For a historical perspective of demonology, I’m going to provide some summary points for a book King James I (who commissioned the King James Bible) commissioned in the late 1500s titled: “Daemonolgie”. At that time, the people of England and Scotland lived in fear of the devil and witchcraft. To this end, King James commissioned this book which is set into 3 parts: part one is scripture which he believes validates the existence of the devil, part two is on sorcery and witchcraft, and part three is on spirits that trouble humanity.
One of the theories based on 2. Cor. 11. 14. states that, “Diuel is permitted at som-times to put himself in the liknes of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that Sathan can trans-forme himselfe into an Angell of light” (James, 4). The skill is equated to that of a modern day illusionist. “the Deuill may delude our senses, since we see by common proofe, that simple juglars will make an hundreth thinges seeme both to our eies and eares otherwaies then they are” (James, 24). To this end, there was a separation of magicians and necromancers from witches and sorcerers.
In Book 2, sorcery and witchcraft are defined as, “ I say, some of them rich and worldly-wise, some of them fatte or corpulent in their bodies, and most part of them altogether giuen ouer to the pleasures of the flesh, continual haunting of companie, and all kind of merrines, both lawfull and vnlawfull, which are thinges directly contrary to the symptomes of Melancholie, whereof I spake, and further experience daylie proues how loath they are to confesse without torture, which witnesseth their guiltines, where by the contrary, the Melancholicques neuer spares to bewray themselues, by their continuall discourses, feeding therby their humor in that which they thinke no crime” (James, 30). James claims that witches use their knowledge mostly from a desire for revenge, worldly riches, or to satisfy their cruel minds by hurting men (James, 35). To this end, witches were able to utilize the powers of the devil to punish people by: causing children to misbehave utilizing “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), make people sick, and haunt houses and the inhabitants of houses (James, 47).
Necromancers were said to share the ability of the Devil to possess dead bodies (James, 41). He also mentions that “the soule once parting from the bodie, cannot wander anie longer in the worlde, but to the owne resting place must it goe immediatlie, abiding the conjunction of the bodie againe, at the latter daie” (James, 41).
Amongst the more modern label of demons, Incubi and Sucubi are described in Book 3, Chapter 3, “The description of a particular sort of that kind of following spirites, called Incubi and Succubi: And what is the reason wherefore these kindes of spirites hauntes most the Northerne and barbarous partes of the world” (James 66). There are indepth references to people being physically violated by these spirits as well as those who, “while we are sleeping, intercludes so our vitall spirites, and takes all power from vs, as maks vs think that there were some vnnaturall burden or spirite, lying vpon vs and holding vs downe.“ (James, 69). This bares a startling resemblance to the scientific phenomena of “night terrors”.
Lastly, James references Matthew 12 and Mark 3 to describe how the “Dæmoniackes” possess humans and the effects of possession. In Matthew, the possessed became “blind and dumb”; however, the possessed were restored through Christ/God and prayer. James sites that for all of these cases, the way to rid spirits and works of the devil is to “The one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselues by amende ment of life from such sinnes as haue procured that extraordinarie plague” (James, 60).