Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

A species of empusas (demons sent by Hecate to waylay and devour travellers) whose members had the trick of disguising themselves as young women in order to beguile men before supping their blood. Some accounts suggest their natural form was serpentine; a tale of this kind reproduced from Philostratus in Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) inspired John Keats's poem "Lamia" (1820). Lamias provide one of the basic models of the Femme Fatale and the female Vampire. [BS]

see also: Lilith; Succubus.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.