In 1832, U.K. representative B.H. Hodson, while living in Nepal, claimed to have seen the Abominable Snowman attack his servants. Hodson described the creature as a "wild man ... covered in long, dark hair, and had no tail". This is generally considered the first report of the Abominable Snowman made by a Westerner.
The National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils are named after The Jersey Devil, a legendary creature who has reportedly been sighted by numerous New Jersey residents for almost three centuries, but whose description has changed dramatically over the years. Originally described as a demonic child with hooves, bat wings, a forked tail, and the head of a horse, the creature has since been described as a flying lion, a green alien-like monster, and a faceless hairy creature.
In the summer of 1816, while visiting the poet Lord Byron at his villa near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Mary Shelley created the character of the Frankenstein monster. During this visit, stormy weather forced the party to spend most of their time indoors. To pass the time, some of Byron's other guests read from a volume of ghost stories. One evening, Byron issued a challenge -- that each of his guests should write a ghost story of their own. Mary's story, which was inspired by a dream, eventually became her most famous literary work -- the novel Frankenstein.
Famed Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa once told of a legendary humanoid creature that supposedly lived in South America. Producer William Alland overheard the story, and it became the inspiration for The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). The Creature is considered by many critics to be Universal's last great classic monster, and it spawned several sequels including Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).
The Dracula legend is generally believed to have evolved from the life of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, a Prince of Wallachia (in Romania) who lived from 1431 to 1476. Best known for the cruelty of his reign, he was greatly disliked, but he served as a sort of buffer between Europe and the Ottoman invaders, and this made him key to the European defense. He fulfilled this purpose well, killing so many Turks that the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II laid siege on Vlad's castle himself.
In Greek mythology, the story of Lycaon serves as one of the earliest examples of the werewolf legend. According to one version of the story, Lycaon was transformed into a wolf as punishment for eating human flesh. According to another version, he served up his own son Nyctimus, offered the dish of human flesh to Zeus on the altar of mount Lycaeus, and was immediately turned into a wolf by the disgusted god. This gave rise to the legend that a man was turned into a wolf at each annual sacrifice to Zeus Lycaeus, but if he refrained from eating human flesh for ten years he would regain his human form.