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Thursday, October 13, 2016

When we speak or write about a Golem, most people probably think we are talking about Gollum from the J.R.R Tolken's Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies. But while they may have some similar traits, we are not talking about that creature and his pursuit of his precious ring. Nope, we are talking about an animated anthropomorphic being from Jewish folklore. The golem would normally be formed out of clay or mud and would be brought to life and then controlled. The method of this seems to vary with different tales.

The oldest stories of golems date to early Judaism.  In the Talmud, Adam was initially created as a golem, created out of mud. Early tales of golems lean toward them not having the ability to speak. One of the methods, at least early on, to bring a golem to life was to use various letters from the Hebrew alphabet to form a "Shem", any one of the names of God, and write it on paper and insert it into the mouth of the golem. You could later stop the golem by removing the paper. In some cases removing the paper from the mouth of the golem caused it to return to dust other times it just put it on pause.

Another method of animating and controlling the golem was to write the word "emet" on the being. In Hebrew "emet" means Truth. Usually this was written on the golem's forehead but I have seen stories where it was written on the back of the hand or other methods used.  The golem would be stopped or deactivated by removing the "e" from "emet". That leaves you with "met" which would mean Death or Dead in Hebrew. So you would go from Truth to Death by scrubbing off the letter. In some stories, the golem would be deactivated once it completed the bidding of the person who was controlling it. In some cases it was used to do hard work, to get revenge or settle a score.

The Golem on DVD

There is a long history and many hand me down tales about golems. There is even one about a Nazi trying to stab a golem during WWII in an attic of a church. The attic is not open to the general public but in 1984 a film crew was able to visit and film the attic. They came away with no evidence to support the old WWII claim.

Golems have often made appearances in movies, TV shows, games and cartoons. Even in today's popular shows and movies golems can be found. I would assume that most people have no idea that golems are actually rooted in Jewish history and folklore. That many people have and continue to believe in the creation of golems.

While I can see that there may be some confusion about golems, and just what they are, I heard it explained like this:

A Ghost is a spirit without a body, a Golem is a body without a spirit.  

And I know a lot of us believe in ghost, but what about Golems?
Maybe it is worth taking a deeper look before making up your mind. 


This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet.

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