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Demonic Possession

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"Crap, how do you work the stick shift on this thing?"
"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."
Shendu, Jackie Chan Adventures, to his brothers and sisters

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

You see, my dear, Shelvek the Seducer has taken possession of this fragile and handsome body from its rightful owner. How did I 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 become the "landlord", so to speak, the house is yours and you can kick out any tenants.
  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?

A 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 Shelvek the Seducer is that you humans do it to each other, sometimes even after you've died! Not that it isn't deliciously kinky. Also, though it shames Shelvek 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 Shelvek the Seducer is "in charge". Sadly, mirrors will reveal Shelvek's true nature, making social outings... problematic.

Oh, don't worry. I assure you, Shelvek the Seducer is the only one here. If my ten brothers were with me, we would be Many Spirits Inside of One. But then it would be cramped 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. That said, you can rest assured I take good care of my meat-dresses, no sense taking over a body only to burn it out like a lightbulb. The only thing I have to watch out for is every now and then my brothers and I can get stuck in a body we're possessing, even when we no longer want to be in that host.

And did I also forget to remind you that a Complete Monster is completely out of my league? Since they choose to be evil themselves, with or without being possessed? That's not to say there's anything stopping me from being one...

Hmm, you aren't bad looking yourself. Would you mind terribly if I "change clothes"...? Don't worry, you won't remember a thing afterwards. More's the pity.

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Other examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Possession is a common problem for Guts, the protagonist of Berserk, who in addition to fighting the demonic Apostles of the God Hand, must also deal with lesser demonic spirits drawn to his Brand of Sacrifice, which possess corpses, animals, susceptible people and even the very snow itself in one case to try to claim him. He also has to deal with a personal demon called the Beast of Darkness that wants to possess him and turn him into a monster himself.
  • In Black Clover, it's eventually revealed that this is how Asta ended up with the Anti-Magic grimoire: a devil picked him to be its host. The possession doesn't work out as planned because Asta refuses to give in to the devil and instead basically kicks its ass inside his mind to claim the power for himself.
  • 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.
    • It happened to Posthumous Character Father Fujimoto as well. He got possessed by the big man (er, demon) himself. And then his adoptive son Yukio got possessed by Satan as well. Must run in the family.
    • Any demon in the series has to do this to manifest in Assiah.
  • In Chainsaw Man, Devils can take over a variety of things, including people and objects. Fiends are devils that have taken over a human corpse, making the body their own in the process and sometimes retaining some of the memories of the human. There are also devil-human hybrids like Denji, the titular Chainsaw Man, who are the result of Symbiotic Possession. The second Horseman, the War Devil, possessed a young girl by the name of Asa Mitaka and turned her into a Fiend while still partially preserving her consciousness and keeping her in line with threats of a Grand Theft Me.
  • Masami from The Curse of Kazuo Umezu has this in "What Will the Video Camera Reveal?". Of course, she couldn't get those strange feelings out of her head.
  • Day Break Illusion features monsters called Daemonia. They possess people, and unfortunately for the Magical Girl Warriors who have to fight them, they cannot be exorcised.
  • This is how the demons from Devilman work. 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. Only one who has a pure heart can harness the power of their possessor while still retaining their humanity, becoming a Devilman.
  • Happens with relative frequency in Digimon Ghost Game.
  • This was the most potent ability of Baby, the first main antagonist of Dragon Ball GT. Being rather pragmatic, he tried to possess the most powerful individuals he could to accomplish his stated goal (reviving the Tuffle race and exterminating the Saiyans) and quickly abandon a host when a stronger one was available. However, he also left a small part of himself in each former host, assuring that he could still assume control of them later if he had to. When his initial plan to possess Goku fails, he next targets Gohan, but only long enough to attack Vegeta and switch to him, which makes him a potent enemy for the rest of the arc.
  • Evillious Chronicles: Seven demons that can possess you, unwillingly or as part of a contract, are the main source of trouble in the setting. Once possessed the host is influenced to act out their respective sin, becoming increasingly evil and delusional—some of the series' protagonists are hosts that cause large scale disasters with the demons' power.
  • This is the MO of the Violencia, the main antagonists of The Exploding Girl. Specifically, they possess humans and drive them towards their worst, most violent and harmful impulses, and power themselves through the pain and suffering they cause.
  • Demonic Possession is more or less what Take-Over magic amounts to in Fairy Tail, save it's inverted: It's the caster who's doing the possessing via assimilating the creature into their body and then changing their body into said form to fight. However, the caster is in complete control... unless the creature is too powerful or the caster is suffering from Unstoppable Rage, in which case they are a rampaging monster. Just ask Elfman when his first usage of Full Body Take-Over resulted in killing his little sister Lisanna except not quite, or when Mirajane, who was traumatized by this and lost access to her Magic, regained her own power when Freed almost killed Elfman and caused her to have flashbacks. She was half an inch from taking Freed's life via pulping his skull with her fist before she took back control.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Happens to Ling Yao when 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. 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.
    • Also, Pride does something possession-like to Al at one point, operating the armor with his shadows while Al is out of it. He later attempted a complete take-over of Al's brother Ed's body but failed.
  • 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.
  • 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 Jamil's adopted daughter Tifa's body to provide him with critical information and closure before she can finally die. After her job is done, she willingly leaves with no harm done to Tifa (who even says Lucille's presence was kind and gentle), and manages to pass away in peace.
    • 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.
  • 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 Tellos 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.
  • 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.
  • Holoearth Chronicles Side:E ~Yamato Phantasia~: A stigmatized squirrel Ayakashi possesses a female student and then manifests as a large beast physically attached to her.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Happens to Inuyasha himself by Magatsuhi in an attempt to kill Sesshomaru and Kagome.
    • Also happens in a filler arc to Sango after she was forced to swallow a salamander egg.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Kakyoin was capable of doing this to others with his Stand Hierophant Green, but never performed it again after his initial fight with Jotaro.
    • Angelo in Diamond is Unbreakable had the ability to do this with his aqueous Stand Aqua Necklace by having it enter his victims' mouths and control them from inside.
    • In the Spin-Off Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, Rohan tells a story about a man who was cursed after failing an Old Beggar Test, with the beggar's angry spirit possessing his daughter to exact its revenge.
    • Also in Rohan, he encounters a youkai he names Mutsukabezaka that possesses an individual before killing them, and making whoever was close by at the time feel responsible to it could possess them too. The possessed survivor would then "reproduce" with the corpse, creating a new Mutsukabezaka that would "kill itself" in front of someone to possess them and continue the cycle.
    • Again in Rohan, he meets Yoma Hashimoto, a young model and actor whose intense fitness regimen leads to him getting possessed by the Greek god Hermes and becoming a musclebound psychopath who murders anyone who he believes is in the way of his pursuit of greater strength.
  • Combined with Sealed in a Person-Shaped Can in Jujutsu Kaisen as when Yuji eats one of Ryomen Sukuna's fingers, he then gets possessed by Sukuna. Fortunately, Yuji is able to restrain Sukuna from fully possessing his body.
  • Kakurenbo: The fate of the winner of Otokoyo.
  • Shinou, the original king of the demons in Kyo Kara Maoh! 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 possessed by some Sealed Evil in a Can. The second was more for his own amusement than anything else (see also: Kissing Under the Influence).
  • Several kinds of demonic possession are present in Majinden, both heroic and villainous, and with several levels of Body Horror.
  • March Story: The Ill that the main character fights have to do this to get a body. Also, if the ill commits murder while in your body they are there for good.
  • 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.
  • Naruto:
    • A very real danger for jinchuuriki, as the demons sealed in their body will attempt to take control of their body if their will or seal weakens. Gaara and Shukaku were the first shown instance of this, foreshadowing Naruto's on-going struggles with the Kyuubi. Both ultimately found a method to handle it.
    • Sasuke was intended to become the vessel for Orochimaru, who himself is no longer human but a bizarre snake demon.
    • How the Otsutsuki Clan resurrects themselves through the use of Kama.
  • Technically what's happening when Rikuo (or his father Rihan who invented the technique) use Matoi in Nurarihyon no Mago. As one half (Rihan) or one quarter (Rikuo) Youkai their human sides are just as susceptible to possession by another youkai as a normal human but their own youkai heritage means they can control the abilities of the one possessing them. It requires a great deal of trust on the part of both participants to pull off though.
  • Happens twice in Ojamajo Doremi. The first time is Played for Laughs because the demon doing the possessing is addicted to scaring people and only possesses Onpu to scare Doremi and Momoko. The second time is far more serious in that the Big Bad possesses Momoko and traps her in a Lotus-Eater Machine so she can kill Hana to keep her from eventually undoing her curse.
  • PandoraHearts plays with this trope and then ultimately inverts it, when Oz, the protagonist, is revealed to actually be a Chain possessing a human body. Oz wasn't aware of this either, and had thought his bizarre set of abnormally destructive powers came from Alice through the terms of their Contract, since she was believed to be the true Chain up until that point. But despite Oz being a being of destruction born to end the world, it's Jack, the man he's technically possessing, who is the malicious one of the duo and who gains the ability to usurp the other from control.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash got possessed a few times by an evil being. One towards the end of the Battle Frontier arc ("Battling The Enemy Within") has him being possessed by an ancient king bent on getting back at the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh and eventually taking over the world. The second was in Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, thanks to Hoopa's shadow.
    • Beraz and Meowth also had this in the latter.
    • Another episode has Pikachu being possessed by the Blue Orb and Archie being possessed by the Red Orb.
    • In the movie Pokémon: I Choose You! after Cross corrupts the Rainbow Wing in his attempt to summon Ho-Oh, Marshadow possesses his Lycanroc as well as the wild Pokémon living on the mountain and tries to kill everyone.
  • Due to demons possessing the cursed weapons used to hunt vampires in Seraph of the End, touching such a weapon will result in the user getting possessed themselves. Ashuramaru, the demon whom Yuu forms a contract with, has made it clear that should Yuu's will waver, then Ashuramaru will happily take over his body.
  • Happens all the time in Tetragrammaton Labyrinth due to the fact that demons need human hosts to manifest into the real world.
  • Dark Nova possessed Optimus Prime for a while in Transformers: Return of Convoy, but Sky Garry manages to save him.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: In the Alternate Timeline Marie Route series, Olivia suffers from this by a Vengeful Ghost bent on destroying the kingdom as an Agent Provocateur, Playing Both Sides as The Chessmaster in multiple conflicts, and being The Corrupter for the Crown Prince Julius, while the public sees Olivia as a kind and generous saint. Olivia is only briefly capable of Fighting from the Inside.
  • The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san: Onryo-san possesses a man on a scooter to catch up to Senai and give him his apron that he forgot when leaving for work.
  • A strange case of this occurs in the When I Woke Up I Became A Bagel Girl animé adaptation, where the possessor is the unwitting one. After rescuing Ji Min from the river, Bong Gi tries to resuscitate her, and that's when the possession happened. Bong Gi's soul ends up in Ji Min's body either by "accident" or because her soul made it happen. End result? This leaves Bong Gi's original body unconscious to be found and brought to the hospital, and it also seemed to turn Ji Min's body into Bong Gi's for a while and temporarily removed his memories of the whole incident. When he goes home for the night, Ji Min's body returns to its normal shape as he sleeps, giving Bong Gi the illusion that he spontaneously turned into a girl.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Ryou Bakura winds up possessed by the spirit of Thief King Bakura (mixed with the spirit of the demon Zorc Necrophades) by putting on the Millenium Ring.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: The semi-canon Crack Fic of a special event, Yuri!!! on Festival, saw Yuri being possessed by a squid demon. Victor (and friends) exorcised him with The Power of Love.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, when Yusuke is fighting Sensui's true personality, Shinobu, and 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. Yusuke is NOT happy when he recovers.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
    • Caballistics, Inc.: Jenny is possessed by a demon early on, who manages to keep this a secret for an extended length of time. Eventually the rest of the team catches on when Jenny keeps somehow destroying equally dangerous supernatural entities all by her lonesome when they're not looking. However, the possibility of an exorcism is rendered moot by the demon threatening to kill Jenny if they so much as try it.
    • Judge Dredd:
      • When the Dark Judges are in their ghost forms they can control human vessels, especially those with psychic abilities. (Possessing Cassie Anderson was how Death got back after the first time he died.) To manifest in their true forms, however, they require specially prepared corpses.
      • There are also "regular" demonic possessions in Mega-City One, although they're pretty rare — no more than 20 cases or so a year (in a population of 400 million). There's a department of Psi-Division specifically devoted to demonology because of this.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The demon Urmarcht takes over the body of warlord Ghorghor Bey as he's defending a stronghold that his forces have occupied from a counterattack by the Knights of Light. The demon leads him to abandon his defense at the gate tactics and instead meet the knights in open battle so that he and his forces will easily be wiped out.
  • Clean Room: It's very common for demons to possess human bodies. Notable in that there's no preparation needed for the vessel, no apparent defenses, and exorcisms are hit-and-miss.
  • The DCU:
    • In Batman: Damned, Deadman possesses multiple people and even a few animals in order to properly communicate with Batman. Because of the physical strain it causes them, they are brief and frequent. It is implied that the Enchantress rid Bruce of his fear in exchange for possession of his body.
    • The Day the Cheering Stopped: King Kosmos, turned into an energy being, takes over an industrialist named Oswald Mandias and uses the latter's money and influence to turn the people of Earth against Superman.
    • Deadman: The Hindu goddess Rama Kushna grants Boston Brand the ability to possess any mortal being, completely controlling their actions and being in possession of their memories and powers, while they retain no recollection of the happening.
    • Final Crisis: This trope nearly leads to the extinction of The Multiverse when it turns out that the Alpha Lanterns (cyborg Lanterns intended to be the Green Lantern Corps' Internal Affairs) are vulnerable to this, placing Granny Goodness in a key position to frame Hal Jordan and capture Batman.
    • Green Lantern: The Emotional Entities, which represent emotions, are capable of possessing people and granting them great power over the light their emotion is associated with. There is also a degree of Symbiotic Possession as well — while the entities have pretty much complete control, they also appear to take on at least some of the personality traits and goals of those they possess.
    • The Movement: It's ambiguous whether Burden is genuinely possessed or simply has metahuman powers. Burden believes former, but the rest of the team believes the latter.
    • Power Girl: In Kara's 1986 Secret Origins Post-Crisis origin story, she was threatened with possession as an infant by the spirit of her granduncle Garn Daanuth, who attempted to reenter the realm of the living through her. Her grandfather Arion prevented this from happening by placing Kara in a magic crystal and sending her through time and space to the present-day world, selecting Superman as the one who she would be connected to upon her arrival.
    • Robin (1993): Stanley Baumgarten believes that he just has a sleep disorder. Instead, the mystical entity known as the Dark Rider has been possessing him at night, making money as a magic-using assassin in Stan's body.
    • Shazam!: The Seven Deadly Sins, seven demons who represent the Sins, do this every time they escape their prison in the Rock of Eternity. Their possessed victims are compelled to indulge in whichever sin the demon represents.
    • Simon Dark: By the time that Simon confronts the Geo Populous cult, every single member has been possessed and replaced by a demonic entity. This results in Simon having zero qualms about brutally tearing through them.
    • The Spectre: Eclipso is the former Spirit of Vengeance, having been replaced by the Spectre. Anyone who is unlucky enough to come into contact with Eclipso's black crystal prison will be possessed by it.
    • Stanley and His Monster: In the Darker and Edgier appearance in Green Arrow, the Big Bad wants to invert this trope by possessing Stanley's Monster Spot, who turns out to be a powerful but kindhearted demon.
    • Supergirl:
      • In Demon Spawn, sword-wielding sorceress Nightflame steals Supergirl's soul in order to drain her life-force and take over her body.
      • In Supergirl (1972), Medusa's disembodied ghost tries to take over Supergirl's body. The Kryptonian girl manages to defeat the spirit, but with the help of another ghost.
      • Death & the Family: When Supergirl touches the McDougal Clan's heirlooms, her body is taken over and transformed by the deceased spirits of Silver Banshee's clan.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • When Steve Trevor first "dies" in Wonder Woman (1942), Eros possesses his body and tries having a romance with Wonder Woman while wearing Steve. Despite Steve's "death", elements of him remain (including some memories and personality traits), but they're overridden and used by Eros, who considers himself to be helping Diana rather than horrifically taking advantage of the situation
      • Wonder Woman (1942): Mars' minions — the Duke of Deception, the Earl of Greed, and the Count of Conquest — can possess humans.
      • Wonder Woman (1987): Deimos, Phobos, and Eris make their return to the mortal plane by possessing the Joker, the Scarecrow and Poison Ivy after they realize that they can use the same loophole in their agreement not to mess with the mortal plane as their father did when her fathered their youngest sister Lyta while possessing a mortal man.
      • Wonder Woman: Odyssey: The Big Bad Nemesis uses the unwilling body of an alternate version of Diana.
      • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Deimos, Phobos, and Eris make trouble for the protagonists by possessing humans, with Phobos and Eris finding favored hosts who are protagonists.
  • Doctor Who (Titan): In "The Swords of Kali", the "demon" is a fourth-dimensional alien who has assumed the guise of the Indian goddess of the title on Earth. In a Type 2 example, a cult slays thousands of people in her name over the centuries and manages to imprison their souls; the energy of these souls gives her the power to possess Clara Oswald's body and take on a giant physical form. Clara's consciousness is imprisoned within it and tries Fighting from the Inside. When the Doctor destroys the prison that contained the souls, Kali loses her power and Clara is restored to normal.
  • Josie and the Pussycats: In "Vengeance from the Crypt," Josie is possessed by the angry ghost of one of Alexandra's ancestors while visiting the Cabot family crypt. The ghost is ultimately banished by the Cabot family Bible.note 
  • In Lori Lovecraft: The Dark Lady, Sir Andrew Parke-Jones was possessed by a demon he unintentionally summoned. However, the shock and strain of being possessed caused him to suffer a fatal heart attack at the moment of possession. The demon remains in control of Sir Andrew's body but is unable to leave Voodoo mansion until he succeeds in possessing a new, living host.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch have this situation. Johnny's possessor is a demonic entity known as Zarathos whose power he uses to battle evil and who occasionally takes him over. In later comics, it's closer to Symbiotic Possession, with Zarathos only taking over when Johnny lets him or is knocked out in a fight. Danny's possessor is a demon named Kale, who isn't as much of a bastard as Zarathos. Also, Riders are eventually revealed to be examples of Angelic Possession.
    • A Bad Future seen in Immortal Hulk features the Breaker-Apart, the result of the Hulk being possessed by The-One-Below-All. Having had any trace of humanity consumed by The-One-Below-All, this Hulk is a Cosmic Entity driven by The-One-Below-All's rage and hatred over its imprisonment. And since the Hulk gets bigger and stronger the angrier he gets, this makes the Breaker-Apart big and strong enough to smash entire planets and stars with a single punch.
    • New Fantastic Four: The demon lord Asmodeus has his servants possess innocent mortals in Las Vegas. However, his demons find sharing a body with a living human's soul very uncomfortable, and take too long to adjust - so Asmodeus decides to call up damned human souls from Hell to replace them. The damned are much more effective as possessors.
    • Sleepwalker: Cobweb had his minions possess innocent humans at different points in the series to do his evil bidding. Sleepwalker was able to exorcise them by zapping them with his warp vision, which broke the demons' possession and sent them back to their home dimensions.
    • Spider-Man: On one occasion, Mary Jane Watson is possessed by Red Sonja and battles Kulan Gath, but she has no memory of those events.
    • In World War Hulk, Doctor Strange allows a tiny fragment of the demonic entity Zom to possess him. He quickly discovers that this was probably not the wisest choice.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): Issue #7 makes it perfectly clear that the Nightmares are the ones in control, and the host is suppressed. It's implied this was less true for Luna than it currently is for Rarity.
  • My Little Pony Generations: In issue #3, Twilight uses an absorbing spell to see what the black strands they found in Violet Shiver's streamers are. She ends up possessed by them and tries to attack Pinkie and Zecora until she's knocked into a pond and the strands are washed off in the water.
  • During a story arc of Sturmtruppen, Private Fritz is possessed by the demon infesting 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Alternate Tail Series: Lisanna, after unintentionally absorbing a boar soul and a lizard soul at the same time, becomes a monsterous cross of boar/lizard/human that tries to devour a Clan Garten Mook after he tries to snipe her.
  • Antipodes: In the second-last chapter, it's revealed that Tantalus, the primordial spirit of chaos, lost the ability to form his own bodies and relies on possessing other living creatures — such as he did to Luna, Twilight and Spike — to interact with the world.
  • The Captain of the Virtual Console: The Thoughtless possess some Rocket Grunts and their Pokemon, as well as Haunter.
  • Child of the Storm has the main threat of the Darkhold come in this form — it opens a door for the user to be possessed by the Elder God of Chaos and Black Magic, Chthon. At the end of the first book, he finally manages to pull this on Gravemoss (who no one felt particularly sorry for), then after Gravemoss is either vaporised or punched to Jupiter (the narration is a little ambiguous), he tries to possess Wanda, whose exposure to his power at Mount Wundagore when she was born makes her a perfect host. Harry, however, gets in the way, which locks Chthon in a psychic cage-match with the Phoenix, just as Doctor Strange intended.
    • In Chapter 64 of the sequel, Hermione is possessed by the entity haunting the Fallen Fortress in the Forbidden Forest, in order to gain control of her inherent chaos magic.
  • In Cutie Mark Crusaders Dream Warriors, Feather Duster plans to possess Scootaloo so he can kill Rainbow Dash.
  • In Danganronpa: Hushed Whispers, Sachiko, the Ultimate Exorcist, is subject to this.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In the fourth story, The Diplomat's Life, it's revealed that Rabia persuaded Stygian to let him share Stygian's body, then seized control and began wreaking havoc with it.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: As in the canon game, Keepers can use a spell to possess their minions, making it that much harder to kill their real bodies until every minion is dead. Cathy is very displeased when Ami first uses it on her in an emergency situation. When she discovers that it's allowed her to share Ami's senshi enhancements, though, even after the possession ends, she has second thoughts.
    Mrs Mizuno: I need some clarification about this 'possession' ability you mentioned. When you say 'possession' I think of stories where evil spirits enter someone's body and use it like a puppet.
    Ami: That's... that's pretty much exactly how it works.
  • Embers (Vathara): Katara is briefly possessed by a sea serpent, and later, a kanaloa possesses Aang at Boiling Rock.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, as hinted at in canon and confirmed in the comics, Princess Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon is said to have been due to the fleeing Nightmare forces possessing her; to exact a toll for her failures.
  • Equestrylvania: Marble, a pony allied with Dracula, turns out to actually have been possessed by Actrise in order to pass among the ponies undetected. The scene in which the possession ends is pure Nightmare Fuel, as she exits her victim by crawling out of her mouth.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Luna is possessed by a Chaos Daemon (revealed later to be Tzeentch) shortly after the Crystal Kingdom is lost. Worse, it comes right after she realizes that she was about to overthrow her sister.
  • Guys Being Dudes: As part of their Crazy-Prepared vetting of his viability as a Love Interest for Spark, Blanche checks Arlo for this via looking for Mind-Control Eyes.
  • Zig-zagged with Urabumi in inFAMOUS Hero Academia. She isn't a demon or supernatural entity, but she is capable of possessing anyone who ingests her tar.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: The story's premise is that Darth Nihilus's spirit is attempting to take over Jaune's body by transferring his memories into Jaune's mind and giving Jaune his powers. At the end of "Chapter 16: Destiny", Nihilus succeeds in hijacking Jaune's body and transforming it into his own.
  • Partway through Series Three of The Lion King Adventures, Haiba is possessed by Death so he can enter the world.
  • In My Immortal, Snap(e) is stated to have the ability to possess people. After an incident in which James "Samaro" Potter attempts to shoot "Lucian" Malfoy with a knife when the latter played an incorrect note during a concert, James says this happened because he was possessed by Snap at that moment.
  • In the My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series, the canon character Sweetie Belle doesn't exist, having been possessed by the demon Thrackerzod before ever appearing. The spinoff episode Rainbow Dash Presents Haunting Nightmare is about a demon possessing first Twilight's toy Smarty Pants then Twilight herself. Thrackerzod intervenes, essentially calling dibs.
  • Nightmares Are Tragic: Luna was possessed by the Night Shadow the instant she became Nightmare Moon. The story is about Nightmare Moon's fight against the Mane Six as in the Season 1 two-part opener; but the ultimate conflict is between Luna and her possessing Night Shadow.
  • An example of the "possession via angry ghost" variety occurs in the Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfiction Outcast. While St. Hetalia Academy for Boys student Sweden is rumored to be under a dark curse due to the mysterious deaths of those who are those closest to him, the rumors are only half correct. He's possessed by the ghost of Ancient Scandinavia, one of the school's founders, and the mysterious deaths can be attributed to Ancient Scandinavia taking control of Sweden's body and using it to murder his parents, his childhood crush, and his roommate.
  • Outcry: Coil uses Tattletale to shatter Ashburn as a distraction in his attempt to seize Dinah. As a result, Nadalia goes Mama Bear, buries Taylor's mind in the Dark, and puts Raime in the driver seat. The demented knight recreates his armor and weapons on top of Taylor's body and massacres everyone at the site. This has two consequences: first, Raime is labeled as a new parahuman, codenamed Surtr, and second, the PRT, well aware of who it is under the armor, spins a story about Taylor falling under the control of a Master.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, The Usurper is able to possess anyone's body, and chooses to use this ability on The Obsidian Lord, the canon Big Bad, in a desperate attempt to win. He had originally planned to use it on the SUE who emerged victorious against the Himes, but their failure drove him to his backup plan.
  • In The Powers of Harmony, it eventually turns out that Cetus has been hiding in Rarity's magic font ever since the fight with Nightmare Moon. She later upgrades to Grand Theft Me by stealing Celestia's body and sealing away her Lifeforce in the Sun. Not that this works out so well for Rarity, since as soon as Cetus leaves, she implants Eclipse in her body as a replacement. Though Eclipse, at least, is willing to work with Rarity rather than waste energy fighting her for control (as long as she stays the dominant party).
  • Grover falls prey to this twice in The Prayer Warriors. In "Threat of Satanic Commonism", Josef Stalin (who is himself implied to be possessed by Satan) has Grover "demon processed", and while Jerry makes an attempt to save him after stabbing him non-fatally, he realizes he has to kill Grover, and does so by stabbing him in the throat (he gets better). In "The Evil Gods Part II", Grover is possessed again, and the Prayer Warriors try to save him by holding his head underwater and praying for him; the attempt fails and he drowns, dying yet again.
  • In Purple Days, Archmaester Marwyn uses Grand Maester Pycelle as a not-entirely-willing medium to speak with Sansa. Later, the Yi-Tish sorcerous Emperor Vajul takes brief control of a servant at Harrenhal to warn Joff that the White Walkers are staying quiet on his side, so their main push will come from Westeros — to the utter incomprehension and quiet fury of a nonplussed Randyll Tarly, who has no idea of what the hell the strangely mouthy servant is talking about or why he stumbled out like had no idea of what had just happened.
  • Luz, after getting bitten by a Shadow Hound, is possessed by a demon in Chapter 3 of Raisin' Some Hell. John Constantine, with some help from Eda and Amity, is able to perform an exorcism and free her.
  • Rebirth's Shadow possesses his trainer Ethan, and takes control of his body at inopportune times. This is turned around after Shadow's Heel Realisation, and Shadow only takes control of Ethan to make him ridiculously powerful when he needs to be.
  • In The Resurrection of Rose, Abra gets taken over by the Overlook Hotel that causes her to kill her own mother with her Shining.
  • Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc begins when Servant Chaos possesses Hotaru, which was possible because of a previous avatar of Chaos, Mistress 9, possessing her in canon.
  • Forceless possession in Star Wars: Paranormalities. Unlike most cases of this trope, the Forceless symbiote only controls the victim if they don't serve the Collective willingly, and they are still conscious when possessed usually. Maesterus is only affected by the mutations whereas Zolph Vaelor is immune altogether.
  • In Tales of the Emperasque, the Emperor takes over the body of a D&D monster Tarrasque, which is explained in-universe as an inversion of this trope: the Emperor possesses a body of a demon.
  • In Twila The Girl Who Waz In Luv With A Vampyre Satan possesses the protagonist herself. But its okay, because he's friends with her so he does it as a joke.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures (see the Western Animation section below) fic The Ultimate Evil, Shendu does this to Jade and Valmont, as per canon. He later possesses his love interest Valerie Payne instead of Jackie to get to the Book of Ages.
    • In the sequel The Stronger Evil, Hsi Wu attempts to possess Jade in order to escape the Netherworld. At Valerie's request, Shendu helps Jade by telling her what she needs to do to cast Hsi Wu out.
  • Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune has the Big Bad possess a character prior to their introduction due to a poorly thought-out Deal with the Devil and said villain being deliberately literal-minded. It is implied that the victim's soul was assimilated. Given what happens in the ending, whether the victim regains his soul or remains dead is still unknown.
  • In Winter War, Tousen's zanpakutou Suzumushi, vengeful and none too sane following his death, tries to possess another shinigami so that she can pursue "justice" for her wielder.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, red panda spirits were meant to have a Symbiotic Possession relationship with the women of Mei's family but over time the women began seeing it as something closer to this and therefore started having them exorcised and placed in talismans.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Art of the Dead: After enough time under the effect of the paintings, the characters become actually possessed by the spirit of Dorian Wilde himself.
  • Atlantics: After the wedding, Mariema and many of Ada's other friends start having strange fainting fits, which their families attribute to possession by an evil spirit and so they attempt to have them exorcised. In fact, they are possessed by the spirits of The Boys, their dead friends/lovers.
  • In the documentary-format horror film The Atticus Institute, what starts out as a 1970s investigation of psychic abilities turns darker when it turns out their star subject's powers come from this trope.
  • Axe Murders Of Villisca features almost everyone who walks into the house becoming possessed by an ancient evil, which results in their eyes turning black. The demon, who claimed to be "Born before your gods", possesses Reverend Kelly to commit the original murders in 1912.
  • The Babadook is about a titular demon who possesses a single mom, and then tries to force her to kill her own dog, son, and herself in a murder-suicide attempt.
  • 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 Maitland as a demonstration, both Maitlands do it to everyone at an entire dinner party, and at the end of the movie, as a reward, Adam Maitland allows/forces Lydia to float in the air and sing. (The Maitlands are obviously Harry Belafonte fans.)
  • Beyond the Door (1974), Jessica Barrett is the victim of a demonic possession shortly after discovering she is pregnant for the third time. One of a number of movies made in the was of The Exorcist.
  • Some of the Dark Messiah Big Bads in Children of the Corn films are turned into such against their will by being possessed by He Who Walks Behind The Rows, like in the second and fifth films.
  • Civilization features the protagonist being possessed by Jesus so Jesus can come back to earth and preach against the evils of World War I. Thus it counts as a inversion.
  • Dead Birds: By performing the ritual in the book, Hollister gave passage to something from the other side. It got inside his children, transforming them into monsters, and continues to do so to anyone who dares trespass in the house.
  • In The Dead Center, John Doe is suffering from this while stuck in an emergency psych ward, and his psychiatrist initially thinks it's a combination of catatonia and dissociative amnesia. John Doe's real name is Michael Clark. He was supposed to die alongside his wife in a house fire, but a demon entered his body and brought him back to life. Once he found out what was happening, he tried committing suicide via blood loss. The demon brought him back again, and now intends to consume as many souls as it possibly can.
  • In Death Ship, Capt. Ashland gets possessed by the ghost of the titular vessel's former captain, and eventually begins taking on his personality.,
  • In Death Spa, Catherine's spirit is able to possess her twin brother David's body and transform it into a physical duplicate of her own.
  • Demons brings this to gory extremes.
  • Dust Devil: How Dust Devils can exist on the material plane. At the end, it possesses Wendy.
  • 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 Exorcist is probably the quintessential example, with little Regan being possessed by a demon by the name of Pazuzu, necessitating an exorcism to get him out of her.
  • Fallen (1998), with Denzel Washington. The Big Bad is the demon Azazel, and can only survive in a living host. He can Body Surf by touch normally, and jump to any host within 500 cubits if his current host dies. And there's no rule that his host has to be human.
  • The Field Guide to Evil: "A Nocturnal Breath" is about an evil spirit called a drude that possesses the body of a sinner. At night, it exits the body — leaving its human host in a deathlike trance — and travels the countryside spreading disease.
  • From Beyond the Grave: In "The Elemental", an invisible demonic entity known as an elemental attempts to possess businessman Reggie Warren, but is defeated by Madame Orloff's exorcism. However, it turns out that the exorcism has driven it from Reggie's body but not sent it back to Hell. It possesses Reggie's wife Susan, and then beats Susan to death with a poker for foiling its first attempt to acquire a host. Rosemary then leaves the cottage to wreak more havoc.
  • Dan Aykroyd LOVES this trope. Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II feature possession, with Dana and Louis becoming possessed in GB; and Oscar (sort of), Janohz and Ray in GBII by the same entity. See below for examples from other media in the franchise. It's fairly safe to say that Mr. Aykroyd appears to be fond of this trope.
  • In The Ghost Dance, an unearthed spirit of a Native American cult leader possesses a medicine man, and starts killing people. His real goal, however, is to make a woman who looks like his dead wife his.
  • The alien threat in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars operate in this method.
  • 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.
  • Haunter: Ghosts are able to take control of people living in the location they are bound to. After the Pale Man died, he possesses people who move into his old house to continue his killing spree. Lisa is able to contact the current girl living in the house this way in a benevolent version.
  • In Hellraiser: Bloodline, the Duc de l'Isle and his apprentice Jacques kill a woman to use as a host for the Cenobite Angelique. She bodyjacks the corpse for several centuries it seems.
  • In Hereditary, this is the case with Charlie practically from birth. In the final act, it happens to Annie and Peter as well.
  • In Killer Party, sorority pledge Jennifer is possessed by a demon accidentally summoned up at a frat party 22 years earlier, and then trapped in the abandoned frat house. She then starts killing all of the attendees at an April Fools Party.
  • The Lazarus Effect Eva thinks this might be the case, but it's unclear whether it was possession, Zoe going crazy from the resurrection, or Zoe going crazy from having been in Hell.
  • Lovely Molly has an ambiguous case. Molly might just be crazy. She might be possessed by her father's ghost. Or the carving of Orobas on the property, and the scene where she walks into the arms of an animal-headed fiend might be significant...
  • Night of the Demons (1988) and its sequels have this as part of the main plot, with demons being freed from Hell on All Hallows' Eve.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge: Freddy Krueger, the demonically-powered monster who inhabits nightmares, has found a way to return once again by possessing Jesse, the most recent inhabitant of the house on Elm Street. He eventually accomplishes this by painfully transforming Jesse's body into his own.
    • Freddy did in again in Freddy vs. Jason with Bill Freeburg, though somehow he didn't die when Jason killed his host, as would be expected in this scenario. Jason himself pulled this many times in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday after being blown apart by police. At the end of the movie, it's shown he can hop from host to host by becoming a large demonic worm (!).
  • 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.
  • The Others (2001) 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.
  • The Possession is about a young girl who buys a wooden box in a yard sale and is progressively possessed by the demon sealed inside. Notable for being based on Jewish folklore instead of using a Christian demon.
  • The Possession of Michael King: Features the possession of the eponymous Michael King by demons. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Rabid Grannies features two kindly old ladies at their birthday party, possessed by demons and proceed to eat their family.
  • Rafiki: Discussed, as Kena's mother thinks her lesbianism is caused by demons possessing her. Then her homophobic pastor prays before the congregation for exorcism.
  • [REC] has a mysterious virus that could be and is Demonic Possession.
  • The Demon Fetus from Seeding of a Ghost uses this method to make it's victims suffer, making them see things (such as a coconut suddenly becoming a human head) before taking over a host body to be used to create a physical form.
  • Played with in Seventh Son. A suspected case of this turns out to actually be a powerful witch possessing a little girl in order to draw out her old adversary. She drops the facade quickly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Annabelle in St. Trinian's 2: 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.
  • Tamara: Tamara becomes a wholly different person after resurrecting, and Chloe says the magic that she used possessed her. At the end of the film, Kisha is implied to become possessed as well.
  • This Is the End has Jonah Hill getting raped and then possessed by a demon. When his friends discover this, they attempt to exorcise him in a scene that closely parodies The Exorcist.
  • Truth or Dare (2018): A demon named Calux has possessed the truth or dare game within the film. Anybody who breaks the rules is possessed by him too to enforce them.
  • The title character in Warlock (1989) tricks a phony medium to channel the Devil by providing her with one of his lesser known names. The medium mutates to something more demonic and the Devil offers the host's eyes for the Warlock's use.

  • The Abandon Trilogy: How the Furies operate. They are able to take over a Weak-Willed person and control them. Apart from the Persephone Diamond, there's no way of detecting them apart from normal humans.
  • 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. In order to fight them, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus have to truly trust each other and share a body — this has the added benefit of being temporary. Nathaniel can dismiss Bartimaeus, while the other demons are trapped in their new bodies, permanently cut off from home.
  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm, Lutz basically accuses Myne of being a demon possessing his friend and is not, strictly speaking, actually wrong. To his surprise, she agrees to get out of the body, but suggests they go home first. After all, the original Myne was already dead when she got here, so "getting out" would leave Lutz with a corpse to explain, not the little girl who once was. He calms down when he realizes the Myne he knows is the same one he's always known and that she didn't even want to be here.
  • Bazil Broketail: As mentioned above, the Doom exerts that on three caged humans in order to see, hear and speak through them.
  • In Black Legion, when Falkion's ship's Gellar Field goes down in the middle of a Warp storm, him and his people are possessed by daemons and spend big part of the book trying to take them under control. In the end they succeed, getting a rudimentary Hive Mind as a bonus.
  • The Camp Half-Blood Series:
  • The Case of the Double Husband: Overlaps with Willing Channeler — George Arnold was dying from a war wound, but his best friend Ted Eliot willingly offered his own body for George's soul to inhabit. George's body died and Ted's soul passed into the afterlife, but George's soul lived on in Ted's body.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, the demon Coronzon has possessed Lola Zaza Crowley, more commonly known as Lola Stuart, since the start of the series. It has also modified several people, including Index and Fran, to be easier for it to possess. It later creates an artificial demon, Qliphah Puzzle 545, who specialises in controlling multiple people at once.
  • In The Chronicles of Amber, ty'igas are bodiless demons who can possess people.
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: With powerful dark magic, demons can be summoned from the Otherworld and trapped inside the bodies of living creatures. The host body's souls are then trapped inside with no possibility to be freed unless the host is killed. The demon bear from the first book is created by Tenris trapping an elemental, the most powerful type of demon, inside a bear's body. Tokoroths are created by trapping demons inside the bodies of young children that have been reduced into Empty Shells.
  • 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 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.
  • Come Closer: Skeptical architect Amanda is gradually and successfully possessed by a demon Namaah.
  • 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 the dark.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic has Vitari, a being of pure magic which is capable of possessing multiple bodies.
  • Dora Wilk Series has a fair share of possessed people: first, Raphael turns our to have been possessed for years, then, in book five, Dora is possessed, to both hers and demons' disgruntlement, and Baal reveals that he was possessed by a demon but took control over it, effectively possessing a demon. The person and demon can be connected against their wish by a special magical ritual, which is how all of the above became possessed.
  • In Dragon Bones, the heroes spend the night on a hill, in the ruins of an ancient temple. In the night, Ward wakes up and sees that his (mute!) younger sister Ciarra is missing. When he finds her, she ... talks. In a male voice. To her feet lies Oreg, whom Ward had ordered to protect Ciarra. They all survive, and it is more of a case of possession by a god, but it's a kind of jerkass god. Ward stays angry at him for the rest of the novel, and chooses to not pray to him when an incident makes it necessary to pray to someone.
  • 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. When the host is first possessed (by simply touching the coin with bare skin) only a "shadow" of the original Fallen Angel exists within the host. This shadow can exert some control over the host by altering the mind, making them see illusions or not notice pain or cold. This is as far as the shadow can go. The only blessing is that they don't go so far as to kill the host because they need the host to take up the coin. To go for full possession, the host must willingly take up the coin and angel. This is because the host, as a human, has free will and, no matter what the shadow does, it cannot stop that. White Night in particular examines the issue, as the host is unusually resistant, which has given the host and the shadow of the Fallen more time to become acquainted than is usual. Because the mortal chooses, even if that choice is under duress but not a lie by the Fallen, then no amount of Holy power can remove the Fallen from the host human. This is because God refuses to supercede the free will of mortals. Even when the Fallen might lie, the lie would only be countered with a statement of Truth with the exact same word count. The only means of truly freeing oneself from the Fallen is to feel genuine guilt over their actions and let go of the coin. The only ways to free oneself from the Shadow of the Fallen are either cutting oneself off from magic, which results in a form of starvation for the Shadow but has the consequence of a wizard losing their powers permenantly, or if the Shadow willingly sacrifices its life to save the host from a mental attack.
    • Cold Days reveals that there's also Nemesis, an entity affiliated with the Outsiders that can infect people's minds like a virus. In most cases, Nemesis does not seem to directly control its victims, and only warps their personalities so that they will further its agenda. Some of its victims do not even seem to be aware of it, although others clearly are, and in some cases Nemesis can assume direct control. To be free of this entity, it takes the help of a greater power to bind the victim and expell the thing, such as one on tier with Winter Queen Mab, Summer Queen Titania, or their Mothers.
  • 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.
  • In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, the titular villainess Lieselotte's fate in most routes of the Fictional Video Game Love Me Magically! is to fall so deeply into despair (from being thought as an Alpha Bitch and being dumped by her fiance) that she gets possessed by the Witch of Yore, turning into a monster that is slain by the heroes.
  • 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.)
  • Echo centers around a mysterious mountain in the Swiss Alps that appears to be haunted by a malevolent presence. The story focuses on a mountain climber who barely survives his climb, and when he returns, appears to be haunted by this presence.
  • Expiration Date features several variations on ghostly possession.
  • Forgotten Realms: Dornal Silverhand noticed that his wife slowly turned 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, but averted his meeting with the last daughter, as she thought it would provoke another Freak Out.
  • This is how The Girl from the Miracles District describes being a berserk: your body harbours your own soul and the berserk spirit, which takes over when you Hulk Out. If you leave it in charge too often, it can eventually kill the human personality and take over completely. Kosma implies that this is what happened to his and Nikita's father.
  • Played with in The Gods Are Bastards. One of the main characters is possessed by a demon, but the demon is just as upset about it as she is and they're good friends by the beginning of the story.
  • Played with in Good Omens, which features a case of angelic possession after Aziraphale's body gets destroyed. He jumps around the world, including into an on-air televangelist (who mistakes him for a demon), before settling on Phony Psychic Madame Tracy.
  • De Griezelbus: In book 4, Onnoval starts possessing Mister Jacques from the Other Reality to write and read his stories to his class. He also forces the teacher to change his appearance into Onnoval's step by step so nobody will notice when they switch places later on.
  • Harry Potter has the Big Bad Lord Voldemort do this on a few occasions.
    • Ginny Weasley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 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 (and talks back). It is also apparently consensual, though possibly for definitions of the word which include death threats.
    • Harry is possessed by Voldemort in the climax of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after spending most of the book worrying about the possibility of it happening.
  • A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett sees young witch Tiffany Aching, still learning her Art, innocently discovering out-of-body experiences, going astral walking and considering this such a natural and unremarkable thing that she neglects to tell her teachers in the Craft. who, had they been aware, would have told her that when you pop out of the house for a few minutes and leave it unattended, you lock the back door and see all the windows are closed. Or else, as Tiffany discovered, burglars and squatters can get in.
  • 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.
  • In Heretical Edge, this is a racial ability of the angelic Seosten. Known victims include Crossroads founder Heironymous Bosch, Flick's friend Columbus Porter, whoever killed Professor Pericles, Elisabet of the Crossroads Committee, and at least one of the Victors of Eden's Garden. The ability can also be inherited by a Heretic who kills a Seosten, as Flick finds out after killing Charmeine with the help of the friendly Seosten possessing her.
  • This is the main theme of I Sit Behind The Eyes, with the titular Entity being an Eldritch Abomination who has been doing this since the dawn of time. It is actually a rare case of Angelic Possession, as it only ever possesses criminals and Psychopaths, turning them into nicer people. It does not even realise that it is possessing someone, as it becomes a Tomato in the Mirror upon entering a new host.
  • In Search of Dorothy has the Wicked Witch of the West return by brainwashing an old woman, later possessing her to resurrect her body and magic completely.
  • Spirits sometimes do this in the Inheritance Cycle, if they can dupe a spellcaster who summons them.
  • Journey to Chaos: Enforcers are orderly deities who manifest as silver-grey smoke. By forcing their way into a physical body, they can take absolute control of that body. They are certainly considered demonic by elves and others in the Church of Chaos but Order's Orthodoxy considers them angels. This is how King Ataidar, Kasile's father, meets his end. Everytime he's on screen, he's possessed by an enforcer.
  • In Gav Thorpe's The Last Chancers 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.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, Kel Cheris ends up being possessed by Jedao, though some of the original identity is retained.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • Cotillion, the Patron God of Assassins takes over Sorry's body in the beginning of Gardens of the Moon to spy on the Malazan Empire from within. Sorry, later named Apsalar, carries around the scars of having been possessed by Cotillion for most of the rest of the series, and the latter spends much of it trying to make it up to her.
    • Felisin Paran is possessed by the Whirlwind Goddess at the end of Deadhouse Gates, which makes her the spiritual and de facto leader of the Whirlwind Rebellion but leads to her death at the hands of her own sister, who never even realised who she was fighting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parrish Plessis has the Eskaalim, information entities which act as The Corruption for their victims before taking complete control.
  • In Prophecy of the Sisters this happens to Sonia during an attempt to communicate with the world of spirits. Lia is able to make the demon leave after he tries to talk her into helping him to enter the world.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure book Secret of the Ninja by Jay Leibold, one of the options is to become a Willing Channeler for a centuries old spirit (referred to a kami) that has been haunting Danai Kurayama, the main character's best friend, whose Ninja clan has been rivals with another Ninja family for centuries. The results depend on the reader's own decision, and can go from simply let the kami explain his Ghostly Goals and reach a peaceful agreement to have the kami perform a Grand Theft Me and use the main's body to murder poor Danai.
  • 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.
  • In the world of Shaman of the Undead, every attempt at summoning a demon ends with demon taking control of the body, usually with rather gory results, as demons are humanitarians. It's case no 2 and 4, as most black wizards believe that they can control the demon. Sometimes happens as a side effect, when you're unlucky enough to stand too close when barrier between the worlds is ripped open.
  • In the Spirit Hunters story "The Lodge of the Doves" the ghosts of two gay couples who died in an avalanche haunt the resort where they spent their last days and possess whoever enters until after midnight, using their bodies to have some fun. The titular characters get possessed three nights in a row before figuring out a way to exorcise them.
  • In The Spirit Thief, all demonseeds eventually become puppets of the Master of the Dead Mountain.
  • The Voidbringers in The Stormlight Archive are actually Parshendi possessed by Voidspren, tiny fragments of the Cosmic Essence Of Hatred. Depending on which kind of Voidspren did the possessing, Voidbringers can manifest a wide variety of supernatural powers.
  • Sword of Truth: Slides take control of animals through projecting their souls, plus people's they captured, into their bodies.
  • That Hideous Strength:
    • The Head of the Institute is a literal severed head, animated by a dark eldil rather than its original occupant. There are also signs that it affects Frost, who experiences it as periods of doing things without knowing why; and there's one scene where Mark comes into Wither's office and finds that Wither's body is occupied by something quite unlike his normal personality.
    • Inverted with Merlin, who becomes the vessel for five oyeresu — angelic possession. Even though he knows that channelling their power will destroy him.
  • In Three Days to Never, the protagonist's family is haunted by a malevolent supernatural creature (referred to by the Jewish term "dybbuk") with a grudge over the actions of one of his ancestors. Part of the plot hinges on its attempt to possess his daughter and use her to destroy the family from within.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, Harmodius possesses Red Knight's body after the former dies. While he's usually little more than a voice in his host's head, he sometimes takes over, whenever a difficult spell has to be cast, his host loses consciousness, or something catches the "demon's" (as one of the doctors calls him) fancy.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Lucia has been possessed by Kazebar from before the start. The names in the spoiler tags are critical to The Reveal.
  • A variation in Queen of the Damned, which reveals that this as the origin of vampires. Most spirits are benign or friendly. However, Amel was vicious and loved to prick people, having a thing for blood. After the king and queen of Ancient Egypt were betrayed and fatally stabbed by their nobles, Amel used this opportunity to enter Queen Akasha through her wounds and transformed her body into the first vampire. She proceeded to turn King Enkil by sharing a portion of Amel with him. Their hunger for blood was great, and even candlelight caused them great discomfort. Eventually, they learned that passing on the Dark Gift to others would lessen their hunger and vulnerability by spreading Amel around. Thus vampires were born. Each vampire has a piece of Amel in him or her; however, Akasha is the one with the spirit's "core". Should she die, all vampires would die with her (unless someone eats her heart and brain to take the "core").
  • 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.
  • In Wody Głębokie jak Niebo demons can possess people, changing them into mindless puppets. It was often used by wizards who wished for their wives to be nice and compliant. Severo merges Arachne with a demon to save her from execution.
  • Roger Zelazny:
    • In Lord of Light, one of Sam's big advantages in the War Against Heaven is that he can control the Demon-like Rakasha, but when he slips up, the result is a demon walking around with all of Sam's powers—not a good thing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead sees an attempt to summon a demon for interrogation and then exorcise it go slightly wrong. At first it appears to have worked, with the demon seemingly banished in a cloud of black smoke, until the following episode when it's revealed to have possessed one of the plucky sidekicks, with the episode after that dedicated to the (very disturbing) attempts at exorcising it. That's not to mention all the Deadites in the series in general, who are humans (or corpses) possessed by Kandarian demons.
  • Buffyverse:
  • Charmed (1998): 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.
  • Charmed (2018): The sisters have to deal with this when Angela gets possessed by the Harbinger.
  • Accounts for most of the antagonists in Crazyhead and causes quite a headache for Amy and Raquel.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Image of the Fendahl": The Fendahl Skull did this to turn Thea Ransome, a scientist, into a golden Grim Reaper.
    • "Kinda" suggests the Mara could do this to Fifth Doctor companion Tegan. The trope is fulfilled in spades in the sequel serial "Snakedance".
    • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit": What may or may not be the Devil himself possesses the archaeologist Toby Zed.
    • "42": Korwin, Ashton and the Doctor all get possessed by a living star which forces them to attack others in revenge for having part of itself stolen for fuel, giving them Glowing Eyes of Doom.
    • "Midnight": Some kind of alien lifeform possesses a human, imitates the speech of others, and incapacitates the Doctor.
    • "The Witchfinders": Becka Savage and King James both claim that Satan can possess anyone. Becka herself, who has been leading witch hunts, is actually possessed by an alien, the Morax queen, after she chopped down the tree serving as the lock to the Morax's prison. The queen eventually takes over Becka's body.
    • "The Haunting of Villa Diodati": Lord Byron raises this as a possible explanation when Dr. Polidori abruptly walks through what appears to be a wall after everyone in the house has been trapped inside the rooms they're in by the house twisting in on itself. The actual reason is because Polidori, being a sleepwalker, is immune to the Perception Filter that's part of the trap in this state.
  • 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.
  • The enemy in GARO is a race of demonic beings known as Horrors, who use this trope as their way to fully manifest into this world. In this case, the victim of the possession must be overtaken by negative emotions, such as sadness, anger or greed in order to make a perfect host for the Horror. Unfortunately, there is no way to exorcise the Horror, meaning the victim must be killed to end their suffering.
  • 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).
  • One Inside No. 9 episode, "The Harrowing", features demonic possession as a primary plot element.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • This is one of the abilities from the Imagin in Kamen Rider Den-O. The Hero even has four of them as allies, who regularly take possession of his body at inopportune moments. Despite drastically altering his appearance with things like colored hair, changing his voice and, above all, behavior, other characters don't really seem to notice something is off.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard features a variant of this trope. In this series, magic is generated by Phantoms, which are beings living in the mind of the wizard. People with latent magical abilities are known as Gates and have a Phantom lying dormant in their minds. Should a Gate give in to great despair, the Phantom awakens and is able to permanently take over Gate in question, allowing it to manifest in the physical world.
    • It's revealed that in Kamen Rider Build, Souichi was possessed by Evolt, the destroyer of Mars, when the Mars mission unearthed Pandora's box and accidentally set the evil spirit loose.
  • 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.
  • Love and Destiny: Yuan Zheng was possessed during the battle against the Demon King, which was why Jiu Chen had to kill him.
  • Lovecraft Country: Ji-Ah was possessed by a kumiho, a fox spirit from Korean folklore due to her mother's deal with a shaman. She has to kill one hundred men and take their souls before she'll become human again.
  • In Lucifer, demons have the ability to possess the bodies of recently deceased humans, provided the soul was already destined for damnation. Heaven objected to the practice, so Lucifer banned it a few centuries ago. Lucifer himself isn’t particularly fond of it either, and tends to deal with demons who ignore the ban rather brutally.
  • The Magicians:
    • Richard is possessed by Renard the Fox, a cruel trickster god, after he's accidentally summoned.
    • Later Quentin essentially gives Alice the niffin a "time-sharing" form in return for her help.
  • Apparently, this afflicts Josh Alexander in Night and Day. For the most part he’s a kind-hearted, if mysterious, soul -– but later in the series, he begins to act demonically at times, taking pleasure in the suffering of others and apparently gaining the ability to harm people simply by staring at them with menacing red eyes. On at least one occasion 'Josh' explicitly states that he is not Josh, apparently suggesting that a parasitic entity of some form is responsible — although its influence on him appears to be intermittent. The nature of the possession, if that's indeed what it is, is never really explained, though it appears to be triggered when Alex punches him and he hits his head. It may be related to his blackouts and/or a quasi-symbolic side-effect of his parent issues. The phenomenon, which also deploys aspects of the Romantic Vampire Boy trope, has vanished by the series’ close, with just as little explanation as with its introduction.
  • Nowhere Boys: A restoring demon (ie. a demon trying to 'restore' the natural order of things) is responsible for the hoards of animals that keep attacking the boys. It later starts possessing people.
  • Prodigal Son: In "Speak of the Devil", two different people are convinced they're possessed by a demon. In one case, his psychosis is kept relatively under control by rituals that convince him it's restrained. The other though was a killer, driven to commit ritual murder after lead poisoning caused him to develop delusions. He too though is later stopped by Malcolm performing an exorcism with a friar's instruction since it's something that the killer (a Catholic too) believes works. It's also mentioned that the modern Catholic Church only quite rarely performs an exorcism, since so many cases are like this, the result of delusions.
  • John Druitt in Sanctuary is possessed by a murderous energy elemental. He can control it sometimes, but it's unpredictable at best.
  • Played for Laughs in Saturday Night Live when the Church Lady believes Snooki is possessed and brings in a priest to have her exorcised. The priest ends up getting possessed as well, as evident by his new hairdo and annoying laugh.
  • Seen in The Secret Circle. Heather had been possessed by the demon Abaddon, which is why Cassie's mother put a binding spell on her. Heather eventually dies after being run over by a car and the demon then proceeds to possess Melissa at the end of episode 4, before eventually being killed while possessing Nick.
  • Smallville: This is a very common power of many villains. In particular, possession by Bizarro or Brainiac looks mightily demonic.
    • In "Spell", Isobel pulls this on Lana in the teaser after she touches Isobel's spellbook, and she later works a spell that causes her two cohorts Brianna and Madelyn to possess Lois and Chloe. She possesses Lana again in "Sacred"
    • "Tomb, Chloe finds the body a girl in the Talon and becomes possessed by her ghost when she toucher her kryptonite bracelet.
    • Bizarro does it in "Phantom". Enfant Terrible alert. Gory Discretion Shot not provided.
    • Brainiac does this to Chloe Sullivan in "Bride" and "Legion"; comes with Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, ominous silver eyes and a Squicky, flirty and cruel attitude to horrifying effect.
    • "Escape" has The Silver Banshee, who first takes control of an unnamed woman, then Chloe and, finally, Lois.
    • In "Supergirl", Darkseid takes over Gordon Godfrey body, and he tries doing this to Clark later.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Played with in "The Assignment" 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 "The Reckoning", 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.
  • In Stranger Things Season 2, Will Byers, a kid who was trapped in the Upside Down for several days, eventually finds himself getting attacked by one of its inhabitants, an evil entity called the "Mind Flayer". This thing, which looks like a giant mass of black smoke, forces itself into Will's body. Will is now able to sense the Mind Flayer as it tries breaking into the Earthly realm via a network of underground tunnels beneath Will's hometown. The Mind Flyer also forces Will into doing its bidding, such as luring a group of US Army soldiers into an ambush by monsters. When Will's family and friends finally realize what's wrong, they tie down Will to a bed and "exorcise" him by torturing him with extreme heat, which does expel the Mind Flyer after some considerable difficulty.
  • 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.
  • 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 lampshaded in "Jus in Bello" (S03, E12).
      Henriksen: Smart. How long have you had those [anti-possession tattoos]?
      Sam: Not long enough.
    • There's the young girls whom Lilith likes to possess and terrorize and kill their families, as well as her dental hygienist; Meg Masters, who has to spend over a year watching a demon use her body to kill people; "Born Under A Bad Sign" (S02, E14), where the same demon who possessed Meg Masters earlier possesses Sam and proceeds to shoot and torture Dean and attack Jo; Ruby's unnamed hosts (the blonde, the secretary, Coma Girl); Abaddon's meat suit, Josie Sands; Crowley's literary agent from New York; the crossroads demons' hosts; whoever the Yellow-Eyed Demon happens to be possessing (Father Lehne, Samuel Campbell, John Winchester, the hospital janitor); Alastair's pediatrician; and, of course, all the random meatsuits the demonic mooks take over the course of the series.
    • The series then inverts this with angelic possession: since interacting with an angel's true form can burn out a person's eyes and deafen them, if not kill them outright, angels, just like demons, require the use of preexisting physical bodies when it comes to interacting with humans. Certain angels also stick to specific bloodlines, as those bodies hold them better (or are the only ones who can, especially in the case of archangels). The upside is that angelic possession requires verbal agreement by the host, before and during the possession, while demonic possession does not. Unfortunately, "that's a real nice body you've got there. It'd be such a shame if somebody were to give it terminal cancer" is an acceptable tactic for obtaining that agreement.
    • The Leviathans can also do this. Their first on-screen victim is Castiel's vessel Jimmy. They violently oust control from Castiel inside Jimmy and it's heavily implied that Castiel was killed in the process (though he later returned). Their host isn't strong enough to hold all of them at once, so they are forced to leave him and find other humans to possess.
    • There's also ghost possession. But that's very rare, as it takes a particularly angry vengeful spirit to pull this trick off.
    • A couple of different instances involve possession via multiple, antagonistic entities who then fight each other in the possessee's body. In Season 9, Crowley enters a Gadreel-possessed Sam to inform Sam of the possession and encourage him to kick Gadreel out. The more powerful Gadreel easily beats up Crowley, but Sam's willpower and ownership of his own body gives him the ability to expel the angel. In Season 11, Crowley does the same thing again, this time entering Castiel to try to encourage him to expel Lucifer. Unfortunately, Castiel is depressed and disinterested in fighting, and since Lucifer vs. Crowley is a Curb-Stomp Battle, the demon is forced to flee without accomplishing much. So in one case the vessel is housing a human soul, an angel, and a demon, and in the second case, the vessel is housing a demon and two angels, one of whom is Lucifer. Fortunately for everyone involved, both vessels are extremely strong and capable of handling the stress.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Jess-Belle", the vengeful spirit of Jess-Belle Stone possesses her love rival Ellwyn Glover soon after her wedding to Billy-Ben Turner.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Time and Teresa Golowitz", the Prince of Darkness possesses Laura Schuppe so that he can talk to Bluestone at Mary Ellen Cosgrove's party in October 1948. He later takes possession of Nelson Baxley.
    • In "Voices in the Earth", the ghosts of the dead Earth possess Professor Donald Knowles and make him attack his ship's sensor web. Their hope is that he will be sent back to Central and that they will be able to accompany him. They are unable to travel through warp space themselves without being destroyed or driven insane.
  • Twin Peaks: The "inhabiting spirits" from the Black Lodge can affect the world by taking human hosts. While they're not all evil, Killer BOB's use of hapless humans to commit acts of murder and rape to feed himself is explicitly described as parasitic.
  • A fair number of aliens and monsters in the Ultra Series can do this, but by far the most famous user of the ability is Ultraman Ace's Big Bad Yapool, a highly intelligent and thoroughly malevolent Energy Being from Another Dimension. He typically uses this ability to torment the Ultras' human hosts by possessing their friends and teammates, or using random civilians to cause chaos, but he's also capable of taking over the bodies of his Choju to assume full command over them.
  • Wellington Paranormal: Bazu'aal of the Unholy Realm's MO.
  • Willow:
    • Ballantine is possessed by a Gale due to being touched by its staff, then spreads this to his men as well, turning evil while the Gale controls him.
    • Graydon is also infected in episode 3 and gets fully possessed in episode 4. Also it is revealed in episode 4 that Graydon was apparently demonically possessed as a child which caused him to kill his older brother by shoving him out of a tree.

  • 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"). It's downplayed 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.
  • "Deceiver" by Disturbed invokes this trope:
    This idiot won't let me go / Slowly penetrating the mind
    I tell you now, my little puppet / You'll suffer me
    You don't want to let me go / Till I've taken over your life
    I'll ensure you survive / Little puppet don't die
    Let me, let me die / Little puppet don't die
    Let me, let me die / Little toy don't die
  • In the music video for "Shot in the Dark" by Ozzy Osbourne a teenage girl goes to an Ozzy concert and gets possessed by... something, leaving her with glowing red eyes, long black nails, and truly insane '80s Hair.
  • This is the premise of The Fall's "Spectre vs. Rector". A spectre who has "waited since Caesar for this" possesses a rector, and a detective tries to help but fails. An exorcist who has "saved a thousand souls" finally settles things, although the detective winds up "half insane" and the narrator wonders "Is the spectre banished forever?"
  • As expected with the band name, many songs by Spawn of Possession are about demons possessing the living — "Spawn of Possession", "Deus Avertat", "Hidden in Flesh" among others.

    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 Antidermisnote  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. Luckily for him, said spirits were also still on the side of good and allowed him to keep some level of his free will while using their powers.
    • Unexpectedly, Mata Nui also ends up doing this to the (sapient) Mask of Life, but not by choice. This isn't elaborated on too much, except that for the most part it ends up being more of a Symbiotic Possession. That said, Mata Nui is definitely the one calling the shots.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-1036 ("Nkondi"). SCP-1036 are African dolls that each contain a "sentient incorporeal entity" (AKA spirit). If any of the iron nails inserted into the dolls are removed the spirit will escape, possess someone nearby and make the victim kill themselves.

  • This appears to be the source of the monster in the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town. Frank specifically says that the Devil is the cause behind everything.
  • The Magnus Archives: Father Burroughs claims this is what happened to him in "Confession"/"Desecrated Host", leading him to kill and eat several people while under an elaborate demon-induced hallucination. As it turns out, he was possessed, though not by anything as straightforward as a demon.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • According to the Catholic Church and most other Christian denominations, this is Truth in Television. However, as Science Marches On, the criteria for demonic possession has been made extremely strict over the centuries, in order to prevent mentally ill people from being forced into or receiving exorcisms because someone mistook their delusions for possession. According to the Catholic Church, the signs of actual demon possession (as opposed to mental illness) include:
  • Frequently occurs in The Bible:
    • 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 Jesus, cured the man but spared the demons by casting them into a herd of pigs instead of outright destroying them. However, the pigs then ran off a cliff into the sea and drowned.
    • Jesus also said that anyone with sufficient faith in Him could cast out demons in the same manner (and indeed, the Apostles are shown doing so on their own in later books), but He did caution against attempting this unless you were really devout: a couple of not-so pious folks ignored this warning, tried to cast out some demons, and got possessed themselves for their trouble.
  • 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.
    • It's often more of a case of Willing Channeler, especially where the shamans themselves host the spirits. Good spirits may temporarily possess the shaman to help evict evil spirits from others or help a wandering soul return to its body.
  • In Voodoo, this is called "being ridden" by a loa. Whether it plays the trope straight or inverts it depends on the nature of said loa. Most of this is also Willing Channeler.
  • In Middle Eastern and North African cultures, there is a local belief in a kind of spirit possession called zār which mainly affects women and can be "cured" with an elaborate exorcism ritual involving musical instruments and lasting several days. The person afflicted will act quite bizarrely and have "dissociative episodes such as sudden changes in consciousness or identity that may include periods of shouting, banging of the head against the wall, laughing, singing, or crying" (check out this article for details). This phenomenon has been considered a culture-specific kind of mental illness as well as a religious belief.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Eberron: This setting provides rules for creating demons (and devils) that possess people. The Quori, 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 powers 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. Also, Celestials can inhabit Willing Channelers.
    • 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 the possessor.
    • Some demons in 3.5e can possess any creature or object and take on a multitude of different roles; six roles for creatures (Ally, Controller, Enemy, Mutterer, Rider, and Transformer), and three for objects (Controller, Corrupter, and Enhancer):
      • Controller: The most common, wherein the demon tries to control the possessed victim or causes the possessed object to move and/or animate.
      • Ally: The fiend grants its host a boost to one stat of the fiend's choice. Usually, this requires a Deal with the Devil, and the demon can withhold the boost if necessary.
      • Enemy: The fiend imposes a penalty to its victim. Usually, they do this if the victim resists control attempts.
      • Rider: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The fiend rides inside the victim and has an easier time hiding out and infiltrating.
      • Mutterer: The fiend whispers to its host or imposes its emotional state onto its victim. Usually, they're trying to drive the victim insane.
      • Transformer: The demon slowly transforms its victim. If it finishes the process, the victim is trapped inside the demon with no way to do anything.
      • Enhancer: Gives the possessed item special abilities depending on how powerful the fiend is.
      • Corrupter: The fiend imposes curses onto anyone who touches the item its possessing.
  • GURPS covers this idea in different ways for different game settings. For example:
    • Creatures of the Night has a... thing that uses some sort of cosmic power to possess entire buildings.
    • The Madness Dossier:
      • The êkimmu is a Mesopotamian Monstrosity with no physical form of its own that seems to be a sort of independent meme or mental subroutine. It takes over human victims in a way virtually indistinguishable from classic demonic possession.
      • A few heroic but often unstable Project SANDMAN agents, known as chevals, have been subjected to radical brain-hacking processes related to Voudoun ideas of spiritual possession. They can trigger secondary personalities with advanced skills and even borderline-superhuman abilities. The result looks much like possession, though the Project would insist that it's no such thing.
  • 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, as the host's resistance increases over time and the demon MUST force their host to perform acts of escalating evilness each day or suffer. Their angelic counterparts, the Kyriotates, act similarly, but 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 not to be confused with mere spells in the game) that allows any Celestial to possess any living thing.
  • In Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas has the demons take possession of freshly deceased corpses. The angels use bodies of wiling believers who accept the possession to support the angels' side in "the big Game". Anyway, the entourage of the possessed will notice a sudden shift in the behavior of the aforementioned possessed, who is likely to leave for a group of fellow angels/demons.
  • Chronicles of Darkness: Spirits (and presumably ghosts) have a much easier time possessing bodies whose souls have been removed from their still living bodies.
  • 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. They can possess objects, but doing so does not temper their Torment with humanity, leading to them becoming irredeemably evil.
  • Pathfinder: The Golarion setting with Zon-Kuthon, a deity created when an Eldritch Abomination from the depths of outer space corrupted and possessed the benevolent god Dou-Bral. As debased as he's become, however, he still considers Dou-Bral's sister Shelyn off-limits.
  • The religious conspiracy, Eschaton, in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution interprets psionic powers as a sign of demonic possession.
  • Shadowrun
    • Certain extraplanar spirits are unable to remain in Earth's astral space without weakening unless they can anchor themselves to a human host. Bug Spirits and Shedim, for example.
    • Nomads as well: Astral beings that possess their hosts and make them murder other people.
  • Demons in Unknown Armies can only interact with the material world through possession, which is dangerously easy to accidentally cause. Some adepts know spells to conjure demons, but not all know spells that also bind them... As well, demons are actually the souls of dead humans, twisted by death and their obsession, always out to pursue their agendas in the world of the living but often getting sidetracked by renewed exposure to physical sensation. They'll say or do anything for just a little more time. Also the cause of lycanthropy, in a rather complicated and roundabout fashion.
  • Daemons in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 can possess humans whose wills prove pliant. Though this provides a boost in power, a physical vessel can only sustain a daemon for so long; the greater danger is when a daemon possesses an individual with magical or psyker powers, and uses them to start summoning friends.
    • Both on and off the tabletop, the option of being willingly possessed by a daemon (for instance, the Gal Vorbak) is often seen as a flawed and inferior shortcut to power compared with becoming a Daemon Prince: while Daemon Princes are immortal and receive a massive power boost, the benefits of possession are fewer and far more double-edged. In return for a relatively modest increase in physical strength and endurance, being possessed transforms the person into a howling mutated berserker fit only for melee combat. Worse, in the extremely likely event of their death the vessel's soul is dragged into the Warp by the daemon to be their thrall for eternity. Bad deal, though it is marginally better than failing to become a Daemon Prince and instead becoming a Chaos Spawn.
    • This is the main reason psykers and mutants are hunted down with such zeal by the Ecclesiarchy and Inquisition: left unchecked, they don't learn how to defend themselves against demonic possession (a trained psyker compares it to holding a door that's being battered down, 24/7, and the door is in your head) and are particularly open to having daemons erupt from their bodies and attack.
    • It's occasionally overlooked, but in Warhammer games it's possible to invert this trope; some daemon-possessed beings actually form a symbiosis with their daemon, using Villainous Willpower to retain control over their body whilst still being able to access the power of the daemon. In 40k this is the idea behind the Possessed units of Chaos Space Marines, as well as the Exalted Daemon hero from Warhammer Fantasy.
      • The most spectacular inversion of this trope has to come from Black Crusade, in which a Slaanesh worshiper summoned a Keeper of Secrets — a towering incarnation of depravity and debauchery — into her body as a way to achieve eternal youth at the behest of a sorcerer who thought it would kill her and give him a bound Greater Daemon servant. It didn't. Ax'Senaea proved such an egotistical psychopath that she managed to bind the daemon to her will and essentially ate it. The sorcerer, obviously in shock, didn't even attempt to defend himself as he was promptly mauled. Ax'Senaea succeeded at her first goal but failed at her second; instead she eventually "digested" the monster within her. So she summoned and reverse-possessed another greater daemon to continue extending her life. And then a third. On her fourth attempt, Slaanesh hirself appeared to elevate her to a Daemon Princess on the spot, in admiration of her willpower and dark perfection, as Ax'Senaea the Thrice Possessed. The three Keepers? She got to keep them, as punishment for being defeated by a Puny Earthling.
    • When Daemons were still part of the Chaos Space Marine army (as opposed to a separate army on their own) Daemons could not enter the mortal realm alone. This meant that, in-game, greater daemons and daemon packs couldn't be deployed normally with the rest of the army and had to be "summoned" to the battlefield. Daemon Packs were straight forward; just deepstrike them in and kick face. Greater Daemons were harder, as you NEED to have purchased a champion beforehand to have them possess it. This, of course, kills the champion. This could also be your Chaos Lord or his lieutenant, although most people just opted to sacrifice a nameless Aspiring Champion instead. If the sacrifice was killed before the daemon could manifest, then the Daemon could still possess his flesh, but the necrotic corpse cannot sustain the daemon for long (which is represented by the daemon having to take instability tests every turn and losing health every time he failed, until he died).
    • The possession mechanic is re-introduced with the 7th edition Psychic Discipline Malefic Daemonology, which allows you to possess the caster with a Greater Daemon. Because Greater Daemons and Daemon Heralds are also characters, this can result in a loop of a Daemon possessing another daemon, even letting the same daemon possess him/herself to regenerate all lost wounds (but this will make them lose any upgrades you purchased initially).
    • In 40k, some radical Inquisitors create Daemonhosts, imprisoning a Warp entity within a ritually-prepared human vessel. Theoretically this gives the Inquisitor a great source of diabolic intelligence and an extremely potent battlefield asset; in practice it ensures that the Inquisitor will be tortured to death by his peers if he's ever caught, since the creation of such blasphemies is the work of the most vile of heretics. And, as of their latest codex, the Grey Knights.
    • The Exorcists chapter of Space Marines actually uses possession as part of its initiation. The initiate is possessed by a minor Warp creature for several hours (in a room with as much security as possible, they're not entirely stupid), and must cast out the daemon through force of will. If successful, the initiate is thereafter invisible to daemons. As well as whatever knowledge they gained from the experience.
    • Even inanimate objects aren't immune to this trope. In both games Daemon Weapons are extremely potent pieces of wargear available to Chaos champions, with the downside of occasionally injuring their wielder if he falters during the unending contest of wills (assuming the daemon doesn't break free completely and start rampaging across the battlefield). There's also an entire category of unholy amalgams of daemon and metal called Daemon Engines, from the Hellcannon of Warhammer to the Defiler, Forgefiend, and Helldrake of 40k. Even "normal" tanks from the Chaos Space Marine armoury can purchase Daemonic Possession as an upgrade, allowing them to ignore being shaken or stunned by oncoming fire — though they lose some of their skill at shooting, and daemonically-possessed transports may eat infantry who try to ride inside them.note 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Because it has no true form of its own, the shadow managed to consume "Hirume" without "Tsukuyomi" noticing, and plot to eliminate its greatest threat, "Susanowo".

  • Parodied in The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), where Jesus casts out a demon from a man's son:
    Jesus: Wait a minute, didn't I cast a demon out of him before?
    Father: Yes, but I didn't pay your bill and he got repossessed. (Cue spinning head effect)
  • Dario Fo's Il diavolo con le zinne (The Devil with Boobs) has an incorruptable judge, Alfonso Ferdinando de Tristano, an incorruptable judge who is investigating a fire in the cathedral. There's a conspiracy to wreck his reputation, one of which is to employ a devil to possess him to turn him into a rogue - but a mistake causes the housekeeper to get possessed instead. This results in a change of plan, where the housekeeper is turned to become beautiful to seduce the judge as part of an accusation against him. However, the devil does a Heel–Face Turn at the end, proving that the judge was frames as part of a conspriacy. The claim for the change was due to taking on a woman's body, along with her heart, passions and emotions.

    Theme Parks 

    Visual Novels 
  • Purrfect Apawcalypse:
    • The first game has a heroic example of this trope in its best ending: Angel, who was murdered by the Ax-Crazy Patches and is a ghost, prevents Patches from taking Olive's life too by forcibly possessing his body. Later games show that this possession is a long-term one as it forced Patches' spirit out of his body, letting Angel take full control of it.
    • The second game has a more traditional villainous example: Ginger spends months wearing down Sparky's mental resistance and possessing him in his sleep until he's vulnerable enough to be fully possessed by her as part of Patches' plan to get revenge on the heroes.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Big Bad Kakuya demonstrates the ability to possess a person's body if the situation calls for it, as shown with her possessing Ami after the Killer Peach case, and then Seiji/Kaoru in the Normal End.
  • 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 Elisia aka 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.
  • We Know the Devil: This is what happens to the person who gets left out more often when you choose who to pair up. Played with in the true ending where the characters embrace the possession as a means of escaping the oppression of society. They are much happier like this, and extend that happiness to the other campers, and possibly the rest of the world.

    Web Animation 
  • Animator vs. Animation: In the original Animation VS Minecraft video, Herobrine does this to Red, who proceeds to attack everyone and steal the Minecraft block. Ultimately, the only way to get rid of Herobrine was to throw the Minecraft block into the recycle bin, causing a World-Wrecking Wave that destroyed everything from Minecraft.
    • Averted when, in the first AMV short, Red fakes it for his own amusement. No one thinks it's funny, and Blue in particular reacts by taking off his helmet and smacking Red.
  • Arenas: In "Chosen By The Vadrigar", after Doom's rescue, he gets to hear the plans of his superiors, his eyes turns red and he rebels. It seems like something possessed him. Which thing? We don't know.
  • Dreamscape: When the Possessor Ghost takes over someone, the body gains its Sinister Scythe and must be knocked out for the Possessor Ghost to retreat.
  • In Gaming All-Stars (The Ultimate Crossover and Remastered) 02’s Dark Matter henchmen mind-control a handful of innocent Sims in “City Invasion”, subsequently turning them into crazed and backstabbing maniacs.
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Read 'em and Weep", Cub gets possessed by a demon after Pop reads him a bedtime story from a cursed book. Lumpy, as a priest, manages to exorcise the demon from Cub, only for it to possess Lumpy in the process.
  • Helluva Boss: In "Truth Seekers" Stolas possesses Agent Two, spins her head around 180 degrees and taunts Agent One, then reanimates a bunch of dead agents and has them draw a summoning circle around her in blood so he can show up in person.
  • Maeka Enderfox: Arima is a demon that tends to possess Maeka at the worst or best moments, granting her Powers via Possession, usually to fight something even worse. Not that Arima ever bothered to hold back.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Arthur’s left arm is possessed by something that turns his left half green, causes his left eye to glow, and plasters a sinister, jagged-toothed smirk on the left side of his face. His right half is stuck watching in terror as he pushes a friend off a cliff to their death. We later learn that Arthur’s left arm has taken on a life of its own as a continuing host for the murderous green entity.
  • Power Star: Mario spends the vast majority of the series under the unwilling seduction of malevolent spirits, the latter using the former as a vessel to slaughter passersby and gain energy from the titular artifacts to enhance their army. This also happens to an entire crowd of toads who are slowly marching toward the Mushroom Kingdom during the final battle, having come to combine all of the Power Stars in the world into one super-powerful relic for Mario to absorb.
    Luigi: [To Peach] He was possessed… by BOOS!

  • The Dragon Ruby of Agents of the Realm is possessed by something, likely the Big Bad.
  • The main protagonists in A.P.O.C all have the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trapped within their bodies. Potential possession of the bodies haven't been looked into yet, but it seems like they share their minds, mental states and emotions with their particular Horseman, to an extent.
  • In Aurora, Erin accidentally gets possessed by an evil dragon in the process of deactivating a storm of magical energy, becoming a recurring part of his arc that occasionally takes over his body. It gives him dark void powers that only two characters can reliably survive, and his eyes change too. Erin is usually able to fight off the dragon by Fighting from the Inside for long enough, though.
  • This trope plays an important role in Ava's Demon. Ava is haunted and frequently possessed by the Demon Wrathia, who causes mischief whenever possible. Wrathia is able to physically control Ava's body for short periods of time, such as when she is forced to flip off the school's principal. Later on, the story reveals Ava is not the only one who has a Demon.
  • In Champions of Far'aus Despite being in some sort of different realm/dimension, Gods and Godesses have the ability to possess their champions’ bodies, be it the whole thing, or individual parts (such as limbs) while their champions keep control whatever isn't currently possessed.
  • Poor Zeno of Charby the Vampirate is particularly susceptible to possession, due to his broken mind, lack of self worth, and submissive personality.
  • This occurs several times throughout College Roomies from Hell!!!, which is in no way surprising considering that the Big Bad is Satan.
  • In Daughter of the Lilies, the drath are able to do this seemingly to any creature they touch, living or dead. The Alt Text says that drath's possession of dead bodies are much grosser.
  • Gravity Falls fan-comic Deal: After showing Gwen the truth about her brother's existence, supernatural being Bill Cipher proceeds to possess her, needing her as a host to bring about Weirdmageddon once more.
  • 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.
    • By Book 2, it's revealed that nether demons are mostly former mortals who have become entrenched in the everlasting torture of eating each others' minds; demons constantly possess each other, which explains why they've gotten so good at it.
  • In the Sister 3 arc of El Goonish Shive, Ellen is possessed by the aberration Sirleck as part of a highly convoluted plot to give the wizard Magus a new physical form (which Sirleck, unbeknownst to anyone but himself, intends to promptly take possession of). Unfortunately for Sirleck, people created by magic have a built-in advantage at resisting possession, which leads fairly directly to his (Sirleck's) destruction.
  • This is the major plot point in Garanos.
  • 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 possesses a robot.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • Devils can get a power boost by forcing their masks upon the body of a powerful Human or Servant and possessing them instead of growing a body of their own. The 'daughters' of devil crime lord Praman Nand do this to human slaves with their faces missing, letting them obtain speech and human-like intelligence despite being Pale Devils. Nand himself uses a sphinx-like Servant for a host, making him powerful even for a Gold Devil. Such 'devil-skinned' can also lead to the body proving too willful and burning both parts out or an outright Fusion Dance if both parts enter into it as equals and are able to synchronize wills. Allison and Cio are able to do so in King of Swords, due to being partners, with the possession being entirely symbiotic.
    • Allison is made an Emissary of Incubus in Seeker of Thrones, accepting one of the Demiurge's keys in order to master her own power. When she later loses control of her body and gets trapped inside her own mind she logically assumes this is the case, though Incubus immediately shows up to reveal she's actually just grown a Superpowered Evil Side from her own power and he had (almost) nothing to do with it.
  • It's one of the major plot points in Kuro Shouri. Kijo, a demon princess, fled from the demon world and took residence in a human, that human being Yasha. She bears no ill will toward her container, but does damage the human's body every time she takes control.
  • Muted: The Eloi girl following Camille turns out to be possessed by a demon.
    • All Eloi witches must travel with at least one other Eloi witch in order to avert this, due to their individual sensitivity to demons.
  • Parodied in one strip (link SFW) of Oglaf. A warlock with less than stellar cleaning habits summons Dread Lord Xlpth to possess him and do evil deeds. The warlock then awakens the next morning to find that said evil deeds consisted of cleaning the warlock's house and filing his taxes. The comic then cuts to Hell where Xlpth is being chewed out by his boss.
  • In The Order of the Stick, it is revealed that at least one vampire is a demonic spirit possessing the dead body, while holding the helpless soul captive inside, able to watch as the vampire tricks his friends into believing him to be the original. Word of God is that this is how all vampires work in this world, and the reason nobody warns the heroes is because it's fairly obscure knowledge.
  • Paranatural:
    • Weakened spirits can possess either an object (turning it into a Tool) or a person (turning them into a medium). Spectrals with a matching spectral energy color can then use that spirit's special powers, while the spirit leeches off some of the spectral's energy until they recover. In both cases, the spectral is usually the one in control, though there are ways for the spirit to take over temporarily. Normally, spectrals are either Tool-users or mediums (or neither); being both at the same time is rare and dangerous. Mr. Spender has a light spirit in his sunglasses that helps him contain the darkness spirit in his body.
    • Max is unknowingly the medium for a piece of a very dangerous shattered god, in addition to having an animalistic grudge in his bat.
    • Hijack, the primary antagonist of Chapter 5, is a spirit who specializes in possession. He spends much of the chapter in direct control of a normally-innocuous student named Jeff.
  • There are a few of these floating around the Sluggy Freelance universe, most notably K'Z'K the Vowelless.
  • In Something*Positive, Twitchy-Hug, the colour-changing mass murderer cat-turned-ashtray, may have become this. Warning signs include colour-shifting clothes and occasionally red speech bubbles. Oh, and homicidal insanity. See here (and onward) and here. (While we don't learn the backstory of the landlord and his son, Kharisma still acts like Kharisma apart from being murderous, suggesting a More than Mind Control situation).
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, Kades are corrupted mages capable of infecting anyone who gazes into their eyes. After hearing Black Speech after dealing with the trollified Hilja, Ensi feared she had been possessed by a Kade. As such, she ordered Lalli not to look her in the eye, only to suddenly scream at him to do the opposite, revealing she was indeed possessed.
  • In one Supernatural Law story, the trope is inverted when a summoning attempt by an incompetent warlock causes a virtuous soul named Barry on his way to Heaven to involuntarily possess a demon named Wasistlos. The warlock eventually separates them, and they both go to where they belong. However, the warlock screws this up as well — Barry gains Wasistlo's Third-Person Person speech patterns, while Wasistlos becomes kinder and gains Barry's love of music.
  • In User Friendly, installing Windows NT on Erwin causes him to become possessed by the spirit of Bill Gates.
    Erwin (static on screen): Grglzzzzz mrrrffff
    Dust Puppy: Erwin!! Speak to me!!
    Bill Gates (appearing on Erwin's screen): Competition is good. 90% market share is better.
    Dust Puppy: Somebody call an exorcist!!

    Web Original 
  • According to one story MJTR told on Analog Control, he scared a phone scammer away by claiming he was possessed by Satan. While on the call, he also stated that Humans Are the Real Monsters and threatened to possess the scammer next.
  • Sam & Mickey's "Krissy's Christening" has Barbie hallucinate that baby Krissy has become possessed by Satan.
  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions, Mr. Obvious had been possessed by Asmodeus Beelzebub.
  • In The League of S.T.E.A.M.'s webisode, "Dinner with the Devil", Sir Conrad gets possessed after a botched exorcism. As he's the resident demonologist, the rest of the League is in a bit of a quandary.
  • In Matt Santoro's "20 Haunting Halloween Facts", Matt says that he's used a Ouija board many times before, and nothing bad has ever happened to him. He then gets possessed.
  • The Nostalgia Critic gets possessed by the devil in one of his fights with the Nerd, and only Super Mecha Death Christ is able to defeat him.
  • The Reveal in The Princess 99 shows that the assassin, Axel, had been possessed by a demon she gets better via forcibly removal of said demon.
  • In Prolecto, this is Azazel's MO. Sonya is Eviler than Thou. At least until the climax.
  • Bad Slash Fic demons can possess canon characters in Protectors of the Plot Continuum, causing them to carry out the fanfic writer's whims. It's the PPC's job to remove them via exorcism.
  • It shows up a couple of times in Sevenshot Kid.
  • Shiny Objects Videos: A toaster gets possessed in the aptly-titled "Possessed Toaster".
  • StacheBros: In "The Curse of Toadsworth Mansion", Toadsworth gets possessed by the spirit of Prince Peasley II, who plans to end his curse by assassinating the spirit of the former tyrannical king of the Mushroom Kingdom. Later in the video, Wario also gets possessed by the spirit of the King.
  • Tech Infantry has the Caal, a long-extinct alien race whose souls somehow stuck around, and tend to possess other life forms. Humans possessed by the Caal are granted supernatural strength and other powers, to the extent that they are described as being able to walk through tanks, but are (of course) also completely mind-controlled by the Caal.
  • Some demons in Void Domain are capable of destroying a person's personality and completely taking them over.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Pride was indirectly possessed by HIM, who made himself a vessel in the form of a black cat named King in order to get close to Pride. HIM then used him to create a philosopher's stone so that he'd have enough negative emotional energy to give him the power to take over the world.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, there is a random snail that appears Once per Episode as a Freeze-Frame Bonus. Unfortunately for him, one such appearance was in the lair of a demon, and he was not wearing any protective gear, causing him to get possessed by The Lich, and becoming an Unwitting Instigator of Doom. Thankfully, he gets better when The Lich chose to Body Surf to Billy instead. He had also possessed Princess Bubblegum.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In "Monster", the Aqua Teens find Meatwad's pet gerbil in the closet after hearing ghostly wails, which suddenly transforms into a demonic bat. Frylock attempts the usual "power of Christ compels you!" before yelling at the demon to "come into" Shake. This gets Shake possessed and Frylock lures him to a hotel to make him fall out a window. It survived, and brought Carl's head back with it.
  • Ben 10: In the episode Ghostfreak Out, the titular ghost themed Alien, which turns out to actually have the identity of the source of the DNA sample used to create it due to his species Bizarre Alien Biology, escapes from Ben’s Transformation Trinket. Prevented from taking Ben since he can only be possessed while in human form, Ghostfreak jumps between others bodies in the meantime, with the most notable incident being his possessing Gwen and demanding that Ben give himself up or he’ll force Gwen to kill herself jumping from a roof.
  • Played for Laughs in The Boondocks episode "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back", in which the ghost of Colonel H. Stinkmeaner possesses Tom Dubois. Stinkmeaner-in-Tom then proceeds to troll everyone he meets for his own amusement, before trying to kill Robert Freeman out of revenge. So the Freemans hire Uncle Ruckus to try and exorcise him.
  • Code Lyoko: One of X.A.N.A's favorite attack methods.
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Demon in the Mattress", after purchasing a cursed bed from two shady rats, Muriel gets possessed by a demon. Courage and Eustace team up to try and exorcise her. The exorcism sort of succeeds, but then goes horribly wrong, so the evil spirit transfers into Eustace's body.
  • One of the many ghost powers in Danny Phantom. It's called "overshadowing" in the show, though.
  • In the Disenchantment episode "The Princess of Darkness", Sorcerio convinces King Zog that his daughter Princess Bean's criminal misbehavior is the result of demonic influence. While this is sort of true — Bean's demon friend Luci is telling her to do bad things — he's not actually controlling or forcing her to do anything against her will. However, when Zog and Odval hire an exorcist named Big Jo to remove Bean's demon, the Enchantress (Luci's secret master, watching them from a distance) casts a spell that forces Luci to possess Bean's body for real, to try (and fail) to hide Luci from the exorcist. During Big Jo's exorcism of Bean, Luci takes the opportunity to taunt Jo and spin Bean's head around a few times, just for fun.
  • Final Space: Invictus is capable of both the first and second types: reanimating the thousands of dead alternate Gary's that have come to Final Space as its army of puppets, and forcibly possessing Gary and then Avocato when Gary accidentally summons its astral form in Season 2. In the latter case, instead of Invictus directly suppressing his mind and controlling his body for itself, it massively amplifies and exacerbates all of Avocato's doubts, insecurities and worst traits to make him turn uncontrollably Ax-Crazy against his friend and his son. The main symptoms of possession by Invictus are gaining purple Glowing Eyes of Doom and (if Invictus is directly puppeteering the body like with Gary) a near-perpetual Slasher Smile.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: In the episode "First Day Frights", Scratch possesses the unconscious Andrea at the school in order to save Molly and remove Libby from being an outcast.
  • In Gravity Falls, Bill Cipher can take control of a mortal body if he convinces (or tricks) the host into giving him permission to do so.
    • Dipper, in a desperate attempt to get a password to a laptop containing information he needs, makes a deal with Bill Cipher, who says he "Only wants a puppet" (Mabel had made a bunch of sock puppets to impress her crush). Bill proceeds to rip Dipper's soul from his body and takes over, smashing the laptop before declaring his intentions to go after the journal. Fortunately, Mabel and Dipper are able to kick Bill out before he does any more damage.
    • This episode serves as foreshadowing for the backstory revealed in "The Last Mabelcorn": Years before the events of the show took place, Stanford Pines made a permanent deal with Bill which enabled Bill to possess his body whenever he liked. He only manages to keep Bill out by means of a metal plate installed in his head.
    • In "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future," Bill finds a third pawn in time-traveler Blendin Blandin.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: When Billy asks Grim if he can do this, Grim nonchalantly says he can, demonstrating by doing so to Milkshakes, then saying it's actually a rather easy trick that only "a brain-dead zombie" wouldn't be able to do. Unfortunately, this inspires Billy to do it to Mandy — doesn't end well.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • The demonic dragon Shendu is able to do this whenever he's reduced to spirit form. In the Season 1 episode "Project A, For Astral", he uses the Sheep Talisman to take over Jade's dormant body. Later for most of Season 2, he accidentally possesses Valmont (he intended to take over Jackie, which he later succeeds at).
    • Also, in season 4, the Oni Masks will cause anyone wearing them to succumb to the influence of the Oni and Shadowkhan demons sealed inside the masks.
  • 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.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Paranormal Stuff", the main four hold a séance to summon spirits. Unfortunately, they wind up summoning the spirits of all the yogurts Quack Quack ever ate, and the spirits possess Quack Quack.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: When Princess Luna was transformed into Nightmare Moon through her bitterness and jealousy, it's all but stated Nightmare Moon is actually a manifestation of Luna's jealousy that is possessing her. Part of this is because of Luna being Easily Forgiven after being returned to her original form (as eternal night would freeze the world and bring the apocalypse), and part of this is because Word of God has hinted at it. The comics confirm an outside force is involved — the Nightmare Forces.
    Lauren Faust: Luna was no longer present, jealousy buried her inside NMM.
  • Popular fashion blogger Helena St. Tesser is seemingly possessed by a demon in the first episode of Neo Yokio, though it turns out it's actually her custom-made suit that's possessed.
  • In Not Without My Handbag, Satan possesses the handbag Auntie has gone to retrieve in order to bring her back to hell.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, this is revealed to be the reason behind Lorna's affliction. Her body is possessed by a flesh-eating spirit, which will devour anyone it encounters. This, in turn, is why Auntie Whispers keeps her constantly busy with chores and forbids visitors, to keep her from eating anyone. Luckily, she gets better once Wirt and Greg banish the spirit from her body.
  • The Owl House: In the episode "Thanks to Them", Belos's cursed slime manages to get inside Hunter's body through a cut in his finger, and slowly starts to grow inside him, causing paranoia, hallucinations and extreme mood swings. Once Hunter and Luz have found the location of the Titan's Blood, Belos fully takes over Hunter's body, turning his arms and parts of his face into cursed mud and sprouting a pair of horns. Belos himself sees this as him finally reuniting with his brother, and decides to use "Caleb's" body to finish what they started as witch hunters, by trying to kill the Hexsquad. Hunter himself is fully conscious the whole time, but doesn't manage to wrench control back until Belos mortally wounds Flapjack.
  • One episode of The Real Ghostbusters had Peter get possessed by a demon named Watt (whose name was used for a lot of "what" gags throughout). It intended to use his body and voice to access the Busters' containment system and unleash all the ghosts stored therein.
  • The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror:
    • At the end of "Bartifical Intelligence", Homer wakes up to find that he hasn't been made into a pathetic cyborg — he's just been possessed by the devil. A brief splash of holy water results in him babbling angrily, climbing up the walls, and turning his head 180 degrees, but it's okay because he gets to be excused from work.
    • "The Exor-Sis" is a straighter parody, with Maggie being possessed by a statue of Pazuzu that Homer ordered from Amazon (he thought was pizza). When Pazuzu is expelled from Maggie, he latches onto Bart and finds himself trapped, as Bart is eviler than he is.
  • South Park
    • While he was semi-permanently dead in Season 6, Kenny had channeled himself through Cartman (who drank Kenny's ashes). This is an interesting inversion since Kenny is much nicer to Stan and Kyle than Cartman.
    • Michael Jackson had also channeled himself through Ike in "Dead Celebrities". He was just happy being a kid and had to win a little girl beauty pageant in order to leave.
    • Upon learning that the Canadian Devil was responsible for exploitative freemium games, Satan asks to borrow Stan's body so he can fight him. After he's done, he returns Stan's body to his friends.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Visions and Voices", Kanan and Sabine are possessed by Nightsister spirits after they follow Ezra and Maul to Dathomir, concerned for his safety with the ex-Sith Lord.
  • Steven Universe: Steven is able to possess one's body, if he thinks about them while sleeping. He discovers this when he accidentally does it to Lars in "The New Lars".
  • Karkull in Superman: The Animated Series wreaks havoc in Metropolis after possessing a petty thief who recites the incantation on a tablet he steals from a museum. Several of his subservient demons take control of characters like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.
  • Teen Titans (2003): A heroic example is Raven — she has a Superpowered Evil Side as one lovely feature of her dual nature; on the occasions where it takes control, she's possessed by her own inner demon.
  • The Transformers has Starscream become a ghost after he dies, and over the span of two series possesses other transformers (Cyclonus, Scourge in G1 and Waspinator in Beast Wars).
    • 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. It happens again during the Grand Finale movie, only this time much easier since Megatron is currently dead courtesy of a Star-Saber-made hole through his chest and he's unable to do much more than be a prisoner in his own body.
  • 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.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Fancy Party", Lord Hater attempts to impress a wealthy socialite to inherit her fortune before she dies. He succeeds, only for it to turn out that she's actually the host of a demonic entity that claims a new host every millennium and wants to make Hater its newest host. It transfers to Hater, who starts choking on it, but Wander gives him the Heimlich maneuver and transfers the entity to a sandwich, forcing it to spend the next thousand years, and the rest of the series, as "Sourdough the Evil Sandwich".

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

Alternative Title(s): Demonically Possessed


Deadite Cheryl

The first to get possessed by the Evil is Cheryl Williams.

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Main / DemonicPossession

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