* sorry for any grammar or spelling problems , English is not my first language.
“Mard Azma” is a monster that feeds on one thing , FEAR .I am very happy to say that i personally had no encounters with it but the stories that you are about to read are told to me by people who i trust are not liars! Of course before i begin, i must tell you what it is.
First, some history. if you don’t want to read the historical background or think you might get bored just skip this paragraph. I live in Iran ,specifically the province of eastern Azerbaijan .If you look up what is called the “Iranian plateau” or the “Iranian cultural continent” or “greater Iran” you will find Iran and a bunch of her neighboring countries .
It is where different branches of Iranian languages are spoken and Iranian arts,culture,music etc is . Now, with similar culture comes similar mythology, and with similar mythology comes similar monsters.
Originally , we believed in monsters called “Div”s. They are creations of “Ahreman” , the devil! Divs are a mortal enemy to the human race like demons in western culture. Imagine ghouls with the strength to lift a mountain , with claws and teeth like daggers and impenetrable skin and if that’s not overpowered enough, very smart and capable of using black magic for example taking forms! . There are famous dives such as “Cheshmak” who is responsible for earthquakes and hurricanes . some appear in “Shahnameh” , the book of ancient Iranian legends. such as the white div who imprisoned the shah of Iran and was defeated by a warrior from Sistan (the image attached to the post).
After the muslim conquest and convertion to islam, people kept their culture, but the divs were now called by an islamic name : Djinn.
Mard azma is a div. Of course that means some might call it Djinn. The word mard azma in persian (and other iranian languages) means man tester or man challenger. it might be pronounced a little bit differently in various parts , marde azma, mart azma,some might call it “javan azma” meaning “young tester” or even Djinn . But they always mean the same thing.A div that can take forms including innocent looks or your loved ones , mimic the sound of your loved ones and do anything to draw you into graveyards or forests or dark alleys and corners at night . Unlike skinwalkers when it takes the form of an animal or human it looks completely natural .It feeds on fear and oddly enough, never attacks timid people, it likes to scare brave souls and that’s why it’s called “challenger”.
Mard azma uses various ways . Sometimes it takes the forms of innocent looking farm animals such as sheep,goat or dogs and approaches lone people in the dark. And suddenly speaks or changes form. Sometimes it approaches as a lonely traveler or stranger. sometimes you hear someone that you know calling you , trying to draw you into forest or dark caves or something like that. if you go in there, it will scare you to death . You might have a heart attack so it can kill people . Sometimes it will appear as a thin and skinny looking creature . but as you want to investigate what it is , it will start to rapidly grow taller and taller and turn into a gigantic monster right from your nightmares. Maybe it’s a late night and your going home, a head comes out of a dark corner , maybe the face looks like a person or even your neighbor , but as you want to say hello , the face will start to change, the more you look the uglier and scarier it becomes. until either you look away and run , or continue watching the show and die of horror. The challenger can always make new ways of scaring people. usually it does not wish to kill you , just wants to feed from your fear.
but there is one thing that will make it so angry that it will want to tear you to pieces , don’t tell it that you’re not scared of it ,do not challenge the challenger .
Some believe that if you become friends with a mard azma it can tell you the places of lost objects , or give you life advice or tell you somethings from the future ,but i wouldn’t risk it .Sorry for the long introduction and here are some stories , just remember, mrad azma only challenges brave souls . so if you are a scared chicken sh*t like me , there is no need to worry.
anyway here are the stories , the two first ones , i heard from people i trust and the last one is a famous story so i am not sure about the truth in the last one.
1.THE FLOATING MAN:
This story is from an old man in my village in eastern azerbaijan , iran . Our main product is apple. It happened in a trail around our village. At day it’s gorgeous but at night it’s a very scary place . will tell the story from his point of view.
I was younger , you see , the water is scheduled so every garden had a few hours of water . My turn was in the middle of the night so i had to wake up ,pick up my shovel and go to my land to water the apple trees. It was an hour walk and it went right through the graveyard and then other people’s gardens. I know what you’re thinking , but no. It did not happen in the graveyard. I passed the graveyard and entered the part of the path that was surrounded by trees. The trees formed a thick wall along the shoulders of the road. All you could see was the stars above and the road (lighted by the moonlight) below you. I arrived to a spot where was some big rocks on the ground so i looked down to watched my steps . But then i felt a presence above me. It as like i felt a shadow of fear lay on me. Hesitantly , i looked up. Between the two tree lines i saw a tall man floating above me. He had his hands completely open , imagine someone is floating in a pool with their front side and face in the water , and imagine you are below them at the end of the pool’s depth and they are staring right at you. But i got a lot more scared when i saw his face , his eyes were big and wide open , almost popping out of the eye-sockets . and his teeth… I don’t know if he was smiling or showing teeth or if he did’t have lips at all but i know those teeth did not look natural. I whispered ” what are you?” . And it talked , it said ” I AM … ” . But i did’n’t really want to stay there and hear what it has to say ! I dropped my shovel and started running with all the power i could summon to my legs. I don’t know if it followed me or not because i did not look back. I only stopped when i was back in the village on my doorstep. Even in the morning i didn’t dare to go retrieve my shovel. I don’t know what it was , because i didn’t stay to hear it.
This story is told to me by a friend of mine. It happened to his great uncle in their village in luristan . I will tell the story from his point of view.
I was in my 20’s . I was going home in a dark and late evening , casually passing through the empty alleys when i saw a sheep in a small dead end. It was too late for sheep to be outside and not asleep so I thought it had ran away . As i was watching it , it came to my view that it was the most beautiful and healthy animal i had ever seen. I thought it would be a good breed and i was very tempted to take it home . I was young and strong so i just lifted and put it on my shoulders and continued walking. After a couple steps i remembered to check if it’s a a male or female so i just moved my right hand between it’s legs . Now as i am just about to find out , the sheep brings it’s mouth closer to my left ear and suddenly speaks : ” YOU KNOW , I AM WAY OLDER THAN YOUR GRANDFATHER ” . Freaking out , i dropped the sheep and it disappeared . It just vanished like it was never there . When i arrived home and told the story to my family , they said it was a djinn .
3.THE STORY OF “PAHLAVAAN ABBAS”
“Pahlavaan Abbas” was a man in a small village named “Tarmestan” in “Zagros” mountains. Pahlavaan means champion ( because he was a wrestler) and Abbas was his name. Aside from wrestling , his main occupation was pottery. He had a student named “Qasem” who was going to learn his art. Qasem’s father had passed away and he lived with his old mother , so Pahlavaan Abbas had told Qasem that if there was any problem , he could ask him for help. one night there was a knocking at Pahlavaan’s door. It was Qasem saying : “please hurry Pahlavaan , my mother is sick and i need your help to get her to a doctor” . He was speaking with a little different tone and accent . Pahlavaan immediately got dressed and told Qasem to lead the way. But after a while , It came to his attention that this wasn’t the way to Qasem’s house. Qasem was leading him outside of the town. “Qasem where are we going ?” asked pahlavaan . Qasem just turned and smiled at him with yellow teeth . This is weird , he thought . They climbed a hill and Qasem said “we’re here”. “so where is your mom Qasem? ” . As Qasem turned , Pahlavaan saw that wasn’t Qasem. It turned into an ugly 3 meters high creature with a humanoid body and a face like a dog. “What are you?” said Pahlavaan. The creature said : “I am Mard Azma , are you scared?”. ” no , a champion fears nothing.” said Pahlavaan . “well then you must wrestle with me, if you lose i will take your life.” said the creature. And so they wrestled and fought for hours , near the morning , Pahlavaan managed to win. As the monster’s back touched the ground, it turned into dust and smoke. with a lot of bruises and pain Pahlavaan went back to the village , to the real Qasem , where he told the others what happened to him before he died from exhaustion.