Tag Archives: Creature


JC is a student who grew up in Topanga Canyon, a town in the mountains of LA. The area is surrounded by dense woods and tons of wildlife.

JC- In like 2020 in COVID when my friends and I wanted to hang out but we couldn’t hang out inside together, we would camp in my backyard and set up tents and all sleep in the tents overnight. I live in kinda a rural area and my backyard backs up to a hill that’s pretty wild, a type of woods. My friends and I developed this legend about this creature called the DeerMan, that comes out at night and terrorizes us while we’re sleeping. He’s half man half deer. I would mess with my friends by going out at night and tapping on their tents and stuff and then in the morning when we all woke up I’d be like ‘guys, did you hear the DeerMan last night?”. The lore extended and eventually, there became this second character. There used to be this owl that would hang out in a tree by my house and we all started calling him Skeekee the Wise and we built up this lore that Skeekee the Wise and DeerMan were mortal enemies and Skeekee the Wise is the defender of all things good and DeerMan is the perpetrator of evil, and the two of them are at a constant clash for power. Skeekee the wise was our protector.


2020 has already been historically categorized as a very crazy and strenuous year. For the groups of graduating high schoolers across the country, it posed an even harder challenge. All of the things people had worked their whole lives to achieve suddenly didn’t matter in the blink of an eye. COVID was a mass trauma event, almost everyone alive was affected by it and is still dealing with the effects. It was a time that taught people the importance of having a support system and community, especially once those moments of connection are taken away. JC and his friends were lucky to have a way to still see and support each other through this hard time. DeerMan was a completely fictionalized character that existed only within the confines of this group of friends. Creating this character and having an evil figure to jokingly mess around with was a good way for the group to distract themselves from the problems they were facing. When they were hanging out, the only thing they had to worry about was DeerMan, all of the other things going on around them didn’t matter as much. This creature helped them release tension by pranking one another and distracting themsleves with its lore and details. Furthermore, Skeekee the Wise also served a similar, but opposite role, being the character that represented their hope and the promise that one is always protected and that good will always prevail. Having these characters with these themes to connect with was a healthy way for the friends to process what they were going through. From just being an owl that lives in a nearby tree to suddenly transforming into a figure of all that is good in the universe, Skeekee the Wise also perfectly shows the way that myths and cryptids are created all the time by everyone around us. Everything imagined has truth and reality instilled within it. 

Nga Ka Pwe Taung (Dragon’s Lake)

Nationality: Burmese

Primary Language: Burmese

Other Language(s): English, Chinese

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Hanover, N.H

Performance Date: 03/17/2024

P.P has been my friend since middle school and is also a Burmese person who is originally from Yangon, Myanmar. When I asked her of any legends, myths or tales she knows of, she recounts a myth that she learned of when traveling with her family and friends. Her family went on regular trips along with other family friends, to different places all over Myanmar. This included a lot of superstitious tourist spots. 

“I went to the Nga Ka Pwe Taung, also known as Dragon’s Lake, at Min Bu. This was when I was in middle school and me and my family visited a lot of these mythical places. This place has bubbling pools on top of four weirdly shaped mounds. The people at the village said that place is called a Dragon’s lake because it is where a dragon died with his significant other. They say that the pool keeps bubbling almost like an active volcano but doesn’t erupt, because the dragon’s love for his partner was so passionate. I think the tourist guides made this story up to attract more visitors but nonetheless it was still a fun place to visit.”

The myth of the Dragon’s Lake was probably made to explain a natural phenomenon like the bubbling pools that don’t erupt, since people who don’t understand the scientific reasons for that, might want an explanation. Since people at Min Bu are also really religious, this story would be a great “explanation” and also serves to reinforce their existing beliefs in mythical beings like dragons. It also shows that dragons are capable of enduring love, adding another layer to why the creature should be worshiped / respected.


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It is one of the many legends that are in Mexican culture. The informant states that “many people think that it is a creature more than an animal, but they do not technically know what it is.” In her Mexican culture, it is described to “target more farmer-culture because the creature is said to come in the middle of the night and suck the blood from goats. When the farmers wake up the next day they are described to have seen “puncture wounds on the animals, which they thought was a coyote but the marks don’t match anything.” It has never been seen by the naked eye. They target goats because “they are out in the open, and it can catch them.” It only happens in the “rural areas of [her] family’s farmland” and it even comes from areas in El Salvador and has no evidence such as pictures taken. They have to “put their animals inside before the chupacabras come” because they do not want something to happen. She states that the saying is “take care of your cattle or else you will lose money”


This is “usually said by everyone, specifically farmers who have stories of their cattle and goat being killed and sucked of blood.” It is most relevant in Mexico and other countries in Latin America that have taken over the thoughts of farmers that constantly fear it. People who live in the more rural areas learn about it at younger ages, especially if their parents are farmers that have to be careful and genuinely fear the legend of the chupacabra. They are known to affect the lives of those that are not fortunate. It has become one of the most well-known myths of Latin America. It is said to be the “vampire of Latin America” and even threatens children saying that if they behave badly then they will turn into livestock and the chupacabra will come to get you”


The myth of the chupacabra has become one of the most well-known stories and may have been fabricated to give a reason as to why some disease or other animal may have attacked the livestock and are not able to find what exactly. Chupacabras are presented as horrific creatures that affect the less fortunate, emphasising the trials that they have to go through in order to continue to live as the livestock are seen as some of their main sources of stability. Without the livestock, they are not able to live in a stable environment and therefore use the chupacabra as reasoning as to why their livestock might be suffering. The children are told the story to also stay safe at night and listen to their parents saying this narrative so that they are not a threat to the chupacabra.

The Sugar Bugs — Legendary Creatures


“The Sugar Bugs were something that I thought was a thing growing up. My parents would be like, ‘You need to brush your teeth. Watch out for the Sugar Bugs!’ 

“And so I always imagined that if I didn’t brush my teeth and I went to sleep, there would be bugs crawling all over my teeth at night and eating my teeth. They would come from sugar, from candy or some other junk food eaten. They would destroy my teeth and give me a cavity or something like that. 

“To prevent them from coming and destroying my teeth, I’d brush my teeth at night before bed, making sure I brush everything out. When I spat in the sink afterwards, I would see the bugs in the sink. If there were particles of food or even the foam of the toothpaste, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the Sugar Bugs.’

“And so by brushing your teeth, you could avoid the Sugar Bugs. And if you didn’t brush your teeth, you would get cavities from the bugs in your mouth that would eat up your teeth. “


AH is a 21 year-old college student from Houston, Texas. She grew up in what is sometimes described as an ‘ingredient household,’ a family with very little junk food or sweets in the house. 

AH learned about the Sugar Bugs from her mom at a young age as part of teeth-brushing. AH’s mom said she also learned about them from her own parents. AH said while she only truly believed in them up until first or second grade, she still thinks about them and the imagery they provoke.

“I was actually just thinking about the Sugar Bugs on my teeth as I indulged myself in an entire chocolate bunny at 6:30 p.m.,” she said. “Sometimes I definitely still think about it. I’m like, ‘I need to brush my teeth.’ Not necessarily because I’m like, ‘Oh my God, little bugs are crawling on my teeth.’ But sometimes I literally think that.” 

AH also reflected on how the fear of the Sugar Bugs may have contributed to negative views of food, specifically junk food. 

“They just reinforced ideas that were being directly or indirectly communicated from my parents,” she said, referencing the belief that junk food is unhealthy. “If you did have junk food, which is so bad for you, you really have to do this or else you’re going to have horrible consequences.”


The Legend of the Sugar Bugs appears at a liminal moment in childhood development when a kid is beginning to learn certain self-care tasks, which, in addition to teeth-brushing, include bathing, showering, hand washing, etc. These tasks are eventually completed independently but often require parental urging. This is where the utility of the legend comes in.

The Sugar Bugs co-opt the available framework of real bugs, which are understood as gross and icky and certainly not something one would want inside one’s mouth. Yet these creatures are somehow different from real bugs, as they have a certain mythical quality to them endowed by the question of their truth value: Did you or did you not see a Sugar Bug in your toothpaste when you spit it out? 

AH mentioned seeing food particles as Sugar Bugs. This memorate was her interpretation of a personal experience into an existing legendary structure.

The legend is acted out on a nightly basis as the child brushes their teeth for the sole purpose, as they are told, of getting rid of Sugar Bugs. The repetition of an action tied to a legend is likely to increase belief in the legend, or at least an adherence to the teeth-brushing, bug-cleansing ritual.

The legend comes with a moral: Sugar is bad for you, and teeth brushing is good. There is also the element of fear as these Sugar Bugs can supposedly cause one harm.

A brief Google search yields references to the Sugar Bugs in children’s books and on pediatric dentistry websites. It appears to be an ‘innocent’ children’s legend employed to encourage cleanliness and independence around ages four to seven.

However, AH noted how the fear of Sugar Bugs does not necessarily disappear for those who were raised in a household that held very negative views of junk food and candy. While the belief in Sugar Bugs as actual creatures may fade, the fear associated with junk food may remain, only translated into the framework of body dysmorphia or binge eating.

“If I just eat all the candy in one sitting, then I just brush my teeth really well once,” AH joked. 

The Ielele

The second story is about some uhh formidable female creatures that are called the Shees. It is kind of a plural but in Romanian, instead of saying she and the plural is they, you make a strange plural in Romanian too. In Romanian it’s Ielele. And these are fantastic female creatures that on the night of June 24th, which is Summer Solstice, come out of nowhere, out of thin air and dance. And dance is extremely beautiful, and uh all people are forbidden, they are not allowed to see this dance. Of course, following to this interdiction, everybody wants to see this dance. So people go out into the woods, and crazy people try to see the dance of the Iele, but if they see, they go crazy. And these ieles are very nice creatures except for this sequence, the dance sequence. But if you bother them and don’t respect them and don’t show them admiration for their fantastic beauty, although you are not supposed to see them dance. They will come and bring water from the fount. And the first person that drinks water from the fountain after the Iele will drop dead. So people take very great care on the night of June 24th umm, somehow ambivalently to see the ieles, but not see them dance and not make them upset, but thinking of them in very nice terms. And again they have another name, also very nice in Romanian. They are called either the Iele or sânziene which means, it’s the name of a flower, a yellow flower called in English Sweet Woodruff. 

Background: This informant has lived in Romania their whole life and is very interested in the folk traditions of various countries. They found this piece of folklore from other people in Romania.

Interpretation: The connection between these spirits and the Summer Solstice shows a way of marking the passing of time. The Summer Solstice could have been chosen as the time for this event to mark the change of seasons. The tale also ascribes power to these women who can use magic to deal with any men that bother them. This phenomena could be due to the incredibly hot and muggy nature of the Romanian summers. People could have retreated to the forest for shade, and potentially hallucinated or tried to make sense of something that happened. Sunstroke may also be a reason for the association with death and madness if you witness the Ielele. The informant and I both believe that this story is a way of making sense of nature in the blistering heat of mid-summer. More info on the Ielele can be found at (Mafa, A. (2021, November 4). Ielele, the magic beings of the Romanian folklore. ImperialTransilvania. https://www.imperialtransilvania.com/2021/11/05/read-more/argomenti/events-1/articolo/ielele-the-magic-beings-of-the-romanian-folklore.html)