Faeries and Folklore Podcast

The Faeries and Folklore Podcast by Ronel: Empousa #podcast #faeries #folklore

Episode 108: Dark Fae: Empousa

The folklore of empousa in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing.

Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.

Copyright 2024 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.

Learn more about empousa in folklore here.

Get the transcript here.

Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com


You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.

I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With over a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.

This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.

Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.

This episode is brought to you by my Dark Court Sisters book series. Available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. Three sisters. Three destinies. Three ways to destroy the world. Go to ronelthemythmaker.com/darkcourtsistersseries for more.

You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion. Go to buymeacoffee.com/ronel to support me.

We’re continuing our exploration of Dark Fae.

Today’s Faery: Empousa

Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel

The Greek equivalent of a vampire, the empousa is a monstrous female creature with a brass leg and the leg of a donkey, while being human from the waist up. These creatures have the power to look beautiful to entice and seduce their victims before drinking their blood. Some scholars believe the empousai to be the oldest recorded vampire myth.

They were either created by Hecate or were merely her servants. Some myths even have it that the empousai are the redheaded daughters of the goddess Hecate. The empousai harass lone travellers on dark roads, either by order of the goddess Hecate or because it’s fun, only leaving the traveller alone when one invokes Hecate.

Myths conflict over their abilities of shape-shifting and illusion, some saying they can change into any form at will – such as donkeys and dogs while chasing travellers, while others claim they can only become alluring to human men – wanting to

bed them while draining them of their life-force and blood – and even eating them in some tales.

Whether spirit or flesh, beautiful or grotesque, these vampires of Greek myth are easily offended and will attack with all the power at their possession.

And now for my interpretation of the fae in an Origin of the Fae: Empousa

Singular: Empousa. Plural: Empousai.

Daughters and attendants of the goddess Hecate, these shape-shifting monsters are usually alluring to their prey – until their true nature is revealed. Fanged, clawed, sharp features, red hair, violet slit-pupiled eyes, a donkey leg and a brass leg that doesn’t slow them down at all, these vampiric monsters are fast, strong and cunning. They possess almost as much magic as their mother and know how to use it. They can easily shift from flesh to spirit form to move through the realms. Though they enjoy tormenting travellers on lonely roads, it is usually to send these humans or fae fleeing to a crossroads for an encounter with Hecate. They can transform into any creature, though they prefer to look mortal as they are

always hungry and on the prowl. They do not, however, seduce humans as some folklore say – they aren’t succubi – they just enjoy their blood at a certain temperature. And though they are thin skinned – insults sting easily – they do not flee: they fight.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.

Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!

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You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.

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image credit https://pixabay.com/illustrations/ai-generated-fairy-wings-magic-8121013/

No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.

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