Imp or impe in Old English means a young plant shoot or a tree sapling. Over the years, the word came to refer to smallish entities that were direct offspring of the Devil and sent from hell to do evil deeds to humans on Earth. Imps might disguise themselves as black cats, owls, ravens, or some other animal and serve as a witch’s familiar. In many of the transcripts of the European witchcraft trials, the demonic spirit given by the Devil to a witch to do his or her bidding was referred to as an imp. Imps are often shown as small and not very attractive creatures. Their behavior is described as being wild and uncontrollable, much the same as fairies, and in some cultures they are considered the same beings, both sharing the same sense of free spirit and enjoyment of all things fun.

It was later in history that people began to associate fairies with being good and imps with being malicious and evil. Though imps are often thought of as being immortal, many cultures believed that they could be damaged or harmed by certain weapons and enchantments, or be kept out of people's homes by the use of wards.

Imps have also been described as being “bound” or contained in some sort of object, such as a sword or crystal ball. In other cases imps were simply kept in a certain object and summoned only when their masters had need of them. Some even had the ability to grant their owners wishes, much like a genie. This was the object of the 1891 story The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson, which told of an imp contained in a bottle that would grant the owner their every wish, the catch being that the owners soul would be sent to hell if they didn't sell the bottle to a new owner before their death.

In most of the descriptions of imps given by witches or those theologians who claimed to have exorcised the entities, their appearance apart from the animals they possessed was always a solid black in color. Since they were creatures without souls sired by the Devil, imps were condemned to be dark shadow beings, forever denied the light of God.

Imps can be found in art and architecture through out the world, for example the famous Lincoln Imp. According to legend, the Lincoln imp was a demon, blown into Lincoln Cathedral by a terrible storm. This mischievous imp proceeded to dance on the altar, tripped up the Bishop, knocked over the Dean and teased the choir! The Cathedral's guardian angels witnessed this chaos and turned the imp into stone, placing him high up above the Angel Choir. Only some 12 inches high, the mischievous imp has probably lured more people to Lincoln Cathedral than anything else. The Lincoln imp has even been adopted as the unofficial symbol of the city.

Sources :
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol. 3 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;;

Pic Source :
Imp Imp Reviewed by Tripzibit on 04:39 Rating: 5

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