Ars Goetia: Bael

Bael —> The First Principal Spirit is a King ruling in the East, called Bael. He maketh thee to go Invisible. He ruleth over 66 Legions of Infernal Spirits. He appeareth in divers shapes, sometimes like a Cat, sometimes like a Toad, and sometimes like a Man, and sometimes all these forms at once. He speaketh hoarsely. This is his character which is used to be worn as a Lamen before him who calleth him forth, or else he will not do thee homage.

Urban Legends: The Bell Witch (Adams, Tennessee)

The legend of the Bell Witch of Tennessee is arguably the most famous haunting in the country, or at least the best documented. It has been the subject of books and movies across 200 years. The Bell Witch remains popular with tourists today – people can visit the Bell Witch Cave, located on the land where John Bell and his daughter, Betsy, reportedly experienced horrific manifestations between 1817 and 1821 in Adams, Tenn.

It began when John Bell spotted a mysterious creature in the cornfield with “the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit.” Soon after the sighting, the Bell children began hearing scratching noises and experiencing various disturbances, thought to be the result of a curse by a local woman with whom John had a property dispute, Kate Batts.

Pat Fitzhugh wrote: “The encounters escalated, and the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing brutal encounters with the invisible entity. It would pull her hair and slap her relentlessly, often leaving welts and hand prints on her face and body.” In 1820, John Bell died, becoming, Fitzhugh said, “the only person in history whose death was attributed to the doings of a Spirit.”

He continued: “In 1817, Bell contracted a mysterious affliction that worsened over the next three years, ultimately leading to his death. Kate took pleasure in tormenting him during his affliction, finally poisoning him one December morning as he lay unconscious after suffering a number of violent seizures.”

Medieval Vampire Defense

If your local villagers neglected to unearth and stake a suspected vampire and he or she has returned from the grave, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The exact method varies around the world, but in some traditions the best way to stop a vampire is to carry a small bag of salt with you. If you are being chased, you need only to spill the salt on the ground behind you, at which point the vampire is obligated to stop and count each and every grain before continuing the pursuit. If you don’t have salt handy, some say that any small granules will do, including birdseed or sand. Salt was often placed above and around doorways for the same reason. 

Some traditions hold that vampires cannot enter a home unless formally invited in. This may have been an early form of the modern “stranger danger” warnings to children, a scary reminder against inviting unknown people into the house.

Urban Legends: The Lizard Man (Bishopville, South Carolina)

The Lizard Man is a legendary creature who roams the swamps near Bishopville, S.C. The Lizard Man is a “connoisseur of delicious chrome trim on automobiles … South Carolina’s very own homegrown monster,” the website says. The creature, with red eyes, green skin and long black claws, was said to attack cars, ripping off mirrors, shredding roofs and ripping off fenders.

It began on June 29, 1988, when a teenager got a flat tire and stopped to change it at the edge of Scape Ore Swamp. “He got out of the car to change the tire when he heard a sound, like someone running, getting louder and louder. Suddenly, from the darkness, it emerged!” Since then, police have responded to numerous reports of damaged cars near the swamp and sightings of the creature continue to be reported to this day.

Sources: Discover South Carolina dot com

Urban Legends: Haunting of the Skirvin Hotel (Oklahoma)

The Skirvin Hotel was a luxury hotel built in 1910 in Oklahoma City by oil magnate W.B. Skirvin. Skirvin dabbled in illicit affairs as well as oil and got one of the hotel maids pregnant in the 1930s.

“The maid soon conceived and in order to prevent a scandal, she was locked in a room on the top floor of the hotel,” LegendsofAmerica.com says. “The desolate girl soon grew depressed and even after the birth of her child; she was still not let out of the room. Half out of her mind, she finally grabbed the infant child and threw herself, along with the baby, out of the window.”

The unnamed maid’s spirit is said to haunt the halls of the Skirvin to this day.

Source: Legends Of America

Medieval Ways To Identify A Potential Vampire

Interest and belief in revenants (one that returns after death or a long absence) surged in the Middle Ages in Europe. Though in most modern stories the classic way to become a vampire is to be bitten by one, that is a relatively new twist. In his book “Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality” (Yale, 2008), folklorist Paul Barber noted that centuries ago, “Often potential revenants can be identified at birth, usually by some abnormality, some defect, as when a child is born with teeth. Similarly suspicious are children born with an extra nipple (in Romania, for example); with a lack of cartilage in the nose, or a split lower lip (in Russia) … When a child is born with a red caul, or amniotic membrane, covering its head, this was regarded throughout much of Europe as presumptive evidence that it is destined to return from the dead.” Such minor deformities were looked upon as evil omens at the time.

Urban Legends: The Witch of Yazoo (Yazoo City, Mississippi)

The story surrounding this grave is pure legend, yet it continues to lure visitors to Glenwood Cemetery in Yazoo City, Miss. A woman thought to be a witch is reportedly interred in a plot surrounded by chain links, which led to a legend printed in 1971 in the book “Good Old Boy,” written by local Willie Morris, who died in 1999 and is buried 13 steps south of the witch’s grave.

According to the legend, the old woman lived on the Yazoo River, and was caught torturing fishermen who she lured in off the river. The sheriff is said to have chased her through the swamps where she was half drowned in quicksand by the time the sheriff caught up with her. As she was sinking, she swore her revenge on Yazoo City and on the town’s people. ‘In 20 years, I will return and burn this town to the ground!” No one thought much of it at the time. Then came May 25, 1904… The Fire of 1904 destroyed over 200 residences and nearly every business in Yazoo City – 324 buildings in total.

Sources: Visit Yazoo dot Org

A Romanian Guide To Finding A Vampire

Finding a vampire is not always easy: according to one Romanian legend you’ll need a 7-year-old boy and a white horse. The boy should be dressed in white, placed upon the horse, and the pair set loose in a graveyard at midday. Watch the horse wander around, and whichever grave is nearest the horse when it finally stops is a vampire’s grave — or it might just have something edible nearby; take your pick.

Urban Legends: The Devil’s Toy Box (Louisiana)

This unusual legend has its roots in a modern event. According to a story, a Halloween attraction in northern Louisiana (no exact location is given) was closed after people went crazy in a cube-shaped room or shed, its walls lined with mirrors, near the end of the attraction. Reportedly the room is all that remains of the attraction. Those who dare to venture inside will have their souls stolen by the devil, legend says.

Famine Stela

A large fissure already existed at the time the inscription was created, divides the rock into two parts. Some areas are damaged, making some parts of the text unreadable.

It is written in hieroglyphs arranged in 42 columns. In the upper part three deities are represented; Khnum (the creator, represented with the head of a ram), Satis (a goddess, personification of the floods of the Nile) and Anuket (goddess of water and waterfalls). In front of them Pharaoh Djoser brings them offerings.

The text recounts the seven-year period of drought and famine that took place during the reign of Pharaoh Djoser of the Third Dynasty, the builder of the Step pyramid who reigned around 2665-2645 BC.

The drought began in the 18th year of his reign, caused because the Nile did not flood the farmlands and therefore there were no crops. The pharaoh then entrusted his vizier Imhotep to investigate where the god of the Nile was born, who was in charge of causing the flood annually. After consulting the archives in the temple of Thoth in Hermopolis, informs him that the rise of the Nile is the work of the god Khnum, who resides in a sacred spring on the island of Elephantine.

Imhotep travels to the temple of Khnum in Elephantine and while praying to the god he has a dream. In it, Khnum is introduced to him and describes his divine powers. He then promises the vizier to make the Nile flow again. Imhotep wakes up and writes down everything that Khnum has told him to tell pharaoh Djoser.

“I was grieving on my great throne, and those in the palace were grieving. My heart was in great pain, for the Nile had not arrived in time for seven years. The grain was scarce, the seeds were dry, everything that could be eaten was in short supply… Then I took pleasure in looking back and questioned the chief priest, Imhotep. Where does the Nile originate? I asked him, what god rests there, to support me? Imhotep replied, “There is a city in the middle of the water; the Nile surrounds it. Her name is Elephantine; Khnum is there”

Before the vizier’s account, the pharaoh orders priests, scribes and workers to restore Khnum´s temple and to once more make regular offerings to the god. Furthermore, by decree it grants him the territory between Aswan and Tachompso, and a part of all imports from Nubia.

However, the Famine Stela does not date from the reign of Djoser, or even that of any of his immediate successors. Researchers believe it was made during the time of the reign of the Ptolemies, the Greek rulers of Egypt after Alexander the Great, between 332 and 31 BC. That is, more than 2,300 years after the events that it narrates.

Specifically, it would belong to the reign of Ptolemy V (205-180 BC), and its creators would be the own priests of the temple of Khnum, who thus tried to justify their dominion over Elephantine Island and the surrounding regions. For this reason, for a time the inscription was considered a forgery of the priests. Today some Egyptologists believe that the facts it relates are true, others believe that they are fiction.

Sources: Historicaleve