:confused:There are many examples in Scripture of people having their demons casted out. These days we rarely hear of true posessions, though we do hear about lots of people suffering from mental illnesses.

  1. Were these people in Biblical times really posessed by demons?

  2. Is the Bible wrong by labeling their afflictions as demonic and were they, instead, suffering from mental illness?

  3. If these people were suffering from mental illness instead of demons, can we trust the Bible as being true?

  4. If the Bible is true and they did have mental illnesses, can someone please explaine?

  5. If these people did suffer from demonic posession, why so many then compared to now? Did the posessed just gravitate toward Jesus and his Apostles or …what?


There are people who have mental/emotional problems, and people who are obsessed/possessed in biblical times, and also now.

Many people seem to have fallen for the error that there is no invisible world of angels and demons. We live in such materialistic times and that has made such an impact on supernatural belief.

Possession is the extreme, and there are other areas in the lives of people which need deliverance from deep-rooted sin in their lives.

This deliverance can happen when a person in the state of grace receives the Eucharist in the right disposition of faith, and love for the Lord. Also, they venture into a deeper life of prayer to get closer to the Lord.

There are times when more help is needed.

Many are looking to occult means to fill in the spiritual void in their lives. (psychics, astrology, tarot cards, mediums, etc.) This leads them away from the Way, the Life, and the Truth that is Jesus Christ Our Lord.

If you are interested in this topic you may want to read the book by Moira Noonan titled “Ransomed from Darkness.” It is her own story, well written, and true.

  1. No.

2-3. The Bible isn’t meant to be trusted as a medical treatise or as a science manual. We don’t believe that the earth has four corners and a firmament above it, for example. This is how the people who wrote the Bible tried to explain or express nature and human nature.

  1. The truth of the Bible is neither scientific, nor literal. If we read the story about the demons who left the man and entered the pigs, we simply know that we are taught a lesson about Jesus’ power, kindness and disponibility to heal people AND about the human fear of becoming ill, helpless and a social pariah. So what we have in such biblical stories is a representation of human suffering and struggle and the general conclusion about God’s power and his mercy towards those who have faith, sometimes against all odds.

  2. They didn’t suffer from demonic possession. But no doubt that Jesus’ fame did attract many people who wanted to be healed from physical and mental illnesses or maybe from various “inner demons” as we say today without implying something supranatural (temptations, intense guilt, desperation…).


1 ) Yes

  1. No. Mental illness and demonic possession are not mutually exclusive though often one exists without the other. However, when the bible says there was demonic affliction there was.

  2. no need to answer as there was demonic affliction

  3. as 3

  4. Have you seen how overworked exorcists are? There are many possessed people who don’t seek help aswell.


No, can you tell me more about how overworked the exorcists are, and link me to some documentation or proof of the number of exorcisms and if they’re genuine?



Perhaps there were more demons in the Biblical times than now because Jesus had not yet been ‘born’, and even while he was humanly on earth, perhaps the people hadn’t yet started to believe.

Maybe there are so many people who now believe in God/Jesus Christ that demonic possession is more rare. Or the opposite is true: there are much easier ways to get a human’s soul than it being possessed by demons. It could be it’s in different forms: Manson, Dahmer, pedophiles, etc, than the more obvious demons from old. Also, if there are a finite number of demons in the world, it’s going to be a tiny tiny tiny percentage of the population, a needle in a haystack so to speak, compared to the number of people in Biblical times.


I agree that creation was depicted according to the understanding of the writer of Sacred Scripture.

I believe in the invisible world of the good angels and the bad angels. That is what the Magisterium of our Catholic Church teaches.


I wonder if demons really are far more active. People with mental illnesses are easy to identify and treat. I think most demons would try to remain quiet in order to remain in possession of a body and to induce more subtle effects in material causality.

It’s probably a mistake to confuse mental illnesses with possession.


You are not entitled to or have a need to know this. They are like medical records, or rather, the records of very direct confrontation in spiritual warfare between the soldiers of Christ and the principalities of evil. Try asking any military hospital or any government to disclose similar records simply because you are curious and see how they reply.

If you truly want to learn about this, some priests, psychiatrists, or lay faithful who are competent on the matter have written books on the topic, such as:

  • “Exorcism and the Church Militant”, Fr. Thomas Euteneur
  • “Interview With an Exorcist”, Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea
  • “An Exorcist tells his story”, Fr. Gabriele Amorth
  • “Exorcist in the XXIst Century”. Fr. Gabriele Amorth
  • “What You Need to Know About Exorcism”, Fr. Gary Thomas
  • “The Rite: the Making of a Modern Exorcist”, Mark Baglio
  • “Resisting the Devil”, Neal Lozano
  • “People of the Lie”, Dr. Scott Peck
  • “Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts”, Dr. Scott Peck
  • “Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know”, Peter Kreeft
  • “The Dark Sacrament”, David Kiely

Also, it is not something every priest can do. While all bishops are authorized to carry out this blessing, they usually give the ministry and authority to a competent priest. In fact there are even official courses, one of which became renowned because it was (still is, I believe) taught in Rome, at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum (see f.ex. here for one taking place on May 5-10, 2014).



I looked up demonic possession and exorcisms. So far, all I’ve found are articles disproving them. For instance, Michael Cuneo, author of American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty witnessed 50 exorcisms and said that none of them indicated the person was truly afflicted with demons, but instead were very troubled.

Then there was a case of an autistic boy in Milwaukee who died in 2003 during an exorcism; in another case a nun died during her exorcism.

I live where the supposed real life case that inspired the movie and book, “The Exorcist,” and I seem to remember reading that many years after the fact, the priest who’d performed that exorcism admitted that the subject wasn’t really possessed, after all.


If I’m not entitled to know, then how is it that YOU know how overworked exorcists are?

Are any of the books suggested above written by an unbiased source, like an unbeliever who came to believe after thorough research? Were all their examples of possession positively ruled out medically?

Were any of these books published recently, after major gains have been made in the mental health arena?


Christ is not a “liar,” no, of course not. However doctors, and Christ Himself, knew little about medical matters in Biblical days. They knew even less about mental health issues. Heck, little was known about mental illness up until a few decades ago. And there is still so much for the doctors to learn.


Some men are entitled to know. Does that concern you? Do you happen to know how overworked special agents or front-line soldiers are?

Bias is not determined by whether someone was an unbeliever and came to believe after some or lots of research. Bias is determined by whether someone is presenting facts or opinions. Those books are written by exorcists presenting their experiences, a psychiatrist presenting his own experience (I don’t even know if he is Catholic), and lay faithful who are gathering either accounts from other exorcists who did not intend to author a book or presenting what the Church teaches on the matter. I haven’t even read some of them, I am simply trying to point you to some documents considered reliable and potentially verifiable.

All cases of obsession and possession treated by the rite of exorcism are previously ruled out medically - meaning the person was subject to medical screening and treatment and was considered to be healthy despite the obvious disturbances.

Also clearly you don’t know how exorcism works. In short: it works today just as it worked through the centuries. There is empirical evidence to verify true obsession and possession. The same steps take place, the same stuff happens (though of course, like in illness, things can vary in graduation), and the same sacramentals and prayers are used. Once science ruled out medical illness and the rite begins, everyone in the room will know with certainty that there is demonic activity.

I don’t. I tried to satisfy her curiosity and answer her fair question. I mentioned some decent resources. Other than that, we must be clear as to where we stand with this. I believe it was more harsh to suggest that Christ and the apostles (or priests today) confuse illness with demonic activity. Indeed there are many things we could know, but some things we would rather not know if we try to learn out of a wrong kind of curiosity. This remark was once made by two people I highly esteem: Pope John Paul II and Padre Pio.


Can you point me in the direction of empirical evidence online that could better help me understand?


Long after the shameful and horrific case of Anneliese Michel, which had nothing to do with demonic possession and everything to do with grave mental illness and the ignorance of her parents and priests, the official ritual for exorcisms was finally revised:

After Anneliese’s death, some within the Catholic church made an almost scientific effort to reform church laws governing the use of exorcism. When an exorcist speaks imperatively to the demon, instead of to the patient (to say “I command thee, unclean spirit,” or some such thing), it confirms the patient’s belief that they are indeed possessed by a demon. This confirmation by an authority makes the psychological problem much worse. Aware of this complication, a commission of conscientious German theologians petitioned the Vatican in 1984 to ban this part of the ritual. It took 15 years for the Vatican to render a decision. When they finally did revise the exorcism formula in 1999 (the first time it had been reviewed since the 17th century), it still allowed for exorcists to directly address the alleged demon.

Gabriele Amorth is behaving like a salesman, not like a responsible priest who really cares about people. His approach is “well, maybe the patient doesn’t need an exorcism, but an exorcism couldn’t harm anyone, so why not?”. Now imagine a patient with a mental illness who is treated like a possessed one! And a priest-salesman who seeks to “sell” faith in God by such fear mongering tactics!


Indeed, doctors cannot cure many illnesses and most of the time they don’t even consider the possibility that the disturbance may be spiritual because they do not believe in God. This leads many to suffer and die unnecessarily when a cure is readily available for free. It is quite distressing.

Also, they did know little about medical matters, but still more than you imagine.

Did you know that during the XIV Century the Black Plague spread because patients who were sick or died were kept in the same room as the rest of the family, and laws of quarantine were not promoted until the XVII century, and yet they were quite well known as it was written: “all the days wherein the plague is in him…he shall dwell alone”?

Did you know that in 1845 in Vienna 30% of children died after birth, and a doctor called Ignaz Semmelweis, horrified, discovered that doctors would examine dead bodies and then examine expectant mothers without washing their hands, and that as he implemented the washing of hands the dead rate immediately dropped? There was no knowledge of microscopic diseases yet, but already Leviticus directed the washing of hands and clothes in running water (not in buckets, where the disease would spread).

The Lord did not mistake mental illness with the activity of an intelligent spirit. Nor do exorcists make that mistake today.


So how is a person with psychological problems at any level from mild to extreme ; how is that person to know or come to an understanding if he or she , is or is not at some level being tormented or even possessed by a demon… ?

I imagine at some point a person would need to contact a priest, but how does one breach the subject, let alone even begin to discern such a thing as to not become scrupulous about it or even develop some sort of O.C.D over the issue ?

Is a person supposed to be referred to a priest over the matter ?

I mean there are of course the blatant and obvious signs that something in the realm of satan is taking place, I guess I am talking other than that .

Then I am also curious, at times on television there are programs of people who claim to be an exorcist , they are obviously not Catholic, or by any means involved with the Catholic Church, some programs are blatantly for entertainment others seems to suggest that the individual is truly doing something good for Christ and society;

why then for those who think they are helping others, and working on behalf of Christ, would those people be considered doing something wrong in the eyes of the RCC ?
It seems that some where in Scripture Christ said something in regards to those who are working In my name can not work against me… ( very rough paraphrasing ).

So if that is to some degree correct that is quoted in scripture some where, why then would the RCC be against anyone who is working to help those who are possessed and are not just selling snake oil . ?

If Catholic priests are over taxed by such an issue, then why not start training deacons ( if they are already not ) and grant a right to lay catholics, even nuns , an friars ; on this issue ? What would be the problem with that idea ?


Can you point me in the direction of empirical evidence online that could better help me understand?

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