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Here's a fragment from "The Complete Fursey" by Mervyn Wall:

Other religious settlements were sadly plagued by disembodied spirits, demons, lemuses and fauns snorting and snuffling most fiendishly in the darker corners of the corridors and cells.

What are "lemuses"?

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It is probably just a typo for lemures.

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    Or possibly, since Latin lemures would likely be lemus in the singular (though the singular is not attested, as far as I know), not a typo but a simple English pluralisation of a backformed word. Jun 7 '15 at 15:40
  • @JanusBahsJacquet "A.R. Dunkel, J.S. Zijlstra, and C.P. Groves, C.P. (2011/2012). "Giant Rabbits, Marmosets, and British Comedies: Etymology of Lemur Names, part 1" Lemur News 16 (2100/12) 64–70. ISSN 1608-1439." op. cit.
    – Kris
    Jun 7 '15 at 15:43
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    @Kris What does that have to do with anything? That seems to be about lemurs (the animals), which were named by Linnaeus by backforming a singular from lemures in Latin as well. The Latin plural is ambiguous—it could have a singular lemus or it could have a singular lemur. So where Linnaeus backformed lemur, Wall may have backformed lemus; neither would be any more ‘correct’ than the other. Jun 7 '15 at 15:45
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    Your theory does require an pretty exact combination of expertise and illiteracy, you need one guy to know that the singular of lemures could be either lemur or lemus, but never heard or Linnaeus, Goethe, or the little monkey-things, and then another guy to see lemus and know what the first guy meant, but not know how to pluralize it. Occam's Razor says: typo. Jun 7 '15 at 15:51
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    Ah, you are saying the whole thing might have been a deliberate choice by Wall to generate a new spelling, free of any association with the (somewhat ridiculous) primate? Not impossible, but since the word lemuses is never used again in the book (and the singular lemus does not appear at all), it becomes less likely. Jun 7 '15 at 16:08
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Since the Wall's Fursey books were fantasy (and fantasy/comedy at that), and the other creatures mentioned in the sentence are fantastic creatures, a lemus is almost certainly a creature of Wall's imagination.

There is also a possibility that a lemus is a creature of folk tales local to Dublin during the early 1900's when Wall was a child.

Since classically fauns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faun were forest spirits, having them snorting and snuffling in the corners of monks' cells doesn't make a great deal of sense. So I'd advise you not to look to closely at the details of Wall's work - or at least don't worry too much about the minor characters.

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    Well no. It's a typo.
    – Fattie
    Jun 7 '15 at 16:22
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    @JoeBlow - Spirits aren't real. Demons aren't real. Fauns aren't real. So why do you think lemuses are a typo? What sort of imaginary being is lemuses a typo for? If you cannot provide a credible justification for your claim, please remove the downvote. Jun 7 '15 at 16:26
  • It's a typo. Read some of the source if don't believe. I actually didn't downvote. Note FWIW that votes mean utterly nothing on this site one way or the other, they are totally irrational.
    – Fattie
    Jun 7 '15 at 16:39
  • @WhatRoughBeast -- "lemuses" is a typo for lemures ("spirits of the restless or malignant dead"). Jun 7 '15 at 16:55

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