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Creepy Native American Mythological Creatures

Updated March 23, 2020 31.8k votes 6.8k voters 535k views20 items

List RulesVote up the creepiest creatures from Native American mythology.

Many people have been exposed to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythology, but knowledge of Native American mythology is not nearly as widespread. The idea of researching Native American mythology can seem very daunting, given how many different tribal histories and religions exist. Which is a shame, because Native American creatures of myth are just as interesting as their European and African counterparts. 

Fortunately, the work has been done for you. This list of 20 creepy creatures in Native American culture will tell you everything you need to know about the most popular Native American deities and monsters. You'll learn the tribe or region from which each legend originates, and observe similarities between these myths and some popular mainstream ones. For example, you'll learn that there are Native American versions of  Beauty and the Beast and Jonah and the Whale.

Some of the beings on this list are notorious, individual monsters, while others are races of creatures, meaning they exist in great numbers. Either way, every creature on this list is certified creepy. 

  • 5


    Video: YouTube

    Mannegishi are hideous, malicious, and small. Their diminutive stature makes them extra creepy. According to Cree folklore, the Mannegishi are a race of trickster creatures who live in rivers. They are the size of small children, hairy, have large heads, and speak with a strange, whiny voice. They also have narrow faces, huge eyes, no nose, and six fingers on each hand.

    When feeling particularly nasty, Mannegishi swim underneath canoes and overturn them. They only capsize boats when they are on the rapids of a river, thus ensuring their victims have no hope of survival. 

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  • 6


    According to Yakama folklore, indigenous to Washington state, there once existed monstrous owl-women who lived in caves. Known as Tah-tah-kle'-ah, they hunted humans, preferring the supple flesh of children. They also fed on snakes, rats, and lizards, which were considered unclean and inedible animals. Creepy creatures similar to the Tah-tah-kle'-ah are still believed-in near the Texas-Mexico border.

    Known as Lechuzas, they are believed to be modern-day witches who can turn into owls (and sometimes turkeys). 

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  • 7


    Video: YouTube

    Adlets are a race of creatures from the mythology of the Inuit and surrounding tribes. They are humanoid wolves who stand much taller than humans. Their top half is human and their eyes are piercingly blue. Their bottom half is wolf-like, and they often carry spears. Adlets are extremely fast runners, and some eat human flesh. 

    According to legend, the Adlet race was started after a woman got busy with a giant dog. In most tribal stories, Adlets are savage and aggressive and attack humans whenever they come in contact with them. 



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  • 8

    Flying Head

    Photo: Alexander, Hartley Burr / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Flying Heads are, according to Iroquois myth, exactly what you'd expect - dismembered, flying heads, starving for human flesh. Since they have no body to digest or store food, their hunger can never be satisfied. They are destined to hunt humans forever. Flying Heads usually have long hair and red, fiery eyes. 

    Some legends claim any human who indulges in cannibalism will be forced to exist as a Flying Head after their passing as punishment for their horrific habit. Luckily, these creatures have a weakness: they will burst into flames if you trick them into eating a hearthstone. 



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