When people think about “possession”, they immediately think of exorcisms involving a demon or Satan as the possessing entity. Most people do not realize that a person can be possessed by a human earthbound spirit. It is probably much more common than anyone realizes, because the symptoms are simply chalked off to ordinary physical or mental illness. The sudden appearance of a physical or mental aberration in a formerly healthy person is the hallmark of spiritual obsession or possession.
Spiritual possession does NOT mean that the soul itself is possessed. A person’s soul is sacrosanct (sacred) and can NEVER be “possessed” by an alien spirit. Your soul belongs exclusively to you and God! Possession applies solely to the possession of a body. The soul is temporarily shoved aside, but still exists totally intact.
Having said that, the soul can be manipulated by an alien spirit. It can be tricked, enslaved and made to believe untruths. It is just as pliable as any living person and susceptible to all sorts of coercion such as flattery, threats, hypnosis and abuse. It may be persuaded to abandon its freedom, but it always retains its free will. Manipulation of a person or a spirit by an alien spirit without an actual infection of the aura is called enthrallment. (The term “oppression” can be used to mean the same thing, but it is generally applied to one of the stages of demonic infestation and will be discussed later.)
Spirit possession is a deeper form of spirit obsession. It happens when an infecting spirit entirely displaces the personality of the infected living host. While obsession is caused by a surface infection of a person’s aura, in possession, the infection passes through holes in the aura, displaces the soul and takes direct control of the body. During periods of possession, the host soul has no conscious control of his or her body or mind. Indeed, the host’s own consciousness is suppressed entirely, if temporarily. The patient suffers a complete “loss of self”, which means that the person has no awareness or memory of his or her behavior during the period of possession.
The host may have a completely different personality in control of their bodies, before reverting back to their own personality. A psychiatrist who sees a case of spiritual possession usually assumes that it is a case of psychosis or “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, abbreviated as DID (formally called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD).
DID is a severe mental disorder in which patients display multiple personalities. These personalities switch back and forth at irregular intervals. It is often associated with repressed memories of severe childhood abuse and trauma. Most modern psychiatrists, of course, deny the existence of spiritual infection, but it is impossible to differentiate between cases of spirit possession and psychiatric Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not being a psychiatrist, I cannot comment on the reality of the “metaphysical” aspects of DID.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of clinical DID cases is the presence of physiological abnormalities present in one personality and not present in others within the same individual such as severe allergies, color blindness, different eye colors that shift within seconds and different prescriptions for glasses. One woman, blind from a young age as a result of an accident which damaged her occipital lobes (visual brain center) was being treated for DID and found that one of her personalities was able to see: “BT suddenly regained her sight. As she switched between personalities, her vision also switched on and off like a light.” The common explanation for all of these phenomena is that the mind has enormous control over the body’s physiology.
Usually, the victims of spirit possession have no recollection of their bizarre behavior. Exactly what happens to the host’s own soul (personality) during episodes when an obsessing spirit controls the body is not clear. It may simply be shoved aside, remaining in the host’s aura, but under control of the alien spirit. What is clear is that the host is no longer recognizable to persons who were familiar with him or her prior to the possession.
Spirit possession is almost never a constant or continuous condition with a permanent takeover of the patient’s body by the invading spirit. Instead, the possession takes the form of attacks in which the patient temporarily becomes another person. Spirit possession cases often present as episodic bouts of violent and profane behavior interspersed with intervals of normal intelligence. The American public recognizes spirit possession because of popular books and movies on occult subjects, however, spirit obsession occurs much more frequently than the more obvious cases of spirit possession.