What is a succubus ?
Women…. you can live with them, and you can’t live without them. Unless there is seductive demoness who literally wants to drain the life out of you because, in that case, I think you can be excused for wanting to stay away. For those thinking this sounds familiar, no we are not talking about your ex-wife nor your ex-girlfriend.
Today’s article is on the succubus or the succubi if you want to refer to them collectively. When we think of a succubus, several things come to mind, the more traditional among you will think of a demon that seduces men. Nowadays, we just think of them as attractive women. And someone who is merely searching succubus into google images will probably think it’s some kind of weird fetish. It probably is some of you may even remember that train wreck of a movie that was Jennifer’s body. Where Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried make out, and then Megan Fox is like oh I’m going to eat that boy you like, and the Mantis I freed was like no screw you and your weirdly shaped toe thumbs, no succubus going to eat my man and that’s pretty much the whole story.
So I guess we begin with the definition and the origin. A succubus is a demon that takes the form of a woman which leads us to the question of the day, if the demon is a man and then turns into a succubus is that demonic catfishing? Who knows. The succubus can be traced back to medieval folklore. In these stories, once a demon has assumed its female form, it then comes to its victim in their dream, and the seduction process begins, which is then followed by some kind of sexual activity, which raises the question of what does the succubus gain from this.
I mean sleeping with men in their dreams doesn’t seem to have much of an upside, but as you may expect, there is an ulterior motive behind this. There are more than a few theories as to why one that you might be familiar with is the idea of the succubus feeding off the man, either physically devouring his flesh or taking parts of his soul. Numerous encounters with a succubus are said to leave the victim with a severe mental deterioration, causing hallucinations and, in the worst case, death.
Some even believe the succubus was used as a way to explain sleep paralysis. The world succubus arrives from several different Latin terms, one of these beings Succuba, which roughly translates to mean lies beneath or lies beneath the bed. This also relates to the succubus position in relation to the victim. There are several accounts of the succubus In Jewish folklore. the most famous example will be in Adam’s first wife Lilith, who refused to be subservient and left the Garden of Eden before becoming one of the four demon Queens that slept of the ark angel Samael
A beautiful woman, but up close, you can notice deformities, such as serpentines like tails and bird-like Talon, which sound quite similar to the sirens of Greek myth. And in the later years, these stories of the Succuba were replaced with stories of sirens. They do also bear a resemblance to another creature from Greek mythology Lamia, and in turn, the Lamia and Empousa. Which were also rather repulsive creatures that could alter their form to seduce men.
But some choosing to feed off the men they seduce and others convincing young men to marry them, only to leave them the night before the wedding. Lamia herself was one of Zeus’s scorned lovers that became a monster who devoured men and children as revenge for the very own children that she had lost. The word Lilith was thought to derive from a group of female demons in Mesopotamian mythology named Lilitu, who themselves are named after the demon Lamastu, who would kidnap children while their mothers breastfed chewing on their bones and drinking their blood. She was also described as having a rather disturbing appearance, so this idea of succubi as grotesque demons who steal children is one that spans across more than just one culture.
Story about Pope Sylvester and Succubus
Throughout religion, the succubus is almost always portrayed as a negative and evil figure. You would then expect most holy and religious men to do whatever they could to limit the succubus’ power, but there are a few holy men who claim not every succubus is evil. The best example is probably Pope Sylvester ii, and yes, I can appreciate the irony in a pope defending a sex demon.
Before Pope Sylvester died, he confessed everything, where he revealed that a succubus had helped him climb to the ranks of the catholic church. He said that as a young man, he came across a woman named Mary Deanna, who promised him everything he could ever dream of; wealth, good fortune, status, and knowledge beyond anything any mortal could teach him. There was only one condition that he remained faithful to only her, and so he accepted.
He would eventually become Pope. Despite the vows that he took his relationship with this woman continued in secret, there are some different accounts to this story some believe he was so hungry for power and money that he summoned the demon that then took the form of a succubus. And that is why he confessed on his deathbed. Whereas others believed he fell in love and refused to value his barrels over the woman he loved, which is why when he eventually confessed, he painted her in such a positive light. Whether this is a story about a horny Pope who found love or a horny Pope, we found a succubus I guess we’ll never know, but it’s safe to say that he was probably a shit Pope.
Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer
The Catholic Church, all those associated with it, did have some quite interesting ideas in regards to the succubus. In 1487 a man by the name of Heinrich Kramer published malleus Maleficarum better known as the hammer of witches. The work itself detailed literature surrounding demonology in the 15th century, and essentially it called for the extermination of witches. Witchcraft was forbidden by the church, and Kramer himself was once a clergyman though he was later discredited as most of what he wrote was inconsistent with the already existing Catholic doctrines surrounding demonology.
The book was then condemned by the church for this exact reason, as well as by several German universities because much of what he described as either illegal or unethical. Despite the religious and educational institutions’ efforts, the book stirred up an immense amount of interest only being outsold by the Bible itself for the next 200 years or so. Now as fascinating as this is, I only mention the book because Kramer does indeed discuss the succubus. According to Kramer, a succubus would collect the semen of the men she slept with and then give it to an incubus, who would use it to impregnate a human woman. This is how he explains demons could sire children despite them being incapable of traditional reproduction. He then goes on to say that children born this way were far more susceptible to demonic influence and possession.
Whether or not you believe any of this, I guess down to you, but the whole concept of a demon woman stealing semen and then given it to a demon man to impregnate a human woman is pretty insane. And even if we ignore the scientific limitations of Kramer’s thinking, what do the incubus then do. Do they turn the semen into demon semen ? on second thought, I don’t really want to know. The work of Heinrich Kramer did create some additional hysteria during the many witch trials that took place. as women who attempted to seduce men were accused of being a succubus in disguise, and women who fell pregnant outside of wedlock was said to be harboring the child of an incubus. It sounds like a fantastically civilized time to exist.
The way we look at the succubus
The way we look at the succubus now has obviously changed. To some, the word may still conjure up images of a demon, but even then, I’d hazard a guess that the demon isn’t repulsive. Probably something that looks like it belongs in some sort of sex dungeon full of whips, chains, ball gags, and a host of items you wish you could unsee. Anyway, the moral of the story is no matter how where do you think people are, there is always those weirdoes.
The image we have today of a succubus is mostly that of a gorgeous woman. Perfect skin, great hair, and eyes you would literally sell your soul for. This is a stark contrast from the scary deform succubi of old, with their horns and bat-like wings, which are more a kind to a demon than a seductive enchantress. Though they can transform themselves from a beast to a woman, it’s not too unreasonable to believe they can change how human they look.
Now I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise that we see the succubus quite often in modern fantasy. Stephen King mentions them several times in the Dark Tower series, where a succubus named Mia helps an incubus impregnate a woman whose child would then become a villain. Somewhat similar to what Kramer said about how demons reproduce as well as the idea that the child of an incubus is more likely to be swayed by evil. Stephen King also describes them as sexual vampires, and this connection between the succubi and vampires does make sense, and the lines between them can be blurred because of the predatory way they behave.
When we think of vampires, both male, and female, much like the succubi, they will often seduce their victims before they feed. Almost as if the chase or the thrill of the hunt is what they take pleasure in. Now, of course, not all vampires behave in this way, the Strigoi being a good example of vampires who don’t really care for the whole seduction process.
This idea of female vampires being succubi do also exist in the Twilight series. But for your sake and as well as mine, we’re going to pretend it doesn’t exist, and it has never done ever. We also have The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, which does mention succubi and incubi with the protagonists half brother been an incubus described as having vampire-like qualities. Most people who played World of Warcraft would have either had or seen a warlock running around of a succubus as a pet, which is basically just a half-naked demoness with hooves wings and a whip, which once again takes us back to the age-old saying; he who takes the succubus as a pet is a weirdo. It’s interesting to see the history behind the succubus and how these ideas have changed over time, what started off as pretty much disgusting demons that still children became more and more visually appealing and seductive.
But if we take the religious influence into consideration, it’s not really that much of a surprise as corruption and temptation are recurring themes throughout most of the religion. What I find more surprising is that plenty of authors and stories actually do remain quite loyal to the origin, but of course there will also be modern interpretations which are just awful for anyone who wants a good laugh, I suggest watching the succubus interaction in Devil May Cry. it’s definitely the funniest I’ve seen