Before sharks became movie villains, they were celebrated in myths across the world
Close your eyes and think of sharks. Chances are, you picture Jaws, bloody shark attacks, tacky Shark Week specials, or maybe Sharknado. Sharks have had a rather one-dimensional reputation in the West. But while our modern imagination sees sharks almost exclusively as terrifying creatures, the history and mythology around sharks is markedly more complicated and rich. In many cultures, sharks have been part of the folklore for centuries.
“No other animal elicits such fascination and fear as the shark,” writes Dean Crawford in Shark. In this book, Crawford lays out some of the mythos of this powerful predator around the world.
Predictably, the cultures with the most shark myths are the island regions surrounded by water. In the Marshall…