Monster Art Show III: The Yara-ma-yha-who
Illustration by Kecen
In Brazilian folklore, misbehaving children were traditionally told that the dreaded Sack Man
would steal them away for continued mischief. In Germany, it was the hairy demon
Krampus, a
sort of reverse Santa Claus who would carry naughty children off in bags and chains. In Egypt, it
was the cannibalistic "
man with the burnt leg," who became such a freak when he failed to listen
to his own parents. Haiti had the giant
uncle gunnysack, and in Vietnam it was Mr. Three-bags.
One thing we can learn from these traditions, besides the fact that children hate bags, is that
virtually every culture has found the threat of monsters to be an effective form of discipline for
thousands of years; what we in the western world have come to know as "bogeymen."
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Bill Adcock
John Pesando
Illustration by SpydrXIII
Illustration by Sphenacodon
...But while the majority of bogeymen (or bogeywomen) are left undescribed (what better way to
sew fear than the let a child's imagination fill in the blanks?) or relatively human, one particular
disciplinary goblin boasts the most specific, most unusual appearance and behavior of them all:
Yara-ma-yha-who of Australian Aboriginal culture. Home to some of the world's most
dangerous snakes, spiders, crocodilians and even the deadliest snail, wild Australia is one of
the worst possible places to leave a child unattended, and since the funnelweb spider apparently
wasn't bad enough for young Aboriginal kids, their parents spun stories of a bizarre forest
creature just
waiting to catch someone all alone in its territory...
Illustration by Lee Sherman
Standing only three to four feet tall, the Yara-ma-yha-who was a frog-like or monkey-like little
man owing much of its height to a comically oversized head. Its entire body was said to be
covered in red skin or hair, and the tips of its fingers and toes were described as "octopus-like"
suckers. Its face was dominated by a wide, toothless mouth like that of a frog, apparently large
enough or
stretchy enough to engulf a human being.
This outlandish creature was said to lurk almost exclusively in the foliage of fig trees, patiently
lying in wait for a very specific sort of prey - a lone human stopping to rest at the base of its tree.
Once the interloper let their guard down, the monster would drop from above and begin a
multi-step feeding ritual even more peculiar than its physical appearance...
Illustration by Fetus-man
First, the Yara-ma-yha-who would latch on to the victim and rapidly drain blood in a leech-like
manner through its sucker-tipped digits, feeding until the victim was on the very brink of death.
Children were advised to simply lie back and submit to this attack, as the monster would leave
them be when their struggling ceased.
Illustration by Hauntzor
Too weak to escape, the prey would be left lying helpless for an indeterminate amount of time
before the monster returned and promptly swallowed them whole. Washing down its meal at the
nearest river, the Yara-ma-yha-who would proceed to take a long nap.
Illustration by John Pesando
As soon as the curious creature awoke, it would regurgitate its victim completely alive and
unharmed as though the attack had never happened at all...except that the unfortunate soul
would be very slightly shorter for the rest of their days.
Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Digg it!
A yara-ma-yha-who would never miss an opportunity to attack the same person again and
again, and with every attack, the persistent fool would be left a little smaller, a little redder, and a
little bit hungrier for blood. It was never certain just how many attacks were necessary, but
anyone stupid enough to keep sleeping under fig trees would soon find themselves living in one,
waiting to catch the next reckless moron off guard.
Illustration by Musical spoon
Illustration by Savagepassion666
Due to its blood-feeding habits, the Yara-ma-yha-who has been branded a type of "vampire" by
hundreds of literary and internet sources; the vast majority of which are all quoting the same
internet "vampire list" that went up decades ago. I was guilty of this in one of my own articles
written six years before this gallery went up, and I've since updated the page to reflect a changed
outlook. The Yara-ma-yha-who may share the diet and transformative powers of many "vampiric"
monsters, but has never been described as a form of the living dead, and it feels a little cheap to
label every mythical bloodsucker a "vampire." The sucker-fingered pygmy isn't even explicitly
supernatural, but viewed more as a very weird, very special beast of the forest.
Some folklorists believe the Yara-ma-yha-who to be an exaggeration of the red-eyed tree frog,
native only to Australia's tropical forests. While the darling amphibians are only partially
red-bodied, it's not a far-fetched comparison; just imagine the impression one might leave were
it to drop on your face in the middle of a quick nap.
This realistic monkey-like monster gives me a cryptozoological vibe.
One of the coolest designs here, this one is almost insect-like and gives me a very flea-like impression.
A simple but really fun and adorable little monster!
This is probably the prettiest colored entry and overflowing with personality!
Another fully froglike creature, it has especially cool-looking eyes!
Love the dangling tongue, gnarly fingers and freaky face of this vivid orange monster!
This crazed little guy has the most wicked-cool markings and wonderfully freaky proportions.
Our most scientifically believable yara-ma-yha-who, combining traits of frog, snake and thorny devil lizard!
A highly creative monster with armor plating and spidery fingers.
The most adorable little yha-who boy you ever will see! I love its axolotl-like face, and the fleshy doo-dad on its head!
Two variations on a very alien, very striking design!
An adorable and colorful entry, I really love the eyes, the dull green and the squidlike hands!
Possibly the eeriest, most disturbing interpretation in this entire gallery, just gorgeously painted.
Simple, but just delightful to look at. I love this style.
Possibly competing with leader's for the creepiest yha-who ever, I love the nasty, slobbery yawn of this baby-faced ghoul.
Both comical and creepy, I really like the slimy, detailed mouth and bulging eyes.
Wait,no...wait...THIS is the scariest!
Not created for this gallery, but I asked to include it. Stunningly detailed, incredibly gruesome and very thoughtfully designed!
One of two by Ophiguris, this sketchy drawing is still very cool and foreboding.
Ophiguris's second and more polished entry has both an eerie and lethal appearance.
I love EVERYTHING about this one. The tentacle is creative and the gaping, drooling face is insane!
A particularly creepy and alien-looking monster, I REALLY like its eye arrangement and huge muzzle!
Another one created long before this gallery, this one has a really distinct sasquatch-like appearance!
A totally trippy, abstract yha-who!
A very stylish Yara-ma-yha-who with spidery eyes and long, tubular hands. I also love its drooling mouth!
A well-executed fusion of shaggy ape and slimy toad! The eyes remind me of a tarsier.
ON THE ATARI 2601!!!
A realistic frog-like creature with really neat, wormy appendages!
A fat little toadlike yha-who!
A crazy little monkey-like guy with glassy, lizardlike eyes~
This impish, maniacal-looking beast is reminiscent of a Venus Fly-trap!
This cool green creature has really neat little pointed arms and spooky snake-like eyes!
I love this very human-like, but still very monstrous beast. The background is a great contrast and the tribal paint is way cool!
One of my very favorites, this monster has the coolest beady eyes and gaping whale-gullet! The throat sac is a nice addition, too.
The most human-like entry, but with just enough weirdness to be REALLY creepy. The extremely bright red makes it even more surreal.
Nice tentacle-arms and a huuuge gaping maw!
This beautifully colored yha-who adds a bit of cetacean to its anatomy. It definitely looks like it could swallow you.
The least humanoid submission, this one has a really cool newt-like physiology!
Monster man also created a version in Spore!
Legend of the Yara-ma-yha-who
A beautiful, biologically feasible yha-who that finely blends humanoid with amphibian!
Not originally created for bogleech, but a unique interpretation I just had to include! The mouth is both creepy and ingeniously logical for this monster :)
This one has a cool pokemon-like style and multi jointed arms!