Seriously Fishy Characters 13: Klaubautermann

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A few weeks ago, Filmmassacre requested I do Strix for my next vampire post. Well, on Saturday, his wish will be fulfilled.

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Klaubautermann

The Klaubautermann

The Klaubautermann

Northern German sailors believed in a sort of ship’s goblin called a “Klaubautermann.” (The ‘baut’ part in his name doesn’t mean boat. The word translates from the German as ‘knocking man.’) He supposedly looked a lot like a dwarf, being a little guy and a smart dresser–he wore riding boots, yellow trousers, and a tall hat. He had red hair and bad dental hygene, as you could tell from the green teeth.

Like the Kobold, he helped around the place, doing ship-board chores. He would also play tricks on lazy sailors (again, like the Kobold), to goad them into pulling their weight. In a good mood, he would protect the ship and also entertain the crew by singing songs, which the sailors would join in with.

If he wasn’t happy with the crew, he would make lots of noise–which is how he got his name. If he really wasn’t happy, he would let all kinds of bad things happen to the ship.

Despite his stylin’ appearance, no one wanted to ever see the Klaubautermann. It meant you were going to die.

  • Benjamin Thorpe, Northern Mythology: Comprising the Principal Popular Traditions and Superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany, and the Netherlands, E. Lumley, 1852
  • Melville, Francis; The Book of Faeries: A Guide to the World of Elves, Pixies, Goblins, and Other Magic Spirits, 2002, Quarto Inc
  • Simon J. Bronner, Crossing the Line: Violence, Play, and Drama in Naval Equator Traditions, Amsterdam University Press, 2007

Seriously Fishy Characters 12: Ponaturi

Late twentieth-century house-post depicting th...

Image via Wikipedia

The Maori of New Zealand believe that a race of evil spirits live in the water off the coast–the Ponaturi. The Ponaturi walk on land, but they only come out when the sun is down. Their bodies glow in the dark–pretty cool, if you ask me–and they have long talons at the end of their fingers.

Sunlight is fatal to them. According to legend, many Ponaturi were destroyed by the hero Tawhaki, in retaliation for the death of his father. With the help of his mother, who had been captured, Tawhaki convinced them it was night when it was day, and the sun killed all of them.

According to one version of the legend, the mother was transformed into a carving, which was a craft the Maori had never seen before. The people picked up the skill from that carving. So, here we have another example of water spirits inspiring the creative arts (See the Wahwee.).

Sources

  • Sir George Grey, Polynesian Mythology, Forgotten Books, 1961

A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits
A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits

by Carol K. Mack, Dinah Mack

Demonspotting: Valefor

Also known as Valefar, Malaphar, Malephar, he’s a ‘mighty’ Duke of Hell. If you summon him, he shows

The seal of Valefor

up looking like a lion or with the head of a donkey. Now why a Duke of Hell would show up looking like a donkey, I have no clue. It’s very Midsummer Night’s Dream.

There is one possible reason for it, though. Valefor is a bit of a tricky spirit (Though one can probably safely assume most of the Lords of Hell have it in for the person who summons them and treats them like slaves. Just sayin’. ­čÖé The Goetia says he’s a ‘good Familiar,’ which sounds like a bit of public relations to me, since the Goetia also says he tempts his masters to steal.

And then he makes sure they get caught. In the Middle Ages, that meant hanging.

So if you try to summon and command Valefor, you’ll probably end up meeting him on his turf sooner than you planned.

Bhuta: Demons who can’t touch the ground

A malignant Indian spirit of the dead. Bhuta can blight crops, kill livestock, cause accidents, disease, and insanity. Oh, and they eat flesh, too. Pretty gross.

They are restless souls who died by suicide, execution or violence. Their existence is also connected with not having the proper death rituals performed for them.

Bhuta can appear as flickering lights, or as ghostly apparitions, but they always, always hover above the earth.

Because they never touch the ground, you can avoid bhuta by dropping down and lying flat. They also hate the smell of burning turmeric, so that will chase them away, too.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhuta