Monsters of Africa

Courtesy of CNN, of all places.

[P]erhaps no continent has more history of folkloric myths, monsters and demons than Africa.

This is where the human story began, after all, and it remains home to tales of giant reptiles, lost plesiosaurs and snakes with the head of an elephant!

Yet few of these creatures are as well known as the Loch Ness Monster or the ape-men type creatures of the mountains in Asia and the U.S..

To set the record straight, we decided to highlight ten examples of African legends that can compare to anything the Scottish lochs or peaks Himalayas has to offer.

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A New Coptic Spellbook

Coptic isn’t exactly “Ancient Egyptian,” as it is called in this Atlas Obscura post title, but this is still an interesting development. A Coptic spellbook from the 7th or 8th century AD has recently been translated into English.

Researchers in Australia have decoded an Ancient Egyptian ritual codex containing spells to cure demonic possession, treat black jaundice, and find success in business and love. The complete 20-page illustrated parchment booklet, thought date to the 7th or 8th century, contains 27 spells and “a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power.” The translation, by Macquarie University professors Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, is called “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power.”

According to the publishers,

This volume publishes a new Coptic handbook of ritual power, comprising a complete 20 page parchment codex from the second half of the first millennium AD. It consists of an invocation including both Christian and Gnostic elements, ritual instructions, and a list of twenty-seven spells to cure demonic possession, various ailments, the effects of magic, or to bring success in love and business. The codex is not only a substantial new addition to the corpus of magical texts from Egypt, but, in its opening invocation, also provides new evidence for Sethian Gnostic thought in Coptic texts.

Sadie Kane, call your office!