A demon (from
Koine Greek δαιμόνιον daimónion) is a
supernatural and often malevolent being prevalent in religion,
occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore.
Ancient Near Eastern religions
Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic
traditions, including ancient and medieval
Christian demonology, a
demon is considered a harmful spiritual entity, below the heavenly
planes which may cause demonic possession, calling for an exorcism.
In Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an
amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic, Jewish
Aggadah and Christian
demonology, a demon is believed to be a spiritual entity that may
be conjured and controlled.
2 Ancient Near East
3.2 Talmudic tradition
Second Temple period
Second Temple period texts
4.1.1 Old Testament
4.1.2 New Testament
Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books
6.2 Evil spirits
7 Bahá'í Faith
8 Ceremonial magic
10 Modern interpretations
11 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links
Further information: Daemon (classical mythology), Agathodaemon,
Cacodemon, Daimonic, and Eudaimonia
Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches "Moral and Natural Philosophy"
(illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).
The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine
power, much like the
Latin genius or numen. Daimōn most likely came
from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute). The Greek
conception of a daimōn notably appears in the works of Plato, where
it describes the divine inspiration of Socrates. To distinguish the
classical Greek concept from its later
Christian interpretation, the
former is anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than
demon. The original Greek word daimon does not carry
the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the
Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion), and later ascribed to any
cognate words sharing the root.
The Greek terms do not have any connotations of evil or malevolence.
In fact, εὐδαιμονία eudaimonia, (literally
good-spiritedness) means happiness. By the early Roman Empire, cult
statues were seen, by pagans and their
Christian neighbors alike, as
inhabited by the numinous presence of the gods: "Like pagans,
Christians still sensed and saw the gods and their power, and as
something, they had to assume, lay behind it, by an easy traditional
shift of opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent
'demons', the troupe of Satan..... Far into the Byzantine period
Christians eyed their cities' old pagan statuary as a seat of the
demons' presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested." The
term had first acquired its negative connotations in the Septuagint
translation of the
Hebrew Bible into Greek, which drew on the
mythology of ancient Semitic religions. This was then inherited by the
Koine text of the New Testament. The Western medieval and neo-medieval
conception of a demon derives seamlessly from the ambient popular
culture of Late Antiquity. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to
include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by
The supposed existence of demons remains an important concept in many
modern religions and occultist traditions. Demons are still feared
largely due to their alleged power to possess living creatures. In the
contemporary Western occultist tradition (perhaps epitomized by the
work of Aleister Crowley), a demon (such as Choronzon, which is
Crowley's interpretation of the so-called '
Demon of the Abyss') is a
useful metaphor for certain inner psychological processes (inner
demons), though some may also regard it as an objectively real
phenomenon. Some scholars believe that large portions of the
demonology (see Asmodai) of Judaism, a key influence on Christianity
and Islam, originated from a later form of Zoroastrianism, and were
Judaism during the Persian era.
Ancient Near East
Ancient Sumerian cylinder seal impression showing the god Dumuzid
being tortured in the Underworld by galla demons
Human-headed winged bull, otherwise known as a Lamassu
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "In Chaldean mythology the seven
evil deities were known as shedu, storm-demons, represented in ox-like
form." They were represented as winged bulls, derived from the
colossal bulls used as protective jinn of royal palaces.
From Chaldea, the term shedu traveled to the Israelites. The writers
of the Tanach applied the word as a dialogism to Canaanite deities.
There are indications that demons in popular Hebrew mythology were
believed to come from the nether world. Various diseases and
ailments were ascribed to them, particularly those affecting the brain
and those of internal nature. Examples include catalepsy, headache,
epilepsy and nightmares. There also existed a demon of blindness,
"Shabriri" (lit. "dazzling glare") who rested on uncovered water at
night and blinded those who drank from it.
Demons supposedly entered the body and caused the disease while
overwhelming or "seizing" the victim. To cure such diseases, it was
necessary to draw out the evil demons by certain incantations and
talismanic performances, at which the
needed]. Josephus, who spoke of demons as "spirits of the wicked which
enter into men that are alive and kill them", but which could be
driven out by a certain root, witnessed such a performance in the
presence of the Emperor Vespasian and ascribed its origin to King
Solomon. In mythology, there were few defences against Babylonian
demons. The mythical mace Sharur had the power to slay demons such as
Asag, a legendary gallu or edimmu of hideous strength.
See also: Shedim
Lilith by John Collier (1892), the female demon
Lilith is shown
personified within the Garden of Eden
As referring to the existence or non-existence of shedim (Hebr. for
"demons", "spirits") there are converse opinions in Judaism. There
are "practically nil" roles assigned to demons in the Jewish
Judaism today, beliefs in shedim ("demons" or "evil
spirits") are either midot hasidut (Hebr. for "customs of the pious"),
and therefore not halachah, or notions based on a superstition that
are non-essential, non-binding parts of Judaism, and therefore not
normative Jewish practice. In conclusion, Jews are not obligated to
believe in the existence of shedim, as posek rabbi David Bar-Hayim
See also: Tanakh
The word shedim (Hebr. for "demons" or "spirits") appears only in two
places in the
Tanakh (Psalm 106:37, Deuteronomy 32:17). In both
places, the term appears in a scriptural context of animal or child
sacrifice to non-existent false gods that are called
Talmud and Jerusalem Talmud
In the Jerusalem
Talmud notions of shedim ("demons" or "evil spirits")
are almost unknown or occur only very rarely, whereas in the Babylon
Talmud there are many references to shedim and magical incantations.
The existence of shedim in general was not questioned by most of the
Babylonian Talmudists. As a consequence of the rise of influence of
Talmud over that of the Jerusalem Talmud, late rabbis
in general took as fact the existence of shedim, nor did most of the
medieval thinkers question their reality. However, rationalists like
Saadia Gaon and
Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra and others explicitly
denied their existence, and completely rejected concepts of demons,
evil spirits, negative spiritual influences, attaching and possessing
spirits. Their point of view eventually became mainstream Jewish
Kabbalah and Dybbuk
Some benevolent shedim were used in kabbalistic ceremonies (as with
the golem of Rabbi Yehuda Loevy) and malevolent shedim (mazikin, from
the root meaning "to damage") were often credited with possession.
Aggadah and Angels in Judaism
Aggadic tales from the Persian tradition describe the shedim, the
mazziḳim ("harmers"), and the ruḥin ("spirits"). There were also
lilin ("night spirits"), ṭelane ("shade", or "evening spirits"),
ṭiharire ("midday spirits"), and ẓafrire ("morning spirits"), as
well as the "demons that bring famine" and "such as cause storm and
earthquake". According to some aggadic stories, demons were
under the dominion of a king or chief, either Asmodai or, in the
Samael ("the angel of death"), who killed via poison.
Stories in the fashion of this kind of folklore never became an
essential feature of Jewish theology. Although occasionally an
angel is called satan in the Babylon Talmud, this does not refer to a
demon: "Stand not in the way of an ox when coming from the pasture,
Satan dances between his horns".
Second Temple period
Second Temple period texts
Apotropaic magic and Angels in Judaism
Qumran community during the
Second Temple period
Second Temple period this
apotropaic prayer was assigned, stating: "And, I the Sage, declare the
grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terri[fy] all the
spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits, demons,
Liliths, owls" (Dead Sea Scrolls, "Songs of the Sage," Lines
In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there exists a fragment entitled "Curses of
Belial" (Curses of
Belial (Dead Sea Scrolls, 394, 4Q286(4Q287, fr.
6)=4QBerakhot)). This fragment holds much rich language that reflects
the sentiment shared between the
Qumran towards Belial. In many ways
this text shows how these people thought
Belial influenced sin through
the way they address him and speak of him. By addressing "
all his guilty lot," (4Q286:2) they make it clear that he is not only
impious, but also guilty of sins. Informing this state of
uncleanliness are both his "hostile" and "wicked design" (4Q286:3,4).
Through this design,
Belial poisons the thoughts of those who are not
necessarily sinners. Thus a dualism is born from those inclined to be
wicked and those who aren't. It is clear that
influences sin by the mention of "abominable plots" and "guilty
inclination" (4Q286:8,9). These are both mechanisms by which Belial
advances his evil agenda that the
Qumran have exposed and are calling
upon God to protect them from. There is a deep sense of fear that
Belial will "establish in their heart their evil devices"
(4Q286:11,12). This sense of fear is the stimulus for this prayer in
the first place. Without the worry and potential of falling victim to
Belial's demonic sway, the
Qumran people would never feel impelled to
craft a curse. This very fact illuminates the power
believed to hold over mortals, and the fact that sin proved to be a
temptation that must stem from an impure origin.
Jubilees 1:20, Belial's appearance continues to support the notion
that sin is a direct product of his influence. Moreover, Belial's
presence acts as a placeholder for all negative influences or those
that would potentially interfere with God's will and a pious
existence. Similarly to the "gentiles ... [who] cause them to sin
against you" (
Belial is associated with a force that
drives one away from God. Coupled in this plea for protection against
foreign rule, in this case the Egyptians, is a plea for protection
from "the spirit of Belial" (
Jubilees 1:19). Belial's tendency is to
"ensnare [you] from every path of righteousness" (
Jubilees 1:19). This
phrase is intentionally vague, allowing room for interpretation.
Everyone, in one way or another, finds themselves straying from the
path of righteousness and by pawning this transgression off on Belial,
he becomes a scapegoat for all misguidance, no matter what the cause.
Belial with all sorts of misfortune and negative
external influence, the
Qumran people are henceforth allowed to be let
off for the sins they commit.
Belial's presence is found throughout the War Scrolls, located in the
Dead Sea Scrolls, and is established as the force occupying the
opposite end of the spectrum of God. In Col. I, verse 1, the very
first line of the document, it is stated that "the first attack of the
Sons of Light shall be undertaken against the forces of the Sons of
Darkness, the army of Belial" (1Q33;1:1). This dichotomy sheds
light on the negative connotations that
Belial held at the time.
Where God and his Sons of Light are forces that protect and promote
Belial and his Sons of Darkness cater to the opposite,
instilling the desire to sin and encouraging destruction. This
opposition is only reinforced later in the document; it continues to
read that the "holy ones" will "strike a blow at wickedness",
ultimately resulting in the "annihilation of the Sons of Darkness"
(1Q33:1:13). This epic battle between good and evil described in such
abstract terms, however it is also applicable to everyday life and
serves as a lens through which the
Qumran see the world. Every day is
the Sons of Light battle evil and call upon God to help them overcome
evil in ways small and large.
Belial's influence is not taken lightly. In Col. XI, verse 8, the text
depicts God conquering the "hordes of Belial" (1Q33;11:8). This defeat
is indicative of God's power over
Belial and his forces of temptation.
However the fact that
Belial is the leader of hordes is a testament to
how persuasive he can be. If
Belial was obviously an arbiter of
wrongdoing and was blatantly in the wrong, he wouldn’t be able to
amass an army. This fact serves as a warning message, reasserting
God’s strength, while also making it extremely clear the breadth of
Belial's prowess. Belial's "council is to condemn and convict", so the
Qumran feel strongly that their people are not only aware of his
purpose, but also equipped to combat his influence (1Q33;13:11).
In the Damascus Document,
Belial also makes a prominent appearance,
being established as a source of evil and an origin of several types
of sin. In Column 4, the first mention of
Belial reads: "
be unleashed against Israel" (4Q266). This phrase is able to be
interpreted myriad different ways.
Belial is characterized in a wild
and uncontrollable fashion, making him seem more dangerous and
unpredictable. The notion of being unleashed is such that once he is
free to roam; he is unstoppable and able to carry out his agenda
uninhibited. The passage then goes to enumerate the "three nets"
(4Q266;4:16) by which
Belial captures his prey and forces them to sin.
"Fornication ..., riches ..., [and] the profanation of the temple"
(4Q266;4:17,18) make up the three nets. These three temptations were
three agents by which people were driven to sin, so subsequently, the
Qumran people crafted the nets of
Belial to rationalize why these
specific temptations were so toxic. Later in Column 5,
mentioned again as one of "the removers of bound who led Israel
astray" (4Q266;5:20). This statement is a clear display of Belial's
influence over man regarding sin. The passage goes on to state: "they
preached rebellion against ... God" (4Q266;5:21,22). Belial's purpose
is to undermine the teachings of God, and he achieves this by
imparting his nets on humans, or the incentive to sin.
In the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, Belial
controls scores of demons, which are specifically allotted to him by
God for the purpose of performing evil. Belial, despite his
malevolent disposition, is considered an angel.
Demons in the Old Testament of the
Christian Bible are of two classes:
the "satyrs" or "shaggy goats" (from Hebr. se'irim "hairy beings" and
Greek Old Testament
Greek Old Testament σάτυρος satyros, "satyr"; Isaiah 13:21,
34:14) and the "demons" (from Hebr. shedim, and Koine Greek
δαιμόνιον daimonion; 106:35–39, 32:17).
Medieval illumination from the Ottheinrich Folio depicting Jesus
exorcizing the Gerasene demoniac
The term "demon" (from the Greek
New Testament δαιμόνιον
daimonion) appears 63 times in the
New Testament of the Christian
Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books
Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books
See also: Book of Tobit, Book of Enoch, and Book of Jubilees
Demons are sometimes included into biblical interpretation. In the
story of Passover, the Bible tells the story as "the Lord struck down
all the firstborn in Egypt" (Exodus 12:21–29). In the Book of
Jubilees, which is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian Orthodox
Church, this same event is told slightly differently: "All the
powers of [the demon]
Mastema had been let loose to slay all the
first-born in the land of Egypt...And the powers of the Lord did
everything according as the Lord commanded them" (
Genesis flood narrative
Genesis flood narrative the author explains how God was
noticing "how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on
earth had corrupted their ways" (Genesis 6:12). In
Jubilees the sins
of man are attributed to "the unclean demons [who] began to lead
astray the children of the sons of Noah, and to make to err and
destroy them" (
Jubilees 10:1). In
Mastema questions the
loyalty of Abraham and tells God to "bid him offer him as a burnt
offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command"
Jubilees 17:16). The discrepancy between the story in
the story in Genesis 22 exists with the presence of Mastema. In
Genesis, God tests the will of Abraham merely to determine whether he
is a true follower, however; in
Mastema has an agenda behind
promoting the sacrifice of Abraham's son, "an even more demonic act
than that of the
Satan in Job." In Jubilees, where Mastema, an
angel tasked with the tempting of mortals into sin and iniquity,
requests that God give him a tenth of the spirits of the children of
the watchers, demons, in order to aid the process. These demons
are passed into Mastema’s authority, where once again, an angel is
in charge of demonic spirits.
Demon Seated by
Mikhail Vrubel (1890), an illustration to the Russian
romantic poem demon by Mikhail Lermontov. Vrubel views this demon as
"a spirit, not so much evil as suffering and sorrowing, but in all
that a powerful spirit... a majestic spirit".
The sources of demonic influence were thought to originate from the
Watchers or Nephilim, who are first mentioned in Genesis 6 and are the
focus of 1 Enoch Chapters 1–16, and also in
Jubilees 10. The
Nephilim were seen as the source of the sin and evil on earth because
they are referenced in Genesis 6:4 before the story of the Flood.
In Genesis 6:5, God sees evil in the hearts of men. The passage
states, "the wickedness of humankind on earth was great", and that
"Every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only
continually evil" (Genesis 5). The mention of the
Nephilim in the
preceding sentence connects the spread of evil to the Nephilim. Enoch
is a very similar story to Genesis 6:4–5, and provides further
description of the story connecting the
Nephilim to the corruption of
humans. In Enoch, sin originates when angels descend from heaven and
fornicate with women, birthing giants as tall as 300 cubits. The
giants and the angels' departure of Heaven and mating with human women
are also seen as the source of sorrow and sadness on Earth. The book
of Enoch shows that these fallen angels can lead humans to sin through
direct interaction or through providing forbidden knowledge. In Enoch,
Semyaz leads the angels to mate with women. Angels mating with humans
is against God's commands and is a cursed action, resulting in the
wrath of God coming upon Earth. Azazel indirectly influences humans to
sin by teaching them divine knowledge not meant for humans. Asael
brings down the "stolen mysteries" (Enoch 16:3). Asael gives the
humans weapons, which they use to kill each other. Humans are also
taught other sinful actions such as beautification techniques,
alchemy, astrology and how to make medicine (considered forbidden
knowledge at the time). Demons originate from the evil spirits of the
giants that are cursed by God to wander the earth. These spirits are
stated in Enoch to "corrupt, fall, be excited, and fall upon the
earth, and cause sorrow" (Enoch 15:11).
The Book of
Jubilees conveys that sin occurs when Cainan accidentally
transcribes astrological knowledge used by the Watchers (
This differs from Enoch in that it does not place blame on the Angels.
Jubilees 10:4 the evil spirits of the Watchers are
discussed as evil and still remain on earth to corrupt the humans. God
binds only 90 percent of the Watchers and destroys them, leaving 10
percent to be ruled by Mastema. Because the evil in humans is great,
only 10 percent would be needed to corrupt and lead humans astray.
These spirits of the giants also referred to as "the bastards" in the
Apotropaic prayer Songs of the Sage, which lists the names of demons
the narrator hopes to expel.
Exorcism in Christianity,
Exorcism in the Catholic Church, and Demonic possession
Death and the Miser
Death and the Miser (detail), a
Hieronymus Bosch painting, National
Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
In Christianity, demons are corrupted spirits carrying the execution
of Satan's desires. They are generally regarded as three different
types of spirits:
Souls of the wicked deceased, which roam the earth to torment the
Nephilim, who came into being by union between angels and human, but
their bodily part were wiped out during the Great flood. Their
spiritual part now desires reembodiment.
Fallen angels, who sided with
Lucifer and were cast out of heaven by
Michael after battle.
Often deities of other religions are interpreted or identified as such
"demons" (from the
Greek Old Testament
Greek Old Testament δαιμόνιον
daimonion). The evolution of the
Christian Devil and pentagram are
examples of early rituals and images that showcase evil qualities, as
seen by the
Since Early Christianity, demonology has developed from a simple
acceptance of demons to a complex study that has grown from the
original ideas taken from Jewish demonology and Christian
Christian demonology is studied in depth within the
Roman Catholic Church, although many other
affirm and discuss the existence of demons.
Building upon the few references to daemons in the New Testament,
especially the poetry of the Book of Revelation,
Christian writers of
apocrypha from the 2nd century onwards created a more complicated
tapestry of beliefs about "demons" that was largely independent of
St. Anthony plagued by demons, engraving by
Martin Schongauer in the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that
angels and demons are real beings rather than just symbolic devices.
The Catholic Church has a cadre of officially sanctioned exorcists
which perform many exorcisms each year. The exorcists of the Catholic
Church teach that demons attack humans continually but that afflicted
persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal
rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those
they designate, or by prayers of deliverance, which any
offer for themselves or others.
At various times in
Christian history, attempts have been made to
classify demons according to various proposed demonic hierarchies.
In the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of Mark,
Jesus cast out many
demons from those afflicted with various ailments. He also lent this
power to some of his disciples (Luke 10:17).
Apuleius, by Augustine of Hippo, is ambiguous as to whether daemons
had become "demonized" by the early 5th century:
He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek
eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons,
confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.
Main article: Shaitan
Demons depicted in the Book of Wonders, a late 14th century Arabic
The Islamic term "Shaitan" or "Shayateen" refers to demons in western
usage. The term is sometimes also translated as "devils" or
"satans" and can also apply to sapient creatures when they act in
accordance with the demons. Thus
Islam includes demons among humans
Jinn ("Shayateen al-Ins" and "Shayateen al-Jinn"), but
demons make up a type of supernatural creature distinct from
angels. Demons themselves can be classified into descendants of
Iblis, fallen angels who sided with Iblis' rebellion against the
creation of humanity, and the Afarit, an infernal demon able to
take the form of a death spirit. Unlike Jinn, demons do not share
human traits, like raising families, free-will, and mortality,
although prayers are held to dissolve or banish them. Therefore,
amulets or talismans, engraved with the names of God or a prayer, are
common in folk Islam, to provide protection against demons.
Whisperings of demons are called waswās and may enter the hearts of
humans, especially in states of strong emotion like depression or
Hindu beliefs include numerous varieties of spirits that might be
classified as demons, including Vetalas, Bhutas and Pishachas.
Asuras are often also taken as demons.
The Army of Super Creatures – from The Saugandhika Parinaya
Manuscript (1821 CE)
Originally, Asura, in the earliest hymns of the Rig Veda, meant any
supernatural spirit, either good or bad. Since the /s/ of the Indic
linguistic branch is cognate with the /h/ of the Early Iranian
languages, the word Asura, representing a category of celestial
beings, became the word Ahura (Mazda), the Supreme God of the
monotheistic Zoroastrians. Ancient Hinduism tells that Devas (also
called suras) and
Asuras are half-brothers, sons of the same father
Kashyapa; although some of the Devas, such as Varuna, are also called
Asuras. Later, during
Rakshasa came to
exclusively mean any of a race of anthropomorphic, powerful, possibly
evil beings. Daitya (lit. sons of the mother "Diti"),
from "harm to be guarded against"), and
Asura are incorrectly
translated into English as "demon".
Post Vedic, Hindu scriptures, pious, highly enlightened Asuras, such
Prahlada and Vibhishana, are not uncommon. The
Asura are not
fundamentally against the gods, nor do they tempt humans to fall. Many
people metaphorically interpret the
Asura as manifestations of the
ignoble passions in the human mind and as a symbolic devices. There
were also cases of power-hungry
Asuras challenging various aspects of
the Gods, but only to be defeated eventually and seek
Surapadman and Narakasura.
Hinduism advocates the reincarnation and transmigration of souls
according to one's karma. Souls (Atman) of the dead are adjudged by
Yama and are accorded various purging punishments before being
reborn. Humans that have committed extraordinary wrongs are condemned
to roam as lonely, often evil, spirits for a length of time before
being reborn. Many kinds of such spirits (Vetalas, Pishachas, Bhūta)
are recognized in the later Hindu texts. These beings, in a limited
sense, can be called demons.
In the Bahá'í Faith, demons are not regarded as independent evil
spirits as they are in some faiths. Rather, evil spirits described in
various faiths' traditions, such as Satan, fallen angels, demons and
jinns, are metaphors for the base character traits a human being may
acquire and manifest when he turns away from God and follows his lower
nature. Belief in the existence of ghosts and earthbound spirits is
rejected and considered to be the product of superstition.
While some people fear demons, or attempt to exorcise them, others
willfully attempt to summon them for knowledge, assistance, or power.
The ceremonial magician usually consults a grimoire, which gives the
names and abilities of demons as well as detailed instructions for
conjuring and controlling them. Grimoires are not limited to demons
– some give the names of angels or spirits which can be called, a
process called theurgy. The use of ceremonial magic to call demons is
also known as goetia, the name taken from a section in the famous
grimoire known as the Lesser Key of Solomon.
According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, "Demons are not courted or
worshipped in contemporary
Wicca and Paganism. The existence of
negative energies is acknowledged."
The classic Japanese demon, an ogre-like creature which often has
Wilhelm Wundt remarked that "among the activities
attributed by myths all over the world to demons, the harmful
predominate, so that in popular belief bad demons are clearly older
than good ones."
Sigmund Freud developed this idea and claimed
that the concept of demons was derived from the important relation of
the living to the dead: "The fact that demons are always regarded as
the spirits of those who have died recently shows better than anything
the influence of mourning on the origin of the belief in demons."
M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist, wrote two books on the
subject, People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil and
Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of
Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption. Peck describes in some
detail several cases involving his patients. In People of the Lie he
provides identifying characteristics of an evil person, whom he
classified as having a character disorder. In Glimpses of the Devil
Peck goes into significant detail describing how he became interested
in exorcism in order to debunk the myth of possession by evil spirits
– only to be convinced otherwise after encountering two cases which
did not fit into any category known to psychology or psychiatry. Peck
came to the conclusion that possession was a rare phenomenon related
to evil and that possessed people are not actually evil; rather, they
are doing battle with the forces of evil.
Although Peck's earlier work was met with widespread popular
acceptance, his work on the topics of evil and possession has
generated significant debate and derision. Much was made of his
association with (and admiration for) the controversial Malachi
Roman Catholic priest and a former Jesuit, despite the fact
that Peck consistently called Martin a liar and a manipulator.
Richard Woods, a
Roman Catholic priest and theologian, has claimed
that Dr. Peck misdiagnosed patients based upon a lack of knowledge
regarding dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple
personality disorder) and had apparently transgressed the boundaries
of professional ethics by attempting to persuade his patients into
accepting Christianity. Father Woods admitted that he has never
witnessed a genuine case of demonic possession in all his
According to S. N. Chiu, God is shown sending a demon against Saul in
1 Samuel 16 and 18 in order to punish him for the failure to follow
God's instructions, showing God as having the power to use demons for
his own purposes, putting the demon under his divine authority.
According to the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, demons, despite
being typically associated with evil, are often shown to be under
divine control, and not acting of their own devices.
Classification of demons
Daemon (classical mythology)
List of theological demons
List of fictional demons
Holy water#Protection against evil
^ S. T. Joshi Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of
Our Worst Nightmares, Band Greenwood Publishing Group 2007
ISBN 978-0-313-33781-9 page 34
^ See, for example, the course synopsis and bibliography for "Magic,
Science, Religion: The Development of the Western Esoteric Traditions"
Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., at Central
European University, Budapest
^ "Demon". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica.
Retrieved 12 April 2012.
^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. "δαιμόνιον".
Greek-English Lexicon. Perseus.
^ Fox, Robin Lane (1989). Pagans and Christians. p. 137.
^ See the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia.
^ Boyce, 1987; Black and Rowley, 1987; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1988.
^ a b c d e Hirsch, Emil G.; Gottheil, Richard; Kohler, Kaufmann;
Broydé, Isaac (1906). "Demonology". Jewish Encyclopedia.
^ See Delitzsch, Assyrisches Handwörterbuch. pp. 60, 253, 261, 646;
Jensen, Assyr.-Babyl. Mythen und Epen, 1900, p. 453; Archibald Sayce,
l.c. pp. 441, 450, 463; Lenormant, l.c. pp. 48–51.
^ compare Isaiah 38:11 with Job 14:13; Psalms 16:10, 49:16, and 139:8
^ Isaacs, Ronald H. (1998). Ascending Jacob's Ladder: Jewish Views of
Angels, Demons, and Evil Spirits. Jason Aronson. p. 96.
ISBN 978-0-7657-5965-8. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
^ Bellum Judaeorum vii. 6, § 3
^ "Antiquities" viii. 2, § 5
^ a b "Demons & Demonology". jewishvirtuallibrary.org. The Gale
Group. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
^ Bar-Hayim, David. "Do Jews Believe in Demons and Evil
Spirits?-Interview with Rabbi David Bar-Hayim". www.youtube.com. Tora
Nation Machon Shilo. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
^ Plaut, W. Gunther (2005). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Union for
Reform Judaism. p. 1403.
^ a b Bar-Hayim, David (HaRav). "Do Jews Believe in Demons and Evil
Spirits?". Machon Shilo. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
^ Pettigrove, Cedrick (2017-01-16). The Esoteric Codex: Supernatural
Legends. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781329053090.
^ (Targ. Yer. to Deuteronomy xxxii. 24 and Numbers vi. 24; Targ. to
Cant. iii. 8, iv. 6; Eccl. ii. 5; Ps. xci. 5, 6.)
^ Targ. to Eccl. i. 13; Pes. 110a; Yer. Shek. 49b
^ Pes. 112b; compare B. Ḳ. 21a
^ García, Martínez Florentino. The
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The
Qumran Texts in English. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994. Print.
^ Florentino Martinez Garcia, Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The
Metamorphosis of Magic: From
Late Antiquity to the Early Modern
Period, compilers Jan Bremmer and Jan R. Veenstra (Leuven: Peeters,
^ Frey, J. (1984). "Different patterns of dualistic thought in the
Qumran library". Legal Texts And Legal Issues. p. 287.
^ Nickelsburg, George. Jewish
Literature between the Bible and the
^ Frey (1984), p. 278.
^ Nickelsburg, p. 147.
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls 1QS III 20–25
^ Martin, Dale Basil (2010). "When did Angels Become Demons?". Journal
of Biblical Literature. 129 (4): 657–677. doi:10.2307/25765960.
^ "Hebrew Concordance: ū·śə·'î·rîm – 1 Occurrence".
Biblesuite.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
^ "1140. daimonion". Biblos.com. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
^ Dan Burton and David Grandy, Magic, Mystery, and Science: The Occult
in Western Civilization (Indiana University Press, 2003), p. 120
^ Illes, Judika (2009). Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to
the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses.
HarperCollins. p. 902.
^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield.
1985. It is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman
Eastern Orthodox Churches
^ Moshe Berstein, Angels at the Aqedah: A Study in the Development of
a Midrashic Motif, (Dead Sea Discoveries, 7, 2000), 267.
^ Sara Elizabeth Hecker. Dueling Demons: Mikhail Vrubel’s Demon
Demon Downcast Archived 2015-06-15 at the Wayback Machine..
Art in Russia, the School of Russian and Asian Studies, 2012
^ Hanneken Henoch, T. R. (2006). ANGELS AND DEMONS IN THE BOOK OF
JUBILEES AND CONTEMPORARY APOCALYPSES. pp. 11–25.
^ VanderKam, James C. (1999). THE ANGEL STORY IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES
IN: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives : The
Pseudepigrapha In Light Of The Dead Sea Scrolls.
^ Vermes, Geza (2011). The complete Dead Sea scrolls in English.
London: Penguin. p. 375.
^ Victor I. Ezigbo Re-imagining African Christologies: Conversing with
the Interpretations and Appropriations of
Jesus in Contemporary
Christianity Wipf and Stock Publishers 2010
ISBN 978-1-630-87803-0 page 235
^ Juanita Feros Ruys Demons in the Middle Ages ISD LLC 2017
^ Maijastina Kahlos Debate and Dialogue:
Christian and Pagan Cultures
C. 360-430 Routledge 2016 ISBN 978-1-317-15436-5 page 174
^ van der Toorn, Becking, van der Horst (1999), Dictionary of Deities
and Demons in The Bible, Second Extensively Revised Edition, Entry:
Demon, pp. 235–240, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,
^ Orlov, Andrei A. (2015). Divine Scapegoats : Demonic Mimesis in
Early Jewish Mysticism. New York: SUNY Press. p. 4.
^ Exorcism, Sancta Missa – Rituale Romanum, 1962, at
sanctamissa.org, Copyright 2007. Canons Regular of St. John Cantius
^ Hansen, Chadwick (1970), Witchcraft at Salem, p. 132, Signet
Classics, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 69-15825
^ Modica, Terry Ann (1996), Overcoming The Power of The Occult, p. 31,
Faith Publishing Company, ISBN 1-880033-24-0
^ Corapi, John (February 9, 2004). "Angels and Demons – Facts not
Fiction". fathercorapi.com. Archived from the original on
^ Augustine of Hippo. "Chapter 11: Of the Opinion of the Platonists,
that the Souls of Men Become Demons When Disembodied". City of
^ Charles Mathewes Understanding Religious Ethics John Wiley &
Sons ISBN 978-1-405-13351-7. p. 249
^ Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn
Syracuse University Press 2009 ISBN 9780815650706 page 18
^ Robert Lebling Legends of the Fire Spirits:
Jinn and Genies from
Arabia to Zanzibar I.B.Tauris 2010 ISBN 978-0-857-73063-3 page
^ el-Sayed El-Aswad
Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the
Visible and Invisible in Rural Egypt Greenwood Publishing Group 2002
ISBN 978-0-897-89924-6. p. 153
^ Hajjah Amina Adil Muhammad the Messenger of Islam: His Life &
Prophecy BookBaby 2012 ISBN 978-1-618-42913-1 chapter Ezra
^ ʻUmar Sulaymān AshqarThe World of the
Jinn and Devils Islamic
Books 1998 page 203
^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. p. 112.
^ A. E. Waite, The Book of Black Magic, (Weiser Books, 2004).
^ Guiley, Rosemary (2008). The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and
Wicca. p. 95.
^ Freud (1950, p. 65), quoting Wundt (1906, 129).
^ Freud (1950)
^ Peck, M. S. (1983). People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human
^ Peck, M. S. (2005). Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal
Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.
^ The exorcist, an interview with
M. Scott Peck by Rebecca Traister
published in Salon Archived 2005-12-19 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b The devil you know, National Catholic Reporter, April 29, 2005,
a commentary on Glimpses of the Devil by Richard Woods
^ The Patient Is the Exorcist, an interview with
M. Scott Peck by
^ Dominican Newsroom Archived August 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "RichardWoodsOP.net". RichardWoodsOP.net. Archived from the original
on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
^ Haarman, Susan (2005-10-25). "BustedHalo.com". BustedHalo.com.
^ Chiu, S. N. (2000). "Historical, Religious, and Medical Perspectives
of Possession Phenomenon". Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry. 10
^ "Demon" in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,
Freud, Sigmund (1950). Totem and Taboo:Some Points of Agreement
between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. Translated by
Strachey. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Wundt, W. (1906). Mythus und Religion, Teil II (Völkerpsychologie,
Band II). Leipzig.
Castaneda, Carlos (1998). The Active Side of Infinity. HarperCollins
NY ISBN 978-0-06-019220-4
Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). Dictionary of Islam. Asian Educational
Services. ISBN 978-8-120-60672-2.
Oppenheimer, Paul (1996). Evil and the Demonic: A New Theory of
Monstrous Behavior. New York: New York University Press.
Baglio, Matt (2009). The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist.
Doubleday Religion. ISBN 0-385-52270-3.
Amorth, Gabriele (1999). An Exorcist Tells His Story. Ignatius Press.
Look up δαίμων in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up demon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Demons.
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Hyperlinked references to demons in
the online Catechism of the Catholic Church
Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Demonology
Profile of William Bradshaw, American demonologist Riverfront Times,
St. Louis, Missouri,