Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Japanese mythology and folklore have brought us lots of fascinating supernatural beings such as Akashita, Amanojaku, the Azure Dragon, Ehon Hyaku Monogatari, The Ghost of Oyuki, Kamaitachi, Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki, Namazu, Preta, Tennin, the Vermillion Bird, and Yuki-onna among others.

Japanese culture is always rich and it just shows with all the interesting creatures that’s part of its history. They conjured beings to explain everything that’s happening around them. One such creature is Abura-Akago.

Abura-Akago or oil baby is said to be an infant spirit that steals oil out of an andon lamp. Japanese folklore describes the Abura-Akago appearing as a fireball that would float and enters a house. Then it would turn into an infant that would lap the oil content of an andon lamp. Once the oil is finished off, the Abura-Akago wold turn into a fireball and flies out again.

Andon lamps are made of paper that’s stretched over a frame that can be made out of metal, wood or bamboo. Light is made by lighting a cotton wick than’s doused with oil in a ceramic or stone holder. There would be lots of oil robbers that time and that’s how the legend of Abura-Akago is born.

One of the more famous illustrations of an Abura-Akago was one that’s made by Toriyama Sekein in his Konjaku Gazu Zoku Hyakki or The Illustrated One Hundred Demons from the Present and the Past. It is the second book of Sekein’s Gazu Hyakki Yako series that was published around 1791. Much of the creatures featured in this series of books are taken from Japanese folklores, literature and other artworks.
Along with his illustration of the Abura-Akago, Sekein tells the story of a flying fireball that exists in the eighth town of Otsu in the Omi Province. Natives of the town say that a couple of years ago in the village of Shiga lived a person who would steal oil every night. When that person died, his soul became flame and that’s how the legend of Abura-Akago began.

There’s a related Japanese supernatural being that’s quite related to the Abura-Akago. This creature is the Abura-Sumashi or oil presser. This creature originated from the Amakusa in Kumamoto Prefecture. You might know by now that Abura means oil. Sumashi on the other hand means wring, squeeze or press.

The Abura-Sumashi is a spirit that would surprise people along the Kusazumigoe mountain pass. People from the region think that the Abura-Sumashi is the ghost of someone who stole oil. Before the advent of electricity, oil is a very valuable commodity. It is required to light and warm a house, especially during the winter season. Therefore the theft of oil, particularly from shrines and temples, can lead to punishment of reincarnation as a yokai. Modern day Abura-Sumashi are illustrated as a short creature with a straw coat over his body. His head would be potato like.

As you can see Japanese folklore is rich with creatures that are truly unique in their own ways. The Abura-Akago and the Abura-Sumashi are just two of the numerous demons, ghosts and monsters that are part of the rich culture and heritage of Japan.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Norse Mythology - Fafnir

According to Norse mythology, Fafnir was the son of the dwarf king Hreidmar. His brothers are Otr and Regin. He played a major role in the Volsunga Saga, which is the legendary epic that tells about the origin and decline of the Volsung clan. In the saga, Fafnir was a dwarf that possesses strong arms and fears no one. He is said to guard is father’s house that’s made of glittering gold and other precious gems. He is the most aggressive and strongest among the three sons of Hreidmar. This trait would play a vital part in the story regarding treasure and greed.

It is said that Fafnir, Otr and Regin are shape shifters. One day Otr changed into an otter. Loki was at that time was looking for some otter and unfortunately killed Otr without knowing who he was. Loki then went to Hreidmar’s home with Odin and Honir. Hreidmar and his sons immediately recognized the otter skin wrapped around Loki. They wanted revenge for the death of Otr.

Loki, who is known to be the most cunning among Norse gods, said that he would be willing to pay a large ransom for his sin. He said that he didn’t know it was Otr and would his best to replace Otr’s life with treasure that’s at par with the lost. All parties agreed to this and Hreidmar and his sons then held Odin and Honir hostage while Loki went and gather his payment.

Loki then went to the wizard Andvari and forced him to hand over his treasure. Andvari would hand Loki his treasure but he did manage to curse the ring Andvaranaut. Andvari personally forged this ring and thus was his personal favorite. With the curse on it, whoever owns the ring would have misfortune and doom. Also included in the treasure are the swords Ridil and Hrotti, which are quite valuable in their own right. Fearing for his own life and his fellow gods, Loki didn’t think twice about giving the treasure to Hreidmar and went straight to the home of Hreidmar. Upon receiving the treasure, Honir and Odin were released immediately.
Fafnir wanted to keep the treasure for himself, killed his father and then exiled his brother Regin. He then turned into a dragon and kept the treasure in a mountain lair. In European mythology, the dragon is the symbol for greed.

Regin wants the treasure as well so he tricked his foster son Sigurd in killing Fafnir. He achieved this by using the sword Balmung to pierce Fafnir’s heart while the dragon was walking on the way to the stream where he usually goes to drink. Although he managed to kill Fafnir, he made the mistake of taking the cursed ring. He planned on giving it to his bride to be, Brynhild.

Regin corrupted by the curse of the treasure, wanted to kill Sigurd as well. But Sigurd ate Fafnir’s heart and was warned by the birds about his foster father’s plans. Instead, Sigurd ended up killing Regin.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Filipino BloodSucker - Manananggal

The Manananggal is a supernatural creature that originates from Filipino folklore. It is also known as wakwak in some parts of the Philippines. Its Western counterpart would be the vampire because of its habit of devouring humans. Its Malay cousin is the penanggalan.

The legend of the Mananaggal is popular in the Visayas region of the country, particularly in provinces of Antique, Iloilo and Capiz. The Manananggal’s appearance would differ, depending on where and who tells the tale.

Just like the vampires, Manananggals are said to have a dislike of salt and garlic. Another Visayan supernatural creature, the aswang, also shares these characteristics. Other things that the Manananggals are said to avoid include light, vinegar, daggers, spices and sting ray tails that could be used as whips against them. Similar creatures can be found from surrounding countries’ folklores.

A Manananggal is said to be an old beautiful woman that can cut her body into two. She would then fly with her upper torso with large bat-like wings so that she could devour on pregnant women using her proboscis-like tongue. She would suck the blood of the fetus inside the womb of the unsuspecting mother.

Her weakness is her lower torso, which is just left unprotected while the Manananggal’s out hunting. When the lower half is sprinkled with salt or placed with crushed garlic, the upper torso could not rejoin with it and thus the Manananggal will die at sunrise.
The name Manananggal comes from the Filipino root word tanggal, which means to separate or to remove. The word Manananggal in Filipino means someone who can separate her upper body from her lower extremities.

The old practice of hanging cloves of garlic or onion near the window panes to ward off Manananggals are still done by some superstitious folks from the Visayas. Tabloids would usually feature them in the front page to sell their paper. No one can truly say if Manananggals exist. Some say that they’re just some kind of mass hysteria or a way to keep children off the street when nighttime comes.

As to how Manananggals reproduce or multiply is another story. There’s a story that states that a black chick in a Manananggal’s throat is the source of her power. A manananggal will not die unless the black chick is removed. They say there are two ways to do this. One is to spin the manananggal around until she vomits the black chick out. Another method is to hang the manananggal upside down and smoke the chick out her throat.

Another version of the legend states that being a Manananggal is hereditary. Then there are others that say that it is like a virus. If your food is contaminated by a Manananggal’s saliva, you have a chance to be one.

The capital of the Manananggal myth in the Philippines is the province of Capiz. Not only do Manananggals are said to live in that area but so do other supernatural beings such as goblins, ghosts, aswangs, and ghouls. There are also lots of modern day witch doctors still practicing their craft in the said province.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Samael - The Prince Of Demons

No one represented evil better than Samael. Although he could be seen as good or bad, depending on what version of the story you read. He is said to be the prince of demons. He is an accuser, destroyer and seducer. Samael is one of the archangels in Talmudic and Christian religions. According to etymologist, his name means venom of God. He is the Angel of Death, who uses poison to slay men.

There are contradicting things written about Samael. Some say that he is the incarnation of evil and is believed to be the chief of Satans or the prince of devils. That’s the reason why he is the patron saint of the sinful Roman Empire. Yet some say that he is a great prince in heaven, although his evil pursuits are more documented.

According to Judaism, Samael is the ruler of the Fifth Heaven. He is also one of the seven regents of the world is has two million angels ready to serve him. He is said to reside in the Seventh Heaven. Then the Talmud also states that Samael is the guardian angel of both Esau and Edom. According to the Sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, he is suspected of tempting Eve by taking the shape of a serpent then seduced and impregnated her with Cain. Samael is also said to be the angel who fought with Jacob and the one who held back the arm of Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son. When he failed in his purpose, he went to Sarah and told her the news which was the reason why she committed suicide. No other biblical figure has done more evil than Samael.

Samael is also known as the severity of God. He has a hand in the downfall of angels when he led a group of angels who came down and married daughters of men. When Lilith left Adam, it is said that Samael took her as his bride. According to the Zoharistic cabala, Samael has also been linked to Na’amah, Eisheth Zenunim, and Agrat Bat Mahlat. Except for Lilith, all of those mentioned were angels of prostitution. This must be he reason why Samael is the patron saint of Empire of Rome where everyone engaged in carnal enjoyments.

Like any other biblical angel, Samael can fly like a bird. Yet he commands an army of demons that will do whatever he tells them to do. He is evil personified and is said to be equal to Satan. He is the devil that brought misfortune upon Judah and Israel. Even in the beginning, Samael began his evil ways with Adam. His archenemy is Michael, who represents everything good.

When God was about to help the Israelites out of Egypt, Samael brought accusations against them and he was the happy when Moses died. He possessed King Manasseh and brought upon the martyrdom of the Prophet Isaiah. He was victorious over Michael when God judged that the ten religious scholars during the time of Hadrian should die.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bloody Bones

The Bloody Bones comes from Ireland and is also known as Rawhead and Bloody Bones, Tommy Rawhead, or simply Rawhead. The legend of Bloody Bones has originated from Ireland but has spread throughout the United Kingdom and North America as well.

In older legends, Bloody Bones is believed to live in places near water while in the new versions of the story Bloody Bones lives beneath the sink pipes. Bloody Bones would reward the good children. Naughty children though are said to be punished by Bloody bones by taking them down the drainpipes or into a body of water and drown them. He could also turn naughty children into insignificant things that the parents might discard as thrash.

There are different versions as to how Bloody Bones looks like. There are some that describe him as crouching down like a rock covered with matted hair and with pale dull eyes. There are accounts that state that Bloody Bones looks like a gremlin with warped skin. Then some would describe him as looking like an old man or dog covered with scars and scabs all over his body. Some say Bloody Bones is a burn victim but possesses sharp teeth and claws. There are stories that describe him as a giant razorback boar with some flesh missing. Then there are stories that describe Bloody Bones as a hairy creature with bushy tail, long fangs and razor claws. And then there are some that say that Bloody Bones is a shape shifter that can take on any shape that he wishes.

The legend of Bloody Bones is still much alive today. He is featured in the Monster in My Pocket line as Monster number 68. Clive Barker’s Rawhead Rex is loosely based the myth of Bloody Bones. It first came out in the Volume three of his Books of Blood and was made into a movie in 1986. Rawhead Rex is a monstrous pagan demon that’s on a murderous rampage in an Irish countryside.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones is also one of the main villains in Courtney Crumrin comics. He is the only one who survived the attacks of the heroes because he is perceived as a creature that’s immune to any curses. This version of Bloody Bones loves to slaughter and his lair would be decorated with the skulls of his victims.
Bloody Bones also appeared in Anita Blake’s novel of the same name. This version of Bloody Bones is around ten feet tall with a head that’s pulsating with blood. He is a bogeyman that punished bad children.

Other pop culture reference to Bloody Bones include a song called Rawhead and Bloody Bones by the Siouxsie and the Banshees, and in an episode of the television series Supernatural where the stars were battling a monster called Rawhead at the start of an episode.

Bloody Bones is also featured in Chris Wooding’s novel The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray where Bloody Bones would stalk his victims from the back. If that person would look at his or her back for three times then Bloody Bones would attack.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Greek Vampire - Lamia

According to Greek mythology, Lamia is a vampire that stole children to drink their blood. She is usually described as a serpent-like creature with a female head and breasts. Lamia is typically female but is sometimes referred to as a hermaphrodite or a male. The name Lamia comes from the Greek word Laimos meaning gullet.

Lamia is said to be the daughter of Poseidon and Lybie. She was the queen of Libya and Zeus fell in love with her. Hera found out about this and stole and killed all her children except for Scylla. It is still a debate on whether Hera turned her into a monster or this was due to her grief but one thing that’s certain was that Lamia became a murderer of children after that. She envied the joy of other mothers with their children so she would steal them away and eat them.

Legend had it that Hera cursed Lamia so that Lamia can’t close her eyes so that she would obsess over the images of her dead children. As an attempt to please her, Zeus gave her the ability to temporarily remove her eyes so that she can rest her vision. Plus he also gave her the gift of prophecy.

Greek mothers would scare their children with the story of Lamia. They would tell the younger ones to behave or else Lamia might go after them. According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Lamia was jealous of other mothers and would eat their children.

There were a lot of interpretations of the myth. Aristophanes suggested that Lamia is a hermaphrodite with a phallus. Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana portrayed Lamia as a seductress. Apollonius said to the groom that his to be was really a lamia that was planning to eat him on their wedding night.

English poet John Keats wrote about Lamia in his 1820 piece Lamia and Other Poems. He based his Lamia on Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. Keats described Lamia as one having the ability to change into a very beautiful woman. She would do so in the hopes of seducing a man into loving her.

Lamia survived the test of time is still very much alive in modern day Greek folklore. At present, Lamia is said to sloppy, glutton and stupid. The Greek proverb Lamia sweeping would mean unclean. There’s also a saying the child has been strangled by the Lamia which means that the child died of sudden causes.

Modern Greek Lamia is an ogress that lives in a remote tower or house. Her diet would include humans and can do magic. Her abode would contain magical things and would be able to know about the hero’s action even before the hero would do it. In order to succeed, the hero must use trickery, avoid her entirely or gain her favor to achieve his goal. There are some tales that tells of a Lamia’s daughter that would help the hero and would eventually fall for him.

A Lamia is one of the creatures that can be seen in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. The movie version also has the appetite for small children and can take her eyes off their sockets.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Legends Of Croatoan

Referred to as Pamlico, the Croatoan was a race of Algonquian people who dominated the islands on the outer banks of North Carolina, south of Roanoke. The English were dedicated to establishing a permanent English presence in North America and an emissary was sent to the Croatoan nation in the hopes of generating positive relations between the two groups. However, it was still a necessity for the English Governor and his troops to return to England in search of supplies and relief effort for the sole purpose of evacuation. He left his colony behind in the hands of the Croatoan. Governor White set sail from Roanoke in August 1587. He instructed the colonist to place a cross on a tree as a sign of distress and that it was necessary for them to remove themselves from the island. This would give him an idea where the colony’s status and would aid him in locating them. What he did not know was that this was the last time he would be seeing them.

Despite wanting to return to Roanoke as soon as possible, Queen Elizabeth had sent orders to all sea worthy vessels to be used against the Spanish naval force. Governor White’s vow to return to Roanoke was not feasible till 1590. He returned only to find that the colony had already been evacuated from the location. All buildings were decrepit or in some cases, dismantled. There were no crosses as indicators of distress, let alone any other signs about there whereabouts and causes of their evacuation. All except the word “Croatoan” carved on a tree in the centre of the town square. There was no evidence of the colony being carried away by natural or unnatural forces, no signs of fight or foul play. Governor White was in a state of puzzlement.

Croatoan are described to be a race of friendly people. Governor White described them as “our friends”. He needed to find the people of Croatoan chiefly because the salvation of his colony was in their hands. Governor set out to find his Croatoan, unfortunately a coastal storm stopped him from his attempt to turn back and they were unable to continue on their quest. Twice this occurred. Disillusioned and dismayed, the Governor returned to his native Ireland. He passed away without anyone knowing. Till this day nobody knows what happened to the people of Roanoke colony.

After 50 years of disappearance, descendants of the Croatoan tribe began to appear. They spole English and had European features. They were known as Lumbee. Till this day they remain in North Carolina, dominating other parts of the region just like their ancestors. They were recognized officially as mixed tribe. The U.S government do not recognize them as an Indian nations whilst North Carolina does not recognize them as the Lumbee as true descendants of the Croatoan people. Till this day, nobody knows what happened to the Roanoke colony, though many have come to believed that the colonist came to live among the Croatoan people. But really, who knows?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary is perhaps one of the most talked about urban legend where children were told about how its evil spirit will appear on a mirror when summoned.
And it is reported that Bloody Mary will do variety of things to whoever that summoned her, which includes killing the person, driving them mad, scratching their eyes out, and even pulling them into the mirror. This game is said to be a test of courage.

This legend has become famous again after a folklorist named Janet Langlois published a book about Bloody Mary.

There are said to be many ways to summon this spirit:

• Stand before a mirror in the dark and repeat her name three times.
• Chant her name a hundred times.
• Chanting in the middle of the night.
• Spinning around.
• Rubbing their eyes.
• Running the tap water.
• Chanting her name thirteen times with lit candles.
• There was said that the summoners should say out the phrase "Bloody Mary, I killed your son!" or "I killed your baby." to summon the evil spirit.

The real story about existence of Bloody Mary as a human remains mystery but there are a few versions about the origin of Bloody Mary. Below are some of the popular versions:

• The most popular one mentioned Bloody Mary as the spirit of a mother who murdered her own children.
• Bloody Mary was referred as the spirit of a witch who was murdered on a huge bonfire for kidnapping and killing teenage girls to regain her youth.
• Another tale relates Bloody Mary as a young mother who committed suicide after her baby was stolen from her.
• Bloody Mary was also rumored to be the spirit of Queen Mary I, where her life was marked by a number of false pregnancies. More rumors mentioned that she was actually said to suffer miscarriage, and this has caused her to have gone crazy.
• There was also a rumor that relates Bloody Mary as the dead spirit of Mary Queen of Scots.

And there are also said that the summoner is most like to suffer any of these consequences:

• Their eyes being ripped out
• Claw marks and scratches all over their body
• They might disappear if Bloody Mary pulled them into the mirror
• Died on the spot after they saw her face

There was an episode in the SuperNatural TV series about a 19 year old girl, named Mary Worthington who was on her way to stardom when she was murdered by someone who broke into her apartment. Later on, Mary Worthington seeks revenge and killed anyone who hides secrets about unsolved deaths from the old mirror that she haunted. The story end when Dean and Sam trap her in a mirror and shatter it to pieces.

There are a few variations about the effect that someone will get after they summoned Bloody Mary, and one of them stated that any young women who walk up a flight of stairs backwards with a candle and hand mirror will see the face of their future husband. Otherwise, that would mean they were not fated to get married.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rakshasa - Hindu Mythology

Rakshasas are a herd of felonious species in one of the most prevalent role-playing games called Dungeons and Dragons. They are destructive in nature and have animal heads attached to human bodies. In the game, they are notoriously difficult to slay and possess a range of traits that allow them to survive in even the harshest environments. They cheat, kill and have a knack for black magic.

However, the origins of the Rakshasa go beyond a 21st century fantasy game. In the early 1990s, Rakshasas were introduced as malicious monsters in the Japanese children superhero series. They were colossal and could easily reach the height of a thirty-story building. They could be easily identified as the predecessors of Godzilla as they went around the city terrorizing inhabitants of the concrete jungle, trampling at anything that came in their way. Go back another three decades, to the year 1968 when Roger Zelany’s novel won the Nebula and Hugo Award. He introduced “Rakashas” as alien creatures that enjoyed gambling. They spelled differently but were derived from Rakshasa. Rakashas were originally human beings but they soon found a method of transferring their soul into an energy field, thus allowing them to live on forever. Ironically, they crave the human flesh and would take any risk in order to take human form again.

Yet the origins of the Rakshasa go even further than all the afore-mentioned sources. The first appearance of the Rakshasas, as many scholars of Buddhism or Hinduism believe, can be found in the first epic ever written in Sanskrit – the Ramayana. The epic illustrates the “journey of Rama”, as it is literally translated into. In the tale, Rama’s beautiful spouse is taken hostage by the king of all monsters – a Rakshasa by the name of Ravana. It is describe to have ten heads and was a meat-eating, ghoulish creature. Rama, who loves his wife eternally, goes on a journey plagued with trials and tribulations in order to save his other half. He obtains help from the youngest brother Ravana, known as Vibhishana. Vibhishana himself is a breed of Rakshasa. Now, Rakshasas can be categorized into three different breeds.

Firstly, they are classified as nature spirits that are known to roam the earth the mission to protect a certain treasure. In the second class, they are enemies of the gods. Finally, they fall into a group of malignant species. In the case of Vibishana, he falls into the first category. He is generous and religious. Also, unlike the other Rakshasas mentioned above, he is beautiful, a rare trait in the breed of Rakshasas. He is diligent in his religious practice and when was granted a wish from a Hindu god Brahma, he wished to never have to leave the religious path. The battle against both Rama and Ravana is known as the battle of Lanka, this is chiefly because the battle took place in Lanka, a fortress Island where Ravana was king. In Rama’s camp, he was helped by an army of monkeys and Vibhishana. Ravana, on the other hand, sought help from a sleeping brother to resolve the ongoing conflict. He was killed by Rama and Rama’s brother. Rama won the battle and Vibhishana took Ravana’s place as king of Lanka. Depiction of Ranavana, the ten-headed monster can be found on the walls of the Angkor Wat, a temple in Cambodia. The creature is depicted to be in a struggle for its life with a warrior tugging at his head and another creature pulling his tail.

In other parts of Hindu literature, Rakshasas are known to hide in forest, ravage the nearby village and feed on human flesh and rotten meat.

Rakshasa takes a different form in Buddhist literature. It is more a reflection of human sin that a physical creature of evil nature. All sins committable by man is associated to the Rakshasa, these include sloth, laziness, indulgence and arrogance. By the end of the day, Buddha destroys the Rakshasa. This tale is open to interpretation. Many believe that this means Buddha has the ability to help in the cleansing of the evil nature of all man and the Rakshasa lives in all human beings. On the contrary, another Buddhist literature depicts the Rakshasa as guardians of a scripture handed down by Buddha himself. They sought to protect those who practiced it with a magical mantra that was believed to ward off all evil.

It’s funny to see what the Rakshasas has evolved into. It is known as Ratsetusen in Japan, Raksasa in Malaysia and Rakhas in Bengali. It started off as a mythical creature, an evil goblin that interfered with the human realm in many Asian literatures, especially those that originated from India. It then made a move into Western literature, taking the form of immortal creatures and decades later, it graced our televisions as a gigantic monster that terrorized civilians and finally it has found its home in online games as malevolent beings that are hard to kill.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Genie Djinn

Most of us will remember the Djinn, or sometimes known as the Genie, as the big, blue spirit that lived in an oil lamp from Disney’s Aladdin. Once the lamp was rubbed, the Genie would appear and grant its master three wishes.

In Islam, the Djinn are a race of free spirits that can be good or evil. Just like how Christians believe that demons can possess people, Djinn can possess human beings too. According to versus in the Quran, Djinns were created out of fire without smoke. It may be interpreted as “the end of the flame”. Because they were created out of fire, they have a constitution utterly different from us human beings. Djinns cannot be seen by the human eye and were created before the time of man.

In Islamic literature, Djinns have a preference for remote areas where they are far away from human civilization. They may live in cemeteries, dustbins where they can consume leftovers. Djinns are shapeshifters and can take the forms of other animals. According to Islam, the black dog is the devil of dogs and the Djinn tend to take this particular form. Djinns can also shapeshift into scorpions, birds, cows or snakes. After shapeshifting, Djinns will have to abide to the laws of their physical form, which means that they will now be visible to human eyes. This may not be a good thing, as this would make them more vulnerable. It is believe that if the animal the Djinn shapeshift into is killed, than the Djinn too will die. The Djinn can be killed with a gunshot or wounded with a knife.

Djinns are not asexual. There are male and female Djinns and they can even come together in order to procreate and produce offspring. In Islam, it is believed that there are three main creations. The first being Angels, who never commit sins and never disobey God. The second being human beings who are given freewill and are accountable for their choice in life. By the end of the day, only those who follow the righteous path will go to paradise. Lastly, you have the Djinns. They are very much like human beings, apary from the fact that they cannot be seen. They are given freewill and choose their religion. Like human beings, they will be judged according to the lives they have led when Judgement Day arrives. In some literature, it is believed that every human being has a Djinn who whispers evil desires into his/her mind.

Djinn and human beings fear each other mutually. However, Djinns seem to instill more fear onto human beings. This is partly because Djinns are not visible and they are rarely understood. Djinns are said to be able to experience the same emotions such as human beings such as anger and sadness. Djinns benefit from this as they are able to instill more fear into the human hearts just like how a dog may attack when he sense fear in a man.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When Death Approaches...

Death is personified as the Grim Reaper, a faceless character that floats around effortlessly with a scythe in hand, collecting souls that have left their bodies. It is garbed from head to toe in a black habit. Its features are constantly hidden under its black hood in order to create a sense of mysteriousness. That is just one version of many.

The Grim Reaper has appeared in many guises. In the Middle ages, the Grim Reaper took the form of an unclothed skeleton, or sometimes a decomposing corpse. At times, it is shown with wings, indicating a role similar to the Angel of Death. In most portrayals, it has a sickle or scythe in one hand, an hourglass in the other. To some, the scythe or the sickle is the instrument that allows the Grim Reaper to command the death of a person into its hands.

The Grim Reaper’s origins is believed to be derived from the Angel of Death in the Old Testament of the Bible and a character known as Kronos from Greek mythology.

The Angel of Death is present in most religions. In Hinduism, Yama, the Lord of Death is nothing like the cadaverous figure of the English Grim Reaper. Instead, he rides on a buffalo and has a rope lasso to carry his victims back into the underworld. In Islam, the Angel of Death is known as Azrael. He is forever writing and erasing names into a large book. A birth is marked by an inscription into the book and a death is marked by erasing the name. In Judaism, it is known as Malach ha-Mavet. In Sikhism, Death is an angel of God.

In Japanese folklore, there is the death goddess who claims 1000 lives in a single day. Slavic paganism described death as a lady in white clothes with an ever-growing green sprout in hand. One touch of the sprout will put a human to eternal sleep. In Lithuanian paganism, Death is a hideous old woman with a poison tongue and a long blue nose.

The Angel of Death could be, as odd as it may sound, a welcoming figure, a messenger of a higher power tasked with collecting the souls for paradise. On the other hand, is may be a figure of darkness that has come in search of souls to be tormented in the underworld.

In the Greek mythology, Kronos the Titan was bestowed a sickle which he used to castrate his father. He swallowed his kids as they were born as he was afraid that the same punishment will be levied on him by his offspring. He was the God of Harvest and the sickle was an agricultural instrument. He was also associated as the bringer of old age.

By combining both the idea of the Angel of Death and Kronos of Greek Mythology, we obtain the Grim Reaper. Death is topic that continues to draw enormous amount of fascination. By the end of the day, when the Grim Reaper comes, it is inevitable, beyond the control of time, circumstances and will.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When Shape Changes...

In the scientific nature of things, shapeshifting is impossible. To be able to switch from one form to another, to change significant characteristics of the body such as the DNA at once own whim is absurd, logically speaking.

However, despite our general agreement that shapeshifting will never happen anytime soon or at least until scientists discover a method of changing genetic constructions, we cannot help but notice that many literature has been written about this topic. Take for instance Beauty and the Beast. The Beast was a once a prince but was put under a spell and took the form of a hideous beast after refusing to offer shelter to a witch on a rainy day. The curse can only be broken once he finds his true love. So as ridiculous as shapeshifting may sound, it remains a subject that is intriguing, mystifying and elusive.

Shapeshift, as the term itself suggests, is the ability to take on a different physical form. It can happen when a human being changes into an animal or the other way round. It is also possible for one human being to take on the physical form of another human being. Mystique, a character from X-Men series, is a solid example of this. She switches from one body to another with ease in order to gain advantage in certain situation or to lure her victims into traps.

The process of shapeshifting varies. In some literature, the subject has two separate bodies and can easily take form of any one of them when and where he/she wishes. Apart from death which will result in the death of both forms, all injuries will not be carried from one form to another. Another form of shapeshifting is when the subject’s flesh forms over the top of the original. In some processes, the body may undergoes alteration such as expanding, peeling, stretching.

Shapeshifting, in some literature, is interpreted as a form of punishment. A shapeshifter is a victim of this cruel transformation which does allow him/her to appreciate the normality of life. They often find themselves alone and misunderstood because of their conditions. They are either alienated by the local community because of their defects or they may choose to isolate themselves as they are afraid of what others might think of them.

That aside, in other literature, be it myth, folklore, myths, science fiction or fantasy, shapeshifting is considered as a superhuman gift and a powerful gift. It allows the user to use this gifts for his/her own survival or to gain a better advantage in certain situation in order to achieve his/her aims, be it positive or negative. In Greek mythology, Zeus disguises himself as Artemis, a female nymph in order to befriend Callisto and tricks her into letting her guard down. When he is close enough to her to not allow to escape, he returns to his original form and rapes her. In this case, shapeshifting is used selfishly in order to achieve one’s own desire. It is not uncommon in many literature that revolves around shapeshifting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tales Of Genbu - The Black Warrior Of The North

Genbu or the Black Tortoise is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese Constellation. He is also known as the Black Warrior of the North and represents winter and the north regions. Although Genbu’s English translation is Black Tortoise, it is usually depicted as a snake coiled around a tortoise, although in recent times he is depicted in human form as well. Genbu is said to be the god of the north.
If Genbu is the north, we have Suzaku in the south, Shiryu in the east and Byakku in the west. Just like the other Four Symbols of the Chinese Constellation, Genbu has seven mansions that represent the position of the moon. The seven mansions are Dipper, Ox, Girl, Emptiness, Rooftop, Encampment, and Wall.

Ancient Chinese believe that Genbu represents long life, wisdom and strength. The tortoise and the snake are seen as spiritual creatures that symbolize longevity. It is common knowledge that tortoises in general have long life therefore they are associated with immortality. It was during the Han Dynasty that citizens of China started wearing jade pendants in form of tortoises. It is also through the influence of ancient China on Japan that honor titles in Japan usually refer to the image of tortoises or tortoises themselves. It is said that the monster Gamera is a representation of Genbu.

Genbu was referred to in the classic novel Journey to the West. Genbu, the king of the North, had two generals serving him. They are Tortoise General and Snake General. The king had a temple or shrine at the Wudang Mountains in Hubei. That’s the reason why there is a Snake Mountain and a Tortoise Mountain on both sides of a river in Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei.

According to Taoist legend, Genbu was a prince of a Chinese Emperor. He was not interested in replacing his father and decided to become a Tao monk. At the age of 15, he left home and when on a path of enlightenment. Legend has it that he became a god and was worshipped as the god of the northern skies.

It was during Genbu’s search for enlightenment that he unintentionally created the Tortoise General and the Snake General. To achieve god status, he was told to purge all humanly flesh from his body. Since birth he was eating worldly food, that’s why his intestines and stomach is still made of humanly flesh. So Genbu had his stomach and intenstines taken out. His stomach took the shape of a turtle while his intestines became a snake. The turtle and the snake were then possessed by demons and started terrorizing people. Genbu heard of this and went to hunt them. However the turtle and the snake begged for mercy and showed remorse over their actions. He then took them in and trained them to be his loyal servants and that’s how the Tortoise General and the Snake General came about. They went on to assist Genbu with his quests.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chinese Guichai - Ox Head and Horse Face

According to Chinese mythology, Hades is full of creatures and beings that have specific tasks. There are the judges and those who are waiting to be judged. Then there are various demons and other ghoulish beings that would lead those who are judged to their respective places or carry out the punishments.

Two of those are Ox-Head and Horse-Face. Ox-Head and Horse-Face are believed to be soldiers of King Yama. Their job is to bring the spirits of the dead for judgment in Hades. Chinese call them Guichai while the Thais call them Yama-toot. Although their task is similar to the Black and White Wuchang, Ox-Head and Horse-Face are lower in rank than the Wuchang pair.

The story of the origin of the Ox-Head and Horse-Face begins when there used to be a horse and a buffalo that were worked to death by their masters. When these two creatures reached Hades, King Yama took pity on them and made them into his soldiers. They retained their animal heads and have been King Yama’s loyal servants since then. It goes to show that when you give out kindness, you’ll be given your just rewards.

Some say that Ox-Head and Horse-Face are just figments of imagination. Yet there are those who would attest to their existence. There’s a story about a certain 70 year old guy named Huang who didn’t believe that such creatures existed until the day he had a chance to meet them.

The story goes that Huang and his wife were waiting for the elevator to go down. Then Huang was conscious of two sets of eyes looking at him. He turned his head and saw two large guys standing at a corner. They looked fierce and have pale faces. Then the elevator came. Just as Huang and his wife are going in it, the two large figures went in ahead of them, along with 5 more persons. As the elevator is already full, Huang and his wife didn’t enter in it.

As fate had it, three seconds after the elevator doors closed, there came a loud crashing sound. The elevator cables snapped and none of the people in it survived. What’s strange about the accident is that investigators found only 5 bodies in the crash. Huang is certain that there are 7 people in it when the doors closed. Huang now believes that the two large figures are Ox-Head and Horse-Face.

Scholars say that Ox-Head and Horse-Face represents Aging and Sickness. A stubborn ox best represents sickness. No matter how well one takes care of his body, sickness would pull someone towards death, one way or another.

A one track minded racehorse represents aging. It would carry its jockey to the finish line as fast as the horse could. Just like aging, no one can stop the horse until it reaches the finish line, which is death. Since birth, we are already on that horse.

No matter how hard we might try, we can’t get out of the grasps of the Ox-Head and the Horse-Face.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tools Of Fortune Tellers - Mandrakes

There are two supernatural beings that share the name mandrake. Both are very much different from each other. There’s the Mandrake or mandragora that is a familiar demon that appears to look like little man without beards. Mandrakes are said to be dolls or figurines given by the devil to sorcerers and could be consulted upon when in time of need.

Mandrakes existed throughout history. 16th century Hispanic writer wrote about an incident that happened during a trial. The accused sorcerer summoned a mandrake during the trial and the judge, who doesn’t believe that such entity existed, caught it and threw it into the flames. Yet the mandrake escaped unharmed.

Historically, Mandrakes have been used by self proclaimed prophets and fortune tellers as part of their act to convince their customers of their powers. Just like any familiar spirits, mandrakes are said to serve their masters and at the same time bewitch their enemies.

Then there’s the medieval mandrake plant that has human-shaped roots that would shriek whenever it is pulled from the earth. It has great medicinal value although caution must be used when extracting it from the ground. When a person hears its shriek, that person might go mad or worse, die instantly. One way to pull it from the ground is to tie a hungry dog to the plant and place a piece of meat out of its reach. The dog’s master must be safely out of the hearing range.

Mandrakes shine at night which makes it easy to spot in a distance. It is said to be the cure for six ailments. First it can be used to cure headaches that make sleeping difficult. For this ailment, a salve must be made out of the mandrake juice and then applied it to the forehead as plaster.

You can use the mandrake if you feel pain in the ears. For this, the mandrake’s juice must be mixed with oil of nard and poured into the ears. It is also a cure for severe gout attack. You must get the right arm and leg of the mandrake root and grind it into powder. The powder would then be place into wine and be given to the patient for seven days. It would be seen that the swellness and contractions of muscles will be lessen after the said period.

Mandrake can also be a cure for epilepsy. The body of the root would be boiled in water and given to a person suffering from spasms. Lastly, it is also a cure for viral colds that can affect the whole household. Although it is murky as to how the plant can be a cure for this type of ailment.

Experts say that there are two varieties of the mandrake plant, the white mandrake, which is the male and the black mandrake, which is the female. Its leaves would be narrower than the lettuce. The leaves of the female variant is much broader the male. It also has a hairy stem.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Legends Of The Pontianak/Langsuir

One of the most popular supernatural being in Malay folklore is the Pontianak. Version of it is found in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. According to Malaysian folklore, Pontianaks are women who have died when giving birth and had become vampires that are on a vengeful warpath and terrorize villages. Then there are versions of the story in which states that the Pontianak is someone who died a virgin. Pontianak appearance can be deceiving. She would go out and fly during nighttime. She would look seductive and beautiful on the outside and would usually smell nice as well so that she can entice men. Once she lured in someone, the Pontianak would then turn into something hideous.

It’s not only men that are in danger from being victims of Pontianaks. Babies and women are not safe from Pontianaks. They are known to eat babies as well and would cause harm to pregnant women that might cause their miscarriage.
Pontianaks are scared of sharp objects and thorns. Folks say that sharp objects such as nails can help ward off Pontianak. To stop a Pontianak attack, you have to plunge a sharp object in the back of her neck. It is said that a sharp object at the back of a Pontianak’s neck would turn her back into a beautiful woman again and would return into her hideous form once that object is removed. Pontianak spirits are said to reside inside banana trees during daytime.

One version of the Pontianak that is popular in Malaysia is the Langsuir. It is said that no other banshee can be as deadly as the Langsuir in Malay folklore. Unlike the Pontianak, the Langsuir would possess her victim and suck the blood from within. This would cause a slow and painful death.

Another dissimilarity of the Langsuir from the Pontianak is that Langsuir is believed to someone that had experienced laboring sickness due to the death of her child during birth. She would die due to the sickness and would turn into a Langsuir.

Langsuirs are described to be vicious, scary, furious and vengeful. They are pictured to have sharp, long claws, red eyes, long hair, scary face and long fangs.there are stories that Langsuirs appear owl-like with long claws. There are some that would say that Pontianaks are the still born children of Langsuirs.
It might seem that it is impossible to stop a Langsuir but there is a right way to do so. If you fortunately managed to catch one, cut her tresses and long nails and stuff them into the hole at the back of her neck. Once you’ve done that, the Langsuir will be tamed and would look like a normal woman. Even a single strand of hair can do that job according to others stories.

There was a case in which a tamed Langsuir became a wife and eventually a mother. Then there came a tie when there was merrymaking at her village. While dancing, the Langsuir reverted in her old ghastly self and flew into the dark forest where she originated.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


This is kind of Cliche. But, there's got to be some sort of an introduction first. This blog is meant for people who are intending to get themselves educated with Supernatural knowledge. Besides, I will be adding ghost clips, pictures and information which will be useful to filling yourself with sufficient intelligence to deal against the Supernatural stuff.

Till today, scientists are still unable to give a clear definition in which ghosts exist or not. For me, this ambiguity has turned into such a childish nightmare. In the original series of the "Ghostbusters", the professors have to invent guns that eject protons beams to help neutralize the electrons (which belong to the ghosts) before they are sucked helplessly into a Ghost-Trap. This mentality is a fun one but it is definitely something that I am not going to embrace.

Ghosts, aliens, demons and mythical beings are all mysterious. In my humble opinion, there is really no way to make sure they exist - or not. So, all we have to do, is to just arm ourselves with good knowledge and pray that we never meet such elements. Even if we do, at least we know we can do something right.