Demons in Legend and Lore
Ancient Myths of Demon Lore
The word demon (sometimes spelled daemon) is derived from the Latin word daio "to divide" or "apportion". It was generally used for the unwelcome lower order spiritual beings that seemed to always come between the higher gods and men. Eventually its use was restricted to the supernatural beings that we consider harmful or evil. Sometimes they were actually thought to be a type of lower level god or even the offspring of a god. These demons are often said to be the messengers, or servants of the Devil himself.
Throughout history many cultures, religions, and ancient myths tell tales of evil entities wandering among us. Here are a few commonly known malevolent spirits from around the world that we humans may need to be wary of, lest they steal our souls and drag us down where no man wants to go....
1. The Banshee
The Banshee is a female spirit from Ireland. Her name comes from "bean sidhe," the name of a female fairy in Irish and Celtic lore. The name means "woman of the fairy mounds" in English.
The Banshee, travels from the otherworld and is a harbinger of death. The banshee brings her death omen by keening loudly at night on the dark moors. Her chilling screams and wails of mourning create fear in any human close enough to hear her.
According to contradictory legends the banshee is either a frightening old hag, or a beautiful young woman. No matter which image she projects, if you hear her cries it is the tolling of the death bell for you or a close loved one.
When an important or holy person was about to die, several banshees would wail or sing together. According to some legends, the banshees were accompanied by a large black coach carrying a coffin and pulled by headless horses. When the coach arrived at a house, a basin of blood was thrown at the person who opened the door. However, if a banshee loved a person who was near death, she would sing a gentle song that predicted death but also comforted the dying person and family members.
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2. The Incubus
The Incubus, according to European folklore and Judeo-Christian legends, was once an angel who fell from grace because of his insatiable lust for women.
His name comes from the Latin word "incubo" which can be literally translated as "nightmare." Because he likes to lie on sleeping women in order to have sex with them. It is generally thought that the incubus has a desire to father children with his lovers; however, some legends hold that the incubus (or demon-lover), was sent by the devil himself to bring the souls of young vulnerable maidens to hell through his sexual conquests.
Succubus demons are the female counterpart to the incubus. Also referred to as the "Temptress of the Night ". They come to the beds of human men at night (especially monks) to seduce them in their dreams. They have to draw the sexual energy from men in order to sustain themselves almost like a vampire needing human blood. In the past, they were generally depicted as quite frightening with wings and a snake-like tail. However, Western legends eventually spoke of the Succubus who took on the shape of a beautiful and irresistible enchantress who controlled and drained these men to the point of severe exhaustion and sometimes death.
According to the Malleus Maleficarum, otherwise known as the "Witches Hammer", the Succubus would collect semen from the men and impregnate themselves, and this is how demons could sire children. Children born this way were supposedly more susceptible to the influence of demons and evil.
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4. The Djiin or Jinn
Djiin - Derives from Islam and is known as an invisible spirit mentioned in the Koran and believed by Muslims to inhabit the earth and influence mankind by appearing in the form of humans or animals. According to the Koran, djinn have free will just like mankind-meaning they can be good or evil.
In the Western World, djinn are known more commonly as genies. They are supernatural creatures that live on a parallel plane that is similar to that of humans. However, when the djinn choose the path of evil and destruction, they are certainly fearsome to behold. Their physical bodies are composed of a smokeless flame.
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Demons and Demonology
With more than 400 entries and 80 black-and-white photos, this resource explores what many believe are the sources of evil—demons or devils. Key topics include the types of demons and history of demonology, possession and historical cases, today’s demonologists and exorcists, forms and means of confronting demons, and demons in popular culture, different cultures, and many religious traditions.