Jon Watkins Fails Demonology: Xaphan-al Countdown

Leonard Ashley assembled a list of demons from world religion and folklore; fundamnetalist crank Jon Watkins adapted the list tosuit his own strange delusions; and I had the job of clearing up the mess. Now, for those of you who’ve made your ways through the the firstsecondthird and fourth parts, here’s the final instalment. I’ll admit, though, at this point I’m writing for the sake of completion more than anything else. The real gems — like Watkins’ theory of Crest Toothpaste being demonic — have been covered, although there are still a few demonology howlers left.

Sakarabru – Known as the “night bringer”, he is a demon from/of Africa.

A 1967 edition of the Journal of African Folklore states that “among the Agni, a tribe of Guinea and Senegal, egg shells are associated with Sakarabru — the demon of darkness”. Beyond this, I’ve found few solid citations for Sakarabru. Watkins’ description is reasonably accurate, aside from his characteristic indifference as to exactly where in Africa this figure originates.

Satanael – A demon who has many believing to be the first son of God. He is an expert in deception and lies.

This is clearly a reference to the medieval Bogomil sect, which reportedly believed considered Saranael (an alternative name of Satan) to be God’s eldest son. Not only is Watkins apparently unaware that Satan and Satanael are the same, he’s clearly under the impression that “many” are Bogomils today.

Set – An evil demon god of nightfall in Ancient Egypt; (Seth is known as the god of the underworld in A.E.)

Oh, come on. Even with all the readily-available reference materials about Egyptian mythology in the world today at his disposal, Watkins still drops the ball. The Egyptian god of the underworld was Osiris, Set’s brother — Set was associated with storms and deserts.

Shabriri – A demon who waists on resting water at night, waiting for someone to come and drink the water. Shabriri means “dazzling glare” and is known for causing blindness.

Shabriri is a demon mentioned in the Talmud, and in a shocking twist, Watkins provides an accurate description.

Sonneillon – A demon of hatred & anger, he longs for revenge.

This demon comes from Sebastien Michaelis’ Admirable History, from 1613., which identifies him as a Throne responsible for tempting men to hatred.

Succorbenoth – Is known as the demon of jealousy, want & unthankfulness.

Succorbenoth or Succor-Benoth is a figure cited in the Old Testament as  false deity. He later made it into a hierarchy of demons described by the French writer Alexis-Vincent Charles Berbiguier de Terre-Neuve du Thym; this hierarchy later made it into English-language works including Robert Chamber’s Book of Days (1864) and Arthur Edward Waite’s Book of Black Magic and Pacts (1910). The hierarchy in question identifies Succor-Benoth as the demon of jealousy and chief of eunuchs.

Succubus – is a female demon that appears in dreams and takes the form of a woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual activity. The male counterpart is the incubus. Religious traditions hold that repeated sexual activity with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death.

I don’t think this particular entity needs much in the way of introduction.

Tando Ashanti – A demon who desires sacrifices in the numbers of 7 men & seven women.

I haven’t been able to find out where this figure originates. Theresa Bane’s Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures lists him amongst the “298 demons mentioned in traditional grimoires, hierarchies, and research books that other than having a name, have no other additional information known about them” but doesn’t identify which text mentions him. Watkins’ description of Tando Ashanti receiving sacrifices of seven men and seven women makes me wonder if he’s confusing this obscure figure with the Minotaur.

Tezcatlípoca – He is the Aztec god of magic. His names [sic] means “enemy”. He is a master of deceiving the eye.

No, Tezcatlipoca’s name doesn’t mean “enemy”, it means “smoking mirror”, although he was indeed associated with various forms of magic. Watkins’ accusation that Tezcatlipoca “is a master of deceiving the eye” is possibly a garbled reference to the practice of using mirrors in divination.

Tlacatecolototl – A demon who’s name means “rational owl”, he is considered a god of evil doings & nightfall.

This is a corruption of Tlacatecolotl, a figure in Aztec myth. From what I understand his name translates literally as “man owl”, although I’ve seen a number of sources — particularly from the nineteenth century — that translate his name as “rational owl”. The impression I get is that Tlacatecolotl is a complex figure who was oversimplified by early European texts as the Aztec Devil.

Xa-Mul – A reptile like demon who swallows people whole. He is known for causing pain to the body using his teeth.

Xa-Mul is a demon from Filipino folklore (and, as an aside, turns up in the anime series Trese). The few scattered references I’ve found indicate that he is indeed associated with swallowing people, although the description of him as reptilian may be Watkins’ own interpolation.

Xaphan – One of the many original fallen angels, he is a demon who keeps the fires of Hell hot.

As far as I can tell, the earliest reference to Xaphan is in Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (1818). Watkins’ description is derived ultimately from de Plancy’s.

Xic – Also known as Xibalba, he is a demon who brings sudden death. His name means “place of fear”.

Finally, we end the list with this mangling of Mayan mythology. Xic (whose name means “wing”) is a demon who, alongside his partner Patan (“Packstrap”), is associated with sudden death while travelling. Xibalba (“place of fear”) is not an alternative name for Xic — it’s the Mayan underworld, where Xic and other demons of death reside.

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