“I am possessed. Please help me.” “My sister needs an exorcism.” “I think my house has a demon.”
That’s what’s in my email most days. Either someone thinks they’re possessed, or they think someone close to them is.
Though at least 80% of those emails are pranks — and replies will immediately bounce back as undeliverable email — I always want to help anyone in genuine distress.
(The pranksters… do they call 911 “just for fun,” too? Did no one read them the story about the little boy who cried “wolf” too many times? I would not wish a demon on anyone, but people need to know: Demons are not something to joke about, or a door to open for fun.)
Unfortunately, replying to those emails takes time away from my real research: Documenting and predicting phenomena that could explain ghosts and hauntings. (My current focus does not include demons, alien abductions, or Bigfoot research.)
This article is my reply to anyone who wants to contact me for help with what might be a demon.
Demonic possessions are very serious. The good news is, they’re also rare.
Other things can look like demons or possessions. In the vast majority of cases, the person is not possessed, is not tormented by demonic entities, and the best help does not involve an exorcist.
Devil possessions and demonic possessions — two different things — have been studied for centuries from a variety of theological and practical viewpoints.
Generally, no one wakes up one morning and is suddenly possessed. It doesn’t happen. There were always many warning signs of increasing intensity, and they built up over a period of time.
What you can do
If someone does transform overnight, suspect a medical issue. The first call should be to the person’s doctor.
If the person seems to be transforming gradually, and turning from happy and normal to dark, brooding or even malicious, you’ll still want to alert the family physician. The cause might be something physical, such as a reaction to food or a medication.
However, I also recommend contacting a professional in the spiritual/religious community. It doesn’t have to be someone at a church that you (or the victim) go to… or even believe in. It simply needs to be a traditional and/or mainstream church: When you might be dealing with a malicious spirit, you need someone with spiritual experience.
Was a Ouija board involved?
In most cases, the problem started with a Ouija board — or some other divinatory technique — in the hands of someone who didn’t understand the risks. (I’ve already weighed in on that subject, in other articles.)
Whatever you do, do not burn the Ouija board… or anything else that might be possessed.
Consult a demonologist about how to dispose of it, safely.
If the problem is severe
Are you afraid for your personal safety, or the victim’s? If this issue has been building for awhile, but you thought it’d go away on its own, contact a demonologist, a priest or a minister right away.
Don’t keep searching the Internet for answers. If anyone is in danger, contact someone in your community today. If they don’t have enough expertise to deal with the issue, see my Recommended Resources list, below.
If your house may have a demonic entity
If something odd is going on and you feel in great danger, get out of that house.
Never stay in a situation where you feel in danger. Even if it turns out to be something normal — such as EMF issues from unshielded electrical wiring — your safety must come first.
If the problem at your house has been going on — at a low (but annoying) level — for awhile, read the free edition of my book, Is Your House Haunted?
It covers the step-by-step measures to take first, to rule out normal explanations for your problems. Then, if it is a paranormal issue, I explain what to do next.
Possessions are rare
Remember, the answer to strange behavior — especially sudden and dramatic personality changes — is rarely anything demonic.
If you aren’t sure, contact someone who can determine your level of danger.
I recommend* only a few demonologists and exorcists with whom I’ve worked in the past:
Carl Johnson and Dina Palazini – http://www.beyondtheveilparanormal.org/
NEAR – http://www.nearparanormal.com/ – I recommend Keith Johnson.
Note: Either of the Johnson brothers can help. Each has a different approach. You may prefer one more than the other, but both are experienced and skilled, with unique insights.
Also, if you might be dealing with a poltergeist rather than a demon, and especially if a teen or a child is involved, contact Peter Haviland. He’s worked with both kinds of cases. He travels to meet with clients, and he’s based in Texas. Lone Star Spirits – http://www.LSSPI.org/
When you contact a demonologist, expect them to eliminate normal (if odd) issues, first. This may include consulting a medical doctor or other professional. That’s routine. Just like a “haunted” stairway might simply be out of alignment, some “demonic” activity can be triggered by drug interactions, a food sensitivity, etc.
The demonologist isn’t trivializing what’s going on. He or she is simply ruling out the odd (but normal) things that can look remarkably like something demonic.
*I’m sure there are other excellent professionals in this field, but I only recommend people I know well and have worked with in real life.