by Mr Ghaz:
Mysteries of Mesopotamia and Persia: A Demon-Plagued Universe
People actively sought the protection of those spirit beings they thought to be benevolent, doing so through prayers and offerings. However, many beings were fearsome-some owing to their natural malevolence and others because their mission was to punish erring humans for the sins that they had committed.
Most fearful of all was the dreaded Lamashtu, a demoness who specialized in killing babies in or out of the womb. In a culture with high infant mortality, it was natural enough that miscarriages, stillbirths, and cot deaths should be blamed on a malevolent spirit. Lamashtu was truly frightful in aspect: she had the head of a lion, asses’ teeth, naked breasts, a hairy body, blood-stained hands with claw-like like fingernails, and talons in place of feet. Besides snatching infants, which she did by slipping into the houses of pregnant women and touching them seven times on the belly, she was also a bringer of disease. People wore amulets for protection from her wiles; some also sought to buy her off with offerings, particularly of centipedes.