Share the Lore!
By: Alex Postrado
Can You Escape the Clutches of a Sexy Demon?
After all, be it in art, literature, and film, that image has been cemented in most of our history. It’s only in recent years when mainstream media successfully started depicting them as sexy, hot-as-hell-beings 一 pun intended 一 as seen with the rise of the TV series Supernatural and Lucifer.
However, that’s not the case for the Succubus.
So, what is a Succubus 一 or Succubi, if there’s more than one of them? And what do we know about these enticing, yet cunning spiritual entities?
What is a Succubus or Incubus?
Most people know about it as “a demon, assuming female form to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep”.
Some sources say that these nightmare invading fiends generally vary in appearance. But, in most instances, they’re described as voluptuous and extremely attractive women with curled horns, tails, fangs, bat-like wings, and glowing eyes.
A bewitching view, in simpler terms.
But, to really understand what this supernatural being is, we have to travel back to where it all started.
You see, the term succubus dates way back to the late 14th century. It is derived from Medieval Latin succuba or paramour, which originated from the Latin “succubare” 一 meaning, to lie under.
Though these fiends are commonly referred to as the female counterpart of the incubus, which is a demon that lies on top of women in their sleep, based on the word’s history, itself, we can simply deduce that these legends have never been inherently female.
They just happened to be the demons that lie under their prey.
Nevertheless, most accounts depict them as a “beautiful woman”, that feeds off of the souls of men by luring them through sexual activity.
Be that as it may, it also has a weakness. And that is death.
Succubi are said to be mortals like us, so they basically can be killed either through decapitation or by ripping their hearts from their chests.
Haunting poor men through erotic dreams, the fiends are said to not only suck the life out of them but also collect their seed in the process. These seeds will then be used by an incubus to impregnate human females.
For quite a long time, people have used this supposed supernatural conception to explain deformities in newborns.
It’s a pretty messed up thing to say to a baby, but if truth be told, history could sometimes be messed up like that.
So, what else does history tell us about these creatures?
The Origins of the Nightmare
For early Christian and Jewish people, it all started with Lilith.
She was Adam’s first wife. But, according to medieval folklore, she became a succubus soon after mating with the archangel Samael and leaving the Garden of Eden.
Over time, Lilith became almost synonymous with the word succubus. And she continually appeared as a man-seducing demon in ensuing works of art and fiction, including the famed Aleister Crowley’s De Arte Magica.
But, here’s what’s more interesting!
Did you know that the belief that demons could indeed have sex with human beings does not only come from Christian and Jewish lore of the Middle Ages?
A proof of this could be found in Arabian mythology, where a succubus-like entity 一 known as the qarînah 一 also sleeps with young males.
Japan’s Kawahime also closely resembles a succubus. According to the legend 一 originating from Fukuoka Prefecture, Kawahime would similarly seduce naive men to “get all their vigor removed from their body“.
Having said that, you might think that all these stories are now part of the past. That guided by science, people are now more skeptical about lore and myths.
But, if so, you’re mistaken.
In a 1470 book by Giordano da Bergamo, called Quaestio de strigis, he cites a man’s experience with what they believed to be a succubus, who revealed himself after their sexual encounter, saying, “Look what you’ve done! I’m not a girl or a woman, in fact, but the Devil!”
Another claim on the existence of the monster was that of Pope Sylvester II’s experience.
Perhaps the most popular rumored victim of a succubus, the former Pope was even once said to be in love and in a long-term relationship with a demon called Meridiana.
But, what is the truth behind these cunning demons?
Do the Nightmare Invading Fiends Exist?
According to science, the short answer is no. Sure, there are cultural references, as well as testimonies circling around the matter for hundreds 一 even thousands of years. But, in the field of science and medicine, these manifestations can all be explained.
Encounters with a succubus can be translated into a wide range of reasons, including sleep paralysis, hallucinations, nocturnal emissions 一 commonly known as wet dreams, and even schizophrenia.
In fact, there is a case report on this, pertaining to an 18-year-old male who had been experiencing delusions of having sexual intercourse with a good-looking woman, against his will.
While exposure to religion, as well as the influence of culture, is what arguably birthed the she-devil, as far as science is concerned, alleged brushes with this supernatural creature remain explicable.
At least, for now.
So, what now?
Pop Culture and Feminist Icon
Over the years, depictions of the succubus graced the big screens and general entertainment, alike.
Appearing in the works of the King of Horror, himself, Stephen King, as well as in numerous video games 一 such as the Darkstalkers and the World of Warcraft, these demonic nightmares continue to enthrall generation after generation.
I mean, who doesn’t know about the 2009 cult classic Jennifer’s Body?
Back when it was released, critics and moviegoers saw it as a lackluster, box-office bomb. The Chicago Tribune even called it a “gruesome paint-by-bloody-numbers succubus story.”
But, it was neither the screenplay nor Megan Fox’s take on the titular Jennifer that’s to blame for the fall of the film.
Rather, it was us, who failed to see what it was all about.
The succubus wasn’t just reborn in that movie. The horror-comedy flick was also a sharp yet artful perusal of what is still happening in our society.
We have 一 and always had 一 a tendency to demonize women.
From Lilith to Jennifer, we have a long history of being uncomfortable about the thought of women having power or refusing to submit to men in authority.
Lilith left Adam to do what she wanted and this rebellion is what began to paint her as terrifying.
It was a common thing with early myths and legends, but it appears as if the world is much more ready to face this now.
Jennifer’s Body is finally getting the respect it deserves after years of retrospection.
And now, this legend can live on in your mind from a new perspective.
A perspective that pays tribute to its origin.
And one that would live on for ages to come.
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