4 spine-chilling Mythical Creatures from Swedish Folklore

Are there any passionate fans of Norse mythology? If the answer is yes, then you MUST check out this blog!

So, let’s get into it!


My representation of Draugr, credits: Vlad Popescu
My representation of Draugr; credits: Vlad Popescu

Just imagine embarking on a “Pirates of the Caribbean” type of expedition (I would do it right away if it’s for Johnny Depp) and somewhere in the distance you can immediately spot a mysterious cave where a treasure chest filled with gold is half buried in the sand. Venturing towards the treasure might be a bad idea considering that these kinds of places usually serve as graves for Draugar! In Scandinavian folktales, Draugar are often described as animated corpses that are brought back to life with the aim of guarding their precious belongings or fortune.

However, there are some things about these inhabitants of burial mounds that are less well known! For instance, Draugr has magic! It can predict the future, manipulate the weather at will, and even metamorphose into a seal with strange humanoid eyes.


My representation of Skogsrå, credits: Vlad Popescu
My representation of Skogsrå; credits: Vlad Popescu

As if originated from the all-time classic fairy tales portraying the attacks of some hostile mermaids against the unfortunate sailors, luring them into the restless waves of death, Skogsrå, the spirit of the forest, is known to entice hunters and lost travelers into following her inside the darkness of the woods.

What struck me most about this fantastical character is the rigid dichotomy between its beauty and malice. Even though she takes the appearance of a beautiful woman, there is no better indication that you have actually encountered this creature than its tail! Although most of the time, Skogsrå has a foxtail, the legend says that sometimes she’s endowed with a horse’s or cow’s tail but she’s really good at hiding it! Not to mention that her back has a treelike texture as if it were made of the outside layer of wood, being fully covered in moss while surrounding a horrifying cavity that deepens right in the middle of her back.

I have some mixed feelings about this character as she seems to protect children who venture into the forest and get lost, yet she can be very vengeful and hateful.


My representation of Näcken, credits: Vlad Popescu
My representation of Näcken if he had some clothes on 🙂 credits: Vlad Popescu

This supernatural being is not only associated with the Roman god of freshwater and seas, Neptun, but equally with the ill-natured and insatiable god who is depicted in Greek mythology as ruling over horses, seas, rivers, storms, and earthquakes, the powerful Poseidon. This mystical ghostlike entity turns into an extremely handsome and seductive man who plays the violin while being naked. His music is supposed to draw listeners into the deadly nets of swirling water.


My representation of Jörmungandr, credits: Vlad Popescu
My representation of Jörmungandr; credits: Vlad Popescu

Despite my overwhelming fear of snakes and other such reptiles, this legendary beast is my favorite by far! Jörmungandr takes the shape of an enormous water snake or worm that is so huge that it completely surrounds the Earth (it is precisely for this reason that Jörmungandr is otherwise known as “the World Serpent” or “the Midgard Serpent”). Being so gigantic, this monstrous snake ends up swallowing his own tail and, inexplicably, this is seemingly a good thing as the very moment he lets his tail loose, this event will set off the apocalypse (Ragnarök, the catastrophic annihilation of the whole universe … highly unrealistic though considering that the destruction of matter is quite impossible).

The serpent’s greatest enemy is considered to be the lightning-god Thor with whom Jörmungandr is supposed to fight during the final battle. The prophetic myths foretell the defeat of the serpent by Thor who is said to be victorious but he will eventually die after being poisoned by Jörmungandr’s lethal venom (sorry for the spoiler).

However, when it comes to these two opponents, this is not the first time they met. They’ve bumped into each other before.

On one occasion, Jörmungandr used sorcery to disguise himself as a cat … a very big one! Thor was challenged to pick up the cat as hard as he was capable of in order to prove his physical strength and not only did he succeed in lifting the cat so high that it nearly touched the sky, but he also managed to detach one of its paws from the ground. It is believed that if the Midgard Serpent had been entirely removed, the borders of the universe would have undergone destructive transformations.

Luxor, credits: Vlad Popescu
Sometimes I suspect that Jörmungandr is also disguised as my cat 😀 credits: Vlad Popescu





Mythological creatures

Vlad – Biomedicine (BSc)

Vlad – Biomedicine (BSc)

I'm Vlad, your Romanian blogger who comes from the very homeland of Dracula, Transylvania. While completing my first degree in International Business, I based my undergraduate thesis on the inconsistency of biological analogies in Economics. I began to study the genomes of ants and thus gravitate towards Biomedicine and KI. I chose Karolinska because of its academic and research excellence and because one day I wish to be able to make a difference in the field of Cancer Genetics. Visiting the remarkable collection of preserved medieval manuscripts from the Kungliga Biblioteket is on my bucket list.


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