German name for a classical type of nightmare. This particular
nightmare took the form of a demon that suffocated people
during sleep. It was called ‘‘Dianus’’ by the French peasantry
and was believed to be what is referred to in Psalm 91 as ‘‘the
destruction that wasteth at noon-day,’’ since it was supposed
that people were most exposed to its attacks at that time. It suffocated
by pressing on the breast and thus restricting the lungs.
This kind of nightmare is related to belief in the incubus, a
demon having intercourse with human beings during sleep, the
Scandinavian mara, and the vampire.