Myths and Legends Wiki

The main focus on this article is the myths of the Ancient Greeks, the beginning of mythological legends, gods, and temples. Ancient Greece found death to be inevitable, and therefore he is not represented as purely evil. In most Greek documents and stories he is portrayed as a bearded and winged man, or even a young boy. Death or Thanatos, is the counterpart of life; and is often represented as male, to the female image of life.

Thanatos (Death) is the twin brother of Hypnos, the god of sleep. He is typically shown with his brother, and is usually considered to be gentle. His job in the mystic realm is to escort the deceased to the god of the underworld, Hades. Once in Hades’ kingdom, Thanatos (Death) hands the dead over to Charon, a skeletal body, black cloaked being awaiting the delivery).

This part of the deceased’s journey begins with the “Grim Reaper” who mans the boat over the river Styx. This river separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. Legends and myths say that if the ferryman didn’t receive some form of payment for his services, then the soul couldn’t be delivered to the underworld. The consequence in this theory is the soul is left by the riverside for eternity, never to gain the new beginning.

Thanatos' sisters, the Keres, the spirits of violent death, are most times associated with deaths from battle, disease, accident, and murder. They are portrayed as evil, often feeding on the blood of the body after the soul had been escorted to Hades. Dressed in blood stained clothes, they bore fangs and talons for their beastly feast.

Media which glorify or make fun of the Grim Reaper are songs: Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. Movie: Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (sequel to BnT's Excellent Adventure). Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal 1957. Cartoon by Looney Tunes; the Reaper is portrayed as a bumbling foolish character out to gain Porky’s soul.

So in closing, death is a natural part of life, but the journey is only beginning with a visit from the Reaper.

A loved one is dying. The sick room is full of machinery droning on endlessly with a kind of white noise. The attendant has dozed off, but suddenly awakens, and in the dim morning light notices a figure standing near the dying person. Startled and frightened, the attendant is frozen in awe. The figure is wearing a long, dark, flowing robe, much like the robes worn by ancient monks, but no face or extremities can be seen. It seems to be in a meditation-type state. The dying person takes a few labored breaths, and finally exhales for the last time. At that moment, the figure is gone.....

Another encounter with the most universally recognized ghost or spirit entity of all time, the Grim Reaper - the Angel of Death - a frequent apparition experienced by virtually every culture and religion since Biblical times.


Though descriptions vary somewhat, the basic entity is the same - a tall figure felt to be male wearing a long monks robe tied by rope at the waist, sometimes with a sickle or scythe, and sometimes without. A skeleton-like face is occasionally reported, but more often there is no discernable face and no visible extremities. Though there are usually no facial features, the face area is often described as being the darkest dark - almost a black abyss - sometimes with sparkling or shining areas where the eyes should be. When it moves, it seemingly glides rather than striding or walking, and there are very few reports of it talking that we can find, though the people who are aware of it do get the sense that it is present to somehow function in the transitional stage of death. Its universal depiction as a harbinger of death is not surprising then, considering it appears most often where there is an imminent death.

Curiously, we can find few reports of people who have experienced near death who have related seeing this particular apparition at their moment of death. Most see the bright light, rise above their bodies, see some sort of tunnel, and communicate with various entities, but there are basically no reports that we have found of them seeing this particular shrouded figure. Therefore, we can only theorize that it manifests not only to somehow transition the dying - whether they are aware of it or not - but also to send some sort of signal or message to the living observers - otherwise, why would it materialize at all?

In this vein, not all sightings appear to result in the death of a close relative or friend, raising the possibility that maybe the appearance in and of itself is enough to heighten the awareness of the observer, thereby averting impending disaster whether or not the observer is even aware of the process. This might help explain instances in which people observe the apparition, but nothing else happens, as far as they know. Alternatively, maybe something DOES happen, but to someone from their past, or someone they are connected to in a spiritual sense that is not part of their everyday lives. The Grim Reaper also has a bulldog to accompany him and a 34 in long gold fish too.