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Cryptids Hidden Creatures
Cryptids Hidden Creatures

On January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus was sailing in the Caribbean Sea when he reported seeing three mermaids rise out of the sea. Writing in his ship log, he revealed that they were not as beautiful as typically depicted in paintings, but that they did have a human face. 

Columbus’ report was not particularly unusual for his era. In centuries past, the world’s oceans were thought to be full of sea monsters, sirens, krakens, and other bewildering creatures. We now know that most of these cryptids, or “hidden animals”, described in the Middle Ages correspond with species that had not yet been classified by science, such as whales, walruses, and giant squids.

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The Secret Substance Soma

The Secret Substance Soma

Soma is both the name of a god and a substance in Hindu mythology. As a deity, Soma is one of the most important gods in the Rigveda.

The Medical Alchemist by Franz Christoph Janneck, 18th century (Public Domain)
Artifacts & Tech

What Could Your Urine Tell a Medieval Doctor?

In modern medicine, urine samples are routinely examined in laboratories to obtain clinical information about a patient. This procedure, known as urinalysis, developed from an ancient medical process called uroscopy. Urology was greatly aided during this period by the development of the urine wheel. 
Detail from the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

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