Faces of Mongolian Fear: Demonological Beliefs, Narratives and Protective Measures in Contemporary Folk Religion

Alevtina Solovyeva 1
  • 1 Department for Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu, Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Tartu, Estonia

Abstract

This article looks at the perceptions of fear and ‘the frightening’ in contemporary Mongolian demonology. In the article, I discuss beliefs concerning both human and supernatural – what is supposed to be frightening for humans and what is supposed to be frightening for spirits, ghosts and demons. In daily interaction with the supernatural this mutual ‘fright’ can be regarded as an important part of communication. In this article, I discuss what is believed to be the most frightful for humans and for supernatural agents, what kinds of image this fear relates to and what the roots of these beliefs are, as well as the popular ways to confront and defend against ‘frightening’ in Mongolian folklore.

My research is based on fieldwork materials collected during annual expeditions in different parts of Mongolia (2006–2017) and Mongolian published sources such as Mongolian newspapers and journals, special editions of stories about encounters with the supernatural.

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