Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Water Beasties Across The Seven Seas

By Elizabeth MS Flynn w/a Eilis Flynn
My friend Jacquie Rogers and I offer an entire series of workshops about myths and legends around the world, but it was only last year that a regular at our workshops suggested that we might consider the myths and legends around the world…of the seas. We grabbed at the idea, because it was something that we had noticed during our research on the subject. There were mermaids and fishies and kraken, but what else could we pinpoint about the myths?

Good question. There was a lot, even in areas we think of being desert (remember the Middle East? Not all desert! Sure, big chunks, but not all desert!). What I found fascinating in particular was the river myth, not just the river nymphs and demons lurking thereabouts, but the concept of death that accompanied the river myth that popped up consistently around the world. In every region there was a story about a river one had to cross to get to the land of death, whether by paying off the ferryman (not just the river Styx) or by finding a certain shallow point at the river in question in order to cross to where death resides.

If you think of it, the water is the one part of the world that remains not completely and thoroughly explored. Every day there seems to be a story in the news media about a fish or other form of marine life assumed long extinct that shows up in a fisherman’s boat, alive, kicking, and clearly not extinct (and not even the last of its species). So maybe those water myths aren’t so mythical after all. In the wilds of Africa, there are numerous instances of river and swamp creatures thought to be mythical, but there are fossil records of dinosaurs long gone that are very similar to the descriptions of those water beasties. Myth or reality?

And water ghosts! There are ghosts that hang out specifically around lakes and seas in order to bring down the unsuspecting mariner or water-traveler. But some of them also hang around in order to protect the unsuspecting mariner or water-traveler, depending on how obnoxious they are (your choice who the “they” refer to).

The oceans are truly the final undiscovered country of Earth, and they’ve been feared and respected in perhaps equal parts as long as mankind has been around, spinning tales about what could possibly dwell down below. From the sinister kappa that wait in the rivers to attack the unsuspecting human in Japan to the water ghosts of the Nordic countries, join me and Jacquie Rogers as we take a trip around the world in a glass-bottomed boat and see what awaits under the sea. Water, water everywhere, but it’s always been mysterious. And as always, what people don’t understand, they make up. You can sign up at The workshop starts on February 2.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at and reached at If you’re curious about her books, check out In any case, she can be reached at


  1. Oh, this sounds like a great class.

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