Demonic Possession

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"Honey, you got real ugly."
As the humble spirit you now see before you, I am free to cross over and possess any human I wish, enabling me to undo the sacred spells that keep you here. If you so deem it.

Why hello there! Kelvek the Seducer welcomes you to her den of decadence. What? Of course Kelvek the Seducer is a woman! Are these Femme Fatalons not proof enough? The male body she currently inhabits is but a meat-dress for her demonic essence.

You see, my pretty, Kelvek the Seducer has taken Demonic Possession of this fragile and beautiful body from its rightful owner. How did she do this? Oh, there are so many delectable ways!

  1. First, by taking over an Empty Shell or once a mortal's Deal with the Devil is up and his Soul is yours. Once you own the "landlord," so to speak, the house is yours.
  2. Secondly you can always forcibly take over anyone foolish enough not to realize Evil Is Not a Toy. The Religion of Evil and other foul Cults are usually nice enough to pick pretty sacrifices for us to inhabit, as well as those who work Black Magic. A plus in this method is that you get a wonderful, echoing Voice of the Legion. The strong willed may need to be worn down first though, otherwise they might try Fighting From the Inside. I prefer making them Hear Voices.
  3. The third way is popular among mummies and Sealed Evil in a Can; any Artifact of Doom that is a Soul Jar, when held, lets the sealed spirit take over the possessed.
  4. A fourth way is to let the victim think he is possessing you! First, you let them think that by summoning and then "binding" you *Ohohoho* they will get Powers Via Possession, but they never Read the Fine Print in this Deal with the Devil. The more they use our powers the more The Corruption takes root and lets us take over. Delectably ironic, isn't it?

Puppeteer Parasite can do this with science, but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. The Virus on the other hand simply cores out the host's mind like an apple, effectively "killing" the original personality and soul of the host immediately. And the Living Doll Collector uses People Puppets, how ingenious! What amazes Kelvek the Seducer is that you humans do it to each other, not that it isn't deliciously kinky. Also, though it shames Kelvek the Seducer to admit it, this trope is not solely restricted to demons. Angelic Possession works in precisely the same way, except that those feathery hypocrites don't know how to have fun with it.

You may notice that I tend to appear slightly obscured behind the possessed in artful depictions. This pleasantly subtle fact emphasizes that Kelvek the Seducer is "in charge." Sadly, mirrors will reveal Kelvek's true nature, making social outings... problematic.

Oh, don't worry. I assure you, Kelvek the Seducer is the only one here. If my ten brothers would be with me, we would be Many Spirits Inside of One. But then it would be narrow in this body and I don't like lack of space. And don't think about trying to get chummy with me; some may like a Symbiotic Possession, where the host and the guest are on good terms with each other, but I'm not a very sociable person.

Hmm, you aren't bad looking yourself. Would you mind terribly if I "change clothes"...?

Examples of Demonic Possession include:

Anime and Manga

  • The preferred method of the demonic space entity known as the Obsidian Lord, the true Big Bad of My-HiME, who takes over the body of someone very close to a powerful HiME and turns both the victim and their "most important person" against their former friends. In the anime version, he possesses Reito, Mikoto's long-lost brother and potential Love Interest for Mai, and in the manga, he takes over the body of Mai's younger brother Takumi, whom everybody believed to have died of a heart attack. Needless to say, lots of stuff gets blown up in his wake, and many others get bumped off once their role in his plans is complete.
  • This is what is implied to be the relationship between Ai Enma and Yuzuki Mikage, a new character in Hell Girl: The Cauldron of Three, where Ai uses Yuzuki whenever she goes on her job.
  • This is how Devilman works. In the manga, it's very pronounced, since anyone can be possessed the instant they succumb to acting on instinct. Naturally, bars and nightclubs prove great places for demons to go to possess people since there are so few inhibitions in them.
  • Any non-Gatekeeper human in Gatekeepers 21 who succumbs to the dark emotions is susceptible to being possessed by The Invaders. Any dark emotion. Even complaining about kids in your taxi.
  • Dark Nova possessed Optimus Prime for a while in Transformers Return of Convoy, but Sky Garry manages to save him.
  • Shinou, the original king of the demons in Kyou Kara Maou has done this a couple of times to Wolfram (who, interstingly enough, is also a demon and may or may not be Shinou's Identical Grandson). The first time this happened because Shinou himself was posessed by some Sealed Evil in a Can. The second was more for his own amusement than anything else (see also: Kissing Under the Influence).
  • Happens to Ling Yao in Fullmetal Alchemist. He accepts Father's Philosopher's Stone and allows Greed to take possession of his body so he can finally find the secret to immortality. Subverted in that after Greed regains his previous memories, he ends up as an enemy of the Homunculi and he starts working on equal terms with Ling so he can defeat them.
  • Played for laughs early in Hayate the Combat Butler with Katsura Yukiji when a demon tricks her using money. Not played for laughs later at all with Athena and the Honored Spirit that possesses her when she's very upset. The first time she almost killed Hayate, Sakuya and Isumi. A curbstomp battle, in fact.
    • Curbstomp? Considering she needed to call on Machina's alternate form to disturb Isumi's final spell and it looked like Isumi only retreated to call for reinforcements and to get the muggles out of the way..
    • When Athena first threw Hayate out of her castle, it seems to have been mostly her; the Spirit didn't take dominance till later.
      • Alternately, we could have never seen Athena un-possessed, it's just only become visible during these times.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, when Demon Yusuke is fighting Sensui's true personality, Shinobu, when Yusuke starts to lose his upper hand, his demonic ancestor Raizen decides to take control of Yusuke unexpectedly, laying down onto Sensui one of the most vicious, brutal beatdowns in shonen manga/anime.
  • Demonic possession is more or less what Take Over magic amounts to in Fairy Tail. However, the caster is in complete control... unless they aren't, in which case they are a rampaging monster. Just ask Elfman, Mirajane or Lisanna.
  • The Soul Jar variant occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh! as Ryou Bakura winds up possessed by the spirit of Zorc Necrophades by putting on the Millenium Ring.
  • Urd, Keiichi, Megumi, and even Belldandy have fallen victim to this in Oh My Goddess!. (In Keiichi and Belldandy's case, they were able to squirm free; Urd and Megumi needed help from a third party.)
  • One episode of Pokémon towards the end of the Battle Frontier arc ("Battling The Enemy Within") has Ash being possessed by an ancient king bent on getting back at the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh and eventually taking over the world.
  • A more benevolent version happens in Gundam X, where Jamil's former commander Lucille, now in a stasis pod, uses her Psychic Powers to temporarily take control of Tifa's body to provide him with critical information (and closure). After her job is done, she willingly leaves, with no harm done to Tifa.
    • One Super Robot Wars manga takes this idea and runs with it by having Tifa get possessed by a metric ton of random characters, including Baron Ashura and Timp, with the threat hanging over their heads that if they don't clear it up soon, Tifa's original personality will be destroyed. Thankfully Lucille returns and plays Cool Big Sis before offering to take all the roaming spirits with her when she leaves. Of course, the comic ends with Tifa still getting possessed, but it's all about Rule of Funny anyhow.
  • Gaara from Naruto and his malevolent Shukaku, that won't even let him sleep. Also, Naruto himself, being the vessel for Kyuubi, the 9-tailed fox that almost destroyed his village. Both learn to control them, though.
    • Sasuke becomes the vessel for Orochimaru, who himself is no longer human but a bizarre snake demon.
  • The fate of the winner of Otokoyo.
  • This happens to Konekomaru in a filler episode of Blue Exorcist. The demon, lured by Konekomaru's fear of Rin, uses this fear to temporarily take control of Konekomaru's body. When the opportunity comes along, it fully possesses him, absorbing him and making him a part of its' body. Rin snaps him out of it though.

Comic Books

  • The Seven Deadly Sins in The DCU, seven demons that represent the Sins, do this every time they escape their prison in the Rock of Eternity. The victims they possess are compelled to indulge in whatever sin the demon represents.
  • Eclipso, the former Spirit of Vengeance that The Spectre replaced, is another example from DC. Anyone who is unlucky enough to come into contact with Eclipso's black crystal prison will be possessed by it.
  • Doctor Strange allowed a tiny fragment of the demonic entity Zom to possess him in World War Hulk. He quickly discovered that this was probably not the wisest choice.
  • During a story arc of Sturmtruppen, Private Fritz is possessed by the demon infesting the outpost 666 and starts behaving like the one from The Exorcist. He's eventually defeated and cured when he's slammed on the head with a giant wooden cross.
  • Sleepwalker's demonic enemy Cobweb had his minions possess innocent humans at different points in the series to do his evil bidding. Sleepwalker was able to expel them from the humans' bodies by zapping them with his warp vision, which broke the demons' possession and sent them back to their home dimensions.
  • Deadman is a heroic ghost that uses this as his main power. It was granted to him by the Hindu goddess Rama Kushna.
  • Both Ghost Rider characters have this situation.
  • In Nains Issue #8 (Sriza of the Temple) the protagonist is an exorcist, so possessions are featured a lot.


  • Arguably, the entire point of the movie The Exorcist.
  • The Exorcist was parodied in Repossessed.
  • And Fallen (1998), with Denzel Washington.
  • The Others had a very creepy scene where the little girl was possessed by the ghost of an old woman. Then we find out the girl is the ghost, and she was possessing the old woman.
  • REC has a mysterious virus that could be and is Demonic Possession.
  • Demoni brings this to gory extremes.
  • The alien threat in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars operate in this method.
  • The premise of the Evil Dead movies. The people possessed by the "spirits of the book" can even appear to change back into their former selves, only to lure their former friends into reach.
  • The Ghosts in Beetlejuice are capable of Possession. At least, they call it possession, but it seems to be different from ordinary demonic possession. Demons have to occupy the inside of the human host. ghosts can control people from a distance, control more than one person at once, and even do it to each-other. (This happens three times; Betelgeuse himself does it to Barbara Mateland as a demonstration, both Matelands do it to everyone at an entire dinner party, and at the end of the movie, as a reward, Adam Mateland allows/forces Lydia to float in the air and sing. (The Matelands are obviously Harry Belafonte fans.)
  • Annabelle in St. Trinian's: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold gets possessed by her ancestor Captain Fritton. There is no real point to this scene, other then having the other girls scream, making the Emo do an exorcism, damaging Annabelle's self-esteem, and getting the second half of the clue.
  • Dan Aykroyd LOVES this trope. Ghostbusters I and II feature possession, with Dana and Louis getting it in GBI; and Oscar (sort of), Janohz and Ray in GB II by the same entity. It also forms a prevalent part of the game. There are even specific mooks who quite happily invade the bodies of NPCs, including the Busters. The most obvious example of this is, of course, Ray, who gets possessed after playing the hero -- "they'll have to go through me first!" Nice going, Doc. The Xbox version of the game has him get possessed again later on his way to the security office at the museum, with him babbling incoherently over the walkie-talkies. Then, of course, there's Illysa and Peck, both of whom get possessed at the museum. And the Mayor, who gets possessed by Ivo Shandor. So yes, this Troper thinks it's fairly safe to say that Mr. Aykroyd appears to be fond of this trope.
  • Spider-Man: the Goblin shows up in the next two films talking about things Harry could not possibly know—including echoing its advice to his father.
  • Happy Hell Night: A mock satanic ritual turns out to be real when a body of a priest is possessed by a demon and starts killing people.
  • "The Shrine"takes place in a small Polish village that is cursed with a demonic statue standing in constant fog. Those who approach the statue in the fog, eventually become possessed by the demon.
  • Arguably the effect of the demonic mask in Onibaba, though whether this is actually what happens, or just what the characters fear has happened is up to interpretation.


  • Subverted in Forgotten Realms backstory as a very unfortunate incident. Dornal Silverhand noticed that his wife slowly turns into a withered shell. Some research revealed that she was possessed by "an entity of great magical power." He beheaded her to spare both of them any further agony (what is worse, she was carrying a child), only to be told that she agreed to be possessed by the goddess Mystra, in order to give birth to "special" daughters. Freak-Out ensued. This did not stop the most powerful deity of that world, but youngest of Seven Sisters was born as a drow (which may be the sole good result of disaster). Mystra made Dornal practically immortal so he could find peace sooner or later, and arranged meetings with his daughters incognito before revealing who they are, though averted his meeting with the last daughter, as she thought it would provoke another Freak-Out.
    • It's questionable just how good that turn out is, too. Despite everything Qilue does, she also ultimately ends up getting her goddess killed and leaving Lloth the sole deity of the Drow.
  • In Robert Bloch's Cthulhu Mythos story "The Shadow From the Steeple", one of Nyarlathotep's many forms can apparently possess people. The possessed individuals look mostly the same other than their skin turning darker. Oh, and they also glow in dark.
  • Greg Bear's Eon has something somewhere between Demonic Possession and Puppeteer Parasite. The Jarts are a species (really a conglomeration of assimilated species and whatever you'd call "original" Jarts) that exist primarily as virtual personality fragments as a sort of hive mind, where bits can be combined, split off and downloaded into an artificial body to perform any given task. The book's protagonist, Olmy, discovers an "individual" Jart who had been captured by humanity centuries earlier and downloads it into his mental implants to study. The Jart, because of the "species'" inherent flexibility to modify itself to fit into any environment capable of holding a conscious entity is easily able to reverse engineer the implants interface and downloads itself directly into Olmy's mind, reversing their roles. (He gets better.)
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, the whole Order of the Blackened Denarius are examples of this; the denarii are the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas for betraying Christ. Each silver coin is an Artifact of Doom that acts as a Soul Jar for a Fallen Angel. White Night in particular examines the Demonic Possession issue, as the host is unusually resistant, which has given the host and the Fallen more time to become acquainted than is usual.
    • There seem to be three kinds of relationship between a full Denarian and his/her Fallen. The first kind is demonstrated by particularly brutish Fallen such as Ursiel or Magog, who simply Mind Rape their host into submission at first opportunity and outright take over. The second shows up with more cunning Fallen, who let the hosts stay in the driver's seat but use cunning and manipulation to make them do what they want (this is what Lasciel was trying to do to Harry, and allows more options, since with the mortal still technically in control, the Denarian isn't subject to as many restrictions as a Fallen by itself would be). Finally, the Fallen and Denarian can work as equal partners- the only known case of this is the relationship between Nicodemus Archleone and his Fallen Anduriel.
  • In The Book of Amber, ty'igas are bodiless demons who can possess people. Which is harmless in itself, but causes memory loss. Of course, generally the demon doesn't have reasons to care much about effect of its actions on the host's well-being, since it can depart at any time, and even upon death simply gets expelled. Also, some (presumably easier to control) spirits can be used to make zombies (magically bound to service and forced to possess corpses).
  • Tak in Stephen King's The Regulators and Desperation (not the same character, the novels are a short of Alternate Continuity versions of each other).
  • From the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Ravers are a trio of powerful demons who collectively act as The Dragon to Big Bad Lord Foul. They don't have true bodies of their own, but possess a variety of mortals across the series (they can possess humans without help, but require a power boost before they can possess Haruchai or Giants). Some main characters get possessed at different points and are able to describe the experience.
  • In Gav Thorpe's Warhammer 40,000 novel Annihilation Squad, this overtakes Kage. Fortunately, a blank can free him when in distance, and in the end, he is free enough to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The Warhammer 40,000 Grey Knights novels, since they are about daemons and those who fight them, naturally has this occur a few times. Some of these daemons can take over machinery, as shown in Dark Adeptus.
  • Played with in Good Omens, which features a case of angelic posession after Aziraphale's body gets destroyed.
    • Serial, actually; he jumps around the world, including into an on-air televangelist, before settling on a crazy medium.
  • This is the ultimate goal of the Storm King in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. Since his original body was destroyed by a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, his spirit has lived as a malevolent shadow in the realm of dreams for five hundred years, waiting for the culmination of his Evil Plan to seize a new body so he can bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In the Mage Winds trilogy of the Heralds of Valdemar series, Big Bad Ma'ar is discovered to have been possessing the bodies of his descendants to prolong his own existence. This starts more like a case of serial Grand Theft Me, but as he suffers story-driven Villain Decay over the centuries, he eventually forgets to "finish off" the spirit of the final body he inhabits, bringing about his ultimate downfall.
  • Spirits sometimes do this in the Inheritance Cycle, if they can dupe a spellcaster who summons them.
  • Parrish Plessis has the Eskaalim, information entities which act as The Corruption for their victims before taking complete control.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born" this is one explanation offered from why Taramis (actually her Evil Twin Salome) is suddenly The Caligula.
  • Harry Potter has Ginny Weasley, who became possessed through Voldemort's boyhood diary.
    • Professor Quirrel might also count by the end of the first book, though it's an interesting case; the original owner of the body is in fact allowed to remain in control, likely mostly due to the possessor's weakened state, and in the climax is told to give control over to the possessor to give control over (and talks back). It is also apparently consensual, though possibly for definitions of the word which include death threats.
  • In The Drowning City by Amanda Downum, there's an interesting twist: a demon (jinn, to be precise) is bound inside a human shell by trickery and restrained and controlled by powerful magical bindings.
  • The Big Bad of Rivers of London is the Spirit of Riot and Rebellion Mister Punch who is possessing innocent souls forcing them to commit random acts of murder and violence. At one point manages to possess and entire theatre crowd all at once.
  • This is what happens in The Night's Dawn Trilogy when the dead return to the living world by taking over people's body, usually using torture by already possessed or satanist cults to force their way in.
  • In the last book of The Bartimaeus Trilogy an ill-advised magical experiment leads to a number of powerful demons inhabiting most of the higher members of the government. The demons have no ability to possess people, but the magicians summoned them into their own bodies, believing they could control them. Instead they obliterated their minds and set up shop.
  • Things in Septimus Heap have this as one of their standard abilities. In Queste, this first happens to Hildegarde Pigeon and then to the Toll-Man.
  • A Certain Magical Index has the demon Coronzon, who possesses Lola Stuart since before the beginning of the series. Coronzon is apparently capable of taking multiple bodies at once, doing so to Aleister Crowley while staying in its current body.

Live-Action TV

  • A old show called Everyman about real exorcisms on demons."Everyman-Exorcism"
  • Angel
    • Inverted when the gang goes to try and exorcise a demon possessed boy...only for it to turn out the boy is soulless, and has trapped the now terrified demon inside his body.
    • The last season saw Winifred Burkle's soul destroyed by a magical ritual and her body taken over by an ancient demonic being called Illyria.
    • Vampires in the Buffyverse as a whole are an example of this-they're dead bodies possessed by demons.
  • Double the Fist: Mephisto gets possessed by a Demi God Fear Factory, causing him to shoot lasers, murder people at random (well, more than before) and steal Steve's car. He shows up again two episodes later leading an army of lumberjack pandas.
  • This happens a lot on Supernatural. It's actually the only way demons operate in the world, their default form being thick, black smoke. It's even been Lampshaded in "Jus in Bello".

Henrikson: "Smart. How long have you had those [tattoos of magical possession protection]?"
Sam: "Not long enough."

  • Played with in Deep Space Nine, when Miles O'Brien's wife is possessed by an alien energy being who orders O'Brien around in exchange for not killing her. She can blend in perfectly, but O'Brien's odd behavior makes people suspect he's some kind of doppelganger. (Something similar also happened to him on another occasion...)
    • In another episode, one of the Prophets of Bajor and a Pah-wraith take possession of the bodies of Kira and Jake Sisko respectively in order to duke it out on the station.
  • The Doctor Who serial Kinda suggests the Mara could do this to Fifth Doctor companion Tegan. The trope is fulfilled in spades in the sequel serial Snakedance.
    • In the two-parter "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit", what may or may not be the Devil himself possesses the archaeologist Toby Zed.
    • The Fendahl Skull did this to turn Thea Ransome, a scientist, into a golden Grim Reaper.
  • In an episode of The Suite Life On Deck, Bailey finds herself possessed by the spirit of the ancient South American royal Princess Zaria when Zack finds her crown, thereby releasing her spirit from her bust.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Diane gets possessed by the ghost of a Celtic princess when translating a spell tablet in "Honey, You'll Always Be A Princess To Me", and Amy gets possessed by the ghost of a 19th century comedian in "Honey, I'm Spooked" when the Szalinski family gets a trunk containing the comedian's spirit (who got released when they opened it).
  • Charmed. There are demons, and they possess people. Usually it's only a Grand Theft Me situation, but the Hollow can take over weaker-willed individuals who think they can control its power.
  • Seen in One-Episode Wonder Lost in Oz, with the Wicked Witch of the West returning by possessing a girl once she realized Dorothy could kill her.


  • The Kyuss Song 'Demon cleaner' is about a man with multiple personalities who believes that all his friends, coworkers and family are all against him; he comes to the conclusion that his other personalities are demons and decides to exorcise them with a vacuum cleaner. Yeah, really.
  • The Spike Jones song "Don't Give the Chair to Buster" has Buster's attorney claiming that this has happened to his client ("the devil was in him that day"), slightly subverted when the attorney admits that certain non-lethal but still dangerous assaults were in fact Buster's own idea.
  • The Project Hate MCMXCIX's song "Descend Into the Eternal Pits of Possession," sounds like it is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but in actuality the song is about a person devouring the soul of another and using their body as a puppet.

Multiple Media

  • The Makuta in Bionicle are Energy Beings who can possess living bodies or robots. The only catch is that the body must be empty of a soul (but still alive, unless it's a robot, of course) before they can enter it.
    • However the spirits of unborn Makuta (basically liquid Antidermis[1] that hasn't been materialized and assigned to a specific Makuta body yet) are fully capable of possessing even souled bodies, which is what happened to Brutaka after he fell into the Antidermis pit containing said souls. Though it helped that to his species, Antidermis was essentially a drug, which made his body easily accessible for the souls swirling in it.


  • Truth in Television according to the Catholic Church and most other Christian denominations.
  • Frequently occurs in The Bible, to the point where it's lumped together with all the other diseases and mental disorders Jesus cures. One notable example: the truly unfortunate man possessed by one thousand demons that called themselves "Legion". Jesus, being well, Jesus, cured the man but spared the demons by casting them into a herd of pigs instead of outright destroying them.
  • This trope is sometimes played straight and inverted in East Asian religion, where humans can be possessed by benevolent or evil spirits. Usually, shamans and the like are called in to exorcise the person under possession.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Old World of Darkness game Demon: The Fallen demons can only possess people with either terribly damaged souls or whose souls have been removed. In the new setting, Spirits (and presumably ghosts) have a much easier time possessing bodies whose souls have been removed from their still living bodies.
  • Daemons in Warhammer 40,000 can possess humans whose minds are pliable to such; some radical inquisitors turn the tables on the daemons and use this to create Daemonhosts: Ritually prepared humans forcefully possessed, imprisoning and enslaving the daemon inside the shell of the human body. Both types are immensely powerful, but the possession physically destroys the body over time. For kicks, daemons can possess vehicles too, with the Defiler being only the most iconic of these possessed vehicles.
    • Don't forget the starships possessed by daemons.
  • In In Nomine, a particular 'band' of demons, the Shedim do this, unlike other demons who are given specially created bodies to inhabit while on earth, they enter the bodies of humans and manipulate the unlucky individual into doing evil things, which the host believes were his own idea. They can only stay in a certain host for so long at one time, the host's resistance increases over time and the demon MUST force their host to preform acts of escalating evilness each day or suffer. Their angelic counterparts, the Kyriotates, act similarly, only they can possess multiple entities (which do not have to be human),can totally take over the host's body (the host's mind is kept in a dreamlike state and will remember nothing about the possession) and may stay within a host as long as they like, as long as their host is not in worse condition than it was originally found. Needless to say, they don't force their hosts into depravity.
    • There's actually a Song (which are the spells of the game) that allows any Celestial to possess any living thing.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Eberron This setting provides rules for creating demons (and devils) that possess people. The Quori from Eberron, creatures from the plane of dream, use this as their main MO. They are unable to planeshift to the material plane, so can only rely on possession of people as they sleep. Ironically, the Church of the Silver flame has developed many tools and powers to deal with demonic possession (as they focus on hunting down demons). Those very same power can also be used to end quori possession just as effectively. It's a shame that most of the people working of the Silver Flame are unaware of the Quori and the Dreaming Dark's plans for Eberron.
    • Ghosts in some editions could do this, and it's the signature trick of the odem, a type of disembodied evil spirit from the Ravenloft setting.
    • The magic jar spell, which has been part of the game since the first edition and allows even humans to play the part of demonic-possessor-from-the-soul-jar.
  • The yikaria (or yak-folk) from the Kara-Tir setting can do this via a magical ability called "skin crawling"; this is unusual, seeing as yikaria are living, mortal, corporeal beings. Still, given the other atrocities they're known to commit, it seems fitting.
  • GURPS: Creatures of the Night has a... thing that uses some sort of cosmic power to possess entire buildings.
  • Shadowrun: Certain extraplanar spirits are unable to remain in Earth's astral space without weakening unless they can anchor themselves to a human host. Bugs Spirits and Shedim, for example.
    • Nomads as well: Astral beings that possess their hosts and make them murder other people.

Video Games

  • The various Doom games have "former humans", soldiers who were possessed by the Demonic Invasion.
  • In Xenogears, Miang, a servant of Deus, can possess any woman with her genetic material. Since she's her planet's "Eve", that means effectively any woman. Ironically, the two main characters are using the very same MO to reincarnate themselves over and over: The Irony being that, Elly now has the genetic material of her first incarnation and Miang's genetic material.
  • Soul Nomad and The World Eaters
    • Subverted: the main character's mentor purposefully exposes the main character to possession by Gig, an evil force inhabiting an Artifact of Doom, because she's aware that the main character is strong-souled enough not to be booted out and you need the power from the possession to save the world. Gig is not pleased when he discovers that he's forced to play second-fiddle and power battery to some bright-eyed Heroic Mime he has no real control over—still, sooner or later, you'll draw on too much of his power, and then it's his time to shine...
    • The New Game+ has the demon path, where you willingly give in to Gig's influence, much to his delight; until you out-evil him.
    • Raksha bought two slave children then broke them so he could inhabit their soulless bodies...and then he starts to really be a jerk.
  • Disgaea 2: In the worst ending, the real Overlord Zenon possesses Adell after he is forced to kill Rozalin.
  • In the Kirby series, the Dark Matter is this, even capable of changing the shape of the body currently being possessed.
  • Ghost Trick's Sissel can possess dead bodies, but only so he can contact their souls. Yomiel, on the other hand, can manipulate both the living and the dead.
  • The Watchers in Drakengard have possessed the Big Bad. This becomes evident when she starts talking in two different voices, or shades between: her normal, little girl voice, and a foreboding, evil man voice.
  • Grandia II kicks off with the Wings of Valmar possessing the priestess Elena, taking on the name Millennia and transforming Elena's body whenever she's in control. In time, the arrangement becomes more a case of Sharing a Body instead.
  • The Phoenix arc of Ace Attorney features spirit channeling, in which a spirit medium allows herself to be possessed by a dead spirit. It's not hazardous in itself, but possession by a vengeful spirit can force the medium to do violent acts. And Dahlia Hawthorne's as vengeful as they get.
  • Happens in Quest for Glory 3: Wages of War, where Demons possess humans and humanoids, and can either chose to remain hidden inside a fleshy suit, or completely morph the host into their original Demon (And Bulky) form.
  • Jade Empire: One of the supporting characters is a girl possessed by two demons. One of them is a "Heavenly Gate Guardian" who was sent along to aid the protagonist on his quest to restore balance to the world, while the other is his negative double whose thoughts bend towards world domination and human suffering. Your choices in the game determine which demon exhibits control.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Riku in the first game, after losing a fight with the hero, is goaded by a mysterious figure into further opening his heart to darkness, telling him it will increase his power. He gets stronger, but not in the way he expects...
    • Kingdom Hearts: End of Days: Riku is able to somewhat reverse this by taking all of Ansem's powers to augment his own. Kinda Ironic because in Chain of Memories Ansem was obsessed with repossessing Riku.
    • In Birth By Sleep it's revealed that that Xehanort, the Big Bad from the previous games, is actually a Keyblade master named Terra, who, like Riku, gave into the darkness in his desire for revenge, thus allowing the original Xehanort, an old Keyblade master, to possess his body, and become the Xehanort that we all know and love.
  • Nicholai Conrad in Shadow Hearts Covenant gets a nice power boost by making a certain Deal with the Devil. At first, he has a great control over his demon (due to his massive ego), but when he gets captured and experimented on by the Japanese army, he is weakened enough that he is overtaken by Astaroth, the fallen angel of vanity and sloth.
  • Two characters are possessed by a demon in Phantasmagoria. The original host, magician Zoltan Carnovash, murders his wives under its influence, and is finally killed by the final victim's lover during a rigged stage performance. The forcibly exorcised demon returns to the spellbook from where it was summoned, which another character places inside the small chapel and weighted under a large Bible. Much later, protagonist Adrienne Delaney stumbles upon the chapel and curiously looks inside the spellbook, unknowingly releasing the demon which proceeds to possess her husband Donald Gordon, who starts exhibiting increasingly violent tendencies until the final chapter has him trying very hard to kill Adrienne.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Grodus summons the Shadow Queen, who then possesses Princess Peach. Fortunately, Mario arrived just in time.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There is a Boss in the Serpentshrine Cavern instance. His name is Leotheras the Blind, and while he's an incredible danger all on his own, There exists an unnamed demon within him that occasionally transforms his body into a Chernabog-like creature and throws spells that can decimate any party member not specifically geared to survive his attacks. When Leo is nearly defeated, the Demon leaves the host, and the raid group has to fight them both simultaneously.
    • Also in the background, the fallen Titan Sargeras, lord of the Burning Legion possessed Medivh, the next Guardian of Tirisfal and an immensely powerful mage, before he was born. Medivh then opened the Dark Portal, through which the orcs came to the world. However, he was killed before Sargeras could fulfill his plans, causing him to be sent back to the nether without his body, effectively preventing from having further effect on the story.
    • Grand Crusader Dathrohan/Balnazzar of the Scarlet Crusade. Dathrohan was killed first, but it's explicitly called possession. Wearing a paladin's body has given him lots of opportunity to cause trouble...
    • Kalecgos, the blue dragonflight youth, is possessed Sathrovarr when you fight him in the Sunwell Plateau instance.
  • While the Ing from Metroid Prime 2 aren't really demons (although being extradimensional creatures of darkness, they're probably close enough), they fit this trope as they must possess the bodies of other creatures to survive in our dimension. They open a dimensional portal and come through in a gaseous form, entering the body of a nearby creature and possessing it. The possessed creature will gain a darker colour and become more powerful.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask, the Skullkid is possessed by Majora by wearing Majora's Mask. This was a gradual and lighter-in-tone possession, for the Skullkid could still decide most of his actions and he wasn't completely possessed until the night of the final day when the moon comes crashing down.
    • Wait, no mention of The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass' Bellum-Beck?!]]
    • Or Puppet Zelda, for that matter. And that last one will apparently be happening again in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, since Zelda's empty body is kidnapped, so the Evil Chancellor can revive a demon Paper Mario2-style.
      • The reverse happens, too. Link is about to get his block hacked off by a Phantom, when it suddenly stops dead in its tracks. Considering that the Evil Chancellor has her empty body, that leaves her soul free to take other measures in aiding Link. Put two and two together, kids.
      • It also happens in the final battle. After Zelda gains her body back, Malladus simply possesses Chancellor Cole. He can't apparently maintain control of his form for long, but then wants to destroy the world in short time that's left.
    • This is Veran's trademark. First is the Oracle Nayru and then Queen Ambi.
      • And Impa, briefly before possessing Nayru.
  • In TOME, Spirits can possess any body on the ground; effectively raising them Back from the Dead. Gameplay and Story Segregation means there is little difference between a possessed corpse and its original. For clever individuals with a Wish spell, one can create a Familiar Spirit and have it possess anything with a corpse; making that your familiar. Gandalf, the Bonus Boss, anything that you killed with a body that you perserved. One of the classes is "Symbiote" which means you can fuse yourself with any Familiar that doesn't move. One of the Bonus Bosses is a Mold...
  • This is one of the more frustrating strange moods in Dwarf Fortress. Not because the dwarf does something unpleasant (that's fell moods), but because they don't get experience for whatever it is they make.
  • In one of the endings of Ogre Battle, the demon Galf possesses your victorious character, ruling the now united continent in your name.
  • Puyo Pop Fever 2 has Klug transforming into Strange Klug when the demon in the possessed book decides to move in. Some people just never learn that carrying around something like that book is a BAD IDEA.
  • Roa in Tsukihime has gained effective immortality by switching bodies. Whenever his current one dies, he goes to the next prepared host. In the event he couldn't prepare one in time, he can end up as someone like Ciel who has immense power but not the lineage and wealth he prefers. In a way, though, he's actually already dead as his ego has been reduced to two goals: continue seeking immortality, and apologize to Arcueid, which he doesn't realize he wants to do.
  • A core player ability in the Dungeon Keeper series, in which you can do this to any creature under your control. Mainly useful for combat, fast scouting, digging and claiming of territory, and in the unofficial expansion, Ancient Keeper to suppress normal emotional responses at key times.
  • Early on in Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Momohime gets possessed by a demon named Jinkuro, forcing her original soul out of her body. An evil monk then steals the soul to give to a giant demon, and Momohime-Jinkuro has to rush to get it back, because if the original soul is destroyed, then Momohime's body will wither and die, leaving him once again without a vessel.
  • Tragically done AND gloriously inverted in Arc the Lad II: the Big Bad manage to take control of Kukuru and "absorb" her, only to discover that Arc's Girlfriend's soul is stronger than his own: she promptly inverts the demonic possession and gives Arc the time to seal him again
  • Mass Effect and its sequel have Reapers do this once they decide their mooks have failed, or the fight is important enough to require personal intervention.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Lyon has either type two or type four depending on which sibling's path you choose.
  • Most of the inhuman enemies in Dragon Age Origins who aren't Darkspawn are the results of Demonic Possession, which is a risk anyone with magic talent faces. Corpses and trees can also be possessed.
    • Anders in Dragon Age 2 suffers from a case of this, though it's not as clear cut as most cases. He voluntarily allowed, his friend the spirit of Justice, to come into his body. Anders' own hatred of his magically inclined brethern's oppression perverted Justice into Vengeance, who's a tad more angry.
  • In Devil Survivor, Amane is posessed by not only Remiel, an angel, but Jezebel, a demon.
    • Aradia did it first in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Only, she's... uh... a goddess. A fake goddess. It's kinda complicated.
    • And Nemissa did it before either in Soul Hackers. Kinda subverted in that she leaves when she realizes it's necessary. And the possessee still has pretty much control over herself, limiting how much damage Nemissa can do. Later, Spooky is taken over by Satanael, who later decides to take on the party... by blowing his way out of the victim's body. And he doesn't make it all the way out.
    • Before Devil Survivor but after Nocturne, the Four Seraphs and Metatron joined in, converting five poor saps into their physical bodies through the Demon Virus and obliterating their memories and personalities, making it a horrific combo between Type 1 and 2.
  • Early in Wild ARMs 2, an entire building full of people are possessed by demons, including the main character. He manages to stumble over to the legendary sword used to seal away a great evil who happens to be the very demon possessing him and absorbs it into his body, effectively cancelling each other out. This is later revealed to have given him a Super Mode that's at risk of becoming a Super-Powered Evil Side. The final battle is a one-on-one fight between the protagonist and the demon inside his own soul.
  • Sonic Unleashed: you can converse with the townsfolk in the hub worlds, and some of them at night become possessed by Dark Gaia monsters, who make them either depressed, apathetic, or weirdly for some normally serious characters, laid-back and happy. As side missions, you can perform 'exorcisms' on them by flashing them with a camera and then defeating their "demons."
  • Guilty Gear has a Shout-Out to The Bible in Zappa, (yes, named after THAT Zappa) who is possessed by five (or rather, seven - one is a set of triplets) separate ghosts. You have no say in which one comes out, and they all fight differently (the only guaranteed emergence is if you summon with eight "eyes", in which case the strongest gets out). They're led by a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl named S-Ko.
  • In Super Robot Wars NEO, Amane Inaba gets possessed by Larva
  • Shadow of the Colossus has Wander gradually possessed by Dormin.
  • Legacy of Kain. While it's not done by the actual demons, the ones who mainly do this are related. It's done to either corpses or unwilling living people. The host is gradually worn out, and can be immediately used up if the possessor decides to transform it.
  • Wonderfully inverted in Summon Night Sword Craft Story 2 where a demon girl is possessed by an angel girl. The later only comes out when the former goes too far on the tsun side however.
  • Several characters from Shining the Holy Ark are possessed by evil spirits. Notably the King and one of your former allies. The spirits are mostly invisible but a certain spell can bring them into corporeal form; enabling you to sever their connection to the host and their life expectancy.
  • Something Else
    • The Miko leader gets possessed by a Big Boo and turns into the boss of World 3. Luigi frees the Miko, and Luigi receives a "reward" for rescuing her.
    • King Dedede gets possessed by Dark Matter in the boss fight for DDDark Castle. He even coughs up tiny Dark Matters for the second phase of the fight.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue (and adaptations, like Pokémon Let's Go, many of the trainers you meet in Lavender Town's Pokémon Tower (one of the creepiest locations in the franchise, bar none) are possessed, possibly by their own Pokémon, requiring you to exorcise them by defeating them in battle. This is oddly the only time in the game franchise where this phenominon occurs; Ghost Pokémon do not do this in any other game.


  • MAG-ISA - Demonic possession is standard in this comic:
  • This is lampooned by All Over the House in this strip.
  • Reynardine from Gunnerkrigg Court can possess anything with eyes, or a representation thereof. There's elements of Grand Theft Me to his possession: he can't exist outside a body for more than a few seconds, and he permanently dispossesses the host's soul. When he takes a new host, his old one dies.
    • There's also the Glass-Eyed Men, who at one point possess a robot.
  • There are a few of these floating around the Sluggy Freelance universe, most notably K'Z'K the Vowelless.
  • This is the major plot point in Garanos.
  • This occurs several times throughout CRFH, which is in no way surprising considering that the Big Bad is Satan.
  • The Dragon Doctors: While initially believed to be an alien, the Crax is later revealed to be the manifestation of a sociopathic man who learned how to become immortal by taking over other people's bodies. Did we mention he's become what is basically sapient cancer?
  • Drowtales: There's basically two levels of demonic possession. First, there's tainting. This is generally done in a controlled manner, so that the demon will not progress to the next level. It leaves the host in full control, while making sure that she can't be possessed accidentally in a more dangerous manner. Very weak taints can sometimes be reversed. Tainting also is generally used to dull fear and pain. In the full form of possession, the demon has full control, and the host's body commonly deforms. Both forms leave the host with red eyes.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Season two of Jackie Chan Adventures had the character Valmont possessed by Shendu, a dragon spirit. The possession though was accidential as Shendu wanted to get into Jackie, he succeeds later. Shendu then uses Valmont to further his own agenda while maintaining the upper-hand in their relationship.
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny's Inferno", Johnny ends up possessed by a demon who then tries to force Johnny into a rampage of evil. Of course, Johnny being Johnny, and the demon's idea of evil being quite underwhelming, Hilarity Ensued.
  • While he was semi-permanently dead, Kenny had channeled himself through Cartman in South Park. This is an interesting inversion since Kenny is much nicer to Stan and Kyle than Cartman.
    • Micheal Jackson had also channeled himself through Ike in an episode. He was just happy being a kid and had to win a little girl beauty pageant in order to leave.
  • The original Transformers series has Starscream become a ghost after he dies, and over the span of two series possesses other transformers (Cyclonis, Scourge in G1 and Waspinator in Beast Wars).
    • Poked fun at wonderfully here.
  • in Transformers Prime, Megatron exposes himself to Dark Energon, the blood of Unicron, which allows Unicron to possess him in the first season finale. It's a testament to the strength of this Megatron's will, though, that Unicron had to knock him out before he could take total control.
  • A heroic example is Raven from Teen Titans who is half-demon. She usually limits her use of this power, on one occasion possessing Robin to help him when he was having a very bad trip, and Plasmus twice, in both cases instantly making him asplode.
    • Considering she has a Super-Powered Evil Side as one lovely feature of her dual nature, one could argue that on the occasions where it takes control, she's possessed by her own inner demon.
  • In Wakfu there exist Shushus, which are demons trapped inside of objects. However, they can possess people through their weakness or even their own volition, and Shushu guardian Sadlygrove has this happen more than once.

Hmm, Kelvek the Seducer must admit, all that jazzersize you did certainly has paid off. I do hope you don't mind "hanging out" while Kelvek the Seducer buys new leather pants in y-- her size.

  1. AKA "Makuta essence"