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About.com - Succubus
In the popular belief of the Middle Ages, the Succubus (Latin, 'to lie beneath') was a demon who preyed sexually on men; her counterpart the Incubus (latin, 'to lie upon') haunted women. These demon lovers were thought to assume human form to visit their victims in the dead of night, sometimes taking on the appearance of the unknowing victim's spouse or lover. The incubus had the ability to paralyze the victim, or even to cause all of the occupants of a house to fall into a stupor while it carried out its evil deeds. Sex with an incubus was described as an unpleasant, often painful affair.
The origins of the sexual demon go back to the beginnings of civilization- the Assyrian legend of Lilith, the Night Hag whose children became the lili, who roamed about at night satisfying their endless lust with human men. In Hebrew folklore, Lilith was the first intended of Adam, who was banished for her refusal to assume an inferior sexual position. According to legend, Lilith visited her wrath on mortal men by seducing them to produce demon children. She got her revenge on human women by murdering their newborns in the cradle.
At the peak of the great witch hunts, it was widely believed that sex with an incubus was necessary for the initiation of a witch. Sometimes, the demon lover was a reward for faithful service to Satan.
In later times, the incubus and succubus were seen as the same being, in different forms. As succubus, the demon would collect semen from male victims; later, as incubus, it would impregnate female victims. (This view undoubtably helped explain a number of inconvenient pregnancies!) Twins and babies with deformities were often thought to be the offspring of the incubus.
The extreme repression of sexual urges by the Church is almost certainly responsible for the eruptions of these unwanted sexual fantasies- as erotic feeling was considered sinful, any sexual dream or fantasy was the product of demons. The more repression, the more frequent and intense the 'visitations.'
Pronunciation: suk-yoo-buss, inn-cyoo-buss • (noun)
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