A magical creature that is linked and bonded to a witch or user of magic, that takes the form of a mystical creature or a normal animal, but contains strong energies toward their owners,. Also known as an Enhanced pet

Powers & Abilities:

Shapeshifting - A familiar can be in the form of many creatures, they also can turn into a form of elements, such as a creepy intense dark side, or a luminescent bright side.

Telepathy - The familiar and the owner share telepathic capabilities together, include telepathic sharing, and sometimes even can detect eachother

Empathy/Tripathy - Contains an empathic link to their owner, if the owner is hurt, so is the familiar, if the familiar is hungry, so is the owner,.

Spells - Usually familiars contain some abilities of their own, possibly around telekinetic or more., they sometimes can create magic energy which creates mischifious effects.

Element Emission - Familiar's usually can shoot out an element as a type of beam or energy projectile from their eyes, mouth, or tail/limbs. These abilities manifest around the main five elements of energies: air, fire, water, earth, and quintessence

Elemental Connections:


A familiar, or known other as a Dæmon is a magical animal or creature/being that is a magic practicionar's assistant or companion, like best friend, which have strong empathic and telepathic bonds to their owners.

Behaviour And PersonalityEdit

A familiar's personality and behaviour depends on who it is linked to. familiars like to put their changing shape skills into sets of groups, Familiars can change shape in 5 groups in elements, they have a water/ice group, a fire group, an earth group, an air group, and a nature group. In common terms, An ice group would symbolize the familiar changing into an ermine, then a polar bear, or a white mouse, into an arctic fish or whale. a fire group would be a lion familiar, or a hiena. Familiars also have very much great human intelligence, they can write, speak, identify, and basicly do what any other human can do. Familiars are also very humerous, cheerful, and have their own set of emotions aswell, Familiars are highly equiped with acrobatics and gymnastic like capabilities.

Powers & Abilities:Edit

Metamorphing: Familiars have the common ability of being able to change animal form,colour, and body parts alike, a familiar will choose the form of animal that the owner is favourited to, then can apply itself to have other forms.

Telepathy: Familiars also have the gift of being able to telepathicly speak to their owners at will through their minds.

Empathy: Familiars can feel whatever an owner feels, and the owner feels whatever the familiar feels.

Witchcraft: Familiars have a high standerd in witchcraft and magic, they can use magic just aswell as their owners can,.

Elemental Emission: A Familiar typically has the ability to shoot or blast out concussive projecticles or beams of concentrated elemental energy, evolving around the main five elements, they can shoot out quintessent energy, which is purple and powerful, air energy, which is bright blue and quick, fire energy, which is orange and flamable, earth energy, which is green and forceful, and water energy which is medium blue and quite elegently strong.

Auramere Links: A familiar is hooked into magic as much as their owners are.


In European folklore and folk-belief of the Mediaeval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits, sometimes referred to simply as familiars, were supernatural entities that were believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.[1] According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises, often as an animal, but also at times as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound" by those alleging to have come into contact with them, unlike later descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form[s]".[2]

When they served witches, they were often thought to be malevolent, whilst when working for cunning-folk
they were often thought of as benevolent, although there was some ambiguity in both cases. The former were often categorised as being demons, whilst the latter were more commonly thought of and described as being fairies.[3]

Due to their association with older forms of magic, in the twentieth century a number of magical practitioners, including adherents of the Neopagan religion of Wicca, have once more begun to utilise the concept.

Familiars have human intelligence, are capable of human speech—regardless of the form they take—and usually behave in all respects as though they are independent of their humans. Familiars can change form voluntarily, almost instantly, to become any creature, real or imagined, although there is an upper limit to the physical size they can attain.


Amongst those accused witches and cunning-folk who described their familiar spirits, there were commonly certain unifying features. The historian Emma Wilby noted how the accounts of such familiars were striking for their "ordinariness" and "naturalism", despite the fact that they were dealing with supernatural entities.[4] Familiar spirits usually had names, and "were often given down-to-earth, and frequently affectionate, nicknames."[5] One example of this was Tom Reid, who was the familiar of the cunning-woman and accused witch Bessie Dunlop, whilst other examples included Grizell and Gridigut, who were the familiars of seventeenth century Huntingdonshire witch Jane Wallis.[6]

[edit] Relationship between magical practitioner and familiarEdit

[1][2]Frontispiece from the witch hunter Matthew Hopkins' The Discovery of Witches (1647), showing witches identifying their familiar spirits.Using her studies into the role of witchcraft and magic in Britain during the Early Modern period as a starting point, the historian Emma Wilby examined the relationship that familiar spirits allegedly had with the witches and cunning-folk in this period.

[edit] MeetingEdit

In the British accounts from the Early Modern period at least, there were three main types of encounter narrative related to how a witch or cunning person first met their familiar. The first of these was that the spirit spontaneously appeared in front of the person whilst they were going about their daily activities, either in their home or outdoors somewhere. Various examples for this are attested in the sources of the time, for instance, Joan Prentice from Essex, England, gave an account when she was interrogated for witchcraft in 1589 claiming that she was "alone in her chamber, and sitting upon a low stool preparing herself to bedward" when her familiar first appeared to her, whilst the Cornish cunning-woman Anne Jeffries related in 1645 that hers first appeared to her when she was "knitting in an arbour in our garden".[7]

The second manner in which the familiar spirit commonly appeared to magical practitioners in Britain was that they would be gifted to a person by a pre-existing individual, who was sometimes a family member and at other times a more powerful spirit. For instance, the alleged witch Margaret Ley from Liverpool claimed, in 1667, that she had been gifted her familiar spirit from her mother when she died, whilst the Leicestershire cunning-woman Joan Willimot related, in 1618, that a mysterious figure whom she only referred to as her "master", "willed her to open her mouth and he would blow into her a fairy which should do her good. And that she open her mouth, and that presently after blowing, there came out of her mouth a spirit which stood upon the ground in the shape and form of a woman."[8]

In a number of accounts, the cunning person or witch was experiencing difficulty prior to the appearance of the familiar, who offered to aid them. As historian Emma Wilby noted, "their problems… were primarily rooted in the struggle for physical survival - the lack of food or money, bereavement, sickness, loss of livelihood and so on", and the familiar offered them a way out of this by giving them magical powers.[9]

[edit] Working relationshipEdit

In some cases, the magical practitioner then made an agreement or entered a pact with their familiar spirit.[citation needed] The length of time that the witch or cunning person worked with their familiar spirit varied between a few weeks through to a number of decades.[10] In most cases, the magical practitioner would conjure their familiar spirit when they needed their assistance, although there are many different ways that they did this: the Essex witch Joan Cunny claimed, in 1589, that she had to kneel down within a circle and pray to Satan for her familiar to appear whilst the Wiltshire cunning woman Anne Bodenham described, in 1653, that she conjured her familiars by reading books. In some rarer cases there were accounts where the familiars would appear at times when they were unwanted and not called upon, for instance the Huntingdonshire witch Elizabeth Chandler noted, in 1646, that she could not control when her two familiars, named Beelzebub and Trullibub, appeared to her, and had prayed to God that he would "deliver her therefrom".[11]

[edit] Travels to Fairyland or the SabbathEdit

Familiars are most common in western European mythology, with some scholars arguing that familiars are only present in the traditions of Great Britain and France. In these areas three categories of familiars are believed to exist:[12]

[edit] Prince Rupert's dogEdit

[3][4]Prince Rupert and his "familiar" dog in a pamphlet titled "The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert" (1643).During the English Civil War, the Royalist general Prince Rupert was in the habit of taking his large poodle dog named Boye into battle with him. Throughout the war the dog was greatly feared among the Parliamentarian forces and credited with supernatural powers. As noted by Morgan,[13] the dog was apparently considered a kind of familiar. At the end of the war the dog was shot, allegedly with a silver bullet.

[edit] Witch trialsEdit

Most data regarding familiars comes from the transcripts of English and Scottish 'witch' trials held during the 16th-17th centuries. The court system that labeled and tried witches was known as the Essex. The Essex trial of Agnes Sampson of Nether Keith in 1590 presents prosecution testimony regarding a divinatory familiar. This case is fundamentally political, trying Sampson for high treason, and accusing Sampson for employing witchcraft against King James VI. The prosecution asserts Sampson called familiar spirits and resolved her doubtful matter. Another Essex trial is that of Hellen Clark, tried in 1645, in which Hellen was compelled to state that The Devil appeared as a 'familiar' in the form of a dog.[14]

The English court cases reflect a strong relationship between state accusations of witchcraft against those who practiced ancient indigenous traditions, including the familiar animal/spirit.

In some cases familiars replace children in the favour of their mothers. See witchcraft and children. [5][6]"The Love Potion" by Evelyn de Morgan: a witch with a black cat familiar at her feet.==[edit] Legacy==

[edit] Folk talesEdit

Historian Emma Wilby identified recurring motifs in various European folk tales and fairy tales that she believed displayed a belief in familiar spirits. She noted that in such tales as Rumpelstiltskin, Puss-in-Boots and the Frog Prince, the protagonist is approached by a supernatural being when they are in need of aid, something that she connected to the appearance of familiar spirits in the Early Modern accounts of them.[15] She believed there to be a direct connection between the belief in and accounts of familiar spirits with these folk tales because "These fairy stories and myths originate from the same reservoir of folk belief as the descriptions of familiar-encounters given by cunning-folk and witches".[16]

[edit] HistoriographyEdit

Recent scholarship on familiars exhibits the depth and respectability absent from earlier demonological approaches. The study of familiars has grown from an academic topic in folkloric journals to a general topic in popular books and journals incorporating anthropology, history, women’s studies and other disciplines. James Sharpe, in The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: the Western Tradition, states: "Folklorists began their investigations in the 19th Century [and] found that familiars figured prominently in ideas about witchcraft."[17]

In the 19th century, folklorists fired the imagination of scholars who would, in decades to come, write descriptive volumes on witches and familiars. Examples of the growth and development of familiar scholarship are found in Folklore, which consistently contributes articles on traditional beliefs in England and early modern Europe.

In the first decades of the 20th century, familiars are identified as "niggets", which are "creepy-crawly things that witches kept all over them".[18]

Margaret Murray delves into variations of the familiar found in witchcraft practices. Many of the sources she employs are trial records and demonological texts from early to modern England. These include the 1556 Essex Witchcraft Trials of the Witches of Hatfield Perevil, the 1582 Trial of the Witches of St. Osyth, and the 1645 Essex Trials with Matthew Hopkins acting as a Witch-finder.[19] In 1921, Murray published The Witch Cult in Western Europe.. Her information concerning familiars comes from witchcraft trials in Essex in the 16th and 17th centuries.[20]

Recent scholarship is multi-disciplinary, integrating feminist-historical and world-historical approaches. Deborah Willis' Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England links the witch's attributed relationship with the familiar to a bizarre and misplaced corruption of motherhood and maternal power.[21]

[edit] VampiresEdit

In works of fiction about vampires a familiar may refer to a human who is kept either as an informant and, virtually, a pet (as mentioned in the film Blade II); or as a continuous source of blood and sometimes servants (as in The Familiar) or even friends (seen in the Blue Bloods series).[citation needed]

[edit] See alsoEdit

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 59-61.
  2. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 61.
  3. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 74-76.
  4. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 62.
  5. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 63.
  6. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 60-63.
  7. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 60.
  8. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 60-61.
  9. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 66-67, 70-71
  10. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 77.
  11. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 77-78.
  12. ^ M. A. Murray, Divination by Witches’ Familiars. Man. Vol. 18 June 1918. 1-3.
  13. ^ William Morgan, "Superstition in Medieval and Early Modern Society", Chapter 3
  14. ^ M. A. Murray, “Witches familiars in England.” Man, Vol. 18 July 1918 1-3.
  15. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 59.
  16. ^ Wilby 2005. p. 59.
  17. ^ Sharpe, James; Rickard M Golden (2006). Familiars in the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: the Western Tradition. ABC-CLIO.
  18. ^ Times, The (1916). "Superstition in Essex: A Witch and Her Niggets". Folklore 27: 3.
  19. ^ Murray, Margaret (July 1918). "Witches' Familiars in England". Man (Man, Vol. 18) 18: 101. doi:10.2307/2787283.
  20. ^ Murray, Margaret A. (1921). The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. Clarendon Press.
  21. ^ Willis, Deborah (1995). Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Modern England. Cornell U..
  • Davies, Owen (2003). Cunning-Folk: Popular Magic in English History. London: Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 1852852976.
  • Maple, Eric (December 1960). "The Witches of Canewdon". Folklore Vol 71, No 4.
  • Thomas, Keith (1973). Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England. London: Penguin.
  • Wilby, Emma (2005). Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 1845190785.

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