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Esteban Figueroa Goitia

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24/02/2010 Esteban Figueroa Goitia

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Esteban Figueroa Goitia

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Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 2 Supernatural Beings ......................................................................................................................... 3 The Banshee .................................................................................................................................. 3 The Grim Reaper .......................................................................................................................... 6 Hellhounds .................................................................................................................................... 8 Demons ........................................................................................................................................ 11 Will-O’-The-Wisp ....................................................................................................................... 14 Image Index ..................................................................................................................................... 17 Key Word Index ............................................................................................................................. 17 References ........................................................................................................................................ 18

In the present work, a brief explanation of the following supernatural creatures will be given: The Banshee, Demons, The Grim Reaper, Hellhounds and Will-O’-The-Wisps.

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Image 1

The Banshee is a female spirit in Irish Mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a Messenger from the Otherworld. The story of the Banshee began as a fairy woman keening at the death of important persons. In later stories the appearance of the Banshee could foretell death. Banshees were said to appear for particular Irish families, though which 3 Supernatural Beings


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families made it onto this list varied depending on who was telling the story. The Banshee can appear in a variety of guises. Most often she appears as an ugly hag, but can also appear as a stunningly beautiful woman of any age that suits her. In some tales, the figure who first appears to be a Banshee is later revealed to be the Irish battle goddess, the Morrigan. The hag may also appear as a washer-woman and is seen washing the blood stained armor of those who are about to die. The Banshee can also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel - animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft. In later versions the Banshee might appear before the death and warn the family by wailing. When several Banshees appeared at once, it indicated the death of someone great or holy. The tales sometimes recounted that the woman, though called a fairy, was a ghost, often of a specific murdered woman, or a woman who died in childbirth. When seen, she is wearing the clothes of a country woman, usually white, but sometimes grey, brown or red. The former hues represent the colors of mourning while red is associated with magic, fairies and the supernatural. In some accounts she is seen combing her hair as she laments. She is heard more often than seen, wailing as she approaches the abode in the late evening or early morning, sometimes perching on the windowsill two to three hours or even days before a death.

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Image 2

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Image 3

Death as a sentient entity is a concept that has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In English, death is often given the name the "Grim Reaper" and from the 15th century onwards came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood. It is also given the name of the Angel of Death stemming from the Bible. In some cases, the Grim Reaper is able to actually cause the victim's death, leading to tales that he can be bribed, tricked, 6 Supernatural Beings


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or outwitted in order to retain one's life. Other beliefs hold that the Spectre of Death is only a psychopomp1, serving to sever the last ties between the soul and the body, and to guide the deceased to the next world without having any control over the fact of the victim's death.

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Guide of Souls

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Image 5

A Hellhound is a supernatural dog, found in mythology, folklore and fiction. A wide variety of ominous or hellish supernatural dogs occur in mythologies around the world, similar to the omnipresent dragon. Features that have been attributed to Hellhounds include black fur, glowing red or sometimes glowing yellow eyes, super strength or speed, ghostly or phantom characteristics, foul odor, and sometimes even the ability to talk. In cultures that associate the afterlife with fire, Hellhounds may have fire-based abilities and appearance. 8 Supernatural Beings


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They are often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and burial grounds, or undertake other duties related to the afterlife or the supernatural, such as hunting down lost souls or guarding a supernatural treasure. In European legends, seeing a Hellhound or hearing it howl may be either an omen or a cause of imminent death. Some supernatural dogs, such as the Welsh Cŵn Annwn2, were actually believed to be benign. However, seeing them was still considered an omen of death. The most famous Hellhound is probably Cerberus, the hound of Hades from Greek mythology. Hellhounds are also famous for appearing in Celtic mythology as a part of the Wild Hunt. These hounds are given several different names in local folklore, but they display typical Hellhound characteristics. The myth is common across Great Britain, and many names are given to the apparitions: Moddey Dhoo of the Isle of Man, Gwyllgi of Wales, and so on. The earliest mention of these myths are in both Walter Map's De Nugis Curianium (1190) and the Welsh myth cycle of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (ca. 10th-13th century) It is said that once you have come into contact with a Hellhound you are "not to speak of it for one year and one day." Else you shall come to death. It is also said that if you see a Hellhound 3 times you will come to immediate death.

They were associated with a form of the Wild Hunt. Hunting grounds for the Cŵn Annwn are said to include the mountain of Cadair Idris, where it is believed "the howling of these huge dogs foretold death to anyone who heard them".[ 2

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Image 6

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Image 7

Evil spirits from the underworld that are considered supernatural beings between mortals and gods with the power to intervene in people's lives causing misfortune and havoc. 11 Supernatural Beings


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They are believed to be able to seduce, afflict, or possess humans as well. In religion and mythology, occultism and folklore, a Demon or daemon, is a supernatural being that is generally described as a malevolent spirit. However, the original meaning of the word daemon does not carry any negative connotations, which were later projected onto it as Christianity spread. In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the derived Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian Demonology, a Demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause Demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism. Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of pagan Greco-Roman, Jewish and Christian tradition, a Demon is considered a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled The contemporary Roman Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that angels and Demons are real personal beings, not just symbolic devices. The Catholic Church has a cadre of officially sanctioned exorcists which perform many exorcisms each year. The exorcists of the Catholic Church teach that Demons attack humans continually but that afflicted persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those they designate, or by prayers of deliverance which any Christian can offer for themselves or others. In contemporary Christianity, Demons are generally considered to be angels who fell from grace by rebelling against God. However, this is not consistent with historical 12 Supernatural Beings


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Christianity or Judaism which teaches that Demons, or evil spirits, are a result of the sexual relationships between fallen angels and human women. When these hybrids (Nephilim) died they left behind disembodied spirits that "roam the earth in search of rest" (Luke 11:24).

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Image 9

A will-o'-the-wisp or ignis fatuus is a ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is sometimes said to recede if approached. Much folklore surrounds the phenomenon. The name will-o'-the-wisp refers to an old folktale, retold in different forms across Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Appalachia, and Newfoundland.

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One version, from Shropshire, recounted by K. M. Briggs in her book A Dictionary of Fairies, refers to Will the Smith. Will is a wicked blacksmith who is given a second chance by Saint Peter at the gates to Heaven, but leads such a bad life that he ends up being doomed to wander the Earth. The Devil provides him with a single burning coal with which to warm himself, which he then used to lure foolish travelers into the marshes. An Irish version of the tale has a ne'er-do-well named Drunk Jack or Stingy Jack who makes a deal with the Devil, offering up his soul in exchange for payment of his pub tab. When the Devil comes to collect his due, Jack tricks him by making him climb a tree and then carving a cross underneath, preventing him from climbing down. In exchange for removing the cross, the Devil forgives Jack's debt. However, because no one as bad as Jack would ever be allowed into Heaven, Jack is forced upon his death to travel to Hell and ask for a place there. The Devil denies him entrance in revenge, but, as a boon, grants Jack an ember from the fires of Hell to light his way through the twilight world to which lost souls are forever condemned. Jack places it in a carved turnip to serve as a lantern. Another version of the tale, "Willy the Whisp", is related in Irish Folktales by Henry Glassie. The first modern novel in the Irish language, Séadna by Peadar Ua Laoghaire, is a version of the tale. In Welsh folklore, it is said that the light is 'fairy fire' held in the hand of a pwca, a small goblin-like fairy that mischievously leads lone travelers off the beaten path at night. As the traveler follows the pwca through the marsh or bog, the fire is 15 Supernatural Beings


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extinguished, leaving the man lost. The pwca is said to be one of the Tylwyth Teg, or fairy family. In Wales the light predicts a funeral that will take place soon in the locality. In Guernsey, the light is known as the faeu boulanger (rolling fire), and is believed to be a lost soul. On being confronted with the spectre, tradition prescribes two remedies. The first is to turn one's cap or coat inside out. This has the effect of stopping the faeu boulanger in its tracks. The other solution is to stick a knife into the ground, blade up. The faeu, in an attempt to kill itself, will attack the blade.

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Image 1 ............................................................................................................................................... 3 Image 2 ............................................................................................................................................... 5 Image 3 ............................................................................................................................................... 6 Image 4 ............................................................................................................................................... 7 Image 5 ............................................................................................................................................... 8 Image 6 ............................................................................................................................................. 10 Image 7 ............................................................................................................................................. 11 Image 8 ............................................................................................................................................. 13 Image 9 ............................................................................................................................................. 14 Image 10 ........................................................................................................................................... 16

afterlife, 8, 9 Banshee, 2, 3, 4 Demon, 12 fairy, 3, 4, 15

Hellhound, 8, 9 omen, 3, 9 spirit, 3, 12 will-o'-the-wisp, 14

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C. Austin. The Banshee, Celtic Death Messenger. The Celtic Connnection [online newspaper]. Consulted February 23 2010. http://merganser.math.gvsu.edu/myth/banshee.html Halloween Howl [Internet]. Rose Smith, owner. Consulted February 23 2010. Glossary of Supernatural Creatures. http://www.halloweenhowl.com/supernatural-creatures.shtml#top Wikipedia. Banshee [internet data bank].Consulted February 23 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee.

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Supernatural Beings: Banshees, Demons, Hellhounds, Will-O'-The-Wisp and Grim Reapers