The Siren (1900) by John William Waterhouse
Temptation can take many forms, but the fear of being seduced by the song of a siren has haunted mankind for millennia. From a secluded island home, Sirens enthrall passing sailors with their supernatural song. Their voices cast doom on those who hear their call.
“Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.”
-Walter Copland Perry Continue reading
Pele by Arthur Johnsen
In Hawaiʻi, the name Pele evokes images of molten lava, flame, and boiling oceans. Pele is a powerful and volatile creator, known as Pelehonuamea (“Pele of the sacred land”) and ka wahine ʻai honua (“the woman who devours the land”). Through her destructive power, Pele is responsible for creating and shaping the landscape of the Hawaiian Islands in an ongoing cycle of devastation and regeneration. Continue reading
Anyone who isn't dead or from another plane of existence
would do well to cover their ears right about now.
— Metatron, Dogma (1999)
Title card from Supernatural Season 9 Episode 18, “Meta Fiction.”
Metatron, the Chancellor of Heaven, is a mystical archangel who serves as the Voice of God. Metatron is both the largest and loftiest of the angels and the closest to God, being of even higher rank than Michael in ancient Judaic lore. Metatron is the Heavenly scribe, both recording the word of the Lord and transmitting it to anyone to whom God has directly spoken. As Heaven’s recording secretary, Metatron is said to be the only being ever to have been seen seated in the presence of the Almighty, and his name says as much, it being frequently translated as “He who sits behind the throne of Heaven.” Continue reading
A Spring-heeled Jack penny dreadful cover
Spring-heeled Jack, “the Terror of London,” is a well-known monstrous villain of Victorian urban legend. Though generally human in appearance, Spring-heeled Jack is said to have demonic characteristics such as bulbous glowing eyes, long, sharp claws of metal, and sometimes even horns. He was often seen in England and Scotland in a bat-like, black winged cloak and a tight suit of black and white oilskin, not unlike a twentieth-century comic book character’s costume. Reports of Spring-heeled Jack speaking, or indeed making any sound, are rare, and it is possible he is mute, though there have been reports of victims hearing fiendish laughter. Another unnatural characteristic commonly attributed to Jack is his ability to spit blue flame. Spring-heeled Jack’s most famous attribute, though, is his ability to escape capture by leaping over tall gates and walls.
The Vodyanoi on an early 20th-century Russian postcard.
The Vodyanoi (водяно́й in Russian) is a water-dwelling demonic creature of Eastern Europe. His appearance can be described as somewhere between that of an elderly man and a toad, with a greenish beard and dripping with muck and weeds. He is a curmudgeonly old spirit whose time outside of his lavish underwater home is often divided between murder and mayhem. Continue reading
The Kumiho is a Korean nine-tailed fox.
Image: Gumiho by canitiem at deviant art.
The Kumiho (구미호), or Gumiho*, is a nine-tailed fox spirit. In Korean tradition foxes that have lived for a thousand years, accumulating a great deal of energy, turn into Kumiho. The Kumiho is similar to other fox creatures, such as the Japanese kitsune and Chinese huli jing. Though they have similar magical abilities and longevity, Kumiho are more malevolent than other fox spirits. Of these long-lived legendary creatures, the Kumiho is the only fox that kills and eats humans.
Every angel is terror.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, 1923
Gabriel in a fresco from the Tsalenjikha Cathedral by Cyrus Emanuel Eugenicus. 14th c.
The Angel Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל , جبريل) is known throughout the Abrahamic faiths of the world. An archangel by tradition, if not by rank, Gabriel sits at the hand of God. He is called Saint Gabriel in many of the Orthodox Christian Churches, and is the patron saint of messengers. As a Messenger of God himself, Gabriel is one of the few Heavenly Host who communicates with people directly, often appearing as a mortal man.
Gabriel is also a warrior in many traditions, fighting not only in celestial battles alongside his brother Michael, but also on Earth, assisting the prophet Muhammad with strategic advice in many military campaigns. Continue reading
Kaibutsu Ehon (Illustrated Book of Monsters), illustrated by Nabeta Gyokuei, 1881.
Kasha (火車) are a Japanese yōkai that bring the bodies of miscreants to hell as punishment for a life of evil deeds. Kasha are feline demons who are human-sized or larger and walk upright. When Kasha seek to make themselves known, they may be surrounded by flames and their arrival may be signified by the presence of thunder and strong winds. Thus, a Kasha’s appearance will often coincide with stormy weather. When Kasha wish to remain hidden, they can disguise themselves as ordinary cats and live among humans. Kasha prefer the night, just as their mortal feline cousins do.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? […] if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” —Genesis IV:7, 8
The Croucher is an invisible Mesopotanian entrance demon. The customs still observed today of removing one’s shoes before entering a domicile, and carrying a bride over the threshold, may originate with primeval fear of the Croucher. Although unseen, its presence can be felt near doorways when one has the sensation of one’s hair standing on end.
The Croucher is one among many demonic spirits categorized as the rabisu—”those who lie in wait.” While some rabisu, like the Croucher, have been animalistic and vampiric in nature since before the Babylonian Empire, it is believed by some that the rabisu were once malakim of Heaven and fell at the time of the Morningstar’s rebellion, making them amongst the most ancient of earthly demons.