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Demons, devils, and cijinn

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Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Demons,

and Djinn

Devils,

OLGA HOYT
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS

ABELARD-SCHUMAN
y

An

^ H
V

New

XLibrary/ifeG

York

London

Intext Publisher

Vf /y

Horace Mann Middle


School
Denver, Colorado

For permission

to use

copyrighted materials,

acknowledgment is made to the copyright holders


on pages 5 and 6 which are hereby made

grateful
listed

a part of this copyright page.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reprinted,


or reproduced or utilized in any form
or by any electronic, mechanical or other means,
now known or hereafter invented,
including photocopying and recording,
or in any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the Publisher.

NEW YORK

LONDON

Abelard-Schuman

Abelard-Schuman

Limited
257 Park Avenue South
10010

Limited
450 Edgware Road W2 lEG
and
24 Market Square Aylesbury

Published on the same day in Canada by

Longman Canada

Printed in the United States of America

Copyright

1974 by Olga Hoyt

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Hoyt, Olga.

Demons,

devils,

and

djinn.

SUMMARY: Examines

the

many forms and appearances

demons throughout history and the world, the charms


which call them forth, and the spells that banish them.

of

Bibliography:
1.

p.

Demonology

^Juvenile literature.

Juvenile literature.
natural]

I.

[1.

Demonology.

Title.

BL480.H69
133.4'2
ISBN 0-200-00110-8

73-6190

2.
2.

Spirits

Super-

Limited.

Acknowledgments

The author and pubHsher wish

to thank the following for


permission to use the illustrations listed below:

Aldus Books Limited for the pictures from The Supernatural


by Douglas Hill and Pat Williams, which appear on pages 80
and 111. From the Aldus Archives.

The Trustees

of the British

Museum

for the picture

on page

136.

Crown

Publishers, Inc., for pictures on pages 40, 42, 54, 120,


and 131, taken from The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and
Demonology by Russell Hope Bobbins. 1959 by Crown
Publishers, Inc. Used by permission of Crown Publishers, Inc.

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for the pictures from The Island of Bali
by Miguel Covarrubias, which appear on pages 96 and 99.
Copyright 1936, 1937 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and renewed
in 1964, 1965 by Rosa Covarrubias. Reprinted by permission
of the publisher.

A Treasury of
Witchcraft by Harry E. Wedek, which appear on pages 20,

Philosophical Library for the pictures from


23, 36,

and 113.

Harald Schultz for the picture on page 144.


Singing Tree Press for the pictures from Devils by J. Charles
Wall, which appear on pages 26, 69, and 150.
University Books, Inc., for the pictures from The Book of
Ceremonial Magic by Arthur Edward Waite, which appear

on pages 61, 109, and 148, and

for the pictures

from The

Mystic Mandrakeby C. J. Thompson, which appear on pages


87 and 91. Reprinted by permission of University Books, Inc.,
Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094.

We

are grateful for the assistance of Hans L. Raum,


shooting the photographs for this book.

Jr.,

in

Special thanks to Diane DeVore for her rendering of the two


drawings that appear on pages 96 and 99.

Contents

Illustrations

Introduction

Demons and

11

13

Devils

2 Djinn

25

3 Spirits in Ancient Babylonia and Assyria

34

Modern

Spirits of the

Middle East

41

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

5 Chinese Kuei

50

Demons on

63

Demons

Demons and Djinn

of India

74

The Demon

Mandrake

85

in

10

The Malay

11

Demons

12

Some

13

The Nature

the Steppes of Asia

68

Japan

of the

Birth

Demon

90
93

of Bali

Tales of
of

Summoning

or Exorcising

Demons and

Witchcraft

14 Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today

Demons

101

130
143

Bibhography

154

Index

157

Illustrations

Satan

is

frequently represented as a goat or dragon

20

Reading the Black Book

23

The

26

devil as a serpent

36

Assyrian devil

drawing of the head of an

An early drawing
One of the lower
Hell

Mouth and

A Japanese

evil

demon

40

of a devil

42

order of demons

54

the Devil Chained

61

devil

The Temptation of St Anthony

69

80

10

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Drawing of the mandrake female


Gathering of the mandrake with the
A demon face on the Pedjeng drum

Balinese

Title

The

demon

87
aid of a

dog

99

or buta

page of the Grimoire of Honorius


devil carrying

Demons

oflF

represented

111

113

animals

Demoniacal attack of hystero-epileptic


Nicholas

Remy

109

a witch

as

fit

of Lorraine

Witches and demons dancing

120
131

in a ring

Exu and his female counterpart


The devil struggling with Saint Peter
Sculpture of a devil on Notre

91

96

Dame

Cathedral

136
144
148

150

Introduction

Belief in the supernatural has been part of man from at least


the time of recorded history. Whether belief in evil spirits,
such as demons, devils, and djinn, is associated with religion

pagan.

Christian, or non-Christian

or

whether

stems

it

from the

folklore of various peoples of diflPerent lands, it is


interesting to study. For what people believed no matter

how

and extraordinary it may seem to us


us something of the moods, feelings, and customs of
unscientific

tells

their

times.

have made a random selection of these evil spirits accordI have cited those stories
that I hoped would give the reader a lively glimpse of the
creatures that many thousands of peoples have believed in
through the years.
To some, demons, devils, and djinn are still very real. Let
I

ing to no certain pattern. Rather,

the reader decide.

Olga Hoyt
11

1.

Demons and Devils

One sunny July afternoon in 1971, the telephone


rang in the office of the Reverend John J. Nicola,
assistant director of the National Shrine of the

Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C. The


call was from a Virginia parish priest who wanted
to consult Father Nicola "concerning a possible
infestation or obsession of a couple's

home by

the

devil."

Arrangements were made, and that evening Father Nicola and the parish priest drove down to a
13

14

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

little

Virginia

town near Washington, and arrived

at the house allegedly possessed by the devil.


There they heard the story of the bizarre events of
the past four months since the family had moved

into the house.

Night after night there were the sounds of


steps running

up and down the

foot-

stairs.

There were sounds of things moving about the


house, knocks on doors, voices calling out of nowhere voices identical to those of the family

members.
whole family thought these
phenomena must be in their imaginations. But
then one night as they came home late after visiting relatives, they saw every light in the house flash
on and oflF, as they drove into the driveway.
Another night the parents were watching television when they heard glass crashing in the kitchen.
There they discovered the clock, smashed, face
down on the floor. Lying beside it was the fourinch cement spike that had supported the clock on
the wall it was cleanly cut in two, but the nail
hole in the wall was undisturbed. One day the
maid was waxing the piano stool. The piano suddenly jumped away and made a sizable dent in the
oak mantel of the fireplace. All these events (the
maid quit in a hurry) were enough to convince the
family that the devil was in the house, and they
At

first

the

requested a formal exorcism.

Demons and Devils

15

For several days Father Nicola pondered the


matter of a formal exorcism, which would consist
of addressing the demon directly and commanding it to depart from the person he obsessed or the
place he infested. Such a formal exorcism would

require permission from the local bishop.


Father Nicola decided against such a course, but
instructed the parish pastor to bless the house, for
as Father Nicola wrote later to the bishop about
the case, the "blessing removed the anxiety which

was responsible," and

"if

perchance there was

some diabolical influence, the blessing and informal exorcism was sufficient to terminate it."
The pastor blessed the house, but when Father
Nicola visited it a week later, as a follow-up, the
family reported that there had been noises coming
from the cellar, a part of the house that the pastor
had forgotten to bless. The Father immediately
blessed the cellar, and the devil has not been heard
from in this place since.

The

idea of the devil

is

very, very old;

we know

from the beginning of recorded history people


have believed in evil supernatural beings, whether
they be called devils, demons, djinn, or by many
other names. Devils were associated with evil, the
gods and angels with the good; and even as people
worshiped their gods long before the Christian era,
they feared, revered, and placated their devils. Anthat

16

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

tells of Lilith, a winged demoness of Assyria with long disheveled hair, who
was created by God out of filth and mud over 5000
years ago. That legend says she was Adam's first
wife, and from their joining came hundreds of
lesser demons, closely related to human beings,
but inhumah. (Eve appeared on the scene much,
much later.)/ Fifty centuries of history show varied
and conflictmg views of such devils and demons.

cient religious legend

Some

say they are evil intelligences

who

wait to

pounce upon man, always scheming to overturn


the order established by the gods. These demons
have alarming power, but can be subdued by
strong magicians. Others hold that the devil is the
magician's associate, as in witchcraft, and that the
devil can be wooed to do one's bidding.
The ancient Greeks tell of heroic struggles be-

tween the gods and the demons and devils. They


believed a secret name controlled the whole universe, including the gods. He who spoke this fearsome name could be heard by the demons and,
when they heard it, the demons cowered; the sun
and the earth turned about; hell was troubled; rivers, seas, and lakes were frozen; rocks were shattered into hundreds of pieces. In the seventh century B.C. the great god Ea of the Assyrians knew
the magical name. He was called upon to fight
against seven horrible demons called maskim who
lay in wait to harm human beings, and as he went

Demons and Devils

17

he uttered the secret name. "This name


alone can subdue the maskim, " the Assyrian story
said, and it was written down on clay tablets.
"When it is uttered everything bows down in
heaven, on earth and in the infernal regions. The
gods themselves are bound by this name and they
obey it."
These maskim were the evil counterparts of the
gods. They were crafty devils, who lurked in amto battle

bush, preparing to spring

upon their victims just as


Arab ghul of the same part of the world
set traps and waited in hiding for unwary travelers.
In ancient times, there was a widespread belief
later the

in evil supernatural beings, but these beings could

assume many diflFerent shapes. Thus, in ancient art


and statuary we see the mingling of human and
animal forms, such as the man-faced bulls of Assyria and the various animal-headed gods of Egypt.
Probably from Egypt the Greeks and Romans acquired the centaurs (half-man, half-horse), minotaurs (half-man, half-bull) and the half-goats, halfmen that were satyrs and fauns. From these early
animal types came the representations of the devil,
during the Dark Ages, or Middle Ages. At that
time, the devil was pictured as a black naked
figure, half-man, half-goat, with a long tail, horns,
and cloven feet. From then on demons and devils
could be found in all forms, sometimes human,
sometimes not. The devil might be a tortoise with

18

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

cooking pot with arms


and legs. As the belief in devils spread in European
society and the devil was feared as the patron of
a man's face

and

feet, or a

Church began to portray


and evil being. Under
religious instruction the people became terrified of
the devil. The Church encouraged this attitude,
for the Christian devil was the archenemy of God
and the religious hierarchy. 'Even leaders of the
Church said they saw devils. The Christian historian and philosopher, St. Augustine, for example,
witches, the Christian

him

as a hideous, frightful,

did not believe that devils possessed fleshly bodies,


but he believed that they did exist in some form,
and were visible to mortals. St. Jerome, the church
scholar of the third century A.D., wrote of devils
with half-human bodies. He believed that these
beings, little men with curved nostrils, and horns
and feet of goats, came from the lower world. The
clergy in the seventeenth century told their parishioners that if they did not obey all the teachings of
the Church, they would be cast into blazing fires,
hung up by their tongues, to sizzle and roast as
devils pranced around.
In Europe the devil was often seen as a serpent,
a shape that seems to be the oldest attributed to
him. From this concept he developed to many
into a dragon, a sort of serpent with wings, sometimes having the head of a lion, sometimes that of
a man, and at other times that of a crocodile.

Demons and Devils

19

Some students of demonology believe that the


modern devil had his early roots in the great god
Pan of Greek-Roman times. Pan was the god of
nature, partly joyous, partly terrible. Gradually,
over the ages, the bright side of Pan was lost, and
the devil assumed more bestial and ferocious characteristics.

Just as there were many views about the devil's


appearance, there were many views as to what the
devil could do,, and how he could be threatened,
controlled, or exorcised (driven out). In

Europe

in

medieval times, images of cocks were placed atop


and around churches, because of the belief that the
devil could assume the shape of a lion. The lion and
the cock, the people said, were mortal enemies.
Goblins (malicious spirits) were carved in the
moldings of churches to scare oflF lesser demons,
but usually a cock was placed on a swivel, to turn
in all directions with the wind, and frighten away
the devil. The cock was gilded to shine out
brightly, so the devil could not miss seeing him.
This device has come down to us as the weather
vane.
In addition to the cock, there were several other

ways of frightening away demons and devils. Salt,


example, was considered "an antidemoniac"

for

because

Demons, being creashy away from salt.


In the same way the demons were supposed to fear
tures

it is

a preservative.

who corrupt and destroy,

a goat or
In medieval witchcraft, Satan is frequently represented as
black
the
of
practitioners
the
all
by
paid
is
dragon to whom homage
arts

Demons and Devils

21

which was beUeved to come from the sky and


thus was heavenly.
As the Middle Ages progressed, fears grew and
everything possible was done to keep the devil

iron,

away. Besides fearing for their souls, people came


to believe that the devil could possess human
bodies. It was thought there were two ways he
might do this. The devil could act as an independent agent; or he might be used by a magician, or
a witch. Actually the idea of demoniac possession
is ancient and universal. Skulls of aboriginal dwellers of Peru (from a time long before the discovery
of America) indicate trepanning, or cutting open
the skull. These ancient Peruvians believed that
demons could inhabit the head, and the only way
to get rid of them was to cut open the skull and let
the demons come out. Trepanning was later done
in Europe on epileptics. Europeans believed that
all epileptics were possessed and that the only cure
was to take the demons out of the head.
Throughout history, people have tried to sum-

mon

the devil to do their specific bidding, usually


to obtain riches, a lover, or for revenge on enemies. This liaison with the devil caused many innocent (and sometimes not-so-innocent) persons to
lose their lives during the witch-hunts in Europe,
starting in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and
culminating in dreadful trials and executions in the
fifteenth,

sixteenth,

and seventeenth

centuries.

22

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Witches were tried because the authorities said


they had pacts with Satan the devil. These
witches were accused of anti-Church and antisocial activities, and the treatment meted out by the
witch-hunters was shocking. Yet it was not strange
that belief in demons and devils would be very
strong in Europe at the time, since it had existed

for centuries.

For example, grimoires (magical textbooks) have


been known for hundreds of years. One of the earliest and most complete grimoires, which dates
from about 100 to 400 A.D., was called the Testament of Solomon, after King Solomon of Israel in
the tenth century B.C. This grimoire was supposed
to represent Solomon's own ideas. It catalogued
demons and described the "princes of evil," the
"fallen angels," and the "great lords of darkness."
The most important aspect of this work was that it
proclaimed that Solomon had power over all
devils, a power he received through a magic ring
brought to him by an angel of God. This and later

who the devils were, what


and how they could be commanded, or brought under control. In the Testament of Solomon, Beelzebuth was the prince of
devils; Asmodeus was the devil of lust who was part
spirit and part man. (The names of the devils came
from Jewish, Greek, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian sources.) All these demons had
grimoires spelled out

their functions were,

Reading the Black Book. The Black Book was a grimoire, a manual
commanding, and controlling demons and spirits of the
dead
for invoking,

and areas of operation. One


one wrecked ships, one set fire to

specific functions

strangled babies,
crops,

many brought

diseases (each

demon

repre-

sented a specific disease, such as fever, or migraine


headaches, or eye ailments, or inflammation of the
tonsils).

Later grimoires listed the three supreme powers

24

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

and Astaroth. When


by a magician to appear, Lucifer came as a
handsome boy, Beelzebuth as a huge fly, and Asof evil as Lucifer, Beelzebuth,
called

taroth as a black-and-white

human

figure.

By the end of the thirteenth century someone


cataloged 1,758,064,176 devils, and even so august
a personage as the Blessed Reichhelm of Schoengan, a German churchman of the same period,
claimed actually to see these devils as rain and as
the dust sometimes seen in a sunbeam. By the sixteenth century, Jean Wier, physician to the Duke
of Cleves, argued that there were only 7,409,127
devils. He went much further; he chronicled the
complete hierarchy of hell, listing the princes of
death, as well as the land of tears, fire, justice, hell,
and the infernal armies, one by one. He even
named the demons who were hellish ambassadors
to certain countries; they included Mammon (En-

Rimmon (Russia), and


These men who wrote so assuredly about the underworld were not eccentrics,
gland),

Thamuz

Belial

(Turkey),

(Spain).

They believed, just as almost


people of their times believed, in the real existence of demons and devils.
Perhaps it is the nature of man to believe in the

or mentally unstable.
all

supernatural and in the existence of evil beings.

2.

DjINN

The demons
a

name

of the Arabic world are called djinn,


which means "covert" or "darkness."

and destructive
were created out of fire thousands of years before Adam.
The Arabs believed in these demons long before
the time of Mohammed (around 600 A.D.). To them
the djinn (singular, djinnee) were usually invisible,
but they were capable of assuming various forms at
will, especially those of snakes, lizards, and scor-

These

fearful, crafty, mischievous,

beings, the Arabs say,

pions.

25

26

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

These djinn could be very dangerous to man. In


ancient Arabia a man named Harb, the grandfather of the supreme ruler, the Khalif Mu awiya,

and a companion began


for cultivation.

They

some marshland
to the marsh and

to clear

set fire

many white

serpents out of the burning


weeds. Immediately thereafter both men died,
flushed

The

devil as a serpent.

Demons and

shapes of many different creatures

djinn

were thought

to take the

DjiNN

27

and everyone believed that the snakes were djinn,


who had killed the men for disturbing their home.
Many other stories told of men who had been carried oflF or killed by these evil djinn, as they were
known to be physically very powerful. Sometimes
they rode upon ostriches in the desert; sometimes
they stayed near grazing lands, thus preventing
the cattle from drinking. Often they lurked in
lonely places.

An Arab

clan of

Mecca once

suflFered so

many

by the devil djinn (drinking


the water, killing the vegetation, pulling down
camels' feet) that they decided on revenge. The
men marched out and killed as many snakes, beetles, and other crawling things as they could. They
killed so many crawling things that the djinn were
forced to sue for peace and agreed to stop their
diabolical behavior.
The ancient Arabs believed that there were various classes of djinn; among these the most dangerous but inferior of all were the female ghul (or
ghool). These evil djinn ate men, and could appear
in the form of a human being, or in the shape of
various animals. Usually they were described as
hideous monsters. An ancient poet spoke of how a
ghul came one night to a fire which he had built.
The man, fearing danger, cut ofi'her frightful head,
a cat's head but with a forked tongue. This ghul
also had legs like those of a premature baby, all
disasters perpetrated
all

28

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

limp and skinny, and her skin was hairy

like a

dog's.

The ghul generally lay in wait at some place


where men would come. Sometimes she enticed
them to her lair; sometimes she even robbed
graves and fed on corpses.
Another type of demon in the ancient Arab
world was the sealdh (or saalah). This djinnee was
found in the forests, and when it captured a man
it made him dance, while the demon played with
him as a cat plays with a mouse.
In the islands of the Red Sea and the Persian
Gulf lived another demoniacal being, the delhdn,
which had the form of a man and rode an ostrich.
This creature ate the flesh of men who had been
cast ashore from shipwrecks. Many Arabs believed
that when a delhdn attacked a ship the mortals
might fight, but all the delhdn had to do was utter
a mighty cry which made the human beings fall on
their faces
then they were easy victims.

With the coming of Islam, the Moslem faith,


Arabs began to believe that there could also be
good djinn (these were djinn who accepted the
Islamic religion) as well as the diabolical. The
primitive superstitions of the ancients were generally accepted by the Mohammedans, not only in
Arabia, but throughout the expanding Moslem
world, as that religion spread east across the Euphrates and west into Africa and the Caucasus.

DjiNN

The Moslems believed

that

29

God made diflFerent


who were

species of intelligent beings: angels

created of light, men who were created of the dust


of the earth, and the djinn. There were five orders
of djinn: the jann, the djinn, the sheytdns (or
devils), afreets, and marids.
The chief of the evil djinn was the fallen angel,
Iblis, the "Prince of Darkness," who had five sons:
Teer, who brought about calamities, losses, and
injuries; El-Aawar, who encouraged debauchery;
Sot, who suggested lies; Dasim, who caused hatred
between man and wife; and Zelemboor, who hovered over places of traffic, creating mischief of all
kinds. These wicked demons live in the lowest
firmanent of the heavens (in the air) and haunt
caves, wells, the woods, the hilltops, and the wilderness. They have the power of taking on any
shape they like, thus becoming visible to humans.
They can take the form of serpents, scorpions,
lions, wolves, jackals. They can even take possession of living people, from whom they then have
to be exorcised by charms and incantations.
It is believed that all djinn belong to one of three
areas: the land, the sea, and the air. In Arab legend
it has been stated that the djinn comprise 40 troops
of 600,000 djinn each. The djinn are of three basic
shapes. One kind have wings and fly; another are
snakes and dogs; and the third move about like
men from place to place. In human form, they may

30

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

assume the size of an ordinary manjj or they may


appear as giants. If they are good djinn, they are
extremely handsome; if they are evil spirits, they
are hideous. Djinn can become invisible at will,
suddenly disappearing into the earth or air or even
through a solid wall.
Good djinn are friendly to men, and they live all
over the earth and in the space above the earth.
They inhabit rivers, wells, ruined houses, even ovens; they can be found in baths, marketplaces,
crossroads, and the sea. Because the djinn are in
the waters, often when the Arabs pour water on
the ground, or enter a bath, or let down a bucket
they say

Destoor yd
mubarakeen ("Permission," or "Permission, ye
blessed"), so that the good djinn will not be
into

a well,

oflFended.

Destoor,

or

The good djinn are Moslems and the othThe good djinn assiduously per-

ers are infidels.

form

their religious

fasting,

tasks

prayers,

and the pilgrimage

they are generally invisible to

to

almsgiving,

Mecca

although

human beings at the

time.

The

evil djinn are

capable of almost anything,

from carrying oflF beautiful women to standing


playfully on roofs of houses and throwing down
bricks and stones on passers-by. Evil djinn often
take over uninhabited houses, and woe be it to the

human being who


These djinn

tries to

move

into such a house.

also steal provisions

from inhabited

DjINN

31

When

people lock their doors and cover


the breadbasket or anything containing food, they
sometimes appeal to the djinn: "In the name of
God, the Compassionate, the Merciful," and hope
that the demons will leave their household goods

houses.

alone.

Some

work hand-in-hand with


The djinn go up to the low

of the evil djinn

Arab fortune tellers.


heaven and listen to the conversation of the angels
which deals with the predestined actions of mankind (predestination is an Islamic belief) and then
report on future events to the fortune tellers. If the

angels detect these evil djinn, they hurl shooting


stars at them from heaven. That is why when an
Arab sees a shooting star (meteorite) he often
shouts out: May Go d t ransfi x the enemy of the
faith." Evil djimT^e sometimes killed by other
^mn, and even sometimes by men. Since they
were created of fire, it circulates in their veins and
spews forth when they are fatally wounded, consuming them to ashes.
Man must always beware of the evil djinn, for
they can even manipulate natural phenomena.
''

The

zoba'ah, a huge, tall pillar of a whirlwind


which raises sand and dust across deserts and fields,
is believed to be caused by the flight of an evil
djinnee. When the zoba'ah is seen, an Arab can
only defend himself from the djinnee by exclaiming, "'Allahu

akbarr ("God

is

most

great!"), or call

32

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

out, ''Hadeed! Hadeedr

Clvonllvonr) or ''Hadeed!
yd mashoom!'* C^Tonl thou unlucky!"). As with the^

demons and

devils of other lands, the djinn are


suppossed to dread iron.
Evil djinn can work along with a superior devil
to perform satanic magic. They can help discover
treasure, and they can help possess people who are
then paralyzed, or die, or are afiFected with a great
passion for certain objects, or even transformed

into brutes

and

birds.

Men can summon djinn by means of talismans or


certain invocations,

and the mastery of these

is

an

art of the Arab world. In the lore of the occult, the


most renowned ruler of the djinn was King Solomon of Israel (973-933 B.C.), who, said the ancient
students of the occult, had absolute power over
these spirits after the angel from heaven gave him
a magical seal ring composed of brass and iron, and
engraved with *'the most great name" of God.
With the brass portion of the ring Solomon
stamped out orders to the good djinn; with the iron
portion he stamped out orders for the demons.
Solomon's power was supreme, not only over the
djinn whom it is said he ordered to help build the
temple of Jerusalem, but over the winds, over wild
beasts, and over birds. These stories come from
Arab sources, not Hebrew. Solomon was one of the
many biblical figures who loomed large in Moslem

religious history.

DjiNN

33

was a rare man like Solomon who could conthe djinn; most of the peoples of the early Arab
world, and the world which later embraced Mohammedanism, believed in and respected these
oflFspring of fire, placating the good and the evil
djinn who were ever present in their lives.
It

trol

3.

Spirits in

Ancient

Babylonia and Assyria

In ancient Babylonia and Assyria, the land be-

tween the two great

rivers, Euphrates and Tigris


(which now comprises parts of Iran and Iraq), the
people lived in constant fear of demons. Long
before the birth of Christ, gods and goddesses were
closely associated with the activities of demons.

Sickness and all bodily suflFering were attributed to


demons, and that belief was transmitted through

the ages to

much

The demons
34

later civilizations.

of the Fertile Crescent

had two

Spirits in

Ancient Babylonia and Assyria

35

methods of entering a human body: either they


in of their own accord, or they came because
they had been called by sorcerers who had the
power to bewitch. But no matter what method the
demons used to enter a body, gods and goddesses
could drive them out. The deities were very
touchy about demons. They were sometimes
ofiFended by individual human beings, or by the
very fact that human sorcerers had the power to
send the demons into human beings. Whatever the
case, to stay healthy one had to have the good will
and approval of the deities. If one became ill the
people believed it was surely because the gods had

came

been angered by some

mons

into the body.

sin

and had sent the de-

A headache,

a cramp, a shoot-

ing pain, a high fever all were attributed to demons. The pains were only symptoms; what had to
be done was to force the demon out of the body.

The demon must be

exorcised.

It was impossible to know just where and when


the demons lurked; they were ordinarily invisible,
but they could assume a human or animal shape, or
a mixture of the two. They could slide through
doors and hide in out-of-the-way places, waiting to
pounce upon victims. The people of these ancient

lands

knew

the

demons were

cruel, horrible-look-

ing, bloodthirsty, fearful, dreadful creatures.

poor
cally

human being who was


from other human beings had

Any

at all dijfferent physi-

to

beware, for

36

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

demon might well have asform. Giants and dwarfs, the


crippled and the deformed, and even human beings with a cast eye could be charged as demons.
A series of incantations, used to appeal to the
gods to drive out the demons, was found in the
library of Ashurbanapal, once King of Assyria (668626 B.C.). These formulas were important to the
people believed the

sumed

that

human

Assyrian devil. Symbolic representations of the devil were sometimes in the form of a known animal and sometimes in part human,
part animal form

Spirits in

Ancient Babylonia and Assyria

37

people, for not only did they contain a systematic


classification of all the demons, but a large number
of them were used in rites to exorcise the demons.
These were not original with the Assyrians, but
adapted from peoples long dead, the Babylonians
and men of Ur, that most ancient of Fertile Cres-

cent cities.
In these incantations, demons were listed and
defined: there were many difi'erent types and they
had many difi^erent names, but they all had very
special functions. For example, labartu, a dreadful
monster with a swine sucking at her breasts, was
the demon who threatened the life of a mother at

A whole

group of demons were known


collectively as ashakku: they caused all kinds of
wasting diseases. Headache with fever was caused
by the demon tVu. (The demon and the disease
were considered to be one and the same.) Akh^
khqzu was the "seizer" (causing convulsions), and
his name was also the name for jaundice. Rabisu
was the "one lying in wait." Labasu was the "overthrower:^" etimmu was the gKost suggesting demon identification with the dead who returned to
plague the living, and namtar was pestilence.
In Babylonia and Assyria a group of seven demons had great renown. Mention of them frequently occurs in texts, and they are depicted on
monuments. They are described on one cuneiform
childbirth.

tablet as follows:

38

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Seven, they are seven.

deep they are seven.


Settling in heaven they are seven.
In a section of the deep they were nurtured;
Neither male nor female are they,
In the

Destructive whirlwinds are they.

They have no wife, they produce no


Mercy and pity they know not.

ofiFspring.

Prayer and petition they hear not.

Horses raised in the mountains are they.


Hostile to Ea are they.
Throne bearers of the gods are

To hem

the

way they

set

they.

themselves up in the

streets.

Evil are they, they are seven, twice seven are


they.

(The Ea mentioned was the god of humanity and


was considered the friend of mankind.)

Here

demon

the description of the demon


of head troubles and fevers:
is

The head
like the

Flaming

disease

roams

ti'u,

in the wilderness, raging

wind.

like lightning, tearing

along 'above and

below.
Crushing him who fears not his god like a reed.
Cutting his sinews like a khinu-reed.

Maiming the limbs

of

protecting goddess,

the

him who has not

Ancient Babylonia and Assyria

Spirits in

39

Glittering like a star of heaven, flowing like

water,

Besetting a

man

lik^ a

whirlwind, driving him

like a storm;

Killing that

man.

Piercing another as in a cramp.

So that he

been torn

out.

like

Attacking his

So

is

whose heart has

one thrown into the fire.


wild ass whose eyes are clouded.

Burning
Like a

slashed like one

is

Ti'u,

life,

who

is

in league with death.


like a

heavy storm whose

course no one can follow

Whose

final goal

no one knows.

These ashakku, the group of demons that


caused diseases, were invisible and could be found
anywhere:

He

stands at the side of a man, without anyone

seeing him.

He

sits at

the side of a man, without anyone

seeing him.

He

enters a house, without anyone seeing his

form,

Ha

leaves a house, without anyone observing

him.

Because demons were

so

ever present in these

40

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

it became important to know how to exorthem, and the ancients' literature is filled with
manuals and textbooks to guide the priests in their
difficult tasks. Always demons were a very real and
constant source of dailger to all mankind.

lands,
cise

A drawing of the head of an evil demon

4.

Modern

Spirits

OF THE Middle East

lands of the Middle East have always


been the home of hundreds of demons, genii,
ghuls, afreets, and other supernatural creatures.

The ancient

Who has

not heard of Aladdin and his magic lamp


many other tales of the Arabian
Nights? These are stories and legends, but in truth
the natives of these lands believed that magic was
a matter of everyday occurrence, and it has been
so right up to the present time. Early in this century a traveler, making his way through the deserts

or the genii of the

41

An

early drawing of a devil

Modern
of Egypt,
village

came

around

Spirits

to a

it,

of the Middle East

palm plantation with

near Qasr Dakhl. In

43

a small

this oasis,

the

traveler found a group of Arabs discussing the


story of a foreigner named Rohlfs, who was

remembered well by many of the natives. None of


the Arabs knew where the foreigner had come
from or where he later went; everyone knew the
tale,

however)

Rohlfs had visited the oasis

many

years before,

coming to Dakhl to dig for buried treasure in the


Der el Hagar, a stone temple near Qasr Dakhl.
Rohlfs had employed many men for the excavation, but since the treasure was guarded by an
afreet (a spirit) the Arabs were unable to find it.
They dug and dug, but still no riches. Rohlfs became very angry and very disappointed at spending so much time and eflFort without finding the
treasure. One day he decided to outwit the afreet.
the men out of the temple, who then
gathered together and sat on the ground a short
distance away. Rohlf took a black man into the
temple with him, and for some time the men waiting outside heard and saw nothing. Then there
were loud cries for help, and piercing, frightening
shrieks came from the temple. The men outside
smiled, knowing that the afreet was getting his due
from Rohlfs, who surely had a lucky talisman with

He

sent

all

him. There was a silence, then the men heard a


crackling sound, and dense clouds of black smoke

44

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

arose from the temple. This continued for some


time. Finally Rohlfs came out of the temple with

on his face. He told the assemthat he had at last found the treasure and

a smile of happiness

bled

men

them to come with him to see it. All the


men were very excited at last they would have
invited

the riches.

Entering the temple again, the

men saw

that

Rohlfs had found the opening to a chamber, a trap

door over a

flight of steps

was filled with


monds and jewels of all
vault that

which led down into a


and gold, and dia-

silver

kinds. The men looked


about for the black man who had gone into the
temple with Rohlfs, but they could not find him. In
their searches they found the glowing embers of a
great fire, and in the ashes was a charred skull.

Rohlfs had sacrificed the black

Those
loaded
ridden

in the oasis all

his
oflF

man

knew

to the afreet!

that Rohlfs

had

caravan of camels with the riches, had


into the desert, and was never seen

again.

In the desert lands in modern times the Arabs


believe so much in the supernatural that almost
every village has its sheykh el afreet ruler of spir-

debatable whether these sheykhs actually


believe in their own powers, but they have the
respect of the Arabs and are much sought after to
foretell the future or to guide people to buried
its. It is

treasure.

Modern

Spirits of

the Middle East

45

The future is foretold by magic, in which the


sheykhs call the spirits, the genii. This ceremony,
a mandal, is really the practice of clairvoyance by
the means of a pool of ink.
One traveler in the Libyan desert (William Joseph Harding King, who chronicled his adventures
in Mysteries of the Libyan Desert) witnessed such
a mandal, and although this aflFair was a total failure, the tale illustrates the firm

power

of magic

over these people.


First the sheykh el afreet, a burly man with tiny
eyes in a large flabby face, came to visit the house
where the mandal would be held. He climbed up
the stairs to the roof of the house, muttering incantations and carrying a stafi^ in one hand. He spoke
of the need for a bright sun, and no wind, conditions he said were necessary if he were to conduct
a proper mandal. He approved of the conditions,
but said that for the ceremony he would need a

young boy

to play the part of the tahdir, the

one

who

gazes into the magic mirror at the seance.


There had to be many diS^erent kinds of incense
and perfume used in this magic and it was of utmost importance to use the correct kind. The
sheykh said he must have just the right kind of

incense to use in the dawa the invocation for


otherwise the genii would become so angry that
they might kill the sheykh or even destroy the
whole house.

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

46

The sheykh

el afreet left

and returned the next

day, carrying his staflF and his rosary beads. He sat


down and drank a cup of tea, looked over the
young boy who had been provided for the mandal,
and approved of him. Then the sheykh called for

which to start a charcoal fire, and some


paper and ink. With these he went into a room
which had been cleared for him. Carefully he
closed the door and the shutters, so that the light
in the room was very dim, went over to the darkest
corner of the room, and sat down on a black sheepa brazier in

skin with the brazier placed beside him.

everyone
the

initial

He

asked

room while he carried out


ceremonies. For some time there was

to leave the

silence, and a faint smell of incense floated out


from the room. Then muttering could be heard
and an occasional shout as the sheykh invoked the

After about ten minutes the magician


called out that he was ready for the visitors to enter
and that the young boy should be brought in to
spirits.

him. The sheykh directed the youth to sit cross


legged on the sheepskin rug in front of him.
First, the boy was directed to hold out his right
hand, and the magician drew in ink the khatim
the seal on the palm of the boy's hand. Then he
placed a piece of paper on which there was writing
on the boy's forehead, licking the paper to make it
adhere to the skin. The paper slipped away, so the
sheykh tucked the top edge of the paper under the

Modern

Spirits

of the Middle East

47

rim of the boy's cap. Then the sheykh put a large


blot of ink in the center of the square khatim on
the boy's palm, and he directed the youth to gaze
into the pool of ink there and to fear nothing. Next
he began his incantations to the afreet. He repeated them over and over, his body swaying back
and forth. During his appeals to the spirit, sometimes his voice was almost a whisper, sometimes it
rose to a deafening shout, louder and then softer,
louder and softer, faster and faster. The magician
swayed back and forth, the perspiration now rolling down his face. From time to time as he chanted
he dropped pieces of incense into the earthenware
dish that he was using as a brazier. The smoke rose
around the boy, and the air was sickly sweet with
the smell of the burning perfumes.
The visitors at the mandal had not seen the slip
of paper on the boy's forehead, but on it was written the following: "We have set forth your propositions, and according to the Koran we beg our
Prophet Mohammed to answer our prayer."
The incantations the sheykh had chanted to
bring forth the

spirit

were: 'Toorsh, toorsh, Fiboos,

fiboos, Sheshel, sheshel, Koftel, koftel, Kofelsha."

Each of the four repeated names also formed


one side of the frame of the square khatim which
was drawn on the palm of the hand. Kofelsha was
a magic word.
The invocation which had been whispered and

48

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

shouted over and over could be translated

as fol-

lows:

Descend
here
with

he
this

this day.

desires.

Descend

very minute.

mon,

Oh! Celestial

Spirits, so that

he

may see you with his own eyes and talk to you
his own mouth and set before you that which

in the

cious, to

name

obey and

quickly,

call

on you

and without delay,


in the

name

of Allah the clement


to

submit yourselves

of Solo-

and
to

gra-

my

or-

ders for the love of Allah.

The

last

part of the incantation was untranslat-

able:

Zaagra zagiran Zaafiran hafayan nakeb, Zaagra


Zagiran Zaafiran hafayan nakeb, aaagra aagiran
zaagiran hafayan nakeb.

Interspersed throughout these incantations


were loud shouts of "Maimum," which was interpreted to be the particular spirit the sheykh was
calling upon.
From time to time the sheykh examined the boy
closely to see how efiFective the magic had been.
Finally deciding that the ceremony would soon
come to an end, the sheykh grew more excited,
chanting at an ever faster pace, suddenly dropping
his voice, then shouting. Finally, exhausted, he
leaned back against the wall and stopped the cere-

mony.

Modern

Spirits

of the Middle East

49

Wiping his damp face, he turned to the boy and


asked him to say the word atare.
''Atare," said the youth.

"Now,

tell

me what

manded the sheykh.


The boy stared and

you see
stared,

in the ink,"

and was

com-

silent.

Finally he spoke: "Nothing."


,^The sheykh had not been able to get the spirits
under his control when he summoned them. He
apologized to his audience, but was not dismayed.
He would try again another time. The important
point is that in the Middle East, belief in the
sheykh is so strong that the failure had in no way
diminished his power or the faith of the people in

the processes of the mandal.

Chinese Kuei

5.

For thousands of years the Chinese believed


yin and yang theory of nature.

The

yin

in the

encom-

evil: the earth, the moon, evil spirits


demons or kuei), darkness, and the female sex.
The yang were the good: the heaven, the sun, fire,
light, and the male sex. The kuei were every-

passed the
(the

where: in water,

They were

dogs, cats, tigers,

be
50

forest, soil, air,

and mountains.

in all kinds of animals: in wolves, foxes,


fish, birds,

and snakes. They could

in clothes, furniture, old trees, or stones.

leaf

Chinese Kuei
blowing in the wind could be a

kuei.

Some

51

of the

demons ate men; others were gigantic with horned


foreheads, long fangs, and fuzzy red hair. They

came

size, and could even be


Everywhere one turned a kuei
could be lurking. These demons were responsible
for evil and misfortune. They hid in ponds and
rivers to entice people in and drown them. They
could bring famine and poor crops, cause a mother
to die at childbirth, strike down a whole city of
people, and bring all kinds of disease.
Faced with such possible disaster from the kuei,
it was important to find methods to keep them
away or drive them out of the body. The customs

in

human

every shape and

in form.

that arose in dealing with the kuei afi'ected

all

of

Chinese life just as much as did the more formalized religions. Appeal could be made to the gods
by carrying images of the deities in a procession
through the streets. Firecrackers and gongs, which
were associated with the good, virile, yang could
be set ofi* and bonged. Since the kuei loved darkness and hated light, the blood and head of the
cock, which heralded the coming of morning sun,
was often used in rites to ward oS^ the kuei. Magic
characters and symbols written on paper were attached to the doors; charms and amulets were displayed. Mirrors were put on the foreheads of children so that when the demon saw the reflection of
his ugly

being he departed quickly.

52

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

These customs began thousands of years ago,


and many of them existed into the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries.
Justus Doolittle, a mid-nineteenth-century observer, noted

hundreds of rituals

Social Life of the Chinese

very complicated

in his

some

of

two-volume

them were

practiced by the Chinese peo-

ward oflF demons and evil spirits.


Take the question of the marriage ceremony:
one custom calls for the visit of the new bride to
her parents on the third day after the wedding.

ple to

She

is

carried along in a black sedan chair, ordinary

in all respects except that there

is

a special

charm

painted on the outside. This shows a grim-looking

man

on a tiger, a sword raised up in one


though to strike someone or something.

sitting

hand, as
This charm is considered a blessing to the bride, for
with it she need never fear those evil spirits lurking in wait to injure her or cause her to become ill.
Also there are the ceremonies accompanying
the impending birth of a child, which are important because two female demons who intend to kill
the mother are present at the time of childbirth.
These demons must be wooed so that they will not
destroy her but rather bear her good will. Just
before the time of birth a table is spread with eight
or ten plates of food, with incense, candles, flowers,

and mock money. A priest recites specific chants.


Then ten or twenty pieces of a certain kind of

Chinese Kuei

53

about an inch, and several


from ordinary paper, are
put into a censer (an ornamental incense burner
used in religious ceremonies) and burned. On
grass, cut into lengths of

likenesses of a crab, cut

some occasions several live crabs are produced for


the ceremony and then, after the paper crabs are
burned, the live crabs are put out to roam the
streets. All this is done both to frighten the bad
and to gain their good will.
Next, the food that was put on the table is
removed, and more plates of incense, candles,
seeds, wine, and a cup of clear water are brought
into the room and placed on the table. The husband, who is now present, is invited by the priest
to give worship to the ruler of the Bloody Pond of
hell, and to all the evil spirits of hell./ There are
more incantations by the priest. Some ashes from
spirits

the incense are put into red paper and hung up


near the censer. This ceremony is repeated twice
a day until childbirth. Each time after the ceremony, a stick of incense and one pair of candles are
burned before the red paper parcel, which remains hanging for thirty days after the birth. It is
then burned in a thanksgiving ceremony, honoring the ruler of the Bloody Pond who has harmed
neither mother nor child.
As in other lands, in China too, illness and disease are thought to be caused by the evil spirits. If
anyone who has been in good health is suddenly

One

of the lower order of

with disease

demons

that

was thought

to

plague

man

Chinese Kuei

55

attacked by dizziness, pain in the eyes, or paralysis


of the hands or feet, the illness is ascribed to the

malignant power of one of 72 evil beings. Immediately steps must be taken to get rid of this diabolical influence. A table is put in the lightest part of
the sick man's room. On the table are arranged
three cups of wine, a censer, a pair of candlesticks,
a platter holding five kinds of fruit, and a quantity
of mock money which is made ready for burning.

A priest is hired to perform the necessary formulas,


and sometimes this holy man calls upon a certain
demon

him out

in the ceremony.
which he rings as he
chants, and he holds a bowl of water, which he
sprinkles on the sick person and on the various
articles ofi'ered up to the evil spirits. During the
recitation the incense and candles are burned, and

headless

The

to help

priest has a small bell

times the priest strikes the table with a


small wooden stick and burns some of the mock
money. At the end of the ceremony one paper
charm is hung up over the door of the room, another is put on the body of the sick person, and a
third is burned. The ashes, mixed with hot water,
are given to the patient to drink. If the priest has
at certain

successful in judging which charm and which


chant to use, the evil spirits will leave the body and
the patient will regain perfect health.
Sometimes when a person is very ill, in the grip
of the evil spirits, a more dramatic move is used to

been

56

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

make

the demons depart. This is called the ascending a ladder of knives. A special ladder for the
occasion is made with swords or long knives, edge
upward, attached as rungs to vertical poles. At a
given time in the ceremonies, a barefooted priest
climbs the knives to the top of the ladder where he
recites certain spells. On witnessing this, the demons are so frightened by the swords that they do
not dare approach the sick man. The gods are impressed at the daring of this heroic act, and are
persuaded to act favorably toward the sick person.

Thus

be effected.
One of the most spectacular and widespread ceremonies for ridding whole communities of disease
was the idol procession. This was held to mollify
the "five emperors or rulers" who controlled epidemics and diseases in general. Many temples
were dedicated to these idols and their many attendants, most prominent of whom were the "tall
white devil" and the "short black devil."
In the summer of 1858 cholera swept Foochow
and hundreds of people were dying. Sick men
were carried in their sedan chairs to the burying
places, along with their coffins and grave-clothes,
so swift and sure was the coming death. The people of the city gathered together and raised sums
of money for a procession of idols, the main features of which were the images of the five emperors, borne along in large sedans by eight bearers,
a cure can

Chinese Kuei

57

and images of the servants of the emperors the


white and black devils. These devils were made as
ugly as possible. The white devil was about eight to
ten feet high; its body was made with a bamboo
frame, covered with a light-colored silk, and bluish
cotton cloth. The white devil had a head, arms, and
hands, but no feet of its own. The feet of the man
inside the frame could be seen below the idol's
dress, and there was a hole in the front where the
man could see out, so that he would not stumble.
The short black devil was only about four or five
feet high, very fat, and very black. Its frame was
also made of bamboo, and it was carried along by
a man or boy inside of it. A hat with a hole in it was
placed on top of the idol so the person inside could
see out. These emperor and devil idols, followed
by all the townspeople, were paraded through
both the narrow and the main streets to the music
of beating gongs and drums. Day and night they
marched through all the neighborhoods, driving
the evil spirits from one place to the next, then
from there farther and farther to the outskirts of
the city, and finally out of the city itself. This idol
procession was completed at the beginning of August, with a ceremony of burning huge (twenty to
thirty feet long) paper boats on the banks of the
river Min. These boats came from the various temples for the five emperors. Before they were carried to the river they were consecrated by the

58

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

priests in special ceremonies, with the

burning of

incense and candles, the beating of gongs and


drums. Then at night the boats, made of bamboo
covered with multicolored papers, were carried by
men with torches through the streets to the river
bank. Now, as the boats arrived, all the black and
white devils ran around them. Then everyone
knelt down in a row by the boats to watch them
burn to ashes. This procedure assured that the five
emperors were willing to banish to sea all the diseases

and

evil influences.

Unfortunately the idol processions did not cure


the cholera at Foochow, but this failure did not
shake the faith of the people in the need for these
ceremonies. Perhaps the processions failed because the boats were too small, or because the people did not have enough money to pay the expenses of an ocean voyage for the evil spirits. The
citizens of Foochow gathered courage and more
funds and planned more idol processions to rid the
city of the demons of disease.
The Chinese feared the devils, demons, and evil
spirits, and they believed that if they used spells
and charms, they could keep these sinister influences away. For example, the color red had magical properties to

often

sewn

keep away

evil.

into the pockets of

Red

little

them from being mutilated by the

cloth

was

boys to keep

devils.

Red

silk

thread was braided into the quieus of the children,


to keep the quieus from being cut ofi'by the spirits.

Chinese Kuei

59

To the Chinese of this period, the quieu or long


ybraid of hair worn down the back was a protection
of the soul.
Charms on yellow paper were also very common. Some houses might have ten or more of them
on the front side, or under the eaves. The paper
could be any length, from a few inches to two feet
long. Generally on the paper was a picture of an
idol, printed or drawn with red or black ink. These
papers would be pasted over a door, pinned on a
bed curtain, worn in the hair, or put in a red bag
and hung from a buttonhole. Often the paper was
burned, the ashes were mixed with tea or hot water, and the mixture was drunk specifically to keep
away the evil spirits.
Ancient coins were often used as charms. They
were put on red string and worn on the body;
many young children wore them on their wrists
soon after birth. Newly married couples often
placed several sets of five coins of the five emperors under their bed.
A knife that had been used to kill a person could
be hung from the top of a bedroom door frame, or

from one of the bedroom windows, and the wicked


spirits would keep away.
Iron nails which had been used in sealing up a
cofiin were considered excellent for keeping away
the evil. These nails could be carried in a pocket or
braided into the quieu.
In China it is believed that peach

wood and

60

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

peach stones have miraculous powers to ward oflF


evil. Often ceremonial padlocks are made from the
kernels of the peach, and the mother puts one of
the padlocks on the feet of her children, in the
belief that thus the evil will be kept away and the
child will have a long life. Branches of the peach
tree are sometimes taken into the room of a sick
person and used to beat the bed, driving away the
devils who are afraid of the supernatural powers of
the peach.

Old fishnets are feared by the evil spirits who


believe they were used by the ancient priests to
catch the demons. Thus strips of these nets are
often worn by children around the waist as girdles,
or are hung over the doors of chair sedans used by
pregnant women.
To keep the demons away from an only son, a
silver lock called a "hundred-families'-cash-lock"

is

name from the way in which it was


man who wants such a lock collects money from various families. With the money
used.

It

gets

its

procured, for the

he buys

silver,

which

is

then fashioned into a padThe father does not

lock about two inches long.

to be poor to ask his friends for money; even


the rich do so, for the Chinese say that with the
contributions of many there is a force of security
behind the padlock. This lock is put on a silver
Xihain or ring around the young boy's neck and is
worn until he is sixteen years old, when it is then

have

Hell

Mouth and the Devil Chained, representing the belief that evil
could be warded oflF by various charms

spirits

62

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

offered in thanksgiving to
sold for something to be
aptly caUed mother.
the goddess of children,
Chmese hterally
For thousands of years, the
of charms, amuhave had hundreds and hundreds
evi
against devils, demons, and
lets, and spells
s
in the modern Peop^
spirits, and although

are not acceptable,


Republic of China such ways
the
villages and even
they still die hard. In the
demons.
their
still beheve in
cities some Chinese

6.

Demons on the Steppes

OF Asia

The

Tartars, or Tatars,

were Mongols who overran

Europe and Asia in the thirteenth century


and then settled in Northwest China and Siberia.
They believe as do their Chinese neighbors that
illness is caused by the demon tchutgour entering
the body. But among the Tartars, it is believed that
parts of

way

demon

medicinal.
appropriate
The lama (priest-physician) seeks the
cure for the illness, and since the Tartars do not use
minerals in their medicines, the cure will consist

the best

to exorcise the

is

63

64

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

of ground-up vegetables which have


been put into water or made up into little
pills. If the lama does not have the necessary medicine with him on a visit to a patient, he merely
writes the names of the remedies on little pieces of
paper, wets the papers with his saliva, and rolls
these up into little pills for the patient to swallow.
entirely

either

The

Tartars believe that the

name

of the

pill is as

good as the pill itself.


However, medicines are not enough to bring
about a cure. The lama must also exorcise the demon, and his methods of doing this depend upon
the wealth of the patient. A poor man gets no consideration at all; only a tchutgour very low on the
scale of demons would bother such a human being,
and thus could not cause too much trouble. For
these poor people there is no prayer or pill; the
lama merely tells the family to await cure or death.
The ill health of the moderately poor man is caused
by an inferior tchutgour, and for this demon only
a pill, and an oflFhand prayer are oflFered. However,
the lama knows that only a very powerful devil
would presume to visit a wealthy man. The tchutgour must be one of the chiefs of the lower world,
and many preparations must be made by the
family for this demon to depart. A handsome suit
of clothes, a pair of fine boots, and an excellent
horse, saddled and bridled and ready to ride, must

be made

available, for otherwise the

demon would

Demons on the Steppes of

Asia

65

never think of leaving. For very rich men one


horse is not enough, for a powerful demon surely
is attended by many lesser demons, all of whom

would need a horse.


The chief lama and a number of other lamas
from the monasteries nearby gather in the sick
man's tent and oflFer prayers, drink tea, and eat

week

sheep

for at least a

leave,

hoping that the

or ten days.

Then they

and that
cured. They are not dismayed if the
devil, too, has left

the patient is
patient dies, for then the lamas reason that the
prayers were so eflFective that not only did the
devil leave, but the patient has

gone on

to a better

world.

A western traveler saw one such Tartar exorcism


middle of the nineteenth century. While the
traveler was visiting a tribal chief named Tokoura,
in an encampment in the Valley of Dark Waters,
on the Russo-Chinese border, Tokoura's aunt was
stricken by an intermittent fever. Tokoura hesitated to call in the lama-doctor, for he feared that
if a very big tchutgour was present, the expenses
would ruin him. However, his aunt grew worse
with the passing days, and at last he called upon
the lama. It was as he had thought: the demon
present was said to be one of very high rank, and

in the

it

would require haste (and much expense)

him.
Eight other lamas

came

to expel

to the household.

Im-

66

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

mediately they began building, out of dried herbs,


a great puppet which they called the Demon of
Intermittent Fevers. When the figure was finished,
they put it on a stick in the sick woman's tent.
At eleven o'clock that night the lamas formed a
semicircle around one part of the tent, and the
family formed the other part of the circle, squatting on the ground close to one another. In the
center the patient crouched on her heels, opposite
the Demon of Intermittent Fevers, near a fire of
dung-fuel. Musicians played cymbals, bells, and
tambourines. When the lama gave a signal, the
musical instruments were played at the loudest
pitch, and the family clapped their hands in
rhythm with the music. Then the lama raised his
hand, everyone stopped, and there was total silence. The Grand Lama held a copper basin filled
with millet and some small images made of paste.
He put them down before him, opened the Book
of Exorcisms which was on his knees, and began to
chant. From time to time, he took a handful of
millet and threw it to the east, then the west, then
north and south. He chanted softly, then louder,
then softly again. Suddenly he stopped, and, feigning rage, he shouted and waved threateningly at
the herb puppet. Then quietly he stretched out his
arms, and the lamas began their noisy music again.
The family all ran out of the tent. One after the
other they ran around and around the outside of

Demons on the Steppes of

Asia

67

the tent, beating the tent with sticks, and yelling


at the top of their lungs. Three times they made
the circle around the tent, then they quietly filed
back in and resumed their places on the floor.
Everyone in the tent covered his eyes with his
hands, and the Grand Lama stood up and set fire
to the Demon of Intermittent Fevers. There were
loud cries, and the herb puppet was seized by
family members and taken out of the tent to a field
far away. There it was left to be consumed by the
flames. When the family returned to the tent the
lamas who had been chanting broke into joyous
chatter. Each person was now given a lighted
torch, and one by one they left the tent and formed
a procession outside. First came the laymen, then
the patient who was supported on each side by a
family member, and finally the nine lamas, playing
their instruments. The group marched to another
tent, where the lama had directed that Tokoura's
aunt would stay for a month. The demon was gone.
All

was

well.

7.

Demons

Long ago

in

Japan

Japan there existed a culture called


the Heian civilization, one of the brightest in Japanese history. The Heians presided over a period of
ascendance in the arts, at the same time that strong
emperors united the country. The civilization extended from the middle of the tenth century to the
middle of the eleventh, and it centered around
Heian, the capital of Japan at that time. Although
this was a very sophisticated court culture, it was
in

also a court in

which the nobles believed in goblins,

demons, and

spirits.

68

iim!i(\J,il][i]G
in;; v:

U^
A

Irro,

Japanese devil of the Heian civilization

70

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Among the demons the

tengu were hideous redfaced creatures that lived in the hills and the forests; they could be recognized by the feather fans
that they carried. Other evil spirits lived and acted
like foxes who could turn into human beings at
will. Foxes were feared, for the fox demons had the
power to bewitch people.
One legendary demon, Rashomon, was famous
at the flowering of the court at Heian.
In the year 974, one person after another disappeared most mysteriously from the capital of Japan. The populace became alarmed, for people
knew a demon had been haunting the area of the
Rasho Gate at the southern end of the city. As the
disappearances continued, panic mounted among
the inhabitants until finally a brave man named
Watanabe no Tsuna declared that he would find
and get rid of the demon.
He stationed himself at night outside the Rasho
Gate, but he saw no strange creatures. One night,

however, as he was riding home from his vigil, he


saw a beautiful young girl wandering alone in the
rain. The maiden spoke to Tsuna, and after some
conversation she invited him to come home with
her. Tsuna remembered how she had waited by
the gate, and he remembered that the evil spirits
in foxes could turn into

human

beings.

He

hesi-

companion could be
other than what she seemed. However, the
tated, fearing this beautiful

Demons

in

Japan

71

maiden spoke reassuringly and told him that her


father was a fan-maker and other details of her life.
The more she spoke, the more Tsuna was beguiled
by her beauty and charm; he agreed to take her
home, and she mounted his horse behind him.
After they had ridden for some miles in comfortable silence, Tsuna turned around, and lo, what
should he see! The girl was in the very act of transforming herself into a horrible demon. As he
watched this transformation, he felt as though he
were being lifted into the air. Desperately trying
to free himself, he quickly drew out his famous
sword, higekiri, cut oflF one of the demon's arms,
and the evil creature shot into the sky to vanish
from sight.
When Tsuna came to his senses, he was lying on
the ground with the hateful arm beside him.
Shaken, he mounted his horse and rode home as
fast as he could. Carefully checking to see that no
one was about, he opened an old coflFer, put the
arm in it, and locked the box.
Tsuna became a hero in the capital. Everyone
knew of his vigil at the Rasho Gate, and that the
disappearances had stopped. Once again the city
was peaceful, and the people were sure that the
demon had been frightened away.
One day an old woman came to the city to visit
Tsuna, claiming to be his old nurse of many years
before. She amused him with familiar stories about

72

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

and soon Tsuna felt he had a true


he could unburden himself about
his horrifying experience. He worried lest he talk
too much, but the knowledge of the arm in the
coflFer weighed heavily on Tsuna, and finally he
his childhood,

friend to

spoke

whom

kind old nurse about it. The old


wanted to see the arm; he unlocked the

to this

woman

chest and lifted

up the

lid.

In a flash the

woman

beside him was gone; in her place stood the hideous demon of the Rasho Gate. The demon
snatched up the arm from the cofi'er; before Tsuna's eyes she disappeared up into the sky and was
never seen again.

The Heians and their successors in Japan knew


countless other demons invisible to humans. Many
had the power to cause misfortune; since no one
knew when they would strike, precautions were
taken to keep these evil

spirits away. Charms,


and incantations were popular to persuade
such demons to stay away from households. At spespells,

places such as sacred areas of the palace, extra


routine precautions were taken. The timekeepers
cial

who

patrolled the courtyard outside the emperor's

residence noted the time every half hour on a


board; then they strummed on their bowstrings to
warn the demons that they could do no harm in
the forthcoming half hour. In addition, a special
guard would announce the time, among loud
bong-bongs on a gong.

Demons

in

Japan

73

As with the early ancients of the Middle East, the


Japanese believed that illness was caused by evil
entering a human body. People spoke of
"catching an evil influence" rmono no ke'') just
as
today people speak of catching a cold. To become
spirits

free of disease, one had to drive out the


demons by
exorcism. The exorcist examined the striken
person to determine if he was possessed by demons.
If
the exorcist was convinced that the demon

was

there and

word was taken very seriously, for


most often the exorcists were members of the Buddhist clergy then he would recite spells
and inhis

cantations to persuade the

demon to leave and go


over into another person, who was the
official
"medium." If the transfer came to pass, the exorcist could eventually drive the evil
spirit out of the
medium, and both the patient and the medium
would be healthy again.
Japanese demons were much like those of other
peoples; that similarity across the globe
the fascinating aspects of demonology.

is

one of

8.

Demons and Djinn

OF India

One

of the notable

demons

was Mara, the


destroy the Gautama Budin India

Evil One, who tried to


dha, Prince Siddartha, the founder of the Buddhist
religion. Almost 2500 years ago, at Buddh Gaya,
Gautama sat in the shade of a spreading bo tree
and defied this evil demon. Thus he attained the

enlightenment he needed to go forth as Buddha to


the people. The legend of Buddha is well known,
but his defeat of demon Mara is not. Buddha came
down from the heavens to try to help the world,
74

Demons and Djinn of

India

75

and he was born on earth as the son of Mya, the


wife of the King of Kapelavastu. Here in his royal
home near the Himalayas, the young Prince grew
up a solemn thoughtful child; later visions that
showed his future came to him as he drove in his
chariot, and he decided to follow them, to renounce worldly afiFairs and seek in solitude the way
to a better life for mankind. Gautama set out from
his father's capital, but shortly the demon, Mara,
the Evil One, appeared in the sky and tried to
dissuade Gautama from completing his mission.
Gautama was determined. He moved on into the
hills where he studied for a time with hermits who
lived there in caves. With five disciples he went to

Buddh Gaya and began

six years'

penance,

sitting

cross-legged each day on the banks of the river


from dawn until dark. Summers and winters came

and went; the sun and the wind and the rain beat
upon the fasting Gautama. He became weak in
body, but not in spirit. Many evil beings surrounded him, day and night, trying to persuade
him to seek more earthly pleasures. Always he resisted. Finally

he realized that he was getting too

feeble to continue this course. Determinedly, he


bathed himself in the river, put on new clothes,

and took some food from a young girl in a nearby


village. His body became vigorous and beautiful
again, and he began a march, accompanied by
thousands of divine and semidivine beings, toward

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

76

the bo tree. Flowers rained down from heaven,


music filled the air, and finally Gautama reached
the tree and sat down on the grass to begin his
celebrated meditations.

The demon Mara had watched


had

also

seen

many

religious

and he
persons come to pay
all this,

homage to Gautama. Every day, every hour, every


moment, he became more furious, until finally he
made his presence known to Buddha. Suddenly,
the holy

man

ble flame, to

shot forth from his eyebrows a terriEvil One, that Buddha

warn Mara, the

would triumph in any struggle between them.


Mara was infuriated. He determined to challenge
Gautama to battle under the bo tree. He called in
hundreds of his lesser demons, all of them hideous,
some of them headless, and some with many heads.
These terrifying monsters, with poisonous serpents
tangled in their feet, swarmed around Gautama,
beating the air, spitting fire, with eyes blazing and
voices howling. Yet Gautama was undisturbed; the
demons' darts and arrows turned to flowers as they
touched him, and Gautama sat peacefully under
the bo tree.
Furious with this complacence, the demon Mara
decided on a new plan. He called for human maidens of overwhelming beauty; they came to
Gautama, made enticing gestures, and tried to divert him. But all their charms were useless;
Gautama remained steadfast. Mara decided to

Demons and Djinn of

India

77

make one last grandiose


tacked Gautama under

effort: he personally atthe bo tree with huge


superheated globes of fire, but even these were
powerless; Buddha only had to hold out one hand
to cast the globes harmlessly to the ground.
Gautama had triumphed. Mara, the demon, took
his hordes back to the underworld. The Buddha
had become enlightened and was now a true Buddha.
Another important demonic figure in India was
the demon Rakut Beij-Dana. He was to be responsible for a frightening system of murder, called
thuggee, which has been carried on down into
modern times and exists today.
Rakut Beij-Dana lived a very long time ago, and
no one knew when he was born or created. As he
grew to full size he became so huge that he could
stand at the very bottom of the ocean, and still his
body would rise high above the water. He was so
vicious a demon that all of India feared him. His

purpose was to destroy the whole human race. He


set out on this task, but the goddess Kali took pity
upon men and decided to save them from the evil
of Rakut Beij-Dana. Kali came and slashed the
dreaded demon in two with her mighty sword, but
alas, that did not destroy the creature, for from his
blood sprang up hundreds and hundreds more demons. The more the goddess Kali killed these demons, the more appeared. Finally, exhausted and

78

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

discouraged, Kali took a bead of the sweat which


ran down her arm and from this created two men.
For protection she gave them roomals (handkerchiefs) and told them to strangle the evil demons
with these, which they did. When the men had
strangled all the demons, they came to Kali to return the roomals. Kali, however, was so grateful
that she told them to keep these roomals and hand
them down from generation to generation so that

man would

always be protected from evil. Their


handkerchiefs to destroy all
men who were not of their own kind.
evil men
The two men went back to their homes and used
their roomals against strangers certain that these
were evildoers. These men became killers, but
they had the protection of Kali, who assured them
they would be safe and would always prosper if
they murdered strangers when the omens were
right, and with the proper ceremonies. Thus Kali
became the patron saint of the "thugs" who were
bound to murder outlanders unless they wanted to
suflFer the displeasure of their goddess.
From those early days, thuggee grew more formalized, and leaders changed its purpose; all types
sons

were

to use these

of men

from

all

segments of society became thugs,

carrying out cold-blooded premeditated assassinations for gain, under religious sanctions. The thugs

developed a secret language, secret signs, and secret plans. When a killing was to take place, the

Demons and Djinn of India

79

thugs would meet at a designated place along a


road and then, assuming various disguises, they
would fall in with the travelers to be murdered.
When a suitable opportunity came, the thugs
would suddenly set upon the innocent travelers.
They took everything of value they could find on
their victims, and then, using a "sacred" ax to dig,
buried the dead as fast as they could.
Accounts of British Indian government efl'orts to
capture the thugs began as early as the thirteenth
century, when over a thousand of these assassins
were seized, but it was really not until the early
part of the nineteenth century that the government made strenuous efforts to stamp out the system. With the capture of a handful of thugs who
had lost faith in the goddess Kali and turned King's
witness to save their

own

lives,

the government

secured its first really important information about


the secret rites, the superstitions, and the methods
of operation. Thus the British governors were able
to track down a sizable number of the thugs and
prosecute them.
One thug leader Durgga was captured and
accused of murdering a trader. Deciding he was

doomed, Durgga

told his story to the British.

when

He

group of thugs discovered that a certain important figure was to


travel to Oudh with an escort of 50 men, the assassins gathered together a group of 150 men and
told the judges that

his

The Temptation of

Dutch

painter,

St. Anthony, in which the fifteenth-century


Hieronymus Bosch, depicts the saint surrounded by

devils in the shape of grotesque monsters

Demons and Djinn of

India

81

waited for the trader to pass through a certain


jungle where there was a statue of Kali. One rule
of the thugs was that they could not engage in
armed combat. To be a proper sacrifice to Kali a
victim must be killed suddenly. The murderers
joined the travelers, and safe in numbers, accompanied them on their journey. Two thugs joined
with each traveler, and no one could have extended themselves more in conversation and helpfulness. After three days the travelers and thugs
were all fast friends. On the third evening when
they camped, the thug leader persuaded the whole
group to break camp two hours before dawn, ostensibly to avoid walking in the heat of the day. In
the fading darkness of early morning the leader
signaled his men; two thugs approached each victim. Silently, quickly,

innocent

one thug immobilized each

man by grabbing his legs while

the other
threw a lassoo around the unfortunate victim's
neck and strangled him. Each pair of thugs killed
in the same way. Then the whole group dragged
the bodies into a nearby riverbed and buried them.
Somehow one man escaped this fate, reported the
massacre to the authorities, and identified some
members of the gang, including the leader.
When the leader was apprehended he mourned
his situation, saying he was a "pearl taken: it will be
pierced and hung on a string, and it will float unhappily between heaven and earth." All he la-

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

82

merited, the murderer said, was that the goddess


Kali would punish him for not oflFering up to her
the number of bodies due her in his lifetime.
"Oh, black goddess!" he cried. *Thy promises
are never empty ones
thou who ceaselessly
drinkest the blood of demons and of mortal men!"
A twentieth-century traveler in India told how
one day a strange man came up to a holy man and
took a position at his feet, claiming that he had
come a thousand miles to this holy man to be a
.

disciple.

follower.

He was accepted and became a devoted


He had only one peculiarity: he wore a

green shade over his eyes, as though his eyes troubled him. One day in casual conversation the disciple asked the holy man if he knew who he, the
stranger, was. "No," said the guru.
"I

am

really a djinnee."

The holy man laughed, but one morning while


deep in prayer the noisy screeching of
overhead disturbed him, and he asked his

starlings
disciple,

the djinnee, to drive them away. To the guru's


surprise the djinnee stretched out his hand and
caught the birds, though they were far beyond the
reach of his hands. Showing oflF one day, the djinnee caught a young fox by merely putting out his
foot and placing it on the fox's neck.
The disciple continued to wear the green eyeshade, for it concealed the fact that he could not
wink, a trait of all djinn.

Demons and Djinn of India


The djinnee and

the holy

man were

83

constant

companions, and so the djinnee came

to

one of the many

pay homage.

visitors

who came

to

know well

Unfortunately, the djinnee had had a quarrel with


this particular visitor. Having no human
morals or
compassion, the djinnee walked through closed
doors into this man's household and strangled his
babies. Later the mother of the infants came to
the
holy man to tell the bitter, sad story. The guru said
she should take the case to the law courts. The
woman said this was impossible, for it was clearly
magic and not a matter for the judges.
The holy man was greatly distressed and threatened the djinnee with banishment. The spirit

promised better behavior. To show how sorry he


was for his misdeeds, he promised to give the father whatever he should desire. The father was not
mollified, but one day he was in sudden and great
need of four rupees and remembered the promise
of the djinnee. He held out a cloth, called to the
djinnee to keep his word, and there fell into his
cloth four rupees. After this success the father
his financial need to be great time and time
again, and called upon the djinnee, who kept his

found

word each

was going well until some prying member of the household discovered where
the money came from and bragged about it to
neighbors. The djinnee learned this and was furious that his trust had been betrayed; he killed two
time. All

84

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

of that family. The holy man,


equally furious now, told the djinnee to leave

more members
forever.
again.

The djinnee did

so

and never was seen

The Demon
OF THE Mandrake
9.

From

the earliest days of recorded history diflFerent peoples throughout the world have worshiped
or feared trees, believing that both good and evil
spirits dwell there. In British New Guinea certain
female devils are said to live in large trees, devils
so very dangerous to human beings that the trees
are never cut down lest the demons be loosed on
mankind. In Malaya, trees which have poisonous
sap are said to be the abodes of evil spirits, and
anyone who fells such a tree will die within a year.

85

86

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

The Chinese beUeve

that the spirits of plants often

take the form of other beings, so when a man cuts


a tree he is always careful, and fearful that
the tree spirit will rush out in the shape of a blue
bull to attack him. In Rotti, an island to the south
of Timor (southeast Indonesia), when a tree is cut
to make a cofiBn, a dog is sacrificed to the spirit that

down

lives in the tree.

The

Alfoors of Poso, in the central Celebes (In-

donesia), believe that certain trees are inhabited

by demons
trees,

in

human

but leave

form.

They do not

cut these

trunks in order to
people want to cut

oflFerings at their

placate the demons.

When

they call out to the demon in the tree,


asking him to leave and go elsewhere. Then they
put food under the tree for the demon's trip. Only
then do they dare fell the tree.
The Iroquois Indians in America believed that
each tree, plant, or herb had its own spirit. The
association of certain plants with demons and evil
spirits is as old as tree worship. One of the most

down a tree,

unusual mystical plants is the mandrake. It is dark


green, with fruit of a ruddy hue, but its most striking property is that the odd-shaped, long, forked
root has a marked resemblance to the human
body.
Through the years the mandrake has meant different things to difi'erent peoples. Some thought
that it would bring wealth and good luck. Some

Drawing of the mandrake female. The mandrake plant, which


human body, has always been associated with demons and evil spirits
resembles the

88

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

be a love stimulant and used it in love


potions. Sometimes, such as in ancient Rome, mandrake was used in surgical operations as an anesthetic. Modern man has found that mandrake does
indeed have medicinal qualities; although it is
poisonous and the berries are especially dangerous, a narcotic drug can be made from the root.
The mandrake is not found everywhere. It is
thought

it

to

native to the countries bordering the Mediter-

ranean Sea, and


Syria,

and

is

also

found in Mesopotamia,

Palestine, in Crete, Sicily, Spain,

and

northern Africa. In the tenth century it was


duced into England. Through the ages, in various
parts of the world, peoples believed and many
that a demon lives in each plant. In Swestill do
den, the root is considered the home of the demons; it is popularly known as "devil's food" or
intro-

"devil's candle,"

and

its

fruit

is

called "devil's ap-

ples." The Arabs, too, called the mandrake the "dev-

candle," for they noted its shining appearance


in the night, a brightness caused by glowworms
that usually covered the leaves. The Arabs also believed that the root was the home of an evil djinnee. When the plant was gathered, the demon
il's

would leave his abode just as the root was coming


from the ground and attack. Thus when digging
mandrake root the Arabs took along a dog, so that
as the mandrake root came above ground, the demon would pass into the dog and kill it immedi-

The Demon of the Mandrake


ately,

making

safe for the

it

89

person to touch the

root.

The idea that the plant was extremely dangerous


and could be removed from the ground only with
the aid of a dog is centuries old. In a manuscript
written in the fifth century A.D. an artist depicted
a dog writhing in agony as it was dying, having

mandrake root. The root was considered so fearful that if it were pulled out by a human
being, it would let out a horrible shriek in revenge
pulled out the

on the person who tried to drag it from the earth,


and thus the person would die from fright.
In 1121, an Anglo-Saxon poet wrote a description of the gathering of the mandrake, which conforms to the legends of the

The man who

is

to gather

it

past:

must

fly

round about

Must take care he does not touch it. Then let him
take a dog, bound. Let it be tied to it which has
been close shut up and has fasted three days and let
it be shown bread and called from afar
the dog
will draw it to him
the root will break it will
send forth a cry the dog will fall dead at the cry
which he will hear. Such virtue this herb has, that
no one can hear it but he must die and if the man
heard it he would directly die. Therefore, he must
stop his ears and take care that he hear not the cry,
lest he die as the dog will do which shall hear the
it.

cry.

10.

The Malay Birth Demon

Among

the most frightening demons of all places


and all times were the ancient birth demons of
Malaya, a country in Southeast Asia which is now
part of the Federation of Malaysia. These evil beings were called bajang, langsuir, pontianak, and
penanggalan, and their specialty was to attack
women and infants at childbirth. Some of these
demons took the shapes of animals. The bajang
appeared as a skunk and caused slight fevers and
convulsions in children. (It also made people quar-

90

thirteenth-century conception of the gathering of the

mandrake

with the aid of a dog

The bajang was male; his female equivalent


was the langsuir, which appeared as an owl, or
sometimes as a beautiful woman with a horrible
wound in the neck. This demon came from women
rel.)

92

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

who had

died in childbirth. If caught, a langsuir


could be tamed by cutting her nails and her long
hair, and stuffing the nails and hair into the hole in
her neck. The pontianak came from stillborn children and also took the form of an owl.
More horrifying to view was the penanggalan
which was a head without a body, with trailing
entrails. It flew about in the night and glowed in
the dark.
All of these demons needed blood from living
bodies, and when they caused a death, they incorporated part of the dead body into their own beings. Thus women or children who died in childbirth had to be treated carefully so that part of
them would not be taken over by the demons. To

prevent a dead

woman from becoming a

langsuir,

were put in the mouth of


the corpse, a hen's egg was put under each armpit,
and needles were placed in the palms of the hands
so that the poor victim could not open her mouth
to shriek or wave her arms as wings, or open or

number

of glass beads

shut her hands to help her in her

flight.

The penanggalan could be warded

ofi'

by

plac-

ing a barrier of thorns or bent nails about the


woman in childbirth, for this demon feared that its
trailing intestines might be caught on such a barrier.

11.

Demons of Bali

In the beautiful lush island of Bali in the East Indies


the Petanu River runs its course through a land of

mountains, volcanoes, lakes, and fertile valleys.


But not a drop of the river's water is used to irrigate the rice

The

accursed. If rice
were watered from Petanu the harvest would give
forth the blood of the mighty demon Maya
Danawa, wounded here in a battle with the gods.
fields.

Maya Danawa

is

river

is

real to the Balinese,

believe in a host of other

demons and

and they

devils

who
93

94

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

are constantly at war with the gods. The gods belong on high, in the mountains, with their lakes

and rivers;

evil

belongs below, to the sea where the

tenget, the evil spirits, lurk.

The legend of Maya Danawa relates the long


struggle between that demon and the gods, who
were once thoroughly vanquished by the evil spirit
and forced to drink from a spring which had been
poisoned by the demon. All the gods died but one,
who managed just in time to strike the ground and
bring forth a spring with which to revive the others. (This spring today is one of the holy springs of
Bali.) Restored to good health, the gods attacked
Maya Danawa again and wounded him, so that the
demon's blood flowed into the river Petanu, which
no longer could irrigate the rice fields.

The legend of Maya Danawa is hundreds of years


old, and tells of a time when this terrible demon
ruled over the land. He was a jealous demon who
did not want his subjects to give gifts to the gods.
In the inevitable conflict the gods rose up and defeated Maya Danawa in a terrible war in which
even the demon was killed. But Maya Danawa was
immortal, and he was able to live again, although

changed. The demon's

spirit migrated to a coconut


on the slopes of the great mountain Gunung Agung. Then, after the gods had blessed this
flower, twins arose from it, a boy and a girl. These
two married and had twins. The second generation

flower,

Demons of Bali

95

did the same. Finally there were seven generations


of royal twins who all became kings and queens.
The seventh-generation twin boy refused to marry
his ugly sister, choosing instead a girl dancer. This
break in the royal line brought turmoil. The
disobedient twin was gifted with magical powers:
he could have his head cut oflF, and he could pick

up and put it back on again. One fatal day when


he was practicing his magic, his head fell into the
river and was lost. To replace it the head was cut
from a pig and placed upon the king's shoulders.
No one seemed to notice the diflFerence, perhaps
because henceforth, the king lived in a high tower
and forbade his subjects to look upward. But a
small child saw him and spread the news about the
pigheaded king.
In a temple in Pedjeng, the home of Maya
Danawa, there is a great bronze drum which the
it

Here they bring oflFerings to


propitiate both the good and the evil, for they consider their world to be in harmony when these two
Balinese revere.

contending factors are in proper balance. Good,


which comes from the gods, brings health, cleanliness, luck, and fertility; evil beings bring ill health,
misfortune, and disharmony. The demons include
the harmless rakshasas, who are giants and ghuls,
and kalas and butas, huge, sometimes amorphous,
terrifying creatures; they haunt the low places
the seashore, the dark forests, cemeteries, and

One

of the

demon

faces

on the Pedjeng temple drum

in

Bah

Demons of Bali
crossroads.

creatures

97

The only aim of these vile, fearsome


is to make human beings miserable.

They cause illness and pollute everything they


touch. They can even go into people's bodies and
turn them into idiots.
To keep the gods happy, the Balinese oflFer
tempting gifts on beautiful altars; they give money,
chicken, fruitcakes, flowers, pigs, rice, and cakes.
For the devils, however, it is diff'erent: the people
ofi'er them only the foulest half-decayed food.
Where the common populace can eat or take
home leftovers of the ofi^erings to the gods, the
remnants given to the devils are eaten only by wild

animals and dogs.


So as not to displease the demons too much, however, certain days are set aside for special pleasant
ofi'erings. Trays of flowers, food, and money are set
out for them. The Balinese try to avoid angering
the butas, for when aroused these demons can
cause sickness, failing crops, and many other disasters to the people.
Once a year the Balinese celebrate at a festival
which purifies the whole island of Bali and cleanses
it from all evil spirits. This fete, the Nyepi, comes
in the spring, when the rains have quit pouring
from the skies, and when the Lord of Hell has
chased the devils from Hades, down to Bali. Nyepi
is a riotous, exciting time. During the morning of
the first day, the Balinese hold cockfights accom-

98

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

panied by gambling, for they believe that the land


is purified if blood is spilled. The cockfights are
raucous, tense afi'airs, with the winners taking all.
Having fought to the death, the poor cocks are
taken home to be cooked and eaten.
Before sunset the devils have to be lured to the
ofi'erings and then cast out by the priests of the
village. Tall altars are filled with offerings, one of
which is dedicated to the kalas, the evil gods. The
gifts are stacked in the center: samples of all the
seeds and fruits that grow on the island nestled in
banana leaves; pieces of flesh from every type of
domestic and wild animal; all kinds of food and
strong drink. These are carefully arranged in the
shape of a star, and certain magic colors a white
goose, a black goat, a yellow calf, a red dog are

placed at the points of the star. Colored rice and


chickens with five-colored feathers are carefully
arranged in patterns.
Opposite the ofi'erings the priests chant prayers
and ring bells to get rid of the devils who are attracted to the ofi'ering. Drums hollowed from tree
trunks beat out the rhythm; firecrackers explode

everywhere; the people mill about, their faces and


bodies painted. Carrying torches, they parade and
beat drums and tin cans and anything that will
clatter,'all the time shouting, ''Megedi! Megedi!"
(''Get out! Get out!") They do everything possible
to scare away the butas, until long past midnight.

J/

A Balinese demon or
become

ill

and crops

buta who,
to fail

when

aroused, will cause people to

100

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

The next

day, exhausted, but exalted at having


cleansed the island of the devils, all Balinese observe a day of silence. They go back to the serenity

who now

are again supreme over the


But the people are ever watchful, for
the butas and kalas and all the myriad other demons and devils are sure to return, little by little.
of their gods

island of Bali.

12.

Some Tales of Summoning

OR Exorcising Demons

For centuries men have summoned the spirits,


whether afreet's, djinn, or the devils of many lands.

Men have also tried to drive outexorcise all the


demons and

devils. In Assyria

and Babylonia, over

2000 years before the birth of Christ, the ancients


had devised systems and rituals for expelling the
evil.

The ashakku, the demons who caused

all

kinds of disease, for example, could be driven out

by two methods

but both had to be used.


101

102

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

was an appeal to the gods and goddesses (who had the power to make the demons
leave); second, there was the performance of certain magical rites, which would drive the demon
First there

out of a person's body,

The
mands

if

the gods willed

it.

exorcist appealed to the gods in his


for the

demon

com-

to depart:

Away, away, far away, far away.


Be ashamed, be ashamed! Fly, fly away!
Turn about, go away, far away.
May your evil like the smoke mount to heaven!
Out of my body away,
By Ea, the lord of the universe, be ye forsworn,
.

By the

fire-god,

who consumes you be

ye

forsworn.

From my body be ye

restrained!

The plea to the gods was accompanied by rites


involving water and fire. One method was to sprinbody of the victim with water taken from
the sacred Euphrates or the Tigris or from ground
springs. As the body was sprinkled the priest
chanted:

kle the

With pure, clear water,


With bright, shining water,
Seven times and again seven times.
Sprinkle, purify, cleanse!

Some Tales of Summoning

103

May the evil Rabisyu depart!


May he step to one side!
.

demon was made of


bronze and put on a Uttle
boat, which was set afloat in water, with the plea
that as the image went, so might the evil spirit
depart. The boat was then capsized, and the image
sank or was thrown into the water.
The second element used in rituals to exorcise
the demon was fire. The priests made an image of
the demon and threw it into the fire, exhorting:
In other cases an image of a

pitch, clay, dough, or

images I burn,
The images of the Utukku, Shedu, Rabisu,
I

raise the torch, their

Etimmu
Of Labartu, Labasu, Akhkhazu,
Of Lilu, Lilit and maid of Lilu,
And all evil that seizes men.
Tremble, melt and dissolve,
Your smoke rise to heaven.
Your limbs may the sun-god destroy.

When

it was not considered necessary to make


images, palm cones, seeds, bits of wool, and dates
were thrown into the fire to the accompaniment of

a special

magic chant:

As the onion

peeled and thrown into the


Consumed in the flaming fire.
In a garden will never again be planted.
is

fire,

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

104

In furrow and ditch will never be imbedded,


Its

root will never again stick in the ground.

Its stalk

never grow, never see the

light of the

sun.

Will never

So

may

come on

the table of a god or king.

the curse, ban, pain and torture.

Sickness, aches, misdeed, sin,

wrong

transgression.

The

sickness in

my

body, in

my

flesh, in

my

muscles,

Be peeled

as this onion,

This day be burned in the flaming

May

the ban be removed,

The people

may

fire

see the light!

of these ancient lands

knew many

medicines and treatments for disease, but these


properties

mons

were directed

at driving out the de-

that caused the sickness. They made proper


medicinal use of herbs (along with religious and
magical incantations), but they did not believe the
herbs alone aflFected a cure; rather, they thought
that their demons did not like the smell or taste of
those particular herbs and thus left the body. If a
remedy for stomach trouble caused vomiting
that was how the demon escaped the body.
All kinds of noxious substances were given for
illness
rotten food, fat, earth, crushed bones,
urine, excrement of animals and human beings.
These vile potions were supposed to distress the

Some Tales of Summoning

105

demons so that they would fly out of the bodies into


more pleasant surroundings.
Sometimes sweet, good substances were given
the patient, to appease the demons and coax them
Thus

to leave.

and milk were often


The exorcistpriest would rub a victim
with oil, at the same time chanting a special foroil,

butter,

used.

mula:

Pure oil, shining oil, brilliant oil.


which makes the god shine,
Oil which mollifies the muscles of man.
Oil

The

oil

of Ea's incantation

pour over thee; with the healing oil,


Granted by Ea for easing [pain] I rub thee;
I

Oil of

life I

give thee;

Through the incantation

of Ea, the lord of

Eridu,
I

will drive the sickness


aflflicted

with which thou art

out of thee.

These ancients used amulets to ward oflF the demons and persuade them to leave. The most common amulets in Babylonia and Assyria were stones
which were given magical powers. These were
strung on white, black, or red lengths of wool, tied
together, and hung about the neck, or fastened
around the hands, feet, or head.
By the time of King Solomon a whole litany of
incantations and suppHcations had been devel-

106

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

But King
Solomon's mastery of such magic captured the
imagination of the people so that tales of his control of the demons of the Infernal Regions and of
the elements became legendary for hundreds of
years after his death, especially during the Middle
Ages. His methods and his exploits were studied
throughout Europe. They became part of the folklore of China and were well known in India and in
the Arab-speaking lands. (The Koran tells that the
djinn worked under Solomon's supervision.)

oped throughout the

civilized world.

Solomon became known as the first lord of the


occult both in the Orient and in the West. Old men
told tales about his seal and lamp, and his magic
cauldron, and about how his throne was guarded
by sculptured lions that could shriek and howl.
They said he owned a magic carpet that could
transport huge armies through the air. They believed he knew the language of birds and beasts,
that he was master of the demons whom he subdued with his magic ring, and that he could seal
demons in urns, and bury them in the ground.
Solomon had subdued the djinn so that they
dined with him each day, seated at iron tables. But
even Solomon was wary and always drank out of
crystal cups so he could watch the demons even as
he drank. (If his view was obscured for a moment
the demons stuck out their tongues at him in
scorn.) These djinn, ordered by Solomon and work-

Some Tales of Summoning

107

ing under the chief demon Asmodeus, built the


great temple at Jerusalem. Asmodeus brought Sha-

worm, to Solomon, and through the use


worm, which was no bigger than a barley
grain (and had been created in the twilight of the
Friday in the week of Creation), the temple was

mir, a tiny
of this

without the use of tools.


King Solomon's celebrated magic carpet was
sixty miles long and sixty miles wide. It was made
of green silk, interwoven with gold, and heavy
with rich and intricate designs. An entire army was
carried aloft on it, along with slaves and stables for
horses and camels. At the command of the King,
the carpet appeared at the city gates; Solomon
alighted, and the wind raised the carpet and carried it along to wherever King Solomon wanted to
go. Thousands of birds flew over the carpet to probuilt

King from the sun.


Tales of King Solomon's relationship with the
demons came down in the grimoires (magic manutect the

which were purported to be the testaments of


Solomon. These writings of magical lore explained
how Solomon controlled the demons, and his Key
of Solomon became the source book for all medieval magic. It was used by sorcerers and, as recently as the seventeenth century, by scholars and
als)

physicians, too.

The grimoire, for example, told of the "great


invocation of the spirits with whom you wish to

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

108

make a Pact," which threatened, cajoled, and commanded the demons:


Obey promptly, or you will be tortured eternally. ... So come forth instanter! Or I shall torture
.

you endlessly by the force of these powerful words


of the Key: Agion, Telagram, vacheon stimulamaton y ezpares retragrammaton oryoram irion esytion existion eryona onera brasim moym messias
soter Emanuel Saboot Adonai, te adoro et invoco.

To banish a demon attempting to extract human


hearts, King Solomon used the following incantation:

Lofaham,
Solomon,
lyouel,

lyosenaoui.

Many

other grimoires were written through the


is a record of the incantations to
invoke demons and to send them away.
The Greeks called the demons thus:
ages, so there

invoke you, holy ones, mighty, majestic, glorious

and earth-born, mighty archdeguardians of secrets, captains of the hosts

luminaries, holy

mons:
of hell

omnipotent, holy, invincible, perform

my commands.

Mystic figures from the


book of magical lore

title

page of the Grimoire of Honorius, a

no

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

The ancient Hebrews used

demon

these lines to have a

shrink away:

Shabriri
Briri
Riri
Iri

Ri

ancient times until the present, summoning the devil was an integral part of witchcraft.
Witches were common early in the Christian era,

From

but the height of the persecution and punishment


of witches in Europe was not reached until the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the furor
lasted until the seventeenth century. In proving
witchcraft at the thousands of trials held then, the
authorities always looked for signs of the pact with
the devil, a necessary part of being a witch. As far
back as the grimoire of King Solomon, there were
directions for making the pact with demons:

When you want


principal

to

demons

make your
.

pact with one of the


you will begin, on the evening

before the pact, by cutting, with a

new

knife that

has never been used, a wild nut-tree twig that has

never borne fruit and that is like the thundering


rod ... at the exact moment that the sun appears

on our horizon.
This being done, you will fortify yourself with a

This sixteenth-century ItaHan illustration shows the devil carrying


oflF a witch to help him in his evil enterprises

blood stone and consecrated candles, and you will

then choose a spot for the operation where nobody


can disturb you. You may even make the pact in a
secluded chamber or in a hut of some old ruined
castle, because the demon has the power of transporting whatever treasure he pleases to that spot.
After which, you will trace a triangle with your
blood stone, and that only the first time that you

make your
on the

pact.

Then you

side, placing

will set the

two candles

name

of Jesus be-

the sacred

hind, to prevent the

spirits

from

inflicting

any

harm on you.
Then you will stand in the middle of the triangle,
with the mystic wand in your hand, with the great

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

112

invocation to the demon,

the request that you

want to make, with the pact and the dismissal of


the demon.
Having performed scrupulously all that is indicated, you will begin to recite the
invoca.

tion.

Demons were very real to the peoples of all ages,


including those times closely associated with Christianity. A popular story during the Middle Ages

shows how deeply even the devout were convinced of demonic reality. One saint, in all seriousness, was called upon to expel a devil from the
interior of a nun. She had inadvertently swallowed
the devil while eating her salad, for who could

know the demon would be resting on


leaf? The devil, when questioned about

a lettuce
his inges-

complained churHshly. "What


have done?" he asked. "I was sitting on the
and she ate me."

tion into the nun,

could
leaf,

The

early Christian Fathers described in detail

devils who appeared in human form, and as Rons,


leopards, bulls, bears, horses, wolves, snakes, and
scorpions. Their grimoires described each devil's

appearance, so that a magician would know when


the one right for a specific purpose appeared.
There was some confusion of course, because not
all the authorities agreed. This has always been so
in history the magician or exorcist had to make

and follow

his choices.

In medieval demonology, demons were frequently represented as


animals or as part human, part animal creatures

During the Middle Ages, people in various counfound literally hundreds of methods for summoning the devil. The devils were almost always
summoned for specific purposes, among the most
popular of which was the finding of treasure. Some
devils were irascible by nature, but they could be
cooperative, given their price. For curiosity-seekers, however, they were reputed to be deadly.
Here is one recipe (from the grimoire Red
Dragon) for summoning the devil:
tries

114

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Take

a black

hen and

seize

not emit a sound. Carry

by the throat

so

to a crossroads

it

can

and at
draw a

[when the clock strikes]


on the ground with a rod of cypress. [The
cypress is an emblem of death.] Stand in the circle
you have made, and willing your magical powers to
work to the utmost, tear the live bird in two with
your hands, at the same time saying, Euphas Meta-

exactly midnight
^.

it

it

circle

Then turn to the east,


to come to you, and he will

him, frugativi et apellavi.

and command the devil


come.

The

sorcerers

in

Greek and Roman times

chanted a strange rhythm, the sounds going up


and down like the howling of a hungry wolf. The
magicians spoke strange words, now roaring them,
now recessing them, but never speaking flatly
always with that same definite rhythm.
In the Grimoire of Pope Honorius (falsely attributed to either Pope Honorius II, in the twelfth
century, or Pope Honorius III, in the thirteenth
century, but authored in the fourteenth century
by a master of black magic named Honorius) there
is an evocation for a recalcitrant demo n:
^
you do not obey promptly and without tarrying, I will shortly increase your torments for a thousand years in hell. I constrain you therefore to appear here in comely human shape, by the Most
High Names of God, Hain, Lon, Hilay, Sabaoth,
If

Some Tales -OF -Summoning

115

Helim, Radisha, Ledieha, Adonay, Jehova, Yah,

Tetragrammaton, Sadai, Messias, Agios, Ischyros,


Emmanuel, Agla, Jesus Who is Alpha and Omega,
the Beginning and the End, that you be justly established in the fire, having no power to reside,
habit or abide in this place henceforth; and I require your doom by the virtue of the said names,
to wit, that St. Michael drive you to the uttermost
of the infernal abyss, in the

Name

of the Father,

and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. So be

it.

one had trouble conjuring up a demon, there^


were solutions to the problem. A manuscript in the
If

British

Museum gives a conjuration for compelling


demon to appear. First, build a fire of

an obstinate

brimstone, dried manure, and any other stinking


material; then write the demon's name on clean
parchment and burn it in the fire, while praying to
God to curse the disobedient demon. The magician must turn to the powers of hell and speak
forcefully:

Oh, thou most puissant prince Rhadamanthus,


which dost punish in thy prison of perpetual perplexity the disobedient devils of hell, and also the

men

dying in dreadful despair, I


conjure, bind and charge thee by Lucifer, Belsabub, Santhanas, Jauconill and by their power,
grisly ghosts of

and by the homage thou owest unto them, and also


I charge thee by the triple crown of Cerberus his

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

116

head, by Stix and Phlegiton, by your fellow and


private devil Baranter, that you do torment and

punish

this

disobedient N. until you

make him

my sight and obey my will and

come corporally to
commandments in whatsoever I shall charge
command him to do fiat. fiat. fiat. Amen.

or

Greek mythology Rhadamanthus was one of


the judges of the lower regions. Cerberus was the
three-headed dog which guarded the gate of
Hades (hell). The underworld's main river was the
Styx, which flowed around it seven times. Phlegethon was another lower region river, but it was
made of flames instead of water. Fiat and amen
meant "let it be so."
In

In a celebrated court case in fifteenth-century

England, a jury was called to decide a case in


which two men were charged with summoning an
evil spirit and promising to sacrifice a Christian to

demon

if it led them to buried treasure. The


did as instructed, and the men found the
treasure more than 100 shillings; but they were

this

spirit

unwilling to keep their bargain with the devil, and


they cheated. They took a cock, baptized it with a
Christian name, and then burned the bird as an
oflFering to the devil. The case did not record what
punishment the devil wrought upon the men, but
they were tried and convicted by their peers.

similar case occurred in 1841,

when

treasure-

Some Tales of Summoning

117

hunters in Italy murdered a boy and sacrificed him


to a demon who had promised to find buried treasure for them. As recently as 1865 in England, the
Manchester police came across a very practical incantation to the devil, when searching the house of
John Rhodes, a known astrologer and magician

who was also suspected by the authorities of telling


^^

fortunes.
/

I adjure and command you, yet strong,


mighty
and most powerful spirits who are rulers of this day
and hour, that ye obey me in this my cause of

placing

my

husband

former situation under


I adjure you to
^banish all his enemies out of his way, and to make
them crouch in humiliation unto him and acknowl(edge all the wrongs they have done unto him, and
T bind you by the Name of Almighty God, and by
our Lord Jesus Christ and by His Precious Blood,
and on pain of everlasting damnation, that your

the Trent Brewery

labour for

in his

Company, and

him and complete and accomplish the

my will and desire, and not depart


whole of this my will and desire be
fulfilled, and when you have accomplished the
whole of these my commands you shall be released
from all these bonds and demands, and this I guarantee through the Blood of the Redeemer and on
pain of my future happiness. Let all Angels praise
whole of

this

until the

Lord.

Amen.

118

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

The Magistrate, Mr.

TaflFord, sent John

Rhodes

to

prison for seven days.

A demon

or devil could act in

two ways

first,

through the commands of the sorcerer or witch


who had pledged himself (or herself) to him with
a pact; second, as an independent creature who
desired to cause disease, death, and harm, or who
decided to invade a human body. What is called

demoniac possession was the result in either case.


Hundreds of cases of demoniac possession were
reported during the height of the antiwitchcraft
persecutions in Europe and New England. One of
the earliest cases of possession in a convent occurred in France in 1491, among the Augustinian
nuns at Quesnoy-le-comte, near Cambrai. One
young nun, Jeanne Potier, a gentle, quiet girl, was
suddenly overtaken by a great passion for the
confessor, who was understandably upset by the

new situation. He withdrew in confusion,


and an elderly priest took over for him. But things
grew worse. Jeanne Potier began to rave wildly, to
shriek blasphemies and obscenities, to sing bawdy
songs, which she could not have learned in her
secluded life. When anyone sought to restrain her,
she showed tremendous strength in resisting. Soon
other nuns became similarly afflicted, and there
was panic and pandemonium in the cloister. Obviously, said the learned fathers, the nuns were possessed by demons. Someone discovered that the
demons afflicting the nuns were Tahu, Gron, and
strange

Some Tales of Summoning


Gorgias.

Monks and

119

came from all over the


countryside to try to exorcise these demons, but to
no avail. The rantings and ravings and bawdy songs
echoed through the halls until finally the Bishop of
friars

Cambrai, Monsignor Henry de Bughes, was called,


and he came to the convent amid much pomp and
ceremony. On the second Sunday after Easter he
assisted at High Mass and blessed the whole cloister. Then he sought out the possessed
nuns and
exorcised them with prayer and exhortation, and
managed to rid all the nuns of demons except Sister Jeanne Potier, whom he directed to be kept
in
strict seclusion until she too showed signs of
recovery. Order, at last, was restored to the convent.
In New England, a strange case occurred at Groton in 1671, when a young girl, Elizabeth Knap,
began acting very peculiarly. Sometimes she wept,

sometimes she laughed, sometimes she even


made violent motions, and her body
writhed as she called out "Money, money." That
was in October. One day in November her tongue
roared. She

got stuck to the roof of her mouth in a semicircle,


and no one could bring it down. They took her to
doctors. It was no help. Disheveled, she skipped
about the house yeUing like a wild girl. In December the demon in her began to speak up. Although
she did not move her lips, the words could be

heard: the demon was speaking, ranting against


the good pastor and shouting blasphemies against
the Church. Then Elizabeth was speechless for a

Demoniacal attack of hystero-epiliptic fit, showing classic symptoms


of contortion, tearing of the garments, lacerating the body, and
extending the tongue

Some Tales of Summoning


while, but the

121

came

again, only this time the


declared that one of her neighbors was the
cause of her behavior. No one could believe it, for
this neighbor was a very holy and good woman,
who often came to visit Elizabeth and prayed for
her in her affliction. After this outburst Elizabeth
suddenly had a turn for the better and told her
confessor that Satan had tricked her into accusing
her good neighbor. The neighbor was absolved,
and the priest prayed over Elizabeth. With this,
the torments of the devil ceased, and the girl
resumed her normal behavior.
fits

girl

Missionaries in China in the nineteenth century


reported many cases of demon possession. One
such case occurred in the village of Sa-wo in June,

1882. In this village lived a family of the clan of

Chu, who had two sons, Wen-heng and Wen-fa.


The father arranged with the family Li that Wen-fa
would marry one of their daughters, and he
brought the girl into the Chu household to Hve.
But the future mother-in-law Chu treated the Li
girl shamefully, and the Li girl grew so unhappy
that after a few weeks she drowned herself. The Li
family was ashamed, and little was heard of them
for a long time. Then another wife was secured for
Wen-fa some years later, from a family named
Yang. But this time the young woman remained in
her own household until time for the marriage.
A few days before the marriage this girl became

122

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

wondered if her illness was


They soon found out. On
the night after the wedding ceremony when the
guests had left and the happy couple were taken to
sick,

and the

families

caused by an evil

spirit.

their quarters to drink wine together, as was the


custom, the bride was seized by a fit of rage. In the
voice of the dead Li girl, she began to berate Wenfa. Then in a fury she seized him by the throat,

shouting, "You never treated me in this fashion;


you never gave me wine to drink. My life in this
family was very wretched."
The new husband cried out for help; the family
came running to his assistance and quieted the
new wife. After a few days' rest she seemed to

recover.

Shortly afterward, however, the wife of the

elder brother, Wen-heng, was similarly afi'ected


and also assumed the voice of the dead girl. Wen-

heng,

who was

a Christian,

was distraught.

He

to another Christian, Chu wen yuen, and


asked him to come and cast out the demon in the
name of Christ. Chu wen yuen agreed, and in the

went

middle of one afternoon, accompanied by a number of other Christians, he went to the house
where he was greeted by a large crowd. News of
the strange occurrences had spread through the
village.

Chu wen yuen met with the women of the


family and began to address the devil: "You have

Some Tales of Summoning

123

no right to come here to trouble this family, and


we have come here to insist on your leaving."

The

devil replied: "I will leave,

will leave."

But it did not. So the Christians knelt down and


prayed for God's help, and when they arose both
women were well and normal. The Christians then

went away.
Suddenly that same day, Wen-heng came running into the room to announce that Wen-fa was
now possessed by the demon and had lost consciousness. This posed a difficult problem, for Wenfa was not a Christian, and the friends of Chu wen
yuen had departed. However, he had promised he
would come back later if necessary, and Wen-fa
did need help.

So Chu wen yuen returned to the house that


evening. Again a great crowd surrounded the
house, and the people questioned the devil, who
stated that he was a friend of Wen-fa and had come
to visit him.
"Where do you come from?" they asked the
devil.

"My home

southwest of here."
The people continued: "It seems that you are a
friend of Wen-fa. How do you like these Christians? Are they your friends, too?"
"No," the devil answered, "they are far from
being my friends."
is

124

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Wen-fa's mother then asked: "Why do you not


take possession of me instead of Wen-fa?"
The devil replied: "Oh, everyone has his afiBnities and preferences; we do as we please."
On entering the house Chu wen yuen found that

Wen-fa was truly possessed, rolling and tossing


about on his bed, and, worse, the two women were
again possessed. Now came a long prayer session,
and when the three arose, they were normal again

and had absolutely no recollection of

their actions

while possessed.
The next day when Wen-fa went to the village
square, he again fell unconscious, and his friends
feared he was dead. They ran to get guns and
swords (Chinese demons hate and fear swords) and
shouted and waved the weapons about to frighten
the demon away. Fearing that Wen-fa would die,
his friends dragged him to the chapel in the village. Again he fell down, but this time, in the
chapel. Wen-fa arose, perfectly himself again, and
asked what had happened.
After this Wen-fa remained well and healthy,
and all the villagers, including Wen-fa, acknowledged the power of Christianity to cast out evil
spirits.

Demons not only have

the power to possess people, but they can also persecute them. One such
case that received wide attention occurred in the
seventeenth century in France, concerning S. Jean

Some Tales of Summoning


Baptiste

125

Vianney, an honored and holy cure

(priest).

Father Jean Baptiste was preparing to retire for


the night around nine o'clock when he heard three
loud knocks on the door of the house, as though
someone was beating on it with a club. He opened
the window.

"Who is there?" he called.


No answer came, and in the moonlight

the snow
had fallen, not a footprint to be
seen. The cure went to bed, but then heard noises
on the staircase that led to his room. His first
thought was that a burglar was trying to steal some

was

as

pure

as

of the church's

it

new vestments

or the rich gilded

more happened, and the


frightened priest went to sleep. However, on following nights he took the precaution of having the
village blacksmith come and sleep in the room adjoining his own. The village blacksmith was a
strong man, and for their protection he brought a
gun with him. At midnight on the first night of the
blacksmith's stay suddenly all the furniture flew
about the room, there was the sound of crashing
candlesticks, but nothing

and wailing, and the blacksmith felt sure the whole


building would tumble. He and the priest lit the
rooms and searched, but they found nothing.

The

devilish noises continued night after night.


chairs were pulled across the bare

Sometimes

floorboards,

and the dishes

in the kitchen

thrown

126

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

about. At other times the sounds were apparently


those of a carpenter: sawing, hammering, planing
of boards. By now S. Jean Baptiste was convinced
that the devil was persecuting him, and he gave
the devil a name: Grappin. He prayed, and said

nothing about his troubles. Yet soon the village


people were gossiping, especially after the night
the curtains of the priest's canopy bed burst into
flame when no candle or fire had been near them.
A few months later the time came for a meeting
of local clergymen held regularly at the parish;
they had heard of the "hauntings" of the demon,
and teased the cure about them, pointing out that
they were in reality just the result of "hallucinations, dreamings, and delusions." The other clergymen laughed and chided the priest for believing in
Grappin. 'The presbytery [priest's house] is nothing but an old barn without order or arrangement.
The doors slam, the boards creak, the rats hold
high carnival there, for they play their pranks
night and day and you think you are persecuted by
the devil."
"Come, dear friend," they urged him, "behave
like other people, eat more and all this Satanic
phantasmagoria will stop soon enough."
After dinner all the priests went to bed; then
came midnight. As the clock struck twelve, enormous noises shook the house. Windows rattled,
shutters flew back, doors opened, the walls trembled, and footsteps sounded up and down the stair-

Some Tales of Summoning


case. All of the

doubting

visitor-priests

were

127

fright-

ened. They dressed hastily and ran from their


rooms. Father Jean Baptiste was calm. He assured
his friends that the occurrence was nothing
more
than usual the demon Grappin. From that time
forth, the clergymen did not jest about persecution
by the devil.

The good cure was plagued during

the next

by these noisy activities, but never


again was he doubted about the visitations of the
demon. He endured them stoically as a penance
levied by God for his sins, without complaint or
thirty years

fear. Finally,

the torments ended and he was at


peace with himself. Six months later Father Jean
Baptiste died, a happy man.

Across the Atlantic Ocean at this time, the


colony in Massachusetts knew about many cases of
evil spirits infesting houses. One of the
most
flagrant attacks by the demons occurred in the
house of William Morse of Newberry in 1679. William Morse kept a diary of the strange happenings.
On December 3, during the night he and his wife
heard a sound like the beating of sticks and throwing of stones on the roof of the house. Morse got
out
of bed, but could find nothing. A short time later,
at midnight, the Morses heard a hog grunting
and
squealing. This time when Morse got up he actually saw a hog in the house. No door was
open, and
when he opened the front door the hog ran out.
In days following, the Morses encountered the

128

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

bizarre time and again. Bedsteads rose from the


floor; a long staS* danced around the room; chairs

flew about. When the family sat down to supper,


ashes from the hearth blew into their food

thrown by demons, they said. A three-pound stone


landed on William Morse's stomach while he was
in bed. On January 26, as Morse was writing, his
inkhorn was snatched away from the table and
dropped out of the air down by the fire. Ashes blew

up in his face and on his clothes; he was hit on the


head with a shoe. In bed the next night he was
pulled by the hair of his head and by his beard.
Another night Morse and his wife both felt something pricking their shins and found that someone
had put knitting needles and sharp-pointed sticks
in their bed. When Mrs. Morse went to milk the
cow, something struck her on the head; at that
moment an iron hammer flew up at Morse and hit
him on the back. A grandson who was staying with
them was thrown about the room and on three
difi'erent occasions was thrown into the fire; he was
pricked by knives and forks and was struck dumb
for awhile. Soon the boy could only make noises
like a dog and a hen. The grandson went from bad
to worse. He began to roar, and he ate ashes, sticks,
and wood.
During all this time of persecution the devil did
not appear to the Morses in any visible shape;
sometimes the Morses thought they had him as

Some Tales of Summoning

129

they struck out, but the devil pulled away. The


did not speak, but one night the Morses
heard a scraping on the floor and then a drumming, followed by a voice, singing, "Revenge! Revenge! Sweet is Revenge!" The frightened Morses
called upon God and prayed. Then, suddenly they
heard the words: "Alas! me knock no more! me
knock no more!" These phrases were repeated six
times, and therewith the devil departed. Peace
returned to the household, and the family was free
again from persecution.

demon

The Nature of Demons


AND Witchcraft
13.

One of the greatest experts on demons was Nicolas


Remy, who,

Duke

as

Privy Councillor to the French

of Lorraine in the sixteenth century,

exam-

ined every case and trial for sorcery in the duchy.


He was called the "scourge of witches," an apt
epithet, for over nine hundred persons were put to
death for witchcraft as a result of trials he conducted. By interrogating the witches, he became
very familiar with the nature and habits of the
demons who were responsible for the dreadful activities

130

of these sorcerers,

and he grew

so

famous

The Nature of Demons and Witchcraft


that his book, Demonolatry,

became

131

a respected

classic in the field.

Remy's accounts showed that demons can make


for themselves any kind of body they wish, according to their particular purpose; the difi'erent shapes
and appearances are limitless. They make their
bodies sometimes from fire and sometimes from
air;

they can compress themselves into the smallest

^it

Nicholas
trials in

Remy of Lorraine, who presided at over 900 witchcraft


the sixteenth century

132

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

of shapes or

expand

into those of

tremendous

size.

They can appear as women, as men, or as any kind


of animal. They can make any kind of sound they
wish: they can roar like lions or bark like dogs.

woman

One

when her "little Master"


sometimes he came in the
shape of a bird flying in the window, and at other
times as a mouse. Another woman said he appeared to her in the shape of a black dog, and still
another that he was in the likeness of a crab. Often
he was in the form of a cat, but he most readily took
the shape of a man, for that made conversations
and meetings with women less conspicuous. But
these were not the shapes of normal men; the demon in human form either had an ugly face, or the
hands and feet were distorted and hooked with
claws, or the opening of the mouth was wide and
deep and always gave ofi* a sulphurous smell. One
woman claimed that she had sometimes seen her
demon appear without a head, or with one foot
testified

that

visited her in prison,

missing.

Remy, whatever shape the demons


never successfully quite match
the human form, so as to be undetected. The same
According

to

took, they could

true about their speech: they could not perfectly


imitate the human voice. One demon spoke as if

is

his voice

came from

a jar or a cracked pitcher;

another in a voice so confused, muffled, and feeble


that it was hard to understand; and another in

The Nature er Demons and Witchcraft

1^

Some demons gave utterances that


sounded like harsh, thin hissing.
In Remy's time it was acknowledged by the
Church that when demons attacked men on earth
they were not mere empty phantoms of fancy, but
they assumed tangible bodies and appeared
openly. On first approach to a man or woman the

whispers.

demons preferred

to converse, not to cause terror

by any unusual appearance. Therefore they often


took the shape of a man of substance, and wore
long black cloaks, as did honored men. (The cloak
could also serve to conceal clawed feet and a tail.)
At the Remy witch trials the demon was vari-

man in all proportions, saving that he had cloven feet," "a man apparelled in
a suit of black, tied with silk,'' a man "clad in a
ously described: "like a

gown with

upon

head." Black
seemed to be the favorite color, a symbol for black
deeds. It was after the initial meetings, when the
demons felt they had gained the human beings'
confidence, that they changed themselves into
diS'erent animals. When they went traveling with
anyone, they most often took the form of a dog, for
a dog would not be likely to arouse suspicion. Such
was the case of an Italian named Andrea, tried in
1548, who led a blind red dog about wherever he
went. The dog would tell him everyone's secrets.
In France, a man named Didier Finance kept his
dog curled around his feet whenever he sat down

black

a black hat

his

134

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

He

used to reach down secretly with his hand and take poison from the dog's
collar, which he sprinkled on the food of anyone he
chose to kill.
When one of the demons described by Remy
had to transport a witch to a meeting of witches,
he would change into a horse, for that was the
at a

meal with

fastest

way

others.

of getting there.

When

the

demon had

witch and there were


other people present, he took the form of a little
fly and buzzed around the witch's ear, whispering.
Claudine Simonette, convicted of witchcraft in
September, 1588, said she saw the demon in the
shape of a fly as she was being led to prison, and he
warned her not to confess to any guilt no matter
what the tortures were. If she did, she would receive the cruelest of punishments, while if she held
her tongue she would soon escape unharmed.
The demon could be summoned in the shape of
a wolf when a man wanted to harm his neighbor's
flocks of sheep. Two Germans, Petrone Armentarious of Dalheim and Joannes Malrisius of Bad Sulze,
confessed to calling demons, and explained their
to give information to a

method. They tore up some grass and threw

it

against the trunk of a tree, saying certain words,

and immediately there came out of the tree a wolf

who

attacked the flocks.


Sometimes the demons took the shape of a bear.
(This was especially true when they were causing

The Nature of Demons and Witchcraft

135

storms.) Barbeline Rayel, convicted at Blainville,

France, in January, 1587, said she saw the demons


as monstrous howling bears who dragged behind
them chains with cymbals and bells.
One of the most familiar shapes the demons assumed was that of a goat. They took on this form,
not when they did specific tasks for anyone, but
rather when they attended meetings or celebrations and wanted to be worshiped. The demon is
sure to be acknowledged as present when he has
the foul smell of the goat. Goats are protective and
like to attack and so do demons. Goats have a fierce
look and horns and seem to be the form most pleasing for the demon to assume when he wants some

honor from

his disciples.

The demon by nature

likes filth

and uncleanli-

ness and thus relishes the stench of the goat, just as


he enjoys being inside a dead body. If he is in a
living body, the

same

foul

odor emanates from

The demon also likes to give gifts that smell,


made from manure and dung, and at banquets he

him.

serves the decayed flesh of dead beasts. For the


most part, the demons have filthy old hags for ser-

Hands should never be washed, they


makes incantations inefi'ective.

vants.
this

Demons

say, for

promise their disciple anything,


and it is well known that they have great treasures
that have been dug out of the earth, or lie hidden
there. Yet they use their wealth only to lure people
will

Witches and demons, assuming various forms, dancing in a ring

be their followers; they never fulfill their promof riches. There was a man in Nuremberg,
Germany, in 1530 who was told by the demon
where a great treasure was hidden. The man dug
at the spot, and he found a vault, in which there
was a chest guarded by a black dog. When the man
to

ises

The Nature of Demons and Witchcraft


went

137

grab the chest, the vault collapsed and the


man was crushed to death. This was all seen by the
man's servants, who fled in terror.
to

Remy documents the fact that on September 30,


1586, a

woman, Sennel

of Armentieres, France,
was given a gift of money by the demon; when she
arrived home and opened her purse to count the

money, she found only bits and pieces of coal. The


same deception happened to Catharine of Metingow, only she found swine's dung in her purse.
Claude Morele (tried at Serre, Italy, December 3,
1586) found only the leaves of trees. Jeanne le Ban
(tried at Masmiinster,

the

demon

wrapped

in

France, 1585) testified that


had told her of a certain gold coin

paper

to

be found on a

specific road.

She found the paper, but when she got home

show the coin

to

to

her husband, she discovered not

gold, but a rust-colored stone which crumbled to


powder when she touched it.
Not only can the demons take any shape, talk in
a strange manner, lure with money, but they are

capable of branding those that they claim as


own. The devil's mark was often made on
witches by the talons of the demon, and on the spot
where the witch was so marked, no pain no matter how great could be felt. These marks played
an important part in the witch trials. Alexee (at
Blainville, France, January 16, 1587) said her mark
was on her forehead; Quirina Xallaea (Blainville,
also

their

138

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

February 25, 1587), on the back of her head; Dominique Euraea (Charmes, France, November 27,
1584), on the hip. The devil marked them at the
time that the witches were renouncing the Christian faith. The marks left scars on the skin, and the
proof of witchcraft guilt was given when a needle
was thrust into such a scar and no pain was felt, nor
a bit of blood seen. At Porrentruy, Germany, on
October 30, 1590, Claude Bogart was about to be
tortured, and her head had been shaved in preparation. Suddenly the torturer noticed a scar on the
top of her forehead. The judge ordered a pin to be
stuck deeply into the spot, and when it was, there
was no pain and no blood. The woman denied her
guilt in spite of the devil's mark, but after torture,
she admitted that the devil had scarred her.
Once the demons win over their converts, they
teach them the arts of witchcraft and provide
them with the material to carry out their evildoings.

The demon first gives them a fine powder, which


mild form (ashen or reddish color) can cause
sickness, and in potent form (black) can cause
death. The powder need not be put in food or
drink, but merely dusted on the intended victim.
The witches are also given a powder of a third
color (white) which they can use, if for some reason
(usually pity) they would like to undo the harm
they have done.
in

The Nature of Demons and Witchcraft


Claude

Fellet

139

Mazieres,

France,
November 9, 1584), Jeanne le Ban (Masmlinster,
France, January 3, 1585), and Colette Fischer (Gerbeviller, France, May 7, 1585) all testified as to the
properties and uses of such powders given to them
by the demons. The witches also have their wands
filled with the powder, for it is not always convenient to carry handfuls of it, and they use their
wands to strike down men or cattle that they wish
to

harm.
was said by

It

(tried

many

at

that the

demon was

responsible for the dreadful plague that scourged Milan,


Italy, in 1629-30. The disease was known as La
Pestedegli Untori, after the untori evildoers who

claimed that they had, at the devil's instigation,


collected the pus from the sores of plague-stricken
corpses and kept it in phials. The demon promised
them their own safety, but any person they
touched with the vile matter would be infected

and

die.

In Milan, Italy, one warm April morning when


the disease was at its height, it was discovered that
many of the doors and walls of houses were
smeared with thick matter from the pustules and
sores of the sick. The populace became frightened,
for the pestilence increased rapidly. The people
believed that witches were going about the city

smearing benches, handles of doors,

fruits, flowers,

and food with the deadly material. Hundreds of

140

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

witches (untori) were seized and condemned. After being tortured on the rack, one
barber named Mora confessed that he was in
league with the devil to infect all of Milan and that
he had smeared houses and various kinds of articles
in the city with the poisonous substance of the
plague. Whatever the cause, the plague ravaged
Milan, and many of the untori, rightly or wrongly,
were accused and killed for their deadly liaison
with the devil.
Not only did the demons cause harm to human
beings, or cause the witches to do such harm, but
they were violently opposed to nature itself. They
were the ones who caused hail and snow and whirling windstorms. Alexia Violaea at her trial told how
the demon gave her a fine powder for destroying
nature, and she sprinkled it over the fields. From
the powder arose so many caterpillars, locusts, and
other eating creatures that all the crops were
these

ruined. Another group of women tried in 1585-86


said that they had sprinkled the powder and that a

whole army of mice came forth and ate all the roots
of the crops.

The arrangements for evildoing are reciprocal


between witch and demon. In some cases the de-

mon

helps the witch accomplish an odious task,


such as in the case of Alexee Drigie (tried Haraucourt, France, 1586). Alexee was very jealous of a
shepherd's daughter and she wished to have her
die. Alexee's demon gave her a handful of fern to

The Nature of Demons and Witchcraft

141

on the path that the shepherd's daughter


most frequently used and assured her that though
others might travel the same path, only the shepherd's daughter would be harmed. It turned out
just as the demon had said. Out of all who passed
that way, only the shepherd's daughter died.
Sometimes, however, the witches do not dare to
commit a particular crime, and then they call upon
their demon with whom they have made a pact to
do the grisly deed for them. Nicole Morele (tried
scatter

Serre, Italy, January, 1587) said that at her request

the demon had sprinkled a black powder over the


horses of Nicolas Dominique as he was driving
them to a nearby spring and that the horses became suddenly and violently ill and soon afterward
died.

There were
which witches

hundreds of cases in
testified to wrongdoing, either to
their own misdeeds or those done at the instigation of the demons. As Nicolas Remy commented:

Away

with them, then, away with

that the talk of a pact

literally

all

who

say

between witches and de-

mere nonsense; for the facts themselves


give them the lie, and are attested and proved

mens

is

by the legitimate complaints of many men. But


some are so obstinate as to be unable to perceive this; they are such double fools that no
misfortune can bring them wisdom.

142

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

For Remy there was "no question but that there


are demons," and his detailed observations of their
habits and powers and their liaisons with witches
were instrumental in the continuation of the witch
purge and executions in Europe.
As Remy said of the witches in conclusion:
... I shall

not fear to proclaim freely and openly

my

all in my power to bring


namely, that their lives are
so notoriously befouled and polluted by so many

opinion of them, and to do


the very truth to

light:

prodigious lusts and


have no hesitation in saying
that they are justly to be subjected to every torture
and put to death in the flames; both that they may
expiate their crimes with a fitting punishment and
that its very awfulness may serve as an example
and a warning to others.

blasphemies,

sorceries,

flagrant crimes, that

14.

Demons, Devils,

AND DjiNN Today

full-leafed tree

towered

starkly over the corner

of a crossroads outside a village in Brazil, its outline


black against the night. Quietly a woman approached the tree, stared at it for minutes, then

broke into prayer.


"Oh, Exii. Exii of the crossroads! Exii of the
I need your help."
So began a supplication to the devil.

trees!

In spite of deep Christian religious belief, Brazilians for hundreds of years have been believers in

143

144

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

Church and belief


have long gone hand-in-hand. Exii
the devil is respected, feared, endured, exhorted,
and revered by thousands of Brazilians.
On this particular black night the woman had
come to ask Exu to save her home. Her landlady
had served her with eviction papers for no obvious
reason. Now the woman sought help from Exu. She
spoke softly to Exii at the tree by the crossroads
spiritualism. Here, the Catholic
in the devil

Left, a clay figure of Exii


the evil spirit of the macumba pantheon
and, right, his female counterpart modeled in iron

Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today


and

told

145

him the landlady was wrong and asked

make her

take back the papers.


I need you," she said. Then she
continued to speak, describing to Exii the present
she had for him a bottle of cachaga assuring
him that it was the very best sugarcane alcohol.
She opened the bottle and poured some of the
liquid into the ground at the base of the tree, still
talking to Exu. She urged him to drink. Slowly, she
erected six white candles in a circle around the
tree and lit one after the other, circling, telling Exii
that the papers she had with her were copies of the
landlady's legal papers. She placed the packet in
Exii to

"I believe in you.

the center of the burning circle and asked Exii to


read it and tell her what to do. She placed another
present for Exii an expensive cigar on top of
the legal papers, opened a box of matches, and put

them down beside it.


Then the woman turned from the

tree,

never

looking back, and walked along the dirt road home


to her village. Three days later the woman's landlady called to tell her she could stay in the house
as long as she liked.

Magic? Chance?
"Thank Exii!" shouted the woman.
Brazilians believe in spirits, both bad and good,
and they do not hesitate to call on them if they feel
the need. One popular belief about Exii holds that
when the two right-hand archangels of God were

146

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

odds and one of them was cast out of heaven into


hell, this archangel became the devil (Satan, or
Exu). The other archangel, who stayed with God,
was Jesus, or Oxala. At this time hell was full, for
many who had claimed allegiance to Exii had been
sent there. The remaining fallen angels, who could
only achieve forgiveness by doing good, and thus
earn their way back into heaven, were sent to
earth. All human beings, according to this belief,
were such fallen angels, and the score of their good
and bad deeds would be reckoned when they left
earth. After death, they could come back to earth
as spirits and mingle with living human beings.
at

The way

these spirits behaved depended on


whether they could ascend to heaven, or were
slated to stay on earth. So two forces were embattled, those of God (fesus/ Oxala) and those of the
devil (Satan/ Exu). The spirits of both existed on
earth to be called upon to do good or evil.
According to this scheme, Exu has many workers, but he is Lucifer, or chief, or King Exu.
Although Brazil is the largest Catholic nation in
the world (80,000,000 inhabitants all born Catholic), the thread of pagan spiritualism runs through

the daily lives of its people, as

it

does in other South

American countries. Under this mixed religion,


called macumba, the same worshipers who extol
Jesus and the Virgin Mary on Sundays appeal to the
pagan gods for cures, and even exhort the devil,

Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today


whether

it

147

be King Exii or one of

his minions. So
great are the legions of devils that can be summoned that a regular lore of rules exists.
Exu of the Closed Paths is a very popular devil

in Brazil.

To

close the paths for someone is to be


sure that everything goes wrong for him. He could
lose his job, or become ill; his wife could leave him,
or nothing will prosper for him. He will be un-

happy, but he

will

not

die.

Such was the case recently when a foreigner


who was residing in Brazil and having bad luck
witnessed an eerie, wild, night service where the
curse of the closed paths was to be lifted from him.
His description of the drum-beating, the candles,
the gyrating dancers, the shouting women, and the
cries to Exii are spine-tingling. Exu was represented by a woman dressed in a tattered blood-red
blouse and filthy red skirt. Her feet were bare. A
polished child's skull with a dead snake tied between the eye sockets hung from a gold chain

around her neck. She laughed loudly, spat out


food, and drank bottle after bottle of cachaga. She
smoked cigars and called out commands to the

who seemed possessed. Shouting to the


"Do you know what my name
is?
My name is Exii. I am the God of Evil! I can
kill you if I wish! Does that make you afraid?" Then
dancers

foreigner she asked:


.

she laughed and spat some of the whiskey in the


To the beating of drums and the

foreigner's face.

devil struggling with Saint Peter. Devils have always played a


part in man's religions

The

chanting of Exii, two mediums held the foreigner


between them. The exorcising was in process.
For ten minutes Exu chanted and sang, the
dancers danced, the drummers beat; then Exu announced the curse had been lifted and that it
would return twofold to the person who originated

Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today

149

it. The occurrences of the next days and weeks


proved to the foreigner that there was truth in
what Exu had foretold, and now, in the twentieth
century, he does indeed believe in the pagan spir-

its

of Brazil.

From

the beginning of recorded history,

man

has always believed in the supernatural, whether


pagan or Christian or non-Christian. The devil has

played an important role in religions of the world,


and though the intensity of the belief in him has
wavered through the centuries within various cultures, it is perhaps not surprising to find that now
in the 1970's there is a resurgence of interest in the
occult,
lief in

and more particularly a reaffirmation of bethe devil.

Only recently Pope Paul


of

all

VI, the religious leader

Catholics, publicly stated his concern that

Satan is very active these days, especially within


the Roman Catholic Church. From St. Peter's in
Rome, the Pope spoke out forcefully about this
devil, the "Prince of Darkness," arguing that "this
obscure and disturbing being really exists." He
called the devil "a perfidious and astute charmer
who manages to insinuate himself into us by the
way of the senses, of fantasy, of concupiscence, of
Utopian logic, of disorderly social contacts."
There were those within the Church, and those
outside of it who scofi'ed at the Pope's concern.
Someone foretold that this emphasis on the devil

sculpture of a devil on Notre

Dame

Cathedral in Paris

Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today

151

would bring only "bright and

profitable days for


the occult scientists, magicians and witches all celebrating the unexpected but authoritative return,
after many years, of His Highness, the Prince of
Darkness."

But there are many who would agree with the


Pope that the devil is "the tempter par excellence
... the secret sower of errors and misfortunes," and
even today churchmen everywhere are vitally
concerned with demonic works.
One famous case of possession by the devil (the
true story later

became the

basis

for

the im-

mensely popular novel, The Exorcist) occurred

in

1949, in Mount Ranier, Maryland. Here a fourteen-year-old boy was so possessed by the devil
that when sleeping his mattress slid across the

when

floor;

While these
mystifying events took place, strange noises were
heard.

priest

sitting, his chair tilted.

was called

in

by the

family.

He

confirmed the diagnosis of "possession" and sought


permission from his bishop to exorcise the devil.
The bishop granted permission, and the priest set
to work. He commanded the demon to depart

from the
I

b(

command

and

all

God

... I

you,

whoever you

are,

unclean

spirit,

of your associates obsessing this friend of

command

thee to obey in

all

these things

152

Demons, Devils, and Djinn

nor ever again in any manner to offend


ture of God. ...

this

crea/

DuringtKe exorcism the boy broke into a great


tantrum of cursing and screaming and he used
Latin phrases, a strange occurrence since he had
never studied Latin. These rites of exorcism were
performed repeatedly by the priest for a period of
two months. The devil was driven out, and the boy
never again suffered from "possession."
According to the Reverend Edmund G. Ryan,
S.J., a highly placed Catholic official at Georgetown
University in Washington, D.C., there can be
possession by the devil. In an interview which appeared in the Washington Post late in 1972, Fa-

Ryan said that "a demon or an evil force can


possess a body but cannot take over the soul, and
destroy free will." Symptoms of possession show
themselves as "spastic movements or hysterical
convulsions, loss of memory, occasional levitation,
ther

speaking in strange
strength,
tongues and understanding foreign languages."

extraordinary

However, the true sign of possession "would be


speaking against God, would be reviling God,
reviling things that are good."

Father Ryan accepts the fact that exorcism

is

acknowledged and approved by the Catholic


Church, and he describes exorcism as "the act of
driving out or warding off demons or evil spirits

Demons, Devils, and Djinn Today

153

from persons, places or things, that are believed


be possessed or infested by them, or are liable

become

to
to

victims or instruments of their malice.

nothing more than a prayer


to God, is sometimes made publicly, but always in
the name of the Church, and in the name of Christ,
to restrain the power of the demons over men and
.

Exorcism, really

is

things."

Demons, according

to Father Ryan, are "subject


the Catholic Church does not perform
exorcisms in its own name but in the name of
Christ." Demons are "spirits who have rejected
to

God and

God and remain in a state of alienation from Him


because they have made an irrevocable choice." In
non-Christian countries. Father Ryan said, "the
witch doctor will exorcise the demoil in the name
of a greater

demon."

Father Ryan believes that the incidence of actual possession has lessened through the years. Today, exorcisms in the United States are rare, according to the author of The Exorcist, William
Blatty. "You have to be in the climate of belief," he
said. "In Asia being possessed by a demon is like
having a headache. You go to an exorcist like you
would take an aspirin."
And so in the world of the supernatural, for
some, what they cannot see, cannot exist; for others there have been, and there still are, demons

and

devils

and djinn.

Bibliography

Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts.

New York:

Capricorn

Books, 1968

Christian, Paul. The History and Practice of Magic.


York: Citadel Press, 1969

COVARRUBIAS, MlQUEL. Island of Bali.

New York:

New

Alfred A.

Knopf, 1937

Crow, W.B. A

History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism.


California: Wilshire Book Company,

North Hollywood,
1968

DooLiTTLE, Justus. Social Life of the Chinese. Vol. I and


Vol. II. New York: Harper & Bros., 1865
Elworthy, Frederick Thomas. Horns of Honour and

154

Bibliography

155

Other Studies in the By- Ways of Archaeology. London:


John Murray, 1900

Endicott, Kirk Michael. An Analysis of Malay Magic.


Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970
Hill, Douglas, and Williams, Pat. The Supernatural.
New York: The New American Library, 1967

Hughes, Pennethorne.

Witchcraft. Baltimore, Maryland:

Penguin Books, 1963

Jastrow, Morris,
Assyria.

New

The Civilization of Babylonia and

Jr.

York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1915; reissued

1971

King, William Joseph Harding. Mysteries of The Libyan


Desert. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1925

Lane,

Edward William.

Arabian Society

in the

Middle

Ages. London: Chatto and Windus. Piccadilly, 1883

Latourette, Kenneth Scott. The Chinese. Their History


and Culture. New York: Macmillan, 1964
Morgan, Harry T. Chinese Symbols and Superstitions.
South Pasadena, California:
1942

P.

D.

and lone Perkins,

Morris, Ivan. The World of the Shining Prince, Court Life


in Ancient Japan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964
Nevius, John L. Demon Possession and Allied Themes.
Chicago and New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1894
Cults, Customs and Superstitions
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Remy, Nicolas. Demonolatry. London: John Rodker, 1930

Oman, John Campbell.

St.

Clair, David.

York: Doubleday

Drum and

&

Candle. Garden City,

New

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Summers, Montague. The Geography of Witchcraft. Evanston, Illinois

and

New

York: University Books, 1958 (origi-

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156

Demons, Devils, and Djinn


Witchcraft

Ltd.,

and Black Magic. London: Arrow Books,

1964

Thompson,

New

CJ.S. The Mystic Mandrake.


York: University Books, 1968

New Hyde

Park,

Waite, Arthur Edward. The Book of Ceremonial Magic.

New Hyde Park, New York: University Books, 1961


Wedeck, Harry E. A Treasury of Witchcraft. New York:
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Williams, Charles. Witchcraft Cleveland and


World Publishing Co., 1959

New York:

Index

Afreets, 29, 43

New Guinea, 85
Buddha, Gautama, 74-77

Akhkhazu, 37

Butas, 95, 97, 100

Adam,

16,

25

British

Aladdin, 41
Alexee, 137
Alfoors of Poso, 86

Amulets, 105
Andrea, 133
Antidemoniacs, 19

Arabian Nights, 41
fiP., 88
Armentarious, Petrone, 134
Ashakku, 37, 39, 101-4
Ashurbanapal, 36

Arabs, 25-33, 43

Asia,

demons

Asmodeus,

in,

16-17,

Dark Ages, 17-23


34-40,

101, 105

Astaroth, 24

Babylonia, 34-40, 101, 105


Bajang, 90-91
Bali,

demons

of,

93-100

Beelzebuth, 22, 24
Belial, 24
Bogart, Claude, 138
Brazil 143
fiF.

Clairvoyance, 45-47

63-67

22, 107

Assyria(ns),

Catharine of Metingow, 137


Censer, 53
Cerberus, 116
Charms, 58, 59, 62
China, 86, 121-24
Chu, Wen-fa, 121-24
Chu, Wen-heng, 121, 123
Church, 18, 143flF.
Chu wen yuen, 122-24

Dasim, 29
Dawa, 45
Delhdn, 28
Demonolatry, 131
Demon(s), 13-24
in ancient Babylonia and
Assyria, 34-40
in Asia, 63-67
of Bali, 93-100
in China, 50-62
exorcising,

19-22, 35-37,

157

Index

158

54-56, 63-65, 73, 101-

29
history of, 15-24
in India, 74-84
in Japan, 68-73
Malay birth, 90-92
of the Mandrake, 85-89
in Middle East, 41-49
nature of, 130-42
pacts with, 110-12
and sickness, 63-67, 104-5
summoning, 101-29
today, 143-53
in trees and plants, 85 ff.

warding
60-61

ofiF,

51-52, 58-59,

Hagar, 43
Devil(s), 13-24

Der

el

in animal forms, 17-21

19-22
exorcising, 19-22

control

of,

hell, 24
15-24
invocations, 45-49
numbers of, 24

hierarchy in
history

summoning, 32
today, 143-53
Dominique, Nicolas, 141
Doolittle, Justus, 52
Drigie, Alexee, 140-41

Durgga, 79
Ea, 16-17, 38, 105

El-Aawar, 29
Etimmu, 37
Euraea, Dominique, 138
Europe, 18-23, 118-24
Eve, 16
Exorcism, 19-22, 35-37, 54-

101-29
Exorcist, The, 151, 153
Exii, 143-49
56, 63-67, 73,

Claude, 139
Finance, Didier, 133-34
Fischer, Colette, 139

Fellet,

Foochow, 56-58

of,

possession, 21

summoning, 21-22
today, 143-53

Djinn, 25-33, 106 S.


classes of, 27-28, 29

32-33
and fortune tellers, 30
in India, 74-84
shapes, 29-30
stories of, 26-27

controlling,

Genii, 41, 45-46


Ghul(s), 17, 27-28, 95

Goblins, 19
Gorgias, 119

Grappin, 126-27
Greeks, 16, 17, 108
Grimoire of Pope Honorius,
114
107-8,
22-24,
Grimoires,
110, 112-14

Gron, 118

Index
Macumba, 146
Malaya, 85, 90

Harb, 26

Hebrew

invocations, 110

Honorius
Honorius

159

Malay birth demon, 90-92

114
III, 114

II,

Malrisius, Joannes, 134

Mammon,

29

Iblis,

Idol processions,

56-58

Incantations, 36-37, 108


India,

demons and

djinn

in,

74-84
Iroquois Indians, 86
Islamic religion, 28

Jann, 29

Japan, demons in, 68-73


Jesus /Oxala, 146
Kalas, 95, 98, 100
Kali,

77-82

Key of Solomon,
Khalif

Mu

107, 110

awiya, 26

Khatim, 46-47
King, William, 45

Knap, Elizabeth, 119, 121


Koran, 106

24
Mandal, 45, 47
Mandrake, demon of, 85-89
Mara, 74-77
Marids, 29
Maskim, 16-17
Maya Danawa,. legend of,
93-95
Middle Ages, 17-23
Middle East, 41-49
Milan, 139-40
Mohammed, 25, 47
Morele, Nicole, 141
Morse, William, 127-29
Moslems, 28-29, 30, 32-33
Mya, 75
Mysteries of the Libyan Desert (King), 45

Nam tar, 37
New England,
Nicola, Rev.

Kuei, 50-62

Nyepi, 97

Labartu, 37
Labasu, 37

Pan,

Lama, 63-67

Paul VI, 149


Pedjeng, 95

Langsuir, 90, 91, 92


Le Ban, Jeanne, 137, 139
Lilith,

16

Lucifer, 24

118, 119, 121

John

J.,

13-15

and origin of

devil,

19

Penanggalan, 90, 92
Peste degli Untori, La, 139

Pontianak 90, 92

160

Index
cr

Possession, 21, 150-53


Potier, Jeanne,

Sot,

29

Summoning,

118-19

tales

of,

101-

29

Sweden, 88

Qasr Dakhl, 43
Quieu, 58-59

TaflFord, Mr.,

118

Rashomon, 70

Tahdir, 45
Tahu, 118
Tartars, 63-65
Tchutgour, 63-65

Rayel, Barbeline, 135

Teer, 29

Red Dragon, 113

Tenget, 94

Reichhelm of Schoengan, 24

Tengu, 70

Rabisu, 37

<

oOy^

Rakshasas, 95
Rakut Beij-Dana, 77

Remy,

Nicolas, 130-34, 137,

141-42
Rhadamanthus, 115-16
Rhodes, John, 117-18
Rimmon, 24
Rohlfs, 43-44
Roomals, 78
Rotti, 87
Ryan, Rev.
152-53

Edmund

Testament of Solomon, 22

Thamuz, 24
Tin, 37, 38-39

Tokoura, 65-67
Trepanning, 21
Tsuna, Watanabe no, 70-72
Untori,
G.,

139-40

Ur, 37

Vianney, Jean
St.

124-27

Augustine, 18

Jerome, 18
Sealdh, 28
Sennel of Armentieres, 137
Shamir, 107
Sheykh el afreet, 44-49
Sheytdns, 29
Siddartha, Prince, 74
Simonette, Claudine, 134
Social Life of the Chinese, 52
Solomon, 22, 32-33, 105-10

St.

B.,

Wier, Jean, 24
Witchcraft, 21-22,

110

130-42
Xallaea, Quirina, 137

Yin and-y^ng, 50

Zelemboor, 29
Zoba'ah, 31

fiF.,