Physical Harm, Disease, and Torture by the Spirits

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©1993
In the Bible, demons are collectively presented as inflicting a variety of physical and psychological ailments upon their victims.

Excerpt from “The Coming Darkness”

While it must be stressed that most illness is not demonically instituted, nevertheless, in the Bible, demons are collectively presented as inflicting a variety of physical and psychological ailments upon their victims. The array of symptoms suggest the possibility of a basic monopoly over the workings of the human mind and body, including skin disease (Job 2:7), destructive and irrational acts (Matthew 8:28; Luke 8:27), deafness and inability to speak (Mark 9:25; Luke 11:14), epileptic-like seizures (Matthew 17:15; Mark 9:18; Luke 9:39), blindness (Matthew 12:22), tormenting pain (Revelation 9:1-11), insanity (Luke 8:26-35), severe physical deformity (Luke 13:11-17), and other conditions. (See Appendix E for a complete list.) Demons can give a person supernatural strength (Luke 8:29) or attempt to murder them (Matthew 17:15).

There are a large number of accounts of mediums and occultists, or those who frequent them, suffering physically in a variety of ways from their practice (ill health, various diseases, alcoholism, poltergeist attacks, early deaths, etc.). One article, “ESP and Drugs,” noted: “There have been a few instances where one who had an out-of-body experience had such difficulty returning to his body that the symptoms have been described as similar to heart attacks.”

Medium Edgar Cayce, (6’2” in height), died in misery, weighing a mere 60 pounds, apparently physiologically burned out from giving too many psychic readings. The biography on Cayce by Joseph Millard reveals the extent of suffering Cayce’s occultic involvement cost him: from psychic attacks to mysterious fires, the periodic loss of his voice, erratic personality changes and emotional torments, etc. His life had more than the normal share of misery, but of course the psychic readings were of little comfort; they only responded that a certain amount of “scourging” was necessary for the development of the soul. Indeed, the biographies of most occultists reveal similar tragedies, such as Lutyen’s biography on Krishnamurti or those of Aleister Crowley.

Carrington refers to one cause of ill health among mediums:

Mediums have found to their cost that the production of [e.g., ectoplasmic] phenomena (especially of the physical order) is at times a very exhausting process, and unless they keep themselves in good bodily health, they discover that they become run down and nervously exhausted, in which case they render themselves subject to insomnia, depressing mental emotions, and, if this gets worse, to obsession and even greater dangers and difficulties. It is very important, therefore, for all mediums to keep up their physical health.

Fodor observes:

The mediums who are conscious during the production of the phenomena suffer more than those in trance. The extrication of power from their organism is a veritable trial for nerve and flesh. The phenomena in themselves are often equivalent to putting the body on the rack. This was known from ancient days.

The famous Russian medium Ninel Kulagina was the subject of repeated parapsychological experimentation. During the test she had unusual burn marks appear on her body and her clothes would spontaneously catch on fire—presumably the result of her trafficking in occult energy sources. She “endured pain, long periods of dizziness, loss of weight, lasting discomfort, sharp spinal pains, blurred vision, and a near fatal heart attack from her activities.” It was suggested that her occult practices had weakened her physically to the point where a heart attack could occur under conditions when it normally would not; nevertheless, the attack was a massive one and left Kulagina a permanent invalid until her resulting death in 1990.

At times the body is violently agitated or catatonically motionless. Sometimes it is wracked with unendurable pain. In the case of Krishnamurti, who endured this torment off and on for years: “I toss about, groan and moan and mutter strange things, in fact almost behave like one possessed… All the time I have a violent pain in my head.” A biographer describes him as enduring “agonizing pain” in the spine, “throbbing and burning” at the neck with “immensely concentrated” energy in his presence, as “just tortured,” etc. “It is almost impossible to believe what his poor body endured each night.” His heartrending cries and sobs “sound like some animal in awful pain.”

There are no rules which tell us when harmful effects will occur; they simply do, perhaps to the carnal delight of the infernal spirits who are thus able to provide at least some humans with a foretaste of the torment they know awaits them personally (Matthew 8:29).

Two researchers record the results of one experiment upon a skeptical psychiatrist eager to disprove the aforementioned powers of Kulagina:

Within two minutes, serious changes were shown in the psychiatrist’s heart condition. His ECG graph went far above normal, showing great emotional stress. Kulagina’s heartbeat, too, was faster than normal, but the psychiatrist’s heartbeat increased at such an alarming rate that the scientists feared for the safety of the psychiatrist’s life! Sergeyev had to stop the experiment five minutes after it had begun. Sergeyev acknowledged to us that had the experiment continued, they were certain the psychiatrist would have been killed.

Several times during the telekinetic experiments with Sergeyev, Kulagina became unconscious. Instruments measuring the electrical field around her showed that when she took electrical energy from around her and sent it to an object, it apparently drained her completely of energy. On several occasions, an electrical force from the surroundings rushed back into her body, usually through the arm, and left burn marks on the skin… “I have witnessed this startling phenomenon,” Sergeyev said simply. “No object could have caused the burn marks other than the reentry into her body of some powerful energy. On one occasion she exclaimed, ‘I am burning!’ and collapsed unconscious. A burn mark appeared on her hand. On several occasions, these burn marks were four inches long. I have been with her during this return of energy when her clothes caught fire. When these incidents happened, Kulagina became unconscious and very ill, and we had great difficulty in reviving her.

“Eventually it wore her down. One more jolt and her heart would cave in. Possibly the scientists should have known that, but they were too eager to experiment to think about it.”

Perhaps it goes without saying that if people freely experiment with a powerful energy of which they are ignorant as to its source, functioning, and impact, it is hot surprising there may be these kinds of consequences. Whatever one believes about the source of such energy (spiritistic, human, or some combination thereof), one is playing with fire. No one in his right mind would ignorantly tamper with live electrical circuitry, but psychics, occultists, and parapsychologists seem eager to research “live spiritual circuitry” in an area they know nothing about.

In a related concern, Dr. Fodor points out the tendency among mediums and occultists to take artificial stimulants—ostensibly a result of the psychic vampirism on the physical body:

After prolonged exercise of mediumship, intemperance often sets in. The reason is a craving for stimulants following the exhaustion and depletion felt after the séance. Many mediums have been known who succumbed to the craving and died of delirium tremens.

It was apparently this drain on Edgar Cayce—the demons using his energies to perform through him—which caused his weight to be reduced to a mere 60 pounds. In some rare cases at séances, mediums are reported to have had up to half their bodies temporarily “disappear,” and their weight, as measured on scales, reduced by 10 to 118 pounds.

Elsewhere Fodor refers to various cases of injury which resulted from a séance member attacking the medium’s control spirit:

We know from Mme. D’Esperance’s mediumistic history, that in Helsingfors in 1893, Yolande, her beautiful materialized spirit control, was attacked and raped in the dark. The result was two years of illness on the part of the medium.

In the Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, Dr. Fodor detailed the experience:

A suspicious sitter seized Yolande while the medium was believed sitting inside the cabinet. “All I know,” she writes, “was a horrible excruciating sensation of being doubled up and squeezed together, as I can imagine a hollow gutta-percha doll would feel, if it had sensation, when violently embraced by its baby owner. A sense of terror and agonizing pain came over me, as though I was losing hold of life and was falling into some fearful abyss, yet knowing nothing, hearing nothing, except the echo of a scream I heard as at a distance. I felt I was sinking down, I knew not where. I tried to save myself, to grasp at something, but missed it, and then came a blank from which I awakened with a shuddering horror and sense of being bruised to death.” The result of this experience was the outbreak of the earlier hemorrhage of her lungs and a prolonged illness.

Former medium Gasson also warns of dangers of tampering with ectoplasm—the substance that exudes out of the medium’s body during a séance:

When touched (only permissible by the controlling guide) it will move back into the body and if suddenly seized the medium will scream out or be caused to be violently sick. Such sudden graspings of ectoplasm have very often caused great bodily harm to the medium and could even result in loss of life. The reason for this being so dangerous is that the ectoplasm becomes solid through contact with the air and before it is able to return back into the medium’s body in the normal way, it has to dematerialize to its original state. If touched suddenly, without warning or permission, or unexpectedly contacted with light, the solid ectoplasmic mass will rush straight back to the body of the medium before having a chance to dissolve to its natural state. I have known of many mediums who have been crippled or blinded for life owing to the sudden impact of the solid ectoplasm which springs back with as much force as if it were connected to the medium by an excessively strong piece of elastic. I myself was blinded for nearly 24 hours after such an incident occurred. The force of the ectoplasm against the stomach caused a scar from side to side, which took many days to disappear.

Aleister Crowley, who dedicated himself to a life of blatant wickedness, drugs, Satanism, and orgies, ended up in an insane asylum for six months after trying to conjure the devil. His children died, and his wives either went insane or drank themselves to death. He knew the cost, but could never get free of what it was that controlled him: “Every human affection that he had in his heart—and that heart ached for love as few hearts can ever conceive—was torn and trampled with such infernal ingenuity in his intensifying torture that his endurance is beyond belief.”

As Dennis Wheatley points out, other authorities besides Crowley, like Montague Summers and Harry Price, also were affected. Wheatley, who studied witchcraft for over 50 years, is “thoroughly afraid of it.” He personally knew the above three men, and even though they were experts, the cost was great. Wheatley concludes: “Even with their great knowledge, they weren’t safe. So how can anyone else be?” A good question, indeed. Even the occultists’ own spirit guides cannot be trusted. Dr. Fodor explains:

Harm may come to the medium through the careless disregard of the conditions by the sitters, but sometimes also from the part of the invisible operators. An evil operator may take possession of the medium’s body or a well-meaning control may commit a mistake just as an experimenting scientist might…

Things often happen against the will of the medium, quite frequently against the will of the sitters. Mme. d’Esperance said that she always entered the séance room “with a feeling of anxiety mixed with wonder if I should ever come out again. As a rule I always felt that I was placing my life in the hands of the persons about to assist, and that they were even more ignorant of danger than myself.”… In the séances of Eusapia Paladino the spirits often broke the promises of the medium.

Not surprisingly, there is often an initial uneasiness experienced by mediums, channelers, and other spiritists regarding their spirit contacts, over just how much they can be trusted. This attitude is usually dismissed after continued contact and reassurance by the spirits, but it seems to have afflicted most spiritists at one time or another.

Even the well-known novelist and UFO contactee Whitley Strieber (The Wolfen; Cat Magic) suspected his alleged UFO contacts might actually be demons—and that he was in an actual life-and-death struggle for his eternal soul. Alone at night he “worried about the legendary cunning of demons… There are worse things than death, I suspected. And I was beginning to get the distinct impression that one of them had taken an interest in me.” UFO close encounters frequently result in physical harm (see John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on UFO’s and Other Supernatural Phenomena.

Mohammad suspected his “angel” Gabriel who revealed the Koran was an evil jinn (Islamic demon); Edgar Cayce suspected his trance states might be satanic, Uri Geller and Dr. Andrija Puharich both doubted the motives and sincerity of their spiritistic contacts, Penny Torres wondered if her spirit guide “Mafu” wasn’t a demon, and even Crowley himself had doubts—despite the “gods” having taught him “to trust them absolutely to provide me with everything I really need for my work.”

Nevertheless, even “friendly” spirit guides tend to extract a price for communion with them. The tally sheet of the psychic surgeon who prepared Johanna Michaelsen to replace her is typical of the pain occultists endure in this life (e.g., two years in a mental institution, two children dead, abandonment by her husband), all rationalized through the Eastern concept of karma: “It was for the sake of karma that I needed to suffer their [her children’s] loss.”

Michaelsen herself commented:

I couldn’t understand why Hermanito [the spirit guide]… treated Pachita [the medium] so cruelly—never allowing her any new or pretty clothes, and refusing to treat her when she was sick, which was often now. Even “karma” seemed a poor excuse for that. And her family was falling apart around her.

But unfortunately, the demonic entities who seek out humans for their own purposes do not easily surrender their plans. If they select a person, he obeys—or else. It seems the spirits would rather have the contact dead or insane than not following their plans.

Consider the following typical examples from the experience of shamans and/or those who encounter so-called kundalini awakening:

He who is seized by the shaman sickness and does not begin to exercise shamanism, must suffer badly. He might lose his mind, he may even have to give up his life. Therefore he is advised, “you must take up shamanism so as to not suffer!”… The man chosen for shamandom is first recognized by the black spirits. The spirits of the dead shamans are called black spirits. They make the chosen one ill and then they force him to become a shaman.

Among the Siberian Tofa, too, shamans become sick before their initiation and are tormented by spirits… Shaman Vassily Mikailovic… could not rise from his bed for a whole year. Only when he agreed to the demands of the spirits did his health improve.

The trances themselves ceased to “control” him as soon as he gave up his own resistance to them and the forces behind them. Similarly, another case had severe headaches, but these stopped as soon as she ceased trying to control the [kundalini] process and simply “went with it.” The pain, in other words, resulted not from the process itself but from her resistance to it. We suspect that is true of all the negative effects of the physio-Kundalini process.

But even family members may also suffer. In the case of Korean shamanism, up to 40 percent of families will actually suffer the death of a loved one rather than submit to the travails of shamanism upon the entire family.

Often not only the shaman himself but his whole family are visited by misfortune… The Koreans talk about a “bridge of people” (indari) that comes into being when a member of the family is chosen to be a shaman and another member has to die as a result of this… A God has “entered into” the shaman and, in return, demands another human life [If the chosen shaman is submitted to initiation, death is averted]… But most families are unwilling to have a shaman in their circle, so the indari phenomenon occurs quite frequently…. On average seven or eight times in every twenty cases of shamanic vocation.

Obviously, the spirits tend to get their way. Thus, with sufficient intimidation or torture, they are usually able to achieve their purposes. Edgar Cayce found his voice was repeatedly taken from him unless he agreed to go into the hypnotic trance state through which the spirits spoke. Despite serious reservations as to the nature of his spiritual contacts (he suspected the devil), he complied. This is again reminiscent of shamanism:

The Yakut shaman Tusput who was critically ill for more than twenty years, could find relief from his suffering only when he conducted a séance during which he fell into a trance. In the end he fully regained his health by this method. However, if he held no séances over a long period of time he once again began to feel unwell, exhausted, and indecisive. In general, the symptoms of an illness subside when a candidate for shamanism enters a trance.

As Dr. Fodor observes, mediumship is also never abandoned easily:

Curiously enough mediumship, if suppressed, will manifest in symptoms of disease. Dr. C. D. Isenberg of Hamburg writes of a case in Light, April 11,1931, in which a patient of his suffered from sleeplessness and peculiar spasmodic attacks which generally occurred at night. The spasm seized the whole body; even the tongue was affected, blocking the throat and nearly suffocating her. When the patient mentioned that in her youth she tried table tilting, the doctor thought of the possibility that the mediumistic energy might block his patient’s organism. A sitting was tried. The lady fell into trance and afterwards slept well for a few days. When the sleeplessness became worse again the sitting was repeated and the results proved to be so beneficial that the chloral hydrate treatment previously employed was discontinued.

Another area of physical dangers includes the tragic “accidents” that happen to stalk the psychically involved. In Occult ABC, Dr. Kurt Koch has observed that people under occult subjection and/or demonization “frequently are in fatal accidents. I have many examples of this in my files.” Elsewhere he reiterates that “frequent accidents and suicides are a familiar phenomenon in the realm of the occult.”

In the authors’ own readings, we have observed many similar events. The famous medium Eileen Garrett’s parents both committed suicide. Well-known parapsychologist Edmund Gurney (author of Phantasms of the Living) died a tragic death either by suicide or accident. The Russian occultist Gurdjieff died in a car wreck; famous Brazilian psychic surgeon Arigo also died in a car crash; “Christian’’ spiritist William Branham, likewise. Krish-namurti’s brother Nityananda died at 25 and Krishnamurti himself (who experienced possession) has suffered strange and incredibly agonizing torments throughout his life. “Mad Guru” Rudrananda died at the age of 45 in an airplane crash. James Ingall Wedgewood, a Theosophy convert and leader of the Theosophic-born Liberal Catholic Church went mad for the last 20 years of his life. One of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s sons was mysteriously found dead in the desert—and we could go on and on.

In The Transcendental Explosion, John Weldon documented some of the Transcendental Meditation-related casualties, including suicide, heart attacks, mental illness, possession, epileptic seizures, hallucinations, blackouts of up to 20 hours, eyesight problems, extreme stomach cramps, mental confusion, sexual licentiousness, severe nightmares, the reoccurrence of serious psychosomatic symptoms previously under control (i.e., bleeding ulcer and depression requiring psychiatric care and medication), etc.

When mediumism is openly practiced, the medium herself can experience the actual diseased condition of other people during psychic healing, for “in all probability you may sympathetically ‘take on’ and be affected by, the symptoms of the disease from which the patient suffers.”


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