demonology

Greek: daimon, inferior or evil spirit; logos, teaching

The science or doctrine concerning demons. Belief in evil spirits and consequent magic is of remotest antiquity, among both savage and cultured races, varying from crude to the elaborate systems of the ancient Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Persians. Though prevalent practices surrounding both early and later Christianity were effectively restricted, popular superstition and activity continued. Rationalists believed that the 19th century‘s literialism meant extermination of demonic belief, yet the old occultism lives revitalized by modern spiritism. The maze of demonology’s superstitions presents certain basic beliefs common to all systems. The impress of revealed truth uncorrupted, supported by reason and experience, stamps the Catholic teaching as distinctive, and as the only effective check for these superstitions.