Pokémon Inspired By Weird Real-Life Events In History

The most recent games in the venerable Pokémon franchise, -- Scarlet & Violet -- will debut in November of 2022, introducing a slew of new Pokémon and bringing the total close to a thousand. It's no easy feat to create a thousand of these creatures, and it makes sense that Game Freak would look for inspiration everywhere.

Some of the best Pokémon borrow elements from mythology and well-known cryptids, but a few also draw inspiration from bizarre real-world events. These incidents can be weird or even funny, but they seem taken out of a novel, proving that sometimes, reality truly is stranger than fiction.


Elgyem & Beheeyem

Split image showing Elgyem and a group of Beheeyem in the Pokémon anime.

Not many fans might instantly recall Elgyem and its evolution, Beheyeem, but they are two Pokémon worthy of remembering. These two pure Psychic-types are among the weirdest yet unique Pokémon in the franchise. They might not be great in battle, but their lore is fascinating.

RELATED: 10 Best Dual-Type Psychic Pokémon

Elgyem and Beheyeem draw inspiration from supposed UFO sightings, particularly the incidents and urban legends surrounding Area 51. The two Pokémon seem particularly inspired by the Roswell incident, which has become one of the most recognizable events in pop culture and a favorite of conspiracy fans. Pokémon researchers believe Beheyeem can manipulate people's minds and memories, which mirrors real-life conspiracy theorist beliefs about extraterrestrial life on Earth. Elgyem and Beheyeem are also related to the numerous disappearances of the sheep Pokémon Dubwool within the Pokémon world, a tongue-in-cheek reference to supposed UFOs kidnapping real-life sheep.

Yamask, Cofagrigus, & Runerigus

Yamask and its evolution Cofagrigus are among the most underrated Pokémon from the Unova region. These two pure Ghost-type Pokémon draw clear inspiration from ancient Egyptian burial practices. Yamask is based on a death mask, while Cofagrigus is obviously a sarcophagus. The latter also incorporates elements from so-called curses and hexes existing within the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Tutankhamun's infamous and supposedly cursed resting place is one of the most recognizable examples of this trope, and it might've directly influenced Cofagrigus' design and lore.

Generation VIII introduced Runerigus, a regional evolution for Galarian Yamask. The dual Ground/Ghost-type Pokémon is based on Viking runestones across Europe. Like Runerigus, many of the most famous runestones include carvings of animals and other motifs from Viking mythology. Like Egyptian tombs, some people believed certain runestones carried curses, explaining Runerigus' secondary Ghost-type.


Chairman Rose's Copperajah in battle in the Pokémon anime.

The Galar region borrows heavily from the United Kingdom; thus, its Pokémon all share a close bond with English and British lore. Copperajah, a pure Steel-type elephant Pokémon, is among the region's strongest and most elusive creatures, found only sporadically in certain locations within Sword & Shield.

Cooperajah's Pokédex entry states that it isn't native to the Galar region but was taken there to use as a work beast. The United Kingdom has an infamous history of colonizing other territories, including India. Real-life elephants were indeed taken to the UK by English colonizers and used as beasts of burden, giving Copperajah somewhat of a tragic backstory.


Pokemon GO Magikarp Spotlight Hour Guide Magikarp Screenshot

The clumsy and seemingly useless Magikarp is among the most iconic Pokémon from Generation I. The red and funny-looking fish is almost irrelevant in battle, having access to only one damage-dealing Attack via level up. Things change when it evolves into Gyarados, one of the fiercest and strongest Water-types in the franchise.

RELATED: The 10 Ugliest Water Pokémon, Ranked

Magikarp borrows heavily from the real-life Asian carp, an easily frightened fish capable of jumping considerably high. This aspect mirrors two of Magikarp's attacks, Flail and Splash, in which it jumps in its spot without dealing any real damage. Magikarp is the ultimate representation of weakness within the Pokémon franchise and is abundantly common across multiple regions. Carps are an invasive species in the real world, drawing another parallel between the real fish and its Pokémon equivalent.


Aromatisse in the Pokemon anime

Although many fans consider it ugly, Aromatisse is an intriguing Fairy-type and one of the most underrated Pokémon from the Kalos region. This pink flamingo-like creature has pretty underwhelming stats but can become a valuable ally in battle when used properly.

Aromatisse also has a remarkable real-life inspiration. It borrows elements from plague doctors, who used masks with long beaks and heavy scents to drown patients' smells during the height of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. Like their real-life counterpart, Aromatisse is famous in the Pokémon world for its wide variety of scents, which include pleasant perfumes and disgusting odors. Aromatisse also has a contentious reputation, much like real-life plague doctors, whose presence in a given place was considered a bad omen.


Sigilyph inside a cave in the Pokémon anime.

Psychic-type Pokémon are among the best in the franchise. Most of them are highly respected in their regions, and Sigilyph is no exception. This bizarre-looking creature is native to the Unova region; locals believe it to be the guardian of an ancient city lost to time.

Sigilyph seems inspired by the mysterious Nazca lines: geoglyphs found in the deserts of the Nazca Desert in Peru. Their purpose remains unclear, but scholars often believe they have a religious purpose. Like the lines, Sigilyph is also exclusive to the desert environments within the Pokémon world, strengthening the connection between the fictional creature and its real-life inspiration.


Pokemon Relicanth

Although often confused for a Fossil, mainly thanks to its dual Water/Rock-type, Relicanth is actually a run-of-the-mill Pokémon from the Hoenn region. Still, there's some validity to the claims, because Relicanth is one of the most ancient Pokémon in the franchise, with its Pokédex entries stating its close to 100 million years old.

RELATED: The 10 Best Fossil Pokémon

Relicanth is based on the coelacanth, a type of fish thought to be extinct before its accidental discovery by a museum curator in 1938. According to Pokémon lore, a submarine expedition rediscovered Relicanth after years of being believed extinct. Funnily, Relicanth's name is a variation of a famous explorer's last name, mirroring how real-life discoveries often receive the name of the person that discovers them.

The Galar Fossils

The four Galar fossils against an orange background.

The Galar region introduced the four weirdest-looking fossils in the franchise's history. Dracovish, Dracozolt, Arctozolt, and Arctovish are among the ugliest Pokémon ever, but they are undeniably powerful. Dracovish, in particular, might be the strongest Water-type in Galar. The Galar fossils are misassembled because Cara Liss, the researcher in charge of bringing them back to life, deliberately mixes two different fossils to create a chimera-like Pokémon. This bizarre and seemingly random event mirrors the real-life incident of the fossils from Crystal Palace, now notorious for their erroneous reconstruction that reflects the inaccuracies of 19th-century paleontology.

Pokémon exaggerates the incident by turning the Galar fossils into chimeric creatures that look more like abominations than any other design in the franchise. Still, it's hard to criticize the real-life incident, especially considering it happened at a time when researchers didn't have enough tools or data to properly reconstruct a fossil. And while their efforts turned out to be erroneous, they were the best they could do at the time. On the contrary, Cara Liss has ample knowledge to know how to properly assemble the fossils and still chooses to do it wrong, cementing her as one of the most reprehensible characters in Pokémon.

NEXT: The 10 Worst Pokémon Abilities, According To Reddit

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About The Author David Caballero (940 Articles Published)

David is a twenty-eight-year-old Mexican writer and reader. Having studied Marketing in school, he spent three years working a nine-to-five desk job before deciding to pursue a writing career. He now works as a Senior Writer in ScreenRant and does some more freelancing job, talking about the entertainment business he so loves. Currently, he's also writing his second novel while actively working to get his first one published.

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