Baal, or Bael, refers to the Jewish-Christian demon, thought to be one of the Dukes in the kingdom of Hell, or possibly even Satan himself. Early demonologists that were unaware of the term “Ba’al” as it referred to numerous spirit entities that were worshipped locally, or of the god Hadad, that was worshipped and called “Ba’al” for lord, began to attribute Bael instead to one demon. Bael was the name for one specific individual demon in Hell. This theory emerged as early Christians began to consider all ancient mythological gods, whether good or evil, as demons. This divided Hell into several different hierarchies, or kingdoms.
Once Hell was considered as being divided into hierarchies, or kingdoms by demonologists, other theories about the origins of Bael began to emerge. Some historian demonologists claimed that Bael was a ruler of Eastern Hell, and that he was also the first and principal king over Hell, or at least in his specific hierarchy. Other demonologists claimed that he was a Duke of Hell, and ruled over sixty-six legions of demon armies. Other historians or occultist researchers claimed that he was Satan’s main assistant, or Satan himself. The English occultist, Francis Barrett, born in the late eighteenth century, provided further insights into Bael’s theories.
Barret claimed that Bael’s powers were the strongest in the time of autumn, particularly in October. This theory is perhaps what convinced Christians later on that Halloween was an evil holiday, celebrating the demons of Hell, when in other cultures, Halloween is instead a time to celebrate the souls that have passed from one world to the next. Barrett also claimed that Bael granted those who summoned him from Hell the power to be invisible. Some sources made other claims, that Bael had the power to grant men wisdom, or that he spoke hoarsely; no doubt congruent with having inhaled sulfurous fumes in Hell, or breathing in smoke from Hell’s flames. From traditional grimoire –books dedicating to spells or summoning rituals, –illustrations, Bael was depicted as being in the form of a man, toad, or cat. Collin De Plancy’s book Dictionnaire Infernal contains an illustration of Bael with the heads of all three creatures, settled on a set of spider’s legs.