Daimajin

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Daimajin

Region of origin: Japan

Literally “Giant Demon God”, Daimajin is a massive stone statue inhabited by the spirit of a vanquished demon king, Arakatsuma, who has been kept dormant by the prayers of the inhabitants of a nearby village, his struggles against his imprisonment manifesting as occasional earthquakes. When compelled by the villagers or the statue is put under physical assault, the spirit can animate the statue and wreak havoc throughout the region, often destroying the forces of some evil warlord but also proving to not be particularly discriminate about what or who gets trampled once awakened, although it seems to show some leniency towards children or the pure of heart. After his purpose has been served, the statue will return to normal there are instances of Arakatsuma turning into a hitodama-like ball of fire before flying away, but he seems to remain bound to the statue. Despite being a carved idol, Daimajin is shown to capable of bleeding even in its dormant stage and some promotional material shows it possessing a strange array of organs and nerves.

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Rakshasa

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Rakshasa

Region of origin: India

Alternatively a class of demons or nature spirits in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, the male Rakshasa and female Rakshasi are not as a species considered universally evil but are primarily known for their bloodthirsty behavior and tendency to eat human flesh. They were believed to have been accidentally created by Brahma in his sleep, and immediately attacked the god as he slept, resulting in their banishment to the Earth. The Rakshasa were depicted as large, bestial humanoids with long curling fangs and horns, but as they grew in power and age they may develop extra heads and arms, such as their king Ravana, who had ten heads and twenty arms. The Rakshasa were powerful warriors skilled in forms of armed combat and magics such as illusion and shapeshifting. They were often used in stories as threats for a hero to overcome and armies of Rakshasa were said to feast on their victims on the battlefield as they pushed forward, but some were depicted as heroic and aided the various protagonists in vanquishing whatever evil they faced.

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Dip

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Dip

Region of origin: Catalonia

A black dog myth from the Catalan region, but unlike other stories of black dogs who serve as death omens but rarely directly interact with the people who see them, the dip is a vampiric beast in the employ of the Devil, descending in packs from the mountains and attacking anyone they come across to drink their blood. The dip has become particularly associated the town of Pratdip, coincidentally named but etymologically distinct, where the dog is featured on their coat of arms and an annual celebration, the Pratdip Llegendari, is held just before the weekend of All Saints, featuring stories and games symbolically hunting and rounding up the creatures.

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Belphegor

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Belphegor

Region of origin: The Kingdom of Moab

One of the seven princes of Hell as described in de Plancy’s nineteenth-century Dictionnaire Infernal, Belphegor was said to represent the deadly sin of sloth. He did this through granting an individual who made a pact with him, often after appearing to them as a beautiful woman, some clever thought or invention that would result in them gaining great wealth from as little effort as possible, becoming lazy and degenerate as a result. The name Belphegor is derived from Ba’al-Pe’or, or “Lord of Mount Pe’or”, and he was believed to be the patron deity of the nearby Moabites. He became associated with debauchery and orgies, and, with one taken meaning of “Pe’or” being “opening”, flatulence and feces resulting in him often being depicted as sitting on a commode. In more modern tales, Belphegor was sent to earth by Satan to learn if marital love in fact existed, and while he never succeeded in confirming this he did become enamored with Paris during his travels.

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Matagot

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Matagot

Region of origin: Provence, France

The matagot or mandragot is a household spirit or familiar that can take on the form of various animals but is most associated with black cats. There are a flurry of regional variations regarding names,  methods of acquisitions and specific behaviors, but largely they are associated with luck and wealth, bringing coins each day to owners who keep them well fed. It was said they could be found one night a year (specifically believed to be the eve of the feast of St. John on June 23rd in the Béarn region), and could be lured to a crossroads with a plump hen, at which point you could capture it in a sack, though you must return to your home silently and without looking back. If provided for, the cat would leave in the night and fetch the money for its owner; believed to be demonic spirits or fae creatures they were able to slip between realms to reach otherwise inaccessible places. A well-kept matagot is a boon to a household, but when poorly-treated or otherwise injured or malnourished may turn on their masters, attacking them or causing them to be stricken with agonizing pain, and even the behaved ones are thought to come at the cost of your soul, associating owners with witchcraft and sorcerers. The story of Puss In Boots was thought to be inspired by matagots, and the mandrake root takes its name from “mandragot”, believing the figure-shaped plant has some relation to spirit’s magic or may be themselves some early stage of the creature’s growth.

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Mothman

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Mothman

Region of origin: Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Starting in November of 1966 in the area near Point Pleasant, there were numerous reported sightings of a large creature, black or dark brown in color with large glowing red eyes, with descriptions ranging from humanoid to a massive bird to something in-between. Most were just sightings but one couple said it chased their car down the road, keeping pace with them even as they reached speeds of 100 mile per hour. These sightings carried on for thirteen months, accompanied by phenomena like illness in witnesses, animal mutilation, technological malfunctions. One of the most widely-corroborated cryptid sightings, in all there were over one hundred people who had claimed they had seen the creature or otherwise experienced strange anomalous incidents that would get tied into the investigation. The sightings continued but slowed, and largely stopped around the same time as the collapse of the Silver Bridge into the Ohio River in December 1967, a tragic event that resulted in 46 deaths, for which many believe the presence of the strange creature had functioned as a omen or warning, and has since led to claims of similar creatures showing up in the time preceding other large disasters. Origins attributed to the creature range from the demonic to the extraterrestrial, or that West Virginia itself may just be a supernatural hotspot where reality is thin and extra-dimensional creatures like a Mothman may more easily slip through. Alternatively, many also write off the sightings as large bird such as a sandhill crane or maybe a giant owl obscured by the darkness, and connecting all the events leading up to the bridge’s collapse being a form of mass hysteria and apophenia fueled by Mothman coverage in the local papers. Imagined or not, Mothman remains a popular celebrity for Point Pleasant, receiving a statue and an annual festival in the city in 2002. Based on my research, I’m pretty sure everyone on the internet wants to date him.

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Raróg

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Raróg

Region of origin: Eastern Europe and Russia

A fiery demon or spirit, the raróg often took the form of a flaming hawk or falcon but could also appear as a dwarven creature or a whirlwind. They were believed to live at the crown of the Slavic world tree, guarding the entrance to Vyraj, a warm, vibrant paradise that was also where migratory birds went to to escape the cold winters. They are thought to share some connection to the firebird of later Russian fairy tales, a peacock-like bird with golden feathers that continued to glow brightly even after being removed.

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