Manticore was a bloodthirsty quadruped mythical creature with the head of a blue-eyed man, the auburn body of a lion, the stinging tail of a scorpion and occasionally large bat-like wings. As if that is not enough, it had three rows of teeth like a shark and a tuneful bellow that sounded like a trumpet. Although it was very often described as violent and feral, but it was not until the manticore was incorporated into European mythology during the middle ages that it came to be regarded as an omen of evil. According to Greek author Ctesias, manticore had an insatiable appetite for human flesh and after chasing the victim with incredible speed, it rips the poor victim apart with one swipe of its mighty claws or sting it with its poisonous tail before devouring them bones and all.
It was believed that the tail of the manticore, which resembled that of a scorpion, had several large poisonous stings that came off the sides and one sting that rested at the tip of the tail. The terrible monster had the ability to shoot these stings from its tail like arrows and when one sting had been shot, it was automatically replaced by the next, which could then be shot at the target, if necessary. The stings had the capacity to inject poison, which would make the victim paralyzed, so that the monster could freely devour the victim without facing any trouble.
Although the name is Greek, the horrible monster actually originated in Persia and the word manticore itself is an adaption of the Persian name for the beast. While the word ‘manticore’ loosely stands for man-eater, many of the early stories relating the monster were sufficient to struck terror in the hearts of many.
During the middle ages, the manticore was sometimes considered as a symbol of the prophet Jeremiah, as both were underground dwellers. However, in Europe it came to be known as an omen of evil tidings and to see a manticore was to see a forthcoming calamity. Thus it came to signify bad luck, like the proverbial black cat.