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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Hadhayosh

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Hadhayosh

The Hadhayosh or Sarsaok is a massive primordial ox of Persian and Zoastrian beliefs, similar to the Behemoth. Believed to be crafted with precision by a meticulous god of the forge, each Hadhayosh was exactly 52 feet tall and weighing 57 tons, made of brass and with a flaming mane. They were used to carry the first humans across the ancient Voutukasha sea and once settled, the Hadhayosh would begin living on fields and plains, but required very little food for creatures of their size, primarily grazing on small plants and berries. They were thought to be gentle in nature but could become fearsome if threatened. It was believed they would, for some unknown reason, never return to a place they had already visited for at least a year. A mixture made from the fat of Hadhayosh along with certain herbs was thought to provide immortality for anyone who consumed it.

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Kutkh

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Kutkh

Region of origin: Eastern Russian

A raven-spirit deity and trickster figure from the mythologies of the Russian Far East region, Kutkh is vital to myths of creation and providing mankind with things from light and fire and parts of the landscape to concepts like sex and language. Stories often depict Kutkh as crude, lazy and self-centered, and the resulting benefits that are imparted to the earth and its people tend to be more aftermath or comeuppance from a scheme than intentionally helpful, such as when the Kamchatka peninsula was created as the result of a drinking binge with a bear. Due to proximity of the regions and similarities between the figures, it is believed Kutkh may share some origins with the Raven myths from indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest.

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Nyami Nyami

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Nyami Nyami

Region of origin: Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

A fish-headed, snake-bodied river god of the Tonga people believed to live in the Kariba Gorge in the Zambezi valley, protected by whirlpools and functioning as a protector and a god of the underworld. In more modern times, Nyami Nyami’s presence was made known when outside contractors began construction of the Kariba dam in the late 1940s and 50s which required the relocation of the local Tonga. They acquiesced, believing Nyami Nyami would come to their aid and sure enough misfortune beset the project, construction stymied by years of previously-unseen levels of storms and flooding assailing the region. The dam was eventually completed in 1960, but greatly delayed and costing as many as eighty laborers their lives before it was done. It was believed the dam separated Nyami Nyami from his wife, and to this day, the relocated Tonga believe tremors in earth felt in the region are the great serpent trying to finally break the wall and reunite himself with his loved one.

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Kitsune

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Kitsune

Region of origin: Japan

One of the sub-groups of yokai of animals believed to increase in intelligence and magic power as they age, it is believed when a fox turns 100 years old it grows a second tail and gains new powers such as shape-shifting or the ability to create illusions. This continues to increase every hundred years up until it has nine tails and their fur has turned from red to gold or white. The kitstune are broadly divided into two categories, the zenko kitsune are considered benevolent and who act as messengers for the Shinto deity Inari, whereas the yako kitsune are more malicious pranksters, but both groups tend to use their magic to the end of punishing people who have done something to deserve it and respect those who show them kindness. Among their more common tricks, they can possess people and cause them to behave erratically or destructively, or they may turn into people their victim knows to sow confusion, or someone the person will find attractive to seduce them away from their families. The latter can be short-term, but there are stories where it results in an actual long-term relationship and marriage, occasionally producing half-human offspring who possess some of their kitsune parent’s magical abilities. Kitsunebi, or “fox-fire,” is a form of ignis fatuui that is believed to be magical lanterns the kitsune can summon and will use in their wedding processions.

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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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Harpies

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Harpies

Region of origin: Greece

The harpies or harpyiai were half-women, half-bird creatures thought to be the personification of strong winds. They became associated with the underworld and meting out punishments, sent at the bidding of Zeus to attack or harangue people who had somehow offended the god, or people who had disappeared suddenly were thought to have been carried away by harpies to face the Erinyes. Earlier depictions described the harpies as beautiful maidens but over time their reputation worsened and they were increasingly described as ugly, vulturous beings. In Dante’s Inferno, the harpies made their home in a tree in the seventh ring of Hell and tormented the souls who resided there.

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