Legends and such

I am a history buff, including genealogy/family trees. and so on. Love learning about legends in other countries, history too. so to start,

  1. 9 tailed fox? when and what started it?
  2. water spirit?
    3mountain spirit
    I know there are more. yeah I can google it, but I wanted to find out what all of you learned about those legends!
    were our ancestors so superstitious ( I am including the USA, too) that we made up these deities? just curious is all.