In light of the above statistic, it is important to point out that not everyone who appears to be or claims to be possessed by demons is actually possessed. It is not uncommon for schizophrenic patients or patients with other psychiatric disorders to believe the voices they hear belong to demons. Others will fake demonic possession to gain attention or to be accepted into (or to gain status within) fundamentalist religious organizations. This is especially true of people with borderline personality disorder or people with “histrionic” personalities.
True demonic possessions don’t always exhibit paranormal effects such as levitation of the patient or heavy objects, but they often DO exhibit paranormal knowledge about distant events or the lives of people unknown to the patient. Speaking a (real) foreign language unknown to the patient and an irrational, uncontrollable aversion to sacred things and places is also often seen in real demonic possession cases. Another sign that a patient is being molested by demons is a history of occult practices somewhere in the patient’s history. “Possession” cases with none of these signs are more likely to be related to psychiatric disturbances or, at most, obsession by one or more human spirits (ghosts).
It is interesting to note that Dr. Richard Gallagher (mentioned above) is a respected and successful psychiatrist who has been practicing for over 25 years. In his book, Demonic Foes, he points out that he receives numerous referrals from other psychiatrists, as well as prominent clergy from a number of mainstream religions to assess possible cases of demonic possession. It is obvious that he believes in a spiritual world that contains the evil spirits we call “demons”. However, he apparently does NOT believe in possession by entities other than demons. He does not believe in “ghosts” and believes that correct information from psychics is obtained either through trickery like cold reading or from demonic sources.
These beliefs are consistent with Dr Gallagher’s Catholicism. Catholics are taught to believe in the devil and his demons, but are warned against “congress” with the spirits of dead human beings. However, in order to believe that demonic spiritual beings can haunt the earth plane and infect living people, it is inconsistent to deny that human spirits can also haunt the earth plane and infect living people. I can’t argue with a prominent psychiatrist about any form of mental illness, but the evidence I present here suggests that he is wrong on this point.
What I am implying here is that of Dr. Gallagher’s 25,000 patients who he successfully treated, at least some (and possibly many) may have had an underlying spiritual cause for their symptoms. Although psychiatric medications may well mask the presence of an obsessing human entity in a patient in the same way a schizophrenic patient may be managed with similar medications, that does not mean the patient is actually “cured” of his or her disease.