One of the most telling signs that a disturbance is caused by a demon is the sullying and damaging of religious iconography. Crosses hung on walls may be flung on the floor or turned upside down. Religious pictures may be ripped off the walls or smeared with feces. Demonologist Ed Warren says that he can always tell if a person is demon possessed by secretly holding a small crucifix or religious relic behind the patient’s neck. Even though the possessed person has never seen the crucifix or even suspected that one was being brought into his or her presence, that person will react violently.
Demons are seriously provoked and forced to vacate when confronted by God or his angels during an exorcism. Remember that God permits evil influences within the world of matter to allow people to use their free will to choose a spiritual path. Sometimes people will make the serious mistake of inviting evil into their lives. When this happens, they can become trapped in a terrifying cycle of evil and violence. However, if anyone in this situation truly wants help and asks for it with an earnest heart, they will get it, even if they intentionally invited evil into their lives. That’s why God will fight these battles for a demon possessed person, provided that that person has acknowledged his or her own complicity in inviting the demon into the material world in the first place.
Human spirits, even evil human spirits, are not in the same moral category as demons. They operate under the laws of free will, the same as the person they invade. When a human entity infects a person’s aura, it is not God’s responsibility to clean up the mess that that person has made of his or her life. It is the person’s responsibility to fight his or her own battles with a human spirit. This is the reason that religious authorities must first prove that a demon possession is authentic before granting permission for an official church sanctioned exorcism.
Ghosts in any form are not the province of the church hierarchy. If the possessing entity is “only” a human spirit, then a minor exorcism or blessing by an independent priest is more appropriate. People dealing with a human spiritual infection may do well with one of the thousands of evangelical Protestant deliverance ministries scattered around the world. However, much more importantly, the infected person MUST acknowledge their own complicity in inviting that entity to invade his or her body, and must correct the lifestyle issues that brought about the infection in the first place.