By: Cow Flipper
"Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."Friedrich Nietzsche
German philosopher (1844 - 1900)
As you watch the screen a ghoulish visages of a white-eyed tortured girl stares back at you. Her body levitating off her bed while she is spitting foul insults and guttural growls, a few moments later and she is spider crawling backwards down a staircase. This is Hollywood's take on the subject of demonic possession. Lights, cameras, action! It is all for visual shock value, the standard tools of a director to get you the audience to stay interested in what it is you are seeing. It's entertainment after all and that's what movies and television are all about. But is demonic possession anything like what they show in the movies?
Here we will take a journey into the darkness, we will explore the subject of demonic possession, taking a brief look into the history and concepts of possession, We will look at the religious aspect of demonic possession. We will talk to a demonologist about his experience with demonic forces, and we will see it through the experience of someone that was demonically influenced.
What is a Demonic Possession?
A demonic possession is when a person has had their will suppressed by a maniacal entity with evil intentions on inflicting suffering upon its host. It was put to me by a friend like this, “Demons have never possessed a body, they are by nature of spirit and want nothing more than to take a physical form away from a human-being that has been given this form by God himself.” Here is what the dictionary and an encyclopedia on ghosts and spirits says on the subject…
The Free Dictionary by Farlex at: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/
Definition: “Demonic possession is the supposed control over a human form by a demon. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying. Unlike in channeling or other forms of possession, the subject has no control over the possessing entity and so it will persist until forced to leave the victim, usually through a form of exorcism. Other descriptions include access to hidden knowledge (gnosis) and foreign languages (glossolalia), drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, sudden appearance of injury (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength.)”
According to the Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits 3rd edition
“Possession is the taking over of a person's mind and body and sometimes soul by a demon, ghost, spirit, or deity. There are different forms of possession. While possession is a universal and ancient belief, the approaches to it differ widely.”
The Catholic Church on Demonic Possession and Exorcisms
The Catholic Church has always played a huge role in the possession world since the 16th century A.D.; at that time it was a minor order in the Roman Catholic Church. Most exorcisms of demons were done by priests at that time. It is a mostly ceremonial order now known as a minor order. Catholic exorcists were both regular men and clerics since it is said that every Christian has the power to command demons and drive them out in the name of Christ. The Church states,
"Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing."
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield,Ill was quoted on the New York Times US website entitled: (For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived)
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN)
Published: November 12, 2010
“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.
“But it’s rare, it’s extraordinary, so the use of exorcism is also rare and extraordinary,” he said. “But we have to be prepared.”
Quote cited on The New York Times US website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/13/us/13exorcism.html
Demonic Possession as Seen by the Catholic Church
Demonic Possession is considered one of the most serious forms of evil influence over a person. The person has no control over themselves and are controlled by the devil. They are a puppet and will not behave like the person they appear to be.
Signs of demonic invasion vary depending on the type of demon and what it wants to do. Signs include:
- Lack of appetite.
- Cutting, scratching, and biting of skin.
- A cold feeling in the room.
- Unnatural bodily postures.
- A change in the person’s voice.
- Supernatural strength not subject to that person’s gender or age.
- The possessed speaks in another language which they had never learned before.
- Violent rejection toward all religious objects or items.
Rules of exorcisms
- Must be done by a priest with the proper authorization and should have the proper knowledge to perform an exorcism.
- It should never be broadcast in media but treated with the utmost discretion.
- More than one person should be present, preferably family members.
The Exorcism Rites: Rituale Romanum
A Brief History and Cultural and Belief System Similarities and Differences
Before you roll your eyes at the idea of demonic possession you should know that the belief in possession stretches all the way back to the ancient Sumerians 4000 BC to 4500 BC. They believed that all sicknesses of the body and mind were created by demons called (gidim). The priests of this period were called ashipus (sorcerers). There are cuneiform tablets from this period that contain prayers to dietys asking them for protection from gidim, and other tablets that ask the gods to expel demons (sicknesses) from their bodies.
Another reason that might make you see that demonic possession isn't all just hype is the fact that it crosses many different cultural lines and faiths... Shamanic and tribal cultures practice demonic exorcisms of sick people. The demon is usually represented by an animal spirit or the spirit of a deceased vengeful person that feels they have been wronged by the victim of the possession. The shaman conducts rites and offerings of respect to the un-rested spirit to expel it from the afflicted person. Christianity says that possession is an act of Satan, i.e. The Devil, or perhaps one of his many legions of followers. It is said though that Satan and his legions are fallen angels.
Demonopathy and Monomania
The Medical and Psychological Fields View on Demonic Possession
Though it is not recognized in the medical world as a psychiatric or medical disorder. It is believed that there are many ailments that afflict a wide variety of people and that much of what is associated with demonic possession is misidentified and misunderstood by the person who thinks they are possessed. In some cases a person may suffer from a dissociative identity disorder which alters the person's personality and if questioned the person will give you the altered personalities identity. In 29% of cases people will call themselves demon or demons and identify with that which is demonic. Doctors today call this demonomania or demonopathy. Monomania is when a person believes that they are possessed by many demons.
Is Demonic Possession Real?
Well this is a very redundant question really. Let us just say it is part of the human experience. Does that make what is happening to people that are possessed actually demonic souls attacking people? Well no, it means that something is happening to people that demonstrate the symptoms or signs of being possessed. So the experience is real, it does happen to people. But that does not mean that evil non-material entities are trying to crawl inside our bodies like you would someone else clothes.
But the argument does not mean to devalue those that have experienced a possession by what they perceived as evil demonic forces. The experience for them is as real as the chair you are sitting on as you read this article. They were possessed . Witnesses of excorsim and demonic possession phenomena attest to the fact that the person presented supernatural strengths and powers of precognition of events in the future that later on proved true. They seem to talk in strange tongues in languages formerly they never spoke. And having knowledge of people they have never seen before and knowledge of hurtful secrets. It is hard to dispute that these witnesses present a hard case against demonic possession being a case of mental illness or just people faking it.
Actual Demonic Possession Cases:
There are two Cases in retrospect that claim to have been actual possessions by demons and that received a fare amount of media coverage and even had movies made after them.
- A case in the Pro: The Case of Roland Doe, 1940s - About events that surrounding an exorcism of Roland Doe an anonymous American boy: Roland Doe is a pseudonym assigned to the boy by the Catholic Church. Author Thomas B. Allen changed the name Roland Doe to "Robbie Mannheim". According to Thomas B. Allen's book after the death of the boys Aunt strange paranormal activity was observed with the sounds of marching, squeaking sounds, and other strange phantom noises. Soon furniture was moving on its own and other objects levitated. And at one point a vial of holy water was smashed to the ground. Forty nine witnesses attested to the events in the final ecclesiastical papers that documented Roland Does experience. Roland was eximined by both psychiatric and medical doctors that found no explanation for what transpired with the child. The boy was plagued by this type of poltergiest activity. It was Rolands family that contacted the Lutheran clergy which a Reverand Luther Miles Schulze had the boy come to sleep at his home and strange events took place. The boy went under an exorcism from the Anglican Episcopal Church but the effort failed and the case was handed over the Roman Catholic Church. The boy was taken to St. James Chruch where and exorcism on Roland was conducted at the George Town University Hospital a Jesuit institution.
- The Controversial Case of Anneliese Michel, 1975 and 1976 a German Catholic woman (the case on which the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose was based) - Anneliese Michel was diagnosed with epilepsy when at the age of 16 she had a severe convulsion. After a time she began to have hallucinations while praying and then began to feel depressed and believed she was possessed by demons. While on a pilgrimage to San Damiano with family she was unable to walk past a crucifix and refused to drink the water out of a holy spring. The escort concluded that she must be demonically possessed. Soon the family was consulting with priests and wanted her to have an exorcism but the priests refused to give her one and told the family to get her medical treatment. A vicar Ernst Alt urged the Bishop to allow for an exorcism in September 1975. The rites were done in secrecy. Soon no medical attention was given to the girl. A total of 77 sessions were performed over Anneliese once or twice a week lasting hours. Michel began to talk about dying and wouldn't eat. At her request no medical attention was given. On July 1st of 1976, she weighted only 68 lbs.
Tony Spera on Possession and the Occult
Ed and Lorraine Warren Demonology
A Conversation With Tony Spera, Director of the New England Society for Psychic Research
The following exerts in quoted form are from an email interview with Mr. Tony Spera.
I was able to ask Tony Spera, the Director of the New England Society for Psychic Research and the son in law of the late Demonologist, and Satanic Cult Expert Ed Warren a few questions by email.
"When you place your hands on that planchette and ask " Is there a spirit here? "- you just asked to communicate with an unknown, unseen world. YOU invited it in to your world. The board is acting as a conduit if you will- a conduit to the other side." Tony Spera
Tony Spera has said that seven out of eight demonic possessions has happened after ouijia board use or the use of other occult type divining tools like tarot cards.
I asked Mr. Spera if he believed that practicing any kind of occult activity had anything to do with demonic possessions.
"Yes, absolutely. Occult practices have caused much havoc as far as our work is concerned. I am speaking of the use of Ouija boards, Tarot cards, tea leaf reading, going to psychics, all of this. People will often scoff and say, " Come on, you're kidding, right?”
No, I am not kidding. The Ouija board for instance, in and of itself is harmless. It's just a piece of compressed particle board with numbers and letters written on it. But it is HOW the board is used...that's the problem."
Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night to feel that your bed is bouncing all over the place? Or picture sitting in your living room with your family to have things being thrown at you from corners or having objects like television remotes and other objects vanish and then other items you've never seen appear in places they weren't before. You'd feel confused and horrified by what is happening. It is a terrifying experience. Mr. Tony Spera had such a horrific encounter as he recalls in the following quote.
"My first actual encounter was in a place called Whitby Abbey. It is located in Whitby, England. I was on a ghost tour with my relatives, Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren, as well as with other researchers and my wife. I was setting up a camera on a tripod. I'd guess it was about 2 A.M. It was cold, windy, and just plain scary feeling out there, off the coast of the North Sea.
As I was setting up, I sensed something behind me. As I turned around I encountered what I can only describe as a black whirlwind mass. It was swirling almost like a tornado, pulsing back and forth at me. Even though it was pretty dark outside, this black mass was the blackest I had ever felt. Instantly my strength was sapped from my body, and I fell to my knees. I remember being able to yell out just once, “Help me.” Suddenly I could hear my father-in-law, Ed Warren screaming, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave and go back to where you came from.” My father-in-law was shooting some liquid from a bottle at it. I found out later that it was holy water. The black mass just vanished, instantly. Ed had to help me up, as my strength was all gone. That encounter made a believer out of me."
Prayers of Protection
 The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters
 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemes; thou annointest my headwith oil; my cup runneth over
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.
PRAYER TO RESITE IF BEING ATTACKED BY AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT
"The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth rebuke you. The Lord Adonai rebuke you. I claim the Blood of the Lamb, the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you leave. In the Name of Jesus get out!"
Through The Eyes of Someone Who Says He Was Possessed
What Follows is an online chat session between the author of this article and a personal friend whom the author had worked with previously through a now defunct association called the Ghost. / Paranormal Research Group of Santa Clarita California. The friend is Satanist in that he practices a belief in the Satanic Church.
I do not claim any association with Satanism. My personal beliefs I will keep just that personal this interview is only meant to be shown as the flip side of the coin from demonology and religion to a professed Satanist and an actual case of being possessed
Online Interview through Facebook: The Real Persons name Matt Swinford (The Darkfool)
I actually had an experience with an entity that changed my life and got me into the paranormal. I researched it to death and it checks out as a "legitimate attack". Possession, I believe, happens with most occultists who come into contact with their "guardian". I'm working towards that experience. Haven't had it yet.
Interviewer Cow Flipper
So what was the genesis of the attack, how did it come to happen and what exactly did you experience?
It happened when I was 15 as I was going through a crisis of faith amongst other things. I was a clean kid at that time, so no drugs were involved. I remember I was sitting on a chair in a deep depression. It was as if the depression itself brought me into another state of consciousness. I remember I saw the room kind of shift a bit. I looked up and saw this HUGE outline of what looked like a man standing in front of where I was sitting. This man's entire body looked as if it were TV static, only black. I thought to myself "This isn't real. I'm just seeing things." That's when this thing reached up its arm and lunged it into my solar plexus. I will never forget what that felt like. Every muscle in my body tensed up, and it felt as if this thing was trying to pull my soul or life force out of me. After the initial shock, the reality of the pain snapped me back into reality and I ran for the bathroom and curled up in the corner. It was terrifying.
Interviewer Cow Flipper
So it made you feel physical anguish and pain?
Absolutely. Also, I remember I would have strange dreams when I got deeper into the GPRG. I remember seeing what I believed to be the same entity. I looked REMARKABLY like the red-faced entity in the movie Insidious!
Interviewer Cow Flipper
I remember that incident and I had a dream of a dark faced man with white eyes. One and only time it happened for me. Did you do anything to invoke the possession attack?
No formal invocation. Just a deep deep meditative depression.
Interviewer Cow Flipper
Yellow eyes I believe. Did you ever feel that it was in control of you?
Fortunately, no. I never felt as if it was going to take control of me. Only torment me. Also, in the rituals that I performed when I got into Satanism and the occult, I always practiced with a confidence and control. Especially with the experience of that entity, I took every precaution so that it would never come to that again.
There are those who practice specific forms of Voodoo, Solomon's Magick, and Enochian Magick that have far more experience than I with possession. I have yet to get an apartment/house where I can practice these arts. (part of my agreeing to move back in with family was to not practice this stuff in their house).
Interviewer Cow Flipper
So it never bothered you again? Do you believe that the practice of Satanism was a result of this experience or was the experience a result of you practicing or believing in Satanism?
This experience happened before I had even heard of Satanism, so Satanism didn't play a role in it at all. As for its role in getting me into Satanism, I would have to say that it played a HUGE role in determining what "type" of Satanist I would become. I personally believe, especially since that experience, that there are parallel worlds overlapping this one, and that these "entities" exist interdimensionally. Also, these beings can be summoned and communicated with via the subconscious mind. Ultimately though, what pushed me into Satanism was that it accurately depicted the world as it was (adversarial - Satan's name in Hebrew meaning "adversary"), as well as man as he is (an animal, albeit a highly evolved animal).
With concerns to these types of entities, what you have to understand is that they feed on negative energy: fear, hate, grief, etc. If one doesn't fear them and learns who they are and what they want, then what can they feed off of? Also, taking it a step further: if you know what they feed off of, and you learn how to give it to them in small doses (say a ritual for example where you expend your energies) does that not give them incentive to carry out your work? Does one not form a symbiotic relationship with these entities, through the power of the mind?
My Personal Thoughts
Demonic Possession has been around humanity since the beginning of our spiritual awakening. It crosses many faiths and cultures and reaches into the very heart of our human nature. It speaks to a darker part of ourselves that we would rather leave to the imagination than have to actually deal with in real life. But for those that have experienced being possessed it is a lasting experience.
What we see here is that something extraordinary is happening to people with this phenomenon. It has caused great suffering for individuals and their families. For them the events surrounding demonic possession is real. I believe that people have been stricken with possession no matter if it is a social societal mental disorder caused by faith or if it is actually of a supernatural paranormal genesis, the fact remains that it happens to people.
I think the phenomena of demonic possession is real. After researching the subject and looking into how it crosses so many cultures and faiths that it must have its roots in the human experience. We identify with that darker side of ourselves when we look at demons and at those who are possessed. We see them as afflicted and tortured. The truth is our own will must be strong against it. Cultures long ago before Christ spoke of Dijinn. In other cultures where faiths share no similarities demons are still regarded real.
With that thought I will say thanks for reading this article..
Quote cited on The New York Times US website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/13/us/13exorcism.html
Email Interview: Tony Spera, Director of the New England Society for Psychic Research.
Facebook Interview via FB chat: Matt Swinford; Former Assistant Director of the G.P.R.G. Ghost Paranormal Research Group.
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits Rosemary Ellen Guiley 3rd Edition.
Pages 126 & 127 Demon / Demonology, Page 158 Exorcism, Page 389 Possession & Demonic Possession
babyblonde18 on June 10, 2017:
I have had plenty of experiences, and still do. sometimes its so bad that I cant be around any people. I have dreams. ive seen things. and ive been controlled. one time I was screaming at the top of my lungs, in a different voice. I threw my phone at my spouse. fortunately, he dodged it. I threw it so hard that their was a big chunk of the wall missing. I called my friend over messenger. she told me that was screaming a weird language that wasn't my voice. she was terrified. I do not remember any of this. things like this have happened on more then just one accurance. I don't know who to go to for help.
marianroach on September 18, 2015:
look up the Enfield voice recordings, Jane Roberts Butts, Seth's voice, and the song, 'stairway to heaven' played backwards. also, demon magicians on you tube. i'm glad to see people paying attention to this topic beyond just watching a horror flick for entertainment. a long time friend told me how she sees demons, she doesn"t. she said, "I 'feel' them riding on their backs, like with their arms around their neck and faces, side by side, piggy backing and steering." that is the creepiest discription I've heard of yet. but think about that and what it could mean.
CarrieG from Nevada on May 23, 2015:
This is a very well written hub. I am a deliverance minister and I have seen all kinds of things. Someone said that possession is not as common these days, but For someone like me who is in the ministry has to say it is more common then you think. A demon is not going to make it self known in fear of being found out and then being kicked out. Although I am not a Catholic and perhaps most do go to the Catholic Church. But I as a Christian see and do deliverance from demon possessed people often.. Thank you for this hub.
Jennifer Vasconcelos from Cyberspace and My Own World on June 22, 2012:
I enjoyed this Hub because it was so well put together.Very informative and detailed. The subject matter is frightening to most people and you handled it with just the right balance.
slcockerham from Tallahassee, Florida on May 01, 2012:
Good article, a lot of Christians don't believe in demons even as they believe in angels. I've seen too much evil not to believe in God, angels and demons. Praise be to God and Jesus Christ!
Simon Cook from NJ, USA on April 27, 2012:
Wow amazing (and a little scary) Hub here - now I'm gonna have to sleep with the lights on! Great work!
Sean Jankowski (author) from Southern Oregon on March 12, 2012:
LABrashear I did see The Rite. Thanks for your comment.
LABrashear from My Perfect Place, USA on March 12, 2012:
Very well researched and thorough. Did you see The Rite? It was supposed to be based on true events too. Voted up.
Tammy from North Carolina on March 12, 2012:
Some frightning information! Well written, researched, and presented. Well done!
Crazy Mags on March 09, 2012:
I like that you write about such different topics. I look forward to following you!
WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on March 09, 2012:
I can't tell you what I know about the subject. You would never believe me. Suffice it to say, I voted up and awesome.
Sean Jankowski (author) from Southern Oregon on March 09, 2012:
Thank you for your comments. They are all greatly appreciated.
Pamela Hutson from Moonlight Maine on March 09, 2012:
What an extensive and well-researched article. Thank you for this. I also think possession is real but I don't think it is as common as most people think. As a lapsed Catholic I kind of hate to admit this but I agree with the Catholic Church on this--it's rare and shouldn't be sensationalized. One thing that bothers me about the Warrens is they seem to see demons everywhere. But you have done a fabulous job here, just amazing.
markbennis on March 09, 2012:
I don’t think I have ever read a Hub like this before; you certainly have done some very deep research into it, voted up!
Mazlan A from Malaysia on March 09, 2012:
This is a well researched subject, well done. Sounds pretty scary.
Anan Celeste from California on March 09, 2012:
Hands down, one of the most complete article I have read in the subject to date! Compelling statements and various sources in the matter at hand. This is one of those things that human beings would want to ignore and rationalize. I was a skeptic, well I was trying to be. Until I saw it... Bravo!!