Marks Of Possession
All abnormal traits, contrary to the normal or usual personality, may be strongly suspected as being of demoniacal agency. Their one purpose is to deceive, and to accomplish this they camouflage or cover their workings like the mysterious, hidden gun which bombarded Paris. One who was apparently the victim of demon influence, said as we called her attention to the subject in the word of God and to the confirmatory evidences in her own condition, “Do you take me for a lunatic or a maniac?” Demon possession is not the far developed case of insanity. To be the subject of demon possession, influence or working, one need not be in an asylum, though the minor degrees of demon influence may so develop as to place them there unless the light comes which brings deliverance. Demons cause many of the world’s woes. The general conception of temptation is that it is of Satan. There is one Satan but many demons. Satan himself has been blamed for many a result brought about by his colleagues, the demons. The frequency of temptation has been attributed to his lightning-like powers of locomotion, rather than to his numerous and almost omnipresent co-workers, the demons.
Christians must locate the mysterious batteries which cause such havoc and, by truth and knowledge of their workings, silence havoc-working demoniacal shells.
Conscious double consciousness, division, separation, or contradiction of another personality intruding upon the normal personality and constraining to that which normal personality does not approve, but which in well developed cases is unable to help, is an evidence of possession.
Universal depression, groundless melancholy, (e. g., a woman whose husband earned a large salary annually, worried about what would become of her children) — great stupidity, and an inexcusable, unreasoning indecision all come from the binding power of demons.
Change of character after the entrance of the demon is noticeable — a complete or partial change of moral character. Other characteristics of possession are dual personality — Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde, — a second self, an unexplainable contrariness. In the language of a sister: “There seems to be two of me.” Still another insisted a certain thing should be done and the obligation on the one spoken to was very strong and binding; but when the decision was made to comply with the insistent demand for action they were turned upon and as insistently told not to do it. We once saw a little boy in this strange state of dual or double consciousness, who said: “I want it!” (an article of food). On it being handed to him, in a fit of rage, he cried, “I don’t want it.” And as quickly as it was put back on the table, again he cried with violent anger, “I want it,” and as soon as again given, “I don’t want it.” Was it only contrariness? A spell? Ugly disposition? Yes, all of these, but back of the heart of sin, demon-domination forcing their will on the child. Constant contradiction is here seen in the child, an involuntary self, another self, contrary to normal self. “There is consciousness of change or attending personality. The testimony of the fathers, like that of the Chinese and other nations, shows that these cases are distinct from mania, epilepsy, and other diseases, and characterized by a new personality quite different and distinct from that of the normal personality of the subject possessed.”
I recall a little girl, sweet and affectionate, who would throw herself on the floor of an outside porch, without her outdoor wraps on, when the thermometer was much below zero, and lie there and kick and scream and throw her hands and pound her head and go through all manner of angry contortions. Her parents suspected at these times the active agency of demons, but were powerless to aid her. Praying in Jesus’ name for the exorcising or casting out of the evil spirit quieted her down and she was again normal and sweet. She has been a different child since, and free from those violent spells.
Demons are other personalities dwelling in men, single, dual, or multiple, which dominate the possessed, working out their wills according to the yieldedness of the victim.
Dr. Tyler regards the theory of demon possession in the same light as the generally received theory of the human soul, that is, “the outward normal manifestations of human life, such as thinking, speaking, acting, are accounted for by the supposition of a soul-a distinct, separate, surviving entity, in which man’s personality inheres. So the abnormal states which we have been considering are explained by the supposition that during these states the body is possessed of another spirit, which also has a distinct entity — a new personality.”
The symptoms of demon possession have been accounted for by physicians on the ground of “hysteria epilepsy.”
“While the convulsive movements, bodily contortions, gnashing of teeth, falling into fire and water, are the ordinary symptoms of epilepsy, in demon possession there are manifestly other phenomena that do not occur in epileptoid diseases. For instance, those possessed seem to be endowed at times with a new personality and to have remarkable intellectual powers, shown both in the speech employed and in the knowledge of things that are beyond their ken before possession took place and which remarkable powers do not remain after the victim’s recovery.” — Satan and Demons, page 26.