The Intrigue science of POSSESSION.

Answers...unanswered questions.....unsolved mystiques.......

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What is demon possession?
What does it mean to be possessed with a devil?
Can a Christian have a demon?
What are the signs of a demon?
Who can cast out demons?
Can a child have a demon?
Are all demons the same?
Isn’t demon possession rare?
Can you be partly delivered?
What is a generational curse?
What is a soul tie?


What is demon possession?

Both the Catholic Church and numerous evangelical Protestant denominations still hold to a firm belief in the existence of demonology and demonic possession. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this belief is rooted in church doctrine.

All too often, however, demonic possession is used to explain psychological conditions that have nothing whatsoever to do with notions of demonic possession. This applies to personality disorders, and especially sufferers of bipolar disorder and, broadly, schizophrenia.

Equating mental disorders with demonic influence can be traced back to the 1509 publication of the Malleus Maleficarum[1] by Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger. Linking witchcraft with demonic activity, the Malleus merged long-held distinctions between insanity (going back to Roman law) and demonic possession.

To a certain extent, all manner of “evil supernatural figures,” such as ghosts and demons, were said to be part of a pantheon of malevolent beings tied to the devil. This had been a belief of the Christian Church for centuries.

But the Church, prior to the Malleus, had accepted insanity as a viable distinction, taking their cue in Canon Law from Roman law. Every soul was consigned to a specific place within the cosmology of the church. Hence, demons and even ghosts could not possibly be confused with human souls. This thinking would change during the sixteenth century as scholars began to differentiate between the so-called crime of witchcraft (and concurrently, possession) and insanity.

WHAT THE Wiki [2]SAYS…….

Spirit possession is the belief in paranormal, supernatural, psychological and/or superstitious spirits, gods, demons/daemons (demonic possession), animas, extraterrestrials, or other disincarnate or extraterrestrial entities taking control of a human body, resulting in noticeable changes in health and behavior. The concept of spiritual possession exists in many religions, including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Haitian Vodou and African traditions.

Those who profess a belief in demonic possession have sometimes ascribed similar symptoms to those associated with mental illnesses such as psychosis, hysteria, mania, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder to possession. A constant feature of possession is involuntary, uncensored behavior, and an extra-human, extra-social aspect to the individual’s actions. He is dehumanized, bereft of normal powers of recognition and reaction, and his speech and movements are distant from the societal norm. In the cases of animal possession, the individuals deportment suggests that of an animal.

What are the signs of being possessed?

THE CHRISTIAN VERSION.

Here is a brief list of some of the areas in a persons life that a demon can affect. Please note that every time you find somebody struggling or facing one of the areas below, it’s not necessarily a demon, but it’s not uncommon to find a demon behind these things.

Compulsive sinning against your will: Addictions, uncontrollable anger, lust, urges to murder or commit suicide, etc.

Mental torment: Fear, depression, irrational heaviness in the soul, hearing voices in the mind, hearing auditable voices that nobody else hears, compulsive thoughts, insanity, mental illness, etc. Obsessive irrational worry is almost always a demon. People who are scared stiff over the unpardonable sin are in need of counseling and likely deliverance.

Emotional problems: Unable to get close to other people, sensing rejection for no reason, irrational emotional breakdowns, etc. Often more then just casting out demons is needed in this category, inner healing must also take place as well as tearing down strongholds.

Physical health problems: Arthritis, cancer, HIV, and a host of other illnesses are almost always caused by evil spirits. If it cannot be easily cured, then it’s almost always a spirit that is causing it.

Occult powers or abilities: Anybody who can tell a fortune, lift an object through levitation, break a solid oak board with their hand, etc. using demonic powers needs a deliverance. Martial arts are known for using demonic powers to break boards, etc. Unnatural strength is a sign of demonic power, such as the man with the legion in the Bible.

Unnatural desires and feelings: Sexual attraction towards animals, unnatural sexual desires, unusually strong attractions towards somebody who is married, past lover, etc. can indicate soul ties and demonic bondage.

Experiencing the demonic: Most often (not always, but usually) when people are visited by demons, hearing them, seeing them, etc., they are in need of a deliverance.

Ancestors have similar problems: If both you and one or more of your ancestors have the same kind of problem(s), then there may be a generational spirit at work.

Obsessions: Driving interests in the occult, demons, and creatures of the dark such as wolves, owls, etc. can indicate a demonic bondage. Obsession with death is almost a sure sign of demonic bondage.

Compulsive behavior: Compulsive behavior such as cutting is a Biblical symptom of demonic bondage.

The Medical Version

  1.  Look for changes in personality. This is usually seen when the person is affable and suddenly becomes extremely quiet.
  2. Someone who is normally very active suddenly becomes isolative.
  3. Look for changes in sleep patterns.
  4. Look for sudden weight loss or gain.
  5. Look for changes in attitude and behavior, usually becoming hostile.
  6. Someone who begins cursing a lot when that is out of character for them.
  7. Notice if they suddenly have an aversion to religious objects. They may be a person who normally goes to Church but suddenly despises the thought.
  8. Look for evidence of self- mutilation.
  9. Look for changes in the way the person dresses.
  10. Observe their personal hygiene and look for changes.
  11. Look for evidence of occult materials in the room.
  12. Look for destructiveness on the part of a person, especially if that destruction is of religious objects.
  13. They may become abusive and threatening for no reason.
  14. They may become violent. They often attempt to hurt animals.
  15. The person may experience severe nightmares or night terrors.
  16. They may perform acts of humiliation, such as urinating on themselves, etc.
  17. They may be sexually pre-occupied. Excessive masturbation or doing it in front of others.
  18. Take note of what appears to be a different personality or multiple personalities.
  19. Look for unusual changes in diet. Foods that were once favorites may now be repulsive to the person. They may eat foods that they once detested.
  20. Take note if they seem to have blackouts in their memory.

The above items can well be psychiatric or psychological changes; therefore, you must be wary when you look at these as signs of possession. All of the above can be cries for help or signal the beginning of drug use or mental illness. When these are the only things present, seek psychological counseling first, before even giving thought to the possibility of demonic possession. Many of these changes are normal, especially when dealing with teenagers. Do not automatically think of possession unless you have some reason to believe they are vulnerable to possession. For example, if they have been performing rituals or dabbling in the occult and then you start noticing personality changes. However, the likelihood is that it is a natural problem, natural being psychiatric or psychological.

Michael Streich’s article[3] on possession.

He Differentiates Between Medieval Doctrine and Rational Science in this article. Some part of it is pointed out here by me. you can have a full read from http://catholicism.suite101.com/article.cfm/demon_possession_and_psychological_disorders.

The Protestant Reformation and the Rise of Pre-Modern Thinking

By the mid-sixteenth century, European scholars were slowly revising their views on witchcraft and demonic possession. According to historian H. C. Erik Midelfort, “The theories of melancholy and of hallucinatory drugs…gave sixteenth century Europeans a plausible and entirely natural way of explaining the apparently voluntary confessions made by those convicted of witchcraft.”

Midelfort argues that the voluminous works of Johann Weyer succeeded in producing a renewed distinction between witchcraft, possession, and a legitimate case of insanity as a legal defense.

Even the Catholic Encyclopedia concedes that various New Testament usages of the word describing those that were demon possessed (demoniacs) are best translated as “mad” or “madness.” Cases of those afflicted in the New Testament usually refer to “unclean spirits.” There is no direct relation to “possession.” Once freed of the “spirits,” the afflicted regained their senses.

It was the early Christian Church and the Fathers of the church that gave ideological meaning to such experiences: Tertullian, for example, states that all “unclean spirits” had to be demons.

Clarity and Rationalism in Defining Disorders

The suggestion that a personality disorder, or even depression and anxiety are the result of demonic possession is disingenuous and may even be criminal.

Although exorcism might serve as a form of therapy, it is important to move from medieval notions and embrace rational therapies for clearly defined and documented mental disorders. People that shout blasphemies may not be demonically possessed, but rather, they may suffer from Tourette Syndrome or some other psychological disorder.

THE OTHER SIDE…


According to the gospels, Jesus often performed exorcisms along with his other miraculous healings. For instance, in describing his ministry in Galilee, Matthew 8:16 says:

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

Sometimes a demon would try to talk to Jesus before it was expelled. For example, Mark 1:23-26 says that he was teaching to a some people in a synagogue when a possessed man suddenly cried out:

“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God.”

“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

In this passage the voice of the man is actually the voice of the demon inside him controlling his breath and vocal chords. And because this demon is a spirit, it is able to recognize Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” But Jesus tells it to “Be quiet” about this. At this stage of his ministry he was trying to keep his messiahship secret, and he didn’t want the demon to reveal it publicly.

The demon also asks Jesus if he has come to “destroy us.” When it says “us”, it is referring to itself and all the other demons in the world. It is afraid that Jesus has come to destroy all of them. This idea is mentioned several times in the gospel of Mark, which depicts Jesus as waging a kind of war against demons. But since demons were regarded as agents of the Devil, this was actually a war between Jesus and Satan.

A youtube search result for POSSESSION….

Beliefs and practices of Roman Catholic

In the past, the church’s beliefs about the nature of women and of human sexuality led to the belief that every newborn was possessed by an indwelling demon because of its intimate contact with its mother’s birth canal. The church routinely exorcised each newborn at the time of baptism with the following ritual:

I exorcise you unclean spirit in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Come out and leave this servant of God [infant’s name]. Accursed and damned spirit, hear the command of God himself,  he who walked upon the sea and extended his right hand to Peter as he was sinking. Therefore, accursed devil, acknowledge your condemnation… and depart from this servant of God [infant’s name]…Never dare, accursed devil, to violate the sign of the holy cross which we place upon his/her forehead. Through Christ our Lord.

“Lesser” exorcisms at baptisms, at blessings of holy water, blessings of a home or other location etc. are still performed. 1

Throughout the church’s history, it has identified evil spirits in demon-possessed individuals and treated them by full exorcisms. The practice has been strictly controlled in modern times. Church canon law now requires that an exorcism be performed only upon a direct order “of the bishop, after two careful investigations, based on positive indications that possession is in fact present.” 2

The church teaches that demons can interfere in one of two ways with their victims:

  • They can cause an obsession, in which the demon fills the mind of its victim with evil thoughts.
  • They can resort to actual possession in which the demon physically takes over the human body.

Various signs of demonic possession are: errors in belief, deceptions, falsehoods, lies, and confusion, “speaking with a great number of words from unknown languages, or understanding  them, making known things either distant or hidden, showing  strength beyond one’s situation, together with vehement aversion towards God, Our Lady, the Cross and holy pictures 3

On 1999-JAN-26, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, introduced an updated exorcism ritual for the church. 3 The previous major update had been issued as the Rituale Romanum during the reign of Pope Paul V in 1614 CE. The new ritual is described in a 84 page, bound in a red leather book. The text was originally available only in Latin; it has since been translated into other languages

The exorcism ritual includes: “prayers, the blessing and sprinkling of holy water, the laying of hands on the possessed and making the sign of the cross, appeals to Christ, the Holy Spirit and the saints of the church.4 Next comes the imploring formula: the evils of Satan are listed and God is asked to free the victim from possession. Next comes the imperative formula in which the priest orders the devil to leave the person. It concludes with “Therefore, go back Satan.

The Vatican guidelines stress that most behaviors that appear to be caused by demonic possession are actually triggered by psychiatric illness. 5 Monsignor Corrado Balducci, the Vatican’s previous chief exorcist, estimated that only five or six out of every thousand people who seek help from an exorcist are really possessed by evil spirits. The remainder are:

“in need of psychiatric help.” 5 “…priests conducting exorcisms should deal with evil as a force ‘lurking within all individuals’ rather than as a force, traditionally embodied as Satan, threatening human beings from without…Vatican officials say that under the new rituals, priests will be encouraged not to refer any longer to the Prince of Darkness, the Accursed Dragon, the Foul Spirit, the Satanic Power or the Master of Deceit. Instead, the formulas refer more vaguely to ‘the cause of evil.’ They also introduce for the first time an appeal to the Virgin Mary to help combat evil in an ‘afflicted individual’, a reflection of Pope John Paul II’s personal commitment to” the Virgin Mary. 5

However the church is not going soft on belief in Satan and his demons. Vatican spokesman, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, stressed that: “The existence of the devil isn’t an opinion, something to take or leave as you wish. Anyone who says he doesn’t exist wouldn’t have the fullness of the Catholic faith.” He said that the devil’s presence is seen in the widespread acceptance of “lies and deceit … the idolatry of money … the idolatry of sex...”The presence of the devil…explains the dramatic condition of the world, which languishes under the power of the malign one

According to the memoirs of Cardinal Jacques Martin, a former prefect of the pontifical household, Pope John Paul II successfully exorcised a woman in 1982. She was brought to him writhing on the ground. 6 Father Gabriele Amorth told La Stampa, an Italian newspaper, that the Pope has carried out three exorcisms during his 23 year pontificate. Amorth said:

“He carried out these exorcisms because he wanted to give a powerful example. He wanted to give the message that we must once again start exorcising those who are possessed by demons… I have seen many strange things [during exorcisms]…objects such as nails spat out. The devil told a woman that he would make her spit out a transistor radio and lo and behold she started spitting out bits and pieces of a radio transistor…I have seen levitations, and a force that needed six or eight men to hold the person still. Such things are rare, but they happen.” 7

Fr. Gary Thomas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, CA, was interviewed briefly on the ABC program Good Morning America for 2006-MAY-16. He said that the Vatican is asking each diocese to have a trained exorcist on staff. 8

In early 2010, Father Gabriele Amorth, 85,stated that he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession in his 25 years service as the Vatican’s chief exorcist. He said that there are power struggles in the Vatican as well as “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the Demon.” He claimed that another example of satanic behavior was the Vatican cover-up of the deaths in 1999 of Alois Estermann — then the commander of the Swiss Guard — his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard. All were found shot dead. He said: “They covered up everything immediately. Here one sees the rot”. He also cites the widespread sexual abuse of children, the attempted murder of Pope John Paul II in 1981 and the attack by a mentally ill woman of Pope Benedict XVI at 2009 Christmas time as satanically inspired events. 9

Fr. Amorth has written:

“How can we defend ourselves from all these evils? A strict interpretation of the Ritual confines the use of exorcisms only to instances of true possession. However, as I stated before, the current Ritual fails to address many occasions in which an exorcist diagnoses an evil influence. In all cases when there is no possession, the usual means to obtain grace should be sufficient. These means are prayer; the sacraments; almsgiving; leading a Christian life; pardoning offenses; and soliciting the aid of our Lord, Mary, the saints, and the angels.”

“I will now say a few words about the angels. I gladly end this chapter on the devil, Christ’s adversary, by speaking about the angels. They are our great allies. We owe them a great debt, and it is a mistake to mention them as rarely as we do. Every one of us has a guardian angel, most faithful of friends twenty-four hours a day, from conception to death. He unceasingly protects us, body and soul, while we, for the most part, never think about him. We also know that each nation has its particular guardian angel and, probably, every community and family, although we are not certain on the two last points. We know, however, that the angels are a multitude, and their desire to help us is much greater than Satan’s desire to destroy us.” 9

References used for this section:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above section “Beliefs and practices of Roman Catholic. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. R.C. Brodeick, “The Catholic Encyclopedia,” Thomas Nelson (1987), Page   207.
  2. Fr. J. Mahoney, “Cast Out What?“, at http://www.jmahoney.com/
  3. Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina, presentation of the new guidelines is available in Latin at:  http://www.vatican.va/
  4. New rules set to purge Satan: first update to exorcism ritual since 1614,” Associated Press – Reuters, Toronto Star, Toronto ON, 1999-JAN-27, Page A1
  5. Richard Owen, “Satan gets a facelift,http://www.theaustralian.com.au/, The Australian, 1999-JAN-26
  6. Cardinal Jacques Martin, “My Six Popes.”
  7. Pope has performed 3 exorcisms to ward off devil,” Reuters, 2002-FEB-18, at: http://in.news.yahoo.com/
  8. “Exorcisms become big business in Arizona,” ReligionNewsBlog, 2006-NOV-27, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/
  9. Richard Owen, “Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican,” Times Online, 2010-MAR-11, at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/


BELIEFS OF SECULARISTS, SKEPTICS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERALS.

Secular, skeptical and religiously liberal groups and individuals have long given up any belief in Satan, his demons, demon possession as a cause of mental and physical illness, and the need for exorcism. Few pay any attention to these topics today. Most regard alleged demonic possession as actually being caused by:

bullet Brain disorders, like epilepsy or Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome, or
bullet Mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, or
bullet People whose brains are more or less healthy but who are unfortunate enough to be sucked into playing a social role with very unpleasant consequences.” 1

If a person is convinced that they have been possessed by a demon or by Satan, then an exorcism may well release them from the belief. In the same way, a person who believes that they are being harmed by an evil curse can sometimes find relief by going to a practitioner who claims to be able to lift curses.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, many mental health therapists and counselors were using Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT) to attempt to uncover what they believed to be repressed “memories” — typically of childhood sexual abuse. It was only after many years that most observers determined that these “memories” were of events that never happened. Some RMT therapists went further and diagnosed Multiple Personality Disorder/ Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD/DID) in their patients. The clients were believed to have brains which were occupied by two or more distinct personalities. Some attributed the cause of MPD/DID to indwelling demons. However, most mental health professionals remained unconvinced of the  existence of MPD/DID. They regarded it as an iatrogenic disorder – an artificial problem generated by the physician or therapist. Today, very few therapists still believe in the reality of RMT or MPD/DID. It has largely vanished from the therapeutic scene. With its disappearance, the belief in indwelling demons similarly evaporated.

Hollywood has made a long series of Grade B horror movies on evil spirits, and even a few feature films, such as The Amityville Horror, Carrie, The Devil in Miss Jones (XXX film), The Exorcist, Ghost Busters, Gremlins, Halloween, The Night Child, The Omen, Poltergeist, and Rosemary’s Baby. 2 They continue to make movies promoting an imaginary form of Satan worship that was created by the church over 500 years ago.

Kids still enjoy  being scared by evil spirits, “Witches,” skeletons, haunted houses, ghosts, etc. at Halloween. But most “believe” in these entities in the same way that they believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny – as an amusing and harmless fable from a pre-scientific age.

References used for this secion:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above section “BELIEFS OF SECULARISTS, SKEPTICS AND RELIGIOUS LIBERALS”. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Exorcisms,” an entry in The Skeptic’s Dictionary at: http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/
  2. The Exorcist made me do it!- Possession films of the 1970’s,” at: http://users.aol.com/

Is possession and exorcism still valid today?

bullet Liberal Christians and assorted skeptics generally deny the existence of indwelling evil spirits controlling the minds and bodies of humans. They often view exorcism accounts in Scriptures as having no grounding in reality. The descriptions simply represent how authors from the1st century CE interpreted the events. i.e. the gospel writers described stories about demons being commanded to leave the victims. Actually, Jesus may have simply been using his faith-healing abilities to cure the sufferers.
bullet Conservative Christians who accept the Bible as infallible have a range of opinions concerning demon possession in modern times. Two extremes are:

bullet Possession is no longer common: This is the belief that demon possession, and thus the necessity for exorcism, was widespread only during the ministry of Jesus and shortly afterwards. It is very rare or non-existent today. Perhaps Jesus’ presence on earth caused Satan and his demons to become unusually active. Or perhaps, Jesus and the apostles cured many possessed people in order to prove to the public that Jesus was the Messiah. With the establishment of the Christian church, the need for exorcisms faded. Thus, one can assume that contemporary reports of possessions by evil spirits are all (or essentially all) invalid. What appears to be demonic possession is really caused by mental illness. Exorcisms are potentially dangerous and abusive to their victims.
bullet Possession is still common: This is the belief that demon possession and the necessity for exorcism is as valid today as it was in 1st century Palestine. Many people who are being treated by psychiatrists and psychologists and other therapist are in fact demon possessed and can only be cured by exorcism. Uncounted millions of dollars are being wasted by the mental health profession in useless, or even dangerous therapy.

Demonic possession, demonic oppression and schizophrenia:

Acts 10:38 mentions oppression by Satan which some believe is a different phenomenon than possession. 1 A person who is oppressed by a demon is having his behavior influenced in one area of his life – e.g. not being able to resist alcohol. They are harassed but are not actually possessed by indwelling demons. 2 Oppression often leads to possession.

The anonymous Website “Eternal Destinies” teaches that Satan rules the airwaves, media, and Hollywood. 4 He “has an overwhelming influence over world politics and various religions.” The Webmaster differentiates between the symptoms of demonic oppression and possession:

bullet Symptoms of oppression: abnormal and irrational fear, anxiety & loneliness; lack of goals; depression; lack of logical reasoning ability, seeking power and control; etc.
bullet Symptoms of possession: uncontrolled swearing, extreme physical strength; unexpectedly high IQ; intense negative reaction when Jesus’ name is spoken; multiple personalities; extreme fear in the presence of Christians; violent behavior; life-threatening behavior; exhibiting paranormal abilities, severe depression; etc.

Eternal Destinies believes that oppression and possession have different causes:

bullet Causes of oppression:

bullet activities, such as: befriending, dating, or having sex with a possessed or oppressed individual; playing with a Ouija Board, reading science fiction, viewing soap operas, looking at pornography, etc.
bullet religious involvements, such as: following false religions or cults; engaging in chanting, non-Christian meditation, etc.
bullet personality factors, such as: poor self-image, jealousy, bad temper, rebellion, etc.

bullet Causes of possession:

bullet activities, such as: extreme cases of sexual immorality; rebelliousness; blasphemy; taking tests for ESP or other paranormal abilities; involvement in astrology; going to fortune tellers; either owning or using “occultic” charms, talismans, written material, music, etc.

Pastor Steven Waterhouse has written a book from an Evangelical Christian perspective.  It helps families differentiate between demon possession and schizophrenia. 3 It gives some guidelines for differentiating between possession and schizophrenia are:

Factor Possession  indicated Schizophrenia indicated
Reaction towards Christianity Aversion Devout acceptance
Conversations with others Rational Disconnected; may jump between topics
Knowledge Beyond that obtained by normal learning Obtained by normal learning
Effects on other people Paranormal effects: poltergeist, levitation, mental telepathy, etc. None
Admit to being possessed? No voluntary admission Admission possible
Cured or alleviated by: Prayer Therapy, medication

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