Symptoms of demonic interference may appear on various surfaces and be characterized by various scales of intensity, apply to people, animals, places and objects. An exorcist priest’s task is to recognise the scope of the evil spirit’s action in a given case. His evaluation is usually conducted after medical examinations in order to exclude, e.g. mental disorders or a natural genesis of the phenomena.
Demonic action upon man can manifest itself on the spiritual or physical plane. We will enumerate manifestations starting with relatively mild ones, to phenomena in extreme forms.
1. On the spiritual plane
- Temptations – particularly strong, urging to evil.
- Thoughts – lewd, obscene, contrary to the supernatural.
- Difficulties in praying, reading the Holy Scripture, aversion to conversion.
- Nightmares, sometimes together with visions and a strong sense of an evil spirits presence (strangling, touch, temporary paralysis).
- Aversion towards the sacred
- Aversion towards God, the faithful, the clergy (priests, nuns).
- Aggressive behaviours with a religious and social background, nervous reactions to somebody’s piety, spiritual practices and prayer (especially for a tormented person).
- Aversion towards and inability to receive sacraments, participate in Mass and other services.
- Strange behaviours during eating blessed meals (e.g. difficulty in swallowing food with blessed water), aversion towards wearing blessed clothes or ones with a blessed medal sewn in.
- Repulsionto sacramentals (blessings, blessed water, blessed medals and other items, as well as images of saints); nervous reactions or stiffening upon being touched with a saint’s relic, a blessed medal, a scapular; a repulsion to the cross, desecration of blessed items, churches.
2. On a mental plane, applying to health
- Sudden behaviour changes, lasting neglecting of duties, personality change.
- Depression, a lasting bad disposition, suicidal attempts, self-mutilation.
- Sexual deviations and perversions.
- Paranormal abilities, clairvoyance, knowledge of hidden matters, speaking in unknown tongues (ones which the enslaved person has never studied).
- Health disorders, especially headaches, stomach and back pains, pressure on the throat, which cannot be diagnosed or cured.
- Extraordinary strength, satanic, occult symbols on the body appearing during prayer, spitting with objects e.g. connected with magic (materialisation).
3. Phenomena in the surroundings
- Oppressions – unexplained phenomena, moving, appearing and disappearing objects, doors and windows opening by themselves, poltergeist-type phenomena.
- Behaviour of pets, like they were sensing somebody’s presence (e.g. staring into one place, flying in terror).
- Finding objects – in pillows, mattresses of possessed persons strange objects are sometimes found, e.g. dolls, figurines of animals or people, clots of blood, wisps of hair, splinters of wood or metal that might be evidence of various forms of magic.