If a succubus or incubus comes calling, simply keep your knees together and you’ll be OK


Nightmare” evokes the modern word for a female horse but the terms are wholly unrelated. The word derives from the Old Englishmare“, a mythological demon or goblin who torments human beings with frightening dreams.Subsequently, the prefix “night-” was added to stress the dream-aspect. The word “nightmare” is cognate with the older German term Nachtmahr.

This topic came to my mind when I read a comment by a Facebook friend who recounted how she had suffered from nightmares the previous night. I feel for her. The horrors of a nightmare can be unexcelled and we have no way of protecting ourselves when we are in the throes of such vivid nocturnal visitation to our unconscious.

Statistically women experience nightmares with twice the frequency of men. English psychology lecturer Jennifer Parker of the University of Bristol has found that to be the case in her research and for the following reason: “I believe these results show that women carry over their waking concerns into their dream life more so than men do, and they appear to have more difficulty with ‘switching off’ their concerns.”

I know Wendy has nightmares with a frequency that vastly excels mind and I don’t think that has anything to do with her being married to me. But, she has them so commonly that they are virtually a norm for her. I, on the other hand, rarely encounter them and haven’t much since I was a kid. Mind you, in childhood I had a few blockbuster terror-inducers. In fact, one was so vivid from when I was seven or eight that I still remember it in virtual detail to this day.

In the dream I am playing in the basement of my childhood home. We had a big old coal-burning furnace in a part of the basement and I was rooting behind it for some reason when I noticed a black-and-white puppy. I was thrilled. My parents had gotten me a puppy!  I went in to play with it, whereupon the pup turned monstrous and developed huge hands and arms and one of the hands grabbed me by the ankle. I cried out to my father who was puttering in his workshop next door to the furnace room. He didn’t even look up to see my distress. I somehow then dragged myself to the stairway that led up to the kitchen. I was able to make the doorway with the hands still clinging to me and I cried out in terror to my mother who was cooking and, like my father, chose to ignore my plight. In both cases the parents were smiling placidly.

I have no further recall of the nightmare and you can probably read all sorts of Freudian stuff into it.

Yes, nightmares can be pretty bad mojo. In fact, according to some accounts they can be deadly. Witness the following:

A man who goes to bed fit and healthy is heard to cry out in his sleep, and the next morning is found dead. The same scene is repeated again and again. The doctors cannot find any physical cause for the mysterious deaths, but people mutter darkly about demonic beings and deadly dreams. The 11 victims were all Filipino sailors, and the case was investigated by Dr Gonzalo Aponte of the US Naval Hospital in Guam in 1960. The autopsies turned up nothing, but Dr Aponte found that sudden night deaths were well known in the Filipino community. In fact they have been recorded across the entire Far East. According to folklore, the sleeper is attacked by a nocturnal dæmon that squats on his chest and suffocates him. Witness reports bear this out, describing “choking, gasping, groaning, gurgling, frothing at the mouth, laboured breathing without wheezing or stridor, screaming, and other signs of terror.”






Nonsense? Who can tell?

succubbusThere are certain nocturnal visitors, too, who can come a-callin’ during your dream state and get up to all sorts of monkey-business. They are seen as nightmares of a sort, but with a distinctly sexual twist. These are the incubi and succubi. An incubus is a male dream creature or spirit who comes and has his wanton way with a young female, usually a teen girl, and a succubus is a sexy female creature who does the same with a randy male.

These creatures go well back in history and variations are found in many cultures. I suspect, more than anything else that they are merely fallguys for quite normal nocturnal masturbation by the young in societies that frown on such under-the-covers nonsense.

Anyway, I am happy that I rarely have nightmares and generally dream about fluffy little bunnies and puppies, and am not prepared to mention any succubi who might come visiting during the night. That’s between me and her.


4 responses to “If a succubus or incubus comes calling, simply keep your knees together and you’ll be OK

  1. Nightmares can be so frightening that if they waken you, it takes a few seconds to realize it was not real. I have a nightmare from when I was a child around 8 years old. My parents had given me a stuffed monkey for Christmas, and after that I had a dream several times that I heard a guttural noise outside my window (which was high on the wall, 5 ft. wide and 2 ft. high) and I stood on the bed to peek out. I saw a big hairy gorilla! I grabbed my monkey, which was now a real one, and hid below the window. The curtains suddenly became opened and he peeked through the window, grunted, and left. I remember feeling very frightened. After having the same dream for a few nights, the stuffed money ended up sleeping in the closet and not in bed with me!

  2. Funny, I was just reading something on nightmares this weekend. Apparently, women tend to have nightmares about things happening to their loved ones, while men have nightmares about monsters and such…

    • Yes, I think I read the same thing about the different nightmares of males and females. As I said, I rarely have them these days, but had more when I was younger. I used to have nightmares about tsunamis for some reason. Maybe because I used to live on the ocean.

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