Doubting demonic possession

Hello all,

I understand that exorcism is a sacramental, not a sacrament. I hope I am posting this question in the correct forum.

As I understand this topic, Catholicism requires belief in demons and demonic possession, and that one should take the new testament description of such events as true. The casting of demons into pigs is a rather explicit account (Matthew 8:28-32). I guess that particular exorcism, at least, was clearly not a misinterpreted psychological malady if the demons were miraculously transferred to the herd of swine. And there are Gabriel Amorth’s (Vatican exorcist) books, and Paul Thigpen’s (of TAN Books) recent book “Manual for Spiritual Warfare”, where he too states that the devil can possess people and otherwise physically intervene: move objects and otherwise terrorize/haunt people and places.

I have read that prior to an exorcism, medical professionals must rule out psychological and neurological problems. I assume that is required prior to an exorcism, correct?

So where are the videos from the medical profession of someone so violently possessed that modern medicine was at a complete loss for an explanation? I don’t buy into the possession videos on youtube. Those all seem like psychological or neurological conditions.

It seems to me that a real video of true possession – a case that confounded and in fact terrified medical professionals – would cause the conversion of more than a few skeptics. Or is the devil so subtle he does not want that? If the latter is the case, how do we really know demonic possession is real? But if real, where are the incontrovertible videos from the current day medical profession? Please don’t tell me the Catholic church will not release such videos. If protocol was followed, the medical profession had access to the afflicted patient first, right?


I understand your point, but it’s not the Church’s or exorcist’s function to prove the demonic to non believers.

Their function is to assess and help the afflicted person, which includes maintaining their privacy in such a time of suffering. In other words, they are not seeking glory or validation.

“Proving” God in science labs or on YouTube is really not a valid approach to understanding God.

There is no reason to video tape an exorcism. The possessed person is thoroughly examined by the medical profession first and if no other cause is found, then the exorcism will take place. These examinations are not video taped either because of obvious doctor/patient privacy. I doubt very much that a skeptic would be convinced, even if they witnessed an exorcism in person.

Certainly I would expect the church to maintain absolute privacy in those matters.

I was mostly seeking evidence form the medical profession, of those strange cases that were later abandoned as hopeless or incurable.

Ever read this?

I would actually recommend that you read books written by the actual Catholic exorcists, like Fr. Amorth, and Fr. Gary Thomas, in the book The Rite by Matt Baglio.

Some of the signs can be - speaking in languages they did not know (even several)- did not study.

Knowledge of matters they could not know.
Even in some cases levitation.

One should look to authentic sources -books or articles etc from Catholic Priests who are Exorcists.

Exorcisms are not the matter for video recordings for such is contrary to the privacy of the person involved as well as can make things into some show…

Nor would the medical records be readily available I imagine …again the persons privacy is very important.

The vast majority of suspected possession are determined to be of natural origin. The Church takes its tine and carefully examines and discerns each case individually. Because of the HIPAA laws, the medical field cannot video tape or release or even discuss such information, and as pointed out, the Church’s obligation is to help the suffering soul.

If your archdiocese has an exorcist Priest, you might consider making contact and having a conversation. I have found that some of the ‘extern’ Priests, normally from Africa, India or various nations in Asia, have performed exorcisms. If you know of one, take him to lunch and have an amazing talk.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

Because of the HIPAA laws, the medical field cannot video tape or release or even discuss such information…

Unless the patient allows it, as in these examples…

You would think that in those cases where someone was truly possessed, at least someone by now (who had been successfully exorcised) would have wanted people to know it was true (so as to reduce unbelief), and therefore would have had the video from the clinical setting (prior to the exorcism) released. I guess that has never happened.


About what?

Church rules concerning this go further than civil laws…

I’m interested to understand your motivation in this. My guess is that most folks that do start looking at demonology do so for a reason.

I agree with the previous posters that books written with Catholic exorcists are a good resource on the subject. I did read “The Rite”, and I recommend it. The book isn’t intending to “prove demonic possession”, but rather shares experiences.

I do have a friend who is an exorcist, and he has shared some of his experiences with me , and they do point to something beyond the natural (like eyes changing from blue to ugly red and then back to blue again). It is my opinion that these kinds of things would not show up on a video recording, however. These stories can be easily dismissed by a skeptic as wishful fiction as they cannot prove anything preternatural - only point toward it.

If you are looking for proof, I suspect it cannot be done. One step to take on this journey is to consider that your doubts are completely accurate: in that case, then that would say that there are many conspiracies in this area as each supposed case of possession requires at least two liars (the person pretending to be possessed and the person pretending to exorcise them.)

Again such would fall under the privacy of the person involved. The Church not into publishing such.

One can find at times cases described in authentic works on the matter -but their names etc are protected.

An example of a legit exorcist is Father Vince Lampert (who speaks from time to time).

There was a psychologist that I recall I think on Catholic Answers live who works in such cases. One would have to search him out on the main site.

As I said in a prior post…the best way is to experience it yourself…Seems to me, experiencing is believing…so I will repost my question to you in post #5:

If you are such a skeptic or non-believer…have you considered asking the devil to actually possess you…to prove it? (to yourself)

Or are you scared? (or maybe, there is a little tinge of it may be true…and you do not want to admit it, ah???);):o

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