Harpies Picture

"In the year 1963, I was summoned to a number of small islands off the coast of Greece due to a sudden boom in archaeological findings. In addition to a massive bronze statue and the remains of some ancient serpentine beast, a strange, ancient tomb built into the side of a hill was found on the remote Blind Man’s Island. When the tomb was opened, we found only a handful of things – the walls were made of bare earth, and the place had obviously been built in a hurry. A small scattering of gnawed chicken bones decorated one corner, and a large mound of feces – long since turned to dust – sat in another. However, the center of the room held two strange skeletons that were, by far, the most interesting finds on the island. The skeletons, each one seven feet tall, appeared humanoid, save for the short horns that sprang from their foreheads, the pointed, jagged teeth, and the immense, bat-like wings that stretched from one corner of the room to the other. The origin of the beasts remains a mystery, though one ancient legend of the region may hold a clue.

According to myth, the ancient hero Jason, in his voyage to find the Golden Fleece, journeyed to the island of the seer Phineas. Phineas was a seer who had misused his gift of prophecy, and was punished by the Gods as a result: not only was he struck blind, but a pair of vicious, cruel Harpies was sent to torment him forever. Phineas struck a deal with Jason and his men: if they would get rid of the Harpies, he would tell them exactly were to go. The legend varies a bit at this point, with some versions telling of the god Hermes giving Jason his winged sandals in order to chase the Harpies down, and others telling how Jason and his men used a massive rope net to entangle the demons. Either way, the Harpies were vanquished, and Phineas kept his word, giving Jason a mysterious amulet, as well. Jason left the island forever, and the Harpies vanished from legend.

Whether this tomb has revealed the final resting place of the Harpies remains a mystery, but one fearsome aspect of the bones still makes my blood run cold. One of the skeletons was partially missing – and the remaining bones had been chewed on by some fearsome teeth…"

Reality Check: This is Ray Harryhausen's version of the Harpies from the 1963 film "Jason and the Argonauts". I do not own this design or the character; Harryhausen made the design, the Harpies belong to the ancient Greeks.
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