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.