Later this week, the fifth entry in 'The Conjuring' universe will hit the big screens. 'The Nun', as the film is titled, is directed by Corin Hardy, who directed the 2015 horror film 'The Hallow'. The demon Valak (or Valac, depending on the source), will take centre stage for the second time in the series after 'The Conjuring 2', as the antagonistic force that is attempting to spread fear and terror in the lives of normal people. However, unlike 'The Conjuring 2', this film takes place in 1952 in Romania's Cârța Monastery.
The demon Valac, on which 'The Nun' is based, was first listed in 1536 in the 'Pseudomonarchia Daemonum' by Johann Weyer, a Dutch physician and occultist. The 'Deamonum' is an index of demons in the grimoire 'Praestigiis Daemonum', and acts as the source of all demons listed in various later grimoires, including 'The Lesser Key of Solomon'.
In The Lesser Key of Solomon, Valac is described as a 'Spirit' that rides a two-headed Dragon and gives the true answers of hidden treasures:
The Sixty-second Spirit is Volac, or Valak, or Valu. He is a President Mighty and Great, and appeareth like a Child with Angel's Wings, riding on a Two-headed Dragon. His Office is to give True Answers of Hidden Treasures, and to tell where Serpents may be seen. The which he will bring unto the Exorciser without any Force or Strength being by him employed. He governeth 38 Legions of Spirts, and his Seal is thus.
Later references of Valac include 'The Book of the Office of Spirits' in 1563 and the 'Book of Oberon' in 1577.
In 1584, Reginald Scot, an Englishman who served as a Member of Parliament, wrote 'The Discoverie of Witchcraft', a refutal of witchcraft and the Inquisition, a system within the Catholic Church that dealt with matters of heresy among baptised Christians. This book also references Valac among 73 other demons.
In the 'Discoverie', Scot argued that witchcraft was a fictional occurrence and had no basis in the supernatural. However, Scot did not completely discredit all occult writings as he seemed to respect the work of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a highly noted German occult writer and physician.
The most famous book to include the demon Valac is 'The Lesser Key of Solomon', an anonymous grimoire on demonology that takes inspiration from 'The Key of Solomon', a Renaissance-era grimoire attributed to King Solomon. Apart from the demons, the book makes references to over 150 aerial spirits, including instructions on how to invoke them.