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Brahmaparusha

Aliases: Brahmarakshasa

The brahmaparusha is an Indian male vampiric spirit. The Indians believed it was a demon who could possess the living and destroy them slowly from the inside. His appearance is described as terrifying. For example, he would wear animal and human intestines around his head like a crown and also wore them around his neck. He did this to show off his killings like trophies.

He first attacks the victim, then he would pour the blood from the victim into a skull that he would carry around, and drink from it like a cup. He would then eat the brains and sometimes eat the whole body. After he was finished he would take the intestines and wrap them around his entire body to perfrom a ritual around the dead body. The brahmaparusha doesn’t get full on one human, it takes many humans for him to be satisfied.

There is no known protection against this blood thirsty vampire. The brahmaparusha is closely related to the Indian spirit the bhuta.

Ursula Kemp and the St. Osyth Witches

Ursula Kemp, acused of Witchcraft, was hanged in 1582.
©BloodyLexicon.com

Introduction

In 1582, Ursula Kemp was accused of witchcraft along with thirteen other females. This event took place in a quiet coastal area of Essex, England, known as St. Osyth. Ursula was a poor woman, and the first accused of being a witch. She claimed that she would “unwitch”, or break evil spells that were cast against people.

The Accusations

Her neighbor and friend, Grace Thurlow had a son named Davy who became very sick. She asked Kemp for her help, Kemp came over and put a spell on him. A few days went by and he became better, Thurlow believed that Kemp cured her son. Thurlow and Kemp got into an argument over the care of Thurlow’s baby girl Joan. When Joan was a few months old she fell from her cradle, broke her neck, and died. Thurlow was upset and sick then turned around and asked for Kemp’s help again. Kemp told her she would for 12 pence and when Thurlow felt better she refused to pay Kemp. She told Kemp she couldn’t afford it. Kemp was upset and got into an argument with Thurlow who then became ill agian. She then blamed Kemp for her and her son’s illness and even her own baby’s death.

Later Thurlow believed that Kemp had something to do with her intolerable pain and brought the incident to Judge Bryan Darcy. Darcy then took the investigation into his own hands and began interrogating those who knew Kemp. He questioned Thomas, her eight-year-old son, who told the judge about his mother having four familiars who would suck blood from his mother’s arm. He described the animals as a grey cat named Tyffin, a black cat named Jacke, a black toad named Pygine, and a white lamb named Tyttey. He also interviewed a man claiming that Kemp put a spell on his wife and died as a result.

Darcy confronted Kemp who denied everything, that is until the judge tricked her and told her if she confessed then he would be lenient on her. She confessed about her familiars and told on the other thirteen witches.

All of the women were charged with crimes of bewitching people to death, putting spells on animals, butter churning, and making people sick with spells. Not all of the women went on trial, four pleaded not guilty, four more were convicted and then let go. One was charged with having an evil eye and was sent to prison for one year. Two women were hanged, Kemp was one of the unlucky two, both were charged with murdering three people to death with spells between the years of 1580-1582.

Displaying Her Body

Way after her death, in the mid-1900′s, her body was dug up by Cecil Williamson, an occultist, and was put on display in a museum in an open coffin lined with dark purple satin. This whole event was televised. Williamson noticed Kemp’s body had a few iron spikes in the chest, which meant people feared that she would come back to haunt or vampirize them. Williamson sold the museum in 1996 to Graham King, who then moved it to Boscastle, Cornwall. Williamson kept the remains of Kemp for his collection until his death in 2000, then the remains went to King. Today, the witches are often referred to as the “St. Osyth Witches.”

Keres

Stories of Keres roaming battlefields were common in Greece.
©BloodyLexicon.com

The keres are from Greek mythology and are female spirits of the dead feared by others. They were daughters of Nyx (night), sisters of Moirae (fate), Moros (Doom), Thanatos (death) and Hypnos (sleep). They can cause death and sickness to the living just like vampires. They enjoy pestering the living and will carry off corpses especially those wounded in battle.

Leprechaun

A Leprechaun, as he appears in the 1990's movie The Leprechaun.

Aliases: leipreachan, luchorpan, leithbragan, lubrican, leprehaun, lepreehawn, lioprachan

Origins

The leprechaun is from Irish folklore and is considered a fairy or a sprite. The word comes from the Irish word leipreachan which means “a pigymy, a sprite, or leprechaun.” It was also thought to be from the Old Irish word luchorpan, lu meaning “small” and corp meaning “body.” Leprechauns, like other Irish mythological creatures, have been linked to the Tuatha De Danann, which were the fifth generation to settle in Ireland and the first race of people in Irish mythology.

Leprechaun Appearances

The leprechaun’s appearance differs depending on which part of Ireland he was found. They are described as taking the form of a short old man in a red coat that is outlined in gold. Very rarely he wore green, if he did it was usually accompanied by red. He wore a hat cocked to the side and had black shoes with big buckles. Some describe the leprechaun wearing a red jacket that contains seven rows of buttons with seven more buttons in each row. He is often the same size as a small child and loves getting into mischief.

On the west coast of Ireland, the leprechaun wears a red jacket with another jacket over top. When he gets into mischief, he often jumps around onto a wall where he will spin around and balance on his hat while waving his feet in the air. Another man describes the leprechaun as having an old wrinkly, rosy face and is about three feet tall. He has an Elizabethan ruffle around his neck and lace at the sleeves of his red jacket. He also carried around a sword, which he used as a magic wand. In some legends he is described as being a jolly fellow, most often he is described as unfriendly. But many say they are actually friendly, they just dislike humans who are after their gold and wishes.

Leprechaun Lifestyle

Leprechauns are often described as living by themselves. They spend most of their time as shoemakers who makes shoes for fairies. It is believed that he possesses a pot of gold where he hides at the end of a rainbow. Catching a leprechaun isn’t very easy. First one must listen closely to the leprechaun’s hammer as he makes shoes. This will help know where he is. When found, one must keep an eye on him at all times or he will disappear into thin air. If he is caught, the lucky person will be granted three wishes or will try to bribe his freedom with gold. But be careful, leprechauns are smarter than humans and things can go terribly wrong if one doesn’t take precautions. Many times a human would go insane trying to think of something they wanted to wish for or something would go completely wrong. Remember leprechauns are tricksters.

Story of the “man”

In one particular instance, a man that came into contact with a leprechaun, caught him, and was granted three wishes. He wished to be the richest man in the world and live on a tropical island. He soon found out that he was on a deserted island with no stores, people, anything,and his money was useless there. After a few hours he had to waste his last wish to come back to Ireland.

The modern day view of the Leprechaun.

Modern Day Leprechaun Interpretations

The modern day leprechaun varies more than the original. We often see pictures of him with a green suit, red hair, and most often has a red beard. Many Irish people are offended with the popularized modern leprechaun found on television and cartoons. They don’t resemble the “leprechaun” at all and instead invoke offensive Irish stereotypes.

Kappa

Documentation of a Kappa, supposedly found during the 1800s in Japan.

Aliases: Kawataro (river boy), Kawako (river-child), Hyosube (variation of kappa, covered in hair)

Introduction

The kappa, from Japanese lore, is named after the famous river god, Kappa. The Japanese consider the Kappa one of many water gods, or suijin. The name Kappa itself means “river-child.” The Kappa is described a monkey figure who is about two to three feet tall, covered with green, yellow, or blue scales from head to toe, and equipped with a tortoise shell on his back. He has webbed feet and hands, a nose that resembles a beak, and sometimes he is depicted with pointed ears.

He has indentation on top of his skull-like head that looks like a bowl. It is filled with a weird clear jelly which is believed to be his source of power. He has short black hair that circles around the jelly-like indentation. They are expert swimmers and smell like fish. A variation of the Kappa is covered in hair and is called a Hyosube.

The Kappa is often found living in swampy areas or other bodies of water, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. It is very vicious and enjoys taunting the living into deep water where they drown. Once the victim is trapped in the water and drowns, the Kappa will enter the human’s body through the anus where he drinks the blood and sucks on the entrails. It isn’t unusual if parts of the flesh are eaten as well. The Kappa also finds the liver irresistible. There is a known phenomena that when I a person dies a drowning death, their anus will often swell. The Japanese explained this as being caused the kappa.

The Kappa also loves pranks and is very mischievous. He will look up women’s kimonos, steal crops, steal children, and often passes gas quite loudly. Children are one of the kappa’s favorite meals, even though he will eat adults as well.

Scaring Away the Kappa

The Kappa can be scared away or confronted. The Kappa is afraid of fire and some villages will have a festival each year filled with fireworks to scare the spirits away. It can also be confronted by being polite. If someone comes face to face with the Kappa, one can bow and the Kappa will want to be polite back and bow in return. This will cause the Kappa to spill the jelly-like substance that is in his head. When the substance leaves his bowl, he cannot move and will stay in the bowed position until water from the river fills his head again. However, if a human refills the bowl, the Kappa will serve the human for the rest of its life.

The Kappa’s Missing Arm

In different folk tales about the kappa, it oftens tells the tale of a Kappa that loses an arm while attacking something. It then goes on a hunt for an arm and promises people different favors in exchange for an arm. It may promise not to attack local people anymore or teach people how to heal a sickness. They can also perform duties for humans such as farming, medicine, and bone setting, which is an ancient practice similar to chiropractic care or physical therapy.

The Kappa loves Cucumbers!

It is believed that the Kappa is interested with human civilization and can both speak and understand Japanese. They sometimes befriend humans and will exchange gifts such as cucumbers. They would rather eat cucumber than children. Many times if a family wanted to bathe in the waters which belonged to Kappas, they would write their names on cucumbers and throw them in the water to allow the family to bathe. There is even sushi filled with cucumber named Kappamaki, after the famous kappa.

Uses in Japanese Culture

There is an expression that the Japanese use today, they say “kappa no kawa nagare” which means “a kappa drowning in a river,” which refers to the idea that even a clever person can make a mistake.

Kappa, the Extraterrestrial

Kappa encounters have been recorded in South America along with UFO sightings. They are believed to be extraterrestrials. Eyewitnesses claim that they don’t take blood directly from humans, but can take energy, similar to the chupa-chupa attacks. People feel weak, anemic, and sometimes faint after the Kappa steals the energy from them.

Janus

Janus is often depicted as having two faces opposite of eachother.

Introduction

Janus (a.k.a. Ianus) is from Roman mythology and was considered the god of doorways, gates, beginning and ends. He is described as a man with two heads that are connected back to back so that the faces are opposite of each other. Legend has it that Janus was very hospice to the god Saturn, whom in return gave Janus the gift to see the future and the past. At one time him and Jana were a pair and were thought to be the most important gods, the sun and the moon. Many people made sacrifices to them before the other gods.

God of Beginnings

He was also considered the god of the beginning of the world and human life itself. Then he became associated with being the god of entrances, bridges, and gates, which were all named after him. Entrances were called “ianua” and bridges were known as “iani.” He became the symbol for time and future, since he could fortell the future and past. People around started to honor him at the beginning of harvest time, births, marriages, and other celebrations that were considered beginnings. The first month of the year, January, was named in his honor.

Janus as a Mortal

One legend says that Janus was once mortal and went to Latium and met Camese. They later got married and had a lot of children together. One of the most famous of their children was Tiberinus, the god of the Tiber River. After his wife died, he was the ruler and introduced the people to laws. This was known to as the Golden Age. He later married a nymph named Juturna and had a few children. Of of their children was Fons or Fontus, which was the god of springs or wells.

Cupid

Cupidon, a work of art by french painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Cupidon, a work of art by french painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau.


Introduction

Cupid (also known as Amor), from Roman mythology, is very commonly associated with Valentine’s day. But where did he come from? The name itself comes from the Latin word cupido, meaning desire. He is the son of god Mercury and the very popular goddess Venus. Cupid is known as the god of beauty and erotic love. He is closely related to the Greek Eros and the Hindu diety Kamadeva. Cupid is often described as a boy with wings and carries a bow with arrows. Usually he is seen as a young boy with a mischievous nature or sometimes he appears as a baby boy.

Cupid and Psyche

The most familiar version of cupid is from Metamorphoses by Lucius Apuleius. Venus was very jealous of princess Psyche (her name means “soul”), who was getting all of the attention from the people, whom all forgot to worship Venus. In rage, Venus demanded Cupid make Psyche fall in love with something awful. Cupid went to do as his mother asked, but when he went to approach her, she was so beautiful that he instantly fell in love with her.

As the days went by, Cupid would visit Psyche every night when she was asleep. He then would speak to her in the darkness and told her to never try to see him. Psyche told her sisters and they told her that Cupid was a monster. She tried to gaze at him and he became so angry and left. She then went and searched around the known world for him until at last the leader of the gods, Jupiter, who then gave Psyche the gift of immortality so that she could be with him. They were then brought together and had a daughter named Voluptas or Hedone, which means “pleasure.”

His Power

Cupid, like his mother was also worshipped, and was thought to be more powerful than his mother. It was said that he was dominant over all of the dead in Hades. In some different cults, it was believed that Night and Hell mated with Chaos which created both men and gods, and their offspring was Cupid. They believed the gods were the offspring of love.

In Artform

In art, Cupid is usually depicted as a nude young boy or sometimes wears a diaper if he is a baby. In some paintings his mother Venus is shown spanking him because he was often described as being mischievous.

Valentine’s day

He is a very popular symbol during Valentine’s Day. He is usually childlike or a baby with a diaper holding a bow and arrow. In some depictions his arrow tip is heart shaped and shoots people with arrows and makes people fall inlove or makes the inflicted want to become intimate.

Some believed that the arrows from Cupid would hit the person and “pierce” the heart with desire and longing. The “arrows wound” is an oxymoron and symbolizes pain and pleasure. The person becomes spellbound. In the ancient Greek Romance titled “Leucippe and Clitophon,” Cliophon describes love at first sight:

“As soon as I had seen her, I was lost. For Beauty’s wound is sharper than any weapon’s, and it runs through the eyes down to the soul. It is through the eye that love’s wound passes, and I now became a prey to a host of emotions.”

Interesting Fact

People can determine if someone is attractive in an average time about 0.13 seconds. They say that’s all the time it takes for Cupid’s arrows to take affect.

Father Frost (Ded Moroz)

A picture of Ded Moroz, also known as Father Frost.

A picture of Ded Moroz, also known as Father Frost.
©BloodyLexicon.com

Origins

Ded Moroz (known as Father Frost in his early years) is from Slavic lore and is kind of a merger of multiple legends. Father Frost was a mean wicked sorcerer who enjoyed freezing people. Ded Moroz’s was described as wearing a blue coat so he wouldn’t be confused with Santa Claus, and often carried a large magical staff. He went through many costume changes throughout the years and sometimes he would wear an elaborate red jacket with white design elements. He also has a long white beard and a hat that resembles the pope hat, or sometimes he wore a hood Like Santa. He wears boots, but instead of a sleigh with reindeer he rides a troika, a horse drawn sled or carriage. He brought his granddaughter around with him, known as the “Snow Maiden” or Snegurochka.

His roots are pagan, and he was considered a winter sprite. He acted as 3 Slavic pagan gods, the god of wind, good, and bad weather, Pozvizd, god of winter, Zimnik, and the underworld god who ruled over frosts, Korochun. He would carry around a large sack and would use it to kidnap children. He would hold them ransom and the parents were told to give him presents in exchange for their children. Over the years under the Orthodox traditions he then became very generous and started to give presents to children instead. He took over some traits from Saint Nicholas.

Eastern European Traditions

In Russia from 1916 to 1935, Christmas trees were considered sacrilegious and banned. Perhaps because the tree originated from Germany and they were enemies during the World War. Later, in the USSR Christmas became their favorite holiday and images of Father Frost began emerging.
In Yugoslavia, he was known as “Grandfather Frost” and would bring presents during New Years, but they didn’t celebrate Christmas, which was outlawed by the Communist regime.

In Croatia, Djed Mraz (Croatian for Ded Moroz) was considered communist and was replaced by Djed Bozicnjak (Grandfather Christmas), and would bring gifts on Christmas. Sometimes Djed Mraz would still bring gifts for the New Year. Children would also receive presents on December 6th from Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas). If the children misbehaved, evil Krampus would punish children and warn them to be good.

In Slovenia he was known as Dedek Mraz (Grandpa Frost). He was described as being skinny, wearing a decorative leather gray coat lined with fur. and a round fur hat. He was said to live to in Siberia, but then war broke out between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union his home was moved to Slovenia’s tallest mountain, Mt. Triglav. They also believed that St. Nicholas (Miklavz) brought presents on December 6th and Santa Claus (Bozicek) brought presents on Christmas Eve. Dedek Mraz would bring gifts on New Year’s Eve. Santa Claus was the less popular of the three, but the three would get along publicly.

Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)

Zwarte Piet from European traditions was depicted as being covered in soot.

Zwarte Piet from European traditions was depicted as being covered in soot.
©BloodyLexicon.com

Introduction

Zwarte Piet originated in Belgium and the Netherlands, and translates into “Black Peter.” He is described as being very black, with big eyes, huge red lips, wearing Asian clothes, and wearing a feathered cap. In some legends he was a servent boy, and in the early descriptions he was not very bright, but after the second half of the 20th century when immigration started, he was more respected. He hangs around Saint Nicholas and leaves small gifts in shoes that are left out by children in early December, before Saint Nicholas’s arrival. If the children were bad he would kidnap the children with his sack and take them to Spain. He is said to carry around a birch rod or a whilp to hit people. He enters the house the same way that Saint Nicholas does, down the chimney. All the soot from the chimney makes his face and hands all black. He appears a few weeks before Saint Nicholas’s feast, this is when the saint is celebrated and welcomed with an extravagant parade as he arrives in the Netherlands by a steam boat from Spain. This is usually December 5th or 6th depending on the location. Many dolls of Zwarte Piet are made and displayed everywhere around this time. These dolls depict him doing different things, for example there’s a cooking Piet, an acrobatic Piet, etc.

A Schism

In 1945, discussions on having more than one Saint Nicholas broke out, but the majority didn’t want to break the tradition. Instead, they added more Piets, they had Hoofd Piet (Head Pete), Rijm Piet (Rhyme Piet) who carried books of Sintersklaas. Sinterklaas was celebrated by the Dutch on December 5th. Presents were given anonymously and most had poems signed by Rijm Piet and were read aloud for entertainment. During this time, if someone did a job or solved a problem they would mention the name of different Piets that helped, for example “it comes from the (chef) Piet”, the adults would really know who did it while the children think that a different Piet helped out.

Some view the Zwarte Piet as racist. Marked Labeled for Reuse, Source here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tgaw/3044547128/

Some view the Zwarte Piet as racist.
Marked Labeled for Reuse, Source here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tgaw/3044547128/

Slave Originations

The relationship between St. Nicholas and Zwarte Piet is boss and worker, never as owner and slave, although it was believed he was a slave before the emancipation. He needed an assistant since he was old. In some traditions he decided to serve as a free servant rather than actually being free, so there is no obligation.

In Germanic Europe, Zwarte Piet was a devil forced to slavery and to assist the man that captured him, but then in the 19th century he is then a companion.
In modern day Netherlands people celebrate Zwarte Piet by painting their faces black, put on bright red lipstick, put on an afro, and parade up the streets throwing candy to children and adults. Some people see him as tradition while others don’t celebrate him feeling that the character was an expression of racism. Most people don’t consider him African American, they just know him as Zwarte Piet, just as people in America have elves instead.

Since the 20th century people have tried to replace Zwarte Piet with many different colored make-up instead of the traditional black. but the Dutch are not catching on. They believe that it is a symbol of their heritage rather than symbol of racism.

Jack Frost

Jack Frost, a popular frozen persona during wintertime.

Jack Frost, a popular frozen persona during wintertime.
©BloodyLexicon.com

Jack Frost is believed to have come from Germanic folklore, and was very popular with the Anglo-Saxon and Norse during winter. The crystal patterns of frost found early in the morning on the windows were said to be from Jack Frost. He is described as being the persona of cold winter and is elfish. He is also a variant of Father Winter. In a Finnish epic he comes from his father, Blast.

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