Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mythical Worms

If you have mythical bees and spiders, you've got to have mythical worms right?

Yes indeed.

Just for something totally random, today's post is on Legendary Worms....

Now, I feel I must state, for clarity's sake that todays post is about worms (ordinarily being invertebrate annelids, nematodes, or platyhelmenthes but also laval insects, maggots, etc). I do not however, refer to the mythical wyrm. This title (sometimes spelled wurm) refers to Dragons or Serpents. If you are interested in wyrms here's an interesting link. Wyrms may refer to the Lambton Worm / Sockton Worm / Laidly Worm/ Linton Worm - all of which are presumably dragon /serpent myths.

Worms or laval like creatures however do crop up occasionally within myth and most interestingly in cryptozoology - with many an varied sightings.

The Mongolian Death Worm -  olgoi-khorkhoi
Is a mythological creature that has gained cryptid status in the past 90 years. It is alleged to exist in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
It appears to be a creature commonly believed to exist by traditional inhabitants of the area. In  the 1920's an expedition was sent out to try and discover and capture one - naturally the expedition met with failure.
Commonly described as a red worm ranging from 2 ft to 5 ft in length with a thick body. It can kill at a distance, by either spewing acid, poison or an electric shock. Most interestingly, biologists who have studied the area cannot find an indigenous animal to equate the myth with - which makes the Mongolian Death Worm a particularly unusual cryptid. Click here for an interesting radio segment on the Death Worm.

Final Fantasy Minhocao.
The Minhocão
 Literally  means "big earthworm" in Portuguese. According to myth this is a giant subterranean worm-like cryptid, inhabiting the earth underneath South American forests. Described primarily as being enormous earth worms, there are reports of them also being aquatic. They apparently have some type of tentacle like appendage protruding from the head (I'm thinking slug and snail head here). The minhocão  has been reported to prey on large mammals, namely cattle, by suddenly capturing them from below the water.
The minhocão is known for the enormous tunnels it leaves behind. These tunnels suggest a diameter of up to ten feet. Its body length is stated to vary, from 75 up to 150 feet.
On occasion, the collapsing of houses has been blamed on the tunnels left by this creature. The creatures tunnels will sometimes flood, creating subterranean water bodies.
Gippsland Worm
The Minhocao is featured in the game "Final Fantasy" as a 'sand worm'.
It is perhaps important to note that giant earthworms - do actually exist - in Australia, Japan and South America. However, most notably, real giant earthworms (such as the giant Gippsland earth worm) may grow to as long as 4 meters, but their diameter almost always remains narrow (about 2 cm). This apparently has something to do with their ability to burrow.

Now, there is also a real creature known as a caecilian worm. They are found in tropical regions through out the world. Caecilians are a strange type of amphibian that superficially resemble earthworms. They are completely limbless, and can reach a length of up to 4 ft. They also have a toxin in their skin to deter predators. Their eyes are tiny and rather useless capable of sensing changes in light, rather than movement. The diet of caecilians isn't well know. Studies have shown unidentifiable plant matter and termite heads in their guts upon dissection. It is assumed they may be omniverous eating small invertebrates and plants.  I'll leave you to make up your own mind whether caecilians may be the antecedents to the giant burrowing worm myths.

Legendary human eating worms - although no where near as popular as vampires and werewolves, occasionally crop up in film and Video Games. My first encounter with them was watching "Tremors" a 1990 sci-fi-horror with Kevin Bacon (it was followed by a number of sequels.) There is also sandworms in the film BeetleJuice, as well as the giant lavae thing (Tanker worm) in the 1997 movie Star Ship Troopers. There are possibly many more.

If you are interested in reading more about worms - mythical or otherwise, here is an awesome article on about them  at Cryptomundo.
Additionally Youtube, as always, has some bizarre and disturbing images of worms / cryptids if ever you have the random desire to look up on any alleged 'sightings'.

On that note, have a fabulous week.
Tanker Worm - 1997 - "Starship Troopers"

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