What are these unseen things we feel watching us from the shadows. We catch tiny glimpses of them in the corners of our eye.
But quickly dismiss it as nothing, especially after feeling foolish and turning our head to look and see absolutely …nothing.
However, others see it too. I dare say everyone. Even those that say they don’t, because we’re always catching them giving the same uneasy glances at dark corners and open doors leading into closets or darkened hallways.
Some things are very real and need to be told.
Scary stories are designed to create an eerie and frightening atmosphere which can be either supernatural or non-supernatural. Sometimes in the form of unseen paranormal things and sometimes presented in the various forms of a very human kind of evil, such as serial killers and psychopaths.
These scary stories are designed to frighten, scare, and/or startle by provoking a response that’s either emotional, psychological, or physical to cause them to react with fear and induce feelings of horror and terror.
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft.
Most horror stories have their roots in local folktales and religious traditions which usually focus on the unknown, death, and all things that we simply depicted as “evil” beings or acts. These stories evolved and manifested into the tales of witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and demonic possessions that we all know so well today.
But these Horror stories are not only told to entertain us by the campfire at night, but often they are told to protect us from danger.
It may be the danger in a particular part of the forest or a cave where some dangerous wildlife may live such as a bear or a mountain lion. Stories are told to warn others from venturing into them or to keep children from the dangers around them. These stories have a functional purpose.
Don’t go out at night or the boogeyman will get you. Making the boogeyman a generic fear in lieu of the huge list of real things out there hiding in the darkness that will ‘get you’. In modern times, this has a long list of possible dangers and unfortunately they are mostly human.
But what about the monsters we’ve been told about for centuries. Are they real? Were they ever real? Is the threat of the unknown and unseen world real?
We are constantly discovering new things in this world that we don’t fully understand. The more we learn, the more puzzles we open. Whether it be a simple ghost sighting or something else. As we learn more about the World around us, we also learn how much we really don’t know.
The word “demon,” also spelled “daimon” or “daemon,” comes from Greek mythology for an inferior deity or an attendant spirit, also know as a “genius.” It’s interesting that the word genius has a meaning beyond our regular usage for someone with an exceptional intellect, but also means a spirit.
The plurals for the word genius are geniuses (our standard usage) and genii, which comes from Roman mythology meaning a tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or place. The Romans plural the word genius into genii to mean a deity or spirit and the Muslims spell genii as jinni or djinni, which is pluralized for the words jinn or djinn.
In some Islamic beliefs, the djinn or jinn are any of a class of spirits lower than the angels and are capable of appearing in human or animal forms and influencing humankind.
In the original Hebrew text (used in Judeo-Christian tradition), the word djinn or jinn doesn’t occur in the Bible. However, in old Arabic translations of the same terxts the word jinn is used quite often. The ‘entities’ are identified, but labelled differently according to the book and language used. Modern translations of these entities use words like: ‘demon’ or ‘unclean spirit’. Other words like “seraphim” are also used to describe them, such as the burning/fiery ones that appeared to Isaiah (Isaiah 6).
What are these demons or unclean spirits to the Muslims, if they have the same accountings in their holy books?
Islam teaches that the djinn are creatures with freewill that were made from smokeless fire by Allah (God) as humans were made of clay (Adam). According to the Holy Qur’an, Iblis (the father or leader of all djinn) refused to bow to Adam when Allah ordered the angels and djinn to do so. For disobeying Allah (God), Iblis and the djinn that followed him were expelled from Paradise and called “Shaytan” or Satan (sound familiar?).
Shaytan is often simply translated as “the Devil,” but the term can refer to any of the djinn who disobeyed God and followed Iblīs. There are several classes of djinn and they aren’t the “Genie in the Bottle” that pop culture depicts them as. These djinn classifications from Islam are the same classifications that Jews and Christians give for ‘Satan’s Demons’. The same classifications that are in every other religion int he World as well, regardless of their label.
Does this mean they would be more accurately depicted as nonhuman spirits, demons, and shadow people?
Djinn are frequently mentioned in the Qur’an and are similar to humans in that djinn have freewill allowing them to do as they choose, even follow any religion or none at all.
They are usually invisible to humans and humans do not appear clearly to them.
When they are seen by humans, it’s usually just a faint glimpse in the corner of the eye. Never seeing them directly or clearly. Never sure if anything was even seen at all.
Djinn have the power to travel large distances at extreme speeds and are thought to live in their own communities, have kings, government, and a world of existence of their own separate from our own. In Islamic theology, the class of djinn known as Shaytan are the “whisperers” who whisper into the chests of men and women urging them to commit sin.
Djinn are pretty much what we Westerners think of as demons, shadow people, and other nonhuman spirits. Those unseen hidden beings that we can’t exactly explain.
These hidden beings come in a variety of themes and names depending on which culture they are told from.
One thing consistent is that every culture throughout history tells of them in some form or another.
The Norse (Vikings) called them hidden people (Huldufólk). They are also known to the Old Norse as vættir or wights, which are nature spirits and literally means “beings,” more specifically, “supernatural beings.” Belief in various forms of vættir continues today, especially in Iceland, regardless of Christian efforts to eradicate such beliefs over the past centuries. Most of these beliefs are taken in the form of house spirits or house dwellers. In contrast to many faery tales that have a variety of depictions of them, good or bad, in all cultures these beings are unseen or invisible.
The bible forbids the worship of house spirits or household deities.
Which implies that they exist by modern religious standards, no matter what they are called.
Each culture calls them something different with their own angle of what they are and where they come from.
By modern beliefs, house spirits are usually labeled are guardian spirits that watch over us or in some cases cause mischief. Some Islamics believe a djinni is assigned as a guardian spirit for every person born, whereas many Christians believe an angel is assigned as a guardian.
It must be noted that in some Islamic teachings the djinn helped the angels, it was only a portion of them that refused to serve mankind (the Shaytan) and were expelled from Paradise. Many Christians call this same happening as the fallen angels that were expelled from heaven.
You say to-may-toe and I say to-mah-toe, nevertheless it’s still a tomato.
So, the words demon, daemon, genius, djinn, genii, jinni, seraphim, seraph, house spirit, nisse, goblin, shadow people, tomte, vættir, and wrights all mean the same thing: non-human unseen spirit-type beings.
It’s merely a matter of language, culture and custom, but they are all the same thing. Every single religion, mythology, and peoples of the World speak of them. The unseen things that go bump in the night have always been known to humankind and are even known today.
Today, we place new labels on them and try to deal with them rationally.
Ghost hunters try to record evidence of them by means of cameras, video, electronic voice phenomenon, and with the use of sensitives and mediums whom are more in tune and able to detect them slightly better than the average person.
So what of these things? Are these ghosts and shadow people that so many swear are real and that they’ve seen, really there?
Skeptics that can’t explain certain phenomena try to come up with scientific explanations as to what these things are. These same skeptics tend to later convert into being believers themselves when they see things they wish they’d never seen. Believers of these unseen things that go bump in the night that have been called so many different things by every culture in the World for as long as we know.
But what are these things?
Source: Kane, Njord. A Wallflower’s Whisper. Yukon: Spangenhelm, 2016. Print. (used with permission). A paranormal story based on true events, the names and locations have been changed to respect the privacy of those involved.
Continue reading: A Wallflower’s Whisper by Njord Kane
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