In honor of the anthology, Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness, that my short story, "Let Demon Dogs Lie" is included with 20 other stories, I wanted to touch on demonic entities for today's Supernatural Friday.
What makes a demon, and are they in all the world's myths and legends, or just the Christian Bible? Every culture in the world has some sort of demon belief. Of course, the most widely known are concerned with the Judaic, Christian, and Catholic sources. Gemon is also called diamon and daemon (from Ancient Greek).
Hard to really pinpoint the first demon tale, but a good place would be the Persian and Assyrian empires. In the ancient past, demons had both capacity for both doing evil and good. The word "demon" meant 'celestial body,' maybe coming possibly from Indo-European sources. Also in all religions and cultures, demons are likely more than half animal, besides grotesque in appearance.
Devil and demon were confusing in their meaning in Orthodox traditions. A devil usually fought a divine authority for control of existence. Such scenarios had the "end of time" where good vanquishes evil.
Demons are like angels and under control of the Devil--unclean spirits. Malevolent, they always seek to torment humanskind with their wickedness. Demons did this by whispering wicked ideas into humans' ears, with corruption of said human as the goal. They also wandered the world as spirits to torment and frighten mortals with their forms. Last, they possess a living body, controlling the actions, with harm to the possessed in mind.
Demons in many Christian stories and legends are also summoned and controlled. Many times this is a wizard, sorcerer, witch, Satanist, and even by a normal human. And of course, the Christian Devil has horns and a tail, with a pitchfork. Though that was not aways the look he had, not until after pagans turned to Christianity in medieval Europe. No doubt, this came from the horned God and Goddess of the old religion.
Sigmund Freud developed the concept that demons were the important relation of living to the dead, revealing that demons are thought of those as those who recently passed away shows how much mourning has on the origin of belief in demons.
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