Welcome back. It’s time to learn a little about ghosts, demons, and angels as well as gnomes, fairies and other “wee people”. The following was compiled by Agent Scott S. from a variety of sources.
At the conclusion of this series you can find the full compendium at Fringe University.
DEMONS, A CULTURAL HISTORY: Part One, The Sources
Researchers must be careful to consider the context of demonological works. Unlike modern historians or folklorists, who are concerned with the reliability of sources and the verifiability of findings, medieval and early modern writers on the infernal hierarchy are often quick to accept tradition as truth, to give credence to stories told by friends-of-friends, and to let their own bias into their writing. Indeed, many demonological works are polemic; that is, the information they provide about demons merely serves as ammunition in a larger argument. Much late antique (200-500 AD) Christian thinking on demons is a reaction against the polytheistic traditions of the Roman and Germanic worlds; the gods or guardian-spirits of non-Christian cultures were quickly re-labeled and re-packaged as demons by Christian intellectuals and missionaries. During the period of the Protestant reformation, the struggle between Catholic orthodoxy and the newer sects animated demonological discussions: Protestant writers claimed that Catholic traditions were demon-worship in disguise, or, taking a slightly different approach, decried the Catholic fear of demons as unreasonable superstition. For those who believe in the possibility of supernatural beings, the earlier writings of demonologists might very well provide useful evidence, but only when approached critically. One must always realize that a demonological work is more likely to give information about the cultural and intellectual environment of its time than to offer the “truth” about extra-natural entities.
I would also argue that our concept of “demon” is uniquely western and uniquely informed by the Christian thought of the Middle Ages. Although we can point to dark or evil gods in pagan pantheons, we often do them an injustice when we squeeze them into the “war in heaven” mythology that has developed in the Christian church. For example, Loki is not simply the “Satan” of the Norse pantheon; his role is far more ambiguous —after all, in many stories he’s Thor’s drinking buddy.
Diana Lynn Walzel has argued that the medieval conception of demons comes from four sources: Grecian-roman mythology, Hebrew traditions, Celtic and Germanic mythology, and early Christian cosmology. This medieval conception is largely consistent with the writings of later demonologists such as Johannes Nider, John Weyer and Martin Del Rio, and is still with us today in popular culture, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dungeons and Dragons to heavy-metal record covers and horror novels.
So, what were these traditions and what did each of them contribute to our ideas of demons? The following paraphrases Walzel’s argument. One of the most influential classical writers on demonology is Apuleius, who is most famous for his novel “The Metamorphoses”, more popularly known as “The Golden Ass” for its main character, an unfortunate rogue who is transformed into a donkey. Apuleius became an invaluable source for later generations because Saint Augustine included excerpts from and discussions of his writings in his famous City of God.
For Apuleius, demons were neutral messengers between the gods and humankind. The Greek word “daemon”, in fact, means a messenger. Like humans, demons had souls; unlike humans, they were bodiless. Many of the names later applied to demons come from Hebrew mythology. In the late antique period, a Jewish folklore of demons began to develop. As E.M. Butler discusses, the Jewish Testament of Solomon (written sometime between 100 and 400 A.D.), tells of Solomon summoning demons to build the temple at Jerusalem. The tale contains a list of demons including Asmodeus and Ornias. Butler points out that even this text, one of the oldest remaining to us, already contains signs of cultural mixing and overlapping: the names of Mesopotamian deities and spirits pop up along with Hebrew names. The later books of “Solomonic” magic that appear during the middle ages and renaissance come from this folkloric tradition, or at least purport to.
The early Christian contribution took the neutral spirits of the Greeks and the lively usual suspects of Jewish mythology and placed them in the cosmic context of a war between good and evil. As Walzel points out, Christians explained demons as the fallen angels from the Bible and saw them as their enemies. As a way of distancing themselves from their non-believing counterparts, early Christians quickly identified the gods of Rome as demons. This doctrine became solidified in Augustine’s City of God, when Christianity had become more accepted and widespread. Augustine clearly identified the gods of Rome as demons who had deceived men into worshiping them, and he carefully refuted Apuleius’ claim that demons were neutral.
Walzel is less clear about the contribution of Celtic or Germanic mythology to medieval demon-lore. One might imagine that as Christianity spread throughout northern Europe, the rich and imaginative depictions of monsters and fairies of non-Roman culture shaped people’s idea of what a demon might look like. A good example of this unstable mix of German-tribal-monster and Christian demon is Beowulf’s Grendel: a giant worthy of myth who in the poem is called a descendant of Cain.
These traditions mixed to create the medieval conception of demons that was further elaborated in theological and legal texts, and described in the magical grimoires that circulated in the period.
- Butler, Elizabeth M. Ritual Magic. Reprint. University Park: Penn State UP, 1998.
- Kors, Alan Charles and Edward Peters. Witchcraft in Europe: 400-1700, A Documentary History. 2nd edition. Philadelphia: Penn UP, 2001.
- Walzel, Diana Lynn. “Sources of Medieval Demonology” repr. in Witchcraft in the Ancient World and the Middle Ages ed. Brian P. Levack. New York: Garland, 1992.
Who’s Who in the Underworld
The existence of evil and its demonic deliverers has been pondered since the beginning of time. There are many views on the subject, as well as many people who have dedicated their lives to demonology. Some will be mentioned throughout this essay. Their work through the centuries has been agreed upon, argued over and the validity, at times, by some, completely ignored. I suspect that this is due to the controversial nature of the subject. Varying religions and cultural backgrounds certainly have affected the information passed down to us by the brilliant researchers, philosophers and historians of centuries past. However, there are too many similarities to ignore. In light of this, in some instances, the information may be in conflict with information found through resources other than those I have utilized here.
Alphonsus de Spina, in 1467, published his Fortalicium Fidei (Fortress of the Faith). He became a professor at the University of Salamanca and later a bishop of the church. He was considered an authority on all things theological, including demonology. He concluded that there are ten orders of demons and that they totaled in the millions. He categorized the demons as falling into nine specific types. He also divided them into classes according to what their purposes are. Following the list of the demonic names and ranks are the explanations of the types and orders as de Spina recorded them.
Johannes Weyer (Weir), another authority in demonic studies, wrote his De Praestigiis Daemonum in the 16th century. He studied the works of such authorities as Diodorus Siculus of the 1st century, the philosopher Apaleius of the 2nd century and many other notable historians. It is noted that Weyer said that the infernal regions had 66 princes that commanded 6,666 legions and each legion being comprised of 6,666 demons or devils. The figures here bring to mind the well recognized “number of the beast”, 666. Some Cabalists believe that this is 600 (false religion), 66 (greed) and 6 (this world). Weyer felt that the names of the demons explained what their intentions and/or duties were to be. Many demonics in Hebrew tradition were named after places (Astaroth) or qualities (Remmen, meaning loftiness).
Alphonsus de Spina’s Nine Types of Demon
1. False gods 2. Lying spirits 3. Inquisitors
4. Vengeful 5. Deluding 6. Creators of Tempests
7. Furies 8. Accusers 9. Tempters
de Spina’s Division of Classes
- Incubi and Succubi
- Familiar spirits
- Those produced by intercourse with humans
- Those in disguise
- Those who assail saints
- Those who persuade
Ten Orders of the Demonic
There is a supposed pattern to their specific lull and peak in activity, our own yearly calendar. Here is a list of the Chief entities that are most active during the corresponding months.
• January – Belial • February – Leviathan
• March – Satan • April – Astarte
• May – Lucifer • June – Baalberith
• July – Beelzebub • August – Astaroth
• September – Thamuz • October – Baal
• November – unknown • December – Moloch
The ” Lesser Key of Solomon” or the ” Lemegeton”, plays an important role in the history, study of, summoning of and exorcising of demonics. The first part of the book, Goetia, gives the conjurations for 72 different spirits or demons. It also includes the ranks and offices of the demonic hierarchy.
The second part of the book, Theurgia Goetia, deals with the sprits at the cardinal points. The third part is called the “Pauline Art” (reason unknown), it concerns the spirits of the hours of the days and nights of the Zodiac. The fourth part, the Almadel, deals with the ” Quarternary of the Attitude”, or the four other choirs of spirits inhabiting hell. The last part of the Key of Solomon is the Book of Orations and Prayers, said to have been used by King Solomon himself. Another controversial demonologist that received much criticism on her work was the Latin American, Rita Cabezas. The criticism was not in her findings, yet in her means of attaining the information. She spent some time communicating with those residing in the Infernal regions. Her work was built, according to her, on the word of the demonic themselves. This may have been through conjuration, summoning, channeling or even seance type activities. As we are all aware, this was an extremely risky approach. Her findings were that there were the following six principalities (in Spanish): Damian, Asmodeo, Menguelesh, Arios, Beelzebub and Nosferateus. Under each of these were six governors for each nation. She claimed that in Costa Rica, for example, are Shiebo, Quiebo, Ameneo, Mephistopheles, Nostrodamus and Azazel. The United States, in her findings, was territory to Ralphes, Anoritho, Manchester, Apolion, Deviltook and alas, one unnamed. The word from the mouths of demonic beings could be considered incredulous, to say the least. Please note some of the similarities in her findings. Apolion, in her findings, seems surely to be Apollyon from the research done by the great demonologists mentioned previously. Also, Asmodeo is clearly the same entity as Asmodeus. Another similar entity to Ralphes, is none other than Raphael, the very one that did banish Asmodeus to the desert. Mephistopheles, Azazel and Beelzebub are mentioned in a multitude of other literary pieces on the subject, dating back centuries.
There are a number of other names that have been documented as that of demons. Some may be cultural or regional names given to already listed entities. However, the following is included to avoid any erroneous omittances.
Lucifuge Rofocale Fleurety
Sargatanas Pu Satanachia
There are some noted as being demonic that also have a very high reverence as being benign and even maternal/paternal figures, in pagan cultures from past and present. They are as follows:
Cultural differences may divide humanity in many ways, however, we are unified in our intrigue and in our fear when it comes to the Infernal regions. Here are some examples of the evil that plagues our other lands.
- Apep (Egypt) Opposer of the sun god Ra. Takes the form of a serpent/crocodile.
- Chernobog (Baltic/Slavic) “The Black God”, rules evil, misfortune, death and night.
- Elathan (Celtic) Domain is the darkness
- Erebus (Greek) Son of Chaos, guardian of the darkness surrounding hell.
- Grand Bois (Hailti) Master of the forest and of night
- Hatu-Atu-Topun (Polynesia) Dangerous female demon specifically at dawn and dusk.
- Ikwaokinyapippilele (Panama) Causes ills of all kinds.
- Lilitu (Hebrew) Ancient female demon connected with Lilith.
- Manuval (New Guinea) Active only at night, spreading ills, chaos, and the like.
- Mush (Iran) Demon of eclipses and of night.
- Nyx (Greek) Daughter of Chaos, sister to Erebus.
- Oroan (Guyana) Another demon of the eclipse
- Sakarabu (West Africa ) Judge and demon of darkness
- Oni (Japan) Demon that creates and lives in the eye of its tempests.
With the findings of our predecessors and our ambition to discover more about the inhuman entities that walk among us and reside below us, we hope over time to unfold these most intriguing mysteries of the infernal regions. Knowledge is power.
A “Demon” was originally a Greek term which meant a wise, guardian spirit. In present day spiritualism and parapsychology, the word connotes an entity which appears to have a malicious and resentful nature, and is possibly of a non-human origin: differentiated from a spirit which proceeded from a once-living person.
What characteristics do these entities evince?
- They seem interested in, and often resentful (perhaps envious?) of living human beings.
- Although they have been known to inflict minor injuries on people, such as scratches, welts and even what appear to be bite marks, primarily they assault the human mind through oppressive anxiety and fear.
- They sometimes make their presence known through our senses, such as inexplicable foul odors and low guttural growling (examples of which have been recorded during TAPS investigations as well as investigations by other paranormal research groups).
Demons may exist as a “quasi life-form,” intelligent though not reasoning as do human beings, and existing outside the boundaries of our experience of linear time.
An exorcism or spiritual cleansing may provide a remedy, either temporary or hopefully permanent, against demonic infestation by making the environment hostile for the entity or entities.
Here’s a topic for speculation: Obviously, not much is known for certain regarding these entities called demons other than their presence is quite inconvenient. Consider, could a human spirit become demonic, or be assimilated by the demonic entities? Are they always of non-human origin?
What do you think?
Demonology 101: Part II
Denizens of the “Demonic Realm” – are they invariably of non-human origin, or can the human psyche generate such a negativity that a soul can somehow degenerate into the form of that which we name a demon? It has even been conjectured that demonic “thought forms” could, under extraordinary conditions, be created by a human being and take on a sort of “life” or “lives” of their own. And some contend that they are fallen angels.
This is all speculative. What is certain (that is, what experience has borne out) is that in some dimensional reality apart from our own, there exist seething, resentful, debased entities which occasionally make their way into the living world, seeking human subjects to prey upon and torment.
At times these shadow creatures appear attracted to a particular person or locale, and are inexplicably “just there.” In other instances, someone has inadvertently opened a psychic porthole, or chasm, to their netherworld and allowed them access, perhaps by means of a seance or Ouija board use, sometimes through reckless magical conjurations (for a demon may not consider itself “banished” at the close of a ceremony), or even via one’s psychological imbalance (such as excessive sorrow, hostility or psychosis). And having achieved a foothold in this plane, they can become insidious, formidable adversaries, wholly devoted to inflicting despair, and notoriously difficult to expunge.
One method of dispelling a demonic presence is to remove oneself from its presence, from the setting of the infestation, allowing it to simply dissipate for lack of the psychic energy which it provokes through fear and frustration, and upon which it seems to feed. Obviously, this isn’t always practical, nor do demons always so easily relinquish their holds. This is when intervention and assistance is called for, either from open-minded clergy who accept the existence of such phenomena, or from experienced and competent paranormal investigators.
The investigating team will endeavor to find the source of the trouble, determine the type of haunting (intelligent, residual, or inhuman), log and analyze all available data, then decide what measures should be taken to counter the harmful influence(s). If it is judged to be a demonic agent, what must be avoided is a personal, one-on-one confrontation with these forces, which would be dangerous and most likely ineffective. Never meet the demon for a showdown on its own terms; exasperated rage serves only to strengthen them, and most seem adept at bringing out the very worst in people. Once they incite conflict within a family or group, cause panic, or drive someone to the point of exclaiming “Damn you! What do you want from us?”, they then have the upper (invisible) hand.
Remaining as calm and scientific as possible in the midst of a demonic assault is unquestionably a trying discipline, but it is developed through experience, and with the essential support of fellow investigative team members. A paranormal investigator needn’t be fearless, or saintly. (Hopefully not, since I fall far short of both.) However, he or she must assess his or her own strengths, as well as limitations.
Demonology 101: Part III
In Parts I and II we touched on a few explanations offered for the existence of those spirit entities categorized as demons as well as outlined the characteristics they manifest, and some basic methods of dealing with the inconvenience of their presence. I would like to continue with further speculation on their origins and nature, in an effort to establish a working theorem regarding this area of study.
What factors initially spawned them, we cannot for certain say, and it follows our rigid concept of lineal time, with absolufo beginning and endings, does not wholly govern the less substantial realm of spirit. Perhaps a demon could be described as an energy displacement, a sort of poltergeist in which a consciousness has evolved. It exists (yet doesn’t in a purely physical sense), it knows there are other entities like unto itself, and it senses the living beings (us) moving in a dimensional plane apart from their own. But why then, should they resent us? Well, maybe not all are resentful, and we just notice the ones that are. It is conceivable that a demon, never having been embodied, might envy the humanity, which it can never experience: the physical sensations, the interaction, the companionship, the hopes and aspirations.
Opportunities for a demon to enter our world and wreak its havoc – that is, in overt, obvious ways – must be limited. Evidence would seem to support the notion that it must first be invited in, though even a subtle invitation can suffice. Once the demon has an “in”, it will feed upon the energies expelled by negative emotions such as anxiety, fear and anger, especially those directed at itself.
The state of mind conducive to expelling a demonic presence is a resolute dedication to purpose and a sense of unity on the part of those who confront this nightmarish force.
Q: Are Ouija boards really dangerous?
A: It is not the Ouija board itself which is dangerous. The potential danger stems from the fact that by using an Ouija board to communicate with spirits (or any similar divination device), an individual is opening up his or her free will, thereby leaving oneself vulnerable to an invading spirit presence. There are a great many examples of individuals successfully contacting what at first appear to be “nice” spirits through the use of an Ouija board…only to have these spirits turn on them once they have gained a foothold. Demons can be very adept at masquerading as departed loved ones, even going so far as to reveal hidden knowledge, which was supposedly known only to the deceased…and this hidden information will often eventually prove to be verifiable. However, once demonic spirits have gained someone’s trust, they will then cleverly begin mixing lies with the truth, in an effort to confuse. Some individuals eventually become emotionally dependent upon these “spirit friends”…and a demonic presence will have no reservations about using a person’s loneliness or emotional vulnerabilities to gain a stronger foothold. By the time it is too late, and a hostile entity has revealed it’s true colors, the person who has unwittingly been communicating with these types of spirits will often find that they are much harder to get rid of, than they were to bring in. Also, under no circumstances should anyone ask a spirit to manifest itself (appear) to them through the use of an Ouija board…since a demonic spirit will consider this an open invitation to infiltrate that person’s life!
Q: How true to life are the events portrayed in “The Exorcist”?
A: “The Exorcist”, written by William Peter Blattey, is based upon an actual case of demonic possession, and the subsequent exorcism, of a fourteen-year-old boy, which took place in the U.S. in 1949. Some of the events are documented as having actually occurred, such as writing appearing on the boy’s flesh, and his ability (while under possession) of speaking in foreign languages. In the actual case, the exorcism eventually proved successful, and the boy went on to live a normal, healthy life. None of the priests involved actually died as the result of the exorcism, or became possessed themselves, although one priest did suffer a broken nose. Some of the more bizarre phenomena portrayed in both the book and the movie never actually happened, such as the head spinning and the “spider walk”. Some of the events portrayed in ‘The Exorcist”, however, when taken in context, are actually supposed to be telepathically projected into the minds of certain characters.
One thing I should mention about ‘The Exorcist” which happens to be very true to life, is that these types of parasitic, hostile entities are often initially and inadvertently “invited” in to begin oppressing certain individuals, through the use of an Ouija board.
Q: What exactly are Demons?
A: In the Judeo/Christian belief, demons are “fallen angels” who conspired against the Heavenly Kingdom under the leadership of Satan, were defeated by the Archangel Michael and the holy angels, and were cast out of the Heavenly Realm…banished to roam the earth and the earthly heavens. Although we know very little about this terrible incident, it is assumed to have taken place long before recorded human history. Demons, like Satan and like their angelic counterparts, are inhuman spirit beings, never having been human…NOT the damned souls of evil humans.
Q: Are Demons the same as “Ghosts”?
A: Ultimately, no. Whereas a ghost is generally considered to be the disembodied spirit essence of a deceased person (or animal, in some cases), a demon was never physically alive, in the way in which we are familiar with life. Because demons are spirit beings, and sometimes function in similar ways – even sometimes intentionally masquerading as ghosts – they are often mistaken as being ghosts. However, there is actually quite a difference between the two, both in character and abilities.
Q: Can Demons materialize themselves as humans or animals?
A: Yes, although their ability to do so seems limited. Also, seemingly as a rule, even on the rare occasions where they manifest themselves in photographs, they are never “complete”…that is to say, either a body part is missing (eyes, legs, or the entire head, etc.), or they are disfigured in some noticeable way. Perhaps this is God’s cosmic law at work, commanding that they must in some way display that they are not of human origin.
Q: Can demons actually possess dolls and statues?
A: Although demons do not technically “possess” inanimate objects such as dolls and statues, they will sometimes attach or link themselves to certain objects. Although there are a variety of reasons for this, the most obvious cause would be if a doll or a statue has been “personified,” or given recognition as an object of profane worship, or used in a ceremonial practice in which demonic entities were invoked. (Two Scriptural references which specifically refer to this as the worship of idols are: Revelation 9:20, and 1 Corinthians 10:20.) Incidentally, demonic attachments to inanimate objects are not limited to dolls and statues. In fact, I once knew someone who, as a young boy of about five years old, picked up a glove which had been left in a cemetery…and a demonic entity instantly began harassing him! The vehicle in which screen idol Jimmy Dean was killed in is another example. Also, it almost goes without saying that the most commor inanimate object to which a demonic entity will attach itself is the infamous Ouija board.
Another cause of demonic entities having attached themselves to inanimate objects such as dolls or statues is if someone who was demon possessed or severely oppressed, has owned or venerated this particular object.
Of course, there is no reason to go through your house searching out every inanimate object which you’ve ever felt slightly unnerved about. However, if you do seriously feel there is something unnatural about an object in your possession…be it a doll, statue, Ouija board or what have you…it might just be a good idea to look up the history of this object, if possible. For information pertaining to the disposal of such an object, you may wish to contact a member of the clergy of your particular faith, or perhaps a reputable paranormal research organization.
This entry comprises a collection of terms which the paranormal investigator is likely to
encounter when dealing in demonology.
- Allee, John Dewey: (b. March 8, 1951) Occult author and founder of a “Satanic Church” in Salem, MA, and New England’s version of Aleister Crowley. Note: On May 1st, 2003, Dewey’s organization reported he’d expired; it turns out he’s merely retired.
- Alchemy: The exploration and application of the sciences, particularly chemistry and the pseudo science of astrology, such as they were understood during the middle ages and early Renaissance period. Alchemists were chiefly dedicated to the worthy pursuit of producing gold from base metals and various materials.
- Baphomet: Demon character supposedly worshiped by the Knights Templar in 14th century France. Some present day practitioners of the black arts regard Baphomet as a “god” of lust and regeneration, or as symbolic of the Devil. See also: Sigil of Baphomet
- Carcosa: A mysterious nether region or outer-world containing the mythical lake called “Hall,” which appears in the fiction of authors Ambroce G. Bierce (“An Inhabitant of Carcosa”) and Robert W. Chambers (“The King in Yellow” : “Cassilda’s Song”). There are students of arcane, mystical lore who believe that Carcosa may truly exist, which is why it is included with this roster of terms.
- Crowley, Aleister (Edward Alexander): (b. 1875, d.1947) Scottish-born occultist, metaphysician, sorcerer, adventurer, poet and author of many occult treatises and manuals, including ‘Magic In Theory And Practice.’ Crowley once dubbed himself “The Great Beast 666,” one of the few of his many monikers which stayed with him, and the press referred to him as “The Wickedest Man in the World.” Although in some respects brilliant, Crowley gave himself over to excess, amorality and eventual dissipation. His writings are still studied and analyzed by many present day, serious students of the magic(k)al arts.
- C’thulu: A creation of author H.P. Lovecraft and a favorite of horror/science fiction enthusiasts, “C’thulu (pronunciation is interpretive) is described as a kind of demon-god from another world, a monstrosity resembling a gigantic squid or octopus who “sleeps and dreams” in his lair at the bottom of the Arctic ocean, biding his time until some foolhardy “disciples” find means to call him to rise and reclaim dominion of the earth. Doubtlessly, some are actually trying! See also: H.P. Lovecraft and Necronomicon.
- Dee, Doctor John: (b. 1527, d. 1608) Alchemist, astrologer, seer and advisor to Queen Elisabeth I of England who, along with his somewhat unscrupulous associate Edward Kelly, supposedly devised a method of deciphering an angelic language, known as the “Enochian Calls.”
- Demon: Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin, which some believe to be “fallen (from grace) angels.”
- Enochian: A magical, “angelic” language first translated by Dr. John Dee, and used in the rituals of both the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” in the 19th century and the “First Church of Satan” in the 20th century. See also: Dee, Doctor John
- Exorcism: Ceremonial expulsion of invading spiritual/demonic entities from a person or dwelling, present in virtually every worldly culture. The Jewish and Catholic Christian faiths each have a formal ‘Rite of Exorcism’ to be conducted by the respective Rabbi or Priest.
- Faustus, Doctor Johann: (b. circa 1455, d. 1540) Scholar, physician and alchemist from Wittenburg, Germany, who was renowned for his proficiency in treating victims of the plague contagion (to which the Doctor seemed strangely resistant), and the basis for the stories by Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Christopher Marlowe about a learned man who sold his soul to the devil through his infernal agent Mephistopheles in exchange for “four and twenty /ears” of knowledge, youth and power.
- Homunculus: A form of miniature human supposedly produced (for purposes unknown) in the laboratories of medieval alchemists. See also: Alchemy
- Incubus: Stemming from medieval lore, a demonic entity capable of sexually arousing and sometimes assaulting human females. Cases of apparent incubus attacks continue to be documented, suggesting a germ of reality behind the myth.
- LaVey, Anton Szandor: (b. April 23, 1930, d. Oct. 29, 1997) Birth name was Howard Stanton Levey. One of the major figures of the occult revival of the 1960’s and 70’s. Charismatic and self-promoting, LaVey formed the ‘First Church of Satan’ in 1966 and his ‘The Satanic Bible’ was published by Avon Books in 1968. LaVey’s version of Satan was allegorical, symbolizing “the Spirit of Rebellion” as well as an unknown, but potentially implementable “force of nature.” The ceremonies he devised were entertaining psychodrama, and his Satanic philosophy was based on rational self-interest, albeit with overtly diabolical trappings.
- Lillith: Devil of Hebrew origin, believed by Quaballists to have been the first wife of Adam, later excluded from the Talmud, and held by some occultists to be a vampire goddess and a powerful succubus. See also: Succubus. Vampire
- Lovecraft, Howard Phillips “H.P.”: (b. 1890, d. 1937) Horror fiction writer from Providence, Rhode Island, whose prose apparently is so haunting and convincing that some present day cults practice rituals based on what is termed as Lovecraft’s “C’thulu Mythos.” See also: C’thulu and Necronomicon
- Lucifer: Name taken from the Latin “luci” (light) and “fere” (to bear), originally a Roman lesser deity, “Son of the Morning,” formerly the name for the planet Venus when observed at dawn, in Christian theology identified with the Devil: arch regent of fallen angels. Lucifer is sometimes called upon in pagan ceremonies and rituals. See also Satan
- Necromancy: The practice of communicating with the dead to obtain knowledge of the future, others’ secrets, etc. An archaic term, the necromancer was said to employ magic spells and conjuration to summon, then banish, the spirits of the dead.
- Necronomicon: A grimoire (that is, collection) of ancient sigils and incantations of nebulous origins, discovered in the 8th century by the “Mad Arab,” Abdul Alhazred, said to be capable of opening a chasm to the “Dread Dimension” and unleashing the wrathful power of the timeless “Elder Gods.” Although some occultists believe this tome to be at least derived from genuine (and nefarious) sources, we are fairly confident that it sprang from the fiction of Providence, Rhode Island-born horror author, Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft (b. 1890, d. 1937).
- Necronomicon Spellbook: A toned-down, elegantly printed companion book to the ‘Necronomicon’ also by Avon Books.
- Oui-ja (Board): A divining implement consisting of a small, round or more often rectangular platform with letters, numbers and various symbols printed upon it, and a “planchette” which, when the fingers of two participants are lightly placed along its edges, is intended to glide across the smooth surface of the inscribed platform and indicate messages. Conceived of as a parlour game in the wake of popular spiritualism, this is potentially a very dangerous tool for inviting in unpredictable, invasive forces.
- Pact: The belief, prevalent in the late middle ages through the Renaissance, that someone could trade his or her soul in return for worldly gain. See also: Faustus, Doctor Johann
- Pentacle/Pcntagram: The traditional five-pointed star design, with its interior pentagon delineated, generally representing both spirituality and protection when point “up”; when inverted, it is said to signify diabolism.
- Possession: Invasion of the human mind by a spiritual or demonic entity, where the invading agent for a span of time, influences or entirely subverts the personality of the human host. It is in these instances that the boundaries of psychology, religion and spiritualism are rendered less distinct.
- Satan: Hebraic term for “Adversary,” the “Tester” in the Biblical Book of Job, the most familiar name of the Devil, the “Fallen Angel” and the “Evil One.” Investigators sometimes come across evidence of the activities of Satanic cults, who perform animal sacrifices and apparently believe that desecrations and obscenities are devotions to their dark lord.
- Seance: A group effort to contact the spirit world. In standardized format, the lighting of the chamber in which the seance is conducted is subdued, and the participants sit around the table, either holding hands or with hands palm down, flat against the table’s surface and with fingertips touching those of the adjacent partners. A candle generally is set on the center of the table. The appointed director or “medium” addresses the spirit(s) with whom contact is sought, and then it’s “We await a sign…”
- Sigil of Baphomel: Leit-motif if Satanism, this emblem is composed of an inverted pentagram containing a goat head, encompassed by two, concentric circles, in between which are placed five Hebraic characters.
- Succubus: “Female” counterpart of the incubus, a demonic entity said to inspire lust in men (and most inconveniently!), sometimes capable of physically attacking and inflicting injuries (bruises & slashes). Following a nocturnal visitation from a succubus, the human victim will always feel ill and depleted of vitality, and inexplicably “un-clean.”
- Vampire: A demonic (?) entity in the form of a deceased person, which perpetuates itself by draining the blood or psychic energy of the living.
- Warlock: Term originally meant “deceiver” or ” one who misleads,” in more modern parlance has become associated with a male witch.
- Wicca: Witchcraft as a recognized religion, the practitioners of which refer to their system as, “The Old Way” and “The Ancient Religion.” Wiccans in their rituals align themselves with elementals and the earth’s natural magnetic fields, personified by the names of ancient Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian deities.
- Witch: Broadly, a practitioner of the magic arts, spec, a woman who employs charms, herbs and incantations to affect the workings of her will. Also, a practitioner of the Wicca craft.
- Wizard: A male sorcerer and conjurer who is especially adept and experienced in his craft.
Up next: Fairies and nature spirits around the world
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