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Half-man, half-biscuit

Hits 9673 | Created 2007-05-23 | Modified 2007-05-23

One of the most popular types of monster throughout history has been the half-man, half-something-else. A good examples of a scary half-men creatures are the werewolf (half-man, half-wolf), minotaur (half-man, half bull) and zombie. Zombie? I hear you cry. Yes - half-man, half-dead. On the whole it seems like taking half of a man away and adding half of something else creates an evil entity, bent on death and destruction. There are notable exceptions though, which I'll talk about in a moment.

[Unfinished notes of a long forgotten article]

I got to thinking about half-men creatures and wondered if you could simply create new hybrids and instantly have scary creatures. The first few that I tried weren't very successful - bat-man and spider-man. These are the exceptions I was referring to. Batman and Spiderman aren't terribly scary at the best of times - even the villains in the comics aren't scared of them, just annoyed, generally. I can't help but imagine through that if Spiderman had been around in ancient Persian times, he would have had a few extra legs, bigger teeth and spin webs to catch and eat people, not immobilise crooks.

Some research uncovered some interesting half-man creatures that sound fairly nasty, here's a selection including the ones we've already mentioned:

The Djinn (or genies), said to be half-human, half-demon, they've been around for thousands of years with different names and descriptions - one Arab description has them as being 'exceptionally ugly creatures with hooven feet, eating excrement and using disease as their weapon.' Quite. During Islamic times, many of them converted to the faith and became righteous, the rest simply being content to cause madness in humans. Interestingly, some Arabs believed that genies would usually take the form of an ostrich, which lowers their scare factor somewhat in my book. Scare factor: 8

Lamiae. Half-woman (top half), half-serpent. Descibed as 'alluring and destructive to men', and 'astral vampires haunting human of negative character'. They seem to be somewhat similar to the succubus described earlier. Scare factor: 7

Harpie. Another half-woman from the waist up, but this time with an eagle at the bottom. She sports sharp talons and wings. Now, whilst ecountering a harpie would no doubt be terrifying, I have my suspicions that they night look a little silly in reality. Scare factor: 6

Glaistig. A water-spirit that is half-woman, half-goat. I couldn't establish which half was which in a glaistig, a fact that would vastly alter its scare potential. Therefore it gets two Scare Factor marks: Top-half woman, bottom-half goat: 6. Top-half goat, bottom-half woman: 2

Minotaur. Half man (bottom half), half-bull. Beating you to death with his club, I suspect, would be fairly frightening. Scare factor: 8

Centaur/ Hippocentaurs. Half-man (top), half-horse. Well, centaurs may be quite cool, but they aren't very scary in my view. Scare factor: 5

Ichthyscentaurus. Half-man, half-fish. No, really, I'm not making this up. According to legend they are amongst the monsters resulting from nature's attempts to create in the early stages of evolution. Again, no details as to which way round this is, so two more marks: Scare Factor: Top-half man, bottom-half fish, well, that's a mermaid isn't it? They aren't scary: 2. Top half-fish, bottom-half man, would just look silly, wouldn't it?: 0

Medusa. Mostly woman, some snake. A mutant of 'detestable appearance'. A combination of her ability to turn people into stone and having seen Clash of the Titans as a child give her a Scare Factor:

[From here on it's just messy notes]

She is said to have a headful of snakes, & the ability to turn intruders in her temple into stone

Living Dead (half man half dead): The zombie of voodoo legend is said to return from the grave merely hours after last rites. aptly comparable the Christian-type, the blindlighter, who "gropes for things celestial, while creeping to their graves".

Ghoul: Eater of corpses. Monster of the graveyards. Devourer of dead flesh. They are said to have long, razor-sharp teeth & claws, pale bluish skin, eyes of burning coal, pointed ears, & an elongated boney physique.

Hydra (Greek) A water serpent, feminine, corresponding to a masculine hydros; usually the monster which Hercules overcomes in one of his twelve labors.

Garuda (Sanskrit) In Hindu mythology a gigantic half-man and half-bird, born from an egg brought forth by Vinata

Demons and Spirits

Demons, whether considered literal beings, or representations, have traditionally stood for all that is destructive & harmful to humanity who gaily torture the "sinful" for eternity in a lake of flames.

A "demon" had a far range of names and meanings, since it was just anything that was outside of the Christian Bible.

...and they were responsible for all different kinds of problems of the flesh. They caused disease, famine, aberration of the mind, perverseness. Through their mastery of the atmosphere they cause storms, through their power over water they bring floods, they enter the bodies of human beings, and particularly, women and children, causing fatalities in child-bearing and infancy.

Madan (Tamil) One that looks like a cow; wicked elementals or other astral and subastral sprites or nature spirits, half-brutes or half-monsters. They are particularly helpful to sorcerers of evil intent, as they are used for striking people and cattle with sudden illness and even death.

Lilith (Hebrew) A Hebrew demon of madness, despair, and desolation, especially as regarding unhappy wives and barren marriages. She was regarded as an enemy of newborn infants, and as a succubus, a demonic temptress. She is based on an earlier Babylonian model, the Lilitu demonic trio.

Mamo-chohans (Tibetan?) In theosophy, the lords of darkness and of the forces of pure matter -- the dark and sinister spirits and operations of nature which are the activities of hosts of cosmic monads climbing slowly upward but as yet still sunken in the deep spiritual sleep of material existence.

Pazuzu (zoast) himself was far from friendly, a personification of the harsh south winds, whose roar would shake mountains,

Ashmogh (Pahlavi) Demon with disheveled hair of the race of wrath; described as a huge monster with a camel's neck

Empusa (Greek) A horrible monster, often considered to be a specter, said to be sent by Hecate in her capacity as deity of the underworld, to scare people, especially travelers; it was said to change into various shapes.

Succubus/Incubus: Upon orgasmic culmination, the 'demon' reveals its grotesque & horrible visage. Anglo-Saxon Mara (Slavic Mora), the succubus whose name gives us the word Nightmare....

Asmodeus (Latinized Persian) An early demon of impurity, it is given the power to control buying and selling,

The Devil: The testamonied women & girls, including nuns, throughout history, have reported that his semen is cold. Unlike the incubus, however, there is marvellous foreplay involved.

Then there is the Dashnavar, an Armenian mountain-spirit, which proportedly has the propensity to suk the blood from the footsoles of travellers,

Wraith / Phantasm / Ghost / Poltergeist / Banshee / Phantom, 'Tis a wailing apparition who haunts the countryside. Listening to its spellbinding song can drive one completely mad.

Mohini, a demoness from the underworld. Had you known how, you could have entered a pact with her for the next cycle of Jupiter (twelve years). You promise to satisfy her lust once a month, and she will do your bidding in return-protect your property, destroy your enemies, whatever. "But a pact with Mohini is very dangerous. When she comes for sexual satisfaction, she may assume eighteen forms in the course of the night, expecting you to fulfill the demands of each one. If you cannot, it will cost you your life. And if during the twelve years of your relationship with her you have an attraction to another woman, that will also cost you your life. You suddenly vomit blood - finished."

Divs: Divs (Demons) Popular lore attributes to them a tall stature, frizzy hair, a snub nose, thick and pendulous lips, long nails and a furry body, and adds wings and horns. They once infested the world and tormented human beings fiercely; then Solomon (Solaiman) put an enchantment on them with talismans until the end of the world... much less dreaded than the djinn, Men should avoid meeting them, for they bear a deep grudge and take revenge for mere trifles.

For example, they hide in the bottoms of wells and beside them keep a carefully plugged flagon which contains their soul. If it is broken, they die immediately. But they are mainly to be feared in desert regions, as in the Valley of the Angel of Death. The valley contains several monsters. They most numerous and worst types are the ghoul and the afreet.

Afreet: seeks to separate travelers from caravans by assuming the form or voice of a friend or relative, in order to devour them.

The palis (licker of feet) attacks a man when he is asleep in the desert and licks the soles of his feet until it has drunk all the man's blood. Once it was duped by two muleteers from Isfahan who, when they were caught in the desert at night, slept foot to foot and covered with the mantles. The palis circled around them in vain and finally went away, saying: "I have explored 1,033 valleys, but I have never seen a man with two heads."

Devalpa is an old man who stands at the edge of the road and sighs. He addresses the following request to all passers-by: "Take me on your shoulders." If anyone picks him up, three meters of legs like snakes suddenly come out of Devalapa's belly and twine around the bearer. Devalpa takes a solid grasp, and gives the following order: "Work for me." In order to get rid of him, you have to get him drunk.

The nesnas does no evil, and is content merely with causing fear.

A man was riding horseback between Shiraz and Bushire, for example, when he saw a lamb by the side of the road. He picked it up and put it across his saddle. A little while later he looked at it and saw to his great fright that it had grown so big that it was dragging on the ground on both sides. He threw it off and fled as fast as he could.

Another div stops travelers, makes them sit down, puts his head on their knees and invites them pick the lice off him. If a traveler refuses, it is tantamount to a death warrant.

As for the ghoul (ogre), it is believed in Mazanderan that an arrow will kill it, but that a second arrow will bring it back to life.

Certain physical ailments are imputed to the divs. The div-resa is a cutaneous eruption following a bad dream; the "calamity of the div" (afat-e div) designates the sores on the lip which are caused by fever.

Orusula : evil spirit in the form of a giant pig whose 'foam gives people a rash that kills them' in Costa Rica.

Keron-Kenken : Patagonian evil spirit who eats newborn babies and drinks the tears of their mothers.

This list, was revealed by Baalberith to Soeur Madeleine de Demandoix in the early 17th century:

Baalberith: Chief Secretary and Archivist of Hell, a second-order demon. Also Berith.

Bearded Demon, the: His name cannot be given lest people deal with him in search of the Philosopher's Stone (as King Solomon and Paracelsus are said to have done).

Belphegor: Demon of Ingenious Discoveries and Wealth.

Nybras: Grand Publicist of the Pleasures of Hell, an inferior demon.

Rimmon: Ambassador from Hell to (Czarist) Russia, Chief Physician of Hell. Also Damas.

Zaebos : One of the many animal-human combinations in Hebrew imitation of the Sumerians. This one is part crocodile, part human.

Verin: Demon of Impatience.

Abd Moslem eternity which has a beginning but no end


Cluricaune: (evil Irish elf)

Dahak: evil persian satan figure

Eblis: ruler of the evil genii

Hoji: an evil spirit who lives inside a pillar

Sluagh: Irish horde of evil bird-like spirits

Raksha: evil spirits


Makara: sea monster

Ojacanu: monster cyclopes of Cantabria

Sulanuth (Hebrew) A monster in the sea described as being ordered by God "to come up and go into Egypt . . . and she had long arms, ten cubits in length . . . and she went upon the roofs and uncovered the rafting and cut them . . . and stretched forth her arm into the house and removed the lock and the bolt and opened the houses of Egypt . . . and the swarm of animals destroyed the Egyptians"

Goblin: Greenish mutant of the bog. Half-breed imp. Thief. Devours, incects, rabbits, & small frogs. specialized in robbing the cradle, & small beds.

Vampire / Werebat / Vrykolax / Azizoxuy / Striges / Sanguisuga / Dashnavar / Empusa / Nosferatu, The fore-runner of the legenday vampire is known as the striges. It is a demonic bird-like creature, resembling a harpie, who steals little children from their cradles, drinks their blood, & eats their flesh.

Gremlin: Race of imp. Mischevous disposition. Derives pleasure from destroying valued possessions. Enjoys wreaking havoc. Will attack lone travellers. Lives in dead, twisted trees - cuases arguments basically.

The Chimera was a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent

Cerberus, who guards the entrance to the underworld Hades. It is typified as enormous, extremely ferocious, & possessing three heads.

Her [harpie] cousin, the gryphon, is a strange apparition as well. It is a hybrid. Part eagle, part lion

two of the most glorious, & powerful predatory animals in existence.

..The type of Cosmic Disharmony, Typhon, who is also Python, the monster formed of the slime of the Deluge of Deucalion, 'violates' his mother Primordial Harmony, whose beneficence was so great that she was called 'The Mother of the Golden Age.'

Kaliya, Kaliyanaga (Sanskrit) A serpent-king with five heads whose mouths vomited fire and smoke which devastated the country around, said to have lived in a deep pool of the Yamuna River.

Aigokeros (goat-horned) or Capricorn -- the monster with a goat's horns and the hind parts of a dolphin.

The monster Am-mit, which appears in the judgment scene, has the hindquarters of a hippopotamus. It represents the horrors and fear of the astral world awaiting the defunct, which spring into life if that person's karma has brought about awakening self-consciousness in kama-loka.


Crow / Raven: A legend goes that if you state what you will to a witchbird, it will fly out & transmit your message to your intended. In fact, it is through this legend that the saying "a little bird told me" came from.

Old wife's tales tell that rats & mice were also said to chew the toes off of unattended newborn infants & little children

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