We all have our favorite beasties or things that go bump in the night. For some people it’s vampires, zombies, or ghosts. Me? I prefer demons when it comes down to getting a chill, and I’ll tell you why . . .
While most people are busy soaking up the vampire frenzy like dehydrated sponges, I’m still waiting for the next big thing to hit the airwaves and shelves. I can see the appeal these beings have, especially after being exposed to numerous books, movies, and HBO’s “True Blood.” Sure, they are attractive and ooze seduction from every pore in their being. They can glamor or hypnotize, create or destroy, and all without breaking a sweat. Their existence is tragic, and often this endears us, allowing us to open our hearts to the living dead. Here, I see a deep parallel to my favorite horror catalyst of all: the demon.
Forget, for a moment, the popular stereotypes surrounding these creatures. Cast aside the images of leathery, reddened skin, hooves, and horns. Lucifer, one of the most well-known of all demons, was at one time reportedly an angel. Not just any angel, but the most beautiful and favored of all beings. It is said that when he fell he lit up the sky, thus earning him another, lesser known moniker: the morning star. One-third of the angels followed him as he was cast into darkness…meaning some of the oldest and most powerful of these creatures were, at one time, something most of us equate with physical beauty and grace. So, like vampires, demons are also capable of being quite beautiful. This is part of the trickery and deceit they use to lure unsuspecting mortals into their snare.
Like vampires, demons are also capable of reading a mortal’s thoughts, or speaking in their head. Through this they are able to bend and manipulate humans, much like puppets. They are capable of “glamoring” or hypnotizing, casting illusions that humans will see as the truth.
Unlike vampires though, demons have few known weaknesses or physical limitations. Though they prefer the dark for obvious reasons, they are quite capable of dwelling in the sun. They can shape-shift taking on the form of almost anything they desire. Stakes, sunlight, garlic, silver…all have no effect. I suppose, going by accounts of exorcisms and the like, crucifixes and holy water are a bit of an annoyance, but even then not a surefire way to divulge and destroy. They prey on the weak and seem to have infinite strength. How terrifying is that?
Demons don’t need a direct invitation in order to infiltrate your home. They do seem to be partial to Ouija boards though, especially in inexperienced hands. This is a common way they once again use their clever natures to trick and deceive. Often, a demon will pretend to be a benign spirit, holding up this guise until it is too late. They also like to prey on those whose lives and houses are in disorder. Emotional trauma and stress, depression, clutter, slovenliness: all are common triggers, often combined with other factors, in demonic manifestations and even possessions.
They are not limited to regions or certain beliefs. Every religion, every culture, has its own version of the ultimate evil. Even genies are considered to be mischevious, calculating, and ultimately malignant beings!
Last, but not least, we have the tragic existence appeal. How? It all depends on how you want to portray your demon. They can be as unrepentful, murderous, and nasty as you want them to be—or they could resemble the fallen creatures they are rumored to be. Ponder, for a moment, being cast far away from everything, and everyone you have ever known. We all make mistakes in life. What if, through age came wisdom, and with wisdom came regret? Is it possible to want to make amends for all the wrong we have done throughout the course of our existence? If so, is it true remorse, or just another guise? I suppose that is something only you, dear author, can decide.
I hope you’ve found some of this information useful and inspiring. Until next time . . .
~Best wishes and happy haunting!~
(Original article written September 15th, 2010. Horror/Scary Newsletter www.writing.com)