jinn

The āl, from Middle Eastern folklore, is a lilitu-like demon that steals embryos from pregnant women, or the organs of a woman who has just given birth. After doing so, the āl will run toward a river, or the nearest body of water to wash the stolen organs, before eating them. To prevent the creature from crossing, you must stir the water with a stick or sword before she’s finished.

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This 18th century hijab scroll contains sacred text, with a veiled meaning (hence hijab), that protects it’s owner from evil. Usually carried by children, it repels devils, evil spirits, and jinn while calling on God’s protection from calamity, disease, suffering, ruin, and inundation. Source: Bavarian State Library

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The preeminent source of jinn-lore is One Thousand and One Nights (aka Arabian Nights), a collection of tales from Arabic, Persian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian traditions. The evolving collection has stories of characters we know today, like Aladdin and Sinbad.⠀

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Though jinn are normally thought of spirits of the desert, some types have been found lurking in the forest too. In the forests of Yemen, one might come across the nisnas or nasnas, a jinn that resembles a man split in half. Reportedly, their flesh tastes sweet.

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Al-Qit al-Aswad (Black Cat) is a jinn, best known for helping sorcerers, who summon him to use his many powers. He gives visions and future-telling dreams, reveals secret knowledge, and protects people from attacks and harmful energies.⠀

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Jinn prefer dwelling in deserted places like ruins or graveyards, but a corner of your house or your bathroom will do as well. While some jinn will guard your house, others will cause trouble. So it’s best to leave offerings, say prayers, and salt the corners. ⠀

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Hammu Qaiyu (or Hammou Ukaiou) is the male counterpart to Aicha Kandicha, and some say her husband. Like her, his identity and origin is debated; he may be a powerful afrit-type jinn, a fallen regional god, or a nobleman. He attacks women traveling alone, particularly if they’re menstruating.⠀

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Six animal headed jinn snapping their fingers. If any one knows the significance of this let me know, as I couldn’t find anything special about finger snapping in Islamic tradition. From Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing, 1283⠀

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Jinn sometimes steal human babies and switch them with their own offspring as ‘changelings’. Mothers who are victims of this will take their babies to the cemetery. They leave them for 15-20 minutes before coming back to see if the real child was returned. Stories of changelings are common across many cultures. Image: The Book of Wonders and Creatures, 1921

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A Dulhath (Dalham, Dalhan, Delhan) is a jinn that inhabits desert islands. It rides an ostrich and feasts on the flesh of shipwrecked travelers who wash up on the shore. From: The Wonders of Creation, 16th Century⠀

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A harpy-type jinn that represents the southern constellation of Cetus. Harpies are dangerous half-human half-bird creatures, most famously seen in Greek and Roman mythology, but the creature archetype spans many cultures. From Quazwini’s Book of Marvels, 1283

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