Most negative supernatural spirits are not demons. Demons are actually pretty rare, though infestations do happen. Many people who claim experiences of possessions are not experiencing the demonic, either. Here are a list of other types of spirits to compare your experience with; if you’re convinced it’s still a demon, visit my classification systems to check off your experience with (separated into sight/sound/smell/feeling).
What is a Dybbuk/Dybbukim?
Spirits from Jewish folklore said to be barred from Heaven and Hell; they are forced to wander and possess people when their bodies are left open, often through astral projection or oppression (breaking down of the spirit to enter the body). These spirits seem to be related to mirrors (don’t have them pointed at your bed); illness and convulsions, growling, deviant behavior, speaking in unclear/incomplete sentences in voices that are not their own while person lays dormant are all symptoms of dybbuk intrusion. It’s thought that sin can make it easier for a dybbuk to get in but it takes a total psychological breakdown of a person’s will to possess them. This could be the same as the Jewish belief in newly dead that are wicked who eventually become demons; wounds these spirits inflict are said only God can heal.
Most people know this term from the famous Dybbuk Box, which is widely regarded as a hoax; however, objects can be cursed and used as conduits for negative spirits. Sometimes bringing them into the home creates the opportunity for a negative spirit to encroach on a home.
Dark spirits of unknown origin; it’s thought that they are humans who were malevolent in life and now in death; seem to cause many problems for the living simply by being around. They are also associated with sleep and the Old Hag/Mara experience of having one’s airway pressed on while a dark shadow creature stands or cuts off the airway itself. There is crossover with demonic presences as well because they seem to do similar things but true demonic infestations are much worse in intensity; possibly drawn to places of dark energy.
From Islamic folklore, the jinn is a spirit that was created at the same time as angels from smokeless fire, a sort of antecedent to humans with greater powers; their bodies were thought to have been destroyed during the Great Flood. They can shapeshift, inhabiting the spirit world parallel to ours; jinn can be good or evil and have free will. Jinn are not immortal, like to roam in deserts/wilderness/invisible usually.
They can appear to humans as spirits of dead people, also communicate through visions/voices and they do fall in love with humans, according to the lore and even marry them, disrupting relationships if the person is already taken.
King Solomon supposedly could control them with a ring (and they built things for him, like the Temple of Jerusalem); jinn were the ones that taught people sorcery, possibly even the “Sons of God” that Genesis mentions.
Possession symptoms: anger/anxiety/depression/voices will change to other gender/nausea after eating/headaches/aggression/heaviness in shoulders/dissatisfaction with life/desire to commit suicide (note: mental health issues should always be addressed by mental health professionals whether supernatural in nature or not)
From Algonquin folklore, it is a once-human who became a hungry monster because the person resorted to cannibalism; they call for you through human mimicry. It’s also said that the wendigo can possess people, turning them into wendigos.
fNavajo culture tells of these are shaman/witches that have taken on the shape of an animal from magic; they take possession of animals or even other people. They are said to take on the skin of humans, too and common around Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.
Similar (or possibly even the same as) to incubi and succubi, familiars are attachment spirits who often have loving and/or sexual relationships with living people. They can possess body parts (like hands, legs). They do not appear to be harmful for most, but it does not mean they can’t be a nuisance or have dark intentions. Sometimes summoned via ritual, others come of their own volition.
Afro-Caribbean religion from Haiti then traveled to America as well as S. America/other parts of the Caribbean; later became mixed with Catholicism. Vodou rituals have music and dancing that involve voluntary possession of people by vodou spirits; also association of vodou with zombies from powder that “zombifies” a person by a bokor, or dark magic sorceror, for slave purposes.
huli jing (fox fairy)
Possessing spirit from Chinese lore that is a dead person who has come back to haunt others malevolently; they can possess people and reduces them to insanity when they do claim a person’s body and does this for generations. Can shapeshift, appear as the living, can move people through the air/move them through walls, can be seen only at night.
From Greek lore, they are the children of Hecate and seduce men; they enter human bodies to consume the flesh/drink the blood. They disguise themselves as dogs, cows, and beautiful women.
Assyrian evil ghost similar to the dybbuk in that this type of spirit is barred from the underworld, wandering the earth instead; they can attach themselves to people, both people the dead person knew and those they did not.
Rachel Elior. 2008. Dybbuks and Jewish Women in Social History, Mysticism and Folklore.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley and John Zaffis. 2009. The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Troy Taylor. 2007. The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits.
Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman. 2018. Demons, the Devil, and Fallen Angels.