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Professor Paul

European Myth & Legend

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Black Dogs






Ghostly animals are not uncommon but some of the most bizarre and intriguing reports are of demon type dogs and other animals seen deep with in the British countryside, they are spotted on misty moonlit moors, deep dark forests and even in lonely grave yards. A common character of these creatures of ghostly animals are that they are dark in appearance and have red or orange and sometimes green glowing eyes, its also said that anyone seeing these phantom hounds especially if they look directly into their fiery eyes their death will soon follow.

Reports of sightings of these dogs are spotted all over the UK mainly over moors such as the Pennines and flat lands of the southern west country. Another common report is these beasts travel using water ways such as canals and river or streams, some suggest that these dogs and other demonic type beings use ley lines to travel about, whether or not this is true is anyone?s guess.


Their howls and growls have been heard by people living alone in country cottages with no one else about for miles, this must have been a very frightening experience for anyone especially in the times before telephones. Many people that live in these remote country places had said you can look out over the moors and see shadowy figures moving about in the moonlight which resemble animals on four legs and again the red fiery eyes are always reported.


Its said the Vikings brought them to the British isles and sometimes they are seen headless but yet the eyes can still be seen burning away where the head is supposed to be.


Its also said that the Celts believed that they where spirits of the underworld looking for human souls to devour


Names for these phantom hounds differ in different parts of the country, old shuck is a very common name given to sightings in East Anglia and Norfolk??? Black shuck is common more up north a little such as in Yorkshire, there are many other names around the UK such as Wish Hound, Barguest, the grim, hairy jack etc.....


There are reports that these hounds have killed people in Blythburgh, another black dog reputedly appeared in the church and struck three people dead as they prayed and left scorch marks on the church door.

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The Owlman of Mawnan




In the year of 1976, two young girls claimed to have seen a giant owl, hovering over the local church tower, on April 17, as did two other young girls in the same year, their encounter being on July 17. Specifically, as to the second encounter, Sally Chapman, age 14, was camping with a friend (identified only as Barbara) in some woods near the church, when, according to her account, as she stood outside her tent, she heard a hissing sound and turned to see a figure that looked like an owl as big as a man with pointed ears and red eyes. When the two girls saw this figure, they burst out laughing, believing it to be a person in disguise, leading to what the girls reported as the creature flying up into the air, revealing black pincer-like claws. Sightings of this figure continued to be reported, on the following day and on one occasion two years later, in 1978, all within the vicinity of the church.



Speculation on the Owlman's nature

In Alien Animals (1985), British paranormal researchers Janet and Colin Bord pointed out that Mawnan church is built in the middle of a prehistoric earthwork. They suggest that the church may be built on a ley line (a straight line that passes through and links several ancient sites), and speculate that the appearance of the Owlman may be a manifestation of earth energy in this place.


A more straightforward explanation may be that the Owlman sightings were of an escaped eagle owl (Bubo bubo), a species that can grow more than two feet long, with a wingspan of nearly six feet.


Perhaps the most comprehensive study into the Owlman was undertaken by Jonathan Downes, the founder of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, (the worlds largest cryptozoological organisation) in his book 'The Owlman and Others'(1997).

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The werewolf




A werewolf in folklore and mythology is a person who changes into a wolf, either by purposefully using magic or by being placed under a curse. The medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury associated the transformation with the appearance of the full moon, but this concept was rarely associated with the werewolf until the idea was picked up by modern fiction writers. Most modern references agree that a werewolf can be killed if shot by a silver bullet, although this is more a reflection of fiction's influence than an authentic feature of the folk legends


The name is thought most likely to derive from the Proto-Indo-European roots *wi-ro-, "man" (c.f. Latin Vir, German: we(h)r, we(h)ren (Abwehr, Feuerwehr, Bundeswehr: group of men engaged in defense) Old Prussian: wirs: meaning men and Old English wer (or were) Old Norse var and *wlkwo- or wulf, "wolf". The compound thus yields man-wolf. An alternative etymology looks to Old English weri (to wear) plus "wolf", thus bearing wearer of the wolf skin.


Other sources believe it is derived from warg-wolf, where "warg" (or later "werg" and "wero") is cognate with Norse "varg" meaning murderer or predator and as "vargulf" means the kind of wolf that slaughters many of a flock or herd but eats only a bit. This was a serious problem for herders as they had to somehow destroy the individual wolf that had run mad before it destroyed their entire flock or herd. "Warg" by itself was used in Old English for that specific kind of wolf (see J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit) and it was used as well for what would now be called a serial killer.


The Greek term Lycanthropy (a compound of which the first part derives from the same Proto-Indo-European root for "wolf", *wlkwo-, as the English word) is also commonly used for the "wolf - man" transformation. The term for the metamorphosis of people into animals in general, rather than wolves specifically, is therianthropy (therianthrope means animal-man). The term turnskin or turncoat (Latin: versipellis, Russian : oboroten, O. Norse: hamrammr) is sometimes also used.


Many European countries and cultures have stories of werewolves, including Greece (lycanthropos), Spain (hombre lobo), Bulgaria (varkolak, vulkodlak), Serbia (vukodlak), Russia (oboroten' , vurdalak), Ukraine(vovkulak(a),vovkun,pereverten' ), Poland (wilkołak), Romania (vⲣolac), England (werwolf), Germany (Werwolf), Sweden (Varulv), France (loup-garou), Galicia, Portugal and Brazil (lobislobisomem), Lithuania (vilkolakis and vilkatlakis), Estonia (libahunt), Argentina (lobizhombre lobo) and Italy (lupo mannaro) . In northern Europe, there are also tales about people changing into bears. In Norse mythology, the legends of berserkers may be a source of the werewolf myths. Berserks were vicious fighters, dressed in wolf or bear hides; they were immune to pain and killed viciously in battle, like a wild animal. In Latvian mythology, the Vilkacis was a person changed into a wolf-like monster, though the Vilkacis was occasionally beneficial. A closely related set of myths are the skin-walkers. These myths probably have a common base in Proto-Indo-European society, where the class of young, unwed warriors were apparently associated with wolves.


Shape-shifters similar to werewolves are common in myths from all over the world, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves. See lycanthropy for more information.


In Greek mythology the story of Lycaon supplies one of the earliest examples of a werewolf legend. According to one form of it Lycaon was transformed into a wolf as a result of eating human flesh; one of those who were present at periodical sacrifice on Mount Lycaon was said to suffer a similar fate. The Roman Pliny the Elder, quoting Euanthes, says (Historia Naturalis viii. 22/34. 81) that a man of Anthus' family was selected by lot and brought to a lake in Arcadia, where he hung his clothing on an ash tree and swam across. This resulted in his being transformed into a wolf, and he wandered in this shape nine years. Then, if he had attacked no human being, he was at liberty to swim back and resume his former shape. Probably the two stories are identical, though we hear nothing of participation in the Lycaean sacrifice by the descendant of Antaeus. Herodotus (iv. 105) tells us that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia were annually transformed for a few days, and Virgil is familiar with transformation of human beings into wolves (see Eclogues viii. 98). In the novel Satyricon, written about year 60 by Gaius Petronius, one of the characters recites a story about a man who turns into a wolf.


There are women, so the Armenian belief runs, who in consequence of deadly sins are condemned to pass seven years in the form of a wolf. A spirit comes to such a woman and brings her a wolf's skin. He orders her to put it on, and no sooner has she done this than the most frightful wolfish cravings make their appearance and soon get the upper hand. Her better nature conquered, she makes a meal of her own children, one by one, then of her relatives' children according to the degree of relationship, and finally the children of strangers begin to fall as prey to her. She wanders forth only at night, and doors and locks spring open at her approach. When morning draws near she returns to human form and removes her wolf skin. In these cases the transformation was involuntary or virtually so. But side by side with this belief in involuntary metamorphosis, we find the belief that human beings can change themselves into animals at will and then resume their own form.


In the Volsungasaga of Norse mythology, the hero Sigmund and his son Sinfj? spent some time wearing cursed wolf-skins, which transformed them into wolves.


France in particular seems to have been infested with werewolves during the 16th century, and the consequent trials were very numerous. In some of the cases -- e.g. those of the Gandillon family in the Jura, the tailor of Chalons and Roulet in Angers, all occurring in the year 1598, -- there was clear evidence against the accused of murder and cannibalism, but none of association with wolves; in other cases, as that of Gilles Garnier in Dole in 1573, there was clear evidence against some wolf, but none against the accused; in all the cases, with hardly an exception, there was that extraordinary readiness in the accused to confess and even to give circumstantial details of the metamorphosis, which is one of the most inexplicable concomitants of medieval witchcraft. Yet while this lycanthropy fever, both of suspectors and of suspected, was at its height, it was decided in the case of Jean Grenier at Bordeaux in 1603 that lycanthropy was nothing more than an insane delusion. From this time the loup-garou gradually ceased to be regarded as a dangerous heretic, and fell back into his pre-Christian position of being simply a "man-wolf-fiend". The lubins or lupins of France were usually female and shy in contrast to the aggressive loup-garous.


In Province of Prussia, Livonia and Lithuania, according to the bishops Olaus Magnus and Majolus, the werwolves were in the 16th century far more destructive than "true and natural wolves", and their heterodoxy appears from the Catholic bishops' assertion that they formed "an accursed college" of those "desirous of innovations contrary to the divine law".


In England, however, where at the beginning of the 17th century the punishment of witchcraft was still zealously prosecuted by James I of England, the wolf had been so long extinct that that pious monarch was himself able (Demonologie, lib. iii.) to regard "warwoolfes" as victims of delusion induced by "a naturall superabundance of melancholic". Only small creatures such as the cat, the hare and the weasel remained for the malignant sorcerer to transform himself into, but he was firmly believed to avail himself of these agencies.


The werewolves of the Christian dispensation were not, however, all considered to be heretics or viciously disposed towards mankind. "According to Baronius, in the year 617, a number of wolves presented themselves at a monastery, and tore in pieces several friars who entertained heretical opinions. The wolves sent by God tore the sacrilegious thieves of the army of Francesco Maria, duke of Urbino, who had come to sack the treasure of the holy house of Loreto. A wolf guarded and defended from the wild beasts the head of St. Edmund the Martyr, king of England. St. Odo, abbot of Cluny, assailed in a pilgrimage by foxes, was delivered and escorted by a wolf" (A. de Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, 1872, vol. ii. p. 145). Many of the werewolves were most innocent and God-fearing persons, who suffered through the witchcraft of others, or simply from an unhappy fate, and who as wolves behaved in a truly touching fashion, fawning upon and protecting their benefactors. Of this sort were the "Bisclaveret" in Marie de France's poem (c. 1200), the hero of "William and the Werewolf" (translated from French into English about 1350), and the numerous princes and princesses, knights and ladies, who appear temporarily in beast form in the German fairy tales, or M䲣hen. See "Snow White and Rose Red", where the tame bear is really a bewitched prince.


Indeed, the power of transforming others into wild beasts was attributed not only to malignant sorcerers, but also to Christian saints. Omnes angeli, boni et mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra ("All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies") was the dictum of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Patrick transformed Vereticus, a king in Wales, into a wolf; and St. Natalis cursed an illustrious Irish family with the result that each member of it was doomed to be a wolf for seven years. In other tales the divine agency is still more direct, while in Russia, again, men are supposed to become werewolves through incurring the wrath of the devil.


Becoming a werewolf

Historical legends describe a wide variety of methods for becoming a werewolf. One of the simplest was the removal of clothing and putting on a belt made of wolf skin, probably a substitute for the assumption of an entire animal skin which also is frequently described. In other cases the body is rubbed with a magic salve. To drink water out of the footprint of the animal in question or to drink from certain enchanted streams were also considered effectual modes of accomplishing metamorphosis. Olaus Magnus says that the Livonian werwolves were initiated by draining a cup of specially prepared beer and repeating a set formula. Ralston in his Songs of the Russian People gives the form of incantation still familiar in Russia. It is also said that when a woman gives birth to six female children, the seventh will be a male and a werewolf.


In Galician, Portuguese and Brazilian folklore, it is the seventh of the sons (but sometimes the seventh child, a boy, after a line of six daughters). This belief was so extended in Northern Argentina, that seventh sons were abandoned, ceded in adoption or killed. A law from 1920 decreed that the President of Argentina is the godfather of the every seventh son. Thus, the State gives him a gold medal in his baptism and a scholarship until his 21st year. This ended the abandonments, but it is still traditional that the President godfathers seventh sons.


Various methods also existed for removing the beast-shape. The simplest was the act of the enchanter (operating either on himself or on a victim), and another was the removal of the animal belt or skin. To kneel in one spot for a hundred years, to be reproached with being a werewolf, to be saluted with the sign of the cross, or addressed thrice by baptismal name, to be struck three blows on the forehead with a knife, or to have at least three drops of blood drawn have also been mentioned as possible cures. Many European folk tales include throwing an iron object over or at the werewolf, to make it reveal its human form.


In other cases the transformation was supposed to be accomplished by Satanic agency voluntarily submitted to, and that for the most loathsome ends, in particular for the gratification of a craving for human flesh. "The werwolves," writes Richard Verstegan (Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 1628), "are certayne sorcerers, who having annoynted their bodies with an oyntment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, doe not onely unto the view of others seeme as wolves, but to their owne thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves, so long as they weare the said girdle. And they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in wourrying and killing, and most of humane creatures." Such were the views about lycanthropy current throughout the continent of Europe when Verstegan wrote. The ointments and salves in question may have contained hallucinogenic agents.



Theories of origin

A recent theory has been proposed to explain werewolf episodes in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ergot, which causes a form of foodborne illness, is a fungus that grows in place of rye grains in wet growing seasons after very cold winters. Ergot poisoning usually affects whole towns or at least poor areas of towns and results in hallucinations, mass hysteria and paranoia, as well as convulsions and sometimes death. (LSD can be derived from ergot.) Ergot poisoning has been proposed as both a cause of an individual believing that he or she is a werewolf and of a whole town believing that they had seen a werewolf.


Like most attempts to use modern science explain away religious beliefs and folklore, this theory is controversial and unsatisfactory. For example, it does not explain why outbreaks of witchcraft hysteria and legends of animal transformations exist around the world, including in places where there is no ergot. Hysteria and superstition have existed across the world for all of recorded history, and, generally speaking, fungus poisoning is not to blame.


Similarly, some modern researchers have tried to use conditions such as rabies, hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth over the entire body) or porphyria (an enzyme disorder with symptoms including hallucinations and paranoia) as an explanation for werewolf beliefs, although the symptoms of those ailments do not match up well with the folklore or the evidence of the episodes of hysteria either.


There is also a rare mental disorder called clinical lycanthropy, in which an affected person has a delusional belief that he or she is transforming into another animal, although not always a wolf or werewolf.


Others believe werewolf legends arose as a part of shamanism and totem animals in primitive and nature-based cultures. The term therianthropy has been adopted to describe a spiritual concept in which the individual believes he or she has the spirit or soul, in whole or in part, of a non-human animal.

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The lamia




The ancient Greeks believed that the Lamia was a vampire who stole little children to drink their blood. She was portrayed as a snake-like creature with a female head and breasts. Usually female, but sometimes referred to as a male or a hermaphrodite.


According to legend, she was once a Libyan queen (or princess) who fell in love with Zeus. Zeus' jealous wife Hera deformed her into a monster and murdered their offspring. She also made Lamia unable to close her eyes, so that she couldn't find any rest from the obsessing image of her dead children. When Zeus saw what had be done to Lamia, he felt pity for her and gave his former lover a gift: she could remove her eyes, and then put them on again. This way, though sleepless, she could rest from her misfortune. Lamia envied the other mothers and took her vengeance by stealing their children and devouring them.


In Lamia and other Poems (1820), the English poet John Keats writes about Lamia too. In this version, based on the information he found in Anatomy of Melancholy of the 1600s, Lamia has the ability to change herself into a beautiful young woman. Here she assumes a human form to win a man's love.


Another version of this myth states that Hera killed Lamia's children and that it was her grief that turned her into a monster.

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Adh Seidh


Similiar to the Banshee, the Adh Seidh are spirits that are only seen by people who have an unclear conscience. They appear as either beautiful women who lure the evil to their destruction, or as sleek, terrifying black horses with red glowing eyes.


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Ankou is part of the faery lore of the celtic countries. He has largely been forgotten in Cornwall, Wales and Ireland but remains part of the living folklore in french Britanny.




Ankou (Ahn-koo) is the personification of death who comes to collect the souls of passed-over humans. He is male dark, wearing a black-robed costume pulled up high about his head and a large hat that conceals his face. No one living has ever seen his face, for to do so would be to die.He drives a black cart, though some say it is really a small coach or even a hearse, drawn by four black horses. When there are two many patrons, he is assisted by two skelettons who hurl the copses into the cart. He is always preceded by a cold gust of wind.






Collect the souls of those recently passed over and escort them into the Land of the Dead. An old Irish proverb says, "When Ankou comes, he will not go away empty." In Ireland, Ankou is always classified as a faery rather than a ghost or some other type of spirit, and he is given more of a personality than he is accorded in many other lands.






One legend hinted that Ankou had once been a cruel landowner who foolishly challenged Death to a game of chance. A Prince, prone to fits of jealous anger and petty viciousness, loved to hunt. The moment of death, like the pain of his fellows, was as mother's milk to him. One night, on the Sabbath, the man decided to have some sport in his forest. While chasing a white stag, a magical animal found in several Celtic Fay stories, the man and his then-drunken companions stumbled across a massive figure drabbed in black atop a magnificent white horse (another symbol of death). The Prince challenged the silent man to a contest, angry at having found him on his land. Whoever could kill the stag would not only keep the meat and hide, but could also determine the fate of the loser. The stranger readily agreed, his voice reminding the assembled men of the sound of leaves scraping against the castle walls.


The hunt was over so quickly that the Prince could only stammer. As hard as he had rode, the stranger had galloped faster. Through field and stream and mountain, the dark stranger remained in the lead, night winds tugging wildly at his cloak. And when the Prince was still stringing his bow, the stranger let his arrow loose with a dead whistle and a sickening tear of shredding flesh.


The vindictive Prince ordered his men to surround the stranger, bragging that he would bring two trophies back to his hall that night.


The stranger laughed.


"You can have the stag," he said, "and all the dead of the world. Your joy is hunting? Hunt then! Your trophies will be found across battlefields and hearth, and they will reek of decay, huntsman."


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The banshee , from ban (bean), a woman, and shee ( sidhe, a fairie), is an attendant fairy that follows the old families, and none but them, and wails before a death. Many have seen her as she goes wailing and clapping her hands. The keen (caoine), the funeral cry of the pesantry, is said to be an imitation of her cry. When more than one banshee is present, and they wail and sing in chorus, it is for the death of some holy or great one. An omen that sometimes accompanies the banshee is the _coach-a-bower_ (coiste-bodhar), an immense black coach, mounted by a coffin, and drawn by headless horses driven by a _Dullahan_. It will go rumbling to your door, and if you open it, according to Croker, a basin of blood will be thrown in your face. These headless phantoms are found elsewhere than in Ireland. In 1807 two of the sentries stationed outside St. James's Park died of fright. A headless woman the upper part of her body naked, used to pass at midnight and scale the railings. After a time the sentries were stationed no longer at the haunted spot. In Norway the heads of corpses were cut off to make their ghosts feeble. Thus came into existence the _Dullahans_, perhaps ; unless, indeed, they are descended from that Irish giant who swam across the Channel with his head in his teeth. -Ed.

(from "A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore", Ed. W.B. Yeats)


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In Scottish G欩c bodach means 'old man'. This was a spirit or bogie that would come down the chimney of a house and either steal children or terrorize them, poking and pulling at the child, thus inducing nightmares. It was said that the bodach would only bother naughty children, and in defense a child could put salt in the hearth, as the bodach would not cross salt.


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The word golem is used in the Bible to refer to an embryonic or incomplete substance: Psalm 139:16 uses the word "gal'mi", meaning "my unshaped form" (in Hebrew, root words are defined by sequences of consonants, ie. glm). The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person ("Ten characteristics are in a learned person, and ten in an uncultivated one", Pirkei Avoth 5:7). Similarly, Golems are used today primarily in metaphor either as brainless lunks or as entities serving man under controlled conditions but enemies in others. Similarly, it is a Yiddish slang insult for someone who is clumsy or slow.


The earliest stories of golems date to early Judaism. Adam is described in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b) as initially created as a golem when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless hunk". Like Adam, all golems are created from mud. They were a creation of those who were very holy and close to God. A very holy person was one who strove to approach God, and in that pursuit would gain some of God's wisdom and power. One of these powers was the creation of life. No matter how holy a person got, however, the being they created would be but a shadow of one created by God.


Early on, the notion developed that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak. In Sanhedrin 65b, it describes how Rabba created a golem using the Sefer Yetzirah. He sent the golem to Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira spoke to the golem, but he did not answer. Said Rabbi Zeira, "I see that you were created by one of our colleagues; return to your dust".


Having a golem servant was seen as the ultimate symbol of wisdom and holiness, and there are many tales of golems connected to prominent rabbis throughout the Middle Ages.


Other attributes of the golem were gradually added over time. In many tales the Golem is inscribed with magic or religious words that keep it animated. Writing the name of God on its forehead, (or on a clay tablet under its tongue) or writing the word Emet (אמת, 'truth' in the Hebrew language) on its forehead are examples of such words. By erasing the first letter in Emet to form Meit (מת, "death" in Hebrew) the golem can be deactivated.


The most famous golem narrative involves the Maharal of Prague, a 16th century rabbi. He is reported to have created a golem to defend the Prague ghetto from Anti-Semitic attacks. However these stories are of relatively recent origin, and appear to be the result of fictional accounts written by Yudl Rosenberg in 1909. According to the legend, Golem could be made of clay from the banks of the Vltava river in Prague. Following the prescribed rituals, the Rabbi built the Golem and made him come to life by reciting a special incantation in Hebrew. The word "emet", meaning "truth", was placed on the Golem's forehead. The Golem would obey the Rabbi's every order and would help and protect the people of the Jewish Ghetto. However, as he grew bigger, he also became more violent and started killing people and spreading fear. Rabbi Loew was promised that the violence against the Jews would stop if the Golem was destroyed. The Rabbi agreed.


The existence of a golem is in most stories portrayed as a mixed blessing. Although not overly intelligent, a golem can be made to perform simple tasks over and over. The problem is one of control or getting it to stop, bearing a resemblance to the story of the broomstick in the Sorcerer's Apprentice.


In the late nineteenth century the golem was adopted by mainstream European society. Most notably Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel Der Golem based on the tales of the golem created by Judah Low ben Bezalel. This book inspired a classic set of expressionistic silent movies, Paul Wegener's Golem series, of which especially Golem: How He Came Into the World (also released as The Golem, 1920, USA 1921) is famous. Another famous treatment from the same era is H. Leivick's 1921 Yiddish-language "dramatic poem in eight sections" The Golem.


These tales saw a dramatic change, and some would argue a Christianization, of the golem. Christianity, far more than Judaism, has long had a deep concern with humanity getting too close to God. The golem thus became a creation of overambitious and overreaching mystics, who would inevitably be punished for their blasphemy, very similar to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the alchemical homunculus. The Golem has also been considered by some to be an early android, further divorcing it from its roots.


In 2005, the story of the Golem was returned to its Jewish roots, as a new comic strip in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth depicted the Golem as a government-funded superhero protecting Israel from its domestic and existential difficulties.


Popular culture

Books, films and games

Probably as a result of the popularity of Meyrink's work, the golem concept has found its way into various elements of popular culture. Examples include:


The Golem of Prague has appeared in stories across many media, including the novels The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, A Calculus of Angels, He, She and It, Pete Hamill's Snow in August, the 1990s cartoon The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and the computer games Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

Inspired in part by the story of the Golem of Prague, Ted Chiang wrote a short story "Seventy-Two Letters" which explores the role of language in the creation of golems. The story won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2000. It can be found in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others.

The science-fiction novel Kiln People by David Brin features short-lived duplicates of people created from mud, and a character named Maharal.

The Discworld novel Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett satires many of the cliches of the golem genre. Another Discworld novel, Going Postal sees golems trained as postmen, and compares them to the robots of Isaac Asimov. The oldest of these golems carries clay tablets on his arm and in his head, alluding to Jewish mythology.

The television program The X-Files aired an episode "Kaddish", in which a young Hasidic woman creates a Golem to avenge her husband's murder by neo-nazis.

The DC Comics superhero Ragman was created using the same formula required to make a golem, though it substituted rags instead of clay and required a human host to function. Another DC hero, the Monolith, is a golem.

The 2004 Movie Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence uses the specific part of the myth of the golem regarding the Emet and met idea to give hint of an impending trap.

The popular MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing features bread golems, topiary golems, meat golems, and others


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