The Empousa – (Eh-Boo-saa) – are female demons from Greek Mythology.
According to the lore, Empousa are children of Hecate – goddess of the underworld – and sometimes appear as beautiful women to seduce and lure men to their deaths by draining their blood. Hence what we in modern times call Vampire.
Known as filthy, ugly creatures with hind ends of donkeys, they are said to have one leg made of brass while the other is that of a jackass.
Unlike our modern-day vampiric lore, the Empousa appear during midday when people make sacrifices to their deceased loved ones. Our modern-day vampiric lore has turned these creatures into beautiful, soulful, beings who long for love and understanding. But that is not the case when it came to the Empousai (plural form of Empousa).
In Greek mythology, the Empousai were known as devious, inhumanly strong, vicious beyond belief, and vindictive. Definitely not a creature you would want to meet and fall in love with.
If these creatures took an interest in you, it was for one thing only, food.
They would drain your blood before devouring your flesh.
An ancient story, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the author, Philostratus writes of an Empousa bride who set her sights on one of Apollonius’ disciples, Menippus. In the story, Menippus, at 25 years of age, was smart and handsome. Quite the catch in any age. It was during a walk along the road to Cenchreae that he met an Empousa disguised as a beautiful Phoenician woman. So beautiful was she, he fell under her spell and immediately made plans to marry her.
The hero of the story, Apollonius, became skeptical and after meeting her the day of the wedding. She acknowledged she owned all the gold and silver decorations throughout the house as well as the slaves. It was then Apollonius told his friend and disciple what she was, an Empousa who would drink his blood then devour his flesh. The Empousa became enraged and ordered him Apollonius to leave the house. But the spell was broken, and all the trappings disappeared.
Seen for what she truly was, she wept and begged Apollonius not to force her to confess her true identity, to no avail. With her true identity to Menippus known, she admitted to fattening him up for a kill. Stating she loved to feast on the young tender bodies because their blood was pure and strong.
It appears the story was meant be a message to men to stay away from women who were young, beautiful, and had their own wealth. Remember, it was written at a time when women were seen as property, not as individual people who could have strength, power, and wealth.
When we look at the lore in that light, what does it say about our current vampiric lore? Why in this day and age vampires appear as sexy, rich, powerful beings whom we want to be with?
Just some food for thought, if you will.
Till next week’s Tempest Demon File…