Jon Watkins Fails Demonology: Goetia Catch ‘Em All

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If you missed the first post in the series or need refreshing, this is the result of my mingled amusement and annoyance that a list of demons and malevolent deities from world mythology (originating in Leonard R. N. Ashley’s Complete Book of Devils and Demons) had fallen into the hands of multiple fundamentalist Christians, one of whom – Jon Watkins – had added his own bizarrely distorted descriptions of the demons. My first effort at clearing up Watkins’ mess covered Abaddon through to Cresil, so here’s another batch…

Dagon – Known as the prince of depths, he is a demon who lives among the swamps of hell tormenting the people who have been placed there.

Dagon is mentioned in the Old Testament as a god worshipped by the Philistines; archaeological evidence shows that he was also revered in Mesopotamia. For a long period historians interpreted him as a fish god; this conclusion has been in question since the early twentieth century, but persists in popular culture partly because H. P. Lovecraft adopted the name Dagon for a sea-dwelling monster in his fiction. Watkins’ description seems to be the result of him taking Dagon’s dubious aquatic association and running with it.

Eblis – A demon who is known as the great grandfather of Azeral, his name means despair. He is a Persian version of Satan.

Eblis or Iblis is a figure in the Quran and can loosely be described as the Islamic counterpart to Satan. The etymology of his name is disputed, but one theory connects it to the Arabic word for despair – so Watkins is partly right here. However, the name is not Persian in origin, and I know if no tradition that regards Eblis as the great grandfather of the archangel Azrael.

Elathan – Considered a Celtic lord of darkness, he is an Irish demon who appears at night on a silver boat. He is said to have blonde/yellow hair , appear as a young man being dressed in gold.

I had to rub my eyes in disbelief here: an entry where Watkins doesn’t make a mistake! Elathan or Elatha is one of the Fomorians of Irish legend, and the above description is broadly accurate.

Erebus – Also known as Erebos, he is a Greek demon who protects the darkness of Hell. He is said to have been born from chaos & spreads darkness where every he goes. Also known as “Er Mo” and “Emo”.

According to Hesiod, Erebus was (along with Nyx, the god of night) the offspring of the primordial being Chaos. Outside of his genealogy, there is little remaining mythology for Erebus, although he is generally taken to represent darkness – particularly the darkness of the underworld. According to Ashley’s book, Er Mo is the name of a demon in Chinese mythology; Watkins is again conflating figures from totally different cultures based on no more than their names sharing a syllable. I’m not sure where the name Emo comes from – is Watkins blaming Erebus for the emo subculture…?

Eurynomus – A zombie like demon who liked to feed on the dead. Identified as and with Hades. Also known as Ibwa

Eurynomus is an obscure Greek mythological figure who is mentioned in one surviving classical text – written by the geographer Pausanias, describing Polygnotos’ painting of Hades – in which he is said to be “of a colour between blue and black, like that of meat flies” and devour the flesh of corpses, leaving only bones. Watkins conflates him with Ibwa (in the original list, the two demons had separate entities) who, according to Marjorie Leech’s Guide to the Gods, is a being of Filipino folklore who likewise feeds on corpses. Apparently, this one aspect in common was enough to persuade Watkins that these two folkloric beings, from two very different cultures, were the same entity.

Furfur – A sorcery demon of hell. He is known for being a liar and well crafted in magic. Many cultured worshiped him as he was said to bring “love” between a man & a woman. Modern name is “Cupid”; the god of love.

Another Goetic demon. Wier and Mathers state that he has the power to create love between men and women; from here, Watkins makes the logical leap to claim that Furfur was worshipped as a love god across multiple cultures. Cupid, of course, is an ancient Roman deity, references to whom predate any recorded mention of Furfur.

Geryon – A giant demon with the face of a human, said to guard the gates of Hell. He has vast appearances, some where he has wings, some where he has more then two legs (like a sentar).

Geryon is a figure from Greek mythology; physical descriptions vary, but wings and additional legs are indeed attributes associated with him. Watkins’ comparison between Geryon and a centaur (or “sentar” as he spells it) implies, wrongly, that Geryon is part horse. I know of no tradition placing him as the guardian of the underworld – Watkins is possibly conflating him with Cerberus (Geryon owned a two-headed dog named Orthrus, which may be the source of the confusion).

Grand Bois – His name meaning “big woods”, he is a demon from Haiti who rules and masters over the forest at nightfall. Viewed as a “night owl” or demon of the night.

I’m not closely familiar with the Vodou pantheon, but from what I can gather, Grand Bois is indeed the name of a loa associated with nature. I’m unsure if he has any particular association with the night, however.

Guaricana – A demon who is honored by beating men until they flow with blood.

Here, I’ll just quote a 1946 edition of the Handbook of South American Indians: “The Yurimagua celebrated a cult reminiscent of the ‘Yurupary feasts’ in the Tucano and Arawakan tribes of the Caiary-Uaupés. It centered around a spirit called Guaricana, whom they worshiped in a special hut barred to women and children. During the ceremony, they played a big ‘flute’ (probably the Yurupary trumpet) and the spirit—actually an old man—whipped the youths with a lash of manatee hide, to make them strong.”

Hecate – Known as the “Queen of the Witches”, she is a demon who seduces men into marriage then gets pregnant on her own terms, so the child she bares will appear human but be a demon on the inside. She is a form of Succubus. A master of deception, she feeds on lust of men (and women as well).

Ah, Hecate. The Greek goddess associated with (amongst other things) witchcraft who survived to enter folklore of the Christian era, even getting a cameo in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and eventually became recognised in Neopaganism. The complex nature of her history means that there are many conflicting descriptions about her; I’m not sure where Watkins’ description of her as a mother of demon-human hybrids comes from. His claim that Hecate “seduces men into marriage then gets pregnant on her own terms” does look rather like another example of him projecting his own hang-ups.

Herensugue – An evil snake-like demon who bares multiple heads.

This is a being from Basque folklore. My knowledge of the subject is limited, but from what I can gather, this appears to be an accurate description.

Ikwaokinyapippilele – A demon who causes illnesses through the body. He is a nocturnal demon often attacking people at night. He is a mast of headaches (with no known cause).

This is a figure in the folklore of the Cuna people of Panama. The claim that he causes headaches can be found in Leonard Ashley’s book, although Clyde E. Keeler (in Land of the Moon-Children and Secrets of the Cuna Earthmother) identifies him as a marksman who fights against demons of disease.

Incubus – a demon in male form who, lies upon sleepers, especially women, in order to have sexual intercourse with them. Counter part is Succubus the female demon.

Watkins has actually got this right. Well, you know what they say about stopped clocks.

Inmai – A demon from Myanmar who lives upon a post in front of houses. He causes injuries to people using thorns. He is not able to move from his post once he is bidden to it until he is unbound.

Aside from Leonard Ashley, and sources derived from Leonard Ashley, I can find no references to this figure.

Irvene – Known as a demon-dog, this demon is often viewed as a werewolf stalking victims at night. Also referred to as a “ hell hound”. Known for shape shifting from a human by day, to a dog/wolf beat by night.

Apparently this is a being from the folklore of the Guanche people and is mentioned in Earnest Hooton’s 1925 book The Ancient Inhabitants of the Canary Islands, which I haven’t read. I can’t find enough citations to confirm how accurate Watkins’ description is.

Itzcoliuhqui – A demon god of the Aztecs who was banished to the underworld where he devoured on souls. His name means “destruction”.

Just when I’m prepared to give Watkins a back-pat for a string of entries with a below-average number of mistakes he goes and drops this, where he gets the culture right but screws up everything else. Itzcoliuhqui or Itztlacoliuhqui is an Aztec god of frost who was born when the first light from Venus fell into the underworld. His name is generally translated as “carved obsidian blade”, although J. Richard Andrews in his Introdution to Classical Nahuatl proposes that the god’s name is actually a reference to coldness and frost – either way, it doesn’t mean “destruction”.

Jahi – A female demon who is known for her sexual hunger & looseness. She is believed to be part of the curse of the menstrual cycle (why women bleed).

This is an accurate description of Jahi, a demoness from Zoroastrian tradition. Another stopped clock moment for Jon Watkins.

Jezebeth – Known as the demon of falsehoods, she preys on weakness & angry of humans. She will often find an angry person and once they give into their anger, she will add fire to the flame.

I’ve come across a number of references to a demon of falsehoods named Jezebeth, but none that predate the 1990s. She’s clearly a corruption – and possibly a modern one – of the Biblical character Jezebel, a mortal queen who became a traditional symbol of false prophets.

Jilaiya – A demon that flies like a bat at night to suck on people’s blood. Also known as a a variation of a “vampire”. Sleeping in a dark area during the day, waking at nightfal

Jilaiya turns up in the 1894 book An Introduction to the Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India by William Cooke. But Cooke says the spirit takes on the form of a bird – I suspect that the bat connection is the result of confusion with western vampire fiction.

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