Daimones, Spirits, Witches





I. Communicating with the Spirits.


"Discernment of Spirits"



"Contacts with the Other World"



"Divination, Shamanism"


II. Christian Demonology and Popular Mythology.


"Learned Daimonology"



"Exchanges between Concepts"



"Evil Magic and Daimones"


III. Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions.





"Legal Mechanisms"



"Witchcraft and Folklore"



Vol. I = Communicating with the Spirits. 2005.

1:2 pp. 40-52 Renata Mikolajczyk : "A Mediaeval Attempt at Explaining Daimones".

p. 44

According to the 13th-century Silesian Witelo, "demons ... may assume animal forms and have sex with women or enter dead bodies and move them as if they were alive. ...


He tells a story of a German woman who spoke ... in Legnitz (hometown of Witelo) in all sorts of languages she neither heard nor wrote before. He also recalls a testimony from Salzburg who reported several incubi et succubae seen and touched by many witnesses simultaneously."

p. 49


resultant colors of visions (phantasms)









white & yellow

2:1 pp. 155-192 Wolfgang Behringer : "How Waldenses Became Witches : Their Journey to the Other World".

p. 172

"From the Cathar village of Montaillou in the Pyrenees we hear ... the charming story of

a soul leaving the body in the form of a snake,

walking over a silvery bridge and

visiting a castle in a mountain."

p. 173

"Arnauld Ge’lis who got in contact with the deceased around 1312, with revenants, and could finally see the dead not only in his dreams, but while he was awake. ... Ge’lis served as courtier for the deceased, and he also received orders from the living before he went to the realm of the dead. This Waldensian worked as a communicator between the living and the dead, ... serving as a medium for clients who wanted to get into contact with the other world."

p. 174

"Ge’lis ... was continuing the craft of his cousin, and thus ... this ability was considered to be hereditary within his lineage. As he explained ..., his cousin had been able to walk with the dead, and sometimes she had gone with them for three or four days. And finally Ge’lis acquired the same ability. After a while he began to walk ... with the "good women and the souls of the deceased"".


"two women in Milan in 1384, and again in 1390, who had ... ecstatic experiences with the "good lady and her folk," and were therefore able to cure and to look into the future".

p. 175

"protocol ... of the typical Waldensian ... that two of the brothers had to go to Paradise every year, to receive the power of binding and resolving, which they could afterwards transmit to their followers."

p. 176

"The Waldensian masters’ journey to the other world, Paradise, to receive supernatural powers, authority and wisdom from an angel, or God himself, was even a question of public debate. Some credentes assumed, that they had to go there every seven years, others ... that it had to happen more frequently, for instance every year".

3:1 pp. 215-233 Christa Tuczay : "Trance Prophets and Diviners in the Middle Ages".

p. 223

"St. Hildegard, whose lifetime spans the twelfth century. Although uneducated, she was able to speak and interpret not only Latin but also entirely unknown languages. This was recorded, with an unknown alphabet of twenty-three letters. {23 is the # of consonantal phonemes in <ibri^}, in her manuscript Lingua Ignota. ... This ability was possessed by Elisabeth of Scho:nau (1129-1164)".

p. 224

"One saint with a particularly strong claim to the title of prophet[ess] was Catherine of Siena. In 1375 she prophesied ... a schism".


Vol. II = Christian Demonology and Popular Mythology. 2006.

1:2 pp. 45-53 Anna Kuznetsova : "A Wall of Bronze".

p. 48

"Paul the Anchorite ... went into the cave and was immediately surrounded by demons in all forms and shapes. ... On the eighth day "he ... hung a bag of saints’ relics at the east end of it." Then ... demons left the cave".

p. 49

"Isaac of the Kievan Caves ... had a vision ... fiends unveiled themselves, saying : "You are ours, Isaac, dance with us." ... Later he entered a strange way of behaviour, jurodstvo or holy folly, as a way to overcome demons. (For that he was given the title of the "first holy fool" in medieval Russia ... .)"

2:2 pp. 139-151 Wanda Wyporska : "The Devil in Early Modern Poland".

p. 143

"The devil ... had two horns (one on his neck, the other on his forehead) ... . {There are species of fish which have a single horn on the neck; and species of fish which have a single appendage on the forehead.} ... He might even be two-faced like Janus".

p. 144

"In Poste,pek [prawa czartowskiego ‘A Trial of Devilish Rights’ from 1570], we find mention of female devils, Dziewanna, Marzana, Wenda, Je,dza, Ossorya, Chorzyca, and Markana, who were sent specifically to Poland ... . ... . .

... Lewiathan, spends most of his time in Mazovia, whilst

a Ruthenian devil named Bies is portrayed, together with

his brother Dietko who splits his time between Moscow and Podole".

p. 146

"Rokita ... was a devil traditionally connected with the area of Le,czyca."

"Hanykowa’s Kuba ... was dressed fashionably in the German style."

p. 147

"Stach, a devil in the Polish style, dressed in green".

"a devil named Jarek, who wore green hose, a red hat and black boots".

"Jasiek was ... ‘young, in green dress and yellow boots, a lamb fleece hat’ ".

2:3 pp. 152-169 Jonas Liliequist : "Sexual Encounters with Spirits and Daimones in Early Modern Sweden".

p. 152

"In 1640, ... before the town ... of So:derko:ping ... he had sexual intercourse with a female water spirit several times over a period of years. The spirit was described as resembling a beautiful woman, except for the buttocks where she had a tail like a foal. This female spirit had visited him ... when he was out at sea fishing ..., referring to her as a water spirit (sjo:rao)".

p. 154

"the man admitted having an intimate relationship with a water ... nymph. He told them what they needed to do in order to exhort the spirit by hitting the water with a rod and

p. 155

saying "I exhort you, water nymph, to come to me in the name of trolls ... ." Proceeding to do this three evenings in a row, the water nymph finally appeared and climbed aboard the boat, ... granting them good luck in ... fishing. Thereafter they both had sexual intercourse with her for the first time."


"Medieval Swedish chronicles contain a story concerning a sexual encounter between Philmer Myckle, also called Vilkinius, the mythic third king of Go:taland, and a water nymph. ... Out at sea again, the woman appeared in the water, holding the royal ship by the stem until the king recognized her ... . ... (... The original version in Didrik’s saga of Bern ch. XVIII)."

p. 156

"One day ..., he lay down and fell asleep in the forest ... . Upon waking {dream of false awaking}, he found himself in a beautiful house when... a beautiful young woman suddenly appeared ... . To him she said, "If you are willing to ... consort with me in the forest, I will ... help you to hunt animals and birds whenever you want." [He] accepted her offer and from that point on, the forest nymph often visited him when he was in the forest." {a huntsman’s being assisted in hunting by a goddess encountered in his dreams is a common theme of Siberian shamanism, as, e.g., among the Yukaghir}

p. 158

"In 1691, ... a young servant ... had sexual relations with a female mountain spirit for six or seven years. The spirit appeared to him in the form of a beautiful woman".

p. 165

"the world of the witches’ Sabbath. The children were married at the Sabbath to brides and bridegroom who turned out to be ... farm animals –

heifers, sows, and bitches for the boys, and

oxen, boars, and rams for the girls.

Often these marriages had already been consummated, resulting in ... monstrous offspring. ... an adult male performed acts of bestiality on a nightly basis at the Sabbath in return for money".

p. 166

"the devil appeared to him and first buggered a cow and then enticed him to do the same. ... . ... the male water spirit – na:cken – was known to take on human shape when having sexual intercourse with cows".

2:4 pp. 170-180 Soili-Maria Olli : "Church Daimonology and Popular Beliefs in Early Modern Sweden".

p. 171

"the person who wanted to make a pact with the Devil should himself write a contract ..., sign it with his own blood and leave it in a church yard on a Thursday night. ...

p. 172

The pact was usually made for a time period of 20-30 years".

p. 173

"In popular beliefs the Devil was often considered to be a stronger power than God, more reliable, more helpful and in many fields more present in the daily life."

p. 174

[1734] "the Devil was stronger than god was, and if you prayed to God you only made of fool of yourself".


[1749] "... had even blessed the Devil and cursed God".


[1702] "as soon as he returned home he would start praying to the Devil again."


[1710] "had started to pray to the Devil as he had realized that God did not listen to his prayers".


[1739] "It will not help to pray to God, even a beggar has more influence ... than God. It is the Devil who decides".

p. 176

[1757] "he had stayed awake many nights at a row in order to be able to talk to the devil. He claimed ... that Satan was the only one who could help him".

3:3 pp. 202-212 L’upcho S. Risteski : "Categories of the "Evil Dead" in Macedonian Folk Religion".

p. 206

"it is believed that the deceased member of the community can turn into a vampire. ... . ... the vampire is invisible, or only a specific category of person can see it."

"They appear only at night, usually around midnight, the so-called gluvo doba. Their field of activity can be ... cemeteries or places where someone has died".

p. 207

"We have data about several cases where the vampire continued to have sexual contact with his wife, and as a result, the wife gave birth to a child".

p. 208

"In the Maleshevo region, the unbaptized dead children became naviatsi, naviak or naviache, and they were thought to move around in groups at night "crying" and "screaming." ... They look like birds, but they cannot be seen".

p. 210

"When there is a hailstorm, it comes with the dead, with the ones who have drowned." "At the same time, the drowned, or their souls can play a useful role ... when rain is needed. In time of drought, young girls from the villages take a stone from the grave of someone who has drowned and throw it in a well or water spring, ... to bring about the coming of rain."

3:4 pp. 213-220 Anna Plotnikova : "Balkan Daimones’ Protecting Places".

p. 214

"In Geek traditions stoikheia primarily meant a spirit of the waters, air, fire or ground."

p. 215

"Before scooping water from a spring, a well or river, Bulgarians put a coin or at least a thread of clothing there. ... In Eastern Bulgarian folk beliefs, big snakes called sinornici, mezhnici protect fields from hail".


"In the South Bulgarian, Macedonian and Southeast Serbian regions, certain trees are believed to be protected by female demons called samovili, iudi, ale, etc. ... People who stay or sleep under these trees will fall ill, and they can be cured only by acts of coaxing the demons."

p. 216

"in [Eastern] Serbia, in Western Bulgaria and Macedonia as well, ... the name of the demon-protector is zmej or zmaj (i.e., ‘good dragon’) and its adversary is an evil dragon {cf. Merlin’s witnessing a combat between an evil dragon and a good dragon}, ... called ... lamia or azhdaia."

p. 217

"However, in many parts of the Balkan Slavic areas beliefs and folklore stories about ... shadows or footprints immured in a new building are quite widespread ... . ... The builders usually measure somebody’s shadow or footprint with a red thread that they wall into the foundations of the building. ... a talasom – a night spirit ... lives in this building and protects its from intruders during the night. This demon may appear as a shadow in white clothes ... . At night the demon ... sings or plays on [a] musical instrument."

"In Bulgaria and Macedonia, treasure is also protected by demons called talasam or tolosum. ... in the Ohrid region the tolosum is thought to be a big snake (smok) with a big head. ... Once a year ... this demon appears as a fire at midnight. If someone wants to get access to the treasure, he must throw some clothes into the fire, and the next morning tracks will appear."

p. 214 "demons whose name appears as a phonetic modification of the Turkish word telsem, i.e. ‘talisman ...,’ which comes from the Greek word telesma ‘sacrifice’ (Bulgarian and Macedonian talasym, talasymin, ... Serbian talason). {is the name of /ToLoSa/ = /TouLouSe/ related?}

3:5 pp. 221-236 Vesna Petreska : "Daimones of Fate in Macedonian Folk Beliefs".

p. 221

"The demonic beings that designate the destiny at the birth of a child are known in Macedonia as narechnitsi, sudienitsi, urenici or rechenitsi.

p. 222

... They are females – three women, maidens or sisters – who normally cannot be seen ... . In some rare variants (e.g., in the Kumanovo area) their presence is shown by ... the stratki (spiders). They appear ... dressed in white clothes ... . It is believed that the narechnitsi live forever, and their home is somewhere at the end of the world."


"The youngest one starts the foretelling, then the middle one, but the crucial information is foretold by the third, the oldest narechnitsa. ... . ... .

... God ... has no influence over the things foretold by the narechnitsi, and neither do God’s saints. ... . ... God ... does not set the destiny of anyone, and he cannot influence the decisions of the narechnitsi or change their predictions."

"The place of appearance of the narechnitsi is ... the room where the child is ... . The time of their appearance is the third night, about midnight".

p. 224

"The belief ... is expressed in such proverbs as :

"Whatever the narechnitsi foretold you will come true " ...

"What is written by the narechnitsi cannot be unwritten"".

p. 225

names for the fate-goddesses in various languages :-












soenici / roenici



ursitoare / ursitele / ursoiare








"According to a legend in the Ohrid area, the narechnitsi are three women sitting in front of the fireplace and spinning the thread of life :

the first one spins on the spindle,

the second one with her hand while speaking, and

the third one cuts the thread with her scissors after the prediction."

3:7 pp. 250-264 A`gnes Birtalan : "Systematization of the Concept of Daimonic and Evil in Mongolian Folk Religion".

p. 257

"Muu shuwuu (Khal. ‘harmful bird’), is a spirit ... especially harmful for lonely hunters, travellers. She originates by a special case of transformation of ... a soul of a woman into it."

"the teyireng

p. 258

(Mong.) demon, which is of Tibetan origin (from Tib. Theu-rang), is of human shape with one leg and ... causes sickness. This type of spirit belongs to the underworld and is the messenger type, sent by the lord of the underworld."


Vol. III = Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions. 2008.

1:3 pp. 50-82 Ga`bor Klaniczay : "Learned Systems and Popular Narratives of Vision and Bewitchment".

p. 69

Kolozsva`r (Cluj, Transylvania) : witches assumed the forms of hounds, subsequently changing into swine "from the mouth of which flames came forth".


Ho`dmezo``va`sa`rhely in 1739 : "the witch came to him in green female dress during the night, she ... pushed a bridle into his mouth and changed him instantly to a yellow-haired horse with a saddle on his back, and so she rode on the back of the [horse] to Mount Saint Gelle’rt where an innumerable army was gathered ..., and they diverted themselves with many kinds of music". {was this a dream?}

"witches sometimes take up the shape of the wife of the

p. 70

husband ... and thus rape ... them (1612 ...), other victims ... having been raped by the witch coming upon them in the form of a horse" or an ox.

p. 71

Csorna in 1733 : "she suddenly lost her sight. Soon ... [a company of witches] came forth by the sound of drums and trumpets ... to the stream called Keszege`r where they took a bath. ... After the bathing there came [a] huge whirlwind and it took them to the top of a high mountain and there ... they would throw her down from the ridge ... . ... .

... Do not believe in the black scripture [i.e. the Bible], for hell is also totally black

pp. 71-2

but do believe in the red and yellow scripture {cf. Taoist "red and yellow paper charms" (ChRSP, p. 134, fn. c)} ... because Paradise is also red and yellow". {cf. "the techniques of red and yellow in the bedroom" ("OLS", p. 47)}

ChRSP = Clifford H. Plopper : Chinese Religion Seen through the Proverb. 2nd edn, Shanghai, 1935.

"OLS" = John Lagerwey : "The Old Lord’s Scripture for the Chanting of the Commandments". In :- Florian C. Reiter (ed.) : Purposes, Means and Convictions in Daoism. Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2007. pp. 29-56

1:4 pp. 83-98 Adelina Angusheva : "Late Mediaeval Witch Mythologies in the Balkans".

p. 94, n. 1:4:7

"There was a sixteenth-century Russian heretical sect that worshipped St. Paraskeve (Friday) and St. Anastasia forbade manual work on Wednesdays and Fridays."

p. 94, n. 1:4:8

"St. Paraskeve (Petka/Piatnica in the Slavic version) ... replaced the pagan female deity believed to "govern" Friday and was widely celebrated as a saint protector of women and of the eyes. women ... believed they could be struck with blindness were they to spin on Fridays."

p. 86

Pagan holidays included : "March Saturdays and Thursdays, Wolves feasts, Rusalii, and Goreshtnitsi ..., as well as a prohibition on women spinning on Fridays and Tuesdays."

3:1 pp. 255-268 Francisco Vaz da Silva : "Extraordinary Children, Werewolves, and Witches in Portuguese Folk Tradition".

p. 259

"Furthermore, a Portuguese tale translates ... that the surplus brother and sister be sent away to a given mountain. There the children meet an ogress who attempts to kill and cook them, but they throw her into the heated oven where the ogress’s eyes turn into two dogs that will help the body slay a seven-headed serpent ... . Other Portuguese oral versions have the lastborn -- ... a seventh child named Finger – defeat a werewolf, from whom he obtains riches ... . ... another German variant presents a wolf in the same "involuntary donor" role, and French versions feature a ... werewolf ... .

p. 260

[The Danish] version implies that the whole adventure happens in the world of the dead whence the children return, as also happens in the French tradition, by crossing the classic stretch of water".


"In Northern Portugal, it was usual for women wishing to become pregnant ... to have the first person appearing after midnight on a certain bridge – allegedly built by the devil".

p. 263

"[French] Me’lusine ... endlessly haunts wells ... even after disappearing as a winged dragon ..., and

p. 264

Arie, the goose-footed fairy ... often turns into a "fairy-serpent"".

"[Portuguese] Witches likewise haunt places with water, ... in the shape of ducks ..., and fairies in tales assume the shape of birds in watery places".

3:2 pp. 269-282 U:lo Valk : "Reflections of Folk Beliefs and Legends ... of Estonia".

p. 272

[Karkel in 1640] "the witches’ party at the blue hill"

p. 273

[Tallinn in 1615] "two women ... were werewolves and had participated in the witches’ gatherings on the hill three times a year".

p. 274

[Karksi in 1640] "he had seen the Devil sitting on a tree top ... .The Devil was dressed in blue clothes".


[Pa:rnu in 1641] "he and many others had gathered in the marsh of Ro:hma. The Devil had come to meet him in bright blue clothes".


[1651] "when he had whistled, the Devil had appeared by the brook coming out of a mouse hole."

p. 277

[Tartu in 1619] "the witches had gathered on a hill near Tartu. About fifty people came together to consult how to take good luck ... and distribute it."


[Tartu in 1619] "the witches’ Sabbath ... on the blue hill near Uniku:la ... . Uniku:la can be a real place name ... but the explicit translation would be "a dream village." About a thousand witches gathered there ... . ... The witches were convened by ... who blew on a copper horn. He ... taught him to run around as a werewolf."

p. 278

[Tallinn in 1615] "he had taken part in the parties of the witches. A party ... was arranged near the stone at Laksberg ... . He went there ... and ... met the head of the witches called "Humphrey," who ... was in a beautiful blue robe, which had a big collar. A large company [which] gathered there drank from gold and silver cups and danced to the accompaniment of a bagpipe".


DEMONS, SPIRITS, WITCHES Series, edited by Ga`bor Klaniczay & E`va Po`cs. Central European University Press (CEU Pr), Budapest.