As the paranormal community becomes larger, and seemingly more outrageous, there have been quite a number of people who have recently started to refer to themselves as “Demonologists”. Now, I understand they believe that since they study “demonology,” the title fits. But we should remember that historically “demonology” and “demonologists” have little to do with each other.
Demonology is exactly what it sounds like, the study of demons or the beliefs about them. This study is first and foremost to include any and all alleged demons regardless of the theological system that they belong to. Not only does “Demonology” study “demons,” but it studies demonic forces in all of their supposed manifestations including familiars, egregores, ancestor worship, fallen angels and animal spirits to name a few. Most so-called “Demonologists” are focused on traditional Judeo-Christian demons & devils while forgetting that there are recognized demons throughout history that many believe to have been in existence long before the rise of Christianity.
The largest and most disturbing point, to me, is that the term “Demonologist” now refers to those who study demons. The usage of the word in this form is relatively modern. Historically, a Demonologist was a “witch-hunter” or someone who exposed humans who were believed to be in league with demonic forces. Traditional Demonologists such as Remy, Sinistrari, Bodin and Valderama, to name a few, were more than incidentally responsible for causing such a panic about witchcraft that hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent people were put to death. I point this out because it, to me, shows a total disregard for the past. People heard the word “Demonology” and started calling themselves “Demonologists” without any care or concern that they had just associated themselves with some of the most closed-minded and vindictive people in our history.
I know that the word “Demonologist” makes etymological sense but we must remember that the word existed before our modern day usage and it had a meaning, and that history makes a difference. The historically recognized Demonologists of the 1600’s and 1700’s repeated anecdotal stories and rumors without basing any of their charges on facts. They were truly the demonic evil that they themselves believed they were unmasking.
“But, it’s only a word.”
Well, I say words matter.
The fact is Demonologists were simple-minded, frightened people who helped to murder innocent people.
Even if you believe you are a “Demonologist,” I will not call you one; I wouldn’t hang that title on my worst enemy.