Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Imps are small demons that serve those who have sworn loyalty to Satan. Basically, they're the Devil's interns. Paracelsus, the Swiss medieval doctor and alchemist, is said to have kept one sealed within the crystal pommel of his sword, which was inscribed with the word zoth (whether this was the Imp's name or a word of power is based purely on speculation). However, the fact of the matter remains that imps are evil spirits, conjured from the bowels of Hell to wreak havoc on Satan's enemies. Imps are kept inside of a bottle or a ring, emerging at the master's command. In this regard, the Imp is very much like a witch's familiar, and can be either good or evil. These demons are usually invoked for spellcasting, healing, charms, and divination, but they are also called forth by mages during rituals involving ceremonial magic. Imps are controlled using incantations, words, and names of power.

Imps, from medieval times to the present day, are favored by witches, serving as familiars. Imps are able to take on the forms of various animals, birds, and insects in order to carry out the commands of a wizard, a witch, or an alchemist. Witch Hunters, during the time of the Inquisition, believed that witches rewarded the imps by suckling the creatures with their own blood, and often accused suspected witches of such behavior. The blood was usually sucked from the breasts (namely the nipples), fingers, warts, or any other odd protuberances on the skin.

It should be noted that, like most demons, an Imp may be kept at bay with an unbroken line of salt, or can possibly be destroyed with a cold-forged iron blade or silver. Oftentimes, shooting a witch's familiar with a silver bullet will also kill or at least wound the witch herself as well. And although imps are minor demons, they can still be dangerous. It is perhaps best not to trifle with these creatures to begin with. The conjurer may live to regret it.


Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright ©2009 by Judika Illes.

Masello, Robert. Fallen Angels…And Spirits of the Dark. Perigree Publishing. Copyright ©1994 by Robert Masello.

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