‘Cast out demons, hmmm?’ It’s really hard to get a handle on that one – at least for me – at least until I got involved in such craziness. It’s not like I didn’t believe it on some level – but the whole notion of personalized evil was difficult to get my mind around. Just never thought that it was something I’d get involved in. I think it’s that way for most of us who have not seen or tasted or touched the thing ourselves. Listen, I always thought that while true….that is sort of thing was both crazy and strange – until I started talking to some of my colleagues. A good number of them had had experiences with demonic forces – and much better stories to boot. But this is the only story I’ve got, and that’s the one you’re going to get.
THE SET UP
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons.” (Mark 16:17)
It actually didn’t start with me. Instead it began when Ethel, a friend of mine who was approached by Rachel, one of the girls in her place of business. So Rachel and a bevy of her cohorts came to see her, quite alarmed at what was going on in her [Rachel’s] house. They were looking for some help. Some of them – [the bevy] – had experienced some of the phenomena themselves and others had just heard the stories or seen the evidence second hand. So they approached Ethel with their stories…and something more. Their story was this: There was something very weird going on in that apartment, and many of them had seen it. Stuff was moving in the kids’ bedroom, flying off dressers. There were voices being heard by Rachel’s sons, James 3 and Benny who was 18 months. Rachel occasionally heard them too. The boys were terrified and there were even scratches on James’ back. Finally, Rachel showed Ethel a picture on her cell phone. It was of a “demony-looking shadow.” [I would later see both this version, and a better, clearer version of this same photo on a different phone. This second version gave much more detail and was substantially more convincingly authentic.] Now Ethel is a good Christian lady, but her previous experience rendered such goings on over her head. That’s when she brought it to me.
I too had had no really experience in the field, but agreed to talk to the parties involved. After all, it was just some poltergeist activity. Ethel arranged a meeting and introduced me to Rachel. She was a young lady who loved to laugh and found humor in many things. But her story was quite disturbing. It seems this had been going on for months. The story unfolded to me over the course of – I think it was – three interviews over about a two-week period, with her boyfriend David joining her for one session, and a girlfriend Michelle for another. Here’s what I learned.
Rachel started by telling me about door knobs turning and doors opening unexplainably. There was a housemate; a male, (sharing the flat and nothing more) – that experienced a presence in the form of a Dark Shadow – hovering over him and choking him. There were voices that seemed to come from out of the closet in the children’s bedroom – almost exclusively at night. Her oldest boy, James, would always get especially afraid when he heard the train whistle at night. That’s when the ‘presences’ would show up. Now there were three of these beings. Two of them presented themselves as children, a little boy and a little girl. These two would “play” with the boys. They passed themselves off as benign – and would warn the kids – and Rachel – and her boyfriend David – about the third, darker ‘presence’. These child-like – ‘ghosts’ – for lack of a better word – didn’t seem to frighten the kids. Rachel had seen them too. At first she was confused by this; part of the enemy’s plan, no doubt. As we spoke I pointed out the deceptive nature of the Evil One and convinced her that these were just posing as ‘nice ghosts.’ It was all part of some plan of the enemy.
Rachel went on to talk about what would happen at night. She would put the boys to bed. After a time they became terrified and would refuse to go to bed, sometimes “screaming bloody murder”. Rachel would go in to comfort them, laying with them until they fell asleep. There were times that she went in that she would feel an eerie chill. There would be a sudden and severe temperature drop. It was more than a chill. It signaled that the Third Presence was there. This was a dark and evil thing. When Michelle’s kids would come over, they would see something too. She said that other girlfriends witnessed some of these same things. This was something real, and Rachel was – on the one hand afraid – and on the other, strangely accepting. [If it had been me in pre-Christ days, I probably would have been out of there.] On the other hand, when he was over, David did not seem to handle it as well. She told me of times when he seemed more afraid than she was and unwilling to confront the situation. It “creeped him out”.
During the course of the interviews I began to ask Rachel about her past: What could have opened the door to this kind of activity? She told me that when she was a kid – maybe 13 or 14 years old – she had dabbled in the occult. A friend’s mom had been “into Wicca, and she showed us how to have séances.” “Were you ever successful,” I asked. “Oh yeah, a couple of times! The last time something came into the room and locked all the doors. We couldn’t get out for a few hours. We were so scared. I never did that again.”
It was during that second meeting, I believe, that she told me about what her youngest son James had said to her. It was those remarks that moved me from thinking this was just about some poltergeist phenomenon to knowing that what we were facing was truly demonic. The incident had happened about a week before that second meeting. She walked into the room where James was playing. “James just turned and looked at me and said, ‘You burn in Hell, Mommy.’ We don’t talk like that,” she told me. We never use that kind of language.” So she looked around the house and found a Bible. She didn’t know exactly why, but somehow believed that she needed to bring in God’s word or some tangible representation of God. She started reading to him from the Bible. “He grabbed my wrist. He was shaking. All of a sudden he seemed to have a fever. I could actually feel the heat coming off of him. He started saying, ‘No! I burn this book!’ and when I told him it was a good book and tried to get him to touch it, he said, ‘It’s burning me!’” That testimony really shook me up. I talked to my pastor. When it was time to ‘go in’ he would go with me.
After she told me these things I was quite shaken up. Now I used all three meetings as opportunities to witness about the power of Jesus Christ, (to both Rachel and whoever accompanied her that day), as well as to enlighten them to the truth of the gospel. As we talked, Rachel became interested in the things of God – but I could tell that there was still some hesitancy. At first, I never offered her the chance to pray. Instead we talked about the seriousness of the commitment that she would need to make when she gave her heart to the Lord. I wanted her to think about it. [Of course, if she had asked to, we would have prayed right on the spot.] So we talked about her issue. Through the power of God this presence could be made to leave, but unless she filled her heart with Jesus, she would be like an empty house – open to being attacked, and filled again. We talked about what Jesus Himself said in Luke 11:24-26. “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” She got the point, but still hesitated to make any commitment.
The next time I offered her the chance and she prayed right away. It’s then I talked to her about changing her lifestyle. (In the course of our discussions there were some things that she revealed to me that needed to change. There was, for one thing a relationship outside marriage and for another, she had an affinity for things dark and related to the occult. She was steeped in the whole Halloween thing – and she wasn’t about to change.) She wasn’t ready to make those moves yet. We talked about the necessity of repentance, but she wouldn’t budge so we left that for another time.
So we looked for a day that we all could go down there. In the third interview she started telling me about specific incidents. The weekend prior had been an active one. On Saturday night they had heard banging and yelling. It was very loud, yet the folks in the downstairs apartment heard nothing. On Sunday night they heard growling from the attic and from the baby’s room. She talked about other incidents. A picture of something religious in nature – (I can’t recall just what) – that flew off the wall and smashed on the ground. There were other objects that launched themselves after the children, leaving red marks on their bodies. Rachel’s arm was afflicted with a burning sensation. It was then, I believe, that she told me about her old boyfriend, the father of her first child. He had lived at the house. On several occasions he had taken out what Rachel called “the Black Bible” and read passages out loud. I asked if he had ever dedicated the James to Satan. She didn’t believe so. But she said, “It was after he did that, that all of this started.”
At some point in all of this we talked about the Third Presence. It was like a hovering dark mass; floating energy, with eyes and a shadowy face. It was at this point that her boyfriend, David showed me the picture on his phone. One of the kids was in the foreground with the face of the evil presence behind and above. What I didn’t tell you before is that the picture had taken itself. It just showed up on the camera-phone which had been sitting on a dresser. When I saw the image I could make out the soul-less eyes and it had the shape of what those that study UFOs call Greys; with the elliptical heads that can be seen in those alien movies.
Feeling as pressured as she did, there was one time when Rachel felt desperate. When it appeared to her she asked it, “What do you want from me?” The entity answered her, in a growling, cold, movie-evil voice, “I want the boy.” It meant her oldest son James. “You can’t have him”, she told it. But she didn’t know what to do. It was this accumulation of angst and fear and hopelessness that drove her to tell her boss, Ethel.[There’s a little aside here that I want to share. It will be useful later. Now each time, as I said, I would share the Gospel to whoever was sitting in on the interview. I did so again when David was there and everything seemed fine. But afterward I got a call from Ethel. At the end of our conversation she said to me: “Just what did you say to Rachel’s boyfriend?” Ethel had learned that after he left our meeting, David was “upset and out of sorts”. Had I “said something to upset him?” I told her what I said, and pretty much forgot about the whole thing.]
Now armed with all I had learned, I knew that what we would be facing was bigger than anything that I wanted to handle alone. Pastor Randy had already agreed to come along, but by now we both realized that this was a Satanic stronghold. We believed that were facing a real-live demonic possession. At the very least, the three-year-old James seemed to be operated by evil, other-worldly forces. We were facing an exorcism. There’s a gravity and scariness just about the word itself. This was movie stuff. [You know, green puke and revolving heads!] So, we contemplated reinforcements…from others among the leadership of the church and armed ourselves with Scripture. I focused on the promise found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 16, verse 7. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons.” We recalled Christ’s admonition to His disciples when they had a hard time getting one demon to leave. He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29) It was no coincidence that at that time, the entire leadership (along with much of the church) were somewhere in the middle of a long term fast. God had been preparing us for what was to come.