Kitsune

 

(This is a more traditional version of the Kitsune. I thought I would compare it to more modern images of the Kitsune. )

(This is how a Kitsune is most often like to be portrayed today)

Today the Kitsune is perhaps most popularly known and recognized as being portrayed in animie typically as some sort of cute, or sexy little fox girl seemingly to be relatively harmless. But the origins of the true Kitsune are not so benign as their preceding reputation would have you to believe.

The Kitsune are wild fox demons known to do terrible mischief, to possess humans, and to take their shapes. In fact, the Kitsune is rarely seen in its original shape,  but often appears as a bewitching young woman.  It shape-shifts by a stroke of its fire-shooting tail. It then puts on a human skull, turns around, and bows to the big dipper. If its skull does not fall off, it turns into a beautiful maiden, its most successful form.

It is a wanton animal and will in time deplete the energy of its victims and go on to the next. The kitsune came by way of China, where it is called Huli jing and is considered a lewd, canny supernatural creature capable of great damage.

(This strikes me as interesting because it brings to mind some of the Greek Myths revolving around the Nymphs, it can also be seen in some regards as similar to the succubus.)

Long ago some mischief makers went around cutting off women’s hair at night. This act was attributed to the Kitsune, and from then on foxes were believed to cut women’s hair when assuming their shape. Perhaps as some sort of pledge. They are also associated with shaving men’s heads for pranks.

It is perhaps not that surprising the the fox figure in one form or another is so often portrayed in a trickster sort of role. They are often given the reputation of being cunning, sly, and clever animals, and to many they are viewed as being trouble makers. Though the fox is always highly revered. Giving it a sort of dual image.  In fact in Asian myth, counter to the Kitsune, are white fox spirits whom serve the god of rice and are worshiped as good servants to the god within temples.

 

(This is a white fox spirit, often mistakenly called a Kitsune)

How Witches Sold Their Souls

Devil-Worship as Treason

One of the most upsetting things about witchcraft to Europeans of the past was the “fact” witches sold their souls to the Devil. Church authorities were already desperate to stamp out heresy, and outright Devil-worship (even if only assumed) made them apoplectic.

Although some so-called witches practiced only white magic, suspicions had already been aroused. Legal contracts made with Satan began to appear in courts. “These were taken as proof of heresy and high treason, both capital offenses, whereas offenses from blasphemy to practicing medicine without a license would deserve lesser punishments. Once witches were regarded as, in effect, citizens of another country, the kingdom of darkness, sworn in fealty to another prince, The Devil, they were political enemies, and all that was fair in war was fair in dealing with them” (Ashley 105, 106).

By 1398, it had been officially decided that witches entered into pacts with Satan. Maleficia was no a crime treated as treason to God and country. In 1608, William Perkins wrote in A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft that

though the witch were in many respects profitable, and did not hurt but procured much good, yet, because he hath renounced God his king and governor and hath bound himself by other laws to the service of the enemies of God and his church, death is his portion justly assigned to him by God: he may not live.

 

Satanic Accusations

As treasoners and Devil-worshippers, witches were accused of many things:

  • Denying the Christian faith
  • Denying Christian baptism (or worse, being rebaptized by the Devil)
  • Replacing godparents with Satanic colleagues
  • Surrendering clothing and blood (as part of an oath) to Satan to represent their submission to him
  • Accepting the Devil’s mark.
  • Promising to pay taxes to the Devil
  • Promising to sacrifice children to the Devil
  • Promising to bring up their own children as the Devil’s servants
  • Accepting the Devil as both god and king

Making a Pact With Satan

 There were many ways of making a pact with the Devil.

The Formicarus (1435) gives the earliest if not the most complete description of what happens. Supplied with friends who have already forsworn God, the applicant arrives at a church on a Sunday morning very early and renounces God and the One, Holy, and Apostolic Church. He pays homage to The Devil, drinks the blood of sacrificed children, and subscribes to the rules of the damned, which cover many things from diet to cursing and sacrificing. He expresses the desire to trade his soul for one or more favors from The Evil One, often wealth or power for a specified number of years (Ashley 106).

Actually signing the Devil’s paperwork is difficult. It “must be signed in the person’s blood, drawn from the left arm. If it will not flow easily–human nature resists such an act–it is warmed with fire (representing passion overcoming intellect) and the person is inscribed in the ‘red book’ of death” (Ashley 107).

Another way of selling your soul to the Devil was to do the following:

  1. Get a piece of virgin parchment (from the first calf a cow bears, not a piece never written on before).
  2. Write on it with your own blood: “I promise GREAT DEMON to repay him in seven years for all he shall give me. In witness whereof, I sign my name.”
  3. Sign it in your own blood.
  4. Then, within a magic circle, hold the document in you hand and recite the invocation:

    LUCIFER, Emperor, Master of All Rebellious Spirits, I beseech thee to be favorable to me in calling upon thy GREAT MINISTER which I make, desiring to make a pact with him.

    BEELZEBUB, Prince, I pray thee also, to protect me in my undertaking.

    ASTAROTH, Count, be propitious to me and cause that this night the GREAT DEMON appear to me in human form and without any evil smell, and that he grant me, by means of the pact which I shall deliver to him, all the treasures of which I have need.

    GREAT DEMON, I beseech thee, leave thy dwelling, in whatever part of the world you may be, to come speak with me; if not, I shall thereto compel thee by the power of the might words of the Great Key of Solomon, whereof he made use to force the rebellious spirits to accept his pact.

    Appear then instantly or I shall continually torment thee with the might words of the Key: AGLON, TETRAGRAMMATON, VAYCHEON, STIMULAMATHON, EROHARES, RETRASAMATHON, CLYORAN, ICION, ESITION, EXISTIEN, ERYONA, ONERA, ERASYN, MOYN, MEFFIAS, SOTER, EMMANUEL, SABAOTH, ADONAI. I call you. AMEN.

  5. When the demon appears, throw him the pact. Do not step outside the circle on any account

Breaking a Pact With the Devil

According to Saint Alphonso Maria de Ligouri (1696-1787), it is possible to break a pact with Satan, even if it has been signed in blood. The following steps must be followed:

  1. Renounce and abjure any contract with Satan.
  2. Destroy all writings, talismans, charms, etc., connected with the black art.
  3. Burn the written contract, or declare you regret and reject it.
  4. “Make restitution for any harm done, insofar as is possible”

Cannibalism and Witchcraft

As seen in such tales as Hansel and Gretel, cannibalism is a trait associated with witchcraft. Although human bodies were thought to have been used for magical purposes, they were also thought to have been perversely used as food. One demon specialist wrote, “Our witches have slain many infants as appears everywhere in their trials; what is still more abhorrent to nature, they cut out their hearts and eat them” (Sidky 33).

Another demonologist believed “They tear living infants to pieces…and drink their blood to rejuvenate themselves, or else they roast them and eagerly devour them druing their obscene rituals” (Sidky 33).

The pious doctors spared none of the lurid details when describing the horrifying cravings of these man-eating monsters. One demonologiest reported that in Lausanne, Switzerland, witches cooked and ate their own children, while in the Canton of Berne at least thirteen infants belonging to others were devoured in this manner. The witches arrested for these scabrous crimes divulged the horrifying details of their activities: “We set our snares chiefly for unbaptized children, and even for those that have been baptized, especially when they have not been protected by the sign of the Cross and prayers…and with our spells we kill them in their cradles or even when they are sleeping by their parents’ side, in such a way that they afterwards are thought to have been [smothered] or to have died of some other natural death. Then we secretly take them from their graves, and cook them in a cauldron, until the whole flesh comes away from the bones to make a soup which may be drunk. Of the more solid matter ewe make an unguent which is of virtue to help us in our arts and pleasures and our transportations; and with the liquid we fill a flask or skin, whoever drinks from which, with the addition of a few other ceremonies, immediately acquires much knowledge and becomes a leader of our sect.” Thus, by killing and eating the flesh of Christian children, demonographers attested, witches acquired their magical abilities, especially the power to fly through the air, a feat they accomplished by means of an ointment made from the fatty residue of their cannibalistic meals.

Aside from devouring infants, witches were thought to regularly consume the putrid flesh of human corpses, which they secretly exhumed from cemeteries in order to serve up during their hideous noctunal banquets. The witches’ lust for gore, it seems, had no bounds

Dodo

The name of this creature had really caught my interest, because it is called a Dodo, (not the now extinct flightless bird) but it was the sameness of the name which had caught my interest so I decided to do some research into the matter, though I could find no connection between the two.

The dodo bird resided on the island Mauritius while the Dodo of myth and legend which I am to speak of, is from the Hausa people in Ghana, Africa. It seems that the shared name between the two is complete coincidence, as the word dodo in the language of the Hausa means “The unknown” and I cannot find any resemblance in their legend to the actual bird. 

So I think it can safely be said there is no relation between the two. So with that being said, I bring you the Dodo.

It is a male species which hides within the trees waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting forest travelers. He can take any shape, but often is sighted as a snake or an animal with a keen sense of smell, sometimes even a giant covered in long hair.

He is always ravenously hungry for human flesh.  Some believe that the Dodo is a spirit of a dead man who vengefully prowls the forest grabbing living mortals.

Johannes Cuntius, the Vampire of Silesia

During the early 17th century, Johannes Cuntius, alderman of Pentach in Silesia, died following being kicked by a horse. At the moment of his death, a tempest arose and a black cat rushed into his room and attacked his face. During Cuntius’s funeral, yet another great tempest arose, ending the moment the corpse was interred. After the burial, rumours arose of a phantom with the voice of Cuntius.

Remarkable tales were told of the concumption of milk from jugs and bowls, of milk being turned into blood, of old men being strangled, children taken out of cradles, altar-cloths being soiled with blood, and poultry killed and eaten. Eventually it was decided to disinter the body. It was found that all the bodies buried above that of Cuntius had become putrefied and rotten, but his skin was tender and florid, his joints by no means stiff, and when a staff was put between his fingers they closed around it and held it fast in their grasp. He could open and shut his eyes, and when a vein in his leg was punctured the blood sprang out as fresh as that of a living person. This happened after the body had been in the grave for about six months.

As you can well imagine, the vampire did not cooperate with his dismemberment. But, by order of the authorities, the cutting-up was completed and the remains were consigned to the fire. Afterwards, Cuntius bothered no one anymore.

The Vampires of Medvegia

In the early 1730s, a band of Austrian medical officers were summoned to the Serbian village of Medvegia. An investigation was underway concerning the strange deaths of several villagers. The locals claimed the deaths were caused by vampires. The first of these vampires was Arnold Paole, a man who had died several years earlier by falling off a hay wagon.

It was obvious to the villagers that Paole was a vampire. When they had exhumed the corpse, “they found that he was quite complete and undecayed, and that fresh blood had flowed from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears; that the shirt, the covering, and the coffin were completely bloody; that the old nails on his hands and feet, along with the skin, had fallen off, and that new ones had grown; and since they saw from this that he was a true vampire, they drove a stake through his heart, according to their custom, whereby he gave an audible groan and bled copiously.”

More attacks had been occurring since the final death of Paole. A woman named Stanacka had “lay down to sleep fifteen days ago, fresh and healthy, but at midnight she started up out of her sleep with a terrible cry, fearful and trembling, and complained that she had been throttled by the son of a Haiduk by the name of Milloe, who had died nine weeks earlier, whereupon she had experienced a great pain in the chest and became worse hour by hour, until finally she died on the third day.”

In their report, Visum et Repertum (Seen and Discovered), the officers told not only what they had heard from the villagers but also, in admirable clinical detail, what they themselves had seen when they exhumed and dissected the bodies of the supposed victims of the vampire. Of one corpse, the authors observed, “After the opening of the body there was found in the cavitate pectoris a quantity of fresh extravascular blood. The vasa [vessels] of the arteriae and venae, like the ventriculis cordis, were not, as is usual, filled with coagulated blood, and the whole viscera, that is, the pulmo [lung], hepar [liver], stomachus, lien [spleen], et intestina were quite fresh as they would be in a healthy person.”

The medical officers were thoroughly baffled by the autopsy results and did not venture opinions. The mystery of the vampires of Medvegia went on unsolved throughout the 1700s

The Vampire of Liebava

Hungary during the 1700s was a busy place for vampires. One particular vampire, name unknown, tormented the village of Liebava. The Bishop of Olmutz instigated an investigation. Each night, a sentry would be posted at the top of the church tower overlooking the cemetary.

One evening, the vampire was spied emerging from his tomb. He draped his shroud across a tombstone and left. The sentry came down from his post and spirited the shroud back up the church tower.

When the vampire of Liebava came back and saw that his shroud was missing, he flew into a great rage. The sentry called down to the vampire that he had the shroud. The vampire ran over to the church tower and proceeded to climb the ladder. Just as he got to the top, the sentry slammed a hammer into the vampire’s head. The vampire fell to the ground, insensible. The sentry hurried down after him and cut off his head with an axe.

Needless to say, the nightly attacks upon Liebava ended.