Demonology, a supposititious science which treats of demons (Gr. , a name given by the ancients to a class of beings supposed to hold a middle place between men and the celestial deities. Demonology plays a prominent part in the oldest religions of the East, and it was an element in the original worship of the primitive inhabitants prior to the Aryan migration. More ancient in India than the Vedas, it has maintained itself there, either secretly or by public sanction, alike in Brah-minism, Buddhism, and Islamism. Its fullest and most systematic development is found in Buddhism, which reckons six classes of beings in the universe, two only of which, gods and men, are accounted good; the other four (the Asuras, irrational animals, Pretas or goblins, and the denizens of hell) being esteemed evil. The Asuras are the most powerful of the wicked spirits, and are in constant warfare with the gods (Devas). They dwell beneath the three-pronged root of the world-mountain, occupying the nadir, while their great enemy Indra, the highest Buddhist god, sits upon the pinnacle of the mountain in the zenith.
The Meru, which stands between the earth and the heavens, around which the heavenly bodies revolve, is the battle field of the Asuras and the Devas. The three lower divisions of the Meru are held by various races of demons, the fourth being the lowest heaven, and occupied by the four Maharajahs, who are appointed to be kings of the demons. Around the Asuras cluster numerous associated groups, as the Rakshasas, probably of Aryan origin, appearing sometimes as gigantic opponents of the gods, sometimes as terrible ogres with bloody tongues and long tusks, eager to devour human flesh and blood, and lurking in fields and forests; the Jakshas, Nagas, Mahoragas, etc. According to their nature and office, the different species of demons dwell in the air, the water, the earth, in holes and clefts, in the lower portions of the Meru, with the gods whose servants they are, or on the golden mountains which enclose the inland seas in the Buddhistic system of worlds. - Among the Persians the Indian terminology is transposed, the great Asura representing the good creating principle, and the devs being the evil spirits. As completed by Zoroaster, the Persian system made the principle and personifications of evil nearly an equal balance and eternal, parallel with the good principle and its personifications.
Ormuzd created six resplendent angels of love and holiness, called Amshaspands, himself being the seventh and highest; Ahri-man then created the six archdevs, to oppose the Amshaspands. Ormuzd created 28 Izeds, or beneficent spirits, who presided over the heavenly bodies, and showered good gifts upon men; but Ahriman made the 28 devs to cause all manner of turmoil and distress. The most powerful and pernicious of the devs was the two-forked Ashmogh. The next series of Ormuzd's creations was an infinite number of Fervers, spirits representing the archetypes of all things, and which became the guardian angels of men, animals, and plants. Ahriman made an equal number of corresponding evil spirits, so that every man and thing has its attendant bad as well as good genius. To arrest the progress of evil, Ormuzd made an egg filled with spirits of light, but Ahriman made an egg which contained an equal force of spirits of darkness, and then broke both together, so that good and evil were only the more confounded. Ormuzd created the material world, but could not exclude Ahriman and his ministers from its deep opaque elements. Ormuzd created a bull, the symbol of life, which Ahriman slew.
From its blood grew the original plants and animals, to harass and destroy which Ahriman made wolves, tigers, serpents, and venomous insects. From its bleached elementary particles grew the ribas tree, into the stems of which Ormuzd infused the breath of life, and they became the first man and the first woman; but every human being is tempted through his whole career by Ahriman and his devs, which slip into the body and produce all diseases, and into the mind and produce all malice. It is declared that ultimately Ahriman shall be overpowered, driven through torrents of melted lead, purified, and forgiven, and Ormuzd shall reign supreme. - In the ancient Egyptian religion, Typhon (or Set) was the manifestation of the abstract idea of evil, as Osiris was of good. It is abundantly illustrated in the early sculptures that they were regarded as brothers, as parts of the same divine system, and both worshipped as gods. Their names are sometimes interchanged, as if synonymous, in the titles of the older kings; and Typhon is represented in attendance with other gods pouring from a vase the symbols of life and power over the newly crowned king.
At a later period evil was resolved into sin; Typhon was confounded with the snake-giant Apophis, the enemy of gods and men, and no longer received divine honors. His name and square-eared figure were effaced; he ceased to be esteemed a necessary antagonistic companion to Osiris, and came to be regarded as acting in opposition from his own free will, and he was expelled from the Egyptian pantheon. - Demons first appear distinctly in the religious world of the Greeks in the "Works and Days" of Hesiod. In Homer they are not distinguished from the gods, and the name is applied to the Olympian divinities. The Homeric personages most nearly corresponding to the oriental and mediaeval demons are the Titans, the representatives of force acting against the divine government. Ate is the power that tempts and misleads men. She may even tempt deity also, for she beguiled Zeus himself when Hercules was about to be born (Iliad, xix. 95). Hesiod makes the demons generically different from the gods, yet essentially good. According to him, they were the long departed golden race of men, who after death had become guardian terrestrial demons, watching unseen over the conduct of mankind, with the privilege, granted by Zeus, of dispensing wealth and taking account of good and bad deeds.
The Hesiodic creed received an important modification from the later philosophers. The demon of Socrates resembles the guardian angels in Christian conception, and the familiar spirits of mediaeval magicians. Empedocles first introduced the distinction of beneficent and maleficent demons, with every grade of each; and he was followed by Xenocrates, Plato, Chrysippus, and Plutarch. - The angelology of the Jews assumed shape only after the Babylonish captivity, when it became tinged with Zoroastrian notions, and at a later period it was still further corrupted by popular superstitions. With the mingling of Jewish and Hellenic ideas in the first Christian centuries, and with the speculations especially of the Alexandrian philosophers, began the manifold developments in the doctrine of demons by the cabalists and other students of the black art, which were increased by the introduction of foreign elements from the Scandinavian mythology, from the Saracens of Spain, and from the Orient through the returning crusaders. These formed the complicated and fantastic systems that in the middle ages were important elements alike in popular belief, poetry, and magic. According to Tal-mudical stories, Adam had a wife called Lilith before he married Eve, and of her he begat nothing but devils.
This Lilith or Lillis figures in the middle ages as a famous witch, and is introduced by Goethe in the Walpurgis night scene in "Faust." The cabalists made Adam the natural king of the world of spirits prior to his fall, and described Solomon as a most accomplished magician. They peopled the fire, air, earth, and water with salamanders, sylphs, gnomes, and undines, to one of which classes all evil spiritual agencies belong. Other writers made nine kinds of demons. The first rank consists of the false gods of the gentiles, whose prince is Beelzebub; the second, of liars and equivocators, as the Pythian Apollo; the third, of inventors of mischief and vessels of anger, whose prince is Belial; the fourth, of malicious revenging devils, whose prince is Asmodeus; the fifth, of cozeners, as magicians and witches, whose prince is Satan; the sixth, of those aerial devils spoken of in the Apocalypse who corrupt the air and cause plagues, thunders, and fires, and whose prince is Meresin; the seventh is a destroyer, causing wars, tumults, combustions, uproars, who is mentioned in the Apocalypse, and called Abaddon; the eighth is the accusing, calumniating devil, called Diabolus, that drives men to despair; the ninth embraces tempters of several sorts, whose prince is Mammon. Wierus, a celebrated demonographer of the 16th century, in his Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, following old authorities, establishes a complete infernal court, of which the following is an outline: Beelzebub, supreme chief of the infernal empire, founder of the order of the fly; Satan, leader of the opposition; Eurynomus, prince of death, and grand cross of the order of the fly; Moloch, prince of the realm of tears, grand cross of the order; Pluto, prince of fire; Leonard, grand master of the sabbats, knight of the fly; Baalberith, master of alliances; Proserpine, archdevil, sovereign princess of malignant spirits; Nergal, chief of the privy police; Baal, commander-in-chief of the infernal armies, grand cross of the order; Leviathan, lord admiral, knight of the fly; Belphegor, ambassador in France; Mammon, ambassador in England; Belial, ambassador in Turkey; Rimmon, ambassador in Russia; Thamuz, ambassador in Spain; Hutgin, ambassador in Italy; Martinet, ambassador in Switzerland; Lucifer, highest officer of justice; Alastor, executive officer in great undertakings; Msroch, chief cook; Behemoth, chief cupbearer; Dagon, chief pantler; Mullin, chief valet de chambre; Kobal, director of spectacles and amusements; Asmodeus, superintendent of gambling houses; Nybas, master of pageants; Antichrist, conjurer and necromancer.
According to Paracelsus, the air is not so full of flies in summer as it is at all times of invisible devils. Demons and sorcerers celebrate their nocturnal orgies in an assembly called the sab-bat, which was first convened, say some cab-alists, by the great Orpheus. Sorcerers or witches bear a mark upon their bodies imprinted by the devil, which by a certain inward sensation gives notice of the hour of gathering; or in a case of urgency, a sheep is made to appear in the sky in a cloud, which is seen only by the ministers of Satan. Ordinarily it is necessary either to sleep or to close one eye before proceeding, and sorcerers always fly to the sabbat through the air on staves or broomsticks, or on the backs of subaltern demons, and are often transformed into goats, cats, or other animals. They usually issue from their houses through the chimney. The demon Leonard, in the favorite form of a three-horned goat with a black human countenance, presides at the sabbat, and every guest does homage to him. Stolen children are brought to him, and swear through their godparents to renounce God, the Holy Virgin, and the saints, and are marked by one of his horns with a sign which they bear during their novitiate.
Singing, dancing, and feasting are continued till the first crowing of the cock, when the assembly suddenly disperses. Demons also retreat from the sound of bells. Angels and demons have been said to be incorporeal as compared with mankind, but corporeal as compared with God. It is remarkable that the Europeans more frequently represent demons as black, but the negroes of Africa suppose them to be white. Bodin makes them and also the souls of departed men not only corporeal, but round like the sun and moon, because that is the most perfect form; yet they can assume any shape at their pleasure, traverse miles in an instant, transform the bodies of others, and remove them from place to place; the most powerful magicians, too, as Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Pasetes, Iamblichus, and Odo de Stellis, can force them to deceive all the senses, build castles in the air, represent armies and prodigies, command treasures, reveal secrets, and perform many other wonders. - Sorcery, or black magic, is the art of invoking the infernal powers in order to obtain supernatural knowledge, or the power of performing supernatural things.
Cardan relates that his father, after the accustomed solemnities, conjured up, Aug. 13,1491, seven devils in Greek apparel, about 40 years of age, some of ruddy and some of pale complexion, who boasted their superiority to men, and affirmed that their average life was 700 or 800 years. Eric, king of Sweden, is recorded to have had an enchanted cap, by virtue of which and some magical words he could command spirits to trouble the air, make the wind blow which way he would, and raise tempests. There are witches in Sweden and Norway who make a business of selling favorable winds to' sailors. The most mighty cabalistic word is agla, which being uttered toward the east will either drive away malignant spirits or produce marvellous revelations. In Webster's "Witchcraft" an account is given of a child who, having heard some fearful spell muttered, caught the words, and afterward repeated them till such tempests and thunderings were produced that a whole village was burned by the lightning. Jacob Boehm declared that he could not without peril to his soul disclose the original name of Lucifer, so tremendous would be its influence.
The devil usually appears uncalled to persons in distress, and avails himself of the temptation of the moment to conclude a pact by which he extricates them, and serves them for a specified number of years, after which he shall own their souls. The compact must be written in blood. To invoke a demon, it is necessary, for safety, that the person first enclose himself in a magic circle drawn with charcoal and blessed water, which no evil spirit can cross. The formulas of conjuration being then repeated, the demons first appear with frightful bowlings, vomiting fire and fumes of brimstone all about the circle. The conjurer must not exhibit a tremor if he would keep his ascendancy, but must firmly pronounce all the forms of constriction, till at length he reduces them to the human form and to gentle countenance and behavior. The conjuration must be in different words for different demons, times, and purposes, and if rightly performed no demon can resist it. Paracelsus was believed to carry a demon in the hilt of his sword, which the alchemists, however, maintained to be the philosopher's stone, and no demon; and the magicians of Salamanca and Toledo imprisoned demons in rings, phials, boxes, and caskets.
Solomon is reputed to have had a signet ring with the hidden name of God engraved upon it, which gave him command of the spirits, and transported him every day at noon into the firmament, where he heard the secrets of the universe. Cardan affirms that no man was ever great in any art or action who did not have one of these demons to aid him. If a demon has entered into a person and " possessed " him, he can be expelled by means of exorcism. Exorcists were recognized by the council of Antioch (341) as a special ecclesiastical order, and in the Latin church are still one of the four minor orders of the clergy. Holy words, as the names of God, Christ, and the saints, holy water, the sign of the cross, the recitation of psalms, litanies, prayers, and adjurations, are used to expel the evil spirits who by divine permission, it is believed, not only tempt the soul, but sometimes also possess the body. At the time of the reformation, the power of casting out devils was claimed, like the power of working miracles, as one of the tests of the Catholic church, and the Jesuits denied that heretical teachers had ever exhibited such power.
There was also a popular belief in charms and talismans. - To attribute certain nervous maladies and mysterious diseases to demoniacal agency has been as universal as the belief in demons. The phenomenon of preternatural and involuntary activity is often presented, followed by a cataleptic or trance-like state. The mania is often contagious, constraining the beholder, by a sort of fascination, to become an actor. At the commencement of our era this belief was general throughout the known world, and was recognized in the Gospels, where Christ is represented as casting out demons. Avicenna first designates as ly-canthropia the madness of men who lie hid by day, and howl about graves and deserts in the night, and will not be persuaded that they are not wolves. This hallucination spread through the whole of central and southern Europe. Voltaire relates that in the district of the Jura, between 1598 and 1G00, more than 600 lycanthropes were put to death by a single judge. Amid the festivities of midsummer day at Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1374, a largo troop of men and women from the adjacent country rushed into the city, and in the public squares and churches danced in circles with the utmost violence for hours together, apparently unconscious of the presence of spectators, till at last they sank to the ground exhausted, groaning fearfully.
In this state they professed to see visions of good and evil spirits, whose names they shouted out. Incredulous spectators, who came to witness the phenomenon, were themselves seized with an irresistible impulse, and danced and became ecstatic in their turn. The epidemic spread in a few months through the Netherlands and the Rhenish provinces, and exorcism was powerless. The dances were performed in honor of St. John, and were designated accordingly (chorea Sancti Johannis). The authorities of the Rhenish provinces having decided to banish every person who was attacked, the disease soon subsided. It reappeared at Stras-burg in 1418, and the afflicted, according to Paracelsus, could do nothing but dance until they were dead or cured. Sufferers entitled this malady St. Vitus's dance (chorea Sancti Viti), and were accustomed to appeal to that saint for healing. The disease continued in Germany, and Paracelsus boasts of the number he had cured. About the middle of the 15th century a rumor spread through the Pays de Vaud that the environs of Bern and Lausanne were filled with sorcerers and cannibals. Persons being arrested and tortured confessed that they were possessed by devils, and great numbers of them were executed.
In 1549 many of the inhabitants of Artois were charged with sorcery, and confessed not only the murder and bewitching of infants and adults, but also participation in the orgies of the sabbat and association with the horrible incubi and suc-cubL In spite of tortures and burnings, the epidemic of bewitchment spread before the close of the century through Mentz, Treves, Ravensburg, Constance, and Salzburg. In 1491 the nuns of Cambrai were seized with demonomania, and for four years ran like dogs across the country, sprang into the air like birds, climbed trees like cats, hung on the branches, imitated the cries of animals, and divined hidden things. At last the exorcists forced the devil to confess himself the cause of these things. The schools, convents, and nunneries were long favorite localities of the malady, which in these assumed its most hysterical forms. (See Witchcraft.) - Among the best treatises on the subject are: Horst, Damonomagie (Frankfort, 1817); Ukert, Ueber Ddmonen, Heroen und Genien (Leipsic, 1850); Bodin, Demonomanie (Paris, 1579); Colin de PlancV, Dictionnaire infernal (3d ed., Paris, 1844)"; Sir Walter Scott, "Letters on Demonol-ogy and Witchcraft" (1830); Catharine Crowe, "The Nightside of Nature" (London, 1848); Henry Christinas, "The Phantom World" (London, 1850); "The Occult Sciences" (London, 1855); and Michelet, La sorciere (Brussels, 18G2).