Researching for a series of mystical and paranormal short stories I am writing, I came across a treasure trove of myths and superstitions from the Northern Territory. Monsters abound here, the specific form that their wickedness takes depends to a considerable extent on their location.
There are roaming Ogres, Bogeymen and Bogey women, Cannibal Babies, Giant Baby-Guzzlers, Sorcerers, and spinifex and feather-slippered Spirit Beings able to dispatch victims with a single fatal garrotte. In Arhnem Land, where I lived as a child, there are Yawk Yawks. A bit like mermaids, these fish tailed maidens are actually young women Spirit Beings, who lurk in the deep waterholes, rockholes and freshwater streams of Western Arnhem Land in particular. Children and young people particularly fear them, because they are believed to be capable of dragging people underwater and drowning them. Like most Aboriginal Spirits, they have the capacity to metamorphose, and can sometimes assume a presence on dry land, before morphing back into water spirits.
While monsters have always had a seductive side, they serve an important social function that contributes to the maintenance of life, instilling into young and old alike a healthy respect and fear of specific dangers, both environmental and psychic, of particular places.
In any case, with my teen out to jump scare me at every opportunity, and my toddler convinced he sees monsters everywhere, I may never sleep again!