Spirit obsession is defined as the interference by a malign or ignorant spirit with the normal manifestation of the personality of a living person. The phenomenon that we are most concerned with here is when the spirit of a dead person influences a living person’s mood and thoughts in ways that degrade his or her quality of life and create abnormal, bizarre and sometimes even insane behavior. More succinctly, spirit obsession involves a spiritual infection of a person’s Aura (spiritual skin). Think of it as a “surface infection” of the soul when one or more earthbound spirits find themselves trapped within the aura of a living person and can’t leave.
A susceptible person’s aura may be infected by multiple spirits, each one afflicting the host with its own set of physical symptoms. The spirits perceive themselves to be lined up behind the living host in a sort of spiritual “chain gang”. They are all attached to the aura of the host, but visualize themselves as being outside and forced to follow him or her around. Each spirit is always trying to get to the head of the line where it can exert the maximum control on the host. (This is well illustrated in the dialogue in Carl Wickland’s book, 30 years among the dead.) The spirits generally maintain an angry, hostile attitude toward each other, as well as toward the patient.
Spirit obsession is not generally obvious to the living patient him or herself, although a few actually know that they are being tormented by outside forces. Van Dusen’s patients (chapter 11) would hear voices in their heads, but came to understand that they were separate from their own thoughts. However, a majority of obsessed persons do not hear voices at all and do not realize that they are being influenced by alien intelligences.
The patient may remain in control of his mind, but now suddenly has urges that he or she never had before. These people would have no idea that these thoughts came from any source other than their own minds. Friends and family of the patient would notice that the patient is acting differently, but the patient might not notice himself, or simply assume that he had entered a new phase in his life and is following his own newly found inclinations. Swedenborg addressed this in his book; Heaven and its Wonders and Hell:
“If a spirit were to speak from his own memory with a man, the man would not know otherwise than that the thoughts then in his mind were his own, although they were the spirit’s thoughts. This would be like the recollection of something which the man had never heard or seen.”
The major point to remember about any form of spirit obsession is that while the living host’s mood, personality and behavior is being affected by the infecting personalities, the host (at least at first) still retains conscious control of his or her body. Spirit obsession (as opposed to possession) is not a phenomenon that is widely recognized by the public, but it is probably the most frequent form of spiritual infection. In my personal opinion, spirit obsession may be involved with a great deal of the more bizarre or violent criminal behavior that you are likely to see on the evening news.