Many believe that humans are not the only intelligent beings in the universe. Some even more - believe that aliens are on Earth among humans. In fact, this is nothing new - people have always believed that other intelligent beings, often endowed with magical powers, live near them. Let's try to understand where such ideas come from and give them a scientific explanation.
1. The Greek legends of one-eyed giants may have originated thanks to discoveries of prehistoric fossils. For example, in 2003, the skeleton of a giant deinotherium, a distant relative of elephants, was found in Crete. It was up to 5 meters tall and had 1.4-meter tusks. In the center of the huge skull of the deinotherium was a large hole, which served to attach the proboscis. But the ancient Greeks might have mistaken such an opening for a giant eye socket. Since giant mammals lived in forests throughout southern and eastern Europe during the Miocene and Pliocene eras, their skulls could quite easily be found in various places.
2. silks and fynfolk. In Celtic and Scandinavian folklore there are often stories about silks (in Ireland they are called Roans), seal-men, who once in 9 days could go on land, shed their seal skins and turn into beauties. If a man found the shed skin at that time, he could force the seals to marry. Some researchers believe that there are real-life precedents in the silk legends. Early Celtic settlers in Scotland and the Shetland Islands encountered Finns and Loparians living there, who wore clothes made of SEAL skins. This may have given rise to the myth of seals skins. Another legend was widespread on the Orkney Islands - that of the Finfolk, who were nomadic sorcerers and often kidnapped women in order to marry them. The origin of this legend goes back to the Little Ice Age, when the temperature of the sea dropped by 5 degrees Celsius and the Arctic glaciers expanded far south of Iceland. Some authors believe that the Fynfolk were thought of as Inuit, who, thanks to the glaciers, appeared in their boats near Europe.
3. elves. Everyone in Iceland believes in elves. But some argue that such a belief was born relatively recently. According to Arni Bjornsson, a member of the ethnological department of the National Museum of Iceland, very few people believed in elves in the past. The term became popular because of the hippie culture of the 1970s, and an incident in 1971 when a "bumbling but cheerful bulldozer driver" tore down a couple of extra walls around Reykjavik and blamed it on the mischief of elves. No one believed him, but the situation soon became a meme and spawned an all-out fascination with elves. Today, this myth is inextricably linked to romantic ideology and people's "protest" against the modern world.
4. Minotaurs 0 Many ancient myths resulted from people's interpretation of natural processes that they did not understand. Volcanic eruptions in Hawaii led to the creation of the myth of the destructive goddess Pele. The strange "Devil's Tower" rock in Wyoming, which resulted from erosion, became the claw of a giant bear to local tribes trying to reach the people hiding on top of the rock. The legend of the Minotaur, a creature with a human body and the head of a bull, arose in a similar way. It is worth noting that the bull was an extremely common symbol in ancient Minoan and Cretan cultures. The earliest versions of the myth do not say where the Minotaur came from, but only mention that it was trapped underground in a large labyrinth, and that its roar caused an earthquake. Most likely the earthquake that occurred in Crete gave rise to this myth.
5. Substitutes 0 In Scandinavian as well as Celtic and Germanic myths there are stories of children who were stolen by fairies or other supernatural forces, who left some kind of creatures called substitutes in place of the babies. These creatures looked like babies, but they were dolls or magical beings. The changelings constantly screamed, refused to talk, made strange sounds and movements, talked to invisible beings, and had difficulty communicating emotions. Many of these symptoms are seen in autism, in which the child cannot form social relationships, exhibit disordered verbal and nonverbal communicative activity and repetitive actions. Children with autism tend to initially look like perfectly normal infants, and their autism appears as they grow up. It really can look like a child has been switched.
6. Satyrs 0 The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that there were lustful creatures - half men and half goats - that they called satyrs. What is interesting is that mummies of creatures that were thought to be satyrs were placed in places like Rome and Antioch. At that time, rather realistic masks of satyrs made of leather were ubiquitous in Greek theater. It is likely that the corpses of satyrs that were on public display were made by peddlers who attached a satyr mask, hooves, and tail to human remains. It was alleged that at that time fossils were discovered in quarries in the Triassic rocks on the islands of Paros and Chios, which resembled the ancient Greek Pan and Silenus, who looked like satyrs. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to know what was actually excavated there. Author Adrienne Maire has suggested that the corpse of a satyr that was displayed at Antioch was actually a miner who had been buried in a salt mine and mummified.
7. Menehune 0 Hawaiian legends tell of a mysterious group of little people who, even before the "divine ancestor" of Hawaiians arrived on the island, lived in the local valleys and forests. These tiny men (whose height ranged from 10 to 60 centimeters) possessed great skill and technique, and they worked at night when people were asleep. It is alleged that on many islands of the Hawaiian archipelago there are still buildings of the Menehune. Some scholars suggest that the first settlers from Tahiti met settlers from the Marquesas Islands on the islands. Presumably they were called menehune by the Tahitians, a pejorative term indicating that these people were at the bottom of the social ladder.
8. Incubi and Succubi 0 In the Middle Ages it was believed that demonic beings could come to decent Christians at night to seduce them. Similar ideas are also found in Jewish mysticism, where they were associated with Lilith. In Muslim culture, jinn were blamed for such acts. In China the phenomenon is known as ghostly oppression, while the Japanese call it kanashibari and believe it may be caused by spirits, sorcerers or ghosts. The most common explanation for this phenomenon is believed to be that it is caused in a state on the boundary of sleep, when part of the brain is in a state of fast asleep and the other part is aware of what is happening. Due to physiological features during sleep, men often have an erection and women secrete lubrication. During the fast asleep phase, fairy tale and erotic hallucinations may occur at this point.
9. Doppelganger 0 In German folklore there is the concept of a doppelganger, a doppelganger of a living person whose appearance often suggests impending death. In neurology, seeing oneself is called heautoscopy, which means "seeing oneself" (this differs from autoscopy, in which one leaves one's body). In heautoscopy, the person perceives an illusory body, and the center of consciousness can switch between the physical and illusory bodies. Brain scans of patients suffering from heautoscopic hallucinations usually show damage to the left posterior islet and adjacent cortical areas.