A type of demon from Christian legends of the Middle Ages. The succubus takes the form of a beautiful woman, with the incubus its male counterpart. These demons sexually molest men or women, respectively, and leave them battered and fatigued. There was, in fact, quite a bit of discussion at the time as to whether these demons could impregnate a woman, but Iíll leave it to the Malleus Maleficarum to explain the details. (They can, and they canít; itís a bit complicated and icky.)
I've read (well, skimmed - it's one dull brick of paper) that part of the Malleus Maleficarum and would like to explain. Before using my own words, I'll quote part of the Malleus Maleficarum, which I'll delineate with this snappy hellfire red text. I won't quote the whole section on incubi, as it's over ten pages. It also gives little insight into demonology and a great deal of insight into how much of a pervert a Christian scholar or cleric can be on company time. I think it's the same disorder that made Jerry Fallwell - after watching four genderless stuffed-animal/alien hybrids prance across the TV screen - say 'That one in purple is really queering it up.'
But I digress. WARNING: The rest of the page is filled with lots of descriptions of uses for icky sex and semen and sperm and stuff. So someone who sincerely suspects seeing such shall sicken their stomach should skip somewhere sanitary, and soon. Someone who sallys forth stupidly and sees something she/he suspects shall salaciously subvert saintly souls should not seek to send me signed statements scolding me for scrawling Satanic scribbles. Simpletons who scorn this suggestion shall surely suffer scolding.
(Passage deleted. The word 'semen' is mentioned eight times in the deleted section, just for those keeping track. The euphemism 'seed' also shows up. And no, I'm not gonna count it every time. Because, a few paragraphs down, I'm going to start using the word as well. A lot.)
He (the reader) will find also how the devil knows the thoughts of our hearts; how he can substantially and disastrously metamorphose bodies with the help of an agent; how he can move bodies locally, and alter the outward and inner feelings to every conceivable extent; and how he can change the intellect and will of a man, however indirectly.
But the reason the devils turn themselves into Incubi or Succubi is not for the cause of pleasure, since a spirit has not flesh and blood; but chiefly it is with this intention, that through the vice of luxury they may work a twofold harm against men, that is, in body and in soul, that so men may be more given to all vices. And there is no doubt that they know under which stars the semen is most vigorous, and that men so conceived will be always perverted by witchcraft.
Secondly, it is true that to procreate a man is the act of a living body. But when it is said that devils cannot give life, because that flows formally from the soul, it is true; but materially life springs from the semen, and an Incubus devil can, with God's permission, accomplish this by coition. And the semen does not so much spring from him, as it is another man's semen received by him for this purpose (see S. Thomas, I. 51, art. 3). For the devil is Succubus to a man, and becomes Incubus to a woman. In just the same way they absorb the seeds of other things for the generating of various thing, as S. Augustine says, de Trinitate 3.
So, there you have it. Translation:
Step one: Succubus has sex with man. Semen is stored away for later use.
Step two: Succubus transforms into incubus.
Step three: Incubus has sex with woman, ejaculates stored semen from previous encounter. Woman gets pregnant, the rule about only God-created beings procreating isn't broken. Sex by proxy, as it were.
The child born in such a way has some demonic traits - either innate evilness or skill with magic, or something. Evidently the semen picks up the evil equivalent of free radicals during its trip through the belly of the Beast. The author mentions that the demons 'know under which stars the semen is most vigorous, and that men so conceived will be always perverted by witchcraft'. Evidently the author of a Christian guidebook for ferreting out evil believes in astrology. And they burned heretics at the stake for their unholy beliefs, apparently based on the rules set down in this same book. Okay, sure, makes sense.
Assuming no shapeshifting, step two is replaced with 'succubus later gives semen to incubus'. That gives rise to side theories about:
1) How the semen actually gets from the succubus to the incubus. From simple handover (!) to some demonic intermediary (or chain of intermediaries), all options are explored. Really, this guy's got a theory about a whole Demon Sperm FedEx operating: "For when your lover's seed absolutely positively needs to get there overnight." or perhaps "The sperm ontime!"
2) The succubus/incubus being nothing but sexual entities. The actual semen capture/transferrence/injection is done by other, invisible, demons, who are presumably condom-shaped. So now it's not just Demon Sperm FedEx, it's Demon Sperm Collection/Distribution and its wholly owned subsidiary, Demon Sperm FedEx.
And thus ends my hasty and fluid-soaked trip through one of the most notorious books of Christian lore.
Incidentally, the good ol' missionary position of sexual intercourse is implied by the names of the oversexed demons. 'Incubus' is an alteration of the Latin 'incubare' (lengthen the a sound - it's not the a of 'bare'), 'to lie down on'. 'Succubus' similarly comes from 'succubare', 'to lie under'.
'Incubate', as in what a bird does to its eggs, comes from the same root as 'incubus'. Sadly, there's no such word as 'succubate', even though, if you think about it, it's kind of what the bird's eggs are doing while the bird is incubating.
January 4, 2005 AD
Go back! Back I say!
Revisit Victor Mordenheim's Superstitious Bunkum
Run along home.
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