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Plate5Al

Thepta, a variety of Al. From Alishan's Ancient Faith of Armenia.

1. Supposed Region of ExistenceEdit

Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia, and Southern parts of Russia


2. PhysiologyEdit

The Al (or Alk) is described as hairy and dishelved; with copper claws, iron teeth, wild boar tusks and sagging breasts. In ancient armenian tales they wait near the home of a pregnant woman and will attempt to steal the child up to 7 months after childbirth. If this can't be accomplished they will steal an organ from the mother. Usually it's the heart, lung, or liver which are amongst their favorites.

In Iran, the Al is very thin old woman with red face, clay nose, an basket hanging from it's shoulder where it stores the organs of the mother. In Central Asia, the Al is overweight, ugly, and hairy woman with sagging breasts. She hangs one over her shoulder, over the other she carries a woolen bag, that also contains the organs of mothers. Afghan stories tell of a young woman with floating hair and long nails which she uses to feed on the corpses of the dead. This is the only Al that is different from the rest as it seems more a ghoul than demon.

If an Al steals a child or organ from a mother and manages to cross the first source of water it finds than the mother or child cannot be saved. They prefer the water, but can live in any damp place. They can hide in damp spots in a house or stable. Swamps also tend to be havens for Als. Apotropaic wards against als include methods used against other demons (such as charms, prayers, iron objects, onions, and garlic), and preventing the al from reaching water.

3. HistoryEdit

The Alk orginated in Armenian and Persian folklore, has managed to spread to other countries. Even Europe has written about the Als. The first documented literature appeared in the middle of the 19th century. Before that they were known, but they were not written about.

According to many Near Eastern traditions, the Als were created by God for Adam's first consort. But Adam couldn't adapt to it's nature. Which led the Al to hate Eve and her daughters. The Al has been tied to Lillith in this belief. Sometimes the Al is male and sometimes it's female. But the one thing they have mostly in common is their attitude toward expecting mothers. The have a master who lives in the abysses, he is chained and molten lead is sprinkled on him up to his neck. The Al sometimes will take the organs or child to his master as offerings.

In ancient Armenia the mother was surrounded by armed guards. Would cut the air and beat nearby streams and brooks to protect the mother and child. But the peculiar moment in this time is if the mother faints, an Al is supposedly in the room and the child is taken to a flat roof and offered to the evil spirits to make peace.

4. EvidenceEdit

None

5. Possibility of ExistenceEdit

1. Not probable: The Al is just an interesting storybook character.

6. SourcesEdit

  • Armenian Mythology by Mardiros H. Ananikian
  • Al From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Armenian Legends and Poems [1916]
  • Monster Encyclopedia

7. LinksEdit

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