greenteeth

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Jenny Greenteeth

Region of origin: Lancashire, England

A river-hag related to other aquatic fae creatures like the grindylow, Jenny (or Jinny or Ginny or…) Greenteeth lived in stagnant, murky waters in western England near Lancashire and Liverpool and would pull down anyone who ventured too close to the water’s edge, drowning them. Parents would use warnings of Greenteeth to keep small children away from the water and keep them from accidentally falling in. Claiming it may her hair as she sat in the water lurking, she also became associated with pondscum and duckweed or other floating water-plants, that may in reality tangle the child up and prevent them from being able to get back out to dry land. She was similar to Peg Prowler, another hag said to inhabit the River Tees further up north.

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Nyami Nyami

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Nyami Nyami

Region of origin: Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

A fish-headed, snake-bodied river god of the Tonga people believed to live in the Kariba Gorge in the Zambezi valley, protected by whirlpools and functioning as a protector and a god of the underworld. In more modern times, Nyami Nyami’s presence was made known when outside contractors began construction of the Kariba dam in the late 1940s and 50s which required the relocation of the local Tonga. They acquiesced, believing Nyami Nyami would come to their aid and sure enough misfortune beset the project, construction stymied by years of previously-unseen levels of storms and flooding assailing the region. The dam was eventually completed in 1960, but greatly delayed and costing as many as eighty laborers their lives before it was done. It was believed the dam separated Nyami Nyami from his wife, and to this day, the relocated Tonga believe tremors in earth felt in the region are the great serpent trying to finally break the wall and reunite himself with his loved one.

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Fuath

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Fuath

Region of origin: Scottish highlands

Usually regarded as malevolent spirits, the fuath (“hate”) is a class of nocturnal fair folk who inhabit various bodies waters and while not universally aggressive they have earned their reputation by being fearsome guardians of their aquatic homes and the creatures that live there. Similar to the kelpie, fuathan are spectral figures and often capable of taking on multiple forms but in their standard human-like form they are identifiable by yellow hair/fur or manes, tails and webbed hands and feet. Some fuathan are said to intermarry with humans and the resulting offspring may possess some these physical traits. The glaistig is one type of creature belonging to the greater umbrella of fuathan.

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Aigikampoi

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Aigikampoi

Region of origin: Mespotamia and Mediterranean regions

A half-goat, half-fish creature, the aigikampoi was used as a symbol of the Mesopotamian god Enki (or Ea), thought to be a visual metaphor acting as a bridge between his aspects representing the earth and the sea. They are later featured in the iconography and art of the Etruscans and then adapted by the Greeks, associating them with the gods Aphrodite and Pan and the astrological sign Capricorn.

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Ambize

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Ambize

Region of origin: The Congo

An unidentified creature sighted in the waters near the Congo by European explorers in the 16th century, the ambize or angulo was described as a large fish with an ox’s head, human-like hands and a flat paddle-shaped tail. Believed to live in the sea and some rivers and lakes further inland, the ambize was said to never leave the water but would surface to graze on the grass along the shoreline and with some effort could be caught and cooked with meat that tasted comparable to pork. It is largely thought today these stories were early manatee sightings, but according to my cursory research manatees should taste more like beef so that leaves a fairly large hole in that theory.

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