Folk tales from countries where these beings are woven into the psyche of the people.
Like Leprechauns and Ireland for example, they spring immediately to mind.
In Australia we have the bunyip.
A bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, riverbeds and waterholes.
These bunyips were not cuddly benign creatures. They haunted the swamps and billabongs of South-Eastern Australia especially, devouring anyone straying too close to their precious waterhole at night.
It seems these creatures only were ever seen at night and descriptions of them varied greatly.
From giant toad-like creatures to feathered crocodiles !!
Some have suggested that the mythology may have originated from the early Aboriginal people's encounters with the giant marsupials that occupied the continent thousands of years ago.
Although stories of bunyips were passed into the culture of the early settlers with reported sightings and even newspaper reports I don't think there would be a child today who has ever heard of a bunyip unless they encountered this book in their school library.
Thankfully this bunyip is portrayed in a much gentler way.
He's kind of ugly-cute !!
This bunyip is searching to find out what he is asking different animals along the way ( as is the way of children's books ).
This one seems to keep to the mountains and is huge, hairy and walks upright.
It's easy to dismiss bunyips and yowies as the product of a fertile imagination, but Australia's a big country and stranger things have been found lurking in the unexplored depths of the rugged bush that covers great tracts of this huge land.