Sea Monsters part 2: loch ness monster, the sea monk, vodyanoy

Sea creatures are mythical beings from folklore are believed to dwell, depending on the monster, in the sea and other bodies of water. Most are said to be enormous and are often said to be dangerous and vile creatures taking many forms including dragons, serpents and multi-armed and headed bests.

Join The Lady Dicks this week as we share the stories, histories and myths of three mysterious sea creatures: Good Ol’Locky, the Sea Bishop & Vodyanoy.

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Good Ol’ Locky

Sea creatures: loch ness monster
Drawing of Nessie by Arthur Grant

The Loch Ness Monster is a sea creature from Scottish folklore that is said to call Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands home. Loch Ness, for those of you that don’t know, is a 23-mile long freshwater lake in Scotland best known for it’s “mythical namesake, Nessie.”

Sea Monster: Loch Ness Monster

Nessie is most often described as being a large dinosaur-looking creature with a long neck and “one or more humps protruding from the water.” The first sighting of this maybe mythical-maybe real creature took place on August 22, 565 AD

Sea creatures: loch ness monster

April 19, 2014 Apple Maps photo

Visiting Nessie

You can “discover the facts behind the mystery and legend of Loch Ness” at Nessieland which is located in Drumnadrochit, Inverness-shire, Scotland. While their website describes this as an “unmissable experience”, our favourite Trip Advisor review tends to disagree:

We had the pleasure of visiting Nessieland on Saturday 8th September whilst staying at Lochness Glamping 5 mins up the road. The woman behind the counter gave us a special ‘family’ deal for £15 for 4 adults and two 3 year old girls. She advised these were all day tickets, so that we could come and go as we pleased. We took our 6 tickets and entered through the doors to the exhibit. The first thing that struck me is how well they’d managed to recreate the smell. If I had to imagine what an almost 100 year old sea monster smelled like, I’d guess it would be something like Nessieland. Nessieland is essentially made up of a few short corridors – all containing information cards on the walls about Nessie. Each one of these is filled with text and some pictures. There are a couple of Nessie statues, and lots of toy snakes lying about. Yes… I said snakes. Lots of toy snakes on the floor. Anything from 3 foot semi realistic rubber snakes up to 10+ feet lime green plush ones! In between 2 of the corridors is a movie theatre. This showed a looped video about Nessie on a slightly out of focus projector. In there was a toy dinosaur (a brontosaurus I think?), a 10ft lime green snake, and a ride on kids toy car. We sat for a short while watching the video whilst our 3 year old girls pushed each other about in this car. At least they enjoyed themselves. When leaving the movie theatre, we discovered a small room full of hairdressers chairs. Each with a pump action foot mechanism to raise the height of the ‘client’. Also in this room were 2 ride on kids trikes. The hairdresser chairs provided a perfect circuit, so the girls had great fun racing each other round and round. After that, we came to the end. We probably spent more time in the gift shop afterwards than we did in Nessieland. I wonder if that was the point? Most people hate the thought of the mandatory redirect through the gift shop after being in an attraction – but this was a welcome escape. Nessieland was more like a dungeon than an attraction. Unfortunately, Nessie’s Castle was closed for refurbishment at the time of our visit. I’ll be periodically checking their website to find out when that has re-opened so that we can arrange another visit. Hopefully, we can also get this at our special family rate. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t see it ‘pre-refurbishment’ as if it was in greater need of refurbishment up than Nessieland, then it must’ve been something special. Needless to say, we didn’t re-use our ‘all day pass’!

The Sea Bishop

The Umibōzu, also known as “sea bonze,” “the sea monk”, “the sea bishop” or a few other names, is a spirit from Japanese folklore that is said to have struck fear into the hearts of seafarers. While there is little known about these massive creatures, they are known to appear to sailors on calm seas which quickly turn to tumultuous waters.

Sea Bishops are most often described as being black or grey. They have slick, slippery skin, enormous eyes (that sometimes grow) and “arms” that are described as being either small and fin-like or serpentine or similar to tentacles. They are also said to have humanoid heads that have a priest’s shared head — which makes sense considering their namesake umibōzu, where “umi” means “sea” and “bōzu” which is the shaved head typically found on Japanese priests

An Angel Shark

Japanese folklore isn’t the only place where these creatures appear, the Chinese refer to these beasts as sea bōnze (or Buddhist priest). The Chinese understand the sea bōnze as being vicious, vengeful entities that attack seafarers, and these creatures are considered dangerous and abundant — so much so that some ships would even assign a deckhand whose job was to dance “ upon the deck flailing about a red ribbon” to ward the creatures off.

These creatures also show up in European lore. Bishop Fish (aka the Monkfish), another name for these like-creatures, are said to be indigenous to European waters. They are described as resembling clergymen and are “related to mermaids.” They have a scaley, fish-shaped body, claw-like features and a large fin which can “wrap around [them] in fashion that resembles cloak of clergyman.” Their skull is also elongated and pointed, resembling a bishop’s hat. Bishop Fish are described as being “one of the most unique marine animals to fall beneath cryptozoological umbrella.”

Vodyanoy

the vodyanoy sea creature
The Vodyanoy lookin’ all sexy and what not

Our last sea creature for the day is the Vodyanoy or Vodyanoi, which is translated from Russian to mean “from the water or watery.” This mythical creature is a male water spirit hailing from Slavic mythology.

It’s unsure where the Vodyanoi came from, but he is said to present as a “naked old man with a frog-like face.” He has a greenish beard, long hair and his body is covered in algae, muck, and usually black fish scales. Instead of hands he has webbed paws, plus a fishtail and “eyes that burn like red-hot coals.”  

Our last sea creature for the day is the Vodyanoy or Vodyanoi, which is translated from Russian to mean “from the water or watery.” This mythical creature is a male water spirit hailing from Slavic mythology.

Visiting Vodyanoy

It was a little challenging to track down where you can see these creatures, because you obviously can’t, but you can visit Children’s Museum of Mythology and Forest in Zaslavl, Belarus.

Note that in this museum things will very likely be both spoken and written in Belarusian or Russian (we don’t know, we ain’t been there) and they only have one 3-star review, which we have translated from Russian… so maybe don’t hold it against the writer:

The museum consists of a corridor and one small room. In the corridor hang on the walls of the portraits depicting various mythological creatures. The room itself is divided into 2 parts: in one being, in which our ancestors believed, in the second – the animals of our forests. Were with a child of 4 years. She was scared in a dark room. A small tour was held by a very nice girl. It is better to get there by car or on foot from the railway station (walk 15-20 minutes); I did not see any pointers. The museum is located on the territory of Zaslavl forestry. Nearby there is a mini-dendrology park (very mini :))) and a bunker. Tickets, like, you can buy on the spot or on the square in the museum.

It sounds like a take it or leave it museum, but Belarus has a ton to offer our spooky travelling friends. Including:

Nesvizh Castle is home to the mysterious Czornaja Panna (Black Lady) who is possibly thought to be “the spirit of Barbara Radziwill, the young wife of King Sigismund II Augustus, who was poisoned by her insidious mother-in-law Bona Sforza and returned to the castle after death.”

Halshany Castle, ruins that is home to “the Black Monk,  the ghost of an unnamed young man, who was immured in the wall of the castle by a local ruler for the love the guy had for the man’s  daughter.”

Recommended

Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Creatures of the Sea by National Geographic

Take a look at some of the scariest sea creatures throughout history with National Geographic’s book.

Buy on Amazon

Sea Monsters: A Voyage around the World’s Most Beguiling Map by Joseph Nig

Take a walk around the world with this immersive map of the creepiest and crawliest sea creatures.

Buy on Amazon

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About this Episode

The Lady Dick’s podcast is produced by Tae Haahr. Sea Creatures Part 2: Loch Ness Monster, the Sea Bishop & Vodyanoy was researched, written and edited by Tae Haahr. The Lady Dicks are Tae H., Andrea C. and Nikki K. The theme music is licensed through Audio Jungle and aptly titled “Pink Panther 2”. The Lady Dicks Podcast is a paranormal and true crime comedy podcast created by INDY ARTS.

Sea Creatures Sources