INCUBI AND SUCCUBI
R. E. D. CLARK, B.A.
From early times the ‘sons of God’ of Genesis 6. have had two main interpretations. They were considered to be either (1) angels who fell into sin, or (2) descendants of Seth as distinct from those of Cain. That the first interpretation is the only one that fits the text is now admitted by practically all scholars. A summary of the evidence was given in DAWN VI., 485, 504. It is safe to say that the only objection to this view is the extraordinary nature of the event.
It is the purpose of this article to shew that good evidence is available for the existence of sexual intercourse between materialized beings and mankind. If this evidence is accepted all need of interpreting Genesis 6. in a non-miraculous way vanishes. Furthermore, the subject, in spite of its revolting nature, is of great importance. It was the sin for which the flood was sent, and therefore Christ’s prediction - "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 27: 26) probably includes it.
the first case traditions of pagan gods and heroes are filled with similar
allusions. The heroes were virgin-born
with demon-fathers. If it can be
established that something of the sort really exists, then it seems quite
likely that such legends had a basis in fact. Again, it is remarkable that authorities
covering several thousand years have asserted that the thing existed in their
day. For example,
Modern psychical research seems to have shown with very little room for scepticism that materialization is a reality. An adequate summary of the evidence is impossible here (Cf. Richet, Traite de Metapsychique, or Geley, Clairvoyance and Materialization). Every conceivable method of preventing fraud has, however, been invoked. In Richet's work materialized hands and feet were dipped into molten paraffin, and the ’control’ then asked to dematerialize them. In this way hollow hands and feet of wax were obtained, which showed the most delicate skin markings. There was no question of withdrawal of the hands from a glove of wax since hollow models of hands clenched, and of hands with fingers interlocked, were obtained. The experiments were not done in darkness, and there was no question of clandestine introduction of previously made models, the medium being carefully searched. Furthermore, one investigator introduced chloresterol into the wax on one occasion without any one else's knowledge, and was able to identify it in the waxen gloves afterwards, shewing that they were actually made at the time supposed.
Now if materializations occur in the presence of mediums now, there seems no reason to doubt that they occurred in former ages. In order to obtain evidence as to whether the fearful legend of the incubi and succubi - the male and female demons - had anything to do with materialization as we now know it, we must look for incidental phenomena. If we find for instance that certain quite unusual things happen in the modern seance, and then find that the records of former ages describe the same things quite incidentally, we shall have strong evidence that the two relate to the same thing. If we discover a correspondence, then it would establish that the incubi and succubi of the past were identical with materialized bodies.
Now, as the matter of fact, there are many points of very close correspondence.
1. Extraordinary animal and bird creatures often materialize as well as human beings. This seems at once to show the nature of the witch's ‘familiar’, which was supposed to be the demon in the form of some animal.
2. One of the most striking phenomena is that of ‘partial materialization,’ i.e. instead of a whole hand forming, only half of it will appear, or instead of a whole body, the feet, head, or limbs will be absent. So also the old records.
3. The producing of cold seems to be characteristic of psychical phenomena. Sir Wm.Crooks, for example, remarks (Researches in Spiritualism, p. 86) : "Movements (and indeed, I may say the same of every kind of phenomenon) are generally preceded by a peculiar cold air, sometimes amounting to a decided wind. I have seen ... a thermometer lowered several degrees. On some occasions I have not detected an actual movement of the air, but the cold has been so intense that I could only compare it with that felt when the hand has been within a few inches of frozen mercury." This production of cold is mentioned again and again in practically all the medieval books on demonology.
There are, moreover, other points of correspondence. The evidence seems conclusive that materializations of to-day correspond with those of former ages and that the purpose of the latter (if not the former also) was immoral.
But "even if such horrors could have taken place in the Dark Ages ... men say, They would surely never be permitted now. And he who knows, the priest, sitting in the grated confessional, in whose ears are poured forth for shriving the filth and folly of the world, sighs to himself, Would God that in truth it were so! but the sceptics are happier in their singleness and simplicity, happy that they do not, will not, realize the monstrous things that live only just beneath the surface of our cracking civilization" (Father Montague Summers, loc. cit. p. 95).