What is the difference between a preternatural, supernatural, and metaphysical creature in myth and legend?

What is the difference between a preternatural, supernatural, and metaphysical creature in myth and legend?

I’ve been reading about certain mythological creatures and some sources site them as either being metaphysical or preternatural and sometimes even both. I’ve looked up the definition of each word and still can’t decide what is it that allows for us to categorizes these creatures (e.g. fairies, vampires, and angels) as such. Anyone have any guesses?

  1. angelinaApr 18, 2010

    Metaphysical means incorporeal usually, so angels/ghosts are metaphysical as they have no direct comparison in nature for their form

    Vampires are preternatural (or supernatural, but preternatural sounds more intellectual) as they have “natural” forms, but unnatural characteristics.

    That is my take on it at least.

  2. Accalia RApr 18, 2010

    The preternatural is that which appears outside or beyond the natural.(ghosts, spirits, anything and everything that is earthbound but incorporal)

    The term supernatural pertains to an order of existence beyond the scientifically visible universe. (miracles, spells and curses, divination, gods, sometimes heroes…)

    The metaphysical usually refers to something beyond the normal, in the sense of aliens, outside of this world, literally, physically.

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