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Demonology, Magic & Mythology
The demons on Buffy are ancient, prehuman races who originally inhabbited Earth.When mammals, humans and other animals started to evolve the demons were over-ridden. Some of them stayed on Earth and mized with human blood, some moving into the forms of humans. The demons that didn't stay went to a so-called demon dimension.
The helmouth in Sunnydale is a weak place where it is easiest for demons to come into out world. It also attracts demons already on earth nearer to it.
Some demons, such as vampires, the brotherhood of seven (from "The Puppet Show," Season 1) and The Judge ("Suprise" and "Innocense," Season 2) depend on eating humans (or animals if need be), or parts of them, for survival. Others like Machida ("Reptile Boy" Season 2) and Lurconis ("Bad Candy" Season 3) take humans as offerings from their followers. Some demons kill for sport (eg. those who took part in the Slayerfest '98) and others for no aparent reason at all,or for revenge or vengeance like Anya, formerly Anyanka before she was turned back into a human.
Then, on the other hand, there are harmless demons, and even some good ones like Angel. Skyler was also a harmless demon appearing in "Enemies" of Season 3, selling old books (he was killed by Faith who also took the books he was going to sell her). Whistler was a demon sent down (from where though?) to settle the score between good and evil. Doyle was also a good demon (although his moter was a human), sent by the Powers That Be to help Angel in his quest to fight evil and help those in need.
Demons are said to come in many shapes and sizes. They fly, change shape, shoot fire from their mouths, and generally plague humanity for their own amusement. Certain mythology traces the origin of demons back to a time before history, when the world was not controlled by mankind. The "Ancient Ones" as they are sometimes called, ruled the Earth and all its beings for eons, super powerful and bloodthirsty. Banished into the lower realms, they do everything within their power to corrupt the world, sometimes managing to walk the Earth inside human bodies, "possessing" them. It is said that by knowing a demons true name and calling it out in ritual, you can summon it. Protected inside the magical barrier of a pentagram or five-pointed star, a strong sorcerer could force a demon to do his bidding. Overestimating one's own magical ability was, however, a fatal mistake. If one lost control of a demon after summoning, one would usually die and lose one's soul for all eternity. Demon's are notorious liars and masters of trickery. Lured into a dialogue with the demon, an unwary individual could be fooled into acting as the demon's servant, only to be sacrificed when the demon grew bored or found a better follower.
Vampires are demons that implant themselves in a host body when another vampire sucks a victim's blood, and they suck theirs. The victim's soul disappears. The demon inhabits their dead body. The demon has all their memories, but is not them.
Vampires can be killed by a number of methods. When they are killed they turn to ashes or dust. These are:
A stake through the heart (or another wooden object like a broom handle or a chair leg)
Fire (along with most of the aminal and demon population)
Direct sunlight burns them like fire (sunburn), but they also die from it when they are over-exposed to it.
Holy water. This can not only burn them like fire, but when they consume it, it can burn them from the inside out.
Crosses can't actually kill them but they can burn them on contact with the skin.
Other characteristics of vampires include the way they feed on human blood, the fact that they have no reflections (although they do have shaddows. Whether this was intentional by Joss and the rest of the Buffy team, or whether it was too hard to remove all of the shaddows...). Vampire's can't fly like they do in the traditional stories and myths and the original Buffy movie. They also can't turn into bats.
Vampires can't enter private property like houses and schools, without an invitation. They can, however, enter uninvited after they have been invited, and also when the owner of the residence has died. They can enter the homes or residences of other vampires or demons.
Vampires feed on the blood of living humans, but if all else fails they can always eat some pets...
Vampires are known in two forms: human form where they look normal, apart from abnormal paleness in some vampires, and exceptionally cold skin; and demon form where they morph into fangs and hideous, angular face (see above picture).
Harmony Kendall Sunday not in vamp form
Werewolves are individuals who are possessed by the spirits of animals. A perfect example of this is Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At night on every full moon, ordinery people posessed by werewolves morph into their wolf form. They spread their numbers by simply biteing somebody else. Traditionally, silver bullets were the only weapons to kill them.
Witchcraft Believed to be in league with Satan and practitioners of the black arts, witches were often tortured and killed for their alleged crimes. It was widely held that witches could hex their enemies using a variety of spells and amulets, causing sickness and injury. Often what seemed to be a run of bad luck or a persistent illness was thought to be the work of witchcraft.
A perfect example of an evil witch is Catherine Maddison, who swapped bodies with her daughter just to be young and beautiful, and a cheerleader (one by one harming the cheerleaders in her way to remove them from the squad).
A perfect example of a good witch would have to be Willow Rosenberg. Although she is still only learning, she has the right idea and is becoming more and more powerful and skilled in witchcraft and spellcasting.
Ethan Rayne. A bad spellcaster.
Astral projection is the theory that while one sleeps one has another body -an astral body- that can travel through time and space.
Feeding is the drinking of blood; a vampire's only means for survival.
A harvest is a night once in a century when a Master Vampire can draw power from one of his minions while it feeds.
A host the person off whom the vampire feeds.
The Master is the most powerful of vampires, capable of destroying the earth.
Minion are followers of the Master Vampire.
A Slayer is a girl born once every generation with the strength and skill to hunt vampires, find them where they gather and stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers.
A vampire is a demonic creature who lives off the blood of humans; a vampire appears to be a normal person until the feed is upon them, only then do they reveal their true demonic visage.
A vessel is a minion, bearing a three-pointed symbol, which can give the Master Vampire power by feeding.
A watcher is a person who finds the Slayer and leads her on her path; it is his destiny to guide the Slayer.