Possessed spirits

Anyone who has at least heard of the old movie "The Exorcist" knows that possession of a human body by some kind of energy or "thing" which isn't human, is definitely NOT a good thing. When dark spirits start invading the minds and bodies of poor innocents, terrifying things happen, pea soup starts flying and spraying everywhere, and things go flying off the wall, sometimes literally.

It's not going to come as a surprise to those of you out there who follow Greek mythology that the ancient Greeks understood the whole "demonic possession" thing all too well themselves, at least as far as we can tell from the stories they wrote.

In those days, people could be taken over by entities called EIDOLONS (Eye-doh-lons), which were phantoms, ghosts or spirits that could infest, take over and walk around in some living victim's body. Unlike today, it wasn't always a negative thing, and often times, it was only temporary, for a ghost to deliver a message, do some deed for a god, or take care of unfinished business before they finally give up and give in to the draw of the Underworld.

Another way that EIDOLONS were viewed in different writings were as spirit-doubles; in other words, they were carbon-copies, made by wisps of mist and light by Zeus, the king of the Olympians, and shaped into look-a-likes of people already alive. Sort of like holograms but with touchy-feely properties. And in most cases, they weren't created for good or wholesome purposes.

In some tales written by Greek writer and historian Herodotus, Helen of Troy was actually kidnapped and kept prisoner down in Egypt while her Eidolon copy was sent up to get involved with the Trojan War. Looks like Paris got the weird end of the stick, there; he was kissing (amongst other things!) a ghost, if you go by the story!

And if you know the story of the Trojan War, you know that on account of Paris and Helen, a whole city burned to the ground and its people destroyed. Eidolons were a very obscure and little-heard-of aspect of Greek mythology, but just another example of how their stories intertwine with our own modern ones!



[1] "Mrpsmythopedia"

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