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My search for "Monster Hunter" invariably gives me a ton of results related to the videogame and this is making my research a bit tricky.

What I'm looking for is any instance in history of a real organization that could be, even loosely, considered dedicated to "monster" hunting.

Alternatively I'd settle for a mythological one (from anywhere in the world).

A good match is, of course, The Inquisition, but i already used it as a model for a different part of the setting and I'd like to take from somewhere else.

I know some mythological figures (e.g.: from here) that were dedicated to hunting monsters but they did not have anything close to an actual organization as far as i know.

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    $\begingroup$ Do Perseus, Theseus and Hercules count as "organizations"? They sort of specialized in hunting monsters. Ah, and the Holy Inquisition most definitely did not hunt monsters; it fought against public heresy. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 30 '18 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Redundant, as already referenced in the OP's link 'from here'. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Sep 30 '18 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ The inquisition hunted witches and exorcized demons, among other things. $\endgroup$ – Renan Sep 30 '18 at 17:21
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Finding real organizations based on the hunting of monsters and other supernatural beings would be difficult as most of these "hunts" would be temporary events based on public hysteria due to a natural incident (mob-based witch hunts of history) or were more individual efforts like hanging garlic and paying attention to signs (like a 2012 vampire scare). Mythological is not going to be much better as the typical stories are based on "errant knights", the lone hero, or just small groups of adventures (Gilgamesh involves only 2 people & Journey to the West only a small group, for example).

That said, I do have two ideas that could be altered to fit (or even be considered) monster hunting organizations:


Of "demons" & Yokai:

Classical Western Demons

You already are using the Order of Inquisitors so why not include the Order of Exorcists? Exorcisim is not technically monster hunting in the strict sense but could also be adapted.

There are also two organizations which definently exist for this purpose. The first is The International Association of Exorcists (not affiliated with the Catholic Church1) which was founded in the 1990s with the focus of finding and stopping demon possession. Also, though there is no Order of the Exorcist within the church, the Vatican does require that "each diocese have a specially trained priest who is able to diagnose demonic possession and perform exorcisms when necessary."

Eastern Spirits and Demons

In Japanese culture, yokai, akuma, and oni tend to mix and merge so its even easier to see them as "monsters". In this case though, the Shinto religion places such emphasis on purification that any priest (Kannushi) of the sect can perform these.

In modern times, the idea of a priest purifying an object or area to rid it of yokai invokes more of an image of water, salt, and a old man waving a bunch of white paper. In ancient times, stories of people actually battling these creatures certainly exist and we have records of shinto priests being employed by the Empire to perform purification rituals as early as 772. So in that sense, these early temples could be seen as monster hunting - though more as a by-product of serving their kami than as a real focus - and if an area happened to have above average yokai/oni/akuma rate a temple might dedicate a portion of the priest and meka as purifiers.


1 I did find a reference to the removal of the actual order in 1973 but the source is suspect - so unless I find better evidence I wouldn't say the Catholic Church had an official order of exorcists.

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Mythological creatures were never such a real threat to the world to have somebody set up an organization chasing them. Maybe some individual person was fool enough to embark in some kind of search

Considering the etymology of the word

Monster derives from the Latin monstrum, itself derived ultimately from the verb moneo ("to remind, warn, instruct, or foretell"), and denotes anything "strange or singular, contrary to the usual course of nature, by which the gods give notice of evil," "a strange, unnatural, hideous person, animal, or thing," or any "monstrous or unusual thing, circumstance, or adventure."

If you extend the concept of monster to anything bizarre or extraordinary, the closest things that I can relate to a (fictional) organization searching for a monstrum would be:

  • the Argonauts (mythological on their own)
  • King Arthur and his companions chasing the Holy Grail (but in this case it was not a notice of evil)
  • Baudolino and his comrades in Eco's book Baudolino (fictional characters)
  • the Spanish Conquistadores looking for Eldorado (historical figures)
  • people searching for Loch Ness, Big Foot and Yeti (not sure if they qualify as organization, but definitely more than single person)
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    $\begingroup$ Jason and the Argonauts could conceivably be considered an 'organization', as they were a common group of 'heroes' on a common quest. They weren't technically hunting monsters as much as they were on a quest, but they did engage 'monsters'. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Sep 30 '18 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Time to add all these things to my ever growing list of terms to research $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Oct 3 '18 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ There are a few organizations searching for "legendary monsters" one of the even has a show about searching for big foot $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Oct 3 '18 at 2:31
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Warning: Not exactly monster hunters historically speaking

Something like the Frumentarii could work. Basically the Frumentarii were wheat collectors for the Roman Empire who eventually became spy masters as well as the secret police of the Empire.

Now what the Romans did was pretty ingenious. Instead of making a new burea within the Roman government they turned wheat collectors into spy masters. This gave the Romans a vast ready made intelligence service and one that was already spread across the Empire.

Now for the monster hunting. Some Frumentarii where tied to the legions because of their knowledge of terrain and the provinces themselves. While not exactly assassin's you could easily have a organization like the Frumentarii have a intelligence service, but also assassins or in your case monster hunters. If they are tied to the army they could also have agents that try to recruit members from the military.

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer is not exactly related to my question but i have to thank you for making me discover the Frumentarii, it's a great bit of info and i think i will make use of it in other parts of my setting. $\endgroup$ – Bolza Sep 30 '18 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ Well I did warn you, :P. But seriously happy to help! For questions like this I like to give ideas or at least examples you could use as a basis to build something up. $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Oct 1 '18 at 3:19
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It depends on what you mean by 'monsters', but by positing the Inquisitions as an example I presume you mean 'hunting real humans that are made out to be monsters'.

If this is the scenario, and you are willing to go with modern history, then McCarthy and his hunt for 'communists' would certainly qualify. It definitely qualifies as a modern day 'Inquisition'. McCarthy's forces were clearly well organized and followed a command structure.

A bit further back in history, is the concerted American campaign to completely eradicate the American Indigenous populations. They were portrayed as evil, menacing non-human monsters that had to be eliminated for the welfare of Americans. In this case, the organized body would be the American military backed by Congress.

If you add the term 'organizations' to 'monster hunters' in a google search, you get some pretty good hits, including

The Monster Hunters are a fictional group appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. This group exists in Marvel's shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

The team was created as a retcon to explain some events in the history of the Marvel Universe that were no longer plausible due to previous retcons. Their adventures are set during the late 1940s and 50's, a time when (in real life) Marvel/Atlas was mostly printing stories about strange monsters and alien invaders.

and an entire book (actually, a quite humorous fictional Novel) about contemporary monster hunting organizations

Monster Hunter Siege

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  • $\begingroup$ The show Criminal Minds depicts an organization dedicated to hunting down and capturing real human monsters - depraved serial killers. $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 30 '18 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Monster Hunter Siege is part of the Monster Hunter International series. There's also the Monster Hunter Memoirs series, which is set in the same universe. $\endgroup$ – Makyen Sep 30 '18 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Justin Thyme Your paragraph "A bit further back in history, is the concerted American campaign to completely eradicate the American Indigenous populations. They were portrayed as evil, menacing non-human monsters that had to be eliminated for the welfare of Americans. In this case, the organized body would be the American military backed by Congress." is totally non historical. The Federal government of the United States never had any plan or intention or goal of exterminating all Indians. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Sep 30 '18 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides Only in America do they posit such craziness. There are also many who legitimize slavery as the best economic solution to the labor problem in the era, or that your Civil War was not about slavery, but about oil. America, land of the myth-as-fact. How many 'spies' were there in Hollywood? In the writers' union? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Sep 30 '18 at 23:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides McCarthy couldn't even keep his numbers or names of these "Communists" straight. Let's not also forget that you didn't have to be a actual communist to get the finger pointed at you. I know a few socialists or people calling for reform where waved off as communists. On top of all of this you have to ask yourself: was the USSR even communist? $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Oct 1 '18 at 3:25
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A simple answer.

Zoos.

Think about it. Especially back in times where wildlife were not sufficiently well understood, exotic animals were widely collected on behalf of rich patrons. To be able to exhibit the skin of the latest curiosity was a mark of your superiority. To be able to exhibit the animal alive - that was really something special.

Further back again, of course, the Romans had an extra use for their exotic animals. They wanted a spectacle in the arena, so the more ferocious and monstrous the creature, the more kudos for the patrons of the games.

This attitude continued well into the 1960s and 70s. It wasn't until naturalists like Durrell and Scott put the focus on zoos preserving endangered species, instead of just being somewhere to gawp at the strange creatures, that things changed.

So if you want an organisation of real monster hunters, look at anyone with interests in natural history and in hunting rare and dangerous animals. This has always been a thing, from the Greeks and Romans, through Pliny's studies, to bear baiting in Europe, to the animals brought to the various courts around Europe, to colonial hunters around the world. No shortage of all this.

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Try a search for cryptozoology. One of the best known probably the now defunct International Society for Cryptozoology. For fictional references try the Etheric Explorers Club (Paul Marlow), the Explorers Club graphic novels and the work of James Board - Pinterest is a good start. Also fictional the Laundry Files by Charles Stross.

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May be a bit more mundane that what you are looking for - but;

Park Rangers / Wardens

There are records regarding people fulfilling a park ranger / forest warden role going back centuries. They were in charge of maintaining the royal forests, deterring poachers, managing game animals and a host of other duties.

They also got used in times of war for patrolling and conducting missions and reconnaissance through rough terrain. It's only in more modern times that the civilian and military roles have diverged.

It is easy to imagine hunting or fending off supernatural creatures or monsters becoming part of their duties.

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I think the best answer is the SCP organization, it is an organization that defends humans of paranormal activity. This includes monsters, "haunted places", alternative dimensions, legends and myths. I do not think i have to explain all of it as it is too broad and then my answer will be deleted for being too broad, I will leave two links and I hope it is OK. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCP_Foundation (what is SCP) and http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-series (official site, I think)

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  • $\begingroup$ Greetings and welcome to WB.SE! Your answer is a little sparse and may be deleted for being low quality. Please edit to expand upon your point. For example: what is SCP? Describe it, who's in it, what they do, the organisation's history, etc. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Dec 29 '18 at 0:36

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