View Full Version : A Halloween Treat

10-25-2006, 04:39 AM
A Halloween Treat: How can you know if you are dealing with an evil spirit?

All religions believe in evil or unclean spirits, unseen entities whose chief aim is to cause misery, mischief, and mayhem. This is not simply a Christian belief, but one that is widely accepted throughout the world and throughout the ages. You will find many religions performing exorcism rituals, or calling in some expert to drive away evil spirits. The kinds of stories I know of are rather compelling, and there is no space to go into them all.

Still, for the sake of morbid curiosity I will tell you some real events I know of, and this is far from an exhaustive list.

Case one: A woman who’d gotten involved in the occult. I’d met her parents who were previously two rather secular minded people. He was a military officer with no particular spiritual bent. One day Donald and his wife walked into their daughter’s bedroom and she was floating a foot and a half above her bed. This of course was not a natural event, and a disturbing sight in the eyes of most parents. So what did they do? Well, since the yellow pages don't have ghost busters, they called a minister from a nearby church and said, “I think our daughter is demon possessed.” - Of course, since this happened after the movie "The Exorcism" had come out, they had a trail of breadcrumbs to come to this conclusion. Others might have blamed the pickled eggs.

The minister resolutely told them, “Our church doesn’t believe in demons.”

Donald replied, “Our daughter is floating a foot and a half above her bed.”

You'd think this minister would have said, "I've just got to see this!" and run over. But I suspect he feared he'd be getting in well above his head and did what any good collered man would do, he said, “Well, there’s a church down the road that believes in that kind of thing…you’d better call them!”

Having no choice, the parents called this minister from this other church who said, "Sure," and came right over, and proceeded to cast out not one, but several unclean spirits (or demons).

Later I'd met Donald’s daughter who was about my age. By this time this secular family was quite religious and all of them attended a presbyterian church near the college I attended. She and a friend described their occultic adventures, and how one day as they were sitting in a group, items, particularly a knife, started spinning on the table, then it lifted itself into the air and flung itself into the wall. Well, they all wanted to know the future, what guys might like them, perhaps how to make some guys like them. But when this happened, most of them freaked out. It was right after this that * started floating over her bed. She knew that something had come into her, and it was in her for awhile before these things manifested themselves. Of course she was scared and not quite sure what to do about this. People with demons generally are not so possessed that they can’t think. Rather it’s like another compelling voice is in there with them.

And this was of course the first of a number of people I'd met who did the spiritual equivalent of sticking their fork in the toaster. Generally speaking a fair number of people can tell you exactly when a demon entered them. They don't necessarily possess them as in take control of every function of their bodies, and turn their heads around and spit pea soup. Most cases are far less dramatic.

There are some people who believe that no spiritual realms exist and everything is scientifically based. Yet, atheists and agnostics will consult with mediums and various soothsayers to tell them their future. They will consult spirit-guides. This is a spiritual world, regardless of one’s religious perspective. I'm not intending that anything said here will convert anyone from anything to anything. It is merely food for thought for those who want to have something to think about.

My aim here is not to tell you what religion to believe or what to think. Everyone can make up their own mind. But I know you are curious or you would not read any further.

For some strange reason, I was lured into the field of ministerial counseling. Catholics would call this Lay Ministry. Protestants call it free labor. Right out of college I was asked to go into prisons, and shortly after to work with couples. The next story is a bit awkward to describe, because I was asked to work with a couple where the husband was an alcoholic, and had worked with him for weeks having no clue that he had an unclean spirit. He didn’t really know he had an unclean spirit either though after it was cast out, he'd admitted he had a hunch before. He was into some bizzare things and had a terrible temper and also this addiction. But he felt there was something just not quite right, and so he asked for prayer.

This man was rather thin, and not particularly imposing. A group of men from the church went to pray for him, and then the demon manifested itself. This man slithered along the floor like a serpent, sliding like a snake under the pews and throughout the church. Then when he stood up he had this unnatural strength and started throwing three-hundred pound church pews like they were match sticks. When the demon was cast out he was back in his right mind, and he felt peace. Now these kinds of events don’t happen every day. Generally speaking, the events I've participated in or known of happened quite a number of years apart. I’ve never formally been a part of a deliverance ministry, but I've seen demon possessed people and cast demons out of people, and more often watched while others did it when such things became necessary. Generally speaking there isn’t so much melodrama; and the most obvious manifestation is that some poor soul feels a sense of relief and control over their lives that they didn’t have before.

Most demons don't fight and argue, though more powerful ones might. And as Jesus said, some only come out by prayer and fasting; but they do come out. Nothing like the exorcism (the movie) ever happens, unless those involved have no clue about spiritual authority or what they are doing. Then I'm told it can get quite messy.

I dare say that most addicted people do not have demons. Our frail human nature is such that we can have quite a number of evil bents all by ourselves with little if any help from the dark side. And it is also important to also note that many if not most mental illnesses are just that, mental illnesses. You cannot cast demons out of someone that doesn’t have demons. There are mental and neurological disorders that might make some think someone appears quite demon possessed, and they are nothing more than people with physical or mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder for instance is a chemical imbalance that responds to replacing the chemicals that the body cannot produce.

Many years ago I set out to comprehend the spiritual realm. Starting at square one- an atheist- I kept an open mind, but wanted to know if it was possible to know with certainty that such things exist. One day a number of friends were walking down the street, and these strange looking people suddenly appeared on the other side of the road in front of a house. They were dressed in Victorian Era attire, the men in black petticoats and top hats, and the woman in long draping gowns that looked somewhat like baggy drapes. Then in a blink, they were all gone.

This occurred while I was still an atheist if my memory serves me right. And so, we started discussing “ghost experiences”, who saw or heard what, when and where. Since more than one person witnessed this particular event and had more stories to tell, it was apparent that something unnatural was happening in the world, and this was not simply an act of overactive imaginations.

Ghosts, familiar spirits, demons, unclean spirits. There are lots of names for those things that go bump in the night- well they did in my house. But are they all the same thing???

I won’t try to go into all sides of this issue. I simply wanted to compile a list of ways to know if what you are dealing with is evil, if in fact you are dealing with something unnatural.

My friend Jerry had a roommate in college. This man had gone to a college where Satanism was practiced, and he claims to have seen the devil and spoken with him. According to him, the devil was dressed somewhat like Hugh Hefner in an overcoat and sitting in a chair. Now, why this man would want to sit down and have a conversation with the devil was beyond my comprehension; but this was his story.

Now, this particular person is claiming to be a Christian. And as Christians go, he was a rather bizarre one. He always said rather dramatic things, and he had a rather dark glint in his eyes.

One day, as this man slept, Jerry was awake. This man sat bolt upright, and began to speak in his sleep. He announced he was Jesus Christ, and began telling Jerry all kinds of events from the past, present and about the future.

Jerry was a rather young Christian, what you might call a novice. I wasn’t much less of a novice, but I was at this time far more familiar with the Bible. And I remembered a scripture from Corinthians 14 that said, “…the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet…” (v32) The particular context of this statement was about “order in the church”, and also in the context that God is NOT the author of confusion. (V33)

What this text meant was that God does not possess people and use them against their will. People who have a prophetic message are not compelled by some over riding force. They can keep still and wait. They can in fact, not say anything at all. They can go so far as to say, “God, I’m not sure if this is you speaking, my imagination or the devil trying to deceive me?” God is not offended by such questions. So whenever you see someone who says, “I couldn’t help it…” beware!

And so, the idea that God was taking over this person while he slept and telling Jerry the secrets of the world, some of which were quite bizarre, didn’t sit right with me. And the fact that Jerry and Jesus got to such a level of intimacy, that Jerry was told to refer to this entity as J.C, as in buddy buddy, I was quite worried. And so, Jerry brought skeptical me into the room and J.C immediately upbraided me for being a skeptic. I had no part of it. I told this guy he was demon possessed- after he woke up- and told him to go and have the demon cast out.

By the way, this relates to the point I’m getting at. How can you know an unclean spirit?

1) God is not the author of confusion. One of the ways you know you are dealing with an unclean or evil spirit is “confusion”. If the spirit double talks, tells you things that cannot be true, prophecies things that do not come to pass; it is not from the Spirit of God. If it makes up excuses and tells you such things as if you buy a lottery ticket you will win a million dollars, and this does not come to pass, and it blames you for going to the wrong store to purchase the ticket, it is an unclean spirit.
2) If it lies it is an unclean spirit. If whatever that has been speaking to you has a terrible track record of error after error, it isn’t of God.
3) If it incites violence it is an unclean spirit. I waited to give a scripture reference for number two because I was going to quote the same passage for number three. “…the devil…was a murderer from the beginning…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44) If the spirit is demeaning, and hateful, and telling you to hurt yourself or someone else, it is not of God.
4) If the spirit causes fear, it is not of God. “For God did NOT give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) Unclean spirits are tormenters who speak condemnation. They tell people they are evil, dirty and worthless. This is not the nature of God. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me, I will in no wise cast them out…” This does not mean that a person may not have an encounter with God or an angel that does not seem frightening. John fell at Jesus feat in Revelations chapter one, but Jesus told him “Do not be afraid…” (V17). It wasn’t God’s intention to leave him groveling in fear. Unclean spirits delight in causing terror and fear and intimidation.
5) In the Old Testament, God said, “Come, let us reason together…” Contrary to what some people think, God is not a bully. He told Abraham his plans to judge Sodom, and Abraham was able to appeal with him. In fact, God promised that if he found ten righteous people in Sodom, he would have spared the entire city for those ten. Jesus own nature was not to bully, but to submit, “Nevertheless, thy will be done…” Unclean spirits are demanding and threatening, and never reasonable.
6) Unclean spirits demand complete obedience and allegiance, and hate to be questioned. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone into the world.” (1 John 4: 1) It is not being disloyal to God to question the validity of a religious experience, even one that portends to be Christ himself.
7) Just because it glitters doesn’t mean its gold. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Satan does not necessarily want to appear like the big bad wolf. If appearing kindly fits his purposes, he will appear in beautiful array and with sweet sounding words. Of course as a liar and murderer, his desire is to kill steal and destroy. (John 10:10)

This is not an exhaustive list, but general guidelines. The one thing that is most common about unclean or evil spirits is that their purposes are to enslave and to cause fear and not to bless. They are bullies and all of their promises are lies, deceptions, and traps. They offer freedom but lead people into bondage.

Religious people are not immune to these deceptions, and so, we are told to let every matter be confirmed by the mouths of two or three witnesses. And besides this if it does not bear witness with our own spirits, we should not hesitate to question a matter.

Cults are started by lone rangers who hear some spirit, and then declare to have the ultimate truth. Well, I don’t care if they see an angel and the angel tells them of some great new truth. That angel could be an evil liar, and tell them to hit the highway. (See Galatians 1:8)

Whenever God speaks he is kind enough to confirm his messages through the mouths of others so there is protection and order and not mayhem.

10-25-2006, 04:56 AM
Since I brought up the subject, I figured I'd tell an annecdotal story. I said I was close friends with the cousin of one of the priests that performed the exorcism that the movie "The Exorcism" was based on.

Unless my memory is terribly gone, since this was a second hand account, the event took place in Georgetown section of Washington D.C, and the person with the demon was a boy. In that event, there were a number of clergy in the room, and the demon began grandstanding, by calling out the different people in the room and telling them their sins- to of course shame them and gain an upper hand.

Fortunately there were experienced people who did the wise thing and told those who were not necessary to leave; and then proceeded to take care of things without much further drama.

Supernatural manifestations are rare from what I've seen and know, but they do happen. And generally speaking, calmness and confidence and understanding spiritual authority are the best tools. I had none of these qualities when I first encountered a demon possessed person, and so, for a time when the demon spoke out of this other person, it literally freaked me out. Worse, it happened in a college dorm, and this was not long after the movie "The Exorcism", and I was mortified because people all around could hear this.

Now, I had the presense of mind to say to this person, "Do you realize you have a demon?" She said she did. I said, "Do you want to get rid of it?" She did. And I said, "Well, it's turning into a circus here, let's go and do this at my friend's appartment.

Strangely, I expected all of these people who'd heard this commotion would think I was nuts, but instead they were all so moved by the event, afterwards they all started going to church, which surprised the ---can I say heck---just kidding---out of me.

Yes, demons will argue if you allow them and grandstand if you allow them. Generally, as you mature, you realize you don't have to allow them. Less people around is always preferred. It is at first unnerving to hear a male voice coming from a female or a child (I've never seen this with a child, but have with a female) Still, casting out demons is just a part of Christianity that not so many Christians know about.

10-25-2006, 06:36 AM
Nate: you don't have to convince me, brother. My wife and I were saved and Spiritfilled in a pentecostal church in 1975, and now attend a large WOF church. I've seen satan pull some weird shenanigans in my time, mainly just trying to bluff people into thinking he's more than he is. Good thing our God is greater!

10-25-2006, 07:51 AM
better you than me.
i'll keep my head in the sand.

But actually, I do want to pick your brain a little. What about poltergeists? I remember a Walton's episode or two where the youngest girl had somehow attracted one, and those episodes freaked me out. Of course that was fiction, but from what I've heard they are considered a genuine phenomenom. Are you familiar with them?

10-25-2006, 03:47 PM
Demons are real. Demons are 'evil' - they do not have humans' better interests in mind, but rather their own agenda. A smart person does not dally with demons, they do not try to summon demons, they do not try to banish demons unless they are *very* sure of what they are doing.

(I am not Christian but do have some working knowledge about these creatures.)

10-25-2006, 04:31 PM
Demons are real. Demons are 'evil' - they do not have humans' better interests in mind, but rather their own agenda. A smart person does not dally with demons, they do not try to summon demons, they do not try to banish demons unless they are *very* sure of what they are doing.

(I am not Christian but do have some working knowledge about these creatures.)
I have friends from a variety of religious backgrounds, Hindus, Muslims, Jews. Perhaps from every viewpoint. The phenomina is Universal. My brother is neo-pagan, and is equally aware there is a spiritual world. You are certainly correct. Demons are evil, but that isn't how they always present themselves. There are seducing spirits, whose primary goal is to seduce people to do what they wouldn't normally do. They understand spiritual laws far better than humans do, and know they need license to do what they want to do. But you are right in that human ignorance is their primary strength. I do not fear them, nor do I take dealing with them lightly. Generally, excuse the expression, when I encounter them I don't get scared, I get pissed. From a wisdom perspective, it is best, when possible to deal with the underlying issues before dealing with the demons. Why? Generally speaking, they can't come in unless there is an open door of some kind, which is often tied to a behavior, and in some cases- wrong ways of thinking such as hatred. If those people don't want to deal with the behavior and plan to leave those doors open, the demons are free to return, and even Jesus warned, when they do, they'll bring more with them, and that persons second estate will be worse than the first.There are some cases which require immediate attention, and in those cases you deal with them first. But contrary to what people think, you rarely have situations where someone is totally overwhelmed. The demons manifest themselves from time to time, like they did in the Biblical account of King Saul. They'd come and torment him, but they weren't always there. Still, he left the door open for them in the first place, harboring bitterness and having an evil agenda. The truth is, that people don't always need to have demons cast out. There is a Bible passage in the book of James that says, "Resist the devil and he will flee you; draw near to God and he will draw near to you." Satan generally requires permission to touch a persons life. See Job 1. Satan could not touch Job without permission. But this brings up the greater point; people are generally ignorant of spiritual laws and what happens when they are violated. I've studied "Blessings and Curses", what actions open the doors for one or the other, in individuals and nations. Those who understand such things are generally a step ahead, knowing there are predictable outcomes to certain actions. As such, people bring harm into their lives. But being armed with understanding, if people make wise choices, they can turn curses into blessings. I will tell you another true story. Demons are liars. I went to visit a friend who had a "Life Rehabilitation" center. They had a woman there who had spirits. This person had never seen me before in her life or heard my name. Before I came, these spirits showed me to her, told her I was coming, and told her that I would do such and such.My presense disturbs people who have demons. The demons in them can sense God's Spirit in me. They realize the stronger Spirit of God is something that they can't contend with. They (the human host) doesn't have to know me from Adam, but the spirits within them aren't ignorant. In the case of this woman, the demons allerted her to stay away from me. Now I had no dealings with her, and said nothing to her. What the demons foretold never came to pass. And in fact, up to this point, this woman trusted these demons to tell her the truth. She realized they'd been lying to her all along, and in fact, renounced them and the practices that brought them into her life.

10-25-2006, 05:01 PM
better you than me.
i'll keep my head in the sand.

But actually, I do want to pick your brain a little. What about poltergeists? I remember a Walton's episode or two where the youngest girl had somehow attracted one, and those episodes freaked me out. Of course that was fiction, but from what I've heard they are considered a genuine phenomenom. Are you familiar with them?
I'm not an expert in the field. I only know what I've dealt with and I'm also familiar with Biblical accounts. In the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the Rich Man wanted to return from where he was after his death to warn his brothers to change their lives so they didn't wind up in his predicament, and with a better eternal fate. He wasn't able to just up and leave and head back to the earth. There is a gulf between the spheres. Now, an exception to the rule is shown in the Old Testament when King Saul went to a witch and asked her to conjure up the spirit of the Prophet Samuel. In that instance, Samuel really did appear. Now, from the responce of this woman, it wasn't what she expected. What did she expect?I will not make a blanket statement on the subject. But there are familiar spirits- spirits - not people- who are familiar with people, who can mime and mimic people who are dead. Spirits can change shapes and appear as people. Angels have done so, and Hebrews tells Christians to be hospitable to all people, and that in doing so, some have entertained angels unawares. The reason it is unawares, is because they appeared to be humans. When angels visited Lot in the Old Testament, the people from the city took them for humans, obviously beautiful humans. And unfortunately for those ignorant humans, they tried to gang-rape these angels. I once had a friend whose mother was a medium in Puerto Rico, and spirits used to hang around in his house. He knew these were not all dead people, but demons who changed shapes and appearances. But, we don't have to obsess. The Bible says to "Test the spirits" and so, it just isn't wise to take supernatural events as always being true, or coming from God just because they are supernatural. And knowing that the devil himself can appear as an angel of light, discernment is a human's best friend.