Here there be dragons: Kitch-at’husis vs weewilmekq: Battle of the North American water serpent thingies

Native American legends based in Maine tell the legend of two powerful shamans who met for a magical shape-shifting duel. When they met at the agreed time, one of them took the shape of the kitch-at’husis, a 40-foot long water serpent thingie with poisonous fangs.

The other shaman turned into a weewilmekq. He knew the only thing with a chance of beating the kitch-at’husis was the giant leech.

The leech won, sucking the life out of the dragon.

Demonspotting: Amon

In Hell, Amon is a Marquis, commanding forty legions of lesser demons.

The seal of Amon

When summoned, Amon can help you create feuds between your enemies, and can also reconcile people who have been fighting.

He shows up looking like a wolf with the tail of a snake. But you can also ask him to shift into the guise of a man with the head of a raven, if that’s what turns your crank. Or he can have a raven’s head with canine teeth. Your call.

He can also breathe fire.

This demon can give you secret insights into the past. He can also foresee the future (Though I can foresee your future, too, if you actually try to summon demons. Short life and long regrets).

Vampires we know and love #20: Tlahuelpuchi

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.

Tlahuelpuchi

The Mexican Tlahuelpuchi is a vampire, but it doesn’t rise from the dead–it’s one of the vampires that are born, not made. People who are Tlahuelpuchis are born cursed, with the ability to shift into many different animal forms, but for some reason with an affinity for becoming turkeys (talk about a curse). They aren’t born with intense craving for the blood of infants from 3-10 months old. That comes later, during puberty. They have to feed only once a month–and if they miss a meal, they die.

Tlahuelpuchi are overwhelmingly female, though there are some males. But that’s okay because it doesn’t take two Tlahuelpuchi to make a baby Tlahuelpuchi. It’s just one of those weird things that happens sometimes.

Once they identify their infant victim, a Tlahuelpuchi will turn into a pet (or a turkey) to stay close to the baby. Before they can enter the house, they have to perform a ritual by flying over the house, first from north to south, then east to west, forming a cross pattern. This unlocks the house for them, and they slip in to do their dirty work.

Signs that you might be dealing with a Tlahuelpuchi:
a) one of your household pets is giving off a phosphorescent glow
b) there’s a turkey flying over your house.

If you note either of these signs, haul out your onions and garlic and decorate the threshold of your house. Also, put an open pair of scissors near the baby’s crib. Tlahuelpuchi are scared of sharp metal.

To catch the Tlahuelpuchi–and I’m not making this up–take off your pants, turn a leg inside out and throw them at the vampire (I don’t think skirts work here). This will stun the Tlahuelpuchi (it would stun me, too), and then you can kill it. You can also tie knots in three corners of a white handkerchief and put a stone in it, with the same effect. A third alternative is putting your hat on the ground and driving a knife through it.

Apparently the pants thing works best.

Sources

Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry

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

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Hinzelmann the Kobold

In 1584, the inhabitants of the castle of Hudemuhlen began to hear strange noises. Knocking where they shouldn’t be any. Rattling.

And then the voice came. The servants would hear someone talking in a soft voice, like a young boy or a lady, then turn around to see who–and saw no one. Naturally, this freaked everyone out. And then they got used to it and started chatting back. The spirit revealed that he was a Kobold.

Eventually, the same thing happened to the master of the castle. He was a bit more freaked out. The spirit often played tricks on him. So he tried to escape it by riding to another one of his residences. What he didn’t notice was the white feather floating along after him. Once he got to his other house, the spirit started to laugh at him, saying that it could go anywhere he did.

So, the guy saddled up his horse and rode back to Hudemuhlen. After that, the Kobold was more friendly to him, though.

The spirit revealed that his name was Hinzelmann, and that he lived in the Bohemian mountains with others like him. He even had a wife named Hille Bingels. But he’d had a fight with his friends and decided to stay at Hudemuhlen for a while.

He earned his keep–a daily bowl of milk by one account, occasional dishes of bread soaked in milk by another–by contributing to the household chores. He scrubbed pots and cleaned the kitchen. He also kept the maids and servants company while they worked, encouraging them to do a good job–sometimes using a stick to get his point across. He also worked in the stables, grooming horses.

He worked so hard that the nobleman gave him his own room in the castle, complete with chair, table, and bed.

Hinzelmann liked to cause fights between drunken servants by hitting them at opportune moments, so they would think another servant did it. But his tricks were pretty mild. Even a Curé who tried to exorcise him only got dumped in a ditch.

Unfortunately, if Hinzelmann liked you, it could be as big a problem as if he didn’t. He liked Anne and Catherine, the sisters of the master of the castle very much, and frightened away all their suitors. They both died unmarried.

Hinzelmann had foreknowledge of the future, and would warn favoured folks of disaster. He once tried to warn a visitor by telling him not to fire his gun while hunting with the master that day. The visitor, an army colonel, ignored Hinzelmann. That day, while hunting, the man’s gun backfired, blowing off his thumb.

There are many more stories told of Hinzelmann, both good and mischievous. You can check them out here< http://books.google.ca/books?id=PgMMAAAAYAAJ&gt;: and here< http://books.google.ca/books?id=PMoFAAAAQAAJ&gt;.

In 1588, Hinzelmann left the house of his own will, and never returned. Today, the castle lies in ruins.

Sources

Thomas Keightley, The fairy mythology: illustrative of the romance and superstition of various countries, G. Bell & Sons, 1850

Donald Grant Mitchell, Fresh Gleanings; Or, A New Sheaf from the Old Fields of Continental Europe, Harper, 1847

Melville, Francis; The Book of Faeries: A Guide to the World of Elves, Pixies, Goblins, and Other Magic Spirits, 2002, Quarto Inc

Kobolds: The kind of spirit you want to invite home

A woman aided by a house kobold.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s rare that this blog features a helpful spirit–even if he’s a bit on the mischievous side. (And what’s the point of being a spirit if you don’t have a mischievous side, I ask you.) But the Kobold is a spirit you want to take home with you. To do your laundry.

Kobolds are house spirits, who love doing household chores, a real boon if you happen to live in Middle Ages Germany, where laundry day means first boiling the water. And making the soap yourself.

Kobolds can look like animals, humans, or they can be completely invisible forever. Though they’re beneficial when given their way, they don’t like people being too curious about them, and there are many bad stories about what happens when people try to see what a Kobold looks like against its will. In fact, all the Kobolds of Cologne, Germany, left the city because a tailor’s wife set a trap for one of them, to trip it so she could see it. Kobolds have also appeared as naked children with knives in their backs, and drowned babies.

Most sources say that Kobolds make their own decisions on choosing houses. If you come home and there are wood chips on the floor and cow dung in the milk, a Kobold might be testing to see if you’re a good master. Drink the milk and leave the chips, and the Kobold will stay. But Benjamin Thorpe said that you can take a bag into the forest between noon and one on June 24 and look for an anthill with a bird on it. If you say the right incantation, the bird turns into a person and jumps into the bag. Then you can carry it home.

Not only will the Kobold do the dishes, keep the floor clean, and keep unwanted pests away, it might also bring you food and gifts from unknown sources. It might turn out those unknown sources are your neighbours, though.

Don’t cross the Kobold. If it takes a dislike to you, it’ll make your life wretched. And it might take a spontaneous dislike to some of your guests. It’s just like that. If a Kobold decides it doesn’t like someone, it will play pranks on that person until they leave.

Never mock or disrespect the Kobold. See the previous paragraph. The Kobold expects to be fed at the same time, in the same place every day (though some only eat once a week). They enjoy grits, gruel, and bread soaked in milk.

Come back next week to hear about a famous Kobold from Hanover, Germany.

Sources

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

Donald Grant Mitchell, Fresh Gleanings; Or, A New Sheaf from the Old Fields of Continental Europe, Harper, 1847

Melville, Francis; The Book of Faeries: A Guide to the World of Elves, Pixies, Goblins, and Other Magic Spirits, 2002, Quarto Inc