Baphomet is a deity, demon and/or symbolic icon which originated in the 14th century as a supposed figure of worship of the Knights Templar. In those accounts, Baphomet was described as an inscribed head or human skull. The name “Baphomet” originally was a deformation of the name of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Claims that the Templars were worshipping “Baphomet” meant, in fact, that they were secret Muslims. Medieval European folklore did not recognize that Islam was a monotheistic faith, and imagined instead that Muslims prayed and sacrificed to a number of terrifying and evil imaginary deities.
In the 19th century, French occultist Eliphas Lévi formulated the modern conception of the figure via an illustration portraying it with wings, a horned goat’s head and an emblazoned pentagram…and, oddly, breasts (though that might be unsurprising since it was drawn by a Frenchman). The Freemasons were thereafter accused of worshipping it, after which it was incorporated into the theology of Thelema, and in turn into the iconography of LaVeyan Satanism.
Owing to Levi’s drawing and these associations, the figure, in a similar manner to Baal and Moloch, has (mistakenly) become virtually synonymous with Satan in popular consciousness, and it continues to be brought up in the present day by conspiracy theorists as the claimed god of whomever their boogeyman of choice is.