Saturday, March 15, 2014

Skadegamutc (The Ghost-Witch)

For thousands of years, cultures all around the world have told stories of the dead returning to life from the grave. These creatures are known by many names: vampires, revenants, zombies, wraiths, and so on. However, most know them collectively as the Undead. But although this phenomenon is largely confined to Europe and Asia, it is not unheard of in the Americas. One such creature is known widely among various indigenous tribes of North America, but it is particularly feared by the Wabanaki. They call it Skadegamutc, the Ghost-Witch.

The Skadegamutc (pronounced "skuh-deh-guh-mooch") is an undead monster with both anthropophagous and vampiric tendencies. It is believed among the Wabanaki that this creature was once an evil sorcerer or a practitioner of black magic who has died and refuses to stay that way. However, according to some tales, anyone may become a Skadegamutc after they die. This revenant hungers for the blood and the flesh of living humans, and will kill and devour anyone who gets in its way. There is no way to escape the creature short of destroying it.

During the day, the Skadegamutc appears as an inert, harmless human corpse. But by night, the corpse reanimates and wanders off in search of human prey. To accomplish this, the Ghost-Witch takes the form of a ball of light, which enables it to cover great distances quickly. Once the monster has found a victim, it attacks from above. It then slaughters its prey, feasting on the victim's warm flesh and blood. However, the Skadegamutc isn't just a menace from the sky. Many legends speak of a group of hunters or warriors taking refuge for the night somewhere near a recent open-air burial or within a short distance from a corpse. At nightfall, the corpse revives itself and begins to kill the members of the group, one by one. It should be noted that the Skadegamutc prefers to target individuals who are alone or have been separated from a group. It is unknown if large groups frighten the creature or if it likes to torment potential victims by picking off one person after another.

During his or her lifetime, the Skadegamutc was a powerful sorcerer or a witch. And even in death, the Ghost-Witch still wields the power of black magic. One of the creature's favorite antics is to curse her victims. But in addition to her sorcerous powers, the Skadegamutc has unnatural strength, and is able take the form of a ball of light. In this form, the creature is able to fly great distances in a fairly short amount of time, and this is how the revenant finds its prey. And according to legend, the Ghost-Witch is able to camouflage itself, enabling it to blend into any background. This allows the monster to seemingly appear and disappear at will, and in this way, the Skadegamutc is able to ambush its unwary prey. This also allows it to hide from its enemies (like hunters) and also to deal with each person one at a time.

Much like the Vampire of Eastern and Central Europe, the Skadegamutc is vulnerable during the day. The only problem is that, according to Wabanaki folklore, the Skadegamutc cannot be harmed by weapons. In some legends, it is said that arrows may ward off or even frighten the creature away, but the reason for this is unknown and may not even work. The only way to destroy the Ghost-Witch is to burn the creature to charred ashes and scatter the ashes to the four winds. This is the only way to prevent the revenant from returning and wreaking its revenge upon the would-be monster hunters.

Sources

http://www.native-languages.org/skadegamutc.htm

http://thedemoniacal.blogspot.com/2011/08/skadegamutc.html

Friday, January 10, 2014

Big Hairy Monsters

Nearly everyone in America has heard of the elusive, apelike creature known as Sasquatch. More often known as Bigfoot, there are hundreds of sightings that occur every year in the United States alone. However, there are also dozens of reports of large and hairy humanoid monsters that have little to nothing in common with the Sasquatch at all. To distinguish these creatures from Bigfoot, some researchers have taken to calling them "Big Hairy Monsters", or BHMs for short. Despite there being physical similarities to the Sasquatch and his relatives, there seems to be something strange about these creatures, perhaps even something supernatural.

Although they may look the same physically, there are a number of differences between the Sasquatch and the Big Hairy Monsters. Whereas Bigfoot and his kind appear predominantly in heavily-wooded wilderness areas, Big Hairy Monsters are usually encountered in heavily-settled urban and suburban areas that aren't fully capable of supporting a large primate in terms of food, water, and shelter. While water might be easier to come by, food (plants and animals, assuming that the Sasquatch is in fact omnivorous) and shelter are much harder to find for an undiscovered hominid to find in a city or even a small town. Plus, Bigfoot tends to be a shy, retiring creature that avoids making contact with people if at all possible. BHMs, on the other hand, are not so unsociable. These creatures are said to approach humans on a regular basis, and have been reported pounding on household walls, walking up to parked cars, and even looking into windows. Furthermore, while the Sasquatch is only aggressive when threatened, any such behavior is limited to growling, roaring, and throwing sticks or rocks in an attempt to scare away the intruders. Alternately, Big Hairy Monsters are far more aggressive and will attack not only humans, but animals, vehicles, and even houses with little provocation. According to eyewitness reports, BHMs have been known to kill and carry off pets and livestock, presumably to devour later at their leisure. Such violent behavioral tendencies suggests that these monsters are possessed of unnatural strength and endurance, and thus encountering a BHM would be inadvisable, to say the least.

As stated earlier, the Sasquatch and Big Hairy Monsters may look very similar, but there are ways to tell them apart. The Sasquatch resembles a hairy, bipedal ape of humanlike proportions and stands roughly six to eight feet in height. Its body tends to be covered in fairly short, shaggy hair that is black or brown in color, while the face and the palms of the hands are bare and covered in black skin. The Sasquatch's feet are by far its best-known features, being fourteen inches long on average and having five toes with relatively flat soles. Big Hairy Monsters, on the other hand, tend to show a wide degree of variation in regards to physical features. They are described as being between three to fifteen feet in height, having hair of just about any length and color, and footprints show that the beasts have two to six toes on each foot. But other, more frightening features have been reported as well. Witnesses have reported BHMs as having fangs that protrude from the mouth, long talons on the fingertips and the toes, webbed hands and feet, and most disturbingly, no heads. Another feature that eyewitnesses commonly describe are glowing red eyes. But these eyes appear to be glowing from an internal source, and do not seem to be simply reflecting a light source (a phenomenon known as eyeshine), as seen in cats, wolves, and other nocturnal animals.

In addition to those traits mentioned above, witnesses have noted that both the Sasquatch and Big Hairy Monsters each have a very distinctive smell. Whereas Bigfoot emits a musky odor or smells like sweat or a wet dog that slept in a goat pen during a rainstorm (as one man so eloquently put it). BHMs smell a whole lot worse. People who have encountered such creatures say that Big Hairy Monsters smell like burning garbage, sulfur (or rotten eggs), feces, or a decaying corpse. One particular eyewitness (no name was given) described one such monster as smelling like "the sweat of a hundred high-school football teams." In other words, it was just plain awful! On a more peculiar note, however, the Sasquatch's odor usually disappears when the creature itself leaves the area (although faint traces of the smell may remain for a short time). However, in the case of Big Hairy Monsters, the smell lingers in the area for a considerable amount of time after the monster has departed. Interestingly, in some cases it has been noted that people and animals alike may suffer a very violent reaction to a BHM's odor. In one notable case in Missouri in 1972 (the case of Momo, the Missouri Monster), a dog belonging to the Harrison family became extremely sick after being exposed to Momo's scent. Its eyes turned red and watery, and the dog vomited for hours afterwards until the owners managed to calm the poor animal's stomach with bread and milk. Who is to say that people might not be affected in the same way? Needless to say, even smelling one of these beasts can have unpleasant or even harmful side-effects. Thus, it is always wisest to take precautions and be careful.

According to cryptozoological studies and eyewitness reports, the Sasquatch is an intelligent animal that displays many humanlike traits, but otherwise behaves like a wild animal. In the Pacific Northwest (and other parts of the world), the Native Americans say that the Sasquatch possesses supernatural powers and dwells with others of its kind in organized societies, but they also attribute such traits to other animals (like bears and even fish) as well. Contrary to Bigfoot, Big Hairy Monsters do not behave like corporeal beings consistently enough to be classified as such. In some cases, BHMs have been seen to materialize and dematerialize without warning, while in other instances a trail of footprints will start or stop very abruptly, as if the monster itself had suddenly disappeared. The fact that these creatures have continuously evaded capture and cannot be followed for long periods suggests that these beasts are not entirely physical beings. They may be only semi-corporeal entities, able to take on a semisolid form in order to feed or defend itself, but only for a limited amount of time. The reason for this is uncertain, but it may have something to do with the true nature of these beasts, an inherent limitation placed on them by a higher power, or perhaps some type of energy limitation. Nobody can say for sure, but it is entirely possible that these monsters are spiritual or even interdimensional in nature.

So, exactly what are these Big Hairy Monsters? It is certainly possible that a small number of these sightings are of an unknown species of primate, but what about the rest? Given that these beasts possess many distinctive traits that distinguish them from the Sasquatch and other hairy hominids, this scenario is unlikely (although not impossible). To find the answers, one must enter the realm of the supernatural. Here, everything is not always what it seems to be. In his controversial book Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings (first published in 2001, and then recently revised and republished in 2011), ceremonial magician and occult researcher John Michael Greer proposed a radical theory as to the true nature of the Big Hairy Monsters. He makes several compelling connections between these beasts and faery lore, and Greer proposes that these monsters may in fact be solitary faeries. He also notes that, in the older lore, such creatures frequently have a thick layer of hair or fur covering their bodies (much like the medieval Woodwose). Greer's theory definitely has merit in the field of paranormal research, but scientists will most likely reject the theory outright and will remain skeptical or otherwise critical of such things until definitive proof is obtained.

Now that the probable nature of these creatures has been revealed, there is no doubt that these Big Hairy Monsters are very dangerous. Not only are they aggressive towards both humans and animals alike, but the evidence indicates that they may be carnivorous (dogs in particular seem to be a favorite meal). In addition, these creatures seem to be in possession of supernatural powers, which includes (but is not limited to): unnatural strength and speed, the ability to appear and disappear at will, possible invisibility, the power to induce sickness in both people and animals (most likely through the awful smell they give off), creating unnatural fear in eyewitnesses or potential victims, and being impervious to bullets (although it is unknown if wrought iron or silver rounds have been tried). However, if BHMs truly are faeries, then they may be susceptible to cold-forged iron and salt, while holy icons like the crucifix and holy medals may have some power over them. Anyone who has been affected by the stench of these creatures should be fed bread and milk (both of which were traditionally offered to faeries in return for a favor or as a reward for behaving) until the sickness passes. But on the other hand, these things may not work at all. Still, it is best to be prepared for any kind of situation.

Nobody knows what these Big Hairy Monsters really are, nor can anyone be sure how violent these creatures can really be. If provoked, these beasts could easily tear a human to pieces. Caution is said to be the better part of valor, and it cannot be emphasized enough that caution is absolutely vital when dealing with these monsters. Recklessness could very easily put the lives of others in danger. Needless to say, be careful of encountering any kind of hairy hominid, even if they aren't solitary faeries.

Sources

Greer, John Michael. Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings. 10th Anniversary Edition. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications. Copyright ©2001, 2011 by John Michael Greer.

Comments

I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Michael Greer for graciously allowing me to write about his theory here. I would also like to point out that the faery theory presented here belongs to John, and should not be used without his permission. I have only expanded and added my own thoughts to his theory here. For those who are interested in purchasing his book, the link may be found here: Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings. It is also available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Far Liath (The Grey Man)

Faery lore has flourished in Ireland for many centuries, if not longer. However, contrary to what most people think, faeries are not the loveable, winged pixies that popular culture has led people to picture when they hear the word “fairy”. At one time, these creatures were so feared that to even utter the word “fairy” was to invite their wrath down upon people, so terms like “the Little People” or “the Good Folk” were used instead. There is a good reason for this, too: faeries are willful and vindictive spirits, easily angered and quick to take offense. Although not all faeries are dangerous (in fact, many are merry and good-hearted creatures who mean no harm), some are downright deadly. Among the most sinister of the Irish faeries is the mysterious Far Liath, the Grey Man, who controls the mists and the fog that covers the coastal areas of Ireland.

The true origins of the Grey Man remain unknown, but he goes by a number of different names: sometimes, he is known as Fear Liath. In North Antrim, the Far Liath is called brolaghan (meaning “a formless or shapeless thing”), which is actually another species of unrelated faery altogether. In the western parts of Ireland, specifically in Kerry, Galway, and Sligo, he is known as Old Boneless (the reason for this is unknown). In other places, he goes by the name of an fir lea. It is speculated by some that the Grey Man is the modern-day form of an ancient Celtic storm or weather deity that was worshipped by coastal villages at around 1500 B.C., who also went by the name of An Fir Lea. But regardless of what he is called, it does not change the fact that the Far Liath is a dangerous entity that hates humans and takes great delight in causing death and misery among them.

Nobody is entirely sure what the Grey Man looks like, as there are several conflicting descriptions. Generally speaking, this faery appears to humans as a thick, clinging fog that envelops everything on land and everything on the sea, leaving a damp chill in its wake. In Wexford and Waterford, the Far Liath appears as little more than a ragged, hazy shadow that moves against the sun and leaves a trail of mist wherever he goes. In Clare and Kerry, he is described as being of manlike proportions and as wearing a gray cloak of fog that continually swirls about his person. In Down and Antrim, the Grey Man appears as a giant wearing a misty robe like a monk, with a hood over his head, and is seen above faraway mountains or far offshore at sea. In other parts of Ireland, he takes the form of a gigantic humanoid walking towards the shore from the ocean. These varied descriptions seem to be indicative of one thing: that the Grey Man is composed entirely of the mists that seem to follow him wherever he might go. There seems to be little or no physical substance to him.

Although he primarily inhabits coastal areas, the Grey Man can be seen on hilltops, mountains, and in boggy hollows. Being composed of mists and fog, the Far Liath feeds on the smoke from household chimneys in order to sustain himself. It is for this reason that he can be found close to large cities and towns, and the Grey Man is one of the few faeries who will do so. He causes just as much trouble and misery here as he does elsewhere. His passing is unmistakable, for his cloak smells of mold, wood smoke, and peat. And when the Far Liath walks by, he leaves a cold, clammy chill in his wake.

As mentioned previously, the Grey Man hates humans, and it pleases him greatly to cause death and disaster among mortal men whenever the opportunity presents itself. The Far Liath may use his power over fog and the mists of the sea (known as "the Grey Man's Breath") to conceal rocks and boulders along the coastlines, causing ships to collide with them and sink. These same mists may be used to confuse and disorient travelers further inland, by obscuring a lonely road and causing him to become lost. He may even lead people astray and cause them to walk off a cliff! In this era, he might even cause car wrecks by clouding the road with a thick fog. In the North Antrim town of Ballycastle, being led off of the cliffs by the Far Liath is particularly feared. Among these cliffs is a gap, lying across which is a large, flat stone. This landmark is known as the Grey Man’s Path, and locals will go out of their way to avoid it, especially if the weather has taken a turn for the worse lately. If the Grey Man himself has been seen in the area, then people avoid the spot entirely. Only the very foolhardy or the suicidal make any attempt to cross the Grey Man’s Path, for the Far Liath will jump down and spread his misty gray cloak over the helpless victim. The thick fog obscures everything, and if the traveler takes one wrong step, he will lose his footing and fall to his death on the rocks below.

Merely going indoors is no guarantee of safety from the Far Liath’s misty fingers. In certain parts of Ireland, especially in Cork and Limerick, it is believed that the Grey Man is able to cause sickness and disease, among which are sore throats, influenza, and the common cold. According to local legend, it is said that he carries these ailments within the folds of his cloak. The very touch of the Far Liath can cause milk that hasn’t been covered to turn sour, while potatoes will blacken and rot. Clothes left on a line to dry overnight will be permanently damaged by his passing, becoming cold, dank, and continually damp forever afterwards. Peat (used as fuel for fires) will become inexplicably wet in the turf stacks, rendering it unable to be lit with an open flame. Furthermore, it is said that seeing the Grey Man during his travels from place to place will bring misfortune to the one who saw him.

Fortunately, the Grey Man is a solitary faery that only appears during certain times of the year, namely between the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. And despite his command over the fogs and the mists, the Grey Man is not without his respective weaknesses. This faery is incapable of speaking, and thus will ignore verbal pleas from lost travelers and sailors. But using the phrase “God bless you!” is said to have the power to drive away the Far Liath, but only for a short time. Praying to God for deliverance from the Grey Man’s misty hands will also work. Sooner or later, however, the Grey Man will return with a vengeance.

There are certain precautionary measures that may be taken to keep the Far Liath at bay. A silver coin that has sat through an entire church service could be built into the prow of a boat, thus keeping him away from both the boat itself and the sailors onboard. A handful of soil which has been blessed by a priest will accomplish the same end. A crucifix or a holy medal might keep the Grey Man at bay, especially if they have been consecrated by a bishop. Like the silver coin, setting a medal into a boat’s prow will keep the Far Liath away, while setting a crucifix in one’s turf pile will have a similar effect. Sprinkling holy water over one’s potato stores and other foods and drink will spare them from the Grey Man’s touch. And like many supernatural entities, he hates salt. Up until recently, these precautions were still in use in some rural areas. They might still be being used to this very day! However, the Far Liath may still return one day, and rest assured that he will be very angry.

Given that the Grey Man is composed of little more than a thick fog, it may not actually be possible to destroy him. However, it may be possible to inflict limited harm upon the Far Liath by means of an iron blade. Most faeries (with a few exceptions) abhor iron, especially if it is pure and has been hammered out without using the heat of a forged. This metal is terrifying to faeries, and even showing them a piece of iron will cause them to vanish immediately. The Grey Man may or may not share this same vulnerability, but it seems likely. Still, it is always wisest to be cautious.

In this day and age, there are very few people who still believe in faeries. Sightings of the Little People are few and far between. People who claim to see faeries and other such creatures are most often dismissed as being crazy, on drugs, under the influence of alcohol, or as being hoaxers. Popular culture has changed the way that people view these creatures, and sometimes with dangerous consequences. But regardless, faeries are still around, and as for the Far Liath, people will swear that they have seen his misty form pass by on a particularly rainy or cold day in their lifetime. So, keep in mind that the next time there is a fog warning, it just might be the Grey Man!

Sources

Curran, Bob. A Field Guide to Irish Fairies. San Francisco, California: Appletree Press. Copyright ©1997 by Appletree Press.

Curran, Dr. Bob. Dark Fairies. Pompton Plain, New Jersey: The Career Press, Inc. Copyright ©2010 by Dr. Bob Curran.

Franklin, Anna. The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies. London, UK: Anova Books Company Ltd. Copyright © Collins & Brown and Anna Franklin 2002.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wampus Cat

The people of the Appalachian Mountains have long spoken of terrifying beasts that go bump in the night. These legends often go back centuries to Native American oral traditions, long before the white settlers came from across the seas to stake a claim in a land that they had no right to claim to begin with. Among the Cherokee people, one such legend was that of the Ewah, a catlike demon that could drive men mad with a single, menacing glare. Today, another catlike beast is spoken of in hushed whispers around the fire at night. It is known as the Wampus Cat, a half-woman, half-mountain lion monster that is cursed to wander the dark forests of America forever because of her sacrilegious deeds long ago.

The Wampus Cat has the distinction of being one of the most feared monsters in the folklore of the South. For over two hundred years, this creature has inspired terror and panic in the hearts of the people of Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and even as far away as Florida and the Carolinas (suggesting that there may be more than one Wampus Cat, or that there are supernatural forces of an unknown nature at work in these parts of the United States). Even the lumberjacks encountered this ferocious cat-creature, attributing it to a family of strange monsters that they knew as "Fearsome Critters". And while the appearance of the creature seems to vary somewhat according to eyewitnesses, there are some similarities between each sighting. The Wampus Cat is most commonly described as being bipedal (that is, walking upright on two legs) and as having a body that seems to be half woman and half mountain lion in that it is covered in short fur (with a tawny brown fur on its back and a softer white fur on the belly and the chest), has pointed cat-ears, pawlike hands and feet with claws at the end of each finger and toe, a long tail, glowing eyes (sometimes described as being hypnotic), whiskers on its snout, a catlike mouth filled with sharp, ripping teeth, and is sometimes described as having the face of a beautiful, dark-skinned woman. It is said to stand between four and five feet in height, and emits an extremely foul odor that has been known to cause nausea in those who encounter the beast (it has been described as smelling like a cross between a wet dog and a skunk). The creature has an unnerving hiss, and the beast is known to have an unearthly howl and gives off ungodly screams. It is said to prey on both wild and domesticated animals. Not only that, but the creature occasionally hunts for human flesh, stalking children and grown adults alike who are foolish enough to go out hiking, hunting, or fishing at night. Such people are seldom seen ever again.

The name "Wampus Cat" is derived from the old terms "cattywampus" or "catawampus", which are used to refer to things that aren't quite right. According to Cherokee legend, the Wampus Cat was once a gorgeous woman from a local Cherokee tribe. However, she didn't completely trust her husband, whom she feared was being unfaithful to her when he went out on long hunting trips with the other warriors of the tribe. Although she was more than aware that women were absolutely forbidden from having anything to do with hunting, she just had to know the truth. In order to disguise herself, she covered her beautiful body with the skin of a mountain lion (otherwise known as a cougar). She hurried off into the forest, keeping her distance while she followed the men. Once the men had settled down, she began to listen to their conversations. The men told tales of great hunts and spoke of sacred rites and powerful magic. It wasn't long, however, before the woman was discovered and she was brought before the village shaman. As punishment, the shaman cast a spell over her that bound the hide she was wearing to her body forever. The skin began to spread over her own flesh, bonding with and transforming her body. Her teeth lengthened into sharp fangs, the nails on her fingers and toes grew into sharpened talons, a tail sprouted from her rear end, and her face became more catlike in form. Her nose and lips elongated into a snout, and whiskers grew out of her face. Most notably, her body became covered with tawny fur that was brown on her back, but was white and softer on her belly and her breasts. The poor woman had become a hideous, catlike monster, which is known today as the Wampus Cat.

In another version of this story, the woman spies on the hunters not because she has insecurities about her husband being true to their love, but because she wants to learn the ways of magic that are taught to the men, which of course is forbidden to women. But in the end, the results are the same: the woman is transformed into the hideous Wampus Cat for her sacrilege. But according to yet another version of the story, the Wampus Cat is seen as a protector, not a predator. This tale speaks of the Ewah (or Ew'ah in some instances), the Spirit of Madness, a catlike demon that terrorized the Cherokee long ago. A young warrior by the name of Standing Bear took it upon himself to seek out and kill the creature. However, despite all of his strength and skill as a warrior, he was helpless when he came face to face with the Ewah. Once he had made eye contact with the creature, the demon's gaze drove him into the dark depths of insanity. When the brave's wife (a gorgeous woman named Running Deer) laid eyes upon her insane husband weeks later, she became consumed with anger, and she vowed revenge.

Running Deer went to the tribe's shamans, and told them of her desire for vengeance. They understood her pain, and gave her two things: a mask representing the spirit of the mountain lion, and a special black paste. The medicine men told her that the spirit of this particular mountain cat would be able to stand against the power of the Ewah, but only if she surprised the demon from behind. The black paste, provided by the tribe's warchiefs, would disguise her scent and hide her body. Now she was prepared for an encounter with the Spirit of Madness, and with that, she headed into the woods to seek her revenge.

Running Deer knew the forests as well as she knew her own village, but couldn't find any signs of the Ewah. She ate sweet wild berries over the course of many days to keep up her strength, and she kept hunting. Late one night, however, the woman heard a large animal down by the creek. Exercising extreme caution, Running Deer silently crept towards the creek. Suddenly, she heard a twig snap, and she instinctively spun around. She suddenly realized that her reaction could've easily gotten her killed, or worse. If it had been the Ewah, she would have been consumed by insanity right at that very moment! Instead, it was only a fox running across the trail. Breathing a quiet sigh of relief, Running Deer continued on her way towards the creek.

When Running Deer reached the edge of the creek, she discovered large tracks that didn't belong to any animal species that she knew of. A little further on, she discovered the remnants of the armor that her husband had been wearing. She followed the footprints further and further upstream until she finally came upon the cat-demon itself, drinking from the creek. Fortunately, the beast hadn't seen her yet. Silently, she stalked closer and closer, constantly keeping her eyes on the monster. When Running Deer couldn't get any closer, she pounced! The Ewah wheeled around in surprise. Upon seeing the woman's mask, the Ewah began to tear at its flesh as the mountain lion's spirit unleashed its magic on the demon. It lurched backwards into the pool from which it had been drinking, and then ran off into the darkness of the forest, never to be seen again. Running Deer beat a hasty retreat back to her village, never once bothering to look back.

When Running Deer finally returned home, she sang a quiet song that spoke of her grief for the loss of her husband, but also told of her joy over vanquishing the Spirit of Madness. Her people were overjoyed to hear the good news, while the shamans and the warchiefs bestowed upon her the titles of "Home-Protector" and "Spirit-Talker". To this day, people say that Running Deer's ghost still wanders the forests as the Wampus Cat, viewing it as her sacred duty to protect her tribe's lands and the people who inhabit them from all manner of evil spirits, demons, and the monsters which roam the darkness of the night.

When the settlers from Europe came overseas, they were exposed to the legend of the Wampus Cat, and even the settlers themselves had their own encounters with the beast. Over time, the Europeans developed their own version of the legend, albeit with Christian overtones that allowed the settlers to make more sense of the Native American monster. Long ago, there was an old woman who lived by herself in the hills of West Virginia. The people in the nearby town swore that she was a witch. Locals would complain of someone hexing and stealing their livestock. Everyone’s suspicions fell on the elderly woman, whom they believed had the ability to shapeshift into a large cat with golden eyes. They blamed her because she chose to live like a hermit. Despite this, the witch was supposedly so skilled at making these thefts that she was never actually caught. At least, that was their explanation.

The townspeople believed that the old woman would take the form of a domestic housecat and would dart into a house when she had the opportunity, where she would wait for nightfall and for her victims to fall asleep. At this point, she would cast a sleeping spell on the unsuspecting family, ensuring that they wouldn’t awaken while she went about her business. She would then slip out a window and steal an animal. The locals were growing tired of finding their animals missing or dead. And so they developed a plan to put an end to the witch’s depredations. The old woman’s next night of thievery would indeed be her last…

One night, the old witch snuck into a house and, once the family was asleep, she cast her spell of deep sleep on the family. Taking the form of a mountain lion, she leaped from a window and headed straight for the barn where the animals rested. Once she was there, she started reciting the incantations necessary to resume her human form. Suddenly, several of the townspeople jumped out of hiding, taking the witch completely by surprise! The old woman was unable to complete the spell, leaving her half woman and half mountain lion. She was thus cursed to remain a hideous monster, and would never again be able to call herself human. The cat-creature screamed in fright and proceeded to break down the barn doors, and she fled into the night. She was never seen by the townspeople again.

This story was often related to people by a hunter and mountain man, who called himself Jinx Johnston (sometimes given as Johnson), who lived on the Virginia-West Virginia border during the early 1900s. Johnston was a big man who stood over six feet in height and weighed at least two hundred pounds. In other words, he was big, very strong, and wasn’t easily frightened. Despite his tough-guy exterior, the man claimed to have had an encounter with the dreaded Wampus Cat himself. Johnston, like most people at the time, was a good Christian who feared God, and therefore was unlikely to lie or to fabricate a story. Johnston said that he loved to go hunting for raccoons (or ‘coons, as he called them) at night with his dogs, especially on a full moon. On one such night, Jinx learned just how unwise (and dangerous) it is to wander the Appalachian forests at night…

On that particular night, when the sky was lit by the rays of a full moon, Johnston was out hunting when his dogs suddenly ran ahead of him. He called for them, but they failed to return to his side. Johnston suddenly tripped over something, and his rifle flew out of his hands and into the bushes. And then an awful smell hit him, which he described as “smelling like a skunk and a wet dog.” But as he looked up from the ground, he saw it: a horrifying monster with sharp fangs that dripped saliva, and eerie eyes that glowed yellow in the darkness. Picking himself up very slowly, Johnston quickly glanced around for his rifle, but couldn’t find it in the dark. The creature let out a terrifying, ear-splitting howl, and Johnston nearly jumped out of his skin! He slowly backed away from the creature…

Deciding that it was either now or never, Johnston quickly turned around and ran for his life! He recalled that, even though he was running as fast as his legs could carry him, he could feel the thing’s stinking breath on the back of his neck, so close was the beast to catching him. But against all odds, Johnston finally made it home! He flew through the front door and slammed it shut behind him. He then bolted the door shut. Jinx quickly grabbed his Bible and began to read through the Scriptures aloud. Upon hearing the holy words, the monster began howling and screaming terribly. This continued throughout the night. When dawn finally broke over the hills, the creature let loose one more horrible scream and fled into the woods. By this time, Johnston was convinced that the thing he had encountered was truly the Wampus Cat. When he had finally worked up enough courage, Jinx went outside and found his dogs huddled up in the barn, terrified but otherwise unharmed. Needless to say, Johnston never again went ‘coon-hunting at night after his horrifying encounter with the Wampus Cat.

Although Jinx Johnston’s encounter with the Wampus Cat is definitely among the better-known cases, there are others as well. Although such sightings are less frequent, they have continued right up to the present day. One such report was posted anonymously on the Internet a few years ago by a camper who had been camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with a few friends. While out gathering up firewood, he nearly jumped out of his skin when one of the men screamed. The eyewitness reported that he saw “a thing, definitely not a primate, no Bigfoot or anything, and not a bear.” He claimed that the creature was holding his friend with a single hand, and he described the beast as being “a walking cat, about five feet tall and thick.” When he shined his flashlight on the thing, the cat-creature hissed and ran away on two legs. The monster’s former victim had a small set of five puncture marks (presumably bite wounds) on one of his arms, and there were deep scratches on the victim’s head. The eyewitness says that the wounded man “maintained that the thing was trying to bite his throat.” In the end, the eyewitness himself said “I swear we were almost killed by a walking cat!

Although the above case is somewhat suspect because it was an anonymous report and there is no date or year given, it also stands out because of the brutality of the attack. Given that the Wampus Cat is known for its aggressive nature, a hoax seems somewhat unlikely. Witnesses to such things often choose to remain anonymous and omit their names, for fear of the ridicule that their stories may bring. But some witnesses are more willing to share their experiences, putting their reputations and their personal credibility on the line to tell their sometimes terrifying stories. This next encounter is one such story.

One night in northern Florida, during late winter or early spring in 2007, hunter Dean Morris was out with his dogs, apparently with intentions of doing some poaching. Suddenly, the dogs began to whine and ran off into the woods in a hurry, leaving their master all alone on the game trail. Morris then said that he had “smelled a nasty smell, like a wet dog that had come on a polecat.” Then, he heard a loud hiss behind him. Turning around, Morris found himself face to face with the Wampus Cat. The beast’s eyes glowed an eerie orange color in the darkness, while its fangs were exposed and dripped with saliva. Morris recalled that the monster looked “kinda like a really big Florida panther, but it walked on two legs like a man.” Needless to say, the would-be hunter had never seen anything like this before…

Morris was now frightened out of his mind, while his heart pounded in his chest. The monster sneered at him, causing him to feel nauseous and making his hair stand up. Without thinking, he dropped his gun. And then Morris bolted from the creature in a blind panic! It didn’t take the poacher long to realize that the cat-creature, whatever it may have been, was in hot pursuit of him. The hunter eventually came upon an abandoned pump house that didn’t have any windows. Morris burst through the door and barred it behind him.  As the man struggled to catch his breath, he realized that he could still hear the creature as it panted and paced outside of the door. At this point, Morris knew two things: that the beast outside was very hungry, and that he could very well die that night at the claws of a monster...

Throughout the night, the Wampus Cat would begin to “claw at the door and made it shake nearly off its hinges.” But the old door stood strong against the monster, and thus Morris spent a sleepless night, horrified that the old door would give way to the sheer strength of the monster. But eventually, after waiting for what seemed like forever, the first rays of dawn crept over the trees and through the cracks in the roof. With the advent of a new day, the Wampus Cat let out a final horrific scream of frustration and ran back into the woods. Morris could hear the creature as it retreated from the light of the day. His ordeal was finally over.

On a happier not, Morris was finally able to make it home, where he found his dogs on the front porch under a table. The animals were shaking, but were otherwise unhurt. But a couple of questions remain: why did the Wampus Cat attack this man? Was it because Morris was poaching? Or was it merely because the beast was hungry? One might believe that it was because Morris was poaching, as in some native traditions the Wampus Cat is seen as being a guardian. Was it only protecting the wilderness and the animals that live within it? Perhaps. But regardless, nobody knows the truth behind this creature’s motives.

A more recent encounter in Bristol, Virginia suggests that not every Wampus Cat encounter is violent, although these accounts are always frightening. A man by the name of Tim Smith and his wife were strolling down the street in downtown Abingdon one night when he spotted something strange. He distinctly saw two eyes glaring at him through some iron steps, but he could clearly see that they weren’t human. Instead, they were more like the piercing eyes of a big cat. Tim shouted at the beast, but he received the threatening “hiss of a cat” in reply. Then, whatever had been hiding under those steps got up and ran away, quickly fading into the darkness. Both Tim and his wife agreed that what they saw looked more or less like a big cat running on its back legs.

Was this a Wampus Cat? Quite possibly, as there is a shortage of big cats that are able to run or even walk bipedally for a sustained amount of time. The hiss of the creature also hints at the aggressive intentions of the beast. This was obviously intended as a warning. If the eyewitnesses had come any closer, there is no doubt that this encounter would have been much more violent.

During the 1950s, there was a sighting of what may or may not have been a Wampus Cat in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was originally recorded by author Charles Edwin Price in his book Demon in the Woods: Tall Tales and True from East Tennessee, as told by a man who calls himself H.W., the son of the man who originally saw the creature. H.W.’s father, who was a carpenter by trade, was walking down Spring Street late one night when he came across a huge cat, the biggest he had ever seen. The cat was walking down the other side of the street, as if it “had all the time in the world.” As he was walking behind the beast, it didn’t see him. According to the witness, “the cat was about the size of a large spaniel.” The man thought that it actually was a dog…at first. Then he noticed that the creature had stripes, “just like a big tabby.” Then, things started to get strange…

Every once in awhile, the cat stopped to sniff the side of the building it was walking next to. When it reached the Jones-Vance Pharmacy, the creature rose up on its hind legs, put its paws on the windowsill, and looked in through the window. This behavior stopped the man in his tracks. The man said that the cat “must have been at least four feet tall when it stood on its hind legs.” He tried to convince himself that he must be seeing a tiger, but there was one problem: there was no circus in town at the time. “Then came the really scary part,” H.W. said. “After the cat had seen all that it had wanted to see inside Jones-Vance, it turned and, still standing on its hind legs, continued walking down the street and disappeared around the corner.” The eyewitness said that “his blood ran cold.” Nobody can say for sure what the big cat had wanted that night, and H.W.’s father never found out. When he went to look around the corner of Spring and Main, the beast had disappeared.

One prevailing question about this encounter remains: was this truly a Wampus Cat? It is uncertain at this point. As has already been established, big cats are not bipedal by nature, and cannot walk on their back legs for extended periods of time. In addition, the creature displayed almost humanlike intelligence and curiosity when it peeked through the window (although cats by their very nature are both intelligent and curious animals). This begs the question: did H.W.’s father see the legendary Wampus Cat, or did he see an out-of-place big cat? The answer remains unknown.

Judging from these eyewitness accounts, it is clear that the Wampus Cat is a truly ferocious creature. Not only is the beast hostile towards both humans and livestock, but the Wampus Cat itself has the strength, speed, endurance, and the agility of a big cat, as well as having enhanced senses of sight, smell, and hearing. And in addition to having a great cat’s ability to hunt and kill, the monster has human or near-human intelligence. Additionally, the Wampus Cat is highly territorial and is easily provoked as well. At times, the beast is content to completely destroy an intruder’s campsite as a warning to leave immediately or face deadly consequences. However, the Wampus Cat will not hesitate to attack and kill those whom it deems to be a threat or sees as its potential dinner. It cannot be emphasized enough that the Wampus Cat is extremely vicious, and the creature will absolutely tear apart anything that the beast can get its claws on. The monster is more than capable of outrunning a person, so trying to outrun the creature for a long period is a deadly proposition. Finding a place to hide until dawn is one’s best bet for surviving such an encounter.

As vicious and powerful as the creature is, the Wampus Cat does have a couple of weaknesses. One seems to be an aversion to light, whether it is natural or artificial in origin. This explains why the Wampus Cat tends to flee from its potential prey with the coming of dawn. It is unknown if the light actually harms the creature, but being primarily a nocturnal predator, it is likely that the light is painful to the creature’s eyes (which are most likely adapted for seeing clearly in low-light conditions or even complete darkness). Thus, it is forced to run away when confronted with bright lights.

In some versions of the legend, the Wampus Cat is said to fear the Holy Bible and the recitation of the Holy Scriptures. This is especially evident in the case of Jinx Johnston’s encounter with the beast. Being a creature born of evil and dark magic, it makes sense that hearing the Holy Scriptures would cause the beast pain. Keep in mind, however, that this may not work, given that the settlers added this element in order to give the legend more of a Christian overtone. Still, it is most certainly worth a try.

As for actually killing the Wampus Cat, there are no legends or stories that explicitly tell how to get rid of this cat-creature. Therefore, it can be assumed within reason that the beast is as vulnerable to ordinary weapons (i.e. blades and firearms) as any ordinary animals are. Just for the sake of caution, one may always fall back on two tried-and-true methods: decapitation and burning. Decapitation is guaranteed to put an end to any supernatural creature’s depredations, while burning the beast’s remains is the ultimate insurance policy against any monster, as it will prevent any creature from somehow resurrecting itself and beginning its reign of terror anew. Of course, getting close enough to do the deed and avoid the Wampus Cat’s claws and teeth is far easier said than done. In the end, it may be wise to incapacitate the creature from a distance and then rush in and finish the job. It is always wise to use caution, no matter what.

So, what exactly is the Wampus Cat? Because the creature was once human and transformed into a catlike monster against its will, the Wampus Cat could be considered to be a type of werebeast, albeit one that is incapable of reassuming its human form. And since the Cherokee woman was wearing the hide of a mountain lion when the shaman cursed her, one might even consider the beast to be a type of Skinwalker. Ironically, the hide of the mountain lion is considered to be unclean by the Navajo (which are many miles away from the Appalachian Mountains, obviously), and the native Skinwalkers are known for using the hide of this particular animal to spread terror and death among the people. Is this a coincidence? When it comes to monsters, one can never be too sure and must avoid making assumptions when at all possible. On the other hand, if the creature is the Ewah returned from its defeat so long ago, then it could very well be some sort of demon of the forests. The werebeast scenario seems to be the more likely of these two possibilities. But whatever the case may be, it doesn’t make the Wampus Cat any less dangerous.

The legend of the Wampus Cat has persisted to this very day. During the 1920s, the men of southwestern Virginia and some parts of northwest Tennessee would use the old tales of the Wampus Cat to their own advantage in a particularly funny way. Whenever an especially good batch of moonshine had been distilled, a shotgun was fired as a signal for the guys to gather up and have a drink of the illegal booze. To avoid suspicion from the womenfolk, the men told their wives that the Wampus Cat had been seen in the area and that they needed to hunt it down and destroy the beast before it could kill or otherwise hurt anything. In any event, the lie seems to have worked. But one has to wonder how those men managed to keep a straight face when they told their wives this.

To many people who live in the wilds of the Appalachian Mountains, the Wampus Cat is a myth, nothing more than a scary story to keep children from wandering off alone into the woods at night. But to those who have had encounters with a frightening cat-creature in the dark forests, the beast is a horrifying reality. Nowadays, sightings of the Wampus Cat are few and far between. That doesn’t mean that the monster isn’t still out there, though. The Wampus Cat still haunts the forests, always hunting for its next victim in the darkness of the night…

Acknowledgements

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Rosemary Guiley, L.B. Taylor Jr., and Scott Marlowe for all of their help and for granting me permission to use their books in my research. Without them, this would have been a very short entry indeed. Thank You, guys!! You are great friends, and I don’t know what I would do without you! Thank you all so much for helping me and answering my questions. I greatly appreciate it!

Sources

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Mountain State. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Copyright ©2012 by Visionary Living Inc.

Marlowe, Scott. The Cryptid Creatures of Florida. Great Britain: CFZ Press. Copyright ©2011 by CFZ Press.

Taylor Jr, L.B. Monsters of Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Old Dominion. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. Copyright ©2012 by Stackpole Books.

The Legend of the Wampus Cat

The Wampus Cat: Kills Animals, Steals Children, Smells Awful

Big Cat Tales: From the Appalachians to the Swamps

Ghosts & Spirits of Tennessee: The Legend of the Wampus Cat

Catie Rhodes: The Wampus Cat

Monster of the Week: The Wampus Cat

Carnivora: The Wampus Cat

Wampus: Mystery Cat, Swamp Monster, or Booger Bigfoot?

Appalachian History: The Story of the Wampus Cat

What are Chupacabra and Wampus Cats?

Manic Expression's Monster Extravaganza - Wampus Cat

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Happy Halloween, everybody! According to Celtic legend, Samhain (as the pagan holiday literally means) is often translated to mean "Summer's End." It was (and still is) believed that, on this harvest festival, the veil between our world and the spirit realm is the thinnest, and may allow ghosts, demons, and evil spirits to pierce the veil and interact with the living, more often than not for malicious or evil purposes. Therefore, we wear masks to scare the evil spirits away. Thus, we dress as monsters and demons for Halloween, and proceed to "trick or treat" with others. If they do not give us a sweet treat, then a prank or a trick may be in order. Then the next time Samhain rears it's masked head, they will be more prepared. But even though the "ghosts and goblins" of today are merely children wearing masks and costumes, we must be aware that evil spirits and creatures of the night do indeed lurk in the darkness, waiting to devour the unwary...

Monday, October 21, 2013

ATTENTION, AUTHORS!!!

ATTENTION TO ALL PARANORMAL AUTHORS!!!

If you are able to do so, please send me a copy of your new book! I don't really have much in the way of money, so buying books for myself is difficult at the moment. If you receive free copies of your newest books from your publisher to send out to friends, would you please be willing to send me one? I will review it here on my blog, share it on Facebook, and I will post a review on the book's Amazon page as well (if the book has an Amazon page). However, I only accept nonfiction books on the following subjects:
  • Monsters (Vampires, werewolves, malicious fairies, revenants, bogeymen, and other supernatural creatures)
  • Cryptozoology (Bigfoot, lake monsters, hairy hominids, and mysterious beasts)
  • Ghosts (hauntings, poltergeists, supernatural entities, and apparitions)
  • Demons (demonology, exorcism, demonic possession)
  • Strange Entities (the Slenderman and related entities, tulpas, astral entities, and strange beings)
If you do so, I shall be forever grateful and indebted to you. So, if you are able to do so and your publishers allow it, please send me a copy! If you need a sending address, please contact me at KPG1986@msn.com. Alternatively, you may reach me on Facebook at Kyle Germann. Thank You!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Rabisu

The people of ancient Babylonia believed that hordes of evil spirits are to be found everywhere, both within and outside of man's domain. Among these invisible entities are the Rabisu, "the ones that lie in wait". The demon's mere presence makes the hair of any man or woman stand on end. In other words, this spirit is so terrifying that it is literally indescribable. The only real representations that are known of the Rabisu are the images and the words of incantations and those inscribed on talismans and amulets used to ward them off.

According to Akkadian mythology, the Rabisu (meaning "the vagabond" or "the seizer") is a demon or an evil spirit with vampiric tendencies. It lurks about the entrances and thresholds of houses and hides in dark corners, where it awaits a chance to attack any passersby. Doors and bolts will not stop them, nor will closed windows, as the Rabisu will slither through such openings like a snake. In some instances, these demons are known to lurk upon rooftops, where they await an opportunity to pounce on and devour newborn babies. In the biblical Book of Genesis, God says to the murderer Cain, "Sin crouches at the door." This passage from the Holy Bible may indeed refer to the Rabisu as being a very real threat. The Lord God is essentially saying that evil is always present and lurking about, ready to attack and devour the unwary.

The Rabisu dwell in the Babylonian equivalent of Hell, living in the Desert of Anguish, where they ambush the souls of the recently dead as they travel down the Road of Bone towards the City of the Dead. It is ruled by the goddess Ereshkigal and her consort, the death god Nergal. In the ancient texts, one finds that the Hebrew word Sheol is also used to describe the Babylonian underworld many times, and thus it may be surmised that these two versions of Hell are very similar to one another. This place is known as Irkalla, which was once another name for the goddess Ereshkigal, until Nergal made his way down to the underworld and seduced her. To get there, the souls of the dead had to pass through seven different gateways, and each gateway had its own guardian. Each of these guardians was more fearsome and more formidable than the previous one.

In order to get through the gates to Irkalla, the deceased had to bribe the guardians with the articles of clothing and jewelry on their person. Once the souls had made their way through the gates, they were greeted by a world similar to the living one, only much more dreary in comparison. Irkalla is the ultimate destination of every living soul after they die, and not necessarily punishment for one's sins or wrongdoings during his or her lifetime. However, there was no reward for one's kindness or good deeds to be had in this place, either. On a more depressing note, the dead had nothing to eat or drink but dust. Furthermore, these spirits wouldn't live forever in this hell, but their bodies would continue to decay, just as they would while buried in the ground. But Irkalla wasn't necessarily an evil place. Ereshkigal and Nergal served as the guardians of the dead, protecting and watching over them.

It is said that an unbroken line of pure sea salt will ban the Rabisu from harming others, as salt represents incorruptible life and purity. Salt comes from the sea, and it is said that life itself emerged from the sea. In ancient times, inverted bowls with magical charms engraved into the surface were placed in the four corners of building foundations. This was done with the hopes that the bowls would trap any Rabisu nearby and prevent them from hurting or even killing passersby. Sometimes, such demons may be stopped by merely closing the door on them. However, the solution to stopping any evil force is rarely that simple. In ancient times, it is said that kings placed statues of powerful demons at their palace entrances not only to pay homage to these spirits, but to ask for protection against lesser spirits. Such statues functioned not only as decoration, but also as apotropaics (repelling evil), essentially scaring the lesser demons (like the Rabisu) away from such places. Crossing oneself before crossing a threshold is considered to be helpful, as will maintaining a certain degree of awareness at the entrance of any house. Some sources also claim that staying in company with good friends (i.e. the type that produces hearty laughter and pleasant noise) will drive the Rabisu away.

At one time, the Rabisu preyed upon humans for their vital energies, or lifeforce. They could then manipulate this energy, enabling them to move objects (essentially creating a poltergeist effect). This activity in turn created a greater amount of negative energy in their human victims: fear itself. Once the Rabisu had tasted the fear of their victims, they were addicted. Not only was the energy itself powerful, but it also made these demons so powerful that they were able to directly influence the minds of their victims as well. Then sorcerers started summoning these demonic spirits, enabling the Rabisu to take on a physical form. Unfortunately, there were (and still are) always practitioners of ancient black magic who were a little overzealous or became just a little bit too overconfident. The Rabisu had taught these men and women how to summon them, so that the demons could do their bidding. Those who grew too arrogant or too confident were slaughtered by the Rabisu, who now had a corporeal form with which to do such damage. The demons tore into their bodies with relish, but something happened: the Rabisu had tasted human blood. This changed the demons, and there was no going back to how things had been before.

Eventually, the sorcerers found a way to actually control the Rabisu. However, some of these demons managed to escape and found a way to maintain a corporeal state: through the possession of the corpses of the recently dead. According to ancient legend, this ungodly combination of rotting human flesh and evil demonic spirit became the first true Vampire. Furthermore, by killing humans and feeding on the blood, the Rabisu are able to create other vampires as well, thus perpetuating the existence of their own species. Keep in mind, however, that this is purely speculation, and that it cannot be proved or disproved to any degree.

But is this legend true? Is there any historical or physical evidence to lend credence to such a claim? The truth is that, while there may be some truth to the legend itself, there is little or no evidence to support such a theory. Nobody knows how the Vampire first truly came into being, and it is likely that no one ever will. People can only speculate. But regardless, it wasn't long before humans discovered that they could bargain with the Rabisu, offering up their blood and souls to these demons in exchange for worldly power, wealth, material possessions, and even supernatural powers. In other words, people made pacts with the Rabisu. People still make pacts with the Devil and lesser demons to this day, although it is far less common than it once was. But people who yearn for an easy way to power and glory soon find that, contrary to their own beliefs, they could not truly control the demons. The Rabisu do not feel compelled to answer for their actions to their so-called "master", and they answer to none but themselves.

Eventually, commoners began to search for the sorcerers who summoned such evil spirits. They would go to these dark magicians, seeking revenge against their enemies and those that had wronged them. For a price, the sorcerers would call upon the Rabisu and send them to exact the client's vengeance upon neighbors, ex-lovers, and those who are hated by the person in question. The wrath of these demons is both swift and utterly terrifying, as the Rabisu savor the taste of a victim's fear (which the demons also feed on), and rest assured that the victim’s death would be both slow and extremely painful. However, there is nothing to guarantee that the Rabisu won’t come after the one who asked the sorcerer to call them up in the first place. Toying with such forces is indeed the proverbial double-edged sword.

Nobody knows how numerous the Rabisu actually are, but if one takes into account that the most powerful demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God and the rest of the angelic host, one may assume that the numbers are very large indeed. The Scriptures say that a third of the angels in Heaven were cast down into the fiery pits of Hell, which would numerically translate into hundreds of thousands of these ferocious demons. Not all of these fallen angels became Rabisu though, nor were all of the demons of this species. In other words, not all demons are Rabisu. Each one is different in its own way. However, it does suggest that man has much to fear when the world comes to an end.

There can be no doubt that the Rabisu are extremely dangerous. They are vicious, animalistic demons, but they are both intelligent and cunning as well. These evil spirits feed on human blood, which gives them power, and may have led to the emergence of one of the most feared monsters in history and legend: the Vampire. It is unknown if these demons did indeed create the first bloodsucking undead, and one may only speculate as to the true causes of vampirism. Perhaps they truly are human corpses under demonic possession. But despite their overwhelming power, the Rabisu are limited in that they need a human to summon them into this world. The vampires that they create, on the other hand, are not so limited in their powers.

But regardless of such speculation, it is very possible that the Rabisu are still running rampant throughout the world, along with multitudes of other demons. Therefore, it pays to be continuously on guard against demonic attack, and it is through faith that mankind may be victorious against these evil spirits in the end.

Acknowledgements

I would like to take this opportunity to thank C. Silverthorn for graciously allowing me to use her own research to expand upon my own. If not for her generosity, this would have been a very short post indeed. Her website may be found at Silverthorn Press.

Sources

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. New York: Checkmark Books. Copyright ©2009 by Visionary Living, Inc.

Mack, Carol K. and Dinah. A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits. New York: Arcade Publishing. Copyright ©1998, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack.

The Rabisu ~ Vampiric Spirits

Rabisu (Wikipedia)

Teresa Wilde's Demon of the Week Blog: Rabisu

Irkalla (Wikipedia)

Rabisu (Monstropedia)

Accad and the Early Semites

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Imps

Imps are small demons that serve those who have sworn loyalty to Satan. Basically, they're the Devil's interns. Paracelsus, the Swiss medieval doctor and alchemist, is said to have kept one sealed within the crystal pommel of his sword, which was inscribed with the word zoth (whether this was the Imp's name or a word of power is based purely on speculation). However, the fact of the matter remains that imps are evil spirits, conjured from the bowels of Hell to wreak havoc on Satan's enemies. Imps are kept inside of a bottle or a ring, emerging at the master's command. In this regard, the Imp is very much like a witch's familiar, and can be either good or evil. These demons are usually invoked for spellcasting, healing, charms, and divination, but they are also called forth by mages during rituals involving ceremonial magic. Imps are controlled using incantations, words, and names of power.

Imps, from medieval times to the present day, are favored by witches, serving as familiars. Imps are able to take on the forms of various animals, birds, and insects in order to carry out the commands of a wizard, a witch, or an alchemist. Witch Hunters, during the time of the Inquisition, believed that witches rewarded the imps by suckling the creatures with their own blood, and often accused suspected witches of such behavior. The blood was usually sucked from the breasts (namely the nipples), fingers, warts, or any other odd protuberances on the skin.

It should be noted that, like most demons, an Imp may be kept at bay with an unbroken line of salt, or can possibly be destroyed with a cold-forged iron blade or silver. Oftentimes, shooting a witch's familiar with a silver bullet will also kill or at least wound the witch herself as well. And although imps are minor demons, they can still be dangerous. It is perhaps best not to trifle with these creatures to begin with. The conjurer may live to regret it.

Sources

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright ©2009 by Judika Illes.

Masello, Robert. Fallen Angels…And Spirits of the Dark. Perigree Publishing. Copyright ©1994 by Robert Masello.