The first obvious one that comes to mind is Mandrake. It's root was said to look like a human. Legend has it that when pulled from the ground it screamed.
I totally forgot about the Mandrake root. Boy, does it have some weird stories surrounding it! One tale says the root sprouts from the semen of a man who has just been hung. A witch supposedly collects the root and, using it as a...cough cough...phallus, later gives birth to an evil child with no soul. They are also connected to rituals that supposedly create Homunculi.
Anytime I think of Gingerbread men, I think of the one from Shrek. "Not my gumdrop buttons!" "You're a MONSTER!"
Medieval Europe was fond of solteties, (the most famous being a cockatrice) but fantastic beasts were the norm there...nothing resembling a human was made to my knowledge.
WOW! The pics of those things are so weird looking. It's kind of like how they sewed a monkey and a fish together to make the Fiji Mermaid.
There seems to be a common motif among the the sailor and merchant tales I'm reading. 10th century Arab seafarers seemed to honestly believe various animals were created from the union of two completely unrelated species. The story about the boy-like fish is only one of many mentions of human-shaped fish. These beasts are said to arise from the union between man and fish (eeeeewwwwww!). At the end of one particular story, the author claims ...
It is in the same way that men, by coupling with panthers, hyenas and other land animals, have given birth to monkeys, nasnas and other animals that look like man. It is in the same way that the union of pigs and buffalo have produced the elephant, dogs and goats the wild boar, and the a** and the mare the mule.
I have always found the baby fruit episode from Journey to the West interesting
. Not only because the fruit wiggled around and screamed like a real baby, but because of the highly ritualized way the fruit had to be picked. If I remember correctly, they had to belt the fruit with a rod made out of gold and catch it on a certain type of pillow. Otherwise, the fruit would sink into the ground and make it as hard as steel. This was because it bestowed 10,000 years of immortality onto whatever it graced.
Now that I think about it, there is a Chinese movie named Dumplings
about an aging woman that discovers eating a certain type of dumpling turns back the clock. However, she eventually learns the dumplings are made from baby fetuses.