The Nature of the Beast

Popular belief - “popular” extending in this case even to the vast majority of Priests, Rabbis and Scientists - holds the entities known as demons to be just that; bona fide Infernal creatures, from the realms of Hell, ruled over by the Adversary. All evidence in the public eye so far seems to strongly back up that assumption - they do, indeed, seem to delight in sin and debauchery, are widely known to trade (when possible) in the currency of human souls, and are frequently attended by smells of sulphur and brimstone.

There are a few dissenting voices who claim that these are merely particularly hostile Familiar Spirits; or that the Infernal realm some Sorcerers claim to have visited is the product of mercury fumes and illusion. These voices tend to stay very quiet when the orthodoxy - academic or religious - is in earshot; in Albion, heresy is heresy, and will be treated as such.

The main debate in the modern world is over the original nature of demons: are they fallen Angels, once in the host of Lucifer - or have they always been as they are now? Techniques ranging from Biblical exegesis to Talmudic divination to simply asking a sample set of demons have been employed by both sides of this debate - so far, to no decisive conclusion.

The Demonic Realm

Hell, Gehenna, the Infernal Realm - everyone has to come from somewhere, and for demons this appears to be it. Assumed by most modern astrologers to lie at the centre of the earth (whence else could volcanic eruptions draw their hellish fury, and undersea gulfs their terrible dark pressure?), it is hence that demons are summoned by the arts of Sorcery, and hither that they are banished by Exorcisms.

It is rumoured that some particularly powerful Sorcerers are able to create gates, of a sort, allowing mortals to pass into the Demonic realm and safely return. If such rumours are true, such a journey would be hideously dangerous for both the body and soul of the unwary traveller.

The Demonic Tongue

While most demons are willing to communicate in a form of the King's English, many prefer to use their own language, popularly known as the Demonic Tongue. This does not appear to be related to any known earthly language, and is a harsh, tortured-sounding mix of strange consonants and guttural, twisted vowels. Few have mastered the Demonic Tongue, but it is said that those who do can gain great advantage in negotiating with the Infernal kind.

Demonic Pacts

This is the part of Sorcery most popularly represented in theatre and cautionary tale: the exchange of a human soul for untold worldly riches and gratification. Such a pact would probably not be so attractive if it were not widely known that, twist and wriggle as he might, a demon may never break the letter of an agreed, witnessed oath or pact.

Those with a little more practical knowledge of Sorcery - which includes most educated initials - will be aware that actually trading one's soul is rarely done, and only by the most foolish and power-hungry individuals. Far more frequently, demons can be appeased and paid in less perilous coin - virgins' tears; or secrets; memories; some even accept gold.

Sample Demons

Here are five of the more commonly known Demons. These are by no means representative of the entire Infernal Realm, and there are many, many more, of all shapes, sizes and inclinations, for the Sorcerer to discover; the beings referred to as Demons vary widely in size, shape and colour. Some are apparently corporeal, to the extent of leaving smoking footprints in the floorboards of a Sorcerer's circle; others composed of no earthly matter, their presence marked only by a voice and a smell of sulphur. Some appear as fair men or women, others as misshapen beasts, others still as abstract swirls of formless colour.


Baratron typically appears as a robed and hooded figure, sometimes in the cassock of a Catholic monk. Its appearance, should it show its face below the robe, is never the same twice - even in such broad details as species or gender, leaving some to speculate that Baratron is the name for a group of demons rather than an individual. It tends towards the mischievous and flashy, enjoying parlour tricks, bright lights and loud noises.


Mammon is a demon of profit and worldly wealth. He has a finger in the pie of every banker and lawyer in the City of Oxford, and is a fine port of call for information about finance, investments, or politics. It is widely rumoured that the Merchant Companies harbour many of his attendant demons.

Having such a lawyerly bent, however, he is a most excellent writer of contracts. Woe betide the unwary Sorcerer who fails to read his small print!


Jezebel always appears as a beautiful woman - not necessarily the same beautiful woman from one time to the next, but always female, and always beautiful. Her calling is to fulfil carnal desire, whether by her own presence or by assisting admirers in achieving the object of their affections.


Baphomet adores knowledge, and collects it in whatever form he finds it. He is a sort of Infernal librarian, an image at odds with his usual monstrous, bat-winged and goat-headed appearance. Seeming to place a value on knowledge almost incomprehensible to mortals, he is often willing to trade apparently mundane or useless secrets for forbidden and arcane lore - and equally often will refuse to give a summoning Sorcerer the time of day without demanding full knowledge of their innermost and secret desires.


The story, which may or may not contain grains of truth, goes something like this:

In the early months of 1599, the Lord Admiral's Men, rehearsing Marlowe's Faustus, or the Delightful Narrative of the Sorcerer of Wittenberg - a historical comedy which continues to enjoy popularity even decades later, and apparently a favourite of King Matthew - decided that the opening scene needed a little more “zing”. Their producer, rather than hiring one of the established Conjurers used for stage effects by most Companies, decided to go all the way - and hire an out-of-work apprentice Sorcerer to summon a genuine demon to play the part of Mephistopheles.

Predictably, things went horribly wrong.

Although many of the opening night audience survived, the remaining Lord Admiral's Men were utterly disgraced, and only avoided criminal charges by (so it is rumoured) ruinous bribes to most of the magistrature of London. Unexpectedly, the Rose (once hasty repairs had been made to the damaged seating) gained a sudden popularity from the notoriety associated with this event - and with its aftermath. The theatre became, according to who you believed, cursed, blessed, or haunted. Strange events became commonplace, from suspiciously suitable weather (up to and including dramatic thunderclaps) during the tragedies, to inexplicable showers of rose petals during the comedies, to hideous and unlikely accidents with stage daggers. These mysterious events followed the Rose even when it was hastily abandoned and rebuilt in Oxford as the New Rose, apparently without change or cease.

What is true is this: That every performance night a dark, handsome gentleman can be found, dressed all in red satin, sitting in the Penny Gallery of the New Rose Theatre and watching the performances. He is never seen to enter or leave, but talks quite amicably with anyone at all during the interval. He does not approve of those who attempt to interrupt him during the performance.

Choronzon has a fine sense of humour and enjoys making people uncomfortable. He is immensely powerful, but arbitrary and somewhat lazy; he prefers not to leave the Rose Theatre if at all possible. He does, however, have the advantage that he can - unlike the other demons here listed - be contacted without the assistance of a Sorcerer.

There are rumours that Choronzon has developed, in the years since the Flood, a certain fondness for the Jewish community. Representatives of the Yehudim and Prague always hotly deny any such link.

Extracts from "On Angels and Demons"

A few choice extracts from “On Angels and Demons”, the seminal work by Archbishop William Frewen of York, chief clerical advisor to Queen Elizabeth II and hero of the Civil Wars.

The Daemonic Hordes

”…The magic of Sorcery need not be universally reviled; for along with the power to summon Demons comes the power to Banish them. Indeed, I have discovered a sorcerous rite of Banishment…

…I have made sure that the Tokens required for this Rite to be cast (ancient Rowan Wood from Consecrated Ground and pure Holy Water) are widely distributed amongst the Churches of the land; ensure that you provide them to a Sorcerer if they are requested of you for their need is likely to be dire…

…There is also a hierarchy of Infernal creatures, which I believe progresses (at least in part) Imp, Duke, Archduke, Prince. There may be another class of demon between Imps and Dukes of Hell.

You should also note that there is a cane entrusted to the Master of Cain’s College, Oxford (ex-officio) which has a sort of compass which can divine the presence of Daemonic Influence affecting an individual. If you ever have need for this most useful device, I encourage you to seek it out!…”

Daresbury and the Prince

A cautionary tale of what may have been a second attempt at recreating the Wittenburg experiment.

”…I will now recount the events at Daresbury manor when the Baron deemed it prudent to summon a Prince of Hell. We do not know if this creature was Satan himself or perhaps a lesser demon; we also do not know if it was killed or merely removed for a time.

The Baron Daresbury gathered to him the most proficient fighters in the land (Lord Luca Braganza and Lord General Edward de Vries) along with the angelic Sir Alexander Cross, the Catholic Bishop of Arundel (for he possessed a most powerful artefact), Bishop Mary of Leicester (it seems that Daresbury already knew that the angel Uriel was trapped within her!), the Theurgist Octavius Dawkins, the Sorcerer Theodocius Dawkins and myself (he hoped that the Archangel Michael would help me). He gathered us without revealing his purpose, for Daresbury indended to slay Lucifer himself.

Daresbury’s ritual certainly involved the Catholic Cardinal Otromano who was possessed by an Archduke of Hell; the ritual culminated in Otromano’s death and the blood which poured from his neck became the Prince of Darkness.

The Prince promptly destroyed the Archduke, but it does not seem that this was a necessary part of the ritual. Daresbury attacked immediately but was thrown back and the Prince announced itself thus:

“Now I am free I shall reign for a thousand years upon this Earth and then topple the Towers of Heaven. For I am the Satan, Ba’al, ruler of the Mortal World and Emperor of Hell.”

Whilst the fighters attacked, I joined the magicians in attempting to release the angel Uriel from Bishop Mary. This was moot as the Prince bit off her head and released the Seraph; the two began to duel as Uriel’s array of floating flaming swords defended us from a multitude of daemonic spawn which the Prince unleashed from a great chasm he struck in the floor. Though weaker than the flaming swords they seemed numberless, piling there corpses before the angelic foe and building a rampart of their dead. The Prince roared again and cried out “Soon all Hell will be empty and none shall be able to stand against me!” before slitting Daresbury’s throat with the pronouncement that this was a “reward”.

Arundel used his artefact (a Crozier) to stun the Prince and Sir Alex and Lord de Vries used the moment to attack, embedding their swords in the Prince’s demon flesh.

It seemed that a hole was torn in reality as the swords glowed blue and red. (Sir Alexander’s sword glowed blue and the Blade for the Star of Morning pulses with a supernatural bloody light.) And on its own seems to claw deeper into The Prince’s body. Sir Alexander’s sword shattered producing an almighty cry from the demon then all light and sound was extinguished.

Daresbury’s estate was turned to a grey, desolate place and the demon was gone.”

demons.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/03 21:51 by helen