Monster of the Week: Metatron

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Anyone who isn't dead or from another plane of existence 
would do well to cover their ears right about now.
— Metatron, Dogma (1999)
Metatron title card

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

Monster of the Week: Spring-heeled Jack

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SHJpennydreadful

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.

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Monster of the Week: The Vodyanoi

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The Vodyanoi on an early 20th-century Russian postcard.

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

Monster of the Week: Hellhounds

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GytrashHellhounds are great infernal dogs that hunt the damned, guard the underworld and defend their demonic masters. There are tales of hellhounds in ancient Greek and Viking writings, and legends and even stories of sightings can now be found throughout the world. Hellhounds are often described as oversized black dogs with sharp teeth and glowing red eyes. Hellhounds transcend supernatural categories, alternately considered apparitions (the Black Dogs of Britain), creatures of Faerie (the hellhounds of the Wild Hunt) or demons (the Cajedo Negro of South America). Continue reading

Monster of the Week: Gabriel

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Every angel is terror.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, 1923
Gabriel in a fresco from the Tsalenjikha Cathedral by Cyrus Emanuel Eugenicus. 14th c.

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

Monster of the Week: Kasha

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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.

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Monster of the Week: The Croucher

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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

croucher

Demon Crouch 1995 by roctopus. CC2.0

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.

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