ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Al Karisi: The Scarlet Woman

Updated on December 6, 2019
Yamuna Hrodvitnir profile image

Yamuna tries to use her study of history and her own experiences to create meaningful and informative articles.

Illustration of an Al demon
Illustration of an Al demon | Source

Demons of Childbirth

Al Karisi is a demon in Turkish folkore whose name means “the Scarlet Woman,” or “the Red Woman.” The word “Al” is a reference to a particular class of demon recognized in the regions of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and some parts of the Middle East. Als are demons associated with childbirth, fertility, and pregnancy. There are many different demons within this class, but they tend to share certain traits such as a taste for internal organs, and while they can be either male or female, they almost always appear in the form of an old woman. Al Karisi is one of these demons, and she has influenced a lasting tradition in Turkey.

Stories suggest that Al Karisi is a shapeshifter who may appear in one of countless different forms. It is said that she comes in the shape of a large bird, a cat, or even a large canine. Most often however, she is said to prefer the shape of large, elderly woman dressed in red. This image is often terrifying, as her features are distorted and ugly, and her size is overwhelming. She may also take the shape of someone that the victim knows.

Artistic Depiction of Al Karisi
Artistic Depiction of Al Karisi | Source

Intentions

It is said that Al Karisi stalks women who have recently given birth to a child. Many Al demons will kidnap or otherwise harm infants, but Al Karisi is primarily interested in the new mothers. She watches and waits for the mother to fall asleep before entering the room and cutting out the woman’s liver. She has hypnotic powers which render her targets paralyzed when they meet her gaze. It is said that they can be fully conscious and aware of what’s happening but unable to move or to call out while the demon tears into them and takes their organs. When she strikes her victims, it doesn’t leave a bloody murder scene. There are no gashes, cuts, or even bruises upon her prey. It appears to the world that the woman suffered a sudden and mysterious death in her sleep.

While Al Karisi is a terrifying entity, and threat to all new mothers who brings with her fear and death, her intentions are not necessarily malicious. According to the lore, she requires the livers of new mothers in order to feed her own children. She doesn’t stalk and kill for fun or even for her own dietary needs, but to provide for her young. This presents the tragic philosophical concept of a life for a life. Is it much different from any other being who kills to feed its family?

Illustration of Sleep Paralysis
Illustration of Sleep Paralysis | Source

Tradition and Explanations

Legends surrounding Al Karisi have prompted a tradition in Turkey which survives to this day. Women who have recently given birth sleep with a blade underneath them for some time afterward. The blade can be almost anything whether it be a dagger, a kitchen knife, or a pair of scissors. It is believed that the Scarlet Woman can’t touch your or get to your liver if you have a blade on your person. Other amulets and warding mechanisms are also used, but the blade is the most common method of keeping her at bay.

Demons and entities associated with childbirth and pregnancy exist within many cultures, so Al Karisi and the other demons within her class aren’t necessarily unique. There are stories of fae that kidnap infants and small children, some who replace them with other fae, there are monsters that feed on infants exclusively, and even some who can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. It is likely that humans have always sought a tangible explanation for the vulnerabilities that come with these stages of life. Before medical sciences uncovered the causes of certain illnesses and deaths among newborns and new mothers, it likely seemed as though some supernatural force was taking these lives. Al Karisi’s power of paralysis and hypnosis coupled with her preference for sleeping victims suggests that she may have been an early explanation for the phenomena of sleep paralysis.

© 2019 Yamuna Hrodvitnir

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)