demon

The Ushi-Oni is a spider-like, ox-headed yokai (supernatural creature) from Japanese folklore who appears on beaches, mountains, forests, swamps, and lakes. They’re savage beasts who spit poison and love to kill and eat humans and livestock. Image: Hyakkai-Zukan

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The nuckelavee is a fearsome sea monster found on Scotland’s Northern Isles that, when on land, has been described as humanoid rider fused with a horse, skinless with black blood coursing through yellow veins. Its breath wilts crops and is responsible for epidemics and drought. Image: michael221 on Deviant Art CC-BY-SA

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The Hellmouth is an entrance to hell that manifests as the open jaws of an infernal beast. Depictions of Hellmouths were common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in manuscripts, and even as dramatic mechanical set pieces in theatrical productions.

Image sources:

  • Detail of The Mouth of Hell, from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440
  • Vision de l’Enfer (Vision of Hell), from Les Visions du chevalier Tondal, 1475
  • Ludolf of Saxony, Inferno, from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1455
  • Lambert of Saint-Omer, Liber Floridu, 1250 – 1275
  • Detail of Jugement Dernier – DamnΓ©s (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492

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Pazuzu (π’€­π’…†π’Š’π’ͺπ’ͺ) is the ancient Mesopotamian king of wind demons. He’s responsible for storms, drought, famine, and locusts. Though evil himself, Pazuzu is invoked on amulets to drive away other evil spirits, like the malicious goddess Lamashtu. He’s also the spirit that supposedly possessed Regan in the film, The Exorcist. Image: World Imaging/PHGCOM on Wikimedia Commons

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Seals and characters for summoning the greater demons Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Astaroth. In order of effectiveness, the symbols must be drawn in either: the sorcerer’s blood, the blood of a sea turtle, or engraved on emerald or ruby. From Grimorium Verum (16th Century) and The Grand Grimore (18th Century). Source: “The book of black magic and of pacts”, A.E. Waite, Embassy of the Free Mind

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The Monster of Krakow first appeared in Histoires Prodigieuses by Pierre Boaistuau, 1559. Four hours after its birth, the demonic beast reportedly uttered “Watch, the Lord cometh” and died. Source: Wellcome Collection

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Depictions of demons and the devil with extra faces, often on the groin, are common in medieval manuscripts. Some theorize that it represents their spiritual corruption, by emphasizing the senses that focus on the material world, others think it’s merely to make them monstrous.

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