There are two levels of demonic vexation. One is referred to as oppression. The other is possession. Ideally, demons will work through the oppression to achieve possession. Oppression means to work from the outside. Possession is when they have somehow caused an individual to open the door allowing them entry into their life so that the demon now has an internal vantage point from which to operate. In the instance of possession, one can virtually lose their ability to control their own behaviors or actions. Some mental illness can in fact be demonic oppression or possession. So can some physical ailments. (I will go more into this caveat however, in a future blog.)
I had a lady in the very first church I ever started some 25 years ago, named Margaret, who once confessed that she had been involved for many, many years with transcendental meditation, levitation, witchcraft, divination, and a myriad of other spiritual tools used by spirits to achieve access into a human life. This woman attended our church for several services, saying nothing, and barely ever even able to look me in the eye. She was obviously depressed, never smiled or laughed, and spoke only when spoken to, and even then, she said very little. A member of my church was a friend of hers and had brought her.
One night she finally decided that she wanted to become Born Again. We prayed with her, and she went home. A couple of days later she received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. THE CHANGE IN THIS WOMAN’S COUNTENANCE WAS REMARKABLE! She could barely speak when she first entered our church. She became gregarious and outgoing, always smiling and laughing. Her teenaged children even came to me to thank me for the changes that had occurred in their mother’s life. Her psychiatrist, whom she had been seeing for several years, told her “Save your money girl. That church has done more for you in three weeks than I have done in 3 years. You don’t need me anymore!”
She once told me after she was converted that she kept coming to our church because when I preached there was an enormous bright white light that stayed behind me. Wherever I moved, it would move so as to remain directly behind me. She said that she could only see my silhouette as the light was so bright. (I have actually been told this same exact thing by a number of people in various churches where I have preached over the years.) But this manifestation of the glory and power of God was enough to keep her coming to hear what I was preaching! The last I heard from Margaret a few years back, she had moved to another state, but immediately found a good Pentecostal church to be a part of. This lady is no fool! She is going to hold tight to her faith in Jesus Christ.
One of my earliest experiences with the paranormal dates back to when I was just 16 years old. The Lord had called me to preach at the age of 8 and I had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at that same age. By the time I was 16 I had devoted a number of years to Biblical studies and daily devotional time. In fact, I had already been engaged in ministry for four years as a children’s evangelist and was just about to start my adult ministry as an evangelist.
I met a girl while doing some work for a man in Ansonia Connecticut during the Summer of 1981. She was his daughter’s best friend. I found my youthful hormones becoming interested in her, and we began to spend a good deal of time together. Her name was Barbara. Barbara and her family, including a younger brother named Billy, lived in a house at the end of a cul-de-sac that was somewhat buried in a patch of forest. We often walked to the store, and to shorten our trip, we would make a cut through the trees to the nearby main road, rather than walk all the way to the opposite end of the street upon which she lived, only to make a left hand turn and re-walk that same distance on the main road.
One day Barbara’s mom asked us to go to the store and get something. As we were about to leave the house, her mother asked if we would also stop by and tell her brother Billy something. He and some friends were hanging out in the woods, not too far off the path that we would be traveling. So as we made our way down the path, we saw Billy and three or four of his friends, smoking and listening to a portable cassette deck on a rock about 50 feet away. Barbara reminded me that we needed to tell Billy what her mother had said, so we made the detour off the path and walked toward the music. As she and I got within about 10 feet of Billy and his friends, the tape deck began to literally GROWL in such a hideous fashion that it scared the life out of everyone present! Billy jumped up and with an expletive turned off the music, saying, “What the (blank) was that?” He then tried to turn the music back on, but it continued to screech with this hideous sound. The best way I can describe the sound is to say that it sounded like the voice of a bear, mixed with that of a lion, trying to speak! It was horrifying!
We quickly finished our business with Billy and continued on our way, talking about that strange sound coming from the tape deck all the way to and from the store. It had sent chills down both our spines and we were just obsessed with talking about it. To this day she has never forgotten about that horrifying experience.
Some weeks later I was at home. My brother Michael, who was always the “black sheep” of our family, was listening to some heavy metal music, very much like that which Billy and his friends had been listening to in the woods. He was alone in his room when I walked in on him to ask him a question. Just as I walked in the door to his room, the tape deck he was listening to began to scream in the same exact way that Billy’s tape deck had done some weeks earlier. My brother Michael, who is not easily spooked, ran to the stereo and turned it off. He was shaking. The sound that had come out of that machine was absolutely horrifying! Again, he tried to turn it back on, but it continued to growl. So finally, he removed the tape and threw it away. TO THIS DAY MY BROTHER MICHAEL SPEAKS OF THAT INCIDENT. It terrified him like he had never been terrified, or has since been terrified. Me as well, I might add.
About a year or two later a man came to the Church of God church in West Haven Connecticut where I was serving my ministerial internship. He had a wonderful program that he presented on Rock music. He had been a stage manager, as well as lighting and sound engineer within the Rock-N-Roll industry for many, many years before converting to Christianity. He worked with many of the major heavy metal and hard rock groups, including KISS, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, etc. He told stories of behind the scenes activities that would curl your hair.
So many of these hard rock, heavy metal bands are very much working as Satanic representatives to bring young people into the occult and witchcraft worlds. Many of them Joe witnessed praying to Satan (Lucifer) before concerts, asking him to help them recruit believers to his cause. Joe told of seeing demonic possession take place in the audience as kids screamed and howled while the music blasted through their ear drums. On several occasions, he even witnessed concert goers begin to scratch themselves and tear at their own skin screaming, “Get them off of me!“ His program was extremely interesting,. He even presented a lot of the back masking recordings, where a record played backwards would almost sound as if it spoke, saying things that were blasphemous and satanic.
Joe Vierra was at our church for two days. He stayed in our home while he was with us. To this day, I’ll never remember how that came about! My mother never offered our home to anyone visiting our church. But Joe was of Portuguese decent, as is my mother’s family, and I think she wanted to make sure he had the opportunity to meet my grandmother as she always enjoyed meeting other Portuguese people from Cape Cod, where she too was from originally.
During Joes brief stay with us I had the opportunity to tell him about the two experiences I had had with the growling noises emanating from portable stereo devices. He listened intently and smiled as I told him about my experiences, first with Barbara’s brother Billy, and then with my own brother Michael. As I helped Joe prepare for the second evenings’ program, he nonchalantly said to me, “Chuck, I have a recording I’d like you to hear.” I had no idea what was on the tape. I just assumed some kind of song or something. He started the tape. I could hear the faint voice of a man, far in the background, speaking in what sounded like Latin.
For several minutes all I could hear was this faint voice speaking in Latin, apparently standing a pretty good distance from the tape machine with which this recording was made. All of a sudden, and without any warning, the SAME EXACT SOUND that I had twice heard emanating from two different stereo devices began to scream through the rafters of the church! I literally grabbed onto the back of the pew I was sitting in as if I would fall off the edge of the planet! That sound could scare the life out of anyone! Joe turned it off immediately. He asked me, “Do you know what that sound was?” I answered, “No, I don’t.” He said, that recording was made by a priest who was trying to exorcise a demon from an 8 year old boy in Ireland. “ He continued, “The sound you heard came out of that 8 year old boy’s mouth!”
Joe explained that this particular spirit had been identified as a “spirit of fear.” No kidding! I don’t know a man nor beast who would not be terrified at hearing this hideous, unnatural, supernatural utterance. Folks, you could literally hear the inflection in the plural voices of what sounded like bears and or lions trying to form words and speak! It came right out of a Hollywood horror film, except that it was real!
Let me fill you in on a little secret… Satan is afraid of and intimidated by men and women of God who are full of the Holy Ghost and who understand their authority through the name of Jesus Christ! He works through the medium of music, as well as drugs and intoxication. When I had walked in on these two different machines which were playing music which one of his spirit’s was using to gain access to the lives of the listener, he was immediately intimidated and lashed out audibly! Even as demons cried out when Jesus came near to one who was in possession of them.
One of the reasons that God prohibited His people from engaging witches or wizards, was because wizards were individuals who used mind-altering drugs to achieve a higher state of consciousness. During this time, however, they also made themselves available to demon spirits. So when you read of wizardry in the Bible, it is in fact speaking of the use of drugs or substances which are capable of transporting one from the physical realms into the spiritual realms as all physical inhibitions and cautions are laid aside in the name of seeking higher truths or greater sensory experiences. Drunkenness can also open a door to similar spiritual activity. So can music. Many religions found in the ancient world, as well as in modern times in certain African and far east locations, utilize music to suspend an individual’s inhibitions and open them up to the influence, and in many cases, the indwelling, of spirits/demons.
I once knew a man in New York City who practiced one of these ancient African religions. He was shocked out of his mind when I was able to identify a women with whom I saw him speaking as having demons. He knew she did, because it was part of their belief system, but he could not understand how I knew. He had not yet been able to participate in the ritual which would have allowed him to become a host to a demon spirit as well. These folks, like many poor mislead natives, believed that some demons were good and therefore you were benefited by allowing them entry into your person.
People play games with things every day which have deep spiritual connections. Music, Dancing, Mind-Altering Substances, Alcohol. This is not to say that everyone who uses these things will become, or does become, demon possessed (which by the way does not mean that a demon possesses - owns - the host, but rather that the host possesses - owns, is occupied by - a demon). But careless handling of these types of spiritually charged tools can lead to far more than one might desire or be prepared to deal with. Have you ever left a nightclub feeling more depressed, down, or even suicidal than when you walked in? Have you ever found yourself doing things which you might never have allowed yourself to do while under the trance-inducing music or lights of a darkened club? The Bible teaches that the powers of evil prefer to operate under the cover of darkness. They enjoy dark places and thrive in areas where light is not readily available. Combine darkness with hypnotic lights, mind altering substances, and/or inebriation and you have a lethal spiritual mix.
Some folks will want to say that this is sheer bologna. How many bars or nightclubs even offer a well lit lounge area or bathroom, for that matter? Were you to study some of the tribes found in Africa, South America, and even North America you would find that they often would utilize darkness, combined with music carrying a very heavy beat, and in some instances, mind-altering substances to avail themselves of spiritual entities which they do not feel they are capable of communicating or interacting with in a sober, silent state. Some American Indians actually used similar techniques in attempting to communicate with the dead or spirit world.
Just think for a moment how easily one can be pulled into the spirit of a ball game at a ball park. The music is blaring, lights are flashing, people are screaming. I have never been the least bit interested in hockey, but when Tommy was once able to attain tickets for a Dallas Stars hockey game from his employer, we went to the game if for no other reason than just the experience. The music was so loud! After a while, one could hardly even feign disinterest, as the whole visual and audio experience drew you into the game. It was, in many ways, scary. How could I be so easily pulled into something that I came in having absolutely no interest in?
Music, Drum Beats, Alcohol, and Drugs can be very powerful catalysts. One must be well aware of the potential spiritual doors that they can open. Nearly ten years ago as I lay dying in a bed at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, the drugs that I was placed on did things to my mind that I cannot even share. I hallucinated and experienced the most horrible sense of anxiety and fear that I have ever before known in my life. Having gone into the hospital with faith in God and an understanding of the power of Jesus name, and my authority as a believer in that name, I was able, even in that sick and weakened state, to fight back against the powers of Hell that literally sought to take advantage of me! EVEN IN THAT STATE!
Satan does not fight fair folks. The Bible says that he hunts like a lion. A lion seeks the weak, injured, unattended, alone, or young. He does not look for the strongest animal in the herd, but the weakest! He will fight for your soul to the very last breath that leaves your body, which is why it is so imperative that you establish your faith and nurture it, keeping it strong, right to the every end of this life! I saw things while I was drugged up and hooked up to life support that were bone chilling! Nurses appeared to turn around and begin cursing God, telling me that God had abandoned me and why did I even want to serve Him anyway. I never for one second was in fear of Hell, but I did feel much of the time as though Satan himself were attacking my faith and confidence in God and His Word.
When I left the hospital, October 6th, 2000; I noticed that the same hideous sensations of indescribable fear and overwhelming anxiety which I had been experiencing while deep under the influence of these drugs were trying to continue to manifest themselves in me. I called a great aunt of mine here in Texas who is a devout Pentecostal lady and asked her to help me pray. I knew that I needed God to deliver me from these spiritual influences which were trying to take hold in my life. She and I prayed, and to make a long story short, ALL THOSE SENSATIONS WENT AWAY THAT NIGHT AND HAVE NEVER RETURNED SINCE THEN! If it was just residual effects of the medicine, how is it that prayer was able to change my situation immediately?
I have shared these incidents with you today in an effort to help you see that even the most mundane, or seemingly harmless, activities can be spiritually detrimental. We must be mindful of what types of music we allow to permeate our hearing. We must be careful to never surrender control of our bodies to any substance, like drugs or alcohol, or even to music or “the beat.” Doing so can result in our unwittingly making ourselves available or subject to forces which are not of this flesh and blood realm. Caution is the key. We cannot be careful if we do not recognize the potential for danger.