This week is our last week in Eastern Asia. Disregard the photo chosen for this week’s creature; there weren’t many options that really embodied what the creature is but there is very little to go on! You can be the judge.
Next week, we embark on mythological creatures deriving from Western Asia. Join us on our journey around the world!
Santelmo | Philippines
“Spiritual presence in the form of a dancing orb of flame.”
- The name santelmo translates to ‘St. Elmo’s fire.’ It is also referred to as ‘Santo Elmo.’
- Recently, the fires seen dancing along have been debunked by scientists…even though these fires have been reported since the Spanish era (that’s almost 500 years ago!)
- Where did the name St. Elmo come from? To be clear, St. Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. Whenever the weather phenomenon (which is what scientists have deemed the fire) occurred, sailors saw it as a good sign. That’s a bit scary to be called a good thing, if you ask me.
- If the santelmo was inspired by a weather phenomenon which occurs at sea, what does the creature look like? The best description is as follows (from Cryptid wikia!):
St. Elmo’s fires have ranged from a ghostly dancing flame to natural fireworks. It usually is of a blue of bluish-white colour attached to fixed, grounded conductors and has a lifetime of minutes. The flame is heatless and non-consuming occasionally accompanied by a hissing sound. These latter properties prove the myths of a spiritual presence.
- The ball of fire spirit can come from the spirits of those who die in a river, the sea or while it’s raining. These versions of the santelmo are dangerous. They’ll drown someone!