If the film 11-11-11 (directed by Darren Lynn Bousman) which opens today (November 11, 2011) is right, you should see demons pouring out of hell any moment now. We're going to help you gear up for the coming onslaught with a list of our favorite demons as depicted in several major religions. That's right, we're not talking Demoni or The Exoricist, these are actual beliefs many people hold or once held about demons around the world! So come along and meet your future masters!
Have you seen this freaky demon before? Sure you have, he's a very striking figure with that head of a lion and five goat legs circling his body. Buer's been on the cover of several albums from bands like Morbid Angel and Coil. But Buer is considered more than just a cover model, he's also a great president of hell, according to Christian demonology. If you see this bad boy rolling (yes, he rolls himself) down your street – look out! He'll likely have his fifty legions of demons behind him!
We love the way Hinduism deals with and depicts their demons. Andhaka got freaked out that his cousins were trying to usurp his power so he went out into the wilderness and fasted and stood on one leg… for a million years! All the while he cut pieces off of his body until he was a skeleton and was therefore granted immortality. Andhaka held a terrible reign over heaven and earth for millions of years. But all good things must come to an end, and his end came by a trident through the chest from our old pal Shiva. Not a bad run, though, and we'd sure hate to see him back up to his old tricks anytime soon.
Samael interests us like few other demons do. From early Talmudic Judaism, Samael was considered (in some translations) the Angel of Death. But some see him as a demon as well. He's regarded as being in the same category as Satan in terms of power and the reports on his behavior vary. Some say he stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, while others charge him with tempting Eve. No matter how you slice it, if Samael knocks on your door… you're dead.
When you want your demons huge and massively destructive, you can do no better than Leviathan. Though we've come to associate the name with a certain type of sea monster, in early Judaism and Christianity Leviathan is a beast and gatekeeper of hell. He's described as humongous, with smoke pouring out of his nostrils and fire darting from his mouth. If he shows up in your local lake please don't try and fight him, apparently he treats iron "like straw and bronze like rotten wood." Or, at least, that's how the book of Job describes him.
Finally let's talk about Yama. How do you know if Yama has made his way down your street? Well, is a giant dark green demon trotting down your block on a water buffalo? And are a couple of four-eyed demon dogs wandering around with him? Yes? Oh boy, you better hope you've lived a sinless life. Yama, in Eastern religions like Buddhism, is the judge of the dead. He puts your soul through a real ringer of suffering before you're ready for the better beyond. So if you've been bad, look out! Because you see that loop of rope in his hand? Yeah, he's gonna use that to pull your soul out of your body.