Where evil spirits enter is the subject of the third column, and the list is very brief, since the widest ramifications of their workings in man can be covered by the words spirit, soul and body, for they bury themselves in the very structure of the human frame, some acting directly upon the organs or appetites of the body, others upon the mind or intellect, sensibilities, emotions and affections, and others more immediately upon the spirit.note 12 In the body they specially locate themselves in the spinal column, nervous system, and deepest nerve centres, through which they control the whole being; from the ganglionic nerve centre located in the bowels, the emotional sensibilities, and all organs affected by them, to the cerebral nerve centre in the head, the eyes, ears, neck, jaws, tongue, muscles of the face, and delicate nerve tissues of the brain.
They may obtain access gradually and insidiously, as already shown, but there are instances where they make a sudden assault, so as to rush the victim into involuntary surrender.note 13
When evil spirits have gained entry to the believer through the ground given to them, as already described, the symptoms of their presence are recognizable according to the degree of the possession and the place wherein they are located, whether deep in the innermost structure of the person, or in the mind and faculties which are more visibly affected by them.
Many of the symptoms have already been touched upon in previous chapters, especially in "Passivity as the chief basis of Possession" (4), and "Counterfeits of the Divine" (6) in spiritual experiences, and need not be recapitulated.
Here we need but sum up some of the characteristics of acute and fully developed possession in mind and body, when the passive surrender to deceiving spirits is very complete, and the whole of the outer man is open to their use in every part of his being. It must, however, be clearly understood, that (1) all the symptoms may be present in a very slight degree, so as to be almost indistinguishable from entirely natural causes; (2) they may be only manifested in the part of the human frame wherein the intruders are located; or (3) they may come into existence, and pass away through various causes, WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGEnote 14 of the victim.
When the possession is very pronounced, these intruders entirely dominate the outer man, using, or interfering with the vocal organs, the tongue, jaws, eyes, ears, smell, taste, muscles, the hands and feet, sometimes with uncontrollable and unconscious movements.note 15 They interfere with the head, and move it at their will, and with the five senses of the body, because they are the avenues of knowledge to the mind. They seek to dull and check the acute use of the senses, so that they may have more opportunity to control their victim, and when they do this, there is more or less difficulty in all the operations of the senses and faculties.note 16
When evil spirits affect the vocal organs, they may interfere with all the vocal operations in audible reading, speaking, singing, or praying. In speaking, the enunciation may be heavy or blurred, slow or quick; the words may appear to run one into another, the pronunciation variable, and the accents, or emphasis, wrong, for emphasis in speech which is not the result of the mind controlling any emphasis, may be the effect of possession.
The supernatural power affecting the passive mind mixes up, so to speak, the words in the mind, and then in the speech; prevents the mind grasping thoughts, and causes the memory to fail in action. Words come to the mind, and do not remain long enough for speech; or, on the other hand, torrents of "thoughts" come, which "rush" the vocal organs into action beyond control. It is then easier to speak than to listen to another speaking. The tongue acts independently of the mind or will. Words are spoken unthought of by the mind, or intended by the will; sometimes the exact opposite to what was in the mind and intention, which astonish the speaker when he is afterwards reminded of what he has said.
Much that has been called "garrulity," "talkativeness," and irresponsible use of the tongue among Christians, may be attributed to the cause here named; for many whose tongues are uncontrollable in gossip, slander and backbiting, are sincerely unconscious of what they do, or if they are conscious, are quite unable to control or check their grievous, irresponsible talking. Evil spirits may "possess" them only in the organs of speech, or practically have control of the tongue through the CHANNEL OF A PASSIVE MIND.
This may be the case in platform speakers, who have a voluminous flow of words which pour through the lips, or else a rapid rushing speech, or in staccato form, without any concentration or true action of the mind.note 17 Pulpit preaching is even possible in this way, evil spirits being unaffected by "preaching" which does not proclaim the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and is not in the power of the Holy Ghost.
The voice of a man is more easily affected by supernatural power than many have thought. When evil spirits touch the man's spirit, it may be sometimes recognized by a harsh, metallic sound in the voice, or a hoarse and rough thickness; or these same effects may be noticed in an atmosphere which is very thickly charged by the powers of darkness; showing their effect upon the delicate vocal chords.note 18
In the interference with, or use of the vocal organs and voice, may be placed the counterfeit "gift of tongues," or the exquisite singing which has been termed the "heavenly music," because of its manifest supernatural source, and its being beyond the singer's own natural power.
In pronounced demon possession, evil spirits may affect the voice in an apparently natural way, which is put down to natural causes. For instance, in singing, the man may be doing so with power, and with clear, and bell-like enunciation, but soon there comes weakness in the muscles of the throat, a dry cough, and tears in the eyes, and the singing ceases. The concentration of the eyes upon the music book grows weaker, a sense of heaviness comes on neck and spine; the playing goes on, but heedless, spiritless, dejected and heavy, the singer turns away, putting it all down to "difficulty of breathing," and physical impediment, when it has been entirely a manifestation of the evil spirits in possession.
In interference with the head, the jaws can be moved by the spirits of evil, and the nerves of the face manipulated in the production of smiles, which appear at unsuitable moments, manifestly apart from the cognizance of the person. Of such a nature is the mechanical smile, when the facial muscles seem made of elastic, or a stiffening of countenance which makes the face appear hard or cruel, dried up and withered, or painfully miserable.
Demon possession does affect the face, and cause expressions upon it which may be opposed to the true character of the person. Other effects upon the face produced by the controlling spirits may be repellent or beautiful, and appear natural and physical; such as a blushing red, impure look, or an angelic look of heavenly beauty, with exquisite smiles, and light as of glory, which may suddenly change into a stern unbending look, with lips set and brow furrowed, or into a dark cloud as of sudden storm and tempest.
In the drainage of vitality, caused by the grip of the spirits of evil, the temples may be sunken, and the hair become prematurely gray. In a sudden manifestation of the intruders, the nostrils may become tightened, the scent deadened, and the breathing gasping and short, with choking, suffocating feelings, and noises in the head.
No part of the nerves in the head are more affected than those of the eyes, for there can come about a passivity of the eyes, which permits them to be moved by evil spirits, and forced to see visible objects apart from the use of the volition. In reading, the eyes can be moved to see the printed words, and rapidly skim the pages of matter, without any of it entering the mind, and making any impression upon the memory. It is important, in connection with the use of the eyes, to notice whether mental action always governs their movements, or whether they look at objects independently of the intelligent volition;note 19 for evil spirit interference is most marked when the eyes roam about whilst the man is speaking to another person, or gaze upward or downward, or in any direction without any cause, ofttimes in a most unseemly or discourteous manner.
Particularly is the use of the eyes by evil spirits manifested in a set or fixed gaze upon various things, or upon the faces of others, the latter is especially dangerous, when the person is compelled by this fixity of gaze to take, unknowingly, a mediumistic attitude to another. Any persistent drawing of the eyes to another's face should be instantly resisted.
Especially in meetings where supernatural powers are manifestly present, a "fixed gaze" in listening to a speaker should be avoided, if it has the effect of causing non-action of the mind and a dazed condition, as it opens the listener to the workings of evil spirits through his passivity. In the same way, speakers in such gatherings should take care lest the spirits of evil find opportunity to use their eyes in fixity of concentration upon the people, to sway them by power and thus hinder the intelligent opening of their minds to the words that are being spoken.note 20
In acute demon possession, the eyes are affected very markedly. They are forced to see evil things, and bad things, so much so that they affect the person, and make him fidgety and complaining; the eyes cannot look straight in another's face, nor, indeed, look at anything without an "attack" of some kind, produced by the spirits of evil. These attacks may cause the person to look guilty in the eyes of others, when there is no ground for doing so.
There are two kinds of concentration: (1) Physical, through the eyes, and (2) mental, by the mental vision. The man himself is only acting in any action of the body, when concentration of mind and will is at the back of his every action. Visions may be physical, mental or spiritual.note 21 In the physical vision the eyes are needed; in the mental, the eyes of the mind; and in the spiritual the inward vision of the spiritual man.
When evil spirits control the physical eyes, visions of supernatural, and natural beings, and things, appear before them, and in ordinary matters of life things appear different from what they really are.note 22 The man receives impressions of things contrary to reality, such as the panel of a door appearing like a cross, lights in the sky in various figures, etc. The man declares he "sees" these things, but he does not know that evil spirits can present them to his vision.
The eyesight of necessity is affected by this manipulation of the eyes, and there are general feelings of weakness. Things look misty and blurred, and undefined. There may be short-sightedness, and inability to concentrate on any small object; concentration of the eyes is painful and difficult, the man complains of the light, tiredness of the eyes, and dark spots appear before them, either stable or moving, near or far; symptoms which might be looked upon as purely physical if it were not for the supernatural element accompanying them.
In interference with the ears, entire deafness may be caused by an evil spirit locating in the nerves of the ear, or there may be degrees of interference with the hearing, such as the loss of words, so that in listening there are moments when sentences, or words, are not heard at all; or there is a failure to grasp clearly what others say because the person hears partly what the speaker says, and partly what the evil spirit inserts, or suggests to the mind, hence "misunderstandings" of given instructions, or the clearly expressed language of others. This also causes an indisposition to listen to others speaking, and a restless impatience which cannot wait for them to complete their sentences, or communications, because the intruders are thrusting in their own suggestions to the mind, and claiming attention to their speaking. The believer has a sense of double listening, so to speak, which is an interior and exterior listening at one and the same time. That is, he may be trying to "listen" to feelings and movements withinnote 23 whilst listening to the voices of others outside. This causes difficulty in listening to music, speaking, and reading aloud. There is also a deadness to exterior sounds, because of a buzzing in the ears,note 24 and the sound in the ears is stronger than the sound outside, with the effect of an apparent absent-mindedness. The man needs to be released from listening to the supernatural speaking within himself, before he is free to listen to that which is external.
Evil spirits interfering with the sensory nerves of the ears, render exterior sounds acute in forced consciousness of them, producing confusion and irritation; the exaggerated sense of sound rendering concentration difficult.
They also make strange sounds by interference with the sensory nerves, the man declaring that he heard voices, thunder, rustling as of a dress, etc., which no one around him hears.
This persistent "buzz" in the ears, makes the victim pre-occupied, and almost unconsciously shake his head, as if shaking off something which is annoying him. It is so distracting that he is obliged to speak aloud to himself to make an impression on his own mind: he must read aloud in order to take in the sense of what he may be reading, or speak aloud to apprehend his own speech, because of the confusion caused in his mind by the inward "buzz" of the persecuting spirits. Because of this confusion, also, fresh ground is given to the powers of darkness, for deeper possession through the distraction caused by their interference.
The cause of this is, that, unknowingly, the believer has lent his ears to evil spirits, listening to their words and suggestions, often because he believed he was listening to God, or listening to himself. This comes particularly when there has grown a habit of listening for an inner voice;note 25 or an alert inside "listening" which in time enables the evil spirit to dull the outer ear, and acute attention to outer communications; or a "listening" inwardly to "feelings," sensations, movements,note 26 "drawings," whilst at the same time listening for voices, texts, and messages from without.