View Full Version : Myths

December 10th, 2009, 09:57 PM
We are looking for legends around the world for the part one of Project Pawprint. Thus far, the few that have been on the chat, have come up with a few.
They are as follows:
~Beast of Bray Road

What I need help with is legends of shapeshifters or even something that might link into therianthrophy from around the world. If you post something please let us know the area, the beast or creature/person, why are they important.
If at all possible please leave us a link as well. A picture would also be nice but that can be put on here or even emailed to me at projectpawprint@gmail.com


December 14th, 2009, 04:53 AM
I think this legend would be useful. I'm trying to dig up more about it or more Native American legends with shape-shifting in them. This is at least a good real-world incidence how cultures would use animals in combination with their own identities. Basically, the Dog Soldiers of Cheyenne believed their group originated when a member of the Cheyenne sang and all the dogs of the village joined him in the tent, and as they entered the tent, they became people.


I'll link some more Native-American legends I find about kind of shape-shifting stuff.


That one is about a man who lives with a bear and lives like one and becomes like a bear himself, though he looks like a man on the outside.


Dude does something he isn't supposed to, turns into a river snake. :P


This is a really nice and sad little story about a man who falls in love with a beautiful woman who is actually a buffalo who has undergone a magical transformation.

I'm sure there are many more legends of these kinds in that database, I'm just too tired to sift through them at the moment. :P

December 14th, 2009, 07:53 AM
There is an ancient Greek myth about King Lycaon, who may be the first werewolf recorded. (note: "may." It's the first one I've found anyway, though of course there can be others that I simply don't know about.)

Kaye Sweetbriar
December 14th, 2009, 10:34 AM
There is an ancient Greek myth about King Lycaon, who may be the first werewolf recorded. (note: "may." It's the first one I've found anyway, though of course there can be others that I simply don't know about.)

But I'm not entirely certain that Lycaon was a werewolf. I have a hard time constituting him as one, anyway. He was turned into a wolf as punishment by the gods, not necessarily a shapeshifter.

December 14th, 2009, 12:01 PM
I'm collecting legends about shapeshifters too. Especially cats.

Arual Enilorac
January 3rd, 2010, 08:57 PM
I've heard that the Kelpie can shapeshift into a normal horse or a human with horse ears. (That's how they draw them in so they can drown them in lakes. xP)

January 3rd, 2010, 10:02 PM
I dont really have a link for it but there is the Native American legend of the Skinwalkers.

House of Chimeras
January 3rd, 2010, 10:32 PM
How about selkies (also spelled silkies)? http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/index.html

A lot of the legends I’ve heard of about them often depict them as beings that once they're forced to live as humans only (because a human has stolen their seal skin) they often mourn and long for their seal forms again and will take any chance they get to return to the sea again.

Entropy in Drag
January 4th, 2010, 07:12 PM
Aloiis pointed out the Rukai to me years ago... they're an indigenous people living in the mountains of southern Taiwan. They have a legend about their ancestors being led into their current lands by a clouded leopard and an eagle:

More sauce:

Aloiis' input and some more detail:

January 7th, 2010, 06:20 PM
I'll probably be able to dig something up on werecats...

I'll look into were-lions of Africa, the Tsovo maneaters (I read on a site that some believed them to be reincarnations), jaguar warriors, the Mayan jaguar-growl instrument (Here, only stringed instrument in Mesoamerica (http://mcis2.princeton.edu/jaguar/jaguar.html)), were-tigers...

That said, while I'm happy to help, I don't see how having a large variety of myths about shapeshifters right at the beginning of the documentary is going to be that helpful.

January 7th, 2010, 06:28 PM
Its not a whole bunch Cheetah, but I am trying to get a few to tie in myths with real world therians.

January 7th, 2010, 06:38 PM
Unfortunately, however, most myths that have anything resembling a therian end up in us trying/succeeding to eat the protagonist.

I don't think equating us with bedtime stories used to scare children is a good idea. I'll do it anyway, but I won't be terribly pleased about it.

EDIT: Actually, the Khonds tribe from Asia apparently likes us. Due to their being infamous for their tendency of human sacrifice however, I suspect their endorsement will gain us little.

EDIT AFTER EDIT: Here (http://www.allaboutall.info/article/Lycanthrope). 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

January 7th, 2010, 06:42 PM
its more along the lines of not beleiving. its about showing what was believed and how it causes more people to turn a blind eye more in the modern world/society. We're not going to bash us or make people see us as nuts. You just have to have faith that we can pull this off.

January 7th, 2010, 06:47 PM
Okay, I'll find somemore articles. Here's to hoping this gamble pays off.

January 7th, 2010, 06:50 PM
If we find out that it will be hurting the project more than helping it will be scrapped. We are not out there to cause trouble or to make us all look like a bunch of like minded fools.

January 7th, 2010, 08:43 PM
I'm trying to find a link or more stable information that just 'someone I was talking to on chat mentioning it' but I heard of a Lakota Indian myth about how (all animals) there is a 'little fox' inside the each fox and that little fox is suppose to go back into a fox body after death but sometimes the great spirit makes mistakes and the fox spirit ends up in a human.. as soon as I find more stable sources I"ll post more.

January 7th, 2010, 08:58 PM
umm, Spring heel Jack?
He took a number of different styles of animals while on his rampages.

January 7th, 2010, 09:17 PM
I dunno I tried asking the person who mentioned it, it was told them by a grandfather, and they couldn't give me any other information about it but basically they believed that each creature had a spirit in the same shape as their physical body and were suppose to go back into that form after death, but sometimes for whatever reason they would get confused and be sent back into a human body but would still have the soul of the creature. ..if it's just a story passed down threw the tribe I doubt I'll find any information online for it, but I would ask that if anyone knows any Lakota/ Sioux that they ask them about this myth...I suppose maybe there is a website where someone answers questions.... *goes off to look for that*

January 7th, 2010, 10:40 PM
I dunno I tried asking the person who mentioned it, it was told them by a grandfather, and they couldn't give me any other information about it but basically they believed that each creature had a spirit in the same shape as their physical body and were suppose to go back into that form after death, but sometimes for whatever reason they would get confused and be sent back into a human body but would still have the soul of the creature. ..if it's just a story passed down threw the tribe I doubt I'll find any information online for it, but I would ask that if anyone knows any Lakota/ Sioux that they ask them about this myth...I suppose maybe there is a website where someone answers questions.... *goes off to look for that*
That's really cool. If everything goes okay I should be going to South Dakota to the Lakota Nation later on this year or next year. If its before the completion of the project that would be cool, though I don't know how it would relate. But that is a cool idea.

January 8th, 2010, 04:20 AM
Whether it's a part of the project or not if you're going to the Lakota Nation and have a chance to talk to a medicine man please ask him (I'm really curious for the full story)...I think this is really cool too and could be proof that therians have been around for at least 200 years, maybe the indians were the first to recognize it for it's basic principals.

January 16th, 2010, 01:29 PM
http://www.cyberus.ca/~foxtrot/kitsune/kitsune1.htm (http://www.cyberus.ca/%7Efoxtrot/kitsune/kitsune1.htm)

This is a good resource on kitsune. I don't know if you have it yet or not...what's Project Pawprint?

EDIT: Answered my own question~ XD sorry!

January 18th, 2010, 04:59 AM
Kushtaka!!! its Tlingit, it means land otter man...cant find allot about it on the internet at all sadly :( but! if you wanna know some stories about Kushtaka i can tell you some if you like ^^ i have heard allot about these beings when i lived in Alaska, they are SkinWalkers/ShapeShifters from the south eastern part of Alaska and some of the legends are pretty cool ^^

Entropy in Drag
January 20th, 2010, 09:04 PM
Oh man, Kushtaka! I was told not to talk about them when I was a kid, and to run away if I heard whistling in the woods. The stories on the internet seem to differ a little from the ones I grew up with, though. Maybe they came from a different region.

January 20th, 2010, 11:40 PM
I would love to hear the stories about the Kushtaka. I have never heard of it/them. Please enlighten us.

Entropy in Drag
January 25th, 2010, 01:14 PM
I've been biting my tongue, since I'm sure Rai'szo's got more sauce than I do. But! School's canceled, my family is 200 miles away, and I'm bored. So you get what little I heard as a child. :D As a token sore-thumb white kid, I heard descriptions more than proper stories; it seems like it's more or less a part of forest survival lore in SE Alaska. Here's a general picture:

Kushtaka are a mix of otter and man, but since they are shapeshifters, they can appear as either. They especially enjoy shifting into the form of loved ones to lure children and fishermen away from the safety of the village or home. Once they get you alone, they either drown you or turn you into Kushtaka, too. For some reason, the latter was presented as worse; I imagine it's because you were supposed to return and try to turn the rest of your family, as well. :3

While they are skilled shapeshifters, there are ways to tell that the person you're with isn't all human. I was told to look for a split in the upper lip, fur on the backs of the hands, and a rounded mouth, as if the person were trying to whistle all the time. In fact, whistling is one of the ways they intrigue a person away from safety. This led to an interesting hike for me once... I ended up running home like my tail was on fire because of some tuneless whistling I heard through the trees. Can't say it was really a Kushtaka, but sometimes you just don't ask questions and hang the silly feeling you know you'll get later. lol

Anyway, I'm curious to hear Rai'szo's stories and where the descriptions are similar and different. We grew up in fairly close proximity, but islands are islands unless you've got ferry money. :D

Olm Stranger
January 25th, 2010, 05:15 PM
Well, I know I've mentioned this in the chat awhile back, but I thought having it down in writing somewhere might be a good idea.

There are several Maori legends involving people 'becoming' animals to complete impossible tasks or as punishment. Some of that is due to curses or god given gifts, but not all.

Sadly I can never seem to find a good link to any stories along those lines. But maybe you'll have more luck? Be prepared for a lot of long complicated words in Maori though...

January 25th, 2010, 06:46 PM
Maori...is there another name I could look up as far as what the legends may include? And yeah I remember you mentioning them in the chat a while back. Thank you for reminding me.

November 18th, 2010, 02:34 AM
Sorry for being so very incredibly late to reply to this ive been without a comp for a very long time.

But! the stories ive heard about Kushtaka are many, Entropy in Drag is correct...kind of haha, that is true what he mentioned but i say kind of in the sence that there are soo many different stories about them..i say them cuz it is widely believed there are way more then 1 in south east Alaska.

Ill start by litterly telling everything i know about the creatures in general and how i came to know about them.

I was raised most of my life in the town of Ketchikan on the Island of Revillagegado in Southeastern Alaska, the first time i heard anything about Kushtaka "Kuush-tuh-kah! 'said like you have a mouth full of marble's" when we were spending a week at my grandfathers float house during the summer, and the float house was located in Port Stuart on the mainland of the back side of Revilla'. We had just spent a day running all over the beaches "which btw there was native american artifacts everywhere from the old Tlingit tribes" and crab trapping, we were all eating dinner, My mom, step dad, brother and an aunt and uncle and 4 cousins. And my mom was telling us stories she had grown up with hearing since she was born and raised there and my family had been there since it was Russia. The stories went on and on for hooouurs it seemed and all of us kids were getting ready to pretty much pass out....until she asked "would you guys like to hear about Kushtaka?" idk why but that immediately caught my attention and i was wide awake. and before long she was telling story after story about the Half Man/Half Otter people who secretly lived in our area of south east Alaska. The story Entropy in Drag pretty much told was but one of them, yes they are believed to be "tricksters" who lure unlucky fisherman and kids away from villages and out of boats...but he kinda got it mixed up a little, the way i heard it from both my mom and a Saxman Elder "native village close to town" is that they would lure the kids and fisherman away to steal there souls and only that..but! there is an upside "the part allot of people think is the bad part actually" they have been known to change people into Kushtaka as well, but only people who are close to death (i.e. people who are drowning, lost, freezing to death exc..) they would give them the option, become one of us or we will take your soul. Thats the way i heard that story. Ive also heard stories from people who say they have been personally attacked, one man actually offered proof when i was with my grandpa, he was telling us about this time that he was spending time with his girlfriend at his girlfriends moms hous on Matlakatla, earlier in the day he was out back of the house and he heard a baby crying from off in the woods, his girlfriend was standing in the back window with it open and was washing dishes when this happened and heard it too. Apparently she had screamed and told him not to go, she was native and knew what it most likely was. but for some reason he has no memory of hearing her cries to stop, he just kept walking toward the woods. she had by that time ran out of the house and caught up to him and she took a pack of cigarettes he had in his shirt pocket, ripped it open and shoved the cigarettes in her mouth and started chewing on them and spitting them into the bushes around the house until the crying stopped. This being because it is common belief that Kushtaka do not like tobacco at all. later that night after she had told her mother what happened, her mother wouldnt let them sleep in the same bed cuz she kept telling ehr daughter that he ahd been marked and it wasnt safe to be around him. He was in bed and the two woman were downstairs and they started hearing something similar to a cougar scream and load banging comming from up stairs and they could hear him screaming. He said all he rememberd was being awoken feeling a huge preasure on his chest and a damp mildewy smell mixed with sea weed. and the preasure started getting more and more intense and when he tried to move he said is when it started screaming pretty much, he said he couldnt see anything on him at all and it was terrifying. when the woman came and burst into his room he said they were throwing pipe tobacco's all over the room and it started terrying at his chest and they came over and the older woman "the mom" started yelling something in native and pored allot of the tobacco on his chest and his bed and everything stopped, the proof he showed me and my grandfather, were what looked like hundreds of scars of what would look like when you would get beaten with a wip, but there were hundreds of them on his chest and some of them you could see 5 rows of scars like they were from claws.

I have also heard this "from the old Native Elder" that the Kushtaka were actually created in a way by the tlingit. Back when whites were invading there areas, the natives knew they had no chance to fight back and they were getting tired of the whites taking everything they had and giving little in return especially when winter came around and the whites would take there food stocks for themselfs. So this is what happened, i cant remember if it was 1 or 3 Tlingit chiefs, but there was a gathering of tribes, and the Tlingits decided that they were going to summon a spirit that would protect there people from the white man, and would steal there soul if they found them on the natives territories, it worked for a time but then the Kushtaka "at the time it was a single being" got greedy, and he wanted more. Cuz he was just a spirit, he had to do what he was told, but after obsorbing the souls of men woman and children, it apparently started to think for itself...to get ideas. The Tlingit didnt like this and knew they would have to fight back. All i was told was that there was a battle, 1-2 of the Chiefs were turned into Kushtaka along with many numbers of the tribes. and from there on the Kushtaka were no longer protective spirits that were braught about to save the natives..but a burden that no one and nothing controlled.

Theres an area of south east alaska where it is believed that this is where this battle and everyting happend..cant remember the name of the Bay at this time, but no one goes there...really no one does not even to this day, its believed to be a cursed area, and other then grass and trees, there is no life, it is a void on the earth, you hear no squirelles you dont see fish in the streems, no deer, or bear, wolves or fox's...theres nothing, you dont even see or hear birds. But there are stories about strange evil creatures that dwell there and dark spirits, and allot of people who go there actually end up going insane

i have a few other stories, and one of them happened to my uncle and his friend and they were both changed for life afterword, but those will have to wait. ive been typing allot and my fingers hurt :)

November 18th, 2010, 03:31 AM
I'm Tlingit and I can help you with stories from Tlingit tradition (Kushdaka, Gonakadet, Raven, etc.). Our stories tell that humans and animals are the same--animals are just our brothers and sisters wearing animal robes, which they remove as soon as they enter their own longhouses in the forests or under the water.

May 25th, 2013, 02:12 PM
Why would you include a segment about mythology about shape-shifting creatures, if your documentary is about real people who identify as animals? What's the justification for trying to do that? Will the documentary argue that this mythology is somehow true or otherwise has some sort of relationship to the real people?

May 25th, 2013, 03:47 PM
I agree with Frameacloud.

I personally do not support a myths anthology to introduce therianthropy, because it generally misunderstands completely the role of myths and animalistic figures in the original culture they come from. It is historically inaccurate to claim that "therianthropes have always been around" because it equates local cultural variations of animal-folks as having the same meaning and role than modern therianthropes in the Western world.

I would discourage the linking of therianthropy to myths around the world, and instead would advise to simply stick to the modern subculture of therianthropy (90's an on). If people were writing personal essays about how they relate to X or Y myths, that's one thing; but simply putting together a myths anthology as "these are ancient therianthropes", is just very problematic. At most you may mention holliwoodian werewoves, because therianthropes originate from alt.horror.werewolves, but that's it. Everything else is a re-writing of history and borderlines cultural appropriation. I know it sort of makes therianthropy sound more legitimate to the average person to create all sort of historical links to it beyond our internet subculture, but please don't go that road. :C

A focus on shapeshifting creatures also reinforce the shifter-centrism of the community, and I don't support that either. Shapeshifting isn't a concept that is central or relevant to all therianthropes.