The Croucher and other Domiciles

Domicile  demons are a domestic type of demon, unlike the many various nature demons which I have frequently talked about, I will now move on to more domestic imps. These demons often find their abode within the home, or are present at important moments in human life and experience, such as marriage, childbirth, a death, and so forth. An ancient lament of these demons goes as follows:

Doors do not stop them
bolts do not stop them
they glide in at the doors like serpents
they enter by the windows like the wind

One ancient breed of domicile demon is known as the Croucher and comes from Babylonian myth. The Courcher is an invisible type of demon known as rabisu which means “the ones who wait.” While it cannot be seen it makes its presence felt, causing the hair of any mortal near it to stand on end.  Because they cannot be seen they are described by the effect they cause, rather then by physical appearance.

In Ancient Babylonia people believed that multitudes of evil spirits filled into the habitats of humans and fell into different categories; utukku, ekimmu,gallu, alu, and rabisu.  The first two are departed spirits of the dead who cannot find rest so they cause harm to the living, most often found around graveyards. The third can be seen in the image of a bull and roams the streets at night, the forth is a specter that appears in the image of a black dog (black dog myths are also a strong part of Irish Lore and thought to be ill omens by some, while others find them to be guardians.)

Most of these can be avoided by staying home, but home provides no safety from the rabisu, it is how the Croucher game about its name, because they lay in wait unseen for unsuspecting mortal victims, within the doorways of the household, because of this they are also known as entrance demons.

Other types of rabisu are thought to perch upon rooftops at the homes of expecting mothers, to prepare to pounce on the newborn babies.  In ancient Rome it was a custom to shoot arrows at the rooftops when a woman was in childbirth to protect the mother and baby. In Syria there is a rooftop demon called bar egara who waits to pounce upon men as they cross the threshold of their door on the way to work.

Many different cultures have devised ways to try and drive off these domicile demons. The spreading of salt across a threshold is commonly seen as a way of warding off evil spirits who are believed to be unable to cross salt. Wind chimes were also originally derived as a form of protection. One of the reason why churches ring bells is because the sound of a bell ringing is believed to ward off demons, and evil spirits, so hanging wind chimes in the front of the house can keep away these spirits, as the wind blows the chimes causing a bell like sound to drive them off.

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