How to become possessed by demons
an essay by Kent A. Philpott
This is a subject that keeps coming up and is frankly one I would rather avoid. In the mid 1970s I co-authored with Robert L. Hymers, Jr. a book that dealt with the subject, resulting in a flood of people arrriving to look into the subject more carefully. During that period the occult largely flew under the radar, but it has now emerged as mainstream and garners a great deal of attention in all forms of media.
For instance, neo-pagan practices like Wicca have swept across the country, key components of which are magic, spiritism, fortune telling, and more.
Shamanism in many guises is growing in popularity in the West, with shamans from multiple cultures advertising their services on the Internet. Here the occult is center stage and loudly announced.
Santería, one of the largest and fastest growing of the world's religions, is utterly reliant on occult theory and practice, from spells and divination to contacting the dead.
Why is this so? One reason is that the occult is spiritual to its core and provides an alternative to humanist materialism. Many a materialist has moved to a spiritual orientation after direct contact with the spirit world. Perhaps an even deeper reason for the popularity of groups that are spiritistic is the quest for power. Since power is the main focus of religions like Wicca, Santeria, and various other forms of shamanism, for many who feel powerless, the occult ‘arts’ are a strong temptation.
But there is a problem. Contact and involvement with the occult is a sure and quick route to being possessed by demons. Shocking? For many the sense that power indwells them is a prized goal. However, the horrific and vile nature of that power within is a realization usually made too late.
This essay is concerned with how people become demon possessed. The word "possessed" is troublesome, because most people think that a possessed person acts in a crazy or bizarre manner and is constantly under the control of a demonic spirit. Were it that simple! Most possessed persons rarely realize their condition, and it is rarely seen or confirmed by family or friends. The devil prefers to lie low and only slowly, little by little, wreak havoc. People may eventually figure out what has grabbed hold of them, but then they are left wondering what in the world to do. Most of them can only suppress and deny or run and cover, since no one in our culture wants to look like a ‘mental case’. How many abuse substances to keep the demons at bay?
What 'opens the door' to possession?
There are three primary divisions in the occult world: fortune telling or divination, spiritualism, and magic.
Fortune telling: This is everything from the Ouija Board to the palm reader, but it includes psychic readings, the I Ching, tea leaf reading, astrology, tarot card reading, and a great many more practices.
Spiritualism or spiritism: The focus here is the séance, which can take any number of forms, but is the attempt to contact the spirits or souls of the dead. It is known from ancient times, is mentioned in the Bible, and is still popular, since actual spirits are contacted.
Magic: This is sorcery, witchcraft, and spells and curses, and it is the manipulation of spirits, gods, and goddesses to do one's bidding through the performance of rites and rituals. The world of magic is complicated but far more common that most recognize. Whether white, neutral, or black, magic is still magic. Some of those involved rationalize that they are only invested in good magic or natural magic but not the bad varieties. However, the devil does not pay attention to such distinctions. Magic is magic.
After decades of dealing with people who have attracted and finally become possessed by demons, I have discovered that, when a person gives herself or himself to the occult, whatever form it might take, they expose themselves to the possibility of being possessed by evil or unclean spirits, all of which are ruled over by Satan. And you do not want Satan to get inside your head.
Occult involvement: By this I mean giving into, believing in, trusting in, acting on, or relying on, any overt form of occultism, which is more than casual contact. How much is enough to become demon possessed? Who knows, but the devil never plays fair.
Power and knowledge: These are the central motives that bring people into the occult world. That power and knowledge is accessed is not to be denied. The Faustian trade-off is operable, however; the devil will give gifts in order to achieve great dominance over a person's life.
Satan is a gift giver and is especially good, for a period of time, at providing power, sex, money, and other goodies we humans desire. He gives to get, and this principle must not be underestimated. His assistance comes with strings attached, and he usually yanks back the delights and replaces them with torments, sooner or later.
A near-death experience is chief among the traumas that the devil uses to capture unwary and vulnerable prey. People of all ages have spoken of experiences in which they returned from the brink of death or even after actual biological death occurred. They describe being conscious, witnessing a wide assortment of events, and even conversing with people. Some of these 'remembered experiences' result in best selling books or films. It is virtually impossible, however, to fact-check the reports on what occurs in the brain of someone in this stage of brain activity. It is likely that the complex electrical and chemical mix that goes to work on the central nervous system of one who is on the brink of death produces incredible hallucinations.
My view is that such events, while not always of a demonic nature, are untrustworthy. The devil, however, loves to hitch a ride on these visions to further his trickery and introduce spiritual entities. To suddenly have an encounter with the spirit world is life changing to all who experience it. Books and movies about such experiences continue to emerge, from both Christian and secular publishers and filmmakers, and this makes me rather suspicious. The story lines are nearly always the same: the dearly departed always communicate they are okay and have landed in a good place after death. This is one of the devil’s favorite plot twists.
Linked to the discussion of near-death experiences above is what happens in the lives of the newly bereaved. Reflecting on my four-plus decades as a pastor who has conducted several hundred memorial and funeral services, I recall frequent episodes of demonic activity played out in the lives of those whose loved ones have died. Perhaps it is an appearance of the departed in a dream or even while fully awake. At a time of loss we are thrown off emotionally and will imagine things we would not otherwise, and this is not all, or even mostly, of a Satanic nature. That said, it is nevertheless true that the devil knows all too well that grieving people are vulnerable to deception.
Initiations into religions
Satanism is a religion, and the introduction into it is a deliberate inviting of Satan to take control over one's life, whether through a focused worship of the devil as god or a reliance upon a 'spirit' for guidance. If someone is attracted to devil worship, the pull is powerful and lustful, an almost irresistible lure from which few can escape once they are trapped.
When devotees of Transcendental Meditation and Krishna Consciousness undergo initiation ceremonies, they are knowingly inviting the spirit of a dead guru to inhabit their minds and bodies. Of course, a demon shows up instead, but the devotee does not realize that he or she has been duped. The power gurus like Muktananda and Rajneesh had their 'spirits' within them, and as submission was made to the guru, it was in fact a submission to evil spirits. Current gurus continue in a similar mode.
In the asiento or initiation into Santería, the initiate is essentially "mounted" or possessed by an orisha deity. Here the possession is deliberate; the deception is that instead of the expected god or goddess, what possesses the head of the initiate is a satanic spirit.
What are the animal guides or spirits that the Wiccans meet on their soul journeys? They are certainly demonic spirits in disguise. The elves and fairies are cute; gnomes are curious looking; animal helpers are intriguing or majestic; goddesses may be clothed in spectacular auras; Zeus, Diana, Apollo, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, angels Gabriel and Raphael may dazzle; and John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul may seem to appear with special messages and prophecies. They are all merely familiar spirits who are expert in disguise, even down to the molecular level, but are no more than demons (see 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
The trance state (or the ecstasy, passive state of mind, altered state of consciousness, or shamanic state of consciousness – all essentially synonyms) is the mechanism through which many are invaded by demonic spirits.
Trance states are induced in various ways. Sometimes drugs and other substances are used to reach the trance state, as is common among shamans and Santeríans.
Music is often the vehicle, with the beat of the drum and the dance that goes with it, as seen in ‘charismania’ among Christians, where a person loses track of reality and ‘yields’ to the spirit (assumed to be God’s Holy Spirit). Books on Wicca and shamanism may come complete with chapters on various means to enter into the desired trance state so as to initiate the soul journey. They will invariably involve deep breathing, centering, visualizing, chanting, clearing of the mind, blanking out conscious thought from the mind, waiting to experience the otherworld, listening for the voice of a god, goddess, or spirit guide, dancing and whirling with eyes closed and heart ready to receive – whatever and whoever is out there. And the devil prowls around for just such a time and place to pounce.
My prior experience and recent research shows that the trance state is the most popular door opener to being possessed by demonic spirits.
How to become unpossessed of demons
Jesus alone has power over demons; all of the satanic kingdom is fully aware of this and tremble at His name.1 Jesus' death on the cross, with His subsequent resurrection, ascension to heaven, and being seated at the right hand of the Father, has secured His power and authority over Satan and his fallen angels.
Consider two passages:
"The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8a).
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who as the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery" (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Jesus cast demons out of people while on the planet two thousand years ago and gave His disciples authority to cast out demons as well.
"And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal" (Luke 9:1-2).
Later Jesus sent out seventy-two others to do the same. (We see, then, that not only the Twelve called 'apostles' had authority to cast out demons.) Upon their return the seventy-two gave the following report: "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" (Luke 10:17).
This authority over the demonic continues to this day.2 A key biblical verse in this regard is James 4:7: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
The verse's opening word, "Submit," is the largest stumbling block to many looking for a way out of the devil’s sway. Demon possession gives power, and the demon will fight hard not to be cast out, so a usual ploy is to remind the person possessed that power will be lost. That threat freezes those who fear such a loss. The "submit" means a submission to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as a determined resistance to the devil. A spiritual battle ensues, until finally the demonic is rejected, Christ is embraced, and the demons flee.
1 Only Jesus and His disciples have authority over the demonic. Exorcists are magicians who promise relief but succeed in little more than play acting, trickery, and deception.
2 For more on this, see my book, How Christians Cast Out Demons Today.