10 Dark Stories Ancients Told About Our Night Skies

The stars in a night sky have restrained a imagination of humankind for generations. We’ve seen a Big Dipper, small dogs, hunters, scorpions, and fabulous creatures who follow any other conflicting a horizon. We’ve also finished adult copiousness of stories to explain how people and creatures got into a heavens. Some of these stories are unusually disturbing.

10 Algol
The Demon Star


Algol, a star in a constellation Perseus, represents a severed conduct of Medusa, a Gorgon. In a obvious story, a favourite Perseus used Medusa’s possess thoughtfulness as a arms conflicting her and afterwards saved her conduct to occupy as a weapon.

The star Algol as a illustration of Medusa’s death-causing conduct is a rather unsettling further to a star’s mythos. Algol waxes and wanes, ostensible to blink in a night sky.

Its name comes from a Arabic word ra’s al-ghul (“the demon’s head”). Today, we know that Algol’s unchanging blinking happens since it’s indeed dual stars with conflicting liughtness levels that revolve around any other.

The outcome is a flickering, blinking outcome that we see each time it completes a cycle. That happens each dual days, 20 hours, and 49 minutes, creation it understandably unsettling to ancient eyes.

It’s now believed that a ancient Egyptians used a unchanging flickering of Algol to assistance order their calendar. They competence also have used Algol’s dimming and flickering to lane their days.

Back then, a supposed Demon Star competence have been noticed as something immorality looking down from above. The Egyptian calendar formed on a star’s patterns also used a swapping face of a star to establish that days would be propitious or unlucky.

The propitious times—which lasted 2.85 days each—coincided with a cycle from a star’s brightest prove to a dimmest. Researchers during a University of Helsinki trust that this judgment of fitness was connected to a Eye of Horus.

When a star was during a brightest, Horus’s rage-filled eye was believed to be casting a dangerous light on mankind. As a light dimmed, Horus was pacified for a moment.

9 Ophiuchus The Serpent Holder
The Curse Of Erysichthon


The Ophiuchus constellation sits along a elliptic (the trail of a Sun) and conflicting a some-more obvious Orion. It defines a figure of a male holding or wrapped in snakes. The conduct of a figure is a star Rasalhague (“Head of a Snake Charmer”).

As with many constellations, there are stories compared with Ophiuchus, a snake holder. He’s infrequently decorated as Asclepius, a Greek medicine who was struck down by Zeus to keep him from creation a tellurian competition immortal.

He’s also compared with a positively terrifying story of Erysichthon, son of Triopas, an ancient aristocrat of Thessaly. According to a story, Erysichthon led a organisation of organisation into a timber of trees that was dedicated to Demeter. They cut down a trees and used them to build Erysichthon’s house.

As retribution, Demeter accursed Erysichthon with a craving that would never be satisfied. He replete himself on party after banquet. Still, he starved. He had 12 organisation constantly move him wine. Still, he was thirsty.

The some-more he ate, a hungrier he got. Finally, he did zero yet eat. His family was forced to tell others that he had left abroad since he wasn’t means to stop eating prolonged adequate to accept a visitor. After he ate all in his father’s home—even a cat—he was reduced to sitting during a crossroads and vagrant anyone who upheld for food.

Finally, after offered his children into labour to get some-more food, he had usually one choice left. He began to eat himself. The some-more that he ate his possess flesh, a reduction unpleasant his ardour became. When he died, he was wrapped with snakes as an almighty punishment and placed among a stars as a warning to those who competence brave to provoke a gods.

8 The Morning Star
Skiri Pawnee Sacrifice


According to an aged Pawnee legend, organisation and women were usually assimilated after a Morning Star (sometimes ascribed to Venus, Mars, or Jupiter) met with a Evening Star in a initial passionate union. After that union, a lady was born.

The Sun and a Moon afterwards followed fit and constructed a initial boy. Ever afterward, a tellurian competition was continued by a fasten of organisation and women. Not a terribly dim story in itself, yet a fable led to a Morning Star ceremony.

The rite began when any male in a clan dreamed of a Morning Star and saw it rising in a easterly when he awoke. It was afterwards his shortcoming as a soldier personality to find a womanlike captive—usually from a adjacent village—for a scapegoat that would safeguard a participation of a tribe, a continued flood of a people, and destiny successes in battle.

Once a serf was found, a tribe’s clergyman waited for signs to prove when a scapegoat should take place. Once he saw these signs, a rite would start with a credentials of a rite board and a opening of a Evening Star bundle.

On a second day, one of a tribe’s warriors used blazing poles to prove to a sacrifice. On a third day, a poles were used to build a scaffold. On a fourth day, a preparations that were finished on a initial day were destroyed. The scapegoat was embellished half black and half red, north and south.

Bound to a stick support before a Sun came up, a lady was killed with an arrow to a heart. Her heart was afterwards removed, and her blood was dripped on a buffalo heart and tongue. After 4 feign blows from a warrior, he overwhelmed her heart on a fifth, releasing her suggestion to spin a star in a sky while her physique returned to Earth.

Although it’s an ancient story, a rite was achieved until comparatively recently. The final one that finished with a tangible genocide of a scapegoat was in 1838.

7 Tiamat And Her Demon Children


According to ancient Babylonian mythology, when you’re looking during a night sky, you’re indeed looking during half of a stays of a good dragon Tiamat.

The initial boundless beings in a star were Tiamat (the seas), Apsu (freshwater), and Mummu (the obscurity from both). Tiamat and Apsu eventually had equally boundless children. But they were such wicked small monsters that it wasn’t prolonged before Apsu suggested that they usually kill all of a children.

Tiamat refused, so Apsu left to devise his murder debauch alone. Before he could kill his children, one of them—Ea—struck initial and killed Apsu. Ea built a house on a stays of his father, bending adult with another goddess, and gimlet Marduk, a God of storms.

Understandably angry, Tiamat lifted a malicious army with a God Kingu during a head. They headed off to face Marduk, who took adult arms with a condition that he order a star when he won. With usually Tiamat and Marduk left, Marduk used a breeze to reason her mouth open as he shot an arrow down her throat, murdering her.

There was even a plcae given for this good conflict that eventually gave birth to a world: a She-Goat Constellation. Tiamat became compared with a Corpse Constellation, that is appropriate.

Once Tiamat was dead, Marduk set about building a universe. Cutting a stays of his grandmother in half, he used half to build a constellations of a night sky. He also left behind guards to safeguard that her saltwater wouldn’t tumble to a Earth, that was finished adult of a other half of her corpse.

6 Coma Berenices
Heavenly Hair


Although a stories that go along with a stars and constellations are generally a things of misconceptions and legends, there is one exception: Coma Berenices.

This constellation is named for a mother of Ptolemy III, who sat during a conduct of Egypt around 250 BC. When Ptolemy headed off to fight conflicting Syria, his mother finished a guarantee to a gods. If he returned protected and victorious, she would scapegoat her other many cherished possession: her hair.

Cutting off her prolonged hair, she placed it during a tabernacle to Aphrodite during Zephyrium. The enchantress apparently kept adult her finish of a bargain. Ptolemy III returned protected and victorious, yet that wasn’t a finish of a story.

Berenices’s hair was stolen from a temple. The aristocrat was understandably irate, yet a conditions was diffused by an doubtful chairman when a justice astronomer stepped in.

Conon of Samos was means to remonstrate Ptolemy III that Berenices’s hair hadn’t been stolen by a creepy, sweaty-palmed outlaw who was adult to something disturbing. Instead, Conon told a aristocrat that it had been taken by Zeus.

The gods had been so respected by a queen’s scapegoat that they had put her hair among a stars as a gloomy galactic cluster that’s roughly unfit to see on anything yet a darkest of nights.

The story wasn’t trustworthy to a constellation until centuries after it happened. The star cluster had been compared with Sampson’s hair and an ivy spray before Tycho Brahe initial cataloged it as Coma Berenices in 1602.

5 Draco And The Virgin


When 19th-century author Elizabeth Cady Stanton looked during a purpose of women in a Bible, she began with Revelation 12:1. “Then we witnessed in Heaven an eventuality of good significance. we saw a lady dressed with a Sun, with a Moon underneath her feet, and a climax of 12 stars on her head.”

The hymn afterwards told of a “great red dragon” that seemed as a lady gave birth to a boy. Although a lady was taken divided to reserve by God, a dragon followed a child. Michael and a other angels faced off conflicting a dragon. Michael won, casting a dragon—Satan—to Earth and out of a heavens.

The dragon was described as carrying 7 heads and 10 horns. Draco, one of a largest constellations, stretches conflicting 7 signs of a zodiac. Originally towering to a God in ancient Egypt, Draco gradually mislaid preference as a organisation with a snake became one of evil.

Beside Draco was a constellation famous as Cassiopeia, a lady with 12 stars (the signs of a zodiac) on her crown. The lady was also pronounced to bear a “child,” a star that seemed in 945, 1264, and 1562, when it was available by Tycho Brahe.

For some, Draco is a essence of Satan. His participation in a night sky means that a Tribulation hasn’t occurred nonetheless and that a conflict between Michael and a angels of a Devil is still coming. According to that interpretation of a Bible, Satan will palm his management over to a Antichrist when that happens.

4 Zu Bird
Pegasus And Taurus


In ancient Sumeria, a constellations that we know as a swift equine and a longhorn were something different—a charge demon called Zu bird. Sadly, all we have of a fable is pieces and pieces, yet it’s terrifying nonetheless.

Zu bird was called a “worker of immorality who lifted a conduct of evil” and once attempted to take a star from a other gods. Whoever hold a Tablets of Destiny ruled a world, and Zu bird stole them in a story whose roots date behind to around 2300 BC.

Enlil was a legitimate owners of a tablets. Zu knew that if he took a tablets—along with Enlil’s climax and robes—he could lift himself to a tip of a pantheon. So Zu watched and waited. When he saw his chance, he stole a tablets while Enlil was in a bathroom, doing his morning duties.

Anu, a God of a heavens, called on a others for a champion to confront a grievous bird and take behind a right to rule. Everyone declined. Although we’ve mislaid a partial that tells us accurately what happened next, we’re sincerely certain that a gods teamed adult to take down this monstrous, immorality threat. Presumably, they placed him in a night sky as a punishment or warning.

It’s still misleading who or what a Zu bird is since he’s never mentioned as one of a pantheon of Sumerian gods. The name pops adult a integrate of times in other texts, describing him as a boundless bird of chase or charge bird that is compared to one king’s warriors.

Some scholars advise that Zu bird isn’t unequivocally a bird in a normal sense. As he is compared with a underworld, it’s probable that he was illusory as a dry arrange of suggestion of a dead. These spirits were mostly pronounced to boyant on a wings of birds.

When one aristocrat journeyed to a underworld, he described a quadruped there as carrying a head, hands, and feet of Zu. This suggested that there was zero utterly like Zu bird.

One academician pieced together some clues to paint a terrifying design of a charge demon. He was a four-winged demon with a conduct that was half tellurian and half dog. He also had a hands of some kind of animal, a talons of an eagle for feet, and a tail of a scorpion.

3 Virgo, Bootes, And Canicula
Suicide, Murder, And A Faithful Dog


A singular Greek fable tells a story of a constellations Virgo, Bootes, and Canicula. Although there are a integrate of versions, they all report a comfortless story of one family.

The simple story started with Dionysus streamer into a mortal star to share a present of wine. He comparison a male named Ikarios (Icarius) to accept his secrets of planting and harvesting grapes and afterwards converting them into wine.

Ikarios had a abounding vineyard when a goat pennyless in and began eating a vines. Outraged, Ikarios killed a goat and finished a pouch from his skin. Then he and his friends danced around it. From afterwards on, Ikarios was called Bootes.

Once Bootes had finished his wine, he common it with his neighbors. Not meaningful how to hoop their alcohol, they drank themselves into a stupor.

Upon waking with pulsation hangovers, they were assured that Bootes had tainted them to take their land and graze his sheep in their territory. So a shepherds killed him. Depending on a story, they possibly threw his physique down a good or buried him in his fields.

Meanwhile, his daughter, Erigone, started to worry when her father didn’t lapse home. She knew something was terribly wrong when Ikarios’s dog, Maera, showed adult utterance and whining.

The dog led her to her father’s body, where she was overcome with grief and loneliness. Erigone hanged herself rather than face a star but her father. As atonement for a wrongs finished conflicting them, all 3 were commissioned in a place among a stars.

2 Po I-k’ao And Ta Chi


Ancient China famous 28 constellations in a night sky. They were divided into 5 areas formed on a executive space and a principal directions. The sky was utterly literally a thoughtfulness of what was function on a land. Much like a human world, a sky was infrequently a battlefield.

The 28 constellations were named for good warriors who had renowned themselves in battle. Furthermore, they were compared with things like animals, days, and stories.

The northern constellation of Tzu-Wei was compared with a story of Po I-k’ao, a eldest son of Wen Wang. Wen Wang was taken restrained by a vicious tyrant named Chou. It was left to Po to do all that he could to giveaway his father.

First, Po attempted appealing to Chou’s good side by promulgation him 10 pleasing concubines, 7 stately chariots, a white-faced monkey, and a sorcery runner that would now transparent a conduct of a chairman who sat on it.

At a same time, Po became a aim of a affections of Ta Chi, one of Chou’s concubines. After Po rebuffed her advances, she set about engineering his sleet by revelation damning tales about him.

Eventually, she indicted him—and his monkey—of conspiring conflicting a aristocrat when a gorilla committed a unforgivable impiety of hidden a handful of her candies.

Po talked his approach out of that one, and a part finished with a genocide of a monkey. But he didn’t leave good adequate alone and told a aristocrat about a loyal inlet of a lying, treacherous woman. Unfortunately for Po, Ta Chi was a king’s favorite. When she angry Po, he was overcome with fury and finished a mistake of distinguished her.

Po was condemned to be crucified. As he died, pieces of his strength were removed, cooked, and served to his serf father. If Wen Wang refused a “hospitality” of his host, he could be executed on a drift of display disregard for a king.

The prisoner, meaningful that a dishes were finished from his son, ate them and avoided his possess execution. Po was canonized and towering to a place among a stars.

1 Delphinus The Dolphin
Dionysus And The Pirates


Delphinus a Dolphin is one of a smallest constellations. Even yet it’s faint, a tighten organisation of a stars creates this constellation easy to discern in a night sky. But it’s not always characterized as a dolphin. Although we don’t know why, some texts call a settlement “Job’s coffin.”

The story of how a dolphin got into a night sky starts in ancient Greece with Dionysus. Presenting himself to mortals as a pleasing immature male during a start of a voyage, he was picked adult by a organisation of Tyrrhenian pirates.

The pirates motionless to sell their serf for a profit. But when they tied him up, a ropes fell away. The navigator famous Dionysus as a boundless being and attempted to stop a rest of a pirates. But no one would listen to him. The pirates hoisted a sails and became dynamic to get what they could out of a god.

A sleet of booze began to fall, and vines started to grow conflicting a boat and adult a masts. The vines blossomed and gimlet fruit. Even yet a pirates were finally carrying second thoughts about what they were doing, it was too late.

Dionysus incited into a lion, summoned a bear to his side, and charged all a pirates solely a helmsman. When a pirates jumped ship, they were incited into dolphins. Dionysus put a picture of a dolphin in a night sky as a reminder.

There are a integrate of conflicting versions that report how Dionysus gathering a pirates mad. In some, a atmosphere is filled with song and they’re forced to dance until they play themselves overboard.

In others, Dionysus summons resounding lions, panthers, and other large cats to transparent a decks while a organisation solemnly watch their hands spin to flippers, their spines curve, and their feet fuse.


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