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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Pocong

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Pocong

Region of origin: Indonesia

In Malay folklore, the pocong or hantu pocong, also known in some regions as a hantu bungkus (“wrapped ghost”) is an animated corpse still bound its kain kafan funeral shroud. Based on a belief the spirit continues to inhabit its body for forty days after death, after this period the shroud must be untied to allow the spirit to leave the body and move on to the afterlife; if the shroud remains the spirit may become restless and becomes a pocong. Due to its bound feet, the pocong ambulates by hopping, similar to a jianghshi, but is not particularly impeded, capable of taking leaps up to of 50 meters and moving as fast as a car. The pocong is not inherently aggressive, but it may attack anyone who attempts to impede it or start incessantly following someone. It is said the best way to deal with a pocong is to hug it, and use the chance to untie its bonds; the pocong will be grateful for being granted its freedom and grant good luck or wealth to its rescuer.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

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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Hitotsume kozō

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Hitotsume kozō

Region of origin: Japan

Yokai spirits who take on the appearance of small one-eyed children, often dressed as little buddhist monks. Like many yokai they are not overly malicious but delight in spooking humans. In some regions of eastern Japan, they are believed to be emissaries of the god of disease and misfortune, traveling from home to home on December 8th and recording the families’ bad deeds to bring back to their lord and determine how bad a person’s luck should be for the following year. Bamboo baskets or holly ivy were sometimes hung outside the home to ward off the hitotsume kozō and prevent them from recording that family’s information in their ledgers.

[Sources referenced: X | X | X | X ]

Sigbin (updated)

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Sigbin

Region of origin: The Philippines

A vampiric goat-like creature, the sigbin will hunt its prey at night and is said to be able to drink a person’s blood and life force through their shadow. Their diet is thought to also consist of yellow squash, coal and dead animals, the latter which may account for a distinct rank odor they produce. They are kept as pets by aswang, another demonic creature from Filipino folklore, and it is believed capturing one for yourself will result in good fortune; there are rumors some prominent businessmen may have sigbins in their possession.

[Sources referenced: X | X ]

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Pixiu

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Pixiu

Region of origin: China

The pixiu is a hybrid creature renowned for its ferocity and capability of flying between the earth and the heavens. It was used to ward off evil spirits and disease and is primarily associated with hoarding and protecting wealth. It has various origins, but the elements they all seem to share is that after some transgression the beast (sometimes formerly a person) is cursed to eat only gold, silver and jewels and then has its anus sealed up to prevent it from expelling anything it consumes, allowing the wealth to accumulate. Depictions of the pixiu are often used in architecture and feng shui to help bring wealth and safety to a household, and are usually kept in pairs known as Tiān lù (the male, shown with one antler) and Bìxié (a female with two antlers).

[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]

Grootslang (updated)

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Grootslang

Region of origin: South Africa

In a rare instance of gods realizing they might have made a mistake, the violent, lapivorous Grootslang was deemed too much of a jerk to exist and was separated into two different animals, which resulted in the creation of snakes and elephants. One Grootslang escaped the gods’ wrath and has since propagated, and are said to be living in a cave where they have secreted away their horde of diamonds. They will be aggressive or possibly murderous towards people who encounter them but it’s believed they are willing to accept bribes of delicious gemstones to not kill those who stumble into their domain.

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