The Mythical Demons of Hell – article

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From the earliest times, mythical demons have inhabited all superstitious faiths and religions but it was Christianity that really grasped the thorny nettle wholeheartedly, with various hellbent writers recording ever-more elaborate inhabitants of mythical Hell and going to great lengths to explain their apparent roles and where they specifically resided in satanic situ.

Thus, the Spanish Franciscan Catholic Bishop, Alphonso de Spina, recorded in 1467 that demons could be classified in the following ways:

  • Demons of fate
  • Goblins
  • Incubi and succubi
  • Wandering groups or armies of demons
  • Familiars
  • Drudes
  • Cambions and other demons that are born from the union of a demon with a human being.
  • Liar and mischievous demons
  • Demons that attack the saints
  • Demons that try to induce old women to attend Witches’ Sabbaths

Lucifer 15th century French

A hundred years later, Peter Binsfield, a German bishop, honed these vague categories and aligned them to the seven deadly sins, hence, the seven princes of Hell looked like this:

  • Lucifer: pride
  • Mammon: greed
  • Asmodeus: lust
  • Leviathan: envy
  • Beelzebub: gluttony
  • Amon or Satan: wrath
  • Belphegor: sloth

Another befuddled and mathematically keen theologist, Johannes Wierus, recounted the evidence as he saw it and proclaimed that when Lucifer fell from Heaven, he took 2400 evil angels with him; when they arrived at Hell, there were eleven princes of Hell, each commanding 6,660,000 demons each.

Hence, Hell was essentially the mirror image of Heaven, so whilst Cherubim and Arch Angels featured for the good, ‘downstairs’, Lucifer (most often agreed to be the head of all the demons) appointed many of the most evil angels to preside of different areas of the Underworld.

Dictionnaire Infernal “Infernal Dictionary”) was first published in France in 1818. Written and compiled by occultist and demonologist Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy, it was reprinted several times before its most recent incarnation in 1863 in an edition that contained 69 illustrations by surrealist-inclined artist Louis Le Breton.

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Many but not all of these images were later used in S. L. MacGregor Mathers‘s edition of The Lesser Key of Solomon. The initials “L.B.” on images below indicates they are by Louis Le Breton.

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Aamon

A Marquis of Hell who governs forty infernal legions. Said to have a little owl’s head, lion’s or wolf’s fore part of the body, including legs, and worm’s or snake’s tail. He knows all past and future events.

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Abaddon (the destroyer)

His early career as the angel sent to collect the earth which was used to create Adam, he later took up the role of angel of the bottomless pit. Chief of the human-faced, scorpion-tailed, horse-bodies demon locusts

Appearances in popular culture:

  • Abaddon (as Apollyon) appears in Act 2 of the opera “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
  • In the episode “Alice” of Star Trek: Voyager, Abaddon is the proprietor of “Abaddon’s Repository of Lost Treasures”
  • In John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, Abaddon (as Apollyon) appears as the “foul fiend” who assaulted Christian on his pilgrimage through the Valley of Humiliation. He rules over the city of Destruction, and attacks Christian when he refuses to return.

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Adramelech (king of fire)

Great minister of Beelzebub’s Order of the Fly. Adramelech became the President of the Senate of the demons. He is also the Chancellor of Hell and supervisor of Satan’s wardrobe. Being generally depicted with a human torso and head, and the rest of the body of a mule (or sometimes as a peacock).

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Agares

Described in the a duke “under the powers of the east,” an “old man, riding upon a crocodile, and carrieng a hawke on his fist,” who teaches languages, stops and retrieves runaway persons, causes earthquakes, and grants noble titles.

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Asmodeus 

Asmodeus takes charge of the casinos of Hell, specialising in all things related to greed and illicit pleasure. Sporting three heads (bull, ram and human), he leads mortals to squander their wealth of frippery and tempt them into wildly inappropriate relationships.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In the 1970 film, In Equinox, Asmodeus is the controller of various demons and spirits.

equinox-film-1970

  • Asmodeus is the villain in the 1979 comic-fantasy novel And the Devil Will Drag You Under by Jack L. Chalker.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein‘s novel Job: A Comedy of Justice, Alex and Margrethe are granted their request to spend eternity together operating a small town diner and soda-fountain which they purchased from “Mr. & Mrs. A.S. Modeus”.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game, there is a Monster Card named Darklord Asmodeus.
  • The demon Azmodan, the Lord of Sin, is one of the Lesser Evils from the Diablo series of games, most notably appearing as a major boss in Diablo III.

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  • In Demon Keeper (1993), Asmodeus is the demon unwittingly conjured up by psychic charlatan Remy Grilland (played by Edward Albert).

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Astaroth (Treasurer of Hell)

Riding around on a dragon and carrying a serpent like a staff, Astaroth is a mentor to newer demons joining the ranks

Appearances in popular culture:

  • Astaroth appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “Trials of the Demon”, voiced by Tony Todd.
  • Astaroth is the main antagonist and recurring boss character in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise
  • Astaroth has made several appearances in the comic book series Hellboy by Mike Mignola
  • Astaroth is a demon in the manga and anime Ao No Exorcist, and is a demon of rot

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Azazel

Referenced in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Azazel was one of the first angels to fall from Heaven and lists amongst his achievements, leading men to create and take-up weapons and women to apply make-up. Bit sexist.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • Azazel is the principle character in a series of short stories written by Isaac Asimov.
  • The X-Men comic books features a mutant based on the legendary demon, created by writer Chuck Austen.
  • Featured in the film In the film Fallen with Denzel Washington, as a body-switching demon.
  • In the TV series Supernatural, a demon named Azazel is the main antagonist in seasons one and two

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Baal or Bael

Baal is the demon most heavily related to idleness. Situated in Eastern Hell, he has the arms of a spider and three heads – human, cat and toad.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In the film The Rite, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) is revealed to be possessed by the demon Baal. It is alluded that this is the case throughout the film as cats and frogs are often present around Father Lucas’ home.
  • In the film Hardware, the MARK-13 robot antagonist has the letters B.A.A.L. (Bioelectronic Artificially intelligent Autoindependent Lifeform) at the beginning of its serial number.
  • In The Marvel Universe, Baal appears in the original Wolverine comic book series, issues #11-16, collectively called “The Gehenna Stone Affair.”
  • The protagonist in the video games Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 is identified as a Child of ‘Bhaal,’ a deity also known as the ‘God of Murder’.

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Baal-Berith

Patron devil of disobedience, Baal-Berith is master of several domains, being Hell’s minister of foreign affairs, chief secretary and keeper of the infernal archives. Anyone making a pact with the Devil will have it signed off by Baal-Berith. Above the surface he is known to encourage blasphemy, quarrels and even murder. He is also said to be the entity that took possession of Sister Madeleine at Aix-en-Provence and told her the names of other devils.

baalberith

Beelzebub

Chief of staff and second only to Lucifer in the rankings, even attempting coups in Hell. Presiding over the Order of the Fly, Beelzebub often takes the form of a fly and is notorious for inspiring heresy and tempting humans with sin, envy and pride. Witch trials often attempted to coerce those under suspicion to confess to worshipping Beelzebub.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In “Bohemian Rhapsody”, a song by the British rock band Queen, the opera section (3:03–4:07), depicting the narrator’s descent into hell, concludes with a full choral treatment of the lyric “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me!”.
  • Beelzebub or “The Lord of the Flies” was a demonic figure depicted as a sow’s head planted on a stick sharpened at two ends, who speaks to the Jesus figure, Simon, in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies.

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Behemoth (devil’s cupbearer)

Appearing, variously, as a crocodile, elephant, whale or a hippo, this demon, obviously, lent his name to describing anything huge. Employed as night watchman of Hell, he also serves as the Devil’s cook.

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Behemoth

Beleth

Responsible for eighty-five legions of demons, he announces his appearance with great fanfares of trumpets upon a pale horse.

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Belial (prince of arrogance and deceit)

Derived from the Hebrew for ‘worthless’, Known to be a great speaker, he is depicted as being particularly vicious and vocal against the work of God. Belial is said to already have been in Hell when Lucifer fell and tempts mortals into acts of rebellion and disloyalty.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • The classic 1922 film Nosferatu says that the titular vampire originated from “Belial’s seed,” implying Belial’s hand in the creation of vampires.
  • Belial possessed the titular character in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
  • Belial is the name given to the deformed Siamese twin brother of Duane Bradley in the exploitation film Basket Case (1982) and its sequels Basket Case 2 (1990) and Basket Case 3: The Progeny (1993)
  • In the 2002 film BloodRayne, based on the eponymous video

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Belphegor

One of the seven princes of Hell, who helps people make discoveries. He seduces people by suggesting to them ingenious inventions that will make them rich. According to some 16th-century demonologists, his power is stronger in April. Often appearing as an attractive young woman, he spends his time outside of Hell in Paris.

Belphegor

Buer

Buer is a spirit that appears in the 16th century grimoire Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and its derivatives, where he is described as a president or chairman of Hell, having fifty legions of demons under his command. Louis Le Breton created an illustration of Buer, later engraved by M. Jarrault, depicting the demon as having the head of a lion and five goat legs surrounding his body to walk in every direction. This illustration has been featured on several albums including Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick LP, Coil’s Wrong Eye / Scope single, Cloven Hoof’s 2008 album The Definitive Part One, a 1981 Black Sabbath bootleg LP entitled Buer Album, and the EP Evoco Bestias by the Norwegian avant-garde metal group Fleurety.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • Buer appears in the Hellblazer comic book as one of the demons of Hell who oppose lead character John Constantine.
  • Buer is portrayed in a Polish fantasy movie Dzieje Mistrza Twardowskiego (The Story of Master Twardowski) about famous Polish necromancer Pan Twardowski, as a president of Trade Collegium of Hell… or Devoncourt.

buer

Carnivean

Invoked during Witches’ rituals, he is the patron devil of lewdness, lasciviousness and obscenity.

Carreau

The demon employed to break the resolve of even the most determined mortal. Said to have possessed the body of Sister Seraphica of Loudon.

Crocell

Speaking in dark and mysterious way, Crocell leads 48 legions of demons and when summoned by humans can teach mathematics and geometry. Can control the sound and temperature of water at will. She appears with long flowing blonde hair and a blue dress, with large blue wings.

crc

Dagon

Often depicted as a fish or fish/human hybrid, Dagon in the pantry chef of Hell and is the God of Philistines. Adopted by H.P. Lovecraft in his tales.

dag

Dantalion

Dantalion (or Dantalian) is a powerful Great Duke of Hell, with thirty-six legions of demons under his command; he is the 71st of 72 spirits of Solomon. He teaches all arts and sciences, and also declares the secret counsel of anyone, given that he knows the thoughts of all people and can change them at his will. He can also cause love and show the similitude of any person, show the same by means of a vision, and let them be in any part of the world they will. This demon is known to have many heads that speak through one mouth

Dommiel

Gatekeeper of Hell and responsible for terror and trembling

Dumah

The angel of the silence of death, his name deriving from the Aramaic word for ‘silence’. Dumah is one of the seven princes of Hell, allegedly leading tens of thousands of angels of destruction.

Exael

Something of a minion, his minor status allows him to wander Earth unchallenged, promoting avarice and the building of weapons of war.

Forcas

Teacher of maths and logic in the realms of eternal fire. In charge of Lucifer’s stables.

forcas

Furculor

Appears as a winged human.

Gaap

Governor of Southern Hell, in charge of 66 legions. Human-like, apart from massive bat wings.

gaap

Gressil

The mirror of Saint Bernard, Gressil tempts mortals into acts of impurity and sloth.

Haurus

One of Hell’s leaders, he is able to predict the future and accurately determine the true facts of past events.

Hornblas

Demon of musical discord, his tuneless blasts summon the denizens of Hell together.

Legion

“Legion” is a group of demons referred to in the New Testament, in an incident in which Jesus performs an exorcism and the possessed man declares, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Appearances in popular culture:

  • My Name is Legion is a 2004 novel by A. N. Wilson.
  • Randall Flagg, the villain in Stephen King’s The Stand, refers to himself as Legion
  • It is quoted in William Peter Blatty’s novel, The Exorcist and is also the title for the book’s sequel
  • In the 1990 film The Exorcist III, Legion is referenced by the Gemini Killer
  • Legion is mentioned in the 2005 film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, when one of the demons says “I was with Legion”.
  • Legion is the name of Charles Xavier’s son in the X-Men comics.

Leraje

A mighty Great Marquis of Hell who has thirty legions of demons under his power. He causes great battles and disputes, and makes gangrene wounds caused by arrows. He is depicted as a gallant and handsome archer clad in green, carrying a bow and quiver.

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Leviathan

As his name suggests, responsible for the infernal navy and on stand-by to devour all the unsaved on Judgement Day. Created on the same day as Behemoth.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In Paradise Lost, Milton uses the term Leviathan to describe the size and power of Satan, the ruler of many kingdoms.
  • George Oppen’s seminal 1962 poem “Leviathan” addresses the leviathan of the all-consuming force of mankind’s own actions, which Oppen felt posed a very real threat to human survival.
  • In the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, the Leviathans are an ancient race of beings who ruled the Earth before mankind came into existence.
  • Leviathan is a 1989 science-fiction horror film
  • In the Hellraiser series by Clive Barker, the deity that rules Hell is named Leviathan. However, this being takes the form of a gigantic lozenge, rotating in the air above its realm, and pertains in no other way to a sea monster.

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Mammon (demon of averice and greed)

Mammon is heavily associated with England and is ranked amongst the most influential of all the princes of Hell. Bent double from the speed of his fall from grace, he spends his days staring at the ground, tempting men into acts of jealousy for material goods.

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Mammon is a fallen angel, described as being “more interested in heaven’s pavements,” than the leader. He tells the other fallen angels to be content in Hell.
  • The Phantom of the Opera worships Mammon in Frederick Forsyth’s The Phantom of Manhattan.
  • In The Alchemist by Ben Jonson, Sir Epicure Mammon is a man obsessed with material wealth.
  • In the film Constantine – Mammon is the son of Lucifer/Satan himself
  • Mammon is a 2014 TV mini series from Norway.
  • Mozilla Firefox – In The Book of Mozilla easter egg found on the Mozilla Firefox browser, the term Mammon is used to refer metaphorically to Microsoft Internet Explorer

mamm

Mephistopheles (the destroyer/prince of deceit)

Now used to describe any act of pretence or falsehood, he has been known to try to lead even God astray and leads humans to selling their souls

Appearances in popular culture:

  • The messenger who brokers a deal with the Devil in Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus of 1604
  • In Goethe’s Faust, Mephisto is the personified principle of negation
  • Notable operatic appearances include d The Damnation of Faust (La Damnation de Faust) by Hector Berlioz (1846) and Charles Gounod’s Faust (1859)
  • In the 1981 movie Mephisto, which won an Oscar in 1982 for Best Foreign Film, actor Klaus Maria Brandauer plays a German stage actor whose abiding ambition is to play Mephistopheles on the stage – but in order to achieve it, he “sells his soul” to the Nazi regime and in effect becomes Faust in real life.
  • Mephisto is a character who acts as a possible version of the devil in the Marvel comic universe. Among other feats, he is responsible for turning Johnny Blaze into the Ghost Rider, fathers Satana, Daimon Hellstrom and Blackheart, and imprisons the soul of Doctor Doom’s mother
  • During their Zoo TV store, the singer Bono of the band U2 appeared on stage dressed in the character of Mephistopheles

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Minos

Tasked with allocating the various infernal tortures to unlucky sinners entering Hell. Referred to in Greek myth and Dante’s Inferno.

Misroch (Lucifer’s cook)

With the head of an eagle, Misroch now serves the Devil fruit he has cursed from the Tree of Immortality.

mis

Moloch (Chief of Hell’s army)

“And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch”. Moloch is a frightful sight, covered in the blood of murdered children and drenched in the tears of their grieving mothers. Anxious to start immediate warfare against God

Appearances in popular culture:

  • In Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 poem Howl, Moloch is used as a metaphor for the American city, thus aligning McCarthy-era America with the demon.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Job: A Comedy of Justice, the main characters join a church pastored by “Reverend Dr. M. O. Loch.”
  • Alan Moore’s Watchmen features a retired underworld crime boss who once adopted the name Moloch the Mystic (real name Edgar William Jacobi)
  • In Fritz Lang’s silent film Metropolis (1927), Moloch is a vision of a demonic machine.

moloch

Paimon

Depicted as a camel-riding young woman, Paimon is utterly loyal to Lucifer and as a reward controls over 200 legions. Regularly invoked in rites and ceremonies, Paimon knows all Earthly secrets…for a price.

Rimmon

Although his name derives from the Hebrew for the innocent pomegranate, he is associated with Russia and is the only doctor in Hell. Largely involved in the creation of storms and thunder.

Rosier (demon of seduction)

Although considered a lesser-demon, Rosier still leads humans into being seduced against their will and is linked with tainted love, putting frothy, foolish words on the lips of smitten lovers.

Sammael (devil of death)

Accused by some of being the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Sammael crosses over into the same character as Lucifer in some texts. Demon of the arts.

samm

Satan (Vice president of Hell, demon of anger)

Perhaps a slightly low rank for such a familiar name, Satan is a demon of destruction, appearing throughout the Old Testament, from the Garden of Eden to annoying Jesus in the desert. Assuming such a high rank in Heaven that he sported twelve wings, he finally met his match in a battle against the angel, Uriel.

satan

Succor-Beloth

Tempting Man with thoughts of lust, this double-barrelled demon is also in charge of Hell’s harem.

Xaphan

Known for causing chaos, Xaphan attempted to raise troops into setting Heaven on fire, a plot that was rumbled leading to eternal damnation, fuelling the fires of Hell with a set of bellows.

xaphan

During the 16th century, it was believed that each demon had more strength to accomplish his mission during a special month of the year. In this way, he and his assistants’ powers would work better during that month.

  • Belial in January
  • Leviathan in February
  • Satan in March
  • Belphegor in April
  • Lucifer in May
  • Berith in June
  • Beelzebub in July
  • Astaroth in August
  • Thammuz in September
  • Baal in October
  • Asmodai in November
  • Moloch in December

For more demonic fun, pick up a copy of The Devil by Tom and Genevieve Morgan

Daz Lawrence, Horrorpedia.com

Thanks to Dangerous Minds for additional info and some images

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Related: The Entrance to Hell (article) | A Short Biography of Satan (article) | The Skull (1965 film)

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Categories: article, folklore/mythology, gothic, mythology, occult, religious horror, satanic horror, supernatural

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19 replies

  1. HI.

    MY NAME IS BARBARA…HOW DO I GET THE PICTURE OF THE MEN DIGGING IN THE EARTH ON MY PAGE.

  2. Thanks for the information! I appreciate your diligence in siting sources. It’s hard to escape today’s “they say” mentality, but you’ve done a fantastic job setting your records straight.

  3. lol the cutest part is none of it is real

  4. Very interesting. Great knowledge.

  5. You say god with no name but is he not YHWH?

  6. The antichrist is not born yet – and when he is, what makes you think he will share your predilections? Not everybody is into what is obviously in your mind. You could ask him to let you, but he may turn you down – and you will have to think of a better comment. Well, in your case, of an insult that works; but do give a try to thinking, and maybe you’ll be taken seriously.

  7. Greetings. Humans u speak truth

  8. Reblogged this on HiddenLeftHand and commented:
    Interesting take from the fiction side of things…

  9. I know right i will forever be against god and the angels who show no emotion

  10. Very interesting… Yet I feel like it is mostly incorrect, it is still a relatively good source to use for their ranks and titles, I suppose.

Trackbacks

  1. The 72 Demons of Solomon – darknesswithinsite
  2. Molach & Other Primordial Demons made into Gods. | paranormalhuntress
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