USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘demonology’
Folk Beliefs

Ancient Chinese Architecture Folk Belief

So basically, in Chinese – in ancient Chinese architecture, the roofs are – each tile is curved – and the roof is built in a jagged way, so that it’s uneven. And the point of that is to keep the demons from sitting on your house, because if your roof is slanted or flat, the demon will be comfortable there.

My informant also told me that many roofs today are still built with curves and slants. Even people who are really impoverished and live in shanty houses, will build their roofs with several pieces of tin or wood to make sure that there is still a slant. My informant said that when her family moved into an apartment complex, her mother believed that the “place was fucked” (as my informant put it) and that misfortune would befall those who lived there because the roofs were all flat. Buddhists believed that curved roofs would ward off evil spirits believed to manifest as straight lines. So the ideas of traditional Chinese architecture have been passed down and people still hold deep beliefs concerning them.

more information can be found here: http://library.thinkquest.org/10098/china1.htm

Folk Beliefs
Legends
Magic
Narrative

Jehovah’s Witness Dungeons & Dragons Legend

It’s supposed to be a warning tale. Basically the story is that back in the seventies, there were some kids that were Jehovah’s Witnesses that got really interested in Dungeons and Dragons and played it a lot. They got the idea that it would very cool if they could trap a demon themselves. So they decided they would glue a bunch of Watchtower magazines to this box and the walls or something – they were in a garage. And then they would do a summoning incantation to summon the demon…and they happened to summon a demon, but it wasn’t as easy as catching the demon in a box. And the boys were stuck in the garage for a long time, like quite a few hours, umm…but when their family finally got them out, one of the boys was dead and two of the other ones were like insane basically, and they were never okay after that.

I’m not sure how far outside of California this story goes, but there are different people I’ve talked to that have kind of said that story or some version of it that those people were alive in the seventies and stuff. And I got to hearing it because, you know, there are different card games and stuff that you grow up with that are usually kind fantasy based like, every generation seems to have them now. So when I got interested in certain card games, that was a kind of story my dad would tell me to get me to not play or throw it away or why he would throw it away. Funny thing, like, he liked Lord of the Rings a lot, but he kept it really hidden, really quiet cause he didn’t want other people in the church knowing, because it was satanic. It had magic in it and it had monsters and stuff like that.

 

It’s pretty clear by what my informant said, that this legend is meant to scare kids, and probably adults too, away from anything associated with the occult, magic, monsters, or anything deemed unnatural and dangerous by the congregation. My informant heard this legend from multiple people, particularly his father and stepmother as well as people who claimed to know the congregation where the legend occurred. The purpose of legends like this, with their essences of possibility and truth, is to keep people in line and keep them obedient. I’m skeptical of all organized religion, but particularly those that foster a culture and lore of fear to keep the followers “faithful.”

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