Demonology! A word strife with sinister connotations and evil mental images to the uninformed or uneducated. Images of Amityville, the Exorcist, Freddy Kruger, leathery winged horned beasts and hooded figures conducting black masses while worshiping the devil flash quickly through a persons mind, coupled with the thoughts that no sane person would endeavor to look into something so dark and foreboding. Human nature is such that we fear what we do not understand and, in many cases topics such as this are considered to be taboo to allot of cultural or religious beliefs therefore the fear presides as strong as ever and unchallenged.
Before getting into the body of the topic at hand I feel I would be remiss if I did not state to those who may be reading on this for the first time that, no, I do not worship the devil. I do not conduct black masses calling to the spirits of the underworld to do my bidding, and yes I am quite sane. I will not tell you dear reader, how to vanquish demons as this is best left to professionals, nor will I explain how to summon them. This to me, is a serious topic and is to treated with the respect it deserves. Dabbling in such things can bring about unfortunate consequences which I would not wish to impose on anyone.
Despite the fact that I am writing this article, I am by no means a subject matter expert (SME), proper study takes years, decades, and If you ask anyone who has studied diligently for such a time, even they will tell you that they are not experts. My interest into the paranormal started a number of years ago, not only out of curiosity but also in search of answers and; to perhaps lie to rest some of those fears previously mentioned. For those who are still with me despite my past disclaimers the journey for knowledge continues, with my personal thanks for joining me.
Demons and demonology have been words that have echoed throughout the ages predating 1100 BC, with the first recorded writings appearing roughly around 1170 BC. An internet search will grant you access to millions of hits containing the words, some, more tasteful than others and some definitively more credible. All, however, defining demonology in more or less the same terms: “The systematic study and classification of demons or beliefs about demons, their powers and limitations. A branch of theology” That was simple, wasn't it? With this revelation, however, comes a whole new set of questions, such as, just what is a demon? How many are there? Should I really be concerned?
What is the difference between a demon and a negative entity? and several others that will be addressed one question at a time throughout this text. Let us first start with the basics. Demons can be best described as "a superhuman being or power of an inferior sort, such as that it is not a God." This based on the Greek translation of Daimon. Vague at best. Bear in mind, though, that this branch of theology is dealing with multiple belief systems, with each having their own distinct definition and classification for each being. They all agree, however, that whatever entity, it is less than that of a God.
For example, modern Judeo-Christian belief's state that all realms are presided upon by Angels including those that have fallen. Thus the term "fallen angel". A common misconception held by many is that demons preside in a plane that we would call hell. Once again looking to several beliefs including Revelations of the Catholic Bible in which it makes it abundantly clear, that after the war in heaven, Satan and the erring Angels were cast down to earth, where they were to roam and tempt man until the end of time. No where, in any faith, does it say anything about them being locked in hell. In order to truly appreciate the scope of the subject we should take a quick look at some of the differing belief systems and narrow our frame of reference to a few, so as not to become too confusing. During the research for this article references were made to some of the following beliefs: Christian demonology; Jewish demonology; Islamic demonology; demonology in Buddhism and Hinduism; Zoroastrian demonology; Korean; African; Inuit; and Malaysian, to name but a few. No matter the belief system, however, there is a common astonishing universality to the subject.
Almost all beliefs relate to the fact that an opening or channel, an altered mental state, an act of free will intentional or unintentional is required for a demonic to enter into a human being. This is accomplished by deception, masquerading as a loved one, promises of money, fame, sex, the improper use of divination tools, black magic or ceremonies to bring acknowledgment to any particular demonic entity. Lets face it, what would you fall for easier, a cute little fuzzy bunny, or the leathery winged beast mentioned in the preface. Most texts will agree that malevolent demons will most certainly try to trick, scare or influence our thoughts or feelings, with fear being a key factor. They do not however have full reign over the human element. They are still presided over by a higher power allowing them to go only so far with their antics. A simple analogy would be to consider them as the school yard bullies.
As for appearances, here is where the cultures scatter to the four winds. Every culture will give you different physical descriptors for virtually the same entity, good or bad. Realistically, after reading a great many articles written by credible demonologist's and clergy members we can fairly say the a demonic manifestation may present itself in a couple of ways. These can be, but are not limited to, poltergeist activity, extreme anger presented by the occupants of a residence. The appearance of black smoke black fog or black mist (if coupled with a smoke alarm, is not a sign of demonic presence). Unusual behavior exhibited by the occupants of a residence suspected of demonic visitation, which may include, deification or urination throughout the home. Abnormal cursing or convulsions and foul smells. Aside from the black smoke, foul odor's and objects flying about the room the psychical indicators may be confused with a psychological disorder, which must be ruled out prior to making any assumptions (Occam's razor theory).
Do we know how many demons exist? The short answer is no. We can speculate and make educated guesses based on the entities listed throughout the various faiths, but how many are real? How many are figments of an authors creativity that has been passed down throughout time? Speculation aside, does it really matter how many there are? To me the answer is quite simple. Not really! The fact that they exist at all is enough. As for differentiating between a demonic and negative entity; based on aforementioned statements, demons will try to trick the investigator, to lull them into a false sense of security. They are not going to present themselves for what they are, at least not right away. This, coupled with the fact that demonic presence is rare at best, would to me indicate that the negative energy that presents itself in front of the investigator is that of a cranky spirit and nothing else. Does this mean to dismiss all accounts of demonic manifestations as nothing more that intelligent haunts, and to become complacent? Certainly not. But any serious paranormal investigator will tell you not to believe everything at face value.
Demonic presence, negative manifestations and hauntings, still all sounds so sinister. So what is the investigator to do? Paranormal investigations require faith, like it or not. Faith in ones self, faith in the team, and faith in whatever higher power it is that they believe in. Is faith enough to keep a paranormal investigator safe when presented with a demonic haunting? No. That's the kicker right there isn't it. This is where the common sense comes in. If the investigator knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are being presented with a demonic malevolent being, they are not the ones equipped to deal with such matters and they know it. There are people out there who do. Leave it to them.
There are some that will ask, show me proof that demon's exist. To them I say, show me proof that they do not! Hundreds of cultures, past and present, hundreds of religious belief systems and millions of people would make my closing arguments an easy one. Is this meant to empower the reader into going in search of demons in order to vanquish them from our realm to some other? Only a fool would fight a professional boxer in the ring if they did not box themselves, and only a fool would go in search of such entities. Research in this field is to understand the nature of the beast, in a matter of speaking, not to call them to being and even such research is not done without certain precautions. As previously stated, this field of study is vast and can in itself become consuming. Know this dear reader, despite the information contained within this text, we have yet to scratch the surface, however, I again thank you for joining me in my journey in attempting to cast light into the shadows.