Demons are incorporate, malicious spirits from the depths of hell. They require a human form in order to pass into the mortal realm. A dark sorcerer can sacrifice an individual in order to trap a demon in the victims body, enslaving the spirit to their will. This is a risky process that can come back to harm the user if the demon isn't bound correctly.

Ancient runes and sigils must be carved into a living victim's skin. This will bind the demon to the body, trapping it and subjecting it to the sorcerer's will. Then the victim is killed through a dark ritual. The organs are removed from the body, as well as the bones, cartilage, etc, until only the skin is left. It is then placed over a ritual circle, while the sorcerer chants an ancient incantation that opens the gates to the netherworld. The circle provides the passageway, splitting the ground and allowing the demon to inhabit the skin of the victim. The runes keep the demon in the skin of the victim, trapping it similar to a prison.

Since demons are just bodiless spirits, why would a victim's insides have to be removed in order for the demon to possess them?

  • $\begingroup$ Which questio nare you trying to ask? Why do they need to be skinless or why do they need to be organless? While both are opinion based, because we really don't have any metric to determine whether idea A is better or worse than idea B, they are different in nature. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ You carve runes and sigils onto the skin, then you remove the skin before the body is possessed? $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 4:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I get organless, but skinless kind of confused me. Is your idea of "hollow" the same as in Men in Black's Edgar? (the guy the giant alien roach wears). 'Cause if so, I think skinless is just a poor choice of words. But if you need a organless AND skinless body... that on hell of a freakish possessed person you got there. $\endgroup$
    – Magus
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ Also, what happens to the body after it's been possessed? Does it have an expiration date? Does it keep decomposing? $\endgroup$
    – Magus
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you only wear a leather coat but not a full cow? $\endgroup$
    – kikirex
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 14:51

7 Answers 7


Because they have to be removed.

This is a magic system that you're creating. By definition, the rules are also yours to define.

Why do you need a ritual circle?

Because demons only arrive via ritual circle.

Why do victims have to be hollowed out like a pumpkin?

Because when they tried it on someone who still had their insides, their spleen exploded, killing the victim and three practitioners.

Why can't we at least keep their skin on? Flaying someone is messy work.

Because when a victim had their skin on, the demon couldn't secure a foothold inside them and was dragged back to the nether regions, and a bunch of expensive reagents were wasted.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The nether regions of the victim? Because that might be a salvageable situation, depending on what you were trying to accomplish. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 22:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure there's an anime about that... $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 1:17

Since demons are just bodiless spirits, why would a victim's insides have to be removed in order for the demon to possess them?

I don't know mate, that's non traditional lore and totally on you. Which sort of makes this question "opinion based" and closeable.

But if you are asking for a mythologically justifiable reason that could be tied to this then perhaps:

1) (logically) preservation- skin aka leather lasts a whole lot longer if removed from more decomposable flesh. Afterall you want your demon slave sticking around for a good long time.

2) The Egyptians believed the heart was the seat of the soul, since the soul prevents possession then removing the heart is critical.

3) Temptation - Physical appearance leads to raw impure carnal sexual attraction which leads to sin. By this logic the skin could be the only organ inherently unholy enough to support the demon. It also justifies self flagellation as a means of penance.


Basic hygiene

Have you any idea what happens to a dead body if you just leave it lying around. It will stink, get infested with maggots, the internal organs may explode, excrement will be expelled, etc.

Obviously just using the skin (and preferably using some form of preservative) will avoid all this disgusting mess. Sure demons are horrible and scary but they are not zombies.


While demons ligation to the physical plane is much more tenuous than our own they are still corporeal beings. They can move through air and earth alike but density obscures their conveyance. To realize greater advantage a demon must exist in the void of a vessel; unhindered by blood and bone. For it is the boundaries between thick and thin that allows demons to gain the most purchase on the physical realm.

The older the boundary the stronger the interaction. This is why a demon can only escape through freshly broken earth or an adult is a better surrogate than a child.


Have you ever looked at a property online but the windows are boarded up and there’s no natural light? Or gone to view a new flat only to find it’s full of a lifetime’s-worth of clutter and cardboard boxes? It’s the supernatural equivalent of that.

Demons simply won’t want to inhabit a body if it’s cluttered up with icky internal organs and hasn’t got a nice view to the outside world. Etching the runes is an occult ‘property for rent’ sign (and a cosy corporeal body is waaay better than your typical infernal bedsit), but before any tenant will move in and start working for the roof over their head (so to speak), they want to know that the place will be properly cleaned out and opened up or they simply won’t sign the lease.

Basically your average dark sorcerer needs to be a reasonable landlord or not even the prospect of a physical bachelor pad will draw in the demons.


Demons are corporeal on Earth

Demons may be incorporate in the netherworld, but on Earth they must be corporeal. After all, every creature with a will on the Earth is corporeal. Ghosts? Those are just stories.

If a demon comes through the portal from the netherworld, then its essence takes a corporeal form on this side of the portal, just as if a wizard wishes to go into the netherworld, his corporeal body cannot enter and only his astral projection will pass through.

Demon's corporeal forms on Earth is ... messy

While you and I and horses and trees are made of the normal stuff of Earth, (Fire, Earth, Air and Water) demons are ... not. Their corporeal forms are made of all sorts of impossible magical elements. Not only would they drive humans to gibbering insanity by just looking at them, but their unstable bodies interact in strange ways with the environment. Just try touching them with iron, for example, and see what happens.

In order to contain a demon's form on Earth, it must be covered with something, and something that was once alive, at that. The skin of a creature, imbued with the proper magical rituals, can both allow a demon to take a set form on Earth, and contain their magical power to prevent unfortunate reactions.

To do useful work on Earth, Demons needs a 'covering' to put over their forms

What better way than human skin? This gives several advantages, not least that the demon is molded into a human form and can do human work and interact with humans. After all, succubi would be very inefficient if they were trapped in the skin of a cow. Plus, one advantage of a skin suit is that a perfectly normal looking human can suddenly pull back his face, revealing his true form, and rendering anyone who sees him mad.

Demons don't have to be trapped in a human form, of course, you can make some sort of vessel for the demon, known as a familiar. But, generally, humans and small animals are the only demon-summoning recipes you will find in musty old tomes, which explains why you don't see many demon rhinos.

  • $\begingroup$ do you mean corporeal? $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 22:19

Evolved Protection

Since demons are real it can be assume that they existed throughout our evolution.

It could be that back in time (a little after primordial soup, when skin evolved) that demons could at will take over any organic being. They did this because while they were in control they would feast on the victims organs (if not feast then they would get some other benefit derived from organs). Skin was an evolutionary defensive response against this (Those that could not get possessed had a better chance of surviving).

Now since skin is our shield against demons, it could also be used to trap them. The reason why everything else is removed is simply so that the demon has nothing to feast on and get stronger (could get strong enough to break the sigils).


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