A horror fan has solved what they believe to be Hereditary's biggest mystery – and it's an accidental mix-up involving Aleister Crowley.
In Hereditary, Annie (Toni Collette) opens a spellbook to a chapter titled "Summoning King Paimon," which contains a drawing that depicts Paimon as wearing black robes, holding a staff, having a big triangle hat, and riding a camel. The Redditor points out that – camel aside – this is not the way that Paimon, described as the King of Hell in early grimoires, has been depicted throughout history.
But while you can assume that director Ari Aster was taking creative liberties and perhaps making Paimon a bit scarier looking for horror movie purposes, the Redditor believes Aster actually misinterpreted a drawing of Paimon and famed occultist Aleister Crowley – conflating one for the other. In the drawing, made by Crowley himself, Crowley (left) is seen summoning Paimon (right). Crowley is wearing a triangle hat and black robes. Paimon is mostly a scary floating head sitting on top of a camel. The theory here is that Aster mixed up the two, resulting in Paimon's depiction in the film. But, again, it's also possible that Aster combined the two for creative purposes.
The fan also believes Aster mistook the camel for a horse, which is why there's hidden horse imagery throughout the film.
One commenter doubts that it was a misinterpretation, arguing that Paimon has "been shown in a variety of forms throughout history" and that they are sure Aster "used the wealth of information that exists regarding the characteristics and features of Paimon". They also don't think Aster mistook a camel for a horse.
And yeah, we're just as confused as you are.
Hereditary is streaming on Max. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2024 and beyond.