Brainstorm types of mythical creatures and unusual environments

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9. Shangri-La

The name Shangri-La itself is a fairly modern invention, originating in a 1933 novel called “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton. It tells of a mystical valley somewhere in Tibet, in the shadow of a tall mountain, where modern ways are rejected and the Earth is enjoyed in all its natural purity. It is also the place where all the wisdom of the world is kept. But this idea did not originate in 1933 – according to documents from a 16th century Monghul court, the Emperor there told of a mystical kingdom where all religions originated and where communities of Christians lived. This was passed on to a Portuguese missionary named Antonio Andrade, who went in search of this kingdom, found Tibet but did not find the Christians. However, the idea inspired Hilton’s novel, as did a similar idea in Buddhism where the valley is known as Shambala. It’s an appealing idea, but almost certainly a work of fiction.


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