spirits

Familiars are spirits who assist witches and other sorcerers, either by being conjured or mutual agreement. Depending on who they serve, they’re considered demons, fairies, or other spirits. They appear ordinary, usually manifesting as animals, and sometimes humans.

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Emoniel is the 5th wandering infernal prince of the forest. He commands 100 lesser princes and chief dukes, with over a thousand spirits below them. Being an airy demon, it’s hard to see him without the use of a crystal. Image: Stiller Beobachter (modified)

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The Ngondo is yearly festival in Douala, Cameroon. A ceremony is performed by the jengu cult, in which a devotee enters the water to visit the kingdom of the miengu. Miengu (plural for jengu) are mermaid-like spirits with long hair and beautiful gap-teeth, who bestow good luck to devotees, cure diseases and allow them to communicate with the world of spirits. Image: Photokadaffi on Wikimedia Commons

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Here’s one yokai you don’t want to help with your spring cleaning: the Akaname is goblin-sized creature, with slimy black hair, from Japanese folklore whose tongue is twice as long as its height—that it uses to lick toilets. Image: Edo shokoku hyaku monogatari, 17th Century

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A nuppeppo is a wrinkly, featureless yokai with powder-white skin that smells of rotting flesh. It’s a harmless, solitary creature that can be found in deserted towns, graveyards, and temples. Some say eating a nuppeppo will grant eternal youth. Image: Hyakkai Zukkan

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Man being persecuted by goblins and other spirits. From “Le serpent de la Genèse” (The Serpent of Genesis) Volume 1, by Stanislas de Guaita, 1920. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind


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Rusalkas are water spirits from Slavic folklore, who appear as a pretty young girls with long hair. In some versions of lore, Rusalkas are the souls of drowned women or unclean spirits who lure men into water, and drown them by entangling their body with their long red hair. Image: Ivan Bilibin

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Barong is the benevolent king of the spirits in Balinese mythology, and the enemy of Rangda, the demon queen. In Bali, each region of the island has its own version of Barong modeled after different animals, including a lion, pig, and tiger. Image: an edit of work by Beeyan on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

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Alchemist and Magician Edward Kelly, in the act of invoking a spirit of the dead at the churchyard of Walton Ledale, from “The book of black magic and of pacts” by A.E. Waite, 1898. The companion in the circle is likely Paul Waring, who helped him with all of his conjurations. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind


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Pustahas were books of magic, made of tree bark, used by spiritual leaders of the Batak people of Northern Sumatra. The first of these pustahas is inscribed with instructions on how to protect oneself from evil. Source: KITLV & Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde

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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.

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