European Demonology Viewed from the East


ACLS Fellowship Program


Religious Studies


The project comprises a historical study of comparative demonology working from the hypothesis that a common demonological vernacular has been shared among populations stretching from East Asia to northern Europe. Drawing upon ancient and medieval literary and iconographic sources, as well as modern folklore and ethnography, the project focuses on the following themes: 1) the spread of mythologies of winged harpy-type demonesses; 2) the spread of demonological ritual technologies; 3) the mythology and morphology of the nightmare as a shared cultural construct; 4) the common structure of demonic pantheons across much of Europe and Asia; and 5) common narratives and rituals concerning human encounters with daimons, i.e., the local denizens of forests, fountains, springs, and wells in Europe and Asia.