weird The Weirdest, Most Disturbing Stories from Greek Mythology  

Laura Allan
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List Rules Vote up the Greek myth that makes you squirm the most

When it comes to Greek mythology, some of the stories you'll find out there are pretty strange. Goddesses being birthed from clam shells, women being kidnapped by Hades, and plenty of stories of cheating god husbands (we're looking at you here, Zeus). But if you go past the more well-known myths, things start to get even weirder. Yes, those wacky gods on Mount Olympus have a serious strange streak that would shock even the most open-minded historian.

This is not to say that that these Greek myths aren't entertaining. I mean, come on, hearing about gods impregnating clouds or mortals being cursed for eternity is just oodles of fun, right? Just keep in mind that these myths were meant as life lessons for the Greeks - though for a few of these, the meaning is either pretty obscure or just too weird to imagine.

So, if you're up for a little lesson in bizarre mythology, read on. And if you take away two major points from these stories, we hope they're the following: Don't piss off the gods, because they're jerks; and Zeus really, really needs to learn to keep it in his pants. 
Ixion Impregnates a Cloud to C... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Weirdest, Most Disturbing Stories from Greek Mythology
Photo: Internet Archive Book Images/flickr/No known copyright restrictions
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Ixion Impregnates a Cloud to Create Centaurs

The story goes that Ixion was in exile for certain crimes against fellow humans, when Zeus took pity on him and invited him to come to Olympus as a guest (you'll figure out pretty quickly in this list that Zeus doesn't make a lot of great decisions). Once there, he saw Hera and became completely obsessed with getting her into bed. To test his loyalty, Zeus created a cloud version of Hera, which Ixion then somehow impregnated.

How does one impregnate a cloud? It's hard to say, but we do know that Zeus became angry and punished Ixion by transforming him into a giant flaming wheel. And what of his cloud offspring? He was named Centaurus, and was known for mating with a whole bunch of horses, and from that came the mythical creature known as the Centaur, half man and half horse. Makes all those centaur scenes from Harry Potter seem a little bit more uncomfortable now, doesn't it?
Kronos Eats All the Children H... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Weirdest, Most Disturbing Stories from Greek Mythology
Photo: Ashley Van Haeften/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
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Kronos Eats All the Children He Can Produce and Cuts Off His Dad's Penis

Back when the world was just beginning, at least according to the Greeks, there was a Titan God named Kronos (or Cronus, depending on our records). He was birthed of a god called Ouranos, also called The Sky, and married to a goddess called Rhea. He was power-obsessed in the worst way, and proved this by castrating his father in order to become the top dog.

From there, because he feared one of his own children would overthrow him, he proceeded to eat every single one of his offspring. Well, except for one, named Zeus, who did eventually overthrow him. And by "overthrow," we mean that Zeus grew up, sought out Kronos, and forced him to vomit up all the baby gods he'd eaten over the years. The gods were somehow still alive, and a great war raged for over a decade between them and the Titans, with Zeus and his siblings eventually winning out.
Leda Gets Down and Dirty with ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Weirdest, Most Disturbing Stories from Greek Mythology
Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
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Leda Gets Down and Dirty with a Swan

Throughout all of mythology, Zeus sleeps with basically everyone: gods, demigods, mortals, animals, and even sometimes with mortals while disguised as animals. One of the strangest myths involving this is that of Leda and the swan.

In the story, Zeus sees Leda and admires her from afar. In order to get with her, he transforms into a swan and then seduces her. How does a swan seduce a woman? We're not sure, and we probably don't want to know. The two mated, and from this union came two sets of twins. One of these children (born from an egg, no less) was named Helen. Yes, as in Helen of Troy, allegedly the most beautiful woman alive. The mythology makes no note, however, if her mother ever told her that she was half Zeus-swan. 
Hera Keeps Restoring Her Own V... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Weirdest, Most Disturbing Stories from Greek Mythology
Photo: Wally Gobetz/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Hera Keeps Restoring Her Own Virginity for Fun

Sometimes people just need a spa day to unwind, but Hera took it one extra, kind of unnerving step. Every year, Hera would go to the Spring of Kanathos at Nauplia, where she'd have a nice, lovely, relaxing bath. But while she was having fun, relaxing, and bathing, she'd also magically restore her own virginity. This meant that Hera was perpetually a virgin, no matter how many people, including her own husband, she went to bed with. And considering Zeus sexual appetite, would anyone blame her if she had someone on the side? But it didn't stop there. Mortals would actually bathe statues of her to restore her virginity, often times before major social events, as a sign of reverence.