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Fictional character biography
Mnemoth is a hunger spirit, which originates from an unknown plane of Hell. It patterns its physical form after insects and it can appear as a swarm of locusts or as a single oversized insectoid monster. Mnemoth derives its strength from humanity's compulsive desire to consume. Consumption can come in many forms, and a person's need for food is not the only facet of human frailty that draws Mnemoth's attention. Fear and desire likewise add to the creature's power, and the more of each that is available to him, the stronger he becomes.
Mnemoth first awakened upon the Earth in the late 1980s when the spread of famine ravaged several African nations such as Ethiopia. It possessed the body of a young Sudanese boy and festered within him, feeding off the child's starving body. A Dinkan shaman attempted to wrest the boy free of Mnemoth's control, but was unable to exorcise the demon. Instead, he carved Power Patterns of Binding into the child's face, trapping Mnemoth within him. Although his actions sacrificed the soul of the boy, the shaman was content knowing that Mnemoth's essence was permanently contained. The soulless youth eventually turned up in Tangier where he became the property of a sweatshop owner.
In 1987, an amateur conjurer and heroin addict named Gary Lester found the child and recognized that his body was playing host to a powerful entity. He took it upon himself to free the boy's soul. Gary performed a rite of exorcism and succeeded in drawing Mnemoth out. Unfortunately, the act caused the gruesome death of the boy. Gary trapped the demon inside of a bottle and placed a ward upon it in the hopes of keeping it contained. Although Mnemoth was trapped, its essence was still alive and it broadcast its thoughts into Gary's mind, slowly driving him mad.
Gary knew that he would not be able to keep Mnemoth bound for long. He tried to track down an old occultist friend, John Constantine, who had been spending a great deal of time in the United States. Unable to find him, Gary mailed the sealed bottle to the address of one of Constantine's old girlfriends. Little did Gary realize however, that the woman in question, Emma, had been dead for several weeks. The tenant occupying her old studio returned the bottle to the post office where it came into the possession of a worker named Henry Wambach.
Henry unwittingly released Mnemoth from the bottle, and the hunger demon began to terrorize the Manhattan area. Victims of Mnemoth's influence experienced overwhelming pangs of hunger, and would voraciously consume everything in sight, whether it was edible or not. Henry himself rampaged through a restaurant devouring food, drink and silverware. He even attempted to feast upon some of the restaurant's patrons. The compulsion grew contagious and with each new victim, Mnemoth became more powerful. In one incident, a body builder elected to satiate his hunger by eating his own arm. In another, a young man stuffed his face full of comic books. In each case, the victims were found dead - their bodies completely starved of all nourishment.
While all of this was taking place, Gary Lester managed to reach John Constantine. They traveled to New York City where they sought a new avenue towards containing the demon. John knew that his magic was not powerful enough to stop Mnemoth on his own, so he enlisted the aid of an occult rival – a Voodoo crime lord named Papa Midnite. John convinced Midnite that the recent hunger outbreak would hurt his business interests, and so he agreed to help Constantine, despite their mutual enmity of one another.
Papa Midnite and John Constantine realized that Gary Lester was dying and they decided to use him as a permanent host for Mnemoth. They took him to the top of Midnite’s nightclub and strapped him to an old electric chair that Midnite occasionally used in his rituals. Gary Lester’s addiction to heroin was the perfect bait for the hunger spirit and it came down upon him as a swarm of locusts. While Midnite performed various mystical incantations, Constantine carved the Power Patterns of Binding into Gary's face. With Mnemoth safely contained within Gary’s body, his influence upon the city’s populace ebbed. Papa Midnite brought Gary down into the basement levels of his club where he had his body sealed up behind a brick wall.
Gary died moments later, but so long as the Power Patterns of Binding remained upon his body, Mnemoth could no longer affect things on the Earthly plane.
Powers and abilities
- Generate Hunger: Mnemoth's primary ability is to generate an all-consuming hunger within those in his immediate vicinity. The strength of this effect is contingent upon the ambient feelings of hunger and desire that exist naturally. In an environment where a large percentage of the population is starving, such as in many African nations, Mnemoth's power increases. Once infected with the hunger, the effect becomes contagious, quickly spreading from one person to another like a plague. Those within the thrall feel nothing but an overwhelming need to consume. Sensibilities are misplaced and the victim will feed upon literally anything that will fit within their mouths. Ironically, Mnemoth’s victims ultimately die of starvation, as their bodies fail to compensate for the nutrients siphoned into Mnemoth's form.
- Telepathy: Mnemoth can communicate telepathically with any individual of its choosing. Prolonged communion with Mnemoth can ultimately lead to madness. The range of Mnemoth's telepathic communiqué and the number of individuals that he can commune with at any given moment is unknown.
- Possession: Mnemoth can take possession of a human host. The host in question is a human who has already suffered from their own tormented compulsions. Usually these compulsions take the form of a hunger, but a drug addict in the throes of withdrawal is a likewise suitable host for possession by the demon.
In other media
Mnemoth appears in the Constantine episode "A Feast Of Friends" as a swarm of khapra beetles, following an abridged version of its comic book storyline. The only exception is that Mnemoth only resides in one host body at a time, causing its host to become extremely hungry (so far as cannibalism) before it dies out and moving on to another host.