Although recorded belief in demonic possession only dates
back as far as 500 BC Egypt, earlier civilizations believed in evil spirits.
The old Church legend of Satan, a powerful evil being
independent of God, probably began around 583 BC, influenced by Babylonians
who ruled the Hebrew people. Christianity furthered possession and exorcism
as preeminent beliefs in the civilized world. The Bible carries many tales
of Jesus driving devils out of various mortals. He then passed on the power
and right of exorcism to his disciples.
Satan assumed a more prominent place in daily life when
Christianity became the official religion of Rome. He and his minions were
believed able to possess human beings and sometimes even assume human form
themselves to carry out their evil purposes.
During the Middle Ages, public exorcisms proved to be
popular crowd-pleasers and were often accompanied by severe torture.
Victims, many of whom were only guilty of being non-Christians or mentally
ill, were often branded as witches or sorcerers, to justify the Church's
As early as 1583, the Church recognized that some forms of
mental illness could cause a person to seem possessed. In fact, the "Roman
Ritual," shown in The Exorcist and first published in 1614, cautions
its users to make sure the case cannot be explained by normal psychological
means. Modern psychological and medical discoveries, such as Tourette's
Syndrome, have given the Church more ammunition to scientifically explain
most cases of possession.
The "Roman Ritual" is now rarely used - and only in those
cases where no other explanations can be found.
By Church law, no priest can perform a formal exorcism until
he is fully persuaded of the individual's possession and receives the
Church's blessing. Signs of "true possession" include, hiding, the client
looks at you with a blank stair, sometimes but, not often speaking in
foreign tongues, ability to predict the future or displaying powers beyond
the person's age or natural condition, bringing up your past or sins,
reading your mind, and much more. (You can bring up this subject with the
teaching Pastor if you have questions)
Before beginning an exorcism, a priest usually investigates
past cases to help guard him against tricks the demon might try to play.
The "Roman Ritual" begins with the priest going to
confession and Mass and dressing in surplice.
The priest starts the actual procedure by making the sign of
the cross over the subject, himself and any bystanders, then sprinkles holy
water around the room.
Next, he recites the Litany of the Saints and a selection of
psalms, prayers and invocations from the Gospel, interspersing "Hail Marys"
and the "Athanasian Creed."
There are also several formal addresses made directly to the
demon, ordering the demon to leave the subject's body with the words "the
power of Christ compels you!"
Throughout the Ritual, the priest frequently makes the sign
of the cross and tries to draw the subject into the Ritual.
The demon is not considered exorcised until it tells the
priest its name and its purpose.
Once the demon leaves the subject, the subject is warned to
guard themselves carefully and abstain from sin, to keep the demon from
** ( Although I personally don't believe this last statement
it is apart of a written rite, I have seen the demonic spirits depart
quietly and never return. To truly know when it is over you must watch and
keep in contact with the Client. Teach and Guide them to lead a life of
Christ and not a sinful life. Brake the Stronghold. Believe me when I tell
you that you will know when it is over. I don't give the them the pleasure
of telling me their names or anything else. They must obey my commands given
to me at that time through the Holy Spirit)