In religion, folklore, and mythology a demon (or daemon, dæmon, daimon from Greek: δαίμων [ðaïmon]) is a supernatural being that has generally been described as a malevolent spirit, and in Christian terms it is generally understood as a Fallen-angel, formerly of God. A demon is frequently depicted as a force that may be conjured and insecurely controlled. The "good" demon in recent use is largely a literary device (e.g., Maxwell's demon), though references to good demons can be found in Hesiod and Shakespeare.[citation needed] In common language, to "demonize" a person means to characterize or portray them as evil, or as the source of evil.

As the Iranian Avestan and Vedic traditions as well as other branches of Indo-European mythologies show, the notion of 'demons' [Daewan] has existed for many millennia.

Ancient Egyptians also believed in demonic monsters that might devour living souls while they traveled towards the afterlife, although demons per se did not exist in Ancient Egyptian belief.

The Greek conception of a daemon (< δαίμων daimōn) appears in the works of Plato and many other ancient authors, but without the evil connotations which are apparent in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek originals of the New Testament. The medieval and neo-medieval conception of a "demon" in Western civilization (see the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia) derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity: Greco-Roman concepts of daemons that passed into Christian culture are discussed in the entry daemon, though it should be duly noted that the term referred only to a spiritual force, not a malevolent supernatural being. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.

The supposed existence of demons is an important concept in many modern religions and occultist traditions. In some present-day cultures, demons are still feared in popular superstition, largely due to their alleged power to possess living creatures.

In the contemporary Western occultist tradition (perhaps epitomized by the work of Aleister Crowley), a demon, such as Choronzon, the "Demon of the Abyss", is a useful metaphor for certain inner psychological processes, though some may also regard it as an objectively real phenomenon. Aleister Crowley also contacted the abyssmal demon Kokomo through the use of a Ouija board and had nightly conversations[citation needed]. Crowley often said his "pet demon" Kokomo threatened death upon mockery and destroying the board[citation needed]. Crowley died shortly after burning his ouija board in an attempt to become possessed by demons[citation needed].

Some scholars[1] believe that large portions of the demonology (see Asmodai) of Judaism, a key influence on Christianity and Islam, originated in Zoroastrianism, and were transferred to Judaism during the Persian era.

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