Knowing a demons name?

I watched movie ‘the conjuring2’ yesterday, about the real life demonic possession of a London girl in the late 1970s, according to the movie, just knowing the demons name gives someone power over it, I know its just a movie, but in it, when the lady figures out its name and uses it, that alone somehow banishes the demon.

Just wondering if there is any truth to this or not. Also wondering why a demon would even have a name to begin with.

It’s an old trope, and a thing supposedly in demonology, that if you know a demon’s “true name” you can summon/control/banish it. Supposedly works on humans, too (if you know one’s “true name”).

As for the naming a demon banishing it, I don’t know. :shrug:
As for the anything in movie, including its premise, I’d say “no”. :smiley:

I read a book by a famous exorcist and he claimed that the exorcist had to call the demon out…and it would submit (unwillingly) to his command to leave the person. This presumes he knows the name or demands the name.

Maybe a priest can weigh in.

There is no WAY int he world I would ever seek to know a demon’s name. :eek:


The name is the very identity if the demon. Normally, the demon is very reluctant to give the name up, as that is an admission that it is present and possesses the person. Recall “Legion - there are many of us” from the scriptures (Mark 5, Luke 8). Here is an interview with an exorcist Priest which gives a bit of detail. What is striking is that, to a demon, all things are fair game - except Mary. 100% off-limits. What a wonderful consolation.

But, as we recall from the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16), exorcism is not a DIY project. We are counseled never to directly interact with the demonic.

Yes, this is present in ancient Egyptian tales. I don’t think it works on gods, but it does on various spirits and creatures. :shrug:

We know Satan’s name, but that doesn’t give you any power over him.

Yes. This.

I just finished “Hostage to the Devil.” Fascinating stuff, though this book was a bit heavy in theology. The exorcism cannot be finished without the demon’s name.

What is a bit frightening to me is that demon CAN read the mind of the exorcist and his team, and will even call out their sins. I always had heard that only God could know what was in our mind. That would make resisting the passions a great deal harder. It might just be a proximity thing, I don’t know.

Another thing the book made a point of is that in order for possession to happen and go very far, the victim has to invite the demon in. In the book this could take several different forms, some overt, some not so much.

A woman was for example, the object of a diabolical ritual during a black mass. This demon was very difficult to exorcise, but it was done. Mistakes made during the exorcism can bring long lasting harm to the exorcist, or even death.

This is freaking me out!

Yeah that’s the book I was talking about.

Well, keep in mind that a lot of what exorcists know comes either from experience or from what they learn from other exorcists based on their own findings. So knowing a name can help an exorcist to approach things in the proper manner, since it can reveal the sort of character they are dealing with.

Don’t forget what exorcism is: it’s basically torturing the demon until he relinquishes control over a body, and this humiliation of the demon is one part of the reason some exorcists will say God permits possession in the first place. So the exorcist may do things like force them, by Christ’s power, to recite prayers or to adore the Blessed Sacrament, etc. But one major source of pain is their biggest weakness which led to them rebelling against God. It’s the sin that caused them to fall in the first place and, apparently, their name is in some way connected to this.

Exorcists torture that information out of the demon, and also information relating to how they got in, which part of the body they’re possessing, and when they will leave and under what circumstances.

(By the way: I really should mention all of this comes from talks given by an exorcist named Fr. Chad Ripperger.)

Learning the demon’s name is a big step in an exorcism, but is not always necessary. There are demons and there are DEMONS. Some demons will easily flee from a priest without much trouble. Saint Padre Pio performed simple exorcisms without the name.

A demon may sometimes freely give his name to a person because the demon believes that the person does not have the means to use it.

The demon knows our sins because he knows our past. Demons do not have access to our thoughts.

LOL this stuff freaks me out as well! I downloaded a sample of the book by Paul Thigpen about spiritual warfare one night on my kindle. Had to stop reading because I got scared! Needless to say, even at 40+ I still have an active imagination :slight_smile:

Names have meaning. Sometimes it’s a “borrowed” meaning, as in a person naming his child “Patrick” in the belief that the child will be guided through life accompanied by certain attributed of St. Patrick.

Primitive people sometimes name children or adults with something descriptive of them or some event in their lives.

Now, demons might well have “short descriptor” names that somehow apply to them. But I would be very reluctant to know a demon’s “full descriptor”. As a being of full negation and hatred, truly knowing the nature of the demon might be more than a human being could withstand.

I hope never to know one’s true name.

According to Fr.Ripperger who is an exorcist in the Diocese of Tulsa, we should never want to say a demons name unless you are a trained excorcist and know what you are doing. By anyone saying a demons name, it gives some sort of glory to the demon.

When we study about angels and demons we are apt to find a wide variety and sometimes contradictory teachings. The spiritual world is vast and complex. When a priest or a lay person has a direct experience with a spirit, he wants to think his findings have a broad application. Even an exorcist who has had 100 or more encounters hasn’t scratched the surface. Saint Thomas teaches:

This means that each angel is the only one of its kind. It means that each angel is a species or essential kind of substantial being. Hence each angel is essentially different from every other angel.

So why would demons even have names then?

For us to know any of these names, only a few are specifically mentioned in the bible, we would have to consult the Lesser keys of Solomon and other such books, that list their names/ ranks…but how would the author of that book have received this type of detailed information,if it was such a dangerous thing to dabble in?

Ive read about a few possession cases, and the demons that were involved, but Im curious if anyone knows if Satan himself has ever been involved? Seems like one (Im thinking it was that Emily ? girl), not sure of her last name, there was a movie about it, I believe Lucifer himself possessed her, but Im not sure if that was something Hollywood added or if it was true.

Interesting question. I suppose that their names are for identification and to facilitate communication among themselves. My presumption is that God named them. Having dominion over them certainly gives him the right. Adam named the creatures of the earth. Parents name their children. Both are examples of ones with authority assigning names.

It’s possible that Satan renames them according to the function he assigns. It’s similar to referring to someone as waitress or officer. While they are on duty they are called by their function.

I don’t think the 72 demons from The Lesser Keys are actual demon names. They are more like characters that demons mimic. It’s like role playing. The game may have been going on for thousands of years, but it’s still fake.

From what I have read in books written by exorcists it is my understanding that the demon only knows the sins a person hasn’t confessed.