According to occultist and Spiritualist philosophy, evil spirits
do exist. There are many intelligent entities in the higher
and lower spheres that may not be of human origin and may
not be benevolent. But the evil spirits commonly spoken of are
the spirits of bad people and inhabit the lower spheres, from
Evil Eye Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
which, either owing to the locality to which they are earthbound
or to the attraction of bad, immoral séance sitters, they may
easily reach the medium. Their appearing may be accidental.
They may see the light of the medium and attempt to oust
the control. The controls, as a rule, are able to keep evil spirits
away; but sometimes, for unknown reasons, their power fails.
In such cases they urgently ask for the breaking of the circle
and the suspension of the sitting.
On the other hand, if an evil spirit has already taken possession
of the medium, it is considered imperative to maintain the
circle unbroken until the invader can be ousted. Possession by
evil spirits is usually manifested by fits, violent convulsions, and
uncouth ravings, which may cause harm to the medium.
J. J. Morse, lecturing in trance, asserted in a speech later
printed in Light (July 11, 1903)
So long as evil men live on earth, pass from it at death, and
live beyond, so long will it be possible for them to obtrude
among you. What then is the preventive The cultivation of
your will power; the absolute determination to be master of
yourself; the assertion of your unquestionable right to select
your own associates among the people of either world. The exercise
of your duty to try the spirits as you do men before deferring
to their advice or leading. And, most of all, in this connection
to refuse entrance, or harbour, to unclean thoughts of
any kind into your minds. The complete discontinuance of
gross living, intoxicants and narcotics and a rigid obedience to
personal cleanliness must also be adopted. Purity of mind must
have its complement in purity of body. By aspiration, prayer
and cleanliness men may not only ward off but prevent the influence
of undesirable spirits and in conjunction with a steadfast
will no better exorcism can be practised.
If, in spite of all, an evil spirit has gained possession, how
should it be exorcised A curious experiment was recorded by
G. H. Lock in Light (November 28, 1903). It occurred to him
that through the ages some mystic power had been associated
with the Cross as a symbol, and that the very common belief in
the virtue of the sign of the cross may have had its origin in the
spirit world. He therefore tried the efficacy of this sign on the
spirit plane with remarkable success. But, he affirmed, the
mere wearing of a material cross upon the person is useless for
the purpose. The mediumor, if the medium is in trance, the
leader of the circlemust will the sign at or toward the spirit
or draw the sign mentally upon the spirit, at the same time willing
it or adjuring it to stand revealed, or to go.
Should the request be unavailing, the sign of the cross
should be made firmly and deliberately upon the breast of the
medium and on the back about the region of the shoulders. At
a first attempt only a cringing may result, but, stated Lock, I
have never known failure at the third attempt.
An early case of control by an evil entity was recorded by
Ernesto Bozzano from the mediumship of L.D. The medium
was controlled by his father, Luigi. Once he declared in terror
that evil spirits were near the medium. Before the sitting could
be closed, L.D. began to glare and, foaming at the mouth, assaulted
a sitter and tried to strangle him while shouting, I have
found you at last, wretch. I was a soldier of the royal marines.
Do you remember Oporto You murdered me and I will avenge
myself and strangle you. The sitter had to be rescued. His
story was that he had killed a drunken sailor who attacked him
in Oporto and was sentenced to six years detention for the
Willie Reichel, in his Occult Experiences (1906), described the
sudden intrusion of a female spirit that went around the circle
of 14 persons striking and spitting on nearly all of them and
using horrible language.
Besides injuring the medium or the sitters, the danger of an
enduring possession is possible. Such possession, or obsession,
would be called demoniacal. As a rule, however, cases of obsession
do not originate in the séance room. It would be unwise,
however, to deny the possibility.
Regarding the issue of evil influences on this life from the
other world, Andrew Jackson Davis, in commenting on a book,
The Great Psychological Crime, is very emphatic
I deny utterly and for all time that individuals are led into
evil and crimes by persons in the other world. I know the
pranks and college-boy mischievousness of the Diakka but even
for them and all such, I know that the police regulations of the
other world are adequate and universally effective.
During the 1870s Spiritualist Carl Wickland and his wife
began to treat evil spirits believed to be possessing mental patients.
The publication of his book Thirty Years Among the Dead
in 1924 led to the spread within Spiritualism of rescue circles,
to which evil spirits were invited to attend and then sent toward
the Spiritualist equivalent of heaven.
Davis, Andrew Jackson. The Diakka, and Earthly Victims. Boston
Colby & Rich, 1880.
Wickland, Carl. Thirty Years Among the Dead. Los Angeles,