Tuesday, September 14, 2010

7 Ways To Indulge In the Seven Deadly Sins


Disclaimer: This list is just for fun and not of a religious nature. We all indulge in guilty pleasures from time to time, and we all find ways to not feel guilty about them. Here is a list of ways to heavily indulge in the 7 guiltiest of pleasures: the Seven Deadly Sins.

#1 - Wrath

Destroy a Car


Who doesn’t like taking their anger out on inanimate objects from time to time? There was a “Smash for Cash” fundraising event held recently, where people donated a few dollars to do as much damage to an automobile as possible in 30 seconds. A few cars had been donated from salvage yards, as well as a few donated from people. Those who paid the $2 were given goggles, gloves, a sledgehammer or baseball bat, and 30 seconds on the clock. Participants then proceeded to relieve their stress by demolishing the car with the bludgeon of their choice. If the sin of Wrath can be described as anger or hate expressed through violence, then this fundraiser can be described as an indulgence in Wrath. In this case though, unleashing your Wrath is acceptable because the money raised by committing the sin is going to charity — and Charity is the virtue opposite Greed.


#2 - Gluttony

Eat at the Heart Attack Grill


The Heart Attack Grill in Arizona is a perfect example of moth-to-a-flame Gluttony. This unashamed establishment is known for their “Double Bypass” burgers and “Flatliner Fries”, that are deep fried in pure fat. A combo includes a large Jolt Cola and a pack of no filter cigarettes. Seriously. While you feast on the enormous 4-patty “Quadruple Bypass Burger,” the waitresses (who are dressed up like nurses) dab the sweat from your brow with napkins, and should you finish the whole thing, the girls will wheel you out to your car in a wheelchair. If that wasn’t enough of an slap in the face to the American Heart Association, anyone who weighs over 350lbs. eats for free. There is not much to justify eating at the H.A.G., but the extreme levels of Gluttony (and the Sloth that is sure to follow the meal) are far overshadowed by the Wrath towards unhealthy Americans displayed by the owners of the restaurant.


#3 - Greed

Start a Ponzi Scheme


In 1920, Charles Ponzi became a millionaire in about six months by giving in to Greed, and creating a dishonest money making system. His scheme promised substantial returns on investments that were seldom paid to the investors. Because of the apparent money making potential, investors would usually reinvest their “profit” back into the system, being content with simply receiving statements showing what they had supposedly earned. It’s a simple scheme: tell people that if they pay you $100, you will give them $150 next week. Anyone who wants their $150 at the end of the week would be paid from the $100 of the next victim, while anyone who reinvests their profit just receive a statement showing they made money. The people who were actually paid the $150 are likely to reinvest after they’ve seen how easy it is to make money. The system doesn’t begin to collapse until the majority demand their payout, which is usually when the con man disappears. The odd thing about this list item is that not only the con man is indulging in Greed, but the investors who are hoping to be paid for nothing seem to be as well.


#4 - Lust

Book an Exotic Adult Vacation


To fully immerse yourself in the sin of Lust, look no further than experiencing the ultimate in sleazebaggery: an Adult Vacation. Companies like Affordable Adult Vacations offer excursions similar to a normal tropical Caribbean resort vacation, except for one thing: prostitutes (or “escorts” as resort literature lovingly refers to them). You can book a week-long retreat at a secluded island resort with food, drink, and “companionship”, for singles or couples, included in the price. Just pay for your flight and hotel, and you’ll have someone with whom you can jet-ski, snorkel, and enjoy the beaches and high thread count sheets for an entire week. On one day of your trip, you may choose a second escort to accompany the first while you go fishing, swimming, or …whatever.


#5 - Sloth

Drive the Toyota i-REAL


Toyota has recently unveiled the i-REAL, a “personal mobility vehicle” that is basically just a futuristic motorized wheelchair for non-disabled people, and an excellent way to indulge in the laziness known as Sloth. The i-REAL’s utilizes a small wheelbase, keeping you at approximate eye-level with pedestrians and enabling you to move around “naturally” in a social setting. However, the difference between this and a normal wheelchair doesn’t end at it’s size and mobility. With the push of a button, the wheelbase widens, the chair sinks and leans back, which lowers the center of gravity and enables the high-speed mode. In high-speed mode, the i-REAL can reach speeds of 18mph and will actually lean into turns to prevent tipping. So in a wonderful display of Sloth, Toyota has now made it possible to remain seated all day long.


#6 - Envy

Buy MTV Cribs on DVD


For those unaware, MTV Cribs is a modern version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous that shows off the extravagant homes of music artists and athletes. Few things can spark the sin of Envy like watching a 24 year old watch fish, that cost more than your car, swim in the 480-gallon aquarium installed in his foyer, or seeing a former crack dealer show off his fleet of Ferarris and rare Oriental rugs. Of course, footage of exactly those things is available for you to own and watch again and again in the comfort of your significantly smaller home. The only thing crazier than MTV Cribs being available on DVD is that people actually buy it. Then again, the Envy felt by watching people blow ridiculous sums of money is probably outweighed by the Pride shown by those who blow it.


#7 - Pride

Freeze Yourself


Pride is arguably the worst of the deadly sins, and nothing seems more narcissistic than cryogenically freezing yourself to be “resurrected” at a later time. Not only is this assuming the technology to reanimate you will be available someday, but it also assumes you are important enough that future scientists will spend their time and money on thawing out an elderly caveman for the sole purpose of letting you continue your life normally (or as normal as you can as a formerly dead person in the distant future). So, for a modest fee of $150,000, companies like the Alcor Life Extension Foundation will preserve you in ice despite the extremely high risk that the process won’t even work.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

10 Great Scam Baiting Operations


If you’ve checked your email anytime in the last twenty years, you’ve likely been subjected to appeals from mysterious foreign nationals promising you money for nothing. Or, more accurately, a whole lot of money for only a little of yours — wired internationally to someone you don’t know. Most of these scams involve you supplying seed money, or disclosing confidential data used to deplete your savings account. While these cons are usually recognizable and safely ignored, enough suckers are fooled to make the effort profitable for the criminals who have no fear of legal retribution. Fortunately, a new breed of counterspy, the scam baiter, has risen to our defense. Aware they can’t stop the legions of online con men, these brave souls do their best to waste as much of the scammer’s time and resources as is humanly possible. The results are often hilarious. Submitted for your approval are 10 clever and involved scam baiting operations. Be sure to follow the source links if you can, because the transcripts are too lengthy to publish in this format.


#10 - Maryam Abacha Letters


Included because the online documentation of this full-on runaround is so user-friendly it’s a great introduction to scam baiting. Seriously, this guy could have taken notes in law school. Fully color coded email entries and annotated notes detail the plan of, and correspondence with, Maryam Abacha, wife of the late military head of State for Nigeria. According to her unsolicited email to a total stranger, she has $30 million in cash and needs to get it out of the country but doesn’t trust her family. She even includes hyperlinks from BBC.com to bolster her credibility. However, our scam baiter, Mr. “Dick Heyd” feigns interest and begins “the game”, as he calls it. Heyd proceeds to complicate a deal for a transfer of $20,000 from him in exchange for ‘the consignment’ (presumably the money), and he claims to have already sent $7500 to a Mr. Mbeki at Global Security in Amsterdam, who he believes is in the employ of Ms. Abacha. (Ms. Abacha has no idea who Mbeki is — Heyd made it up). The preferred drop site is London (where Abacha obviously has contacts), so Heyd fixates on Amsterdam and won’t budge. Finally they relent, but Mr. Heyd has security concerns. Appearing spooked in emails and using a fellow scam baiter in Amsterdam, he feigns travel to Amsterdam and concocts a last minute cancellation of the exchange, citing security protocols for him as the CEO of Bovine Excreta Custom Manufacturing. Via the fellow scam baiter in Amsterdam, he is able to describe the very people sent to fetch him from the hotel, since they were casing the lobby at the prescribed time and making ‘massive amounts of phone calls’. Heyd then plays Mbeki and Ms. Abacha against one another and swears to never work with Mbeki again or the deal’s off. The annotated notes indicate the scammers are now VERY confused, and they propose a new dropsite in China with new contact John Kuma. Heyd agrees but secretly emails Kuma with an offer of a 50/50 split and a Green Card for US citizenship. To top things off, he also fakes an email from Mbeki threatening Abacha, telling her to stop ruining his scam. Ms. Abacha (and I’m sure her whole scam gang) is now totally flummoxed, so Heyd slips her Kuma’s incriminating email response to the offer of US citizenship. Then he lets her know that Kuhn is trying to have her bumped off, with an itemized payment schedule for the assassins. After that, there haven’t been any more emails from Ms. Abacha. I’m worried for her…aren’t you?


#9 - To Catch a Con Man


This scam baiting operation is unique in its scale—backed by an American network news budget, full camera team, and travel expense account, investigative reporter Chris Hansen decides he wants to follow a 419 scam all the way through, and expose the criminals in this ‘faceless’ crime. To do this, his team answers a lot of scam emails and send seed money early in the conversations. The scams are simple— the victim is promised millions of dollars for helping someone supposedly in need, but first the victim must pay thousands in processing fees (and of course the millions never arrive). Again, because Hansen sent money early in his communications, several separate scammers offer to do something they rarely do— agree to meet him in person. So Hansen and his team fly to London to meet their defrauders in public places, local bars, and even hotel suites, filming the confrontations in a fashion similar to his groundbreaking “To Catch a Predator” series.



#8 - Painted Breast


“Prince” Joe Eboh, the purported chairman of the “Nigerian Delta Development Commission (NDDC)” promised millions to anyone who could help him siphon off excess revenues from the late head of state, General San Abacha (does he know Abacha’s wife is trying to do the same thing?). Using a familiar “church” theme, scam baiter “Father Hector Barnett” responded to the email, since he was looking to provide financial assistance for new converts. Barnett spun a story of how the ministry was founded in 1774 by Betsy Carrington, who spent years spreading the holy gospel to the Masai. In fact, they even initiated her into “The Order of The Red Breast” via a ceremony where she had to mark the top half of her nude body with red paint as a gesture of faith. As a result, she was immediately accepted, and remained one of the most trusted westerners known at that time. As a qualification to enter the Holy Church of The Order of The Red Breast, Barnett told Prince Eboh that all converts must also complete the initiation that Miss Carrington did. Barnett even included a photograph of four young men going through the procedure. Eboh predictably jumped at the chance and supplied a photo of himself with a spray painted ‘9’ around his nipple, and even sent $80 in processing fees for the promised $18,000 (which has never been sent). The $80 received (most likely stolen) was later sent to a children’s charity in the north of England. The email correspondence goes on to this day, even through the traumatic death of Father Barnett’s good friend Minny Mowse, his doomed plans to spend church money exporting snow to Siberia, and failed dreams of joining the circus. Since then, Prince Joe Eboh rockin’ his ‘9’ has become an icon in the scam baiting community.


#7 - Carve This


The primary goal of scam-baiting is to distract the scammer so he can’t rip off anyone else. And that’s what happened when scammer “F. Williams Smith” from the “Special Committee for Budget and Planning of the Ministry of Petroleum” contacted scam baiter “Derek Trotter”. Smith offered 25% of $10.5 million in exchange for an “account in which the funds will be transferred.” What he got instead was a carpentry assignment from Mr. Trotter, who posed as an arts dealer. Through clever emails and the promise of $100,000, Trotter lured Mr. Smith into creating elaborate wood carvings–some of which were pretty good, and obviously took time to construct. In the end, after weeks of paperwork, disagreements over shipping fees, and the untimely “death” of Derek Trotter, the deal fell apart, and everyone parted ways. Later, scammer “John Boko” also fell for the Derek Trotter treatment and also submitted a wooden replica of the sample figure. But due to “shipping shrinkage” Trotter claimed the piece didn’t meet the agreed-upon specifications and the submission was refused. So Boko was given a second chance, only this time he had to carve a replica of a Commodore 64. Which he did.



#6 - Handwritten Harry


After offering millions of dollars for a few thousands in advance, alleged attorney for “the late President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, Barrister Mussa Issah, fell deep into the clutches of mastermind “Arthur Dent.” Dent claimed that his company was conducting a research project on “Advanced Handwriting Recognition and Graphology systems”, and offered Mr. Issah $100 per handwritten page of any text. Dent demanded a strict minimum of 100 pages, and anything less would be rejected outright. Issah fell hard, and transcribed all 293 pages of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, each page meticulously handwritten. Sadly, the deal fell through for some reason.


#5 - Skeleton Coast


From July to August 2006, scam baiter “Troy McClure” weaves a story of ready cash at the NASA compound he cleans in Namibia. However, if the money were to go missing, Troy would be the first suspect. He needs a partner like Steven Okama–the scammer–to come and get it. A month of emails, Internet phone calls, and visits to a fake web page keep Mr. Okama breathlessly engaged, until the two decide to stash the money in a watertight GPS-enabled cashbox on a deserted beach. Okama’s brother-in-law, Tony, agrees to pick up the money using online GPS coordinates (from Troy’s fake website), and the pickup will be confirmed when the online location of the cashbox changes. Then Okama will deposit the money in a South African bank account for dispersal. Tony dutifully heads out to the beach and is horrified when he discovers that the box is not there. Okama is livid. Fortunately, Troy convinces them that the box was swept out to sea and he’s tracking its movement up the Namibian coast. Okama keeps asking for money to hire a boat, and begins complaining of medical problems that prevent him from retrieving the box. Eventually, the baiting loses steam as “Troy” plans to get the money himself now that the box is out of Namibia. And since Steven won’t spring for a boat, he’s cut out of the heist.


#4 - Mikel Bolton Loan Scam


This elaborate bait is as complete as it is lengthy, and I confess to getting lost in places— which is why it probably worked so well. The scam baiter pretended to be “Calvin Huckle”, a naïve scam victim just ready for the taking. The original goal was to just run up a scammer’s long distance fees. But then Huckle (and many of his other online identities) came into contact with British banker “Mikel Bolton”, who was willing to lend him up to $150,000 without ever meeting him. Posing as a fellow scam artist making a good living sending fake checks, Huckle co-opted the scammer(s) into contacting former 419 victims. Unbeknownst to them, Huckle had the real victim’s permission to assume their online identity for the duration of the sting. Hollywood thrillers have nothing on this: the counterscam involved a boggling 11 separate storylines and several times Huckle contacted other scam baiters by accident, but they agreed to corroborate one another’s stories to the real criminals. Luckily, during the operation, our hero obtained a list of 86 intended victims, and he notified each of the plans to defraud them. Of course, some believed him, and others thought he was running a scam (which is progress, I think).


#3 - Mark of Respect


Scammer Ahmed Sadiq first contacts scam baiter “Lance Myboyle” for airfare money to Mecca. However, Ahmed’s lie of attending Weister City University in London quickly fails — mainly because it doesn’t exist– and British citizen Lance tells him so in no uncertain terms. Oddly, Ahmed is unfazed and continues to ask for money. Their discussions ferret out that Ahmed lives, not in London, but Nigeria, and if he really needs money, he should contact Father Bruce Corbin, of the Church of the Tattooed Saint. Email exchanges with Father Corbin inform the scammer that a donation can only be made if Ahmed converts to the church and gets a tattoo of the Order somewhere on his body. I think you know where this is going. After many emails, Ahmed gets a BIG tattoo “Baited by Shiver” on his left leg (other scammers have used their arms). Tragedy then strikes, as Father Corbin passes away from a Tribble infection, and Ahmed is passed between a jive-talking pastor and a disgruntled ex-con volunteer. However, Ahmed’s demands for money continue unabated, even when he’s passed on to an “Inspector Morse”, who is investigating embezzlement by employees of the Church of the Tattooed Saint. Ahmed even sends a laughably fake passport to the Inspector, who insists on releasing the “owed” funds only after proper identification is presented. The baiting ends when the gullible Ahmed suspects the Western Union email receipt from Frank Sinatra of 221B Baker Street looks a little “iffy”. Realizing he’s totally busted, Ahmed first gets belligerent and then tries to play on sympathy. But make no mistake– this playa got played for four straight months, and even has a sweet “tat” to show for it.


#2 - Gold Scam


Who needs Chris Hansen and his NBC budget? Scam-baiter “Jack Ophten” doesn’t— he got the scammer to come to him! Ophten and his pals at 419hell love “being jerks to those who deserve it”, and no one deserved it more that Frank Owusu, who was using email spams to sell phony gold dust. Ophten was able to convince the scammer that he was a scammer, too, and needed help defrauding his aged father-in-law. In emails and phone calls, Ophten played the parts of fellow scammer and scam victim for Owusu and his partners in crime. Unbelievably, Ophten even convinced Owusu to pay for his own travel from Ghana to St. Louis, USA, to defraud Ophten’s father-in-law. When finally confronted in the lobby of the St. Louis Crown Plaza Hotel, Owusu bolted like a spooked racehorse. Too bad he was in such a hurry: he left his bag of real gold dust behind (appraised value: $200). Ophten documented the entire operation on both audio and videotape, and did everything he could to include cybercrime law enforcement. However, despite email death threats from someone he’s met in person, the Missouri state attorney’s office, the local sheriff, and the FBI politely refused to get involved at any point of the operation.


#1 - Anus Laptops


The mother of all scam baiting operations has to go to scam baiter “The Failure”, who may or may not work in a New York computer shop. Too bad scammer “Cole” didn’t know his intended victim was a regular at www.scambaiter.com. What happens over the next several weeks was documented day-by-day online, and even involved many of the website’s readers. It all started when “Martin Cole” sent a fake check to buy some laptops for shipment overseas. Failure’s alias “Warren Turnbuckle” protested he could not ship overseas without all freight fees paid, in cash, up front. Since he was paying with a fake check anyway, Cole sends the cash, but cunningly overpays the $4000 bill with a $4500 check, and asks Turnbuckle to refund him the $500 overpayment within 45 minutes of receiving the check. Turnbuckle responds that he can’t cash the check for 5-10 days, but will sell the laptops anyway if Cole sends a shipping courier to pick them up. Turnbuckle also promises to refund the shipping costs once the check finally clears. Cole bites, and agrees to pay for freight for several “Anus” brand computers, arranging for UPS to pick up them the very next day (far ahead of the check bouncing). So Failure packed 7 large boxes with garbage, dead CD ROM drives, and two trashed laptops with “ANUS” scratched on the screen. Estimated shipping charges totaled $3,186.67. UPS was in on the sting, and agreed to not deliver until Cole paid them for shipment. Scambaiter.com readers wanted in on the joke as well, and when the shipment was suspiciously diverted to Manchester, UK, a reader posed as city worker offering to fix Cole’s house as part of an urban renewal project. Cole then proceeded to show the “damages” he did to his own house after receiving ‘a bunch of rubbish in the post”. Photos, audio recordings, shipping labels, and hilariously incoherent death threats from the ‘governor’ and the dreaded ‘Clique Mob’ can be found on a now-classic thread that spans 80+ pages. NSFW, but worth an hour’s reading all the same.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Top 10 Bizarre Birth Defects


This list looks at birth defects – the dread of every expectant parent. Some are fairly well know while others are, thankfully, extremely rare. Warning: some images on this list may disturb.


#10 - Siamese Twins


We are all familiar with the tales of Siamese twins (named for the country of birth of the first known conjoined twins). It is, of course, a rare disorder in which twins are born joined together at one or more parts of their bodies. In the most rare cases, children can be born joined at the top of their head. Sometimes Siamese twins can be separated, allowing both to live full lives, but more frequently, this is not possible.


#9 - Ambras Syndrome


Ambras Syndrome is a disorder that causes someone to be born with excessive hair over the face and body. This is fortunately a very rare disease; in fact, there are only 40 humans in the world with it at present. The disease is extremely debilitating for children, as they are often rejected by their peers.


#8 - Fused Limbs


Fused limbs are two limbs which are joined together. This can happen in some cases with toes or fingers, but in a recent case in Peru, a young girl was born with her legs completely fused, giving her the appearance of a mermaid. One in every 70,000 babies has this disorder.









#7 - Cyclopia


Cyclopia is named for the famous mythical creature the Cyclops. Children born with cyclopia have one eye in the middle of their head. It is believed that the cause may be related to certain cancer treatment drugs taken by pregnant women.









#6 - Craniopagus parasiticus


Craniopagus parasiticus is a condition in which a child is born with a parasitic extra head from their unborn twin. There have only been ten cases of it in documented history, with only three surviving birth. In one bizarre case, the second head was able to smile, blink, cry, and suckle.



#5 - Foetus in Foetu


Foetus in foetu is when a child is born with his twin inside him, giving the appearance of pregnancy. Both twins are usually formed from one egg, but during the pregnancy, one is absorbed by the other and it begins to live off it like a parasite. Surgery can usually remove the undeveloped twin from the stronger one with no ill effects.





#4 - Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva


Children who are born with this disease grow bone in areas that are hurt. Where a child is injured and would normally scar or have their skin grow back, the child suffering from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva develops bone in sufficiently large quantities that it can become debilitating, with the excess bone fusing joints. The bone cannot be removed in surgery because it would cause more bone to grow in the surgery wounds.





#3 - Progeria


Progeria occurs in one in eight million births. It causes a child to look aged well beyond their years. Children with progeria lose their hair, develop wrinkles, and take on the facial characteristics of the very old. Severe arterial damage caused by the disease means that most sufferers die by the time they hit adolescence.








#2 - Vestigial Tail


Vestigial tail is when a child is born with a semi-functional tail, complete with muscles, nerves, skin, and blood vessels. It is believed to be caused by a mutation of the genes that exist in infants to cause the cellular death of body parts that are not needed.





#1 - Anencephaly


Anencephaly is the absence of a brain and spinal chord. There is no cure and most anencephalic babies die during childbirth. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “a baby born with anencephaly is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain. Although some individuals with anencephaly may be born with a main brain stem, the lack of a functioning cerebrum permanently rules out the possibility of ever gaining consciousness. Reflex actions such as breathing and responses to sound or touch occur.”


Top 10 Worst Theological or Mythological Demons


Whether you are religious or not, demons have played a large part in mythology, books, movies, and even music. Films, such as “Paranormal Activity”, “The Exorcist”, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, “Fallen”, and–more recently–”The Last Exorcism”, have made demons something to fear. Movies, however, rarely scratch the surface of just how evil these former, corrupt servants of God (or many gods) can be. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 worst–and/or weirdest–demons in theological and mythological history.


#10 - Abyzou


Origin: Jewish mythology
Also known as: Abizou, Obizu, Obizuth, Obyzouth, and Byzou

This female demon was believed to be responsible for miscarriages, still-births, and infant mortality. Abyzou is believed to have been infertile, so these heinous acts were/are most likely out of jealousy. She is often depicted having snake- and/or fish-like attributes.







#9 - Agares


Origin: Christian demonology
Also known as: Agreas

This male demon makes “those who run stand still”, a terrible thing to be a victim of during, say, a tornado. He is also said to be one of the demons that controls earthquakes. Agares also teaches many languages, focusing on the profanities and ethnic slurs. He is also believed to be the ruler of the eastern zone of Hell, and he is said to have 31 legions of demons at his command. He is also one of the–if not the–strangest looking demon on this list. He is often portrayed as a pale elderly man riding a crocodile, with a hawk either attached to or on his fist. No joke!


#8 - Aka Manah


Origin: Zoroastrian mythology
Also known as: Akem Manah, Akoman, Akvan

His name means “manah made evil”; in this case, the word “manah” represents “the mind”. Many refer to him as the demon of “evil intention”, “evil mind”, “evil purpose”, or “evil thinking”. His job: To prevent people from fulfilling their moral duties (.i.e.: being a good parent, saving a life, etc.).






#7 - Ala


Origin: Pre-Slovic and Slovic mythology, and Christian demonology
Also known as: plural: Ale

Ale are some of the few demons on this list who does evil deeds, but can be persuaded to do good deeds, and can even help you! They particularly like creating bad weather (most notably, hail- and thunder-storms) over farms, orchards, and vineyards, in order to destroy crops. They also are said to like eating children. Ale are so hungry, that they are said to be able to “eat the sun and/or moon”, creating eclipses. They can pose a great threat to a persons’ mental and physical life; they can even possess you. However, if you approach an Ala with trust and respect, she and the other Ale will save your life whenever necessary, and make you rich! Ale are also very afraid of eagles…just in case you don’t want to become friends with one. What they look like changes with each account; some say they look like ravens, others like clouds or dark winds; many say snakes or female dragons. They are believed to live in lakes, springs, clouds, unreachable mountains, forests, caves, or gigantic trees.


#6 - Asag


Origin: Sumerian mythology

Asag is one of many demons that causes sickness. “But what,”, you say, “separates him from other demons that cause sickness?”. Well, for one, he had sex with all the mountains in the world, and had a litter of “rock-demon” offspring that defends him in any battle. He is also believed to be so grotesquely, unbelievably ugly, that his very presence causes fish to be boiled alive in rivers and/or lakes within viewing-distance!






#5 - Belphegor


Origin: Christian demonology and Kabbalic mythology

Belphegor is absolutely unbelievable. He got his start in Assyria, many, many years ago. He was first called Baal-Peor, and he was associated with orgies, and other types of lewdness. The Israelites worshiped him, in the form of a phallic (penis-shaped) idol. Later on, in Kabbalic mythology, he was a demon who made people paranoid of each other, and who would seduce them with money and overall wealth. Needless to say, it was hard to summon Baal-Peor, because he required the sacrifice of human excrement! In the 16th Century, he changed his name to Belphegor, and changed his strategy (somewhat). He pretty much threw away the idea of causing mutual mistrust in people, and instead…focused on inventions. He would “suggest” crazy (yet plausible) inventions to people, and then use their greed to his (and their) advantage when they became successful. According to legend, Belphegor was sent to Earth from Hell to either justify of disprove the rumors that marriage can result in happiness. Finding no evidence that happiness is possible in a marriage (now, there’s a surprise), he chose to stay on Earth. He is notable for two bizarre attributes: He is believed to be physically, mentally, and strategically strongest in the month of April, and he either was or is Hell’s/Satan’s ambassador to France. Belphegor also played an role in Milton’s book, “Paradise Lost”. He is either depicted as a hideous, bearded demon with horns and claws, or a beautiful young woman.


#4 - Jikininki


Origin: Japanese Buddhist mythology

Jikininki are the spirits of selfish, greedy, or ungodly people who have passed on. They are said to be cursed to eat the flesh of human corpses. It is also said that they take valuables from the corpses, in order to bribe local law-enforcement officials to leave them alone. Unlike most demons, they actually hate what they are, and are in a constant state of self-disgust and self-loathing. Some accounts state that they are so terrifying to look at, that seeing one would make you paralyzed with fear. Other accounts indicate that Jikininki can take the form of normal human beings, and can even lead seemingly normal lives by day. They are notable in that–unlike other gaki or rakshasa (“hungry ghosts”), and ghosts in general–they are an endangered species, if one can use such a term in this context.


#3 - Pontianak


Origin: Indonesian mythology
Also known as: Kuntilanak, Matianak, or Boentianak

The Pontianak are the spirits of ladies who died during child-birth, and became undead. Pontianak are said to scare people (mostly men), and then rip out their internal organs for feeding with their claws. In the case of men that the Pontianak knew when they were alive (who abused, or otherwise betrayed them), they are said to remove the man’s genitalia with their bare hands (Ouch!!). They are much like vampires; however, they do what they do more out of vengeance, rather then necessity or sustenance. It’s also hard to judge just how far away from you they are; usually, a loud cry means the Pontianak is far away, whereas a soft cry signifies that the Pontianak is nearby. It is also said that a faint floral fragrance is detected upon first seeing it, however, the fragrance changes to something rotten after a short period of time. Pontianak are believed to live in banana trees, a possible phallic-/fertility-reference.


#2 - Lady Midday


Origin: Slavic mythology
Also known as: Pscipolnista, Poludnica, Polednice

“Lady Midday” is certainly a unique female demon. She is said to pose tough questions and make conversation with laborers working in the fields during the hottest part of the day in summertime. Any incorrect answer or unprompted subject change results in a beheading, either with a scythe, or a pair of shears. “Lady” is also the personification of heat-stroke, and can also give people insanity or heat-sickness, in lieu of decapitation. Her description varies between a 12 year old girl, an old woman, or a generally beautiful woman.


#1 - Lamashtu


Origin: Sumerian and Mesopotamian mythology
Also known as: Dimme

Lamashtu is a heinous, terrifying, demoness. She is said to menace women throughout and after the end of their pregnancies. She is routinely said to kidnap infants while they’re breastfeeding; she would suck their blood, and chew on their bones. Add to that the fact that her other hobbies included: Infesting rivers and lakes, killing crops and other plants, sucking the blood of men, creating sleep-disturbances, spreading diseases and illnesses, and bringing nightmares. And, unlike most demons from Mesopotamian mythology, she didn’t answer to anyone; not any god, or man, or any part of any divine hierarchy. So evil was Lamashtu, that pregnant women and their loved ones would routinely summon the demon, Pazuzu, to protect them. For the uninitiated, Pazuzu was the demon made famous by the, “The Exorcist” movies! Allegedly, Pazuzu and Lamashtu were fierce rivals, who would attack each other at any chance. While Pazuzu was known for bringing famines and droughts, soon-to-be-mothers were so afraid of Lamashtu, that they were willing to take the risk! That means that, yes, Linda Blair’s performance in “The Exorcist” was nothing compared to the wrath of Lamashtu! Lamashtu is usually described as a “mythological hybrid”, with the head of a lioness, the teeth and ears of a donkey, the feet of a bird (complete with sharp talons), as well as a hairy body, and long, sharp fingers and fingernails. She is usually depicted nursing a dog and a pig and holding snakes, while standing or kneeling on a donkey! Subtle, isn’t it?