Variations: Demon du Midi ("Mid-Day Demon"), Empusa, Empusae, Empusas, Empuse, Empusen, Moromolykiai, MORMO ("terrible one"), "She who moves on one leg"
In Greek, the word empouse translates as "vampire," but technically, it is considered a demon by the ancient Greeks' own mythological standards of classification. They define a demon as any creature born in another world but that can appear in ours as a being of flesh. Nevertheless, the word was completely understood to mean a vampire, therefore, the empouse is considered by some to be the oldest recorded vampire myth and not the EKIMMOU (see GREEK VAMPIRES).
In Greek mythology an empouse, or empousaias they are referred to collectively, are born the red-headed daughters of the witch goddess Hecate and act as her attendants. Their legs are mule like and shod with bronze shoes. Along with its powers of illusion and shape-shifting, an empouse will also use its persuasive abilities to convince a man to have sexual relations with it. However, during the act it will drain him of his life and, on occasion, make a meal of his flesh, much like a SUCCUBUS.
Avoiding an attack from an empouse is fairly easy, as long as one does not fall victim to its allurements. Athin-skinned and sensitive creature, it will shriek in pain and flee as quickly as it can if confronted for what it is with use of insults and profanities. Outrunning the vampire is also possible, as all references describing its fastest gait depict it as being comically slow.
In Russian folklore, the empouse appears at harvest time as a widow. It breaks the arms and legs of every harvester it can lay hands on.
Source: Challice, French Authors at Home, 240; Curl,
Egyptian Revival, 403; Oinas, Essays on Russian Folklore, 117; Time-Life Books, Transformations, 110