Hell Holes – Demonic Magic

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Demonic magic plays a central role in the Hell Hole books. Demons including both the humanoid devils, imps, ogres, and trolls as well as the bestial hellhounds and gargoyles, seem infused with the magic, and the demon hunters of Tutores Contra Infernum, an ancient order dedicated to putting down demon incursions into our world, also use this same magic. Also, each demon hunter is given an amulet containing a devilstone (harvested from the base of a dead devil’s skull) and uses it to cast spells.
Examples of demonic magic used in the books include the ability to rapidly heal from nearly any wound, the ability cast glamour spells that change the physical appearance and voice of the intended target, and the ability to cast killing curses.


The apparent magic in the Hell Holes trilogy is not in fact magic at all, although this becomes clear only in Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. Demonic “magic” is actually the result of advanced alien technology. This is an example of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote, “A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Devils are the ruling class of demons. At birth, each devil’s brain is implanted with a small device that members of The Order call the devilstone. This device, roughly the size and shape of a quarter, reads the devil’s mind and brings about the devil’s desired results. For example, making the devil appear to be an ordinary human and enabling the devil to speak a human language with the desired accent. Note that this is why only devils have these capabilities; imps, gargoyles, and hellhounds cannot glamour people and imps cannot speak English. The devilstones are actually alien devices, and the spells cast using demon stones are technological functions performed using them.

Although only devils can cast spells (because only devils have devilstones), all demons are able to almost instantly recover from most wounds due the having great numbers of medical nanobots in their bloodstream. The nanobots can be overwhelmed by sufficient damage and destruction of a demon’s brain or decapitation are instantly fatal. Because of this ability, demons can survive fire and most small arms fire. This near invincibility has had a major impact on demon culture so that demons prefer to prove their warrior prowess by hand-to-hand combat and avoiding the use of long-distance weapons (such as guns).

The demons (i.e., devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles) are not supernatural or religious creatures, but rather technologically-advanced aliens from a planet we have traditionally called Hell. For the last three thousand years, demon hunters have killed the small numbers of demons that have passed through portals to invade Earth. It is these aliens that have given rise to humanity’s mythology of demons.

Demon Hunters’ Amulets

The magic performed by the demon hunters is actually accomplished by devil stones that the demon hunters have recovered from the heads of the devils that they have killed. Over the course of the last three millennia, only about a hundred of these devil stones have been recovered, which is why there are only that many demon hunters. Because devil stones where first discovered long before humanity had developed technology, the members of the Tutores Contra Infernum have viewed such stones and the demons’ powers as purely magical rather than technological. Each demon hunter is given one of these captured devil stones, which the demon hunter wears like a necklace around his neck in the form of an amulet. Over the course of time and with proper training, the novice demon hunter learns to control the amulet and the amulet learns to understand the demon hunter.

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