Ekkekko: The happiness spirit of the Andes

Do you want prosperity and happiness? Ekkekko is the spirit to talk to in the Andes and South America. (And doesn’t fall into the demonic class, but it’s my blog and I’ll cheat if I want to.) A helpful spirit, Ekkekko is a small, bald guy who wears a natty poncho to cover his fat belly, and pointed hat.

What is it with helpful spirits and their pointy hats?

Ekkekko dispenses gifts to those who respect him. In some South American markets, you can find figures of the benevolent spirit that people buy and take home to their houses. You can also buy miniature models of the gifts you want from Ekkekko, and put it near the statue–just as a reminder, I guess.

For example, if you want that car you’ve got your eye on, buy a model of it and place it near the statue. But be careful–if you don’t respect Ekkekko, you’re not going to get what you wish for.

Some say that the little fairy was once a powerful god in his own right, now demoted to spirit by the advent of Christianity.

Sources

Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter; Dictionary of Ancient Deities, Oxford University Press US, 2001

Michelle Roehm McCann, Marianne Monson-Burton, David Hohn; Finding fairies: secrets for attracting little people from around the world, Council Oak Books, 2005

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The Greeks sure love their vampires, part 3: Keres

There are a lot of vampires in Greek folklore. In fact, where we have one name for undead creatures who inhabit corpses and suck the blood of the living, they have a crapload of them. I’ll feature one of them today, the Keres, who just love to steal corpses (although why they’d want to is beyond me).

Keres

I’m cheating here. Keres are not exactly vampires. What they are is spirits of the dead that escape from the jars that the Greeks used to use as coffins (I’m going to write something about Greek death rituals pretty soon. It’s interesting stuff).

Keres aren’t that interested in sucking blood–that’s the part that makes them not vampires. Technically, they’re ghouls. What they love to do is to steal corpses. Frankly, I don’t want to think about what the keres do with those dead bodies. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it’s not sunshine and rainbows.

Now just because keres are more interested in the arteries of the dearly departed doesn’t mean we should invite them into our homes with open arms. You see, keres spread disease faster than the most flea-bitten plague rat.

Luckily there is a preventative measure you can take that will keep keres out of your humble abode. Just paint tar or something equally sticky on the doorframe of the entrance to your house. If any keres tries to get in, they will get caught in the stickiness like one of those fly strips with disgusting dried fly corpses on it.

Sources

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

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley