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The supreme god Zeus (yes, we are in Greece again, or rather in Greek myths) had a series of amorous adventures, many of which ended without serious consequences, many of which, on the contrary, meant a radical change in the lives and non-lives of the people involved. The affair involving the Libyan queen Lamia is one of the lesser-known, but truly dramatic ones. It began, of course, with the fact that Belos daughter Lamia was extraordinarily beautiful.

She thus fulfilled Zeus's main requirements for his temporary partners, and probably not only those; since she bore several of Zeus's children, their affair must have lasted for a long time. Which, of course, could not have escaped the cheated wife Hera. She intervened as expected of a supreme goddess – firmly and harshly. To protect her own children and her own family (a relationship this long must have been more dangerous than mere dalliances), Hera slaughtered all of Lamia's children and turned the queen herself into a monster. Of Zeus' descendants, only Princess Skylla survived (not to be confused with another, much more famous Skylla who made a living in the Straits of Messina).

Lamia, now an otherworldly monster with an animal body, a woman's face, and breasts, naturally took revenge - but she only dared to attack mortal children, so she stole children by night and sucked their blood. For a time, she did join the Empusas and sucked the blood of young men, but she still ended up like many of the supernatural beings mentioned here - she became a pedagogical scarecrow with which mothers themselves terrified their excited offspring.

Zeus sought to compensate the poor victim of his sexual exuberance and Hera's jealousy by at least bestowing upon Lamia the ability to remove her eyes from her head and return them intact; one version of the myth explains this as a necessary arrangement since the otherwise unfortunate mother was unable to close her eyes after the murder of her children and still had her dying offspring in front of them. That part of the story may be a misinterpreted image of the goddess giving the hero an eye to endow him with mystical sight.

Let's not just wander through Greek legends and stray elsewhere - there is another Lamia, and it is in the nearby Iberian Peninsula, more specifically in the Basque Country. She's a water maiden and has only her name in common with the Queen of Libya.


Lamia by Edward Topsell (c. 1572 – 1625), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

25.3.2024 (13.4. 2003)


Immortality is an eternal human desire. And often a fundamental loss that humanity suffered at the beginning of its existence. The East African Acholi and Dinka are among those who know exactly how it came about.

In the beginning (of everything) was, of course, the Creator and Teacher Jok. He once let the Earth and everything on it come into being, taught people agriculture, and learned how to control the weather so that the farmers would have rain to grow their crops and the hunters would have drought to hunt. As Jok Odudu, he specialized in childbirth.

Today, he does not deal directly with the faithful, using intermediaries who are also called jok. But not in such a lofty tone.

And this noble being wanted to give immortality to mankind. She called them to Heaven - but people didn't want to go up. Outraged by their disobedience, Jok took the first fruit from the Tree of Life and gave it to the sun, moon, and stars. Thus the celestial bodies instead of us gained eternal existence.

25.3.2024 (11.8.2019)


A common canine monster with long black hair and flaming red eyes. At home in the caves of the Canary Islands. Originally a descendant of the local negative authority Guayota. Known in Tenerife as Guacanchas. The belief in the existence of evil creatures that gag cattle and attack humans at night has persisted from the time of the original settlement of the archipelago by the Berber Guanches to modern times.

Even their leader and creator, Guayota, appears in public in the form of a large black dog. His address, however, is at the Teide volcano in Tenerife, for whose activities he is responsible. He was caught in it while trying to abduct the sun; but then the supreme god Ahaman intervened, freed the life-giving star, preserved mankind from eternal darkness, and punished the culprit.

25.3.2024 (18.8.2019)


Also called Dioses Paredros. Domestic helpers and protectors as imagined by the former inhabitants of Tenerife. The Spanish name (the old Guanche language has not survived, and even that familiar whistle is now conducted in the language of the Iberian colonists) suggests that the belief in useful beings, subordinate to the Great Mother Chaxiraxi, has endured longer than its first adepts.

25.3.2024 (18.8.2019)

Samodivi (Samovili)

In Bulgaria, these creatures fulfilled a variety of functions. For example... Oh, no, let's start from the beginning.

I'm sure you know that samodiva is the Balkan word for fairy. It is a word of ancient origin, based on an Indo-European root, hence the Celts have Diva and the Romans have Diva. In Bulgaria, samodivas were worshipped... I'd almost forgotten a rather important piece of information.

Slavic Fairies were indeed demons of various elements, but it seems that their own and original element was water. Consistent with the pan-Slavic predilection, cults of water beings were quite popular throughout the Slavic world, from Rügen to Kyiv. Therefore, to this day, fairies have remained associated with water in the popular consciousness.

Let's leave the generality.

In Bulgaria - we are finally there and will stay there – a feast was celebrated at Pentecost, associated with fairies living at springs and forest wells, during which flowers were gathered and tied, singing took place, and sunset ceremonies used to be the main point of the program. Measured by the ancient standard, the samodivas, like most Slavic fairies, were both naiads and dryads in one, although they were counted among the water creatures, often dwelling in trees, the rowan, for example, the samodiva darvo, being a favorite. In appearance, behavior and the behavior of people towards them, these samovili did not differ from other Slavic relatives. Their sisters, however, also occupied areas governed by different demons in other regions.

The samovile samogorje, elsewhere in the Balkans called vile planinkinje, were by name mountain spirits, living in caves or individual mountains, and sometimes appearing not only in anthropomorphic form but also reincarnated as snakes.

The samovile oblakinje, for a change, belonged to the air element. They liked to dance in the wind, for they also lived in the clouds, from which they descended on the rays of the sun. It was not advisable to mess with them, because they could start a storm, from which they shot lightning-like arrows. On the land, they rode on deer, which was otherwise an animal that protected against the evil samovilas, yes, even such were found.

25.3.2024 (27.4. 2003)


She appears as a beautiful girl, a child, or an old witch. Always in black. She tends to be red-haired, why wouldn't she be if she's the fire goddess of Hawaiian volcanoes?

Not from time immemorial, the future goddess was born in Tahiti and came to the Hawaiian archipelago later when the flood drove her out. She then moved from volcano to volcano, first settling on Niihau, then moving to Kuaui's Puuopele Hill, then from Kuaui to Oahu, from Oahu to Molokai, from Molokai to Lanai, then to Maui, and finally ending up on Hawaii's largest island, Hawaii itself. Here she had five volcanoes to choose from, but she didn't move to the highest mountain, as one might assume, but to the most active one - the Halemaumau crater of Kilauea volcano.

There, in the infernal lava vents, the faithful throw offerings of papaya fruit and roasted meat to her.

When Pele came to the Hawaiian archipelago, it was not - as far as divine powers go - deserted. It was home to the fire god Ai Laau, the Wood Eater, whom she had to banish from Hawaii. After many, many successful divine years, she - according to one modern legend, dating from December 1824 - had to give up Pele as well. She was opposed by Kapiolani, the wife of one of the Hawaiian chieftains. She accepted baptism and confronted the red-haired goddess with the Christian god, breaking all taboos to prove how powerful the white man's religion was. Pele did not punish the blasphemer in any way, which is how the Kapiolani legend reached as far away as England, where Tennyson himself dedicated a poem to her.

But the Hawaiian goddess knows her time and knows her time is still up. As the local saying goes: Aloha ino oe eia. Iho nei Paha oe e maka ai, ke ai manei Pele.(Pity you man, your death may be at hand. Pele the Destroyer is coming.)

29.3.2024 (11. 5. 2003)


Her full name is properly Hii-aka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele and she is the youngest sister of the volcano goddess Pele. The patron goddess of hula dancers, but also the goddess of islands, landscapes, caves, hills, and cliffs. Like her sister, Hiiaka is the heroine of many Hawaiian legends.

29.3.2024 (11. 5. 2003)

Glaistig, otherwise known as Urisk

While centaurs are one half male and one half horse, the glaistig is one half female and one half goat. To make it less monotonous, the female part is green, with long golden tresses. Because she's probably a little ashamed of her appearance, she dresses in a long flowing green robe, under which she hides her hairy, hoofed legs.

She lives in the lochs and rivers of the Scottish Highlands, but her half-breed appearance is reflected in her half-breed character, being half aquatic and half terrestrial. Moving on, she sometimes stands in for a banshee to announce death, elsewhere she dances with young men to suck blood from their arteries, on the other hand she plays with small children so that mothers can milk cows undisturbed. The land part of her is connected with cattle; you won't be wrong if you bet on deer too.

Milk is of course sacrificed to her, an offering made on selected stones, as Glaistig was originally the goddess of the pastoral tribes, guardian of the herds and therefore one form of the Mother goddess. The role of the covenant shepherdess has remained with her somewhere, for example in the village of Ach-na-Creige on the Isle of Mull.

There, as elsewhere, milk offerings were poured into a hollow in the stone. It was quite a small reward for her long, long hours of nightly service, and the villagers praised how well fate could arrange things.

Thus it had gone on from time immemorial, and would have gone on had not there lived in Ach-na-Creige a shepherd, a rascal known far and wide. He never missed an opportunity to do anything to anyone. He even thought of a little prank when he was bowing to Glaistig.

He poured warmed milk into the cavity. So hot that Glaistig scalded her tongue on it.

It infuriated her so much that she picked herself up and left the region.

29.3.2024 (18. 5. 2003)



If you go through the results of the ancient Greek census of gods, supernatural beings, and humans, you won't even get an accurate result for harpies. Of course, whoever bets on a threesome is not wrong in this case either, here too the Triple Goddess is sticking out her horns, but classical mythology already knows harpies as ugly women with bird wings, creatures of not-so-good manners. They robbed food and pecked at the plate of a certain Phineas, king and seer of Thrace. For he had not treated his two sons by his first marriage well when he believed his second wife, who accused them of all sorts of wickedness and mean deeds. Or did Phineas have two harpies on his hands because he predicted the future too accurately? In any case, he advised Iason where to look for the golden fleece, and two of the Argonauts, Calais, and Zetes, thus sons of Boreas, drove the harpies Aellopús and Ókypeté far across the sea. There their sister Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, interceded for them, so the harpies escaped with their lives. Although it is said that Aellopús did not accept the reconciliation and perished miserably in the waves of the Tigris.

Due to their appearance in an episode of the famous Adventures of Iason, the harpies were left with a bad reputation that has lingered with them to this day. Originally, however, they were goddesses of the violent wind and worked in the service of Hades, transporting the souls of the dead to the underworld. So says Homer, in earlier times the three harpies were certainly the third form of the Great Goddess, the form of sudden death. They also appear as an underworld courier in the myth of Pandareus, who stole Zeus' watchdog. He was petrified but left behind two daughters, whom Aphrodite took charge of raising. With the help of Hera and Artemis, she raised Merope and Cleothea into proper ladies. However, Zeus, who was truly offended by the theft, had them kidnapped by the harpies and taken to Tartarus, where they suffered for their father's sin, while Aphrodite was consulting him about the future husbands of her wards.

The third, as yet unmentioned, harpy is, according to Virgil, Kelainó (in the Latin original, of course, Celaeno), and together they all claim that:


Monsters more fierce offended Heav’n ne’er sent

From hell’s abyss, for human punishment:

With virgin faces, but with wombs obscene,

Foul paunches, and with ordure still unclean;

With claws for hands, and looks for ever lean.


For Aeneas, the Trojan fugitive, in his anabasis, after three days of storm, was driven to the Strophades, the islands where the harpies ended up after being pursued by the sons of Boreas.

A herd of cattle was grazing on the shore where the ships landed, and the weary sailors rejoiced and immediately prepared for a feast. But no sooner did they lie down to eat, than the harpies came, and what they did not take they slaughtered. And so it was the second time the Trojans roasted the meat in hiding.

The third time, Aeneas commanded:


I bid my friends for vengeance then prepare,

And with the hellish nation wage the war.


It's no use swinging their swords in all directions, the harpies will make a third rehearsed raid. Then Kelaino lands on a nearby rock, shakes the hungry and exhausted refugees, and tells them that for stealing their cattle (which of course belonged to the harpies) she will do nothing but reveal the curse she has learned from Zeus through Phoebus:


Th’ Italian shores are granted you to find,

And a safe passage to the port assign’d.

But know, that ere your promis’d walls you build,

My curses shall severely be fulfill’d.

Fierce famine is your lot for this misdeed,

Reduc’d to grind the plates on which you feed.


The Trojans fled in terror. Kelaino's curse was just another in a series of dangerous adventures and fierce battles before they finally settled in Latium. The whole story is told by Virgil in his famous The Aeneid, from which the above quotation comes (in John Dryden´s translation).

29.3.2024 (25. 5. 2003)


House elf from Hildesheim, Germany. Even the local bishop had one of these imps, always wearing a hat. Although Hödeken served well, his presence and service were – as it happens – not exactly a lucky shot. The grateful foretelling of things to come, the control of the guards, and the help in the kitchen is one side of the coin, the murder (and the subsequent hiding of the body in the pots on the stove) the other. And the drudgery the bishop had to go through in exorcising the disobedient housekeeper was probably not worth it. But that's the way it goes with the more modern (i.e., non-pagan) dei domestici: you always pay an unpleasantly high price, regardless of whether you meant well or wanted to get rich for nothing.

But the Hildesheimers didn't just have bad experiences with Hödekin (another name for Hütchen). At least some of them.

One gentleman had Hödekin watch his wife in his absence; the imp took the scaring off of (potential) lovers seriously and worked hard, but even deterrence by example didn't help. More and more seducers followed the young and attractive woman, and Hödekin had not rest.

In the end, the elf defended the married lady's virtue but promptly told her husband on his return that next time he would rather watch all the Saxon pigs than one – his – wife. Whereupon he disappeared, but this too is actually the classic climax of encounters with imps and other unseemly supernatural creatures, a Deceived Devil variant.

3.4.2024 (15.4.2012)


To this day, in my native language, this word is synonymous with popsicle (as it happens, it was a well-chosen trademark that generalized). It's not hard to guess what supernatural creature might bear such a name. The simplest reasoning is correct in this case - some kind of frozen one.

Thus: Nanook is the Inuit lord of bears, a god who appears in the form of a polar bear and rules the polar bears. So.

But how did a creature from such a distant culture get into Czech? Well, it wasn't a direct route, but it wasn't complicated either. The origin of our language's enrichment is even known. His name was Robert Flaherty, he lived from 1884 to 1951, and he was a gold prospector, a ranger, a traveler - and a documentary filmmaker. When he went to Labrador in 1920 to make a publicity film for the Révillon Fréres company, he knew he would do nothing more than film the ordinary lives of his Eskimo friends. He chose the family of one of them, the one who bore the name of the polar bear and the aforementioned polar bear deity, Nanook. his wife Nyla, and the other Labrador Inuit were introduced to the public in a natural, unpretentious snapshot in 1921, in a film called simply Nanook of the North, and they took to the world in celluloid form. In this country, Flaherty's work was marketed and known as Nanuk, člověk primitivní (Nanook, the Primitive Man), and as you'll realize when you look in the freezer case at the convenience store, it was as much of a success as it was in other countries. Sixty years later, the film was even listed as one of the 100 greatest works of world cinema in a UNESCO poll.

Hunter Nanook is said to have starved to death two years after the film was made (and in fact, he never existed, his real name was Allakariallak, and Flaherty´s movie was a docufiction more than a documentary).  But he remained the most famous Eskimo, just as his name is the most famous Inuit word and his godfather the most famous Inuit supernatural being. You may not have known this. Now you do.

3.4.2024 (1. 6. 2003)


The Belgian Kludde is a water and therefore dangerous demon, which is difficult to discover because he will jump on you first. In the style of ancient military practice and tradition, he attacks at dawn or dusk. He is fast, as he usually takes the form of a black dog. However, he is also seen as a huge, furry, naturally black cat, or as a fearsome bird whose feather color I need not mention.

3.4.2024 (8.6.2003)

Crocotta and Leucrocotta

Crocotta is a creature described by Ctesias, this scholar left us many accounts from his time as a physician at the Persian royal court. Whether it is unicorns or amphisbaenas, or the crocotta I present to you now, it is always an insider's description of a creature that certainly exists. Just not in the Mediterranean, where Ctesias was born, and unfortunately not in Persia either. But if you were to go further east, to India, you'd be staring.

For example, the Cynolycos, that is, the wolf-dog, (it's hard to say which beast was the model here, the Indian dhole wolf probably not) for whom there is nothing he cannot attack, tear apart, devour, and digest. In defense of the wise scholar, who has preserved for ages to come the information as to how the Persians conceived of India, I must add that the name of the crocotta was given to the wolfdog by Pliny.
He also promptly added the account of the leucrocotta, an exceedingly rich stumbling block from the Creator's sale. The leucrocotta has the legs of a deer, the tail and neck of a lion, the chest of a lion, and the head of a badger. Not only that, but the that monster can mimic the human voice perfectly, it has a mouth from ear to ear, one tooth across the entire gum, and is the fastest animal in the world.

3.4.2024 (8.6.2003)


When the Romans succumbed to Hellenic cultural influence (while the Greeks, on the other hand, succumbed to Roman political influence), they soon replaced their old deities with internationally verified beings of the eastern Mediterranean. They took it straight, Iuppiter, originally the name of the unknown Latin god of the heavens (whose origin was also signed by the Etruscan deity Titus) was identified with Zeus, his wife became Juno instead of Hera, who was promoted from the position of the female counterpart of the genius to the protector of the empire, the goddess of love Venus was found in Aphrodite. The Romans were fond of claiming to be descendants of the refugees from Troy, so no wonder.

Over the centuries, they've straightened out their pantheon perfectly. So perfectly that they created several new gods. There were phenomena and things that were never given importance in the Apennine Peninsula, the sun, for example, had no deity for a long time.

Even death didn't have one. But if the damn Greeks have their Thanatos, why the hell don't we? Thus was born Mors, the Death, a thin, bony woman in black, relentless and incorruptible. She probably appeared after 438 BC, when Euripides wrote the tragedy Alcestis. She didn't enjoy much divine reverence, she had no temples or sacrifices, so why try when Death is incorruptible?

12.4.2024 (15.6.2003)


Some of the original Roman gods helped themselves to higher positions when they were aligned according to Olympus, some, as I recalled above, were born - and others had to resign to lower positions for various reasons. Probably due to their popularity, which in some cases did not permit a mere renaming, or to their peaceful coexistence with the Greek deity up to that time. Such was the fate of Salacia.

She was originally the wife of Neptune, the god of springs, later elevated to the supreme deity of the sea, equated one-to-one with the Greek Poseidon. The former goddess of the springs did not achieve the status of First Lady of the Sea because... Because Poseidon took Amphitrite as his wife long ago, and Neptune inherited her. And Amphitrite didn't become Salacia for everyone. In later Roman myths, therefore, both sometimes appear, Amphitrite as Neptune's wife, and Salacia as a lesser sea deity because she followed her husband into the salt water.

12.4.2024 (15.6.2003)


The Greek god of shepherds, the Lord, has taken things a little differently on the Apennine Peninsula, and so we can meet the goddess Pales, who represents another possibility that the ancient Italian gods encountered, namely remaining in office without Greek influence.

As already indicated, Pales was the goddess of the shepherds and remained so throughout her divine existence. What is interesting about her is that she was originally a man and had a wife named Palatua. Why she changed sex is unknown, but what is known is that on her feast day, April twenty-first (which is also the day Rome was founded), the stables were cleaned and smoked, decorated with green boughs, cattle were run through the lit straw, and shepherds jumped over the fire.

12.4.2024 (15.6.2003)

Demons of the Buryats

Buryats, people living in Mongolia, northern China, but mostly in the Russian Federation, where they have been given the honor of their own autonomous republic. Since their territory was formerly part of the Mongolian Empire, they may have gotten a little better. Maybe. Who knows. But that doesn't belong here.

What belongs here are the Buryat demons, about whom I have little information, so I will summarize them in one entry and a few paragraphs.

Let's start with the spirits called Ongon. These are the souls of prominent ancestors, especially rulers and shamans, but now and then an ongon of unknown origin appears.

Ada is - as it happens - a pretty evil and unwilling demon who is always prowling for food. That wouldn't be so bad if he didn't send diseases to those who come to the table after him. He just doesn't like anyone eating food he's touched.

Anakhai has a single cat's eye and occasionally metamorphoses into an animal. She haunts children and is originally a female soul. Like Uker, who is the soul of a woman who died too soon. It wanders around human dwellings, trying to get inside, which is understandable in this case, because it is hungry and suffering from cold. Probably all the time. What it will do if it gets in, I don't know. I do know what Bokholdoi, appearing in large numbers at feasts and festivals, do. They hunt human souls.

And finally, I have Dakhul, the pedagogical ghost who goes around the houses and scares the children.

12.4.2024 (22.6.2003)

Jenny Haniver

Mořský orel (1613)

As the name reveals, in this case, it is a person of the female gender. She is a mermaid, although the picture doesn't show much beauty. It is not a supernatural creature, but its real representation, which can be bought in many places by the sea, dried poor - fish or stingray skin, stretched so that the nostrils look like eyes so that the supposed mermaid has wings (just like Aldrovandi's Sea eagle, which according to the illustration in the book De piscibus libri 5. et De cetis lib. vnu (1613) is a typical Jenny Haniver. That picture introduces this story, by the way).


Ilustrace: National Library of Poland, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

12.4.2024 (29. 6. 2003)





"Things just happen. What the hell."
* Terry Pratchett. Hogfather


Welcome to my world. For the longest time I couldn’t think of right name for this place, so I left it without one. Amongst things you can find here are attempts of science fiction and fantasy stories, my collection of gods, bogeymen and monsters and also articles about things that had me interested, be it for a while or for years. (There is more of this, sadly not in English but in Czech, on www.fext.cz)



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