I tried to impress upon a couple of kids today that Ammut (aka: Ammt, Ammit and Ahemait) was one of the scariest monsters in Eygptian mythology.
I don’t feel like I was successful in the slightest. Sure they got that she was a chimera demon composed of Crocodile head, Lion front body, and Hippo rear body. But I don’t think at all that they appreciated that these were the three largest dangerous creatures known to Ancient Egyptians, who believed Hippos would in fact eat men (not just kill them). And sure, they got that she would eat the hearts or souls of deceased sinners (depending on the version). But I don’t think they appreciated how game over having your soul eaten is. That’s it, there’s no more, no afterlife for you sir (of course, this is pretty much what atheist believe, minus the she-demon, so there may be a cultural gap there). And even if it wasn’t soul death, having your heart eaten, leaving you wandering the earth as tormented and restless soul (similar to the Japanese yuurei, or hungry ghost) is hardly something to look forward too.
This should be horrifying! It eats souls! But I’ve heard it over and over again, kids (and adults) are totally desensitized nowadays. And nobody meditates on anything anymore either, smartphones and microwaves have made us impatient, and you have to think about it long enough to realize why it’s scary.
Maybe I think too much...
* (The image above created by Jeff Dahl, and obtained via wikipedia)