The common conception of angels and demons is of humanoids with wings on their back. But in my story, angels and demons operate in 'nonmagical' ways; there are no 'spells' or any 'charms' in this story; just natural power.

So my question is how, realistically, angels and demons would take flight, if at all? With the idea of wings, I feel that they would need a ridiculous wingspan to lift their human forms off the ground. Would that still work? Would they not have human forms, like the glowing wisp angels and black smoke demons in Supernatural, or create bodies/possess humans on earth? Or maybe they don't fly at all.


I reviewed the other question, as suggested. It refers to making humans physically capable of having wings through altering their bodies. I refer to how, realistically, the 'biology' of a demon or angel would allow for flight.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you check that question out and if it doesn't answer your question then edit yours to explain the difference. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Jan 27, 2016 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm, closing it deleted the potential duplicate comments, although they are still showing as linked. Strange. Naos, can you take a look at the linked questions (sidebar to the right and in the duplication) and then if you still have questions feel free to edit this one or ask a new question :) $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Jan 27, 2016 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ Naos, the point isn't whether the other question asks about different biology, but in your question you specifically mention them having wings in human forms. The other answer provide some answer to that part. Whether they don't fly at all is up to you, and it would be too broad to ask what form they can take in absolute. So if really does not answer your question of supernatural being taking a human form with wings to fly, then can you be specific ? Considering that it's your world, you define the rules, we can't. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2016 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not too concerned on them being required to take a winged human form. Whether they have wings or not, I'm just asking how demons and angels would actually fly in reality. $\endgroup$
    – user16492
    Jan 29, 2016 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


There's a couple of possibilities - wings as additional body parts may not actually give flight. They might work as sensory organs, work with other abilities (electro magnetic mind manipulation?) or such. They might even work as a way of cooling the body as part of other processes, or have some other mundane biological use.

In short, while they look like bird, bat or pterasaur wings, they might not work to fly.

Consider the cultural implications of this - a angel without the wings would be fairly hard to differentiate from a human. Might be different for a demonic entity. Architecture would be affected (for back mounted wings would surely knock things over.)

In sense in the right societies, wings may be a badge of office - "its a messenger from god!" or work the other way. It might be a plot point - China Melville's Perdido street station had a winged sentient creature whose wings were chopped off for a crime.

Alternately they may be able to fly under specific circumstances. Taking off may be a pain but they may have towers to "take off" (or even catapults).

  • $\begingroup$ When I think of my use of Supernatural as an example, I believe the show states that, despite their wispy true forms, angels do have wings as badges of office. The wings are on another plan of reality, as well as the angel's true form, that humans don't exist on and so cannot perceive all the time. Perhaps that the angels in my story could do the same, and generate some form of energy based lift to fly, like a heat current. I don't know if demons receive that much care, but I suppose that, under the assumption that Lucifer, an archangel, made them, they would use a similar system. $\endgroup$
    – user16492
    Jan 28, 2016 at 16:30

Not only would they need big wings, the bigger problem would be bone density and energy.

Flying is hard work.

Think of the number of calories an average sized human being needs to eat simply to get through a regular day.

Now consider how many calories an athlete consumes.

Now imagine that this person was flying for hours, and hours.

Frankly the caloric cost taking off and staying airborne for any significant amount of time would be astronomic.

A human being would have a difficult time eating and digesting that much food.

That is the biggest issue that I see in this situation - your angels/demons would need a different power source than simply a roast and veggies.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, I imagine angels and demons possibly consisting of some form of matter capable of sentience, which I refer to as etheric/aetheric matter. As for an energy source, they would have predated mortal food and drink, and would either find other sources of energy, have their own unique foods, or have been created in a way that they don't need to consume anything. I think that an angel would probably eat a burger for no particular reason other then flavor. $\endgroup$
    – user16492
    Jan 28, 2016 at 16:19