I is for Incubus
An Incubus is a male demon that comes upon a woman when they’re asleep and has intercourse with them, usually with the purpose of trying to impregnate her with his child. According to religious beliefs, continued visits by an incubus lead to the deterioration of one’s health and eventually death. It also corrupts both the moral and mental aspects of the female.
These nighttime visitors were the embodiments of sexual seduction during the medieval times. They were often used to explain pregnancies out of wedlock as well as rape inflicted on the sleeping woman by someone close to the victim. The latter used it as a way to escape punishment for their actions.
The most well-known offspring of an incubus and woman, known as a cambion, is Merlin the powerful wizard from Arthurian legend. Cambion typically grown up to be powerful magic users or evildoers.
- The word incubus comes from the Latin “incubus,” which means “nightmare.”
- Some consider succubi and incubi to be a single demon capable of lying with both genders, while others declare that they are two separate entities.
- The earliest mention of incubi and succubi are from 2400 BC in ancient Mesopotamian manuscript Sumerian King List. The hero Gilgamesh’s father is a “Lilu,” which shares the same attributes as an incubus in that they both seduce women while they sleep.
I've read about these, and it's dicomforting to think that stuff like this might acutually happen. 🙂 Enlightening tid bits!
Very interesting! I didn't know that Merlin was the offspring of an incubus.
Also, the reference to Lilu is interesting. It reminds me of the Bruce Willis movie, "The Fifth Element," in which Milla Jojovich's character (the 5th element) was named Lilu. I wonder if that was intentional or accidental.
This is the second post I've read today about the Incubus, but I think yours is more helpful.
Visiting from the A to Z Challenge.
This is a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at blog.sarahmakela.com.
Can I use part of the information from this post right above if I give a link back to this site?
I guess incubi are on a continuum with old hag syndrome and sleep paralysis. There is a good documentary about this phenomenon floating around on YouTube. The people who have incubus experiences are obviously shaken and traumatized by it. It is genuinely creepy. Thanks for sharing!
WOW! This was really informative and fascinating! Great post.
Didn't know the lore behind the demon. Fascinating! Seems like these beasties may have been dreamed up to account for out-of-wedlock pregnancies and rape.
Thanks everyone for the great comments!
J.L., I agree. It is discomforting, especially when there's a scientific/medical explanation (sleep paralysis), which I forgot to mention. lol Thanks for stopping by!
Mara, thanks! Yeah, I knew about that but not that there was a specific name for the offspring of one. I looked up "The Fifth Element" and couldn't really find anything on that connection. The character from the movie is actually Leeloo. Very intriguing though!
Karen, thanks for stopping by! I'm really glad you liked my post. =)
Charlie, sure. Go ahead. Could you send me the link afterward? Thanks.
Elizabeth, ah ha! I totally forgot to mention the sleep paralysis part! I knew I missed something. Thanks for stopping by. I'll totally have to check out the documentary.
Alison, thanks! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. =)
Marsha, yeah, they're very interesting. I love learning about the lore behind creatures. I agree that they probably became an easy way to explain those things. There's also sleep paralysis though, so that probably also played a role in how they came about.
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