A dozen (and more) demons for December
December 20, 2016 10:43 PM   Subscribe

If you're looking to tell your own ghost stories this winter (or anytime, really), you may enjoy reading about a dozen demons from around the world: 1. Bā Jiāo Guǐ, 2. Buruburu, 3. Crocotta, 4. Daeva, 5. Kallikantzaros, 6. Kalma, 7. Pishtaco, 8. Penanggalan, 9. Redcap, 10. Rogarou, 11. Shtriga, and 12. Vetala. If you want more than a sampling of mythical creatures referenced in Supernatural that weren't fabricated for the show, you may then enjoy ...

Digging up translations of 画図百器徒然袋 (Gazu Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro, "The Illustrated Bag of One Hundred Random Demons") , like the amazing Yokai.com, an online database of Japanese ghosts and monsters, which charts and details such creatures and tales from all parts and periods of Japan, but if you prefer lists, Wikipedia has a list of legendary creatures from Japan. Similarly, you can enjoy a small collection of demons, monsters and ghosts from Chinese folklore, which are also available from Wikipedia as a list of supernatural beings in Chinese folklore. For a trip down the Northern European mythology rabbit hole, here's Wikipedia's category listing for Uralic mythology. If you want to better understand Mayan deities, you can browse the descriptions in The Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript by Gisele Díaz and Alan Rodgers (Google books preview). And if you want to get a really broad overview of mythology around the world, behold: the (international) Mythology Dictionary. Or if you'd like to summon up a little bit more darkness for these dark times, try muttering a few of the infernal names.

And if you're looking to make a modern ghost story with aliens, you also have quite a cast of characters to utilize.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't actually seen any Supernatural, but when looking for information on pishtaco*, the Caucasian fat-sucker/stealer(s) who haunt South America, I kept coming up with images from the show, which lead me to wandering through the creatures on the Supernatural Wikia.

* There's a story here for another time.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

excuse me where is supay the dread lord of ukhu pacha
posted by poffin boffin at 10:50 PM on December 20, 2016

poffin, on the South American mythology page from Mythology Dictionary. It's a short description, but he's there.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:53 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

yes good he is appeased
posted by poffin boffin at 11:02 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pishtaco is the unholy union of a pistachio and a fish taco right?
posted by ian1977 at 6:35 AM on December 21, 2016

Omg from the Pishtaco Wikipedia entry:

Spaniards, are also said to have killed Indians and boiled their corpses to produce fat to grease their metal muskets and cannons, which rusted quickly in the humid Amazon.[5]

posted by ian1977 at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2016

Omg from the Pishtaco Wikipedia entry

Keep reading: "In modern times, similar beliefs held that sugar mill machinery needed human fat as grease, or that jet aircraft engines could not start without a squirt of human fat." The legend lives on, and gets changed for the times, including a hoax spread by Peruvian police about a gang who killed people for their fat in 2009.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

The article on the Daevas was well written and provided some great info about the complicated evolution and cross cultural aspects of the Devas and other more specific deities of the Vedas that are still honored today, and so forth, but I think the Devas are kind of a weird inclusion on this list, because the Devas and the Asuras are still a part of the complex faiths within 'Hinduism.' I can't speak for Zoroastrianism, but Indra or Varuna or a Deva or Asuras are hardly the equivalent of Redcaps or Shtrigas. Maybe include Lucifer and some Judeo-Christian Angel/God/Demon characters?
posted by branravenraven at 9:37 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

branravenraven, good point. TBH, I pulled what I felt were lesser known (at least to me) "creatures" from the Supernatural Wikia, as a way of leading into the broad and interesting world of deities, demons, ghosts and goblins. I realize Daeva is the only real deity in the list of 12 above the break, so I apologize for lumping Daevas in with the rest, without another cultural counterpoint.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on December 21, 2016


tbh it is never really possible to be too paranoid about what white people might do to indigenous people because [gestures broadly to all of human history]
posted by poffin boffin at 2:24 PM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hey, thanks for linking to one of my early monster posts (#8)! I also did one on the pishtaco (self-link), though I don't characterize either that or the penanggalan as demons per se.
I love some good monster/demon lore, all the more so when Supernatural-related, and you've provided me with a few new sources to plunder. Nice post!
posted by obloquy at 2:37 PM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I used "demon" for the alteration, and at its broadest use (per Wikipedia), "a demon is a supernatural, often malevolent being." In my mind, that comes close to the generic "monster" term, too, though it's not a 1:1 correlation.
/beanplating terminology
posted by filthy light thief at 9:17 AM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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