Demonic Possession is the spiritual possession of an individual by a malevolent preternatural being. It is widely believed the idea of demonic possession began with the Zoroastrian religion in Persia, but the references found in the teachings of Christ validated the notion as a significant spiritual phenomenon. Many throughout the world believe in a negative supernatural force which has the power to alter or take control over their minds.
Possession is believed to occur gradually over a period of time, and usually begins with spiritually sensitive people flirting with powerful forces. Common cases of demonic possession seems to happen to those who become affiliated with the occult, but it can also be induced by various means such as a bad Ouija board experience, an uncontrolled séance, or through an encounter with a potent ghost or poltergeist. As time passes, the possessed individual slowly loses control over their actions, emotions, and thoughts. The possessed person may not even be aware that their mind invader is there, as the entity can be friendly and obliging, but once the body host tells the entity to leave, it can become malicious and abhorrent.
Demonic possession can have a positive or detrimental affect. Favorably affects can be access to hidden knowledge or foreign languages, and superhuman strength. Adverse affects can be erased memories or personalities, convulsions, fainting’s, aggressive behavior, changes in vocal or facial structure, and sudden appearance of injuries such as scratches, bites, or lesions. The fear derived from the spirits power can drive the possessed person to suicide or through bouts of insanity causing them to be committed to a mental institution. However, if caught in time, the possessed person can rid the evil spirits through the means of undergoing an exorcism by a qualified priest.
A popular case of demonic possession occurred in 1906 to Clara Germana Cele who was a Christian student at St. Michael’s Mission in Natal, South Africa. Clara prayed and made a pact with Satan when she was sixteen years-old, and several days later she was overtaken by strange impulses. She became disgusted at the sight of religious artifacts like crucifixes, and she could speak many different languages fluently of which she had no previous knowledge of. She also became clairvoyant to the thoughts and histories of people around her. Nuns reported Clara producing horrible, animalistic sounds, and they also witnessed her levitate up to five feet in the air. When two priests were brought in to perform an exorcism, Clara attempted to strangle one of them, and levitated into the air, as was witness by over one hundred and seventy people. After several days, the rites of the exorcism drove the evil spirits from her body.
A recent case of demonic possession involves a board-certified psychiatrist and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, Dr. Richard E.Gallagher, who documented the case of a patient nicknamed ‘Julia’, whom he concluded was certainly possessed by demons. This case is favored because it is rare that a scientist and psychiatrist would acknowledge the potential of possession, as typical doctors usually write off possession as being fraudulent or effects of mental illness. Dr. Gallagher personally witnessed objects flying around the room, Julia levitating in mid air, speaking in foreign tongues, and knowing things about people around her that she had no way of knowing. Here is an section from Dr. Gallagher’s statement:
“Periodically, in our presence, Julia would go into a trance state of a recurring nature,” writes Gallagher. “Mentally troubled individuals often ‘dissociate,’ but Julia’s trances were accompanied by an unusual phenomenon: Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts and scatological language, phrases like ‘Leave her alone, you idiot,’ ‘She’s ours,’ ‘Leave, you imbecile priest,’ or just ‘Leave.’ The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia’s own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these ‘trances,’ or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.”
Many cultures and religions around the globe contain aspects of demonic possession, but details seem to vary among each of them. The oldest reference comes from the Sumerian scriptures, who believed all diseases of the mind and body are caused by “sickness demons” called gidim. Many cuneiform tablets contain prayers to gods requesting protection from demons, while others ask the gods to expel demons that have taken over their bodies. Scientific experts believe that possession is nothing more than an outlet for those who suffer with severe mental illness. Just as Biblical possession represents impure desires, possession in reality can represent psychosis. Whichever it may be, possession is a dangerous state of mind to which professional assistance is needed to restore the mental balance to the unlucky victim.