Let’s Get Weird: Crocotta

Lets Get Weird: Crocotta

Nick Looney, Staff Writer

For yet another installment of “Let’s Get Weird,” I bring you the tale of the Crocotta, probably the most enigmatic of the strangeness I’ve covered. There have long been legends of people disappearing into the woods, mimicking calls by malicious creatures, and the like. Although, the legends have never been centralized to one, or even seven creatures, nor are these tales commonly told. Forest disappearances can be chalked up to many, many things, most not paranormal. In addition, tales of mimicry are few and far between compared to other ghostly tales. Most of the time, they are also “proven,” he said with heavy skepticism, to be other things such as a poltergeist. But in the eastern Roman Empire and Ethiopia, a strange combination, a legend is shared giving credence to the idea that something is lurking out there in the night.

The crocotta was reported many times by traders, mostly of roman origin, and people living in isolated areas of Ethiopia and eastern Europe. The amount of untranslated surviving, primary documents, that are accessible on the web no less, are rare. Nevermind fully translated documents. I suppose I could translate some latin, but ancient Ethiopian dialects and eastern germanic languages are a bit of a stretch. Therefore, I have limited information. The beast’s appearance is up to interpretation, however, it is mostly commonly described as either looking like a feral dog or occasionally human until the time of the killing. As you can tell, their main diet consists of human, human, and more human. To attract their prey, however, they used their own weaknesses against them, most commonly using mimicry, and sometimes hypnotics according to some sources. Many disappearances on country farms were said to be due to crocottas, and of course, people never coming home from a lonely walk in the woods were considered murdered by the creature in the small pockets of land it was said to roam.

Their level of power varies based on the ancient roman author. Some say they can only repeat what has been heard. For example, a crocotta stalks a farm for a few days. Little Jimmy is playing outside when his mother calls him over. Now, next time Little Jimmy is outside alone, he may hear his mother’s voice calling him from the woods. Having no reason not to trust his mother, he goes in to find her. Little Jimmy is never found, save for some torn up clothes and grisly remains. Some authors said they were more sentient than simply being parrots. If in dog form, as opposed to human, it is said the crocotta has human vocal cords and can speak the language of the region. Therefore, it can create more complex traps. For example, a small caravan of traders is walking along a road in the woods. Suddenly, a woman’s scream for help, that a dog is attacking her, accompanied by the crocotta’s canine growls pierce the air. The brave men who go to save the damsel in distress never come back. The peak of the crocotta’s power in legends is said that it can do all the things previously mentioned, in addition to READING MINDS. They are said to mimic the voice of your wife back home, or maybe your dead mother. How about your son, who died young? If you heard him calling for you by name in the middle of the dark woods, wouldn’t you rush to his side? And that’s when the crocotta strikes. Not only are you weak because you have been isolated, separated from the pack (hence almost never leaving the woods) but you are an emotional wreck because loved ones, some maybe from beyond the grave, are calling for your help. If the crocotta is real, it truly is a cruel beast.

Image credits to Wikipedia.