Is Archive 81's demon Kaelego inspired by a real myth?

Eve Edwards January 16, 2022
Is Archive 81's demon Kaelego inspired by a real myth?

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Netflix has its latest horror hit on its hand as Archive 81 gets its release this January 2022.

The found footage horror series follows archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), a tape restoration expert who’s hired for a mysterious project by Virgil Davenport (Martin Donovan). Virgil requests Dan to restore a collection of damaged video cassettes from the 1990s.

As Dan succeeds in restoring the tapes, he falls further into an obsession with their content: footage of grad student Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) as she researches a strange apartment building that was burnt down in 1994.

If you’re curious about Kaelego, then it’s likely that you’ve reached the last episode of Archive 81. But if not, then here is your *spoiler alert*.

Archive 81. Dina Shihabi as Melody Pendras in episode 104 of Archive 81. Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2021

The demon Kaelego appears in Archive 81

In the final episode of Archive 81, Dan enters an alternate universe to save Melody, who had been trapped there with Kaelego, and bring her back to our world. Kaelego is a half-demon, half-god who existed in the 14th century and rules over this alternate universe. The 14th century Baldung coven had sacrificed their magic to trap Kaelego inside a pedestal sculpture.

The Vos Society cult based in the heart of Visser were attempting to summon Kaelego. Virgil had recruited Dan to restore Melody’s tapes as he believed that the secret to raising Kaelego was hidden somewhere in them.

Kaelego spread into our world through taking on the form of hallucinogenic mould, which represented his blood. One viewer joked about this plot point: “I’m not being over dramatic by saying I would rather whatever is under my floor being the mold that spurs Kaelego rather than be a nest of rats.”

But is Kaelego based on any stories from the real world?

While Archive 81 does a good job in convincing you it could be based on a true story, it is mere fiction. However, many fictional stories revolving around demonology take inspiration from real life myths and beliefs.

Kaelego (fortunately) is entirely fictional.

The demon-god is made up from the minds of the Archive 81 creators. Although there are many mischief-making gods in mythology – Loki is a good example – Kaelego does not share similarities with any mythological gods or demons. He also is not mentioned in religious texts, Satanic or Wiccan literature.

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On demons and physics

As mentioned, there are plenty of mischievous demons to draw inspiration from, but where Kaelego deviates is that he created a whole other universe. While the idea of the multiverse is everywhere in pop culture right now – thanks Marvel – this is not a usual hallmark of mythology or demonology.

This idea of demons breaking the laws of physics, however, is not fictitious. As Signal Horizon explains, “a hypothetical ‘demon’ in physics called Maxwell’s Demon […] was an invention of Maxwell’s to explain thermodynamics.” James Clerk Maxwell came up with the hypothetical in 1871. It was disproven by French physicist Léon Brillouin around 1950.

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.