Updated: Feb 9
You may not know this creature by its original name or place of origin, for it has also garnered a prominent pop-culture role. The Olgoi-Khorkoi is historically known as the Mongolian Deathworm, but you're likely more familiar with the Arrakis Sandworms from Dune, or the Graboids from Tremors, or even more recently, the Krayt Dragon featured in season two of The Mandolorian. They are usually subterranean behemoth worms who tunnel beneath the loose, shifting sands of vast desert landscapes. The myth of the Olgoi-Khorkoi originates from the Gobi Desert between Mongolia and China, just south of the great Mongolian Steppes.
As the Olgoi-Khorkoi has been used in several horror and sci-fi adaptations, we already have a decent idea of what this worm's all about, but for the sake of tidbits, here is a brief summary of its speculated abilities. The worm travels at incredible speeds beneath the ground, following the sounds of movement above. Anything unfortunate enough to be on the sand when a Deathworm happens by will be lunch.
Some legends claim the Deathworms are gigantic creatures, 300-900 feet long. Other accounts, mainly the ones who claim the Olgoi-Khorkoi still exist, believe these worms are proportionate to giant anacondas, saltwater crocs, or great white sharks. In other words, unsettlingly massive, extremely dangerous, but not mythically huge.
If being able to sense prey up to twenty miles off and cover that distance in a matter of minutes was not terrifying enough, the Olgoi Khorkoi also spits acid, venom, or venomous acid at its prey, depending on the legend you read or how big of a d**k your DM is when your DnD party encounters a Deathworm in combat.
Something that separates the Deathworm from last week's Cryptid, the Grootslang, is that a large community of people still believe the Deathworm exists. I would go so far as to say that the Olgoi-Khorkoi is the Sasquatch of the Gobi Desert. It has been written about, sighted, and sought after ever since the early days of the silk road, but despite numerous expeditions with bona fide scientists, biologists, paleontologists, archeologists, and geologists—all of whom also became somewhat less credible cryptozoologists by going on these missions. No pictures, dens, leavings, or remains of an Olgoi-Khorkoi have ever been found.
So, what do you think? Obviously, we are continually discovering new things in nature that we thought extinct, impossible, or merely unlikely. Is it possible that a giant worm lurks beneath the sands of the Gobi Desert, praying on unsuspecting travelers? Or did a roving caravan driver lose a load of valuable goods and his master's favorite camel in some quicksand two thousand years ago, make up a "death worm ate my cargo" excuse, and started this whole mess off?
Let me know what you believe in the comments!
Also, I love to read about new and obscure cryptids, so if you have a cryptid or myth you'd like me to cover, let me know about it! I especially love cryptids from cultures I am unfamiliar with, such as non-Egyptian-African or South American folklore.
Thanks for reading everyone! See you next week :)