Monsters live on the fringes of society. Unaccepted, shunned and feared, they dominated Gothic works of literature in the 18th century, graduating to modern-day cinema in the form of ghosts and vampires. Though they are portrayed as unreasonable beings with anger issues, how often do we find ourselves curious about their backstories?
Click start to play today’s Word Search that pays homage to some of the scariest creatures.
Monsters are not written to scare us, at least not entirely. When taboo elements were no longer welcome in casual texts, Romantic era poets and writers channelled their supressed artistry through Sheridan Le Fanu’s 'Carmilla', Mary Shelley’s 'Frankenstein' and Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories.
A few othered creatures get a pretty bad rap, and we’re here to dispel the demonising myths.
Justice for Medusa
A look from the fearsome Medusa can turn you into stone – sure, that’s true. But what popular culture will not tell you is that the Gorgon, the species she belongs to, was never born a monster. Roman poet Ovid’s translation of the Greek myth makes Medusa’s tale a heart-breaking one.
Once a beautiful mortal, Medusa fell victim to Poseidon’s advances. The Greek deity of seas and rivers assaulted her in a place sacred to Athena, the deity of war and wisdom, who was quick to take offence. Instead of exacting vengeance on the offender, Athena cursed Medusa with a dreadful ability and a head full of serpents.
And newly turned monster Medusa doesn’t survive for long - she is beheaded by a hero on a quest. The creepiest part? Her bodiless head still carried the ominous curse after, which was then infused onto Athena's shield, the aegis.
Frankenstein’s monster misreads social cues
If you’ve seen the 1931 film adaption of 'Frankenstein', then you recall the horrific scene towards the end of the movie. Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s experiment-gone-wrong is hated by everyone but a little girl he chances upon. Out of captivity, the monster is happy to befriend someone who sees him for who he is.
The two play a game of throwing things into the lake until they run out of items, and the monster tosses the girl into the water instead, completely unawares. We think we know who is to blame for the rusty interpersonal skills.
Popular culture is increasingly warming up to the bad guys, where villains like Disney’s Cruella are getting a redemption arc.