Nothing dulls one’s fear of the supernatural like the prolonged study of demons. Unlike myself, most scholars of all things weird and taboo are loathe to take steps into the dark corner of knowledge where demon lore resides. I will modestly admit that I was hesitant, but a brief time spent in Thomas Crowe’s company weaned me from the comfort I derived from assuming I knew the world inside and out. It was from Thomas that much of my writings were extracted, and his account of Maria Vasquez changed the way I understood magic.
Thomas’s condition leaves me with more questions than answers. His demon intended to control him, but to what end it is not certain. Perhaps the being wasn’t sure what it wanted most with Thomas. Something else that is troubling is Oi’alli’s role in his possession. If she were able to bring something into this world like what infested Thomas, she was certainly not the only one who had ever managed it. I wonder if magic is what brought these things here to begin with. Is it possible that magic conducts supernatural traffic between here and the next world?
Thomas was rightfully worried about his specific affliction. Possessed individuals are dangerous to themselves and others as it is, but Thomas was loaded with volatile power—a werewolf curse. His greatest fear was losing control of it to something that had no sense of control, compassion or consequence. This is what defines the demon from other unseen presences like ghosts and shades, and it is why we have good reason to fear them so much more.
Demons, in one form or another, exist in texts from every culture that has come to be since the preface of history. They are older than vampires, werewolves and the like; much, much older. However, stories pertaining to them are greater in number than recorded contacts. What is difficult to decide is whether they are few, and transcend locations and ages, or if they are many and do not often make themselves known. Also fundamentally problematic in understanding demons is the mystery surrounding their origins or their state of being. I have concluded that demons are not, and were never human, but I cannot say they have any definite shape. Some say they are spirits who want to be human or that they exist only to plague humanity. Some believe they are manifestations of evil that left the bodies of exceptionally black-hearted tyrants, murderers and thieves. Others yet hypothesize that they are coagulates of intelligent magic and are destructive only in the sense that a natural disaster is, because they are violent phenomena, not violent beings. All conjecture aside, one uncontested fact remains: they are terrifying.
July 12, 1833