A friend of mine once saw a t-shirt which said "I believe in mermaids, fairies and unicorns," and said to me "I get why mermaids and fairies are on there, but why have they put unicorns on the t-shirt, they're real aren't they?" Whether you believe in mermaids, fairies and unicorns or not yourself, there are plenty of people who do believe in mythical creatures, but which fantastic beast do the most people believe in?
Based on Google data over the last five years, I've put together a list of the ten most searched for mythical creatures and even delved into the data to find out where those creatures are the most talked about and researched.
10. Loch Ness Monster
The tenth most searched for mythical creature is the legendary aquatic monster living in a Scottish loch. Reports of the monster go back to the sixth century and continue to this day.
The famous photo above was taken 1934 by a surgeon by the name of Robert Kenneth Wilson, it's believed to be the first photo taken of the monster and commonly known as the "Surgeon's photograph."
A banshee is a female spirit who foretells the death of a family member, usually by shrieking. Despite the fact its origins are rooted in Irish mythology, most searches for this mythical creature oddly come from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
As you might imagine, searches for elves spike around Christmas every year and it's mostly people in the western world who search for elves, those who celebrate Christmas.
Long before the Christmas elf, Germanic mythology told stories of elves, they later appeared in old English and Norse folklore.
Most searches for Kraken come from the Netherlands which is located across the North Sea from Norway and Greenland where the legendary, giant sea monster has been sighted off the coasts.
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Werewolves are a consistently popular search term across the world, putting the terrifying beast at number six in our list.
According to folklore, a werwolf is a human with the ability to transform into a wolf or wolf-like creature, often during a full moon. When in wolf form they are often violent and aggressive.
Unicorns seem to be growing in popularity, over the last two years there's been a rise in people searching for the mythical, single-horned horse-like creature.
Those most interested in unicorns are in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, France and Canada.
The ancient Greeks wrote in natural history journals that unicorns originated in India and were coloured white, red and black.
The country which searches for mermaid the most is Indonisa, despite the fact that most modern mermaid sightings seem to take place in Israel and the North Sea.
There have been reports of mermaids for centuries, the tales are rooted in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. Mermaids are said to live beneath the ocean and are half human but with the tail of a fish. Even to this day people claim they have seen merfolk.
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The modern type of fairy we're all familiar with, small female sprites with wings, originates from English folklore, but there are tales of similar creatures rooted in mythology all across Europe.
The Victorian and Edwardian eras saw an increase in interest in fairies and since fairies have become part of our mainstream culture, appearing in countless children's stories and movies.
As you might expect, people search for vampires more on Google around halloween, but interest in these undead beings is high enough to make it one of the most searched for mythical creature worldwide. However, vampire, fairies and mermaid have switched places a fair bit over the last twelve months.
Vampires come from European folklore and have been recorded in most cultures, although the term vampire wasn't used until the early 18th century.
In 1819, John Polidori wrote 'The Vampyre' which cemented the modern characteristics of a vampire, this led to the quintessential vampire novel, 'Dracula' in 1897 and subsequently made vampires a solid fixture in books, films, and television shows in the horror genre.
Dragons are not only the most searched for mythical creature on Google, but substantially more people search for dragons than any other fantastic beast.
Over the last five years the countries that have shown the most interest in dragons has been Vietnam and the Philippines, where the dragon is an important part of their culture.
In the Philippine the dragon is known as the Bakunawa. While in Vietnam, dragons are prominent icons in the ancient mythology of the country. It's said that the Vietnamese people are descended from a dragon and a fairy, and that the dragon brings rain, essential for agriculture.
Despite the high search count in these countries, dragons are more commonly associated with China and European folklore, where they are depicted as large scaly reptilian that can breath fire.