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Villains Wiki
Villains Wiki

The Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape. I had seen him before in all parts of the all forms and guises! Wherever there was sin! Wherever there was strife! Wherever there was corruption, persecution! There he was ALSO! Sometimes he was only a spectator, a face in the crowd. But ALWAYS, he was THERE!
~ Brother Jerome explaining the Devil and how he could recognize him.

The Devil is the titular main antagonist of The Twilight Zone episode "The Howling Man" and also the short story the episode is an adaptation of. He appears initially as a normal man imprisoned by an allegedly insane order of pseudo-religious fanatics against his will. He periodically howls, which is where the story gets its title, and eventually dupes traveller Mr. David Ellington into helping him.

He was portrayed by the late Robin Hughes.


While on a walking trip through Central Europe shortly after World War I, David Ellington is lost in a storm and comes upon an abbey known only as "The Hermitage". It is here that he first meets the Devil, who is in the form of a raggedy man who periodically lets out horrible, wolf-like howls and insists that the monks who imprisoned him are lunatics that threw him in a cell for kissing his sweetheart in public. Ellington is skeptical of these claims, but the man insists that they are true, and pleads for Ellington to release him, and not to trust the monks or their leader Brother Jerome.

Shortly after this, Brother Jerome brings David Ellington into his study and says that the man in the cell is, in fact, the Devil himself, having been imprisoned by Jerome and his fellows after he went to the village the Hermitage is near, intending to corrupt it and spread misery to it, as it was one of the only parts of the world to come out of the Great War largely unaffected by it and still honest, god-fearing, and happy. When asked by Ellington how he could ever possibly keep the Devil imprisoned, Brother Jerome reveals that he keeps the door barred with a "staff of truth" (in the short story, a simple cross). As the Devil is "the father of all lies", a staff of truth is the one barrier he cannot pass.

However, despite all of this, Ellington is unconvinced, and later frees the Devil from his cell. The story then differs a bit depending on the version: in the original short story, the man laughs cruelly at Ellington when he pleads with the man to slow down so he can keep up with him, and then departs, as he does leaving behind a large, burning symbol in the form of a cloven hoof. Later, Ellington sees to his horror that the same man joined the Nazis in World War II, seemingly confirming further that he was indeed the ultimate evil. However, at the very end, David Ellington is reassured in a letter sent from the Hermitage that they have the Devil with them again.

Conversely, in the episode of The Twilight Zone proper, when Ellington frees him, he uses telekinesis to bring Ellington down and then departs, shapeshifting into his true form a bit at a time as he walks before morphing fully into his true form and then disappearing in a puff of fire and smoke. Brother Jerome arrives and sadly notes that man's greatest weakness and Satan's strength is people such as David Ellington seeing the Devil but not recognizing him for what he is. Afterwards, Ellington vows to spend the rest of his life tracking him down. In the ensuing years, the Devil's freedom leads to World War II, the Korean War, and the ascendance of nuclear weapons. Finally, David Ellington captures him and keeps him trapped in a closet at the hotel he's staying at. But alas, the maid, horrified by the same howling sounds he made when imprisoned at the Hermitage, frees him, letting him loose again.


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