|By Marketwired .||
|September 4, 2013 09:29 AM EDT|
TORONTO -- (Marketwired) -- 09/04/13 -- Do monsters really exist? At the end of August, the debate regarding the existence of the infamous Loch Ness Monster resurfaced as an amateur photographer supposedly caught this legendary beast on camera. This Nessy-spotting got the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, to thinking about the stories of the most spectacular of these creatures. The persistent tales and passionate believers keep the hope (or fear) that these legendary animals are out there alive, inspiring us to create the Top 10 Mythical Creatures (and Where to Find Them).
There's a whole world of creatures out there whose existence is yet to be proven. In fact, there's a whole area of study dedicated to unravelling the truth behind these legends called cryptozoology, defined by the "Oxford Dictionary" as "the search for and study of animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated." So, for those looking for a real mystery adventure, check out the first five elusive characters to make our list and find out where to begin your quest. Make sure you pack a camera (or two) -- just to be sure.
- Bigfoot, North America - He's big, he's hairy and he's known the world over. Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch, is an ape-like creature that lives in forests across the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. Bigfoot sightings predate European settlement and the term sasquatch comes from the word sásq'ets from the First Nation Halkomelem language. The first photographic evidence was a set of footprints captured in the 1950s, but the most famous Bigfoot image is from a slightly blurry piece of film that was shot in Bluff Creek, California, in 1967. Sadly, most scientists doubt Bigfoot's existence and believe he's a combination of folklore, misidentification and hoaxes, but that hasn't stopped the furry guy from having a loyal following. Best Places to Spot: Bigfoot Scenic Byway (part of California State Route 96), 89 miles from Willow Creek to Happy Camp.
- Golem, Czech Republic - This isn't the Golem of "Lord of the Rings" fame. Originating in Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated human-like being, created entirely from inanimate matter. One of the most famous of all golem stories centres around the 16th century rabbi Judah Loew who created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River to defend the Prague ghetto against anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms. In a scene that prefigures Frankenstein, Rabbi Loew brought his golem to life through ancient rituals, speaking incantations and inserting a shem (one of the names of God written on a piece of paper) into its mouth. He named the golem Josef; it is said he had the power of invisibility and could summon the spirits of the dead. The most important rule of golem ownership is that they are not allowed to be alive on the Sabbath (Saturday). Rabbi Loew took special care to deactivate the golem every Friday by removing its shem, but it would appear one week he messed up and things took a violent turn. Thankfully, the Rabbi managed to pull the shem from his mouth and the golem fell to pieces. Best Places to Spot: According to legend, the golem's remains still lie in the attic of the Old New Synagogue, Josefov, Prague.
- Mimi, Australia - Mimi are tall, thin fairy-like beings found in Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Described in Indigenous folklore, Mimi have extremely thin and elongated bodies, so thin they risk breaking in high winds. To protect themselves from the elements, Mimi spend most of their time living in rock crevices. It is said they taught the Aborigines how to hunt, prepare meat and use fire, and, while generally harmless, they have been known to be mischievous on occasion. Legend has it that Mimi were the artists of first rock paintings and shared their skills with the Aboriginal people. Best Places to Spot: Anbangbang and Nangawulurr Shelters, Burrunggui rock formation, Kakadu National Park.
- Moa, New Zealand - As these giant birds were once found throughout New Zealand the moa can't really be classified in the world of mythology, but this extinct species has certainly become the stuff of legend. Looking like an oversized emu, these giant birds stood at around 3.6 metres and weighed a hefty 230 kilos. It's thought most moa species died out in the 16th century due to overhunting and habitat decline, but reported sightings continued into the 1800s and beyond. One of the most recent supposed moa sightings occurred in 2008, when Australian cryptozoologist Rex Gilroy discovered 35 ground prints he believed belonged to a colony of scrub moa in the remote Urewera Ranges. Best Places to Spot: Te Urewera National Park, Hawke's Bay, and Fiordland, Southland.
- Yeti, Himalayas - A celebrity in the world of cryptozoology, the Yeti (sometimes called the Abominable Snowman) is a tall, ape-like being believed to roam the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. Similar to Bigfoot, the Yeti has long been a part of indigenous mythology and first entered Western popular culture in the 19th century. Skeptics say people are simply misidentifying the Tibetan blue bear, the Himalayan brown bear or Dzu-Teh, but believers are adamant this ancient creature exists. It would appear the Yeti has developed a case of itchy-feet, with the beast being spotted in Thailand, Russia and Japan. Best Places to Spot: Khumbu (Everest) Region, Nepalese Himalayas.
Rounding out our list of mythical beasts and the best places to spot them are: Huldufólk, Iceland; Loch Ness Monster, Scotland; Tengu, Japan; Mongolian Death Worm, Mongolia and El Chupacabra, Central and North America. To read more about these legendary creatures and Cheapflights.ca's complete list of Top 10 Mythical Creatures (and Where to Find Them), visit www.cheapflights.ca/travel/top-10-mythical-creatures-and-where-to-find-them.
About Cheapflights.ca, part of the Momondo Group
Momondo Group is an online travel media and technology company that is driven by the belief that an open world is a better world. The group now serves travel search and inspiration to over 13 million visitors a month -- plus 6 million travel newsletter subscribers -- via its Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.ca) and momondo (www.momondo.com) brands.
Skygate began the sourcing of complex air-travel data in 1992, while Cheapflights pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users in 1996 and momondo launched meta-search in the Nordic countries in 2006.
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