Hair-Raising Tales of Paranormal Animals that Possess Humans, See Death, and Act as Messengers of the Gods
Throughout time, numerous people have declared that they had witnessed strange and inexplicable occurrences involving the ghosts of the deceased, fantastic creatures, demons, and other similar things. Many have claimed to have been haunted or possessed by entities from the world beyond. However, not just people are confronted with the supernatural. Animals can also be haunted or, in turn, they can haunt and even possess.
Hyenas Causing Possession
Some African tribes viewed the animal state as the pure state, unmodified by the rules and constraints imposed by the human society. Thus, they tried to achieve and experience this state by various rituals meant to transfer an animal spirit into a human body for a short period of time. In this way, the animal spirit would possess the person who would begin to act according to animal impulses.
The most common cases of possession caused by animals were said to be those in which a man was possessed by the spirit of one or more hyenas. The human would begin to walk on all fours, roll on the floor, bite, eat raw meat and even make those guttural sounds that characterize the hyena’s laughter.
Hyenas and a man. ( CC BY-ND 2.0 )
The image of the hyena in African folklore takes on various forms and features, depending on the region of origin of the respective legends. In the western part of Africa, the hyena is seen as a symbol of immoral behavior, while in the east, it is respected as the solar animal that brought the sun to warm the entire world. In Tanzania, hyenas are witches’ familiars and the witches are thought to ride them.
Bouda is an individual's ability to turn into a hyena, but this has nothing to do with achieving the pure animal state. It is said that the ones who practice this technique do it in order to achieve their own goals, usually to steal or to kill. For this reason, these hyenas were executed, but, unlike the European werewolves, they did not return to their human form after death.
A hyena, as depicted in a medieval bestiary ( Public Domain )
Cats that Can See and Cause Death
Egyptians worshiped cats as living gods and earthly manifestations of the goddesses Bastet and Mafdet. Also in ancient Egypt, the punishment for killing a cat was death.
In Burma there was a Buddhist temple which was the only place in the world where Burmese cats existed. There, Buddhist monks worshiped the cats as living gods. When the Europeans arrived in the area and saw the cats at the temple, they were fascinated by their unique beauty and by their eyes which were as blue as the sky. Of course, they wanted to take some back with them to Europe, but for a very long time, the monks would not allow it.
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In the end, a European nobleman made a very generous donation to the temple and, as a sign of gratitude, the monks gave him a pair of Burmese cats. On the way back, the male died on the ship, unable to bear the stress of the journey, but the female lived and was pregnant - this is how Burmese cats came to Europe.
This seated cat has golden earrings, a golden scarab inlaid on the forehead, and a necklace with a pendant in low relief. The Walters Art Museum. ( Public Domain )
Man's fascination with cats gave birth to an entire lore in this regard. A widespread legend states that when a cat sees a person for the very first time, it sees exactly the time, the place and the manner in which that person is going to die. In addition to this, if someone does not treat a cat well, then that person should fear the cat’s curse which lasts for seven generations.
For the Japanese, should a cat be disrespected or mistreated, its tail would split in two and the cat itself would become a nekomata, a demonic cat bent on seeking revenge. It could then raise the dead and send them to torment him.
Other animals associated with death are eagles and crows, which are said to be the ones that lead the spirits of the dead on their way to the world beyond preventing them from getting lost.