In gnostic cosmology, Abraxas is the rooster-headed, serpent-legged god who created the material world. The letters of his name represent the 7 planetary spheres, and he’s often found on magick amulets. He was later demonized by Christians and appears in the Dictionnaire Infernal.
Hyosube is a Japanese yokai, that’s a cousin to the kappa. This child-sized river monster comes out at night and loves to gorge himself on eggplants, sometimes ravaging an entire field. If Hyosube laughs, and you join him, you will die. Image: Bakemono no e
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
The kallikantzaroi are evil goblins, found in Greek folklore, who live underground and saw the World Tree to try to collapse the earth. When Christmas season begins, they abandon their task to terrorize humans. On Epiphany, they return but the tree has healed itself.
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
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.
- 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 – Damnés (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492
Pazuzu (𒀭𒅆𒊒𒍪𒍪) 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
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
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
Akton is a demon that causes aches and pains in humans, afflicting the ribs and lower back. According to the Testament of Solomon, he can be rid by saying the names Marmaraoth and Sabaoth. The latter being one of the Hebrew names for God.
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.