Werewolf warrior: Thiess of Livonia

1722 German woodcut of a werewolf transforming.

Image via Wikipedia

In 1692, in the Northern European country of Livonia (now part of Estonia), the Catholic Inquisition put an 80-year-old man named Theiss on trial for idolatry and superstitious beliefs.

Those beliefs: that he was a werewolf. Well, not really that he was a werewolf. The problem was really that he was a werewolf and he said he was going to heaven.

According to Theiss, he and a bunch of other Livonian guys turned into wolves and descended into hell three times a year, to fight witches to maintain a good harvest for the countryside. Theiss claimed that witches, lead by a guy named Skeistan, did their best to screw up the food stocks by stealing seed grain and taking it to hell to keep crops from growing. If Theiss and the others didn’t fight to get the seed back, the crops would suffer, and so would other food stocks, including the fish catch.

Theiss claimed his werewolves were the hounds of God, doing the work of good against the evil witches. The judges were totally shocked by his claims… not of being a werewolf, but that being a werewolf wasn’t a bad thing. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get him to say that he’d signed a pact with the devil.

So they sentenced him to ten lashes (A slap on the wrist, really), and let him go about his business.


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

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Here there be dragons: Fafnir

Captioned as "The Death of Fafnir". ...

Siegfried kills the dragon Fafnir

Ah, if there’s trouble in the Norse legends, you can probably guess that Loki, the god of mischief is involved. We’ve already seen Loki connected to one dragon, and here’s another.

Ótr (aka Óttar, and a few other spellings) was a shapeshifter who could turn into, appropriately, an otter. Ótr just hung out most of the time, eating fish, but one day Loki wandered by and killed the otter for sport. The legend is pretty adamant that the whole thing was an accident.

What wasn’t an accident was that Ótr’s dad demanded an enormous fine for his son’s death, far more than Ótr’s life was legally worth. Specifically, he asked for Loki to fill the inside of Ótr’s skin with yellow gold, then cover the outside of the skin with red gold. When one inch of whisker still showed, he greedily insisted Loki cover that inch, too.

Loki did it with a smile because the only gold Loki had left was the cursed ring Andvarinaut, destined to bring disaster to anyone who possessed it.

Ótr had two brothers, Fafnir and Regin. They saw their dad’s gold and the curse made them crazy for it. Together they plotted to kill their dad, but Fafnir double-crossed Regin before Regin could double-cross him, and stole the gold.

The cursed gold transformed Fafnir into a dragon and he spent his days just laying on his treasure to guard it (Dragon who lays on gold… Cursed ring… Anyone getting a Tolkien vibe here? You should be. Tolkien’s inspiration for the Lord of the Rings partially came from Norse legend).

Regin, pissed off, hired Sigurd the great warrior to kill Fafnir and bring him the treasure, intending to kill Sigurd after. Armed with a magic sword, Sigurd did the job. But he got some of the dragon’s blood on his fingers, and for some reason Sigurd licked his fingers instead of using a Wet Nap. The blood enabled him to understand the language of birds. He heard from these birds that his employer planned to kill him.

Sigurd then killed Regin and took the gold himself (some hero). He gave the ring to his love, the valkyrie Brunnhilde. Things kind of get complicated after that and there’s no more dragons so I’ll stop here.

Here’s a hint: everyone dies. If you’re listening to Wagner, they do it while singing.

Demonspotting: Barbatos

Barbados and Barbatos are two different things. One is a pleasant warm, sunny Caribbean island. The

The seal of Barbatos

other is a demon. Don’t mix them up.

It might help to keep them separate to know that Barbatos only appears when the Sun is in Sagittarius, which is different than Barbados.

Originally, Barbatos was an angel of the order of virtues, and he still retains some of his virtuous qualities. Still, he rules thirty legions of demons, so that’s not too virtuous.

If you’d like to understand birdsong or what your dog is saying when it barks (though after my neighbours’ dog barking until well past midnight last night, I have to say I don’t personally care), Barbatos is the guy to ask. He speaks their language.


Barbatos’ resume also includes knowing the past and future and reconciling friends who’ve been fighting. I’m sure he also loves long walks on the beach and kicking back to enjoy a few Appletinis with friends.

Vampires we know and love #16: Palis: The foot-licking vampire

Think vampires are all the same? Think again! Vampires come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins ice cream. So, this special DotW feature, Vampires we know and love, spotlights different kinds of bloodsucking fiends from around the world.

Palis: The foot-licking vampire

Some vampires are just not sexy. The Palis is one of these. It has very close ties to the djinn, but it’s not about to pop out of a bottle and give you three wishes.

In Persian folklore, the Palis likes to sneak up on people sleeping in the desert at night and lick their feet until all the blood is sucked out.

There’s a well-known story about two savvy travelers who avoided this by sleeping with their feet touching. The Palis who came to snack on them wasn’t the brightest star in the sky, and had to give up, seeing his intended prey had two heads, and being unable to find the soles of any feet.

You can also keep the Palis away using salt. Guiley isn’t specific how, but I’m thinking that putting it on the soles of your feet might be a plan.

From a Persian Tea House: Travels in Old Iran
From a Persian Tea House: Travels in Old Iran
by Michael Carroll

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

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Breaking News: Romanian Witches Hex their Government Over Taxes

The Romanian government probably didn’t figure on supernatural forces raining down on them when they voted in their income tax bill.

Before the bill came into law on Jan 1, the professions of astrologer and fortune teller were not listed in the Romanian labor code (Neither were embalmer, valet and driving instructor).

No listing. No taxes.

No more.

Under the new law, they will have to pay 16% taxes like everyone else.

About a dozen witches plan to put a curse on the ruling party by hurling mandrake plants into the Danube.

This in a country where President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days because the color repels evil.

Check out more info here.



Breaking news: Ghost Census

San Ignacio Square

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever wished you lived in Medellin, Colombia? Probably not. Have you ever wished you were undead there?

Finally, someone is standing up for undead rights (rites?)! A Columbian man, fed up with the lack of data on Columbians of the spectral variety, is doing something about it.

Undertaker William Betancur has decided to do a survey of all the ghosts in his city. I say it’s high time. He’s collected info on 215 spirits so far, with video/photos of 23 of them.

If you know of any ghosts in Medellin, feel free to email Mr. Betancur at censofantasmas@hotmail.com. And yes, you can include videos and photos.

More info here.



Demonspotting: Bune/Bim

One of the lamens of Bune

Ah, a very cool demon, Bune/Bim shows up in the form of a three-headed dragon–one dog head, one gryphon (and here I reiterate that gryphons have eagle heads) and one human head. He speaks in a voice so melodious that even the Dead listen to him.

Bune can command the dead, Evil Dead style, so that you can command them, too. (Can I stress what a very bad idea that is?)

Another lamen of Bune

He can make you rich, wise, and eloquent. He’ll also answer any question you ask.


He has two lamens, that he must obey. The Goetia advises using the square one, not the curly one.