There’s something eerily fascinating about cultural myths. Remember the Urban Legends blogpost? It’s our taste for danger that keeps us coming back for more.
If you find the Guggenheim less than spine-tingling, maybe you’re after a little more excitement in your tourism. True, you could go white water rafting, or tightrope over the Grand Canyon, or swim with sharks…alternatively, you could risk getting your throat eaten out by a Chupacabra, or your legs bitten off by a Mngwa. Sound tempting? You know it does.
How about we give you a rundown of some of the most gripping mythical tourism out there? Hold on to your trousers.
1. What about a Sasquatch Safari?
Sasquatches are a common phenomenon in and around the vast woods of the United States and Canada. Dozens of sightings have been reported over the years, which even led to the founding of The Bigfoot Field Researchers Association.
There are several tours available in “Sasquatch areas” like Texas, California, Washington State and Canada. Fancy sliding into a pair of walking shoes for the Cherokee Bigfoot Adventure Tour? A great place to start is Texarkana, Texas, which has something of a reputation for creepy goings on, including a number of Bigfoot sightings. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready to snap that world scoop!
2. Up for a dip in Loch Ness?
Another myth that keeps the world gripped is Nessie. This dinosaur-like creature apparently occupies the deep waters of Loch Ness. The first sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back to 1933 and she continues to fascinate the world. You can have the full Nessie experience by going on a Loch Ness boat tour. Various companies offer boat trips with a duration varying from 1 to 6.5 hours. The boats are equipped with sonar to register anything unusual.
There is excellent provision for tourists around the shores of Loch Ness, including a number of restaurants, shops and guest houses. Better to stay for a couple of days and go for a wander in the surrounding countryside. Loch Ness Country House Hotel is a popular place for those who like a little comfort alongside their monster-hunting.
3. A real die hard?
Try a full week of vampire adventure in Transylvania.
Twilight Schmilight! Real vampires come from Transylvania. According to legend, vampires roamed the lands of Eastern-Europe, looking for fresh blood. Ever since Bram Stoker invented Count Dracula, Transylvania has been the motherland of all vampire stories. Local hotel ‘House of Dracula Brasov‘ offers copious opportunities to explore the surrounding area. Have a walk over to the Gothic Biserica Neagră (The Black Church) and Dracula’s Bran Castle. Alternatively, several Dracula Tours offer all-in trips. Castle visits, coffin try-outs, vintage vampire movies and a vampire ball at the Dracula Castle are just some of the things listed on the program. And you know what they say; once you’ve tasted blood……
4. Extraterrestrial adventures
Are you tired of mythical earthly creatures? Try aliens for some action larger than life! Alien capital of the world Roswell, New Mexico is known worldwide for the mysterious UFO crash in July 1947. In an official press release, the American Air Force stated that the crashed object had in fact been a UFO, only to recant a few days later. In 1978 a former Major added more fuel to the fire, stating the crashed object had been a UFO.
Roswell has been a place of pilgrimage for alien and UFO hunters ever since. You can experience this mystery for yourself by going on one of the many tours available. Alternatively you can just wander around, but make sure to visit the Roswell Army Airfield (or RAAF for the insiders) and stop by the Alien autopsy hospital. Decide for yourself…
If you can’t get enough of hairy creatures, try a Yowie expedition. Yowie is Bigfoot’s cousin from down under. He is rumored to live in the dense rainforest of eastern Australia.
Yowie is originally a legend told by the Aboriginals, but thousands of eyewitness stories later, the Aussies are convinced there’s something out there. Unlike Bigfoot, Yowie has never been photographed or filmed (real or fake!). Hoping to finally find Yowie and his friends, the Australian Yowie Research Centre organizes a monthly expedition. Yowie or no Yowie, an expedition through an Aussie rainforest sounds pretty good!
6. Hunting for Goatsuckers
Central America and parts of California and Texas are haunted by a devil-like creature known as Chupacabra. Chupacabra literally means ‘goat sucker’, as this animal supposedly feeds itself on goat blood. Sightings are quite rare, which has led to some very diverse descriptions, ranging from a forked-tongue, leathery skinned reptile to a winged monkey with sharp spines running down its back.
If you want to chase the little goat sucker down, you might just be sending yourself on a wild-goose chase. Nonetheless, there are several Chupacabra location guides on the market, slightly boosting your chances of spotting one. Focus on the rural areas in Puerto Rico and Texas. Oh – and watch out, because we’re still not sure whether the creature flies, walks, crawls or jumps.
7. Into the strangeness
Next time you’re passing through Tanzania, watch out for the Mngwa. Mngwa means ‘the strange one’ in Swahili. It won’t be hard to miss; the donkey-sized, man-eating lion is said to be different from all other felines. This pussy is much more ferocious and is able to kill with a single bite. The Mngwa has reportedly been around for over seven hundred years. Several leaders of native tribes organized hunting expeditions in order to find Mngwa, only to come back empty handed. Even now, the only evidence is a few large footprints and some eyewitness reports. The chances that you’ll have an actual encounter with a Mngwa are quite slim. For those thrill seekers out there, however, there are some local tours available.
8. In the air tonight
Believers and non-believers of mythical creatures usually agree that dragons are a bit far-fetched. An enormous, flying, fire breathing monster would surely have been discovered by now. Still there are stories, including recent sightings, that would beg to differ. The latest dragon was ‘seen’ in Wusong, China. It is said that the entire village saw a dragon fall from the sky, surrounded by steam. The dragon stayed for twenty minutes, while unusual coloured light was seen in the sky. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but it still might be worth ‘dragon’ yourself over to China to get in on the action!
9. The hills have eyes…and ears, and a nose…
Again, this might be a long shot, but there have been sincere reports of trolls living in the dark woods and mountains of Norway. According to old Scandinavian sources, these grimy little monsters live in isolated rocks, caves or mountains. They also tend to use boulders to attack churches, for they can’t stand the sound of church bells. In the Romsdalen Valley, near Andalsnes, you’ll find the Troll Wall (or Trollveggen). It’s Europe’s highest vertical rock and was once said to be the home of trolls. Nowadays people still see the faces of these old inhabitants in the rock formations. The Trollveggen is also a popular attraction for climbers and hikers. Visitors to this attraction often stay in nearby Alesund, a quaint old fishing town situated an hour and a half away.
10. Full moon
A big, hairy, wolf-like monster with human features…is it an old wives tale, or is there a little truth in the werewolf sightings in Wisconsin, USA? This creature is known as the beast of Bray Road. It first emerged in 1980, and since then there have been numerous reports of encounters with this supposed werewolf. The beast of Bray Road might be a distant relative of the beast of Gevaudan. This beast terrorized the South of France in the 18th century by attacking humans and ripping their heads off. Its true nature and identity, however, remain uncertain.
Intrigued yet? There are no official tours available but the locals in Elkhorn are more than willing to share their stories with you. Base yourself at The Hampton Inn and take your time to enjoy Elkhorn’s beautiful nature sights, which are well worth checking out.
I reckon that’s enough titillation for one morning; we’d all best get back to work. Have you been on any of these tours and expeditions? Gone toe-to-toe with a Bigfoot? Deconstructed Sartre with a Chupacabra? Maybe you know about another curious mythical creature – pictures, stories, embarrassing facebook profiles…let us know by leaving a comment below!
Thanks to: (1) http://www.flickr.com/photos/eldave/ (2) http://www.flickr.com/photos/limonada/ (3) http://www.flickr.com/photos/globetraveller/ (4) http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyletaylor/ (5) http://www.flickr.com/photos/w5er3nee/ (6) http://www.flickr.com/photos/leorex/ (7) http://www.flickr.com/photos/22077805@N07/ (8) http://www.flickr.com/photos/peopea/ (9) http://www.flickr.com/photos/29864089@N06/ (10) http://www.flickr.com/photos/observethebanana/ (11) http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomraven/