The Oldest Paranormal Creature Mystery

finding the oldest paranormal creature question

I’ve always wondered about paranormal creatures and how old they are in context. From my time researching for my YouTube channel for mystical creatures, I wondered many times: who is the oldest paranormal creature of them all? The oldest witch is only 5,000 years old. The oldest document that a creature is a vampire at 6,000 years old. The Basilisk could be older if there were more documents on it. Pliny the Elder didn’t give that snake enough respect.

So, going into the past, what is the oldest one? The biggest problem to face with this question is the history of different cultures and lost cultures. The oldest book found so far is only 2,600 years old and it is the Etruscan Gold Book, found in Bulgaria. It discusses mermaids, but that still would make mermaids fairly young compared to others.

Oh, and before you spout ghosts, I would like to remind you that the oldest artifact of a ghost is only 3,500 years old.

If you don’t want to read, then just scroll to the bottom. There is a TLDR.

Oral stories may help find the oldest paranormal creature

Because books are a later way of expression, oral stories may be the answer, or aid, to the question. With this, we will go ahead and begin with the oldest civilizations. They have some sort of stories about the paranormal. As much as I love books, the oldest ones do not go back far enough, and their tales are not always accurate.

For example, the Trojan war wasn’t a real war, but a story about a war. It is real like Romeo and Juliet is real. Biblical texts go from the start of time but doesn’t give an accurate depiction of when that was. You can make assumptions, but they may not always be true or give an answer.

trojan war, finding the oldest paranormal creature
Trojan horse

I know that oral stories are stories passed down, but they started for a reason. You don’t just come up with a tale of a demon chasing kids down for a meal without something like it happening. To make this all fair, paranormal creature sightings must have at least two different tales to become something possibly real.

The oldest civilization with stories: Mesopotamia

According to History.com, Mesopotamia dates back from about 3,200 B.C., although older dates have been thrown in there. Some state 3,500 B.C. and some state 3,000 B.C., so give or take a few hundred years. It is known, though, that people have stayed in the area for much longer, around 14,000 B.C. So, hopefully, there is a tale of a paranormal creature from 16,000 years ago.

And there is. Mesopotamia believed in the paranormal. Luckily, there is a list of them found on the internet from a multitude of websites.

  • Genie/Jinn
  • Hydra, or seven-headed serpent
  • Vampire/Ekimmu
  • Mushhushshu, a multi-animal creature

With these four selected creatures, you’ll see that a few are familiar. Three are known paranormal creatures of today. The Mushhushshu, though, is from Sumerian mythology and is more of a protector. It can stay on the list as long as it is seen in other forms of story.

Each Sumerian creature listed has a starting point

The oldest paranormal creature must win the title with known dates. This can be from culture, sculptures, oral history, and written text. As you can see, no religious deities made the list. They are, in fact, not paranormal enough for the club. Since I have done prior research on two of the creatures, they get to sit with their timelines.

The vampire is 6,000 years old, from texts found in Assyria in 4,000 B.C.

The seven-headed serpent is 6,500 years old. This is from the heroes tale of Ninurta, which began around 4,500 B.C.

The Mushhushshu is around that time as well. Seen as a dragon, it’s tale is from around the time of the seven-headed serpent, but has younger documentation. It is also seen on the “Libation vase of Gudea”, a vase dedicated to the god Ningishzida at the time. This vase is dated to 2,120 B.C. Sadly, this does not beat the other two in terms of a timeline.

The jinn are a little strange in their origin, being both an angel and a demon in some texts. There are details of the creature from 705 B.C. A demon does change things in the context of jinn. According to Medievalists.net, there was a djinn named Pazuzu. I’ve spoken about Pazuzu before, as vampires, witches, and others typically turn into demons as time gets older. Pazuzu is still only around 6,000 years old.

Why aren’t creatures any older than 6,500 years old?

This is a concept that I wonder about because the start of civilization doesn’t mean the mythology begins there, too. The idea that I have ended up with is unless there is an artifact that proves a different time, the average time of creature “births” is used.

Turkey, a place for some of the oldest paranormal creature
Turkey

This has become a conundrum. While we can look at the oldest civilization for some answers, it doesn’t give us all of them. From my experience with looking at ancient cultures, typically creatures spawn from a root point because of specific discoveries. So, from the Sumerians’ point of view, the oldest paranormal creature is the old version of the Hydra, the seven-headed serpent.

Fortunately for the Sumerians, they have older periods of life and culture.

The Halaf and Ubaid periods

These periods of time during ancient Mesopotamia are the oldest of the old. Being as old as 6,100 B.C. and 6,500 B.C. respectively 1, these times carried forgotten oral stories, but left pottery. This does not bode well with finding the oldest paranormal creature.

The Halaf period contained religion, so it is surmised that paranormal creatures followed. Unfortunately, this has not been found. They could have easily had oral tradition over putting it on a vase. Some of these artifacts are thousands of years old, but they are not of the paranormal. So, this area is lost for a spot for the oldest paranormal creature.

The story of the oldest paranormal creature might be on an island

Going away from structure civilizations, we turn to the actual stories. These stories are farther east, with the Australian Aborigines. It houses the oldest oral story in the world, demolishing Sumerian paranormal timelines. It dates back to around 37,000 years ago, from the Gunditjmara people.

Now, this timeline is very strange as it shifts from 7,000 years to 13,000 years, then to the big 37,000 years. Either way, it is older than the others, making it easily the oldest paranormal creature.

The story is of four giants who may or may not be volcanoes now. They made the land as the story goes as one erupted. While 3 left to do whatever it is giants do, 1 crouched where he was and became the Budj Bim, a very real volcano.

The story is verified through an eruption that happened from the volcano at 37,000 years ago. No one knows what came first, the volcanic eruption or the story, but the story seems to be a solid 7,000 years old from previous documentation.

A new contender

The giant is a creature that is all over the world. It is very paranormal, much like its friends, the gnome and golem. Not only is the giant a creature in the oldest oral story, but it also appears in other ancient text. Gilgamesh was a possible giant and if you ask 100 people if he was, you’ll probably get a 50/50 split.

Giant standing over a knight, oldest paranormal creature
Giant standing over a knight

Now, this was also just a tale and not real. The giant was also seen in Greek and Roman folklore, but none as old as Sumerian and Aboriginal stories. But we follow the oral tradition with this one and will say that the giant is older than the others, but not by much, at 7,000 years old.

Why artifacts alone aren’t enough to find the oldest paranormal creature

Just face it. They aren’t and I’m going to discuss why. Look at the Löwenmensch Figurine. It is about 35,000 years old and is a lion-man hybrid statue. There is nothing else on this figurine. With these other creatures, you see that they have artifacts, but there are stories and related culture to go along with them.

There is also a python-like creature discovered in a cave and to be a part of a ritual. It is about 70,000 years old. This creature, while seemingly paranormal, looks like a god more than a creature. Gods are not paranormal because they are from a religious context, and I don’t want to get those confused. The reason why angels and demons are paranormal is because they have more than one origin.

In fact, demons are next on the list.

They must come from somewhere

Most major occult come from one creature: demon. Now, demons are not what you think they are, not entirely. They aren’t from one religion, one culture, or even one thought process. Since there has been bad in the world, there has been demons.

The oldest for some cultural and historical findings is in Egypt. It dates to about 4,000 years ago and at this point is a teenager compared to the other paranormal creatures around that time. There was a totem found in Russia that is 11,600 years ago that dispels or warns against demons theoretically. Sadly, this artifact doesn’t have much culture behind it except some ideas.

Demons do get an honorable mention because they seem to predate every paranormal creature, but there isn’t much evidence that is concrete enough to verify them existing on their own in an older context. Maybe someday, someone will find their origin.

The oldest paranormal creature conundrum

So, I am not a big fan of looking at therianthropes. They are hybrids of animals and humans and while they are paranormal, most do not come with a cultural background. This is mostly due to them being so old. They are also many types of therianthropes. Some may be similar in certain cultures, but the sheer amount of them does not allow them to be grouped into one.

It's just too many , inbox
It’s just too many

I have not found one that is in multiple findings around the same timeframe and be the same creature. You can say that they are the oldest, and they may be, but show me one that is consistent with culture and is over 7,000 years old and I’ll give it the top prize and you gloating rights. They just aren’t specific enough to be called just one creature. In fact, they are already multiple.

The winner

Giants win at an alarmingly short time lived at 7,000 years old. I understand that there are other paranormal creatures out there that weren’t discussed. Sadly, many of these creatures don’t even reach 3,000 years old and even fewer have evidence in a timeline of existing. They may be mythological, but their recordings are too young. They may have an artifact, but that is all they have.

Without context, you can’t really expect them to beat out everything else that does. In the future, this will probably change as humanity learns more about their past. But to the giants of the world, my hat is off to you.

Resources

[1] Becker, J., Beuger, C., & Müller-Neuhof, B. (Eds.). (2019). Human Iconography and Symbolic Meaning in Near Eastern Prehistory: Proceedings of the Workshop held at 10th ICAANE in Vienna, April 2016 (1st ed.). Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvvh865z

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