Signs of Demon Possession

“Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don’t listen to him. Remember that – do not listen.”                                                                    ‘The Exorcist’ by William Peter Blatty

It is a phrase that is certainly used in everyday conversation. Tabloid magazines gush about the latest crisis in a famous celebrity’s over publicized lifestyle. Yes indeed, ‘they fight their demons!’, or ‘they behave like a person possessed!’. We all know the language, and for the most part we understand this metaphorical jargon implies that someone is having a hard time with recurring problems, rehab, drugs, affairs or any other hardship we wish to label with the name ‘demon’.

It has been strongly suggested that this language is the only way in which terms like ‘devil’, ‘Satan’ or ‘demon’ should be used, that is, that all references to them are purely metaphorical, and whilst people do often need to deal with tough situations, these ‘forces’ are all psychological, physiological, sociological, cultural or medical.  In other words, ‘demon’ is a good word to describe any kind of trail a person must face and overcome.

The problem with this particular point of view is that it seems to overlook what Clergy, neurologists, psychiatrists and even the skeptical world of Journalism are all reporting a different view. Neurologist, Professor Patrick McNamara, has done extensive study into the phenomenon and claims that there is usually little or no evidence of brain or personality disorders in people who are reported to have signs of possession.

It is true that many of the ‘signs’ are similar to certain mental illnesses, which is why professional evaluation must be carried out, however there are three basic signs of demon possession that do not fit into a clinical category.

  1. An ability to speak fluently in other languages previously unknown to the victim.  These may be languages currently spoken in the twenty first century, however often the victim can speak ancient languages such as Latin.
  2. The victim seems empowered with physical strength that is many times beyond what their size, weight, level of fitness etc. would suggest that they would normally be capable of.
  3. The victim seems to have knowledge about persons and places they could not otherwise have known.  Intimate details and secrets from other people’s lives have been spoken of during exorcisms.

There are of course other phenomenon associated with possessions such as noises, smells and objects moving on there own.  It is these preternatural elements that do not easily fit into logical or scientific explanations that lead many to the conclusion that the word ‘demon’

is more than a term for describing strife, but rather it is a dark, ancient, intelligent being that seeks to bring disturbance, destruction and decay to everything it invades.


Further reading…


The Origin of Satan.




Spirit Possession & Exorcism


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