The Alukah, also known as the “horse-leech”, is a giant and many toothed leech that, according to the Sefer Hasidim, takes human and wolf form. It’s possible that the word “leech” actually describes its blood feeding nature, not its appearance, and that the creature is more of a shape-shifting vampire. It can fly using its long hair and may be a descendant of Lilith.

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Chort is a demon from Slavic folklore, son of Chernobog, who is trickster figure in folktales. It often tries to trick people into selling their souls, but is easily outsmarted. Sometimes Chort acts as a force for good, and gives heroes magical items, or takes villains to hell. Image: Wikimedia Commons

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The Elixir of Life is a mythical substance, found across cultures, that gives those who consume it immortality. In the Taoist Waidan branch of alchemy, the main ingredients were highly toxic: lead and mercury. Some emperors took the risk & paid with their life.

A better choice for an emperor trying to extend their life, would have been the “internal elixir of life” from Neidan branch of Taoist alchemy. The ingredients of this elixir included meditation, breathing, diet, and exercise. Image: Wellcome Library

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