553. All spirits in the hells, when seen in any light of heaven, appear in the form of their evil; for everyone there is an image of his evil, since his interiors and his exteriors act as a one, the interiors making themselves visible in the exteriors, which are the face, body, speech and movements; thus the character of the spirit is known as soon as he is seen. In general evil spirits are forms of contempt of others and of menaces against those who do not pay them respect; they are forms of hatreds of various kinds, also of various kinds of revenge. Fierceness and cruelty from their interiors show through these forms. But when they are commended, venerated, and worshiped by others their faces are restrained and take on an expression of gladness from delight.  It is impossible to describe in a few words how all these forms appear, for no one is like another, although there is a general likeness among those who are in the same evil, and thus in the same infernal society, from which, as from a plane of derivation, the faces of all are seen to have a certain resemblance. In general their faces are hideous, and void of life like those of corpses; the faces of some are black, others fiery like torches, others disfigured with pimples, warts, and ulcers; some seem to have no face, but in its stead something hairy or bony; and with some only the teeth are seen; their bodies also are monstrous; and their speech is like the speech of anger or of hatred or of revenge; for what everyone speaks is from his falsity, while his tone is from his evil. In a word, they are all images of their own hell.  I have not been permitted to see what the form of hell itself in general is; I have only been told that as the entire heaven in one complex reflects a single man (n. 59-67), so the entire hell in one complex reflects a single devil, and might be exhibited in an image of a single devil (see above, n. 544). But the forms of particular hells or infernal societies I have often been permitted to see; for at their entrances, which are called the gates of hell, a monster commonly appears that represents in a general way the form of those within. The fierce passions of those who dwell there are represented at the same time in horrible and hideous ways that I forbear to describe.  But it must be understood that this is the way infernal spirits appear in the light of heaven, while among themselves they appear as men. This is of the Lord's mercy, that they may not appear as loathsome to one another as they appear before the angels. But this appearance is a fallacy, for as soon as any ray of light from heaven is let in, their human forms appear changed into monstrous forms, such as they are in themselves (as has been described above). For in the light of heaven everything appears as it is in itself. For this reason they shun the light of heaven and cast themselves down into their own light, which is like that from lighted coals, and in some cases like that from burning sulphur; but this light also is turned into mere thick darkness when any light from heaven flows in upon it. This is why the hells are said to be in thick darkness and in darkness; and why "thick darkness" and "darkness" signify falsities derived from evil, such as are in hell.