Top 10 Worst Theological or Mythological Demons
Whether you are religious or not, demons have played a large part in mythology, books, movies, and even music. Films, such as “Paranormal Activity”, “The Exorcist”, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, “Fallen”, and–more recently–“The Last Exorcism”, have made demons something to fear. Movies, however, rarely scratch the surface of just how evil these former, corrupt servants of God (or many gods) can be. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 worst–and/or weirdest–demons in theological and mythological history.
Origin: Jewish mythology
Also known as: Abizou, Obizu, Obizuth, Obyzouth, and Byzou
This female demon was believed to be responsible for miscarriages, still-births, and infant mortality. Abyzou is believed to have been infertile, so these heinous acts were/are most likely out of jealousy. She is often depicted having snake- and/or fish-like attributes. [Image Source]
Origin: Christian demonology
Also known as: Agreas
This male demon makes “those who run stand still”, a terrible thing to be a victim of during, say, a tornado. He is also said to be one of the demons that controls earthquakes. Agares also teaches many languages, focusing on the profanities and ethnic slurs. He is also believed to be the ruler of the eastern zone of Hell, and he is said to have 31 legions of demons at his command. He is also one of the–if not the–strangest looking demon on this list. He is often portrayed as a pale elderly man riding a crocodile, with a hawk either attached to or on his fist. No joke!
Origin: Zoroastrian mythology
Also known as: Akem Manah, Akoman, Akvan
His name means “manah made evil”; in this case, the word “manah” represents “the mind”. Many refer to him as the demon of “evil intention”, “evil mind”, “evil purpose”, or “evil thinking”. His job: To prevent people from fulfilling their moral duties (.i.e.: being a good parent, saving a life, etc.).
Origin: Pre-Slovic and Slovic mythology, and Christian demonology
Also known as: plural: Ale
Ale are some of the few demons on this list who does evil deeds, but can be persuaded to do good deeds, and can even help you! They particularly like creating bad weather (most notably, hail- and thunder-storms) over farms, orchards, and vineyards, in order to destroy crops. They also are said to like eating children. Ale are so hungry, that they are said to be able to “eat the sun and/or moon”, creating eclipses. They can pose a great threat to a persons’ mental and physical life; they can even possess you. However, if you approach an Ala with trust and respect, she and the other Ale will save your life whenever necessary, and make you rich! Ale are also very afraid of eagles…just in case you don’t want to become friends with one. What they look like changes with each account; some say they look like ravens, others like clouds or dark winds; many say snakes or female dragons. They are believed to live in lakes, springs, clouds, unreachable mountains, forests, caves, or gigantic trees.
Origin: Sumerian mythology
Asag is one of many demons that causes sickness. “But what,”, you say, “separates him from other demons that cause sickness?”. Well, for one, he had sex with all the mountains in the world, and had a litter of “rock-demon” offspring that defends him in any battle. He is also believed to be so grotesquely, unbelievably ugly, that his very presence causes fish to be boiled alive in rivers and/or lakes within viewing-distance!
Origin: Christian demonology and Kabbalic mythology
Belphegor is absolutely unbelievable. He got his start in Assyria, many, many years ago. He was first called Baal-Peor, and he was associated with orgies, and other types of lewdness. The Israelites worshiped him, in the form of a phallic (penis-shaped) idol. Later on, in Kabbalic mythology, he was a demon who made people paranoid of each other, and who would seduce them with money and overall wealth. Needless to say, it was hard to summon Baal-Peor, because he required the sacrifice of human excrement! In the 16th Century, he changed his name to Belphegor, and changed his strategy (somewhat). He pretty much threw away the idea of causing mutual mistrust in people, and instead…focused on inventions. He would “suggest” crazy (yet plausible) inventions to people, and then use their greed to his (and their) advantage when they became successful. According to legend, Belphegor was sent to Earth from Hell to either justify of disprove the rumors that marriage can result in happiness. Finding no evidence that happiness is possible in a marriage (now, there’s a surprise), he chose to stay on Earth. He is notable for two bizarre attributes: He is believed to be physically, mentally, and strategically strongest in the month of April, and he either was or is Hell’s/Satan’s ambassador to France. Belphegor also played an role in Milton’s book, “Paradise Lost”. He is either depicted as a hideous, bearded demon with horns and claws, or a beautiful young woman.
Origin: Japanese Buddhist mythology
Jikininki are the spirits of selfish, greedy, or ungodly people who have passed on. They are said to be cursed to eat the flesh of human corpses. It is also said that they take valuables from the corpses, in order to bribe local law-enforcement officials to leave them alone. Unlike most demons, they actually hate what they are, and are in a constant state of self-disgust and self-loathing. Some accounts state that they are so terrifying to look at, that seeing one would make you paralyzed with fear. Other accounts indicate that Jikininki can take the form of normal human beings, and can even lead seemingly normal lives by day. They are notable in that–unlike other gaki or rakshasa (“hungry ghosts”), and ghosts in general–they are an endangered species, if one can use such a term in this context.
Origin: Indonesian mythology
Also known as: Kuntilanak, Matianak, or Boentianak
The Pontianak are the spirits of ladies who died during child-birth, and became undead. Pontianak are said to scare people (mostly men), and then rip out their internal organs for feeding with their claws. In the case of men that the Pontianak knew when they were alive (who abused, or otherwise betrayed them), they are said to remove the man’s genitalia with their bare hands (Ouch!!). They are much like vampires; however, they do what they do more out of vengeance, rather then necessity or sustenance. It’s also hard to judge just how far away from you they are; usually, a loud cry means the Pontianak is far away, whereas a soft cry signifies that the Pontianak is nearby. It is also said that a faint floral fragrance is detected upon first seeing it, however, the fragrance changes to something rotten after a short period of time. Pontianak are believed to live in banana trees, a possible phallic-/fertility-reference.
Origin: Slavic mythology
Also known as: Pscipolnista, Poludnica, Polednice
“Lady Midday” is certainly a unique female demon. She is said to pose tough questions and make conversation with laborers working in the fields during the hottest part of the day in summertime. Any incorrect answer or unprompted subject change results in a beheading, either with a scythe, or a pair of shears. “Lady” is also the personification of heat-stroke, and can also give people insanity or heat-sickness, in lieu of decapitation. Her description varies between a 12 year old girl, an old woman, or a generally beautiful woman.
Origin: Sumerian and Mesopotamian mythology
Also known as: Dimme
Lamashtu is a heinous, terrifying, demoness. She is said to menace women throughout and after the end of their pregnancies. She is routinely said to kidnap infants while they’re breastfeeding; she would suck their blood, and chew on their bones. Add to that the fact that her other hobbies included: Infesting rivers and lakes, killing crops and other plants, sucking the blood of men, creating sleep-disturbances, spreading diseases and illnesses, and bringing nightmares. And, unlike most demons from Mesopotamian mythology, she didn’t answer to anyone; not any god, or man, or any part of any divine hierarchy. So evil was Lamashtu, that pregnant women and their loved ones would routinely summon the demon, Pazuzu, to protect them. For the uninitiated, Pazuzu was the demon made famous by the, “The Exorcist” movies! Allegedly, Pazuzu and Lamashtu were fierce rivals, who would attack each other at any chance. While Pazuzu was known for bringing famines and droughts, soon-to-be-mothers were so afraid of Lamashtu, that they were willing to take the risk! That means that, yes, Linda Blair’s performance in “The Exorcist” was nothing compared to the wrath of Lamashtu! Lamashtu is usually described as a “mythological hybrid”, with the head of a lioness, the teeth and ears of a donkey, the feet of a bird (complete with sharp talons), as well as a hairy body, and long, sharp fingers and fingernails. She is usually depicted nursing a dog and a pig and holding snakes, while standing or kneeling on a donkey! Subtle, isn’t it?