Warning Signs of Demonic Possession
Before we get into the warning signs, I want to make an important point. What follows is a guide; it can help you to make a determination whether there is a psychiatric problem or a demonic one. However, it is not the end all. One should not read an article on brain tumors and diagnose themselves as having one. Neither should they look at this article and decide they are possessed by an evil entity. If you are the type of person who is very suggestible, I suggest you do not read any further. The purpose of this article is to inform people regarding what is out there. It is not meant to scare the hell out of anyone. If you feel that you are or may be possessed, please contact a professional. You can contact this website or any other site that deals with the subject of demonic possession. Do not diagnose yourself.
Demonic possession is a very rare phenomenon. Although it happens more often that people realize, it is still considered rare. Science has swept away much of what used to be considered demonic possession. Diseases of the mind such as Schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome and various forms of psychosis were once regarded as sure-fire signs that diabolical infestation was taking place. We have come a long way over the years and many of the people suffering from the above diseases can live active lives while on medication. Many use this as proof that possession does not exist. After all, some reason, science has proven that it does not exist.
The Church fuels this line of thinking today. In this modern era, the Church seeks to write off the devil as a concept, as opposed to being an intelligent force. However, it is flawed thinking. For openers, science does not have close to all the answers and science is always changing. What we once believed as scientific fact now comes under scrutiny itself. In addition to that, there are some very unusual manifestations that take place in demonic possession. These things cannot be explained by science and they offer no cure for them either.
It is true that in past centuries, mentally ill people were subjected to difficult exorcisms and the results were poor. It can be rightly argued that those people were done a great disservice and their mental diseases became much worse as a result. Whatever else was wrong with them, they were branded as evil as a result of the exorcisms. As often happens when science and religion get together, the pendulum swings the other way. Unfortunately, it has swung way too far, to the point where people who are being demonized are given antipsychotic medication and turned into walking zombies. As the old exorcisms failed to help those with mental illnesses and even made them worse, we now have the reverse. People who are demonized are being made worse because they are being treated for a condition that does not exist.
You would believe that somewhere there is a happy medium but to date, it has not happened. What we will do here is produce a list of conditions that must be met to properly diagnose the problem. Where there are emotional symptoms or symptoms that are likely to be a result of mental illness, I will say so. However, it must be pointed out that many who are possessed are also mentally ill. It may be a direct result of the possession; it may be why the possession took place.
The line between the two is not so vague. There is some gray area but there are so many things that occur with possession, things that are taking place around the person, that it is hard to classify what is taking place as strictly psychiatric. Those things are called “outward manifestations.” These are things like moving objects in the house, voices that are not coming from the person. There may even be physical assaults by unseen entities.
What I will do is break this down into three categories. The first has to do with mental changes in the victim; the second have to do with physical changes by the person and the third has to do with preternatural changes in the environment.
Mental Changes Affecting The Person
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.
As you will see, there are many other indications of possession. Look for some of those before you give credence to the idea of possession. In addition, never mention to someone undergoing personality changes that they might be possessed. You can plant a dangerous seed by doing that.
Physical Changes Affecting The Person
1 The person involved may go for long periods of time without blinking their eyes. (Can indicate a neurological condition)
2 The person may appear catatonic. (Can also be a sign of mental illness)
3 The person speaks a language they could not possibly know. (Or speak English with unusual accents.)
4 The person speaks in tongues.
5 The person will become completely rigid where they cannot be moved at all, even by multiple people.
6 Look for changes in the eyes. They may turn almost black like shark eyes.
7 Look for obvious changes in their features.
8 The person may possess inhuman strength.
9 The person may exhibit “precognition,” the ability to predict the future.
10 The person displays “retro cognition,” the ability to know about past events they should not know about.
11 The person may be able to know something about a person they have not met.
12 Their voice may change. It may go from high to low to guttural.
13 They may be able to tell what you are thinking.
14 They may move in some unusual way. For example, they may seem to glide instead of walk.
15 Writing or symbols may appear on the body in the form of welts and scratches. Look especially in areas they could not reach.
16 They may levitate.
17 Hair or eye color may change.
18 There may be multiple voices coming from the person at the same time.
19 Take note if animals appear to be frightened of the person, especially if they begin acting fearful when there are personality changes in the person.
A couple of these symptoms can be related to medical or psychological conditions but most of them fall outside the realm of science. If you start to see a few items in this category, there is serious cause for concern. At this point, you start to take items from the first category and see if they are consistent with items from things in this second category, or the third one I am about to detail. Obviously, some are more telling than others. You have to give weight to the values when you try to make a determination. The Holy Spirit should be called on for guidance and discernment, especially where there are only vague manifestations.
1 Objects move around seemingly by themselves.
2 Objects may disappear and not be found again. (Asporting)
3 Objects may disappear and be found in another location. (Teleporting)
4 Objects may disappear and later be found where they originally were.
5 Objects may come from nowhere. (Apports)
6 Knocking, banging or pounding may be heard throughout the house or in just one room.
7 Objects fly around as if they were thrown from unseen hands.
8 There may be knocks at the door but no one is ever there. These are often heard in threes, as this is a way of mocking the Holy Trinity. Ditto for doorbells.
9 Religious articles disappear or are destroyed. They may also be desecrated.
10 Growling may be heard but the source cannot be located.
11 There may be scratching sounds heard without an obvious source.
12 There may be foul odors that have no verifiable source. They may come and go.
13 Odd lights may be seen. They may shoot around a room.
14 Heavy furniture may move on its own.
15 There may be sightings of people or dark shadows that may or may not have form.
16 Odd-looking creatures may be seen.
17 Doors and drawers may open and close on their own.
18 Electrical appliances may turn on or off.
19 Spontaneous fires may start up.
20 Animals may become spooked and stay away from the targeted person altogether.
21 Animals may growl at something they see but you do not.
22 Any talk of God or religion may cause an outbreak of activity.
23 Glass may break for no reason.
24 Sounds of glass breaking may be heard but there is no evidence of it happening.
25 There may be sudden temperature changes, up and down although it is usually down. These can be recorder on a thermometer.
25 A person may suddenly become cold while the temperature remains constant. A thermometer may record a one to two degree drop in that person.
26 People may have a feeling of being watched or that they are not alone.
27 People may hear voices when no one is present.
28 People will often hear their name called only to find that no one is around. Sometimes, a couple will each think they heard the other call to them.
29 There may be a sensation of wind blowing even with the windows closed.
30 Lights will go off or not come on when turned on.
31 Apparent retaliation after some attempt to stop the activity.
32 Activity starts up when you attempt to say prayers.
33 Apparent retaliation if a clergyman has been to the home.
34 Physical attacks. It might be in the form of punching, scratching, biting, hair pulling, etc.
35 Psychological attacks. The devil knows your weaknesses and will try to exploit them. Someone who feels ashamed about something will have an increase in that emotion. The same is true for depression, anxiety and anything else you can think of.
36 Sexual assaults. This can run the gamut from fondling to actual penetration. This can occur in males as well as females.
37 Levitation of objects or people.
A fair number of the items listed in the above category could be the result of a human spirit. This is why you have to look at all three columns together to get a fair sampling. If any of the above takes place and stop when commanded to in the name of God, or if holy water stops the activity, that is a good sign of a serious problem. However, judging one or two items by itself is not a large enough sample to conclusively prove the influence of something diabolical.
The Roman Ritual does not require a specific number when it comes to proving that something demonic is taking place. Rather, what you have to do is paint a picture, of sorts. Consider all of the evidence together before making a determination. It is also very important to rule out what you can as being natural in origin. Take into account that when people are frightened, their senses sharpen and every sound appears ominous, even natural, everyday sounds. Imaginations will run wild when one believes that something evil is taking place. That must be considered when someone comes up to you and tells you that they believe a house is haunted or a person is demonically possessed.
While you cannot be close-minded, you must remain skeptical. Rushing into an exorcism where one is not necessary can have serious consequences. If a person is suffering from a mental illness, an exorcism will only exacerbate the situation. The person may now believe they are evil. If the exorcism is being done on a house where it is not needed, it can attract attention and stir up trouble where there was none before. In this field, “better safe than sorry” does not apply. An exorcism is a very serious thing and it is extremely dangerous. It can have serious consequences. Where evil is involved, the person who is called on to combat it is in serious danger, and if they are not careful, the consequences can be horrendous. It is not something to be played with. Only someone who has had experience in both the supernatural and Church teaching should even attempt to perform this rite. It is best if that person has been ordained as an exorcist.
During an exorcism, anything or nothing can happen. There is no set standard. In some cases, all hell seems to break loose; in others, not a peep is heard. Sometimes the smell of roses permeates the location, a positive sign that the entity has been expelled. However, it can take some time before you are sure an exorcism has worked. Sometimes the Ritual forces them into a state of dormancy. However, at a later date, the problem may arise again. In many cases, multiple exorcisms may have to take place. The devil can be a persistent force and it will hold on for as long as it can. It sometimes comes down to attrition.
The person who performs the exorcism must know the risks. There is likely to be retaliation so that person must stay in God’s light at all times. There is no sense of time on the other side so even though an exorcism was performed ten years ago, there is still the risk of retaliation. There is always the risk of retaliation.
© 2005 T. Cooney