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The Psychological Signs of Demonic Possession


The psychological signs of demonic possession should not be confused with mental illness and should, in fact, be separated from the common signs associated with mental illnesses. The demonologist will want to make every effort to determine whether the symptoms an individual is displaying might somehow be related to a mental illness before proceeding to spiritual means in an effort to clean the individual of a demonic spirit. It is important to note that all of the symptoms do not have to be present at once, and some symptoms may appear while others may not. Many symptoms are also accompanied by a number of physical manifestations, not discussed in depth in this terse explanation about psychological symptoms.


Demon possession documented in cases around the world are not centered on one particular religion. Demon possession documented by demonologists and exorcists from all around the globe present a number of similar psychological indications that something is greatly amiss. It should be noted that this article is not intended for the purposes of a psychological evaluation and analysis and that if an individual believes that he or she might be possessed, contacting an individual that specializes in psychology as well as in spiritual warfare is highly recommended. This article is however, generated in an effort to identify the commonly reported psychological signs of demonic possession in legitimate cases of demonic possession from around the world.


A Comprehensive List of Psychological Signs of Demonic Possession


A change in social behaviors: A person that is an extrovert or regularly social that suddenly turns into someone that becomes an introvert or loner. Someone that begins to isolate him or herself; in such instances minor and major depression, as well as issues with anxiety should be ruled out before this can be considered one of the psychological signs of demonic possession and/or the changes in one’s personality must be accompanied by other signs of potential possession.


Personality changes: Personality changes can happen over time and evolve slowly or they can be abrupt changes that come on suddenly. Personality changes can also range from mild to extreme. Personality disorders, mood disorders, and social anxiety issues should be ruled out before such changes can be considered psychological signs of demonic possession and/or the changes in one’s personality must be accompanied by other signs of potential possession. Abrupt and recent head injuries, strokes, and/or epileptic seizures should also be ruled out. Severe head injuries can result in dramatic personality changes, especially injuries affecting the prefrontal lobe, and brain trauma can produce the same result.


Preternatural Occurrences: In some instances of possession the possessed can the ability to perform supernatural acts. The acts are seemingly imposed in a psychic manner and can result in the movement of physical objects and levitations. Electrical appliances might also be affected and spontaneous fires may erupt.


Sleep Disturbances: Some possession cases have reported that the victim requires very little sleep or that he or she sleeps excessively for hours or even days. Sometimes the sleep disturbances involve violent or excessively gruesome nightmares, and/or night terrors. Once again, it is important to rule out personality disorders, mood disorders, and social anxiety issues s before such changes can be considered psychological signs of a demonic possession and/or the changes in one’s personality must be accompanied by other signs of potential possession.


Aggressive Rage and Violent Behavior: A victim of possession can sometimes become aggressive, physically and verbally abusive, and excessively violent. Issues with explosive rage, anger related issues, personality disorders, mood disorders, and social anxiety issues should be ruled out before such changes can be considered psychological signs of demonic possession and/or the changes in one’s personality must be accompanied by other signs of potential possession.

Polyglossia: Polyglossia is the intermingling and use of more than one language simultaneously and with incredible fluency (1). This is not to be confused with an individual that has prior knowledge and fluency in more than one language and that is accustomed to using such languages simultaneously and/or interchangeably.


Xenoglossia: Xenoglossia is the sudden and abrupt ability to speak in multiple languages (2). It is imperative that the demonologist look for signs that back up the fact that the suspected victim of demonic possession did not have prior knowledge of such languages or any kind of fluency in the languages exhibited before denoting the appearance of multiple language usage as an indication of possession. It should be noted that in some reported cases of mental illness, an individual can present the ability to suddenly speak in previously unlearned languages. Instances of savantism and genius should also be ruled out before xenoglossia is deemed a sign or symptom of demonic possession.


Polyglossic Vocals: The ability to speak in two or more separate and distinct voices at one time or simultaneously (3). The demonologist must take care to ensure that the suspected victim of possession does not have the prior ability to manipulate the second set of vestibular folds or false vocal cords which would give the individual the capability of creating undertones beneath higher vocals and as many as six different sounds at the same time.


Prognostication: The sudden, seemingly supernatural, or preternatural ability to foretell future events and to provide information about people, places, things, and events that the victim could have no possible way of knowing (4). Often times, the suspected victim never displays any prior precognition.


Retrocognition: The sudden, seemingly supernatural, or preternatural ability to know of past events that the suspected victim of possession could not possibly have knowledge of or know (5).


Profanities: The victim of possession may change his or her language usage and may increase the use of swear words, curses, and profanities. This can sometimes accompany mood disorders, personality changes, and other mental disturbances.


Sacred Aversions: The sudden and unexplained aversion to objects considered sacred in positive religions; ie, consecrated water, pentacles, holy water, crosses, etc. Also, the aversion to pleas and prays spoken in extreme faith to a divine being.


Glossolalia: The act of speaking in tongues (6) not associated with sacred religious practices or rites. The demonologist must inquire about the suspected possessed victim’s religious affiliation to determine if glossolalia is a common practice for the individual so that the sudden onset of the practice can be determined. This symptom is not to be confused with the Pentecostal practice of speaking in tongues; some instances of glossolalia will seem like meaningless syllabic utterances but may actually be instances of Polyglossia where the merging of more than one language is occurring at a time.


Amnesia: Amnesia and memory loss not the result of brain trauma, head injury (dissociative amnesia), or mental illness can also be indicative of possession. The amnesia can involve Lacunar amnesia (7) which is the act of forgetting a single episode or event, or the memory loss can be related to anterograde amnesia (8) which is the loss of short term memories due to their failure to assimilate into long term memory.


Confusion: The suspected possessed victim may display serious confusion and a lack of awareness as to what is happening. The possessed individual may possess no knowledge whatsoever that they are possessed. Thus, bringing a possessed victim’s behaviors and actions to his or her attention may confuse or frighten him or her. Confusion can also accompany aggressive actions and behavior.


Embarrassment/Shame/Guilt: The possessed individual might be embarrassed by his or her uncontrolled behaviors if he or she becomes aware of them.


Auditory Experiences: The demonically possessed victim may report unexplained auditory experiences where they hear voices seemingly coming from within or from the external environment from no identified source. Auditory experiences and hallucinations are sometimes reported in cases involving mental illness.


Olfactory Experiences: The demonically possessed victim may complain of smelling foul odors that there are no identified causes for; this symptom can sometimes be associated with mental illness.


Additional Resources


ISIS Paranormal Radio has had demonologists on the show as guests. To listen into discussions related to demonology and demonic possession, visit the following links:

Dwayne Claud on Demonology - Part 1


Dwayne Claud on Demonology - Part 2


Cited Sources:


(1) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Polyglossy’, Def. 1, Available at: http://www.oed.com.


(2) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Xenoglossia’, Available at: http://www.oed.com.


(3) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Polyglossic’, Def. 1, Available at: http://www.oed.com.


(4) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Prognosticate’, Def. 1a, Available at: http://www.oed.com.


(5) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Retrocognition’, Def. 1a, Available at: http://www.oed.com.


(6) Oxford English Dictionary Online, 1989, 2nd ed, ‘Glossolalia’, Def. 1a, Available at: http://www.oed.com.

(7) "lacunar amnesia." The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 05 May. 2009.Dictionary.com http://dictionary1.classic.reference.com/browse/lacunar amnesia.


(8) Meyers, Catherine E. "Anterograde Amnesia." Memory Loss & The Brain.
2006. Rutgers University. 5 May 2009.
http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/anterogradeamnesia.html.


(9) "Glossolalia." Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc.
05 May. 2009. http://dictionary1.classic.reference.com/browse/Glossolalia.



Article written by: Dayna Winters and Patricia Gardner

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