By the power of God the chains of demonic forces can be broken.
Demons and deliverance
At first a linguistic remark:
The English language has some words for the presence and influence of demons. But not all these words are well known. In many dictionaries some of these are not found. They are: Demonology, demonry, demonianism, demoniasm, demonomy and demonocracy. The last 2 words however are too strong for only demonic influence without demonic possession. In this article is chosen for demonry.
(There are more nouns ending on -ry, expressing the properties, presence or occupation of the words from which they are derived. For example: 1. ancient = old; ancientry = oldness. 2. agent = one that acts or has the power or authority to act; agentry = the office or functions of an agent. 3. biochemist = scientist dealing with the chemistry of living organisms; biochemistry = the science or study of that kind of chemistry. And many other nouns!).
A. Demonry in the Bible
The word demonry refers to the demons or evil spirits, the followers of the devil. One mostly assumes that the devil himself is also a demon, namely the head demon. Demonry can occur in all types and grades. A severe form is possession. Then the victim is so possessed by demonic forces, that those forces prescribe what happens in his or her live. There is then for the possessed little or no room left for personal choices. In the Bible we find an example of this in the possessed of Gadara in Mark 5. This person lived among the graves, and no one could compel him to lead an orderly life. Even if he was tied with chains and fetters he had not been overcome. For then he pulled everything to pieces with which he had been bound. Apparently the demons had given him supernatural strength. He was also calling much and hit himself with stones.
But when the Lord Jesus came to him, he recognized immediately in the Lord Jesus the Son of God. Therefore he worshipped the Saviour and cried aloud: "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Son of the highest God? I adjure Thee by God, that Thou do not torment me." The Lord had namely ordered the demons to leave the man. They were then afraid, that the Lord Jesus would send them to hell, so to the place of the eternal fire. This is also shown in the parallel text in Luke 8: 31. There is written that the demons asked not to be sent to the abyss (in some translations: the deep). With that abyss the place is meant, where the evil spirits will arrive after their final condemnation. And that is the hell.
When the Lord Jesus asked his name he said: "My name is Legion." There was really a legion of demons in him. And that was proved to be true very quickly. For they asked to be allowed to enter into a herd of about 2000 swine, which was feeding nearby. The Lord Jesus gave consent for that and then the swine became possessed. They stampeded and fell along a precipice into the sea, where the animals drowned.
Impression of the mad swine
This story raises however some questions. Why did the Lord Jesus permitted that the evil spirits entered into the swine? I think that he did, because by that the proof was given, that indeed thousands of demons were present in the man. All people who saw that all happen, got demonstrative education then, also the disciples or students of the Lord Jesus. These students needed this education. For later on they themselves would be sent out to heal people and to deliver them of evil spirits.
And why did the demons want to enter into those swine? First of course to avoid a dismissal to hell. But presumably there was more behind it. Maybe the demons had also the purpose, to place the Lord Jesus in a bad light to the people, who lived in that region. For the owners and caretakers of the swine had suddenly lost their animals, by which they, as one may suppose, made money. Therefore they asked the Lord Jesus to leave their region. And so he did.
Furthermore we can assume that the demons, after the swine had drowned, just continued to go in the country, searching for one or more new victims. For is was of course useless for them to stay in dead animals. Also in this present time it often happens, that demons (whether or not after the death of their victim) pass from one person to another. This may be a son or daughter, or another relative. But the present-day demonry will soon be treated separately.
About another form of demonry we read in Luke 11: 14. There is told about someone who is dumb by the action of a demon. When the demon had been expelled that person could speak again.
It rather often happens that a particular illness, disease or ailment is caused by one or more demons. So in Luke 13: 11-17 is told of a woman who had already 18 years a stooped back and by that could not raise herself. The Lord Jesus healed her however and explained (when the ruler of the synagogue condemned this healing, because it happened on a Sabbath), that Satan (= the devil) had bound her 18 years. Thus here was also a kind of demonry.
Impression of the healing of the woman with the stooped back
The demonry was clearly visible to the bystanders at the lunatic boy, about whom is told in Mark 9: 14 to 27. By the demonry foam came on his mouth, he gnashed his teeth, fell to the ground and behaved as if he was torn. In this way the demon did fall the boy also often into the fire or the water. But by the command of the Lord Jesus the demon went away out of the boy.
Divination is also the work of demons. When the apostle Paul was near the town of Philippi, he was called after by a woman with a spirit of divination. (Acts 16: 16 to 18). She could tell things to other people, which she only could know by the revealing of a demon. After some days Paul was so tired of that calling behind him, that he commanded the spirit of divination to leave the woman. And that happened. By this Paul came in prison, because other people made money through the divination of that woman. This could no longer after driving out the evil spirit, so that those people became angry with Paul.
By intervention of God (there came an earthquake) Paul came back from prison. So God showed His power again and again! And by this history God had also indicated to the people, that the divination was caused by an evil spirit. And that this must always yield to the power of God!
Yet another form of demonry we see in Jewish scribes and Pharisees. The Lord Jesus spoke something special about them, namely in Matthew 12: 43-45. There we read:
43. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Thus here man is compared to a house. In this house lives a demon. This leaves, but because he can not find rest he comes back. Then he finds that house cleaned and decorated. And then he fetches more evil spirits yet and together they live in that house, that is: in that person.
What did the Lord Jesus mean by that? These Jewish leaders had cleansed themselves of the pagan idolatry. By that they found themselves very good. In front of other people they lived neat and very religious. Their life was full of religious activities. In that way they had cleaned and decorated themselves (at least in appearance). But the Lord Jesus knew their hearts. He knew that they did not really love God and their fellow people. For them everything turned around their own honour and glory. So for example they went to stay at the corners of the streets praying. Not because they had so much need to pray to God, but simply to receive human honour of the other Jews. In short: Even those Jewish leaders had demons in themselves, but then demons of lovelessness, coveting honour, egoism and hypocrisy. In essence these demons were of an extra crafty and dirty sort.
B. Demonry in our time
1. Möttlingen in Germany
The best-known true story of the last centuries about demonry and deliverance is perhaps the story of Reverend J.C. Blumhardt and the young woman Gottliebin Dittus. The story took place in the German Möttlingen, in Baden-Württemberg, in the nineteenth century. Gottliebin was tormented by demonic pesterers. Some people think, that real Christians can never have a demonic charge. But this proposition can not be proved and is even categorically false. For no Christian is totally perfect. Everyone has character defects and sins. And along that road the demons try to gain influence on a person. By the way: If God does not protect us, we people are anyway not able to cope with all devilish forces. Job experienced that also. His life was an example of godliness, holiness, justice and mercy towards the poor. Yet God allowed that he lost his earthly possessions and even his health, when the devil attacked him.
Gottliebin was a convinced Christian. However she was tormented by demonic spirits. When she came to live in Möttlingen and at the table prayed to the Lord Jesus, she was attacked by a sinister power and she fell unconsciously on the ground. From that time she was tortured in all kinds of ways, especially at night. Then she saw shapes and lights and more than once her arms were violently smacked together. In the house was repeatedly stumbling, although that was not caused by humans. She became seriously ill. Originally Pastor Blumhardt visited her rarely. Her strange behaviour repulsed him. Only later he understood, that devilish forces were involved. Two years after the attacks began, in April 1842, her brothers and sisters came to the parsonage to ask the help of Blumhardt. The stumbling in the house became in fact so loud, that it was heard far and wide in the surroundings. Meanwhile other people also dealt with the case. Another woman from her church congregation and the doctor stayed a night at the home of Gottliebin. Indeed the stumbling was real. Gottliebin did not invent it.
Finally Rev. Blumhardt decided to spend also a night in the house himself, but with about 7 other men yet. Then the struggle began for him just good. What happened during this struggle borders on the unbelievable. Yet the history has been recorded by reliable truth-loving people. As soon as Blumhardt entered the house, two hard beats sounded from the room. It seemed like gunshots. During their stay in the house 25 strokes were heard totally. Some were so hard, that the windows rattled and the chairs jumped from the ground. Repeatedly plaster fell from the ceiling and for the other villagers it seemed to be like New Year's Eve. And although the men ransacked the whole house, they found nothing unusual. The next day Gottliebin was again attacked and then remained lying unconsciously for a while. From that time Blumhardt visited her regularly with some faithful members of the congregation. Again and again Gottliebin got new attacks, but Pastor Blumhardt noticed already, that an attack stopped, when Gottliebin herself prayed. His faith was strengthened: The evil forces had to yield to the name of the Lord Jesus! However the battle would be very violent yet.
The evil forces took so much possession of Gottliebin, that she herself got a hostile attitude towards her pastor. She clenched her fists to him and made a gesture as if she wanted to scratch out his eyes. A stream of invective came over her lips. Blumhardt understood however, that she herself was not speaking, but the demons in her. He responded by speaking out prayers and Bible texts. And for that the demons had respect! When a demonic attack was repulsed Gottliebin could be herself again: A Christian woman, who with all her heart trusted in the Lord and dedicated herself to Him. But the violent attacks came back continually. However Pastor Blumhardt discovered also, that the demons yielded, when he simply ordered them to leave. Then 3 demons went out. A little later 7 and then 14! Every time changed the facial expression and the voice of the girl, when the demons made known themselves through her. Additionally the fellow workers of Pastor Blumhardt got beats and punches, but he himself did not. The demons said frankly, that they did not dare that. Gottliebin they really dared to pester before leaving. They made the girl pulling out the hair and hitting the head against the wall. The demons that had not yet been expelled raged more and more. The state of Gottliebin was increasingly getting worse. His friends and colleagues were doing every effort to make Blumhardt to change his mind. But he could not and did not want to stop, although he often felt desperate. He was constantly calling to God for help.
The brothers who helped the pastor counted the demons that had left. There seemed no end to it! After some time 175, later 425. All these demons reported themselves personally, each with its own voice. But they did not leave without any problem! One night the girl was nearly strangled. A fiery hand squeezed her throat. When the hand released, her neck was full of blisters. Blumhardt became terribly exhausted and had to withdraw for a while for not going under himself. Then the demons had more room to play yet, and her condition became worse than ever before. But Blumhardt returned and many demons left her, one after another. Then the girl revived and could lead a normal life for weeks. But nevertheless new attacks came and the struggle was going to last two years. More and more friends and colleagues turned away from him, because they thought he had to stop. Gottliebin lost during the demonic attacks also much blood. It seemed to become her death.
But with new attacks she ran like mad through the room. (Demons can give extra powers!). She called for a knife to commit suicide with that. When she did not find it, she climbed out of the window in order to jump down. But the lightning flashed and Gottliebin came through this to herself. "Oh God," she exclaimed, "I do not want this". She came back, but soon a new fit of madness followed. Suddenly she had a rope and wanted to hang herself. But again a lightning brought her to the reality.
On February 8, 1843, a new period arrived, namely of sinister materializations. Blumhardt could imagine that people would not believe him anymore, when he told them the truth, but luckily he had eyewitnesses. When Gottliebin had to vomit, sand came forth. Later shards of glass, old crooked nails, needles and pins. Even out of her nose and ears came objects. All this was accompanied by terrible pain. Even locusts, bats, a frog and a snake came out of her mouth.
During the Christmas Days of 1843 Katharina, the sister of Gottliebin, got exactly the same attacks as Gottliebin, while Gottliebin herself remained fairly quiet. This was a new tactic of the demons. They were moved over to Katharina to cause confusion. A demon in Katharina challenged God to do a sign of which whole Möttlingen would be witness. Meanwhile the demons kept on tormenting Katharina. During a quarter of an hour the girl uttered cries of despair, penetrating to the marrow. All her limbs were shaking horribly. But in the night at 2 o'clock the remaining demons could no longer endure. Through the power of God's Spirit they felt that they had to leave. Katharina was sitting on a chair and suddenly bent her head and upper body far backwards. Then she roared with a superhuman loud voice: "Jesus ist Sieger!" (That is: "Jesus is Victor!"). Far and wide in the surroundings this voice could be heard. In that way Möttlingen was indeed witness of God's victory!
When these demons had been overcome finally (according to the witnesses there were more than a thousand) a glorious revival came in that whole region. The empire of the devil had been weakened and God's Spirit began to work with power. Many came to believe, also because they heard of the history of Gottliebin and Katharina. And Gottliebin healed completely of all she had been to undergo. Also her limp disappeared. Her short foot grew to normal size. She joined Pastor Blumhardt going to live in his house and became his most faithful co-worker. It became also extra busy in the parsonage. The whole day people came to the house to confess their sins or to ask help. Big strong agricultural workers often wept like a child. So God's grace prevailed and He received the honour!
But .... so many people came to the house of Blumhardt, that it became to be crowded. It was almost impossible to sustain. Therefore he began to look for a building that could serve as a center for his work. One day someone made him aware of the sulfur health resort of Bad Boll, 50 km south of Stuttgart, and just like Möttlingen in Baden-Württemberg. When he went to see it, his first impression was that the building was much too big for him. However he opened himself to God's guidance. He decided to lay the matter in God's hand and said, "If my wife and Gottliebin dare it, I shall consider that as a hint of God and take steps to buy it." The two women visited also the building and chose it absolutely. The money was a problem for a while, but with the help of friends and supporters the money that was needed came there. On July 31, 1852, exactly 14 years after his entrance into Möttlingen, he moved to his new destination. And only concerning what he was allowed to do there for God, a whole book can already be written. This work has meant very much for God's Church on earth, and has had also much influence in other countries!
The monumental Bad Boll that Blumhardt bought to help others. It became a great blessing for very many people. The building has come later into other hands and got more than once another destination, but the inscription remained.
To mention just one example concerning this building: In 1879 a young woman became seriously ill. She asked her family to send a telegram to Pastor Blumhardt. But they refused flatly. They wanted to have nothing to do with that "crazy-house". Meanwhile the patient was getting more and more sicker. At a certain time the maid of the family could no longer sustain it, and sent a telegram to the minister with a request for prayer. And two hours after the telegram had arrived in Bad Boll, the young woman was completely healed, to astonishment of the whole family!
Doreen Irvine was born in London in 1931 or 1932. So already in her early childhood she endured World War II. Moreover her father was addicted to alcohol, and after a time opted for another woman. There was severe poverty in the family. All this placed already early a mark on her life. At some older age she went to live together with 6 other girls. These girls were involved in prostitution. Doreen was tempted to join. In that way it would be easier for her to get money. The men paid well! Some time later she applied in joke for a job in the striptease. To her amazement she was accepted. This new "work" paid still better. But one day a man offered her a sticky, a cigarette with a soft drug in it. After some time also heroin was offered to her. So she became addicted. Her body decayed so much that she became unfit for her "work" and she got her dismissal. So she had lost her rich source of income, while she just needed much money to buy new drugs. By the misery she started with shoplifting. So it came from bad to worse. She was caught and through a trial she came for three months in prison. Bewildered she underwent her fate.
This was however her salvation. In prison she had to detox from the drugs and after her liberation she had new chances. But she fell back into her old life. Again she became a stripper and also started to use drugs again. She did not know in that time that she needed the Lord Jesus. The mentioned cases were not the end. She let herself to be tempted also to visit a temple of Satan. The chief satanist was immediately interested in her. They got a relation. So she learned the principles of the Church of Satan: Lying, cheating, cursing, free sex and murder were allowed. The chief satanist took care that she got heroin regularly. She was also ordained high priestess. One day her friend made that she came in contact with the black witchcraft. At the word witchcraft she had to think of fairy tales. But it was not a fairy tale. It is another form of demonry. To be more exactly: Magic. Magic is the power to do miracles by the power of the devil and his demons. Thus black witches are able to speak out a curse over someone with power. If God does not prevent it, that person will have a bad end then. Doreen got also magic power. She could for example kill a bird in the sky. With the lapse of time she was nominated as a candidate to become queen of the black witches. In a trial she had to walk into a great fire. If she would return unharmed, she would be queen. Indeed she did. In the fire she met the devil himself, who caused her not to be burned. So she became queen of the black witches.
These things may seem very incredible. Fortunately we do not experience these things every day. Yet stronger: Almost nobody has such an experience. But is that reason for not believing it? Happily God still holds back the devil and his demons. They can only do something if God permits. But in circles where the devil is worshipped openly, like that of the black witchcraft, God gives more room to play to the demons. Not because God approves what they are doing there, but because He leaves the people there to themselves and the devil. For they have openly chosen for that, often by signing a document with their own blood. Through this the devil considers those people as his personal property.
After a period of time however Doreen noticed that she was not happy. She was assaulted by fear and uncertainty, and thought of the possibility to withdraw herself from this world of evil. But how was that possible? She was as with chains caught in this world. The devil did not let her go for nothing! Nevertheless she started to visit some churches. Her feelings were confused. Simultaneously she hated the Christians and their faith. When she saw a board of a church with the words: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" she angrily tore the paper from the board. In her heart she called the Christians hypocrites. She was going to pull off still much more hanged Christian posters. But to her great surprise a few days later much more posters were hanging. She could not get no longer the things of the Christian faith out of her mind. God was busy with her. Just through her hatred she continually came in contact with the faith. So she entered a church with the purpose to hammer the pastor on his face. She was simply able to walk further, but she could not resist. An attentive guard of the building however could prevent that she executed her intention. She came to sit in the back of the church, dressed as a whore.
But by the song of a woman, who sang about the love of Christ, she was deeply moved. Only then she realized that nobody had ever really loved her. That true love she wanted also! When the pastor proclaimed that anyone who does not know Christ is bound by the sins, she stood up and shouted: "He is right. I am bound!" The minister did not know what to say for a moment, but then he continued with even more fire. At the end he invited the people to come forward, if they wanted to know the Lord Jesus. Doreen wanted also to come forward, but it was as if heavy chains kept her on her place. They heard audibly the voice of the devil: "You are MINE! You can not go forward. It is for you too late. You are MINE." But by another force however she could get up and go forward. God came to her aid. Tears of emotion flowed down her face. But soon afterwards the doubts returned. The people could not help her easy. Yet she later told her girl friends: "I have given my heart to Jesus." She knew she had made a new choice, a choice for her Saviour! However the battle was not yet over then. For a big part the battle had just started, because the devil did not let her go without any problem!
She visited different churches, but when she heard about the blood of Jesus a dark force took completely possession of her. Then she snatched away Bibles and tore them to pieces, threw hymn books through the church, and hit the Communion objects from the hands of those who went around with bread and wine. Also she fell screaming to the ground and was hissing and writhing like a snake. Later she could nothing still remember of what had happened. The devil oppressed her so much, that she wanted to commit suicide. She was already standing on the edge of a bridge railing. But a man pulled her down. Desperately she ran into a phone booth. When she came a bit to herself she saw on the wall of the booth a name and a number. She called the number and came into contact with a pastor. He brought her into contact with another pastor, Arthur Neil, who had experience with the driving out of evil spirits. Doreen really wanted to be freed, but the struggle was long and Rev. Neil did not have so much time. Time after time however he continued his work with her and again and again demons were cast out: They had names such as Lie, Witchcraft, Pride, Lust, Doubt, Unbelief and Pesterer. This last mentioned demon ordered her to do a knife in her bag, before she went back to Rev. Neil. When she was again with him she had to kill him. But with the help of his assistants the minister could stop her and snatch away the knife.
In one of the meetings Doreen saw the Lord Jesus Himself standing behind Rev. Neil. The Lord had a loving and wonderful beautiful appearance. He was dressed in a bright dress and surrounded by a bright light that filled the whole room. His face expression was gentle and kindly. His eyes were filled with a deep compassion and he looked straight into her eyes. She knew that He loved her. Doreen needed this encouraging experience, for the battle would be still heavy. Before she was completely free of the demons she became seriously ill.She was brought to a psychiatric hospital, and was given so many medicines that she became addicted. By X-ray photos a brain damage was detected. According to the doctors it had come by the many drugs.
When Pastor Neil was again in Bristol (where Doreen was hospitalized) she got permission to leave the institution for a weekend. She went to the minister and implored him to help her further. That he did. That evening the other demons were driven out. The last demon had the name of Dementia. His job was to demolish the brains! After this demon had been left also, X-ray photos were made again. Then there was nothing visible anymore of a brain damage! The aberration had been the work of Dementia! Seven months were needed to deliver Doreen completely of 47 demons. Then she was free! Really free! She needed no longer the institution. After that she still had need for a long time to rest and to heal intrinsically. She also had to detox from the many medications. But thereafter the full light and the full joy broke through in her heart, and everywhere she was going to witness of her Lord, Who had delivered her. Even in pubs she gave her testimony. So her Saviour was honoured and glorified, Who had pulled her out of the darkness and placed in His wonderful light!
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond, who stood in the service of liberation
In the above stories spectacular events occur. But demonry does not always involve such things. That was also not in the biblical times. Think of the Jewish scribes and Pharisees (about whom in the first part of this article has been written). They too were seen by the Lord Jesus as people in whom devilish powers lived, though they lived in outward sense neat and decent.
Even children, who are difficult in upbringing, may have demonic powers in them, and therefore need deliverance. This was for example also the case with the six year old girl Mary. I am not sure in which country she lived, but that was probably America. For she was liberated by Ida Mae Hammond. And Ida Mae lived with her husband Frank Hammond in America. Both were dedicated to the service of deliverance. It was their work to deliver people from evil spirits.
Mary was so difficult and intractable for her father, that he feared that he would punish her too hard. He asked for help to Mr. and Mrs. Hammond, and Ida Mae did her best for the child. Mary had come with her father to visit Ida. The child was very busy and was much jumping. Ida had to take her on her lap to be able to work quietly. The demons were addressed by Ida and left the child after a certain time. This was sometimes with violence. Mary bit a piece off the blouse of Ida. But Ida became not angry, but gave the blame to the demons. At a certain moment Mary became suddenly sick to her stomach and a great ball of mucus came out of her mouth. Something like that happens more when someone is being freed from evil spirits. Eventually the girl became calm and relaxed. She had been delivered from the demons!
In later times Ida received various good reports about Mary. People told: "She is so different. She is not the same anymore. I can hold her and she likes it that you are sweet to her. You would simply not believe, that she is that same girl." God had done a glorious miracle in the life of this young girl. She had become a sweet child!
4. Once again Germany
Picture 1 of these 2: Anneliese in her good time. Picture 2 of these 2: Anneliese in later time. Demons are merciless.
If we read the stories about liberations by the authority and power of the Lord Jesus, we might think that there is always a happy end for the people who are possessed, or in every case under the influence of dark demonic powers, when they get at least help. But unfortunately then there is sometimes an unhappy end. This must be said honestly. The following story illustrates this clearly. This story is not told so that the helpers would lose all courage, but in order that they would learn from the mistakes of others. Some helpers make such great mistakes, that it is no wonder, if they fail to release someone from evil powers.
Anneliese Michel was born on September 21, 1952, in Leiblfing in the German state of Bavaria. She grew up as a cheerful, attractive and intelligent girl. At school she attracted attention by her performance. She was also very religious (Roman Catholic) and was very helpful to others. But also she came under the influence of demonic powers, and to such an extent that one can speak of possession. It is difficult to say how that came into being exactly. Religious errors need not always lead to heavy demonic condition. But it got more and more worse with her.
The misery started with a physical illness. Because of tuberculosis she had to be hospitalized in Mittelberg. But she received the grace to recover and to return home. She continued her studies. But after a while she got difficulties with speaking and also with walking. She had to hold on to everything to avoid falling. She also began to suffer from depression. When she once sat at the table with her mother, her mother saw suddenly that her hands had become much larger. Anneliese herself also saw that something was wrong and said: "I have black hands. Savior, forgive me!" At that time she also got terrifying visions. She saw faces of devils on the wall with 7 crowns and 7 horns. (By the way: This is reminiscent of the beast of Revelation 13: 1. But the beast there has 7 heads, 10 horns and 10 crowns). During a journey Anneliese spoke with an unnatural male voice and got repeatedly swellings on her body. She could not endure religious symbols. She could not enter a church building or something like that.
The trials were more and more heavier. The demons threw her repeatedly with her back to the ground and forced her then to lie there for hours. When she got up she was again thrown down. Her mother put as many pillows and the like as possible on the ground, but the demons threw her then exactly next to the pillows and soft materials. Also she was often thrown with her head against the wall and she had even to bite on stones in the wall and on the ground. She also slept on the hard ground (for 3 years), ate flies and spiders, and licked up her own urine. In times in which she was calmer she prayed much to Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. That is a pity. Mary is also but a human being. Only God could help her. Even doctors and psychiatrists could not heal her. Sometimes a doctor said already of his own accord, that he had no medicine against possession. Besides Anneliese often did not want to eat and drink, in the hope that the demons would have less hold on her then.
As she herself and her parents suspected that demons were involved in the case, they asked the Roman Catholic Church to help with exorcism (driving out of demons). Two priests (father Alt and father Renz) came, who tried to help her with great dedication and they performed many sessions. A total of 67. Alas they were again far too much focussed on Mary. When the demons at a certain moment cried: "She comes! She comes!" (meaning Mary) the priests went on their knees. But who wants to drive out demons should not let himself be influenced in that way by what the demons say! He must remain standing above that. (Present exorcists sometimes run away to the other side, and start shouting to the possessed, as if they must drive out the demons in their own strength. They are often also pushing the victim unnecessarily, sometimes with the intention to make him of her fall).
Moreover God does not want that we worship somebody else but Him alone. When the apostle John on the island of Patmos saw the appearance of an angel, he also began to worship him. But the angel said, "See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God." (Revelation 19: 10). At the time of the Old Testament the Jews were even severely punished, if they despite the warnings of the prophets continued to worship someone or something outside of God. By the way: It was already wrong that the priests were called "father". In Matthew 23: 9 the Lord Jesus says: "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."
In essence the priests gave every opportunity to the demons to deceive them. They commanded the demons to say "Hail Mary, full of grace!" on the moment when they would leave. That would be the sign for the priests, that the demons had really left. But demons are liars. If they say something like that, it certainly does not mean that they really go away! Just in this way they can play a game with those who want to drive them out! Indeed the demons said time after time "Hail Mary, full of grace!" And then the priests always thought that again a demon had gone. So the priests opened their mind to lies and deceit. Not for nothing the devil is called the father of lies. And his followers, the demons, have the same nature.
The fact that demons are liars, is also evident from the audio recordings, which are made of the conversations between the priests and the demons. The demons frequently contradicted themselves. So at first they said that there were 6 demons in Anneliese. Later they said that there were 5. "Where is the sixth?" asked a priest. "We have lied that." replied the demons. Another time a demon frankly admitted, that lying was his trade. So it is really inconceivable, that the priests after all still attached so much value to the statements of the demons, concerning to their departure. In other respects the priests did not just blindly believe what the demons said. Thus how incredible naïve it was, that they did believe the demons in this respect!
One time something very special happened. In a period when the demons left Anneliese somewhat in peace, she and her friend Peter (who remained loyal to her despite everything) went out for a walk. But during that walk she suddenly could not go further, because she was so weakened. What had they to do? Then (according to her own statement) Maria appeared to her. Mary asked her if she wanted to do penance for many other people who would otherwise be lost eternally. Immediately Anneliese got back her powers. She could walk again and even jump. But she had to decide in 3 days. She chose for the penance, because she did not want that others would be lost eternally. Then the demonic attacks started again. The undergoing of those attacks she saw as the penance.
But .... did Mary really appeared to her? Probably the demons had posed as Maria! In that way they wanted to get the permission of Anneliese to torment her furthermore! It can not be that it was Mary. For a human does not need to do penance for other people! The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for all who believe! It is even an insult towards Him, if we want to suffer, like He, for the sins of the people. Only He could do that! He could suffer, because he was really a human. And He could bear the sins of the world, because He was and is really God. Anneliese needed to add nothing to that, and even could not. And why did she get new forces after that so-called appearance of Mary? Also that is not difficult to explain. Demons can break a human, but can also provide restoration (with the purpose to destroy even more after that). One may also wonder why the demons just posed as Mary. But that is obvious. They knew how much Anneliese revered Mary. So she could hardly refuse a request of Mary! And also the people around Anneliese were fixated on Mary to a large extent.
After more than 3 months the priests thought that they had driven out all the demons from her. Indeed Anneliese felt herself very well then and said: "I am completely free now... completely free. It is so wonderful... completely free." But this lasted only 10 minutes. Then the demons showed their presence already again. The priests were baffled. In the following months they still continued their work. But they did not succeed in getting her really free. On July 1, 1976, Anneliese died because (as people think) of lack of food and drink, and by her many and serious injuries....
Picture 1 of these 2: The grave of Anneliese in Klingenberg in Germany. Picture 2 of these 2: The inscription on the cross
That so-called Mary had promised her, that she would deliver her from the demons. But it had not happened. That shows also that there was cheat involved. How cunning are the demons! 2 Corinthians 11: 14: "For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." If someone wants to deliver other people from demons, he must certainly not let deceive himself by the demons! The priest to whom Anneliese poured out her heart in a lucid moment, believed himself also in the penance by Anneliese. Thus the death of Anneliese was even seen as a victory over the demons, because she would have saved many people from hell. What a folly! The priests just lost the fight!
The cunningness of the demons is also evident from the injuries, which they caused at the feet and hands of Anneliese. The injuries resembled wounds from nails. This made people think of the nail wounds of the Lord Jesus as a result of the crucifixion. Even so they gave people the impression that Anneliese was suffering to expiate the sins of others. Superstitious people saw even a confirmation in that. But it was all demonic deception!
Because the priests did not understand all those things and because they were too much fixed on Mary, they have placed the service of liberation in Germany and abroad in a bad light. The parents and the priests were indicted 2 years later and sentenced to 3 years suspended, namely because of negligence. They found that they could have done more to rescue the girl. Through all this the case became widely known. Yet this punishment was not justified. They have never prevented Anneliese to ask ordinary medical help. Much more the contrary. The priests empathized heartily when she was examined by a doctor. And the stopping to eat and to drink was her own decision. Sometimes in the meantime she suddenly started to eat and to drink very much. The priests who were not always with her, got by that the impression that it was not so bad. It happened already in an earlier time that she was emaciated and afterwards it became good again. But the demons aimed at her death and reached their goal.
The injustice during the trial was also evident in the fact, that the family doctor of Anneliese declared for the court, that she had not been possessed. Probably he said this because he was afraid, that otherwise he himself would be suspected of strange ideas. (For psychiatrists declared that Anneliese suffered from psychoses en epilepsy). But during her life this family doctor had just refused to give medicines because possession (according to his own words) could not be cured with medication. So they could hardly accuse the parents and priests of negligence. But before God they were guilty because of their superstition and Mary-worship.
Did Anneliese really suffer from psychoses and epilepsy? Doctors claimed that, but what she endured can impossibly be explained by that! And moreover: Several years after her death a Swiss doctor, Theo Weber-Arma, who studied the medical records of Anneliese, discovered that Anneliese had undergone 3 EEG tests during medical examinations. And each time epilepsy was excluded! In spite of that she was treated for years with anti-epileptic drugs such as zentropil and tegretol in high doses. But these drugs have serious side effects! It is very likely that these drugs have hastened her death or even have caused in the main!
Meanwhile: Even after her death the superstition of the relatives did not stop. Approximately 2 years after the funeral a nun from Bavaria told to the parents of Anneliese, that she had received a vision. In that vision she had seen that the body of Anneliese had not decomposed, because this was a supernatural event. In the hope of rehabilitation the parents made exhume the body. Once exhumed the body showed the signs of normal decomposition (although the parents and the priests were not allowed from the authorities then to see the body). Yes, Anneliese had been really possessed in her life. But God did not give rehabilitation to the parents and the priests in this way. In all the exorcism they had too much acted from the superstition (concerning Mary and more), instead of only expecting all the help from the living God. And by the superstition of that Bavarian nun the case was made still worse.
Let us hope that Anneliese, in spite of her mistakes, such as the Mary-worship, yet has come into God's glory! Then she is really free of the demons now and can thank God eternally in endless joy!
In later times several horror films are made on the base of this history. But such films are essentially a very bad thing. First then they abuse the deep suffering of a possessed to make a sensational film of it. The filmmaker tries in essence in that case to make money from the poverty and misery of another. In the second place in such a film the true facts are twisted and made extra horrible, only to make people still more excited or to entertain them more. So the world gets a distorted picture of what demonic possession is in reality. Demonry is already difficult to understand, because the forces behind it are not visible. And if the people have a wrong perception of demonic issues, then this is not good for the victims. Much more the contrary!
C. Considerations after all
Not everyone who is engaged in the service of deliverance does it in a good responsible way. Some extremists even think that they have to hurt someone, to set him or her free from evil powers. Sometimes one reads terrible things in the newspaper. People who are suspected of demonry, are sometimes tied and tortured in one or another way. The consequences are sometimes terrible. In this way the service of deliverance is placed in a bad light to the general public. This is extremely unfortunate. For demonry is very real and the suffering of the people who are demonic charged may be terrible, as is also evident from the above stories. And not everyone is freed from demons. On the contrary. People who are tormented by evil spirits do not have always a good end. Many die sooner or later without ever being freed. How good is it therefore, if people commit themselves to deliver others, if they do that at least in a responsible way!
It is also true that a Christian needs no special gift for standing in the service of deliverance. But it is however desirable, that such a person has sufficient knowledge of the matter, to avoid all kinds of errors and not to get confused, when the demons start to bluster. In that respect it is nice to see how Pastor Blumhardt and his helpers took position. They were in the house of Gottliebin to trace the rumors about the bumping in the house. When they entered the house they heard already immediately loud bangs. It seemed like gunshots. Yet they did not flee, but just searched the house completely!
However it is of fundamental importance for someone who wants to stand in the service of deliverance, to live close to God and to have a pure and holy way of life. Someone who is for example addicted to drink, must at first get rid of the drink himself, before he tries to liberate others. It is this: The closer someone lives to God (that is: loves, trusts and obeys Him) the more he or she will be able to accomplish against the demons. The demons quickly feel whether someone lives close to God or not. If not they will not have much respect for that person. And then they will not obey quickly also, when they are ordered to leave their victim.
Especially it is of fundamental importance that we realize, that we can never cast out demons in own power. If it happens, it is always by the power of God, Who wants to liberate people because of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Therefore we should not simply say to the demons that they must leave. But we have to use the name of the Lord Jesus thereto, for example in a sentence like: "Go out, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God." If we think that we can do it in own strength, we are very mistaken. This happened to the seven sons of Sceva. They ordered the demons in a possessed to leave. But the demons made that the possessed attacked them, and the men had to flee the house wounded and naked!
A possessed attacks the 7 sons of Sceva
In the casting out of demons miracles can happen, even in 2 ways. First it is already a miracle when someone is liberated from evil spirits. Second God makes often that the casting out of demons is often accompanied by other miracles. Many times someone who is liberated from the forces of darkness, is also freed from a disease or ailment. What doctors and specialists can not achieve in a whole lifetime does God, if He wants, in a moment!
Often however the demons are very stubborn. Therefore Pastor Blumhardt needed 2 years to deliver Gottliebin in the power of God. And Reverend Neil needed 7 months to get Doreen Irvine free by God's grace. A common mistake is that people state that someone is not tormented by demons (while it actually is the case!), when the liberation stays away for a long time. Therefore the person, who stands in the service of liberation, needs God's guidance urgently. The apostle Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 12: 10 about the gift to be able to discern spirits. Everyone who wants to liberate others from evil spirits should pray for that special gift!
There are however general characteristics: Demonry can be recognized among other things, if the person himself has a strong resistance against God, the Lord Jesus and the Christian faith. This resistance may conflicts with the deepest intention of the victim. Thus Gottliebin was a woman who truly loved God. Nevertheless the evil spirits in her could make, that she took a hostile attitude towards Pastor Blumhardt. And when Doreen Irvine looked for the Lord Jesus, her tormentors could sometimes exert suddenly so much power, that she no longer knew what she was doing. She could start then to tear Bibles and to throw the Communion objects. When she came to herself again then she was stunned by what had happened.
Further it is often also very useful to examine where the victim had been stayed in former times. Has the victim visited some time in the past an occult healer or has he attended an occult meeting? If so, then it may be that meanwhile evil spirits have come in the person! There are known cases of Christians who went to a magnetizer to get delivered from a particular ailment or disease. And yet it seemed to help too. But afterwards they noticed that they, every time when they wanted to pray or to read the Bible, heard disturbing noises or perceived other annoying elements. In the magnetizing demons had come over! Therefore a Christian must never go to a magnetizer.
The demons even come on Christian grounds. In some extreme Pentecostal communities it happens, that someone has lay hands on him to receive healing or the Holy Spirit, and that that person afterwards appears to be demonic charged! In the speaking in other tongues that can become clear completely. Someone may think to have received this special gift from God, when in reality the devil has acquired a strategic position. In the translation of the tongues (when it is a language that exists anywhere else on earth) can appear clearly, that terrible blasphemous things are spoken! All this does not mean that tongues are always wrong. It also occurred in Christian communities in the time of the Bible. Also laying hands on someone is not wrong by definition. It can even be extraordinary full of blessing! But the devil is trying to imitate everything of God. Therefore he is sometimes called the ape of God. It is not for nothing written in the Bible, that the devil transforms himself into an angel of light, in order to seduce the people. (2 Corinthians 11: 14).
In short: With all these things we must remain praying active and vigilant!
Recapitulated here is a summary of the causes of demonry:
1. Sins. By sins we open a gate of our soul to demons. Who for example addicts himself to the alcohol, gets a demon of alcoholism within himself. And who allows hatred in his or her heart, comes under the power of a demon of hatred. And demons always attract other demons. Also by that this can escalate to violence and murder.
2. Contact with the occult world of divination and sorcery. Also the deeply religious girl Gottliebin had been in contact with the occult things in her youth! Furthermore that occult world can be hidden in various religious sects and extreme Pentecostal communities!
3. Enormous grief. When someone is abandoned by a loved person and he or she can not deal with that, then also the demons make abuse of the situation, especially if the person in question becomes passive from grief and no longer does the duties of life. Then also they find an open gate to come in, and make that he or she will feel even more miserable. This can even lead to hospitalization, but also for example to crime.
4. Loneliness or problems. A woman moved to a high floor of a block of flats, but she began to feel very lonely there. Moreover she could not deal with her new cooking equipment. She had always been an enthusiastic Christian, but then she became passive and stayed in bed a lot. Already after about four weeks the demons had got so much hold of her, that she could not pray anymore. Only curse yet. She herself was startled immensely about that. Not long afterwards she had to be hospitalized and eventually she died in the institution in a miserable state.
So if we want to help someone it is also important to consider if we can do something to the circumstances, which have led to the situation.
5. A near-death experience, in which the devil presents himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11: 14). This does surely not mean that every near-death experience must be considered negatively! On the contrary! I also think that a true child of God will be preserved for such an experience, in which the devil appears as a figure of light to seduce someone. (See further the article about near-death experiences).
6. Sometimes God allows that the evil forces afflict a person, because He has a purpose with that. This we see in Job. He lost his possessions and then even his health. But his mind remained good! He could still say: "I know that my Redeemer lives!" (Job 19: 25). And later God made everything well again, yes even better than at the beginning!
This last form of satanic activity is usually not mentioned demonry. Yet this phenomenon has been added to this list, because it concerns here also demonic activity.
Job could not armour himself against that devilish activity. But on the spiritual level we can do that (e.g. by not becoming passive in great sadness, loneliness or problems!). The resistance is of essential importance! The apostle Paul says about the spiritual armour (Ephesians 6: 10-18):
10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
The spiritual armour is not visible to the natural eye. But at least of the same importance!