Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

09 December 2009

Demoniality, Or, Incubi and Succubi

Oh, the things a monsterhunter has to read! I found this interesting little book on Amazon. The full title is: "Demoniality, Or Incubi and Succubi: A Treatise Wherein Is Shown that There are in Existence on Earth Rational Creatures Besides Man, Endowed Like Him with a Body and a Soul, that are Born and Die Like Him, Redeemed by Our Lord Jesus-Christ, and Capable of Receiving salvation or Damnation". (remember that one for your next "charades" competition!)
The book is an 1879 English translation by Isidore Liseux of a 17th century Latin text by the Rev. Father Sinistrari of Ameno.
I really enjoy reading these old texts. It's interesting to read the thoughts and positions of people of another time. This particular work examines the nature of beings such as Incubi, Succubi, Demons, Satyrs, Fauns, and similar supernatural or paranormal entities. The author sets forth to prove that such beings not only exist, but are in fact much more than phantoms or spirits. Written from a religious perspective, the author nonetheless incorporates the emerging scientific discoveries of the period in order to persuade the reader to accept his thesis.
Using historical accounts as well as Biblical writings and theology, the author's position is that there are intelligent, rational beings other than Man, that these beings have corporeal (yet "subtle") bodies, (interestingly, there was contemporary debate regarding the corporeality vs incorporeality of vampires in some old texts as well), that they were created by God, and that they have souls and free will regarding good and evil.
The author gives some examples to prove his point. For instance: Incubi and Succubi do not respond to exorcism, Holy relics, or the cross, yet Demons do. Therefore, Incs and Succs aren't Demons, but a different type of entity. They DO respond to other remedies and banes which in turn do not affect Demons.
A central theme is the question of how the Church should treat "Demoniality", or sexual relations with a Demon or supernatural entity. The author's conviction is that, outside of other trappings ( a selling of the soul, or a compact or renunciation of fatih), Demoniality is basically the same sin as Bestiality, since the subject had relations with a creature of a different species. In this case, it's a crime against nature, but not a crime against religion or the Church.
Of course, the author's use of canon, scripture, and theology still creates a circular argument ("we know it's true because the Bible says so") and some of his attempts at rationalization using contemporary scientific discoveries haven't stood the test of time, but all in all it's a very interesting read, and deserves a place on my shelf. The accounts alone are great stories.

2 comments:

Autumnforest said...

That is a wicked title! Oh my gosh! It'll be interesting a hundred years from now to hear what they think of our views on ghosts and such when viewing old episodes of "Ghost Hunters." It'll seem archaic, no doubt.

Gummerfan said...

Lol! You should see me at work when a book order arrives. "Oh, great! My copy of The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage finally got here!"
The book I post about next will raise the question "Are the places Ghost Hunters investigates haunted, or are the Ghost Hunters haunted?"