Empousa was a katachthonic daemon and she was under the dominance of Hekate. Hekate was the sender of dreams (ονειροπομπός) and sender of spirits (φασματοπομπός), meaning that she had control over them. She was sending to people spirits and dreams which they named hekataia (εκάταια). Odysseus built a temple to Hekate in Sicily to free himself from the dreams and spirits She could transform and take different forms. She was transforming in donkey, ox, bird, woman, stone, tree and other similar forms. Empousa was sent by Hekate to miserable people, signifying them their miserableness. Most of the times she was seen by foot passengers and she was coming after them insulting them. It was also usual that she could be seen during noonday by those who were making offerings to the dead but she could also be seen at night.

She had one leg that is why she was named Empousa (Έμπουσα= εν(=one) + πους(=leg) και ούσα). According to an alternate myth Empousa had two legs, one made of copper and one leg of a donkey and that is why she was called Οnokolos (ονόκωλος= ονος (donkey) + κώλον (=πόδι=leg)) and Οnoskelis (ονοσκελίς = ονος (donkey) + σκέλος (=part)). In addition, she was called phantasma (spirit that can be seen) and also mormolykeion (μορμολύκειον) which was a terrifying beast and she has been described by Aristophanes as with a body covered with blemishes and blotches. Τhe name Empousa can also derive from the word empodizo (εμποδίζω=block) . In an alternate myth, Empousa was Hekate herself.

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