OUR Egyptologist friends are all excited about the launch of the demonthings.com/DemonBase, which is the most detailed catalogue of ALL secondary and minor deities and so-called "demons" mentioned in the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead and other documents.
"Demon" is an emotionally loaded word. But we have no other work to approximate the spiritual entities the Ancient Egyptians respected in the afterlife ... spirits both benign and malignant, good and bad, beneficial and potentially dangerous.
Getting these "demons" to work for you and lend their powerful energies to help you in the DUAT underworld was a vital objective in many of the magical spells mentioned in the ancient documents.
Take MEDJED, for example. This obscure, armless Ancient Egyptian underworld deity who shoots lethal rays from his eyes has become a cult social media star in Japan ... spawning mangas, animes, clothing, coffee mugs, candy, rice cakes and video games.
After a slumber of 3,400 years, MEDJED, whose name means "The Smiter," has been summoned forth from the Egyptian DUAT underworld ... to be the latest fad accessory for young people in Japan.
His name is mentioned in only one source, the Greenfield papyrus version of the Book of the Dead, and was never intended to be uttered aloud by mortals, except by priests in prayers for the deceased.
Medjed remained buried in obscurity until 2012, when the British Museum held an exhibit on ancient Egypt at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo. Visitors were surprised by the god due to his unusual appearance and a certain similarity to the character Obake no Q-Taro.
Japanese netizens quickly found Medjed to be cute, and began creating fan art of him.
Medjed soon became a full-fledged meme, taking on a life of his own, as memes often do.
His fearsome role as Osiris's guardian (he is said to be able to fly and eats human hearts) and cute, simple appearance allow for a versatile range of depictions.
He is even called "the oldest yuru-chara" (regional mascots like Funassyi and Kumamon).
Medjed now has not one, but two different Japanese Twitter accounts, @Medjed_tweet and @medjed_god, with a total of 6,915 followers.
Suzuri, an online market for handmade goods, sells Medjed merchandise.
Online stickers are also available of Medjed.
The Japanese news and entertainment site Netlab also hosts a manga, "Joyful Medjed," portraying Medjed, a pharaoh, and other Egyptian gods as salarymen.
Medjed also stars in a free smartphone game, Soratobu Medjed-niisan ("Big Brother Flying Medjed"), where players navigate him through an obstacle-ridden pyramid.
Recently, the popular online puzzle game Puzzle & Dragons introduced a character named Medjedra as Osiris's guardian, proving how well-known Medjed has now become.