Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spirit Possession: Do Demons Exist?

 Strange incidents happened in some parts of the Philippines with teenage girls reportedly being possessed by  malevolent spirits. The phenomenon is difficult to understand considering that it happened in several places that are far apart and at different times with the victims displaying similar symptoms.

Sometime on the third week of August 2011, thirty-three students of Compostela National High School in Davao del Norte were reportedly possessed by evil spirits after they had played “Spirit of the Glass”. The students displayed unusual behavior such as speaking strange language in class, fainting, screaming and even hurting themselves. School authorities then provided religious and medical services to the victims and suspended classes.

“Spirit of the Glass” is a sort of dabbling with the occult where children innocently played it out of curiosity or fun. In the game, the light is turned off and a candle is lit on top of a glass that is turned upside down. The children then call the spirit of a departed one to get a clue or an answer to some questions.

On September 10, 2012, female students of Crossing Bayabas National High School in Davao City were reported to be possessed by demon spirits. The victims were said to be displaying odd actions such as writhing, screaming, swearing at classmates and fainting. They also displayed unusual strength when held or restrained by other people. The possession of the students happened after a Talisay tree was cut down to pave the way for the construction of a new building.

On October 7, 2012, seventeen female students of Jaclupan National High School in the hinterlands of Talisay, Cebu were reportedly possessed by evil spirits a day after an all night seminar over the weekend and after three Bagalnga trees were cut down to make way for the construction of new building. One of the victims was said to have seen a dark being that was glaring at her. The victims showed similar symptoms with those of the students of Davao City. The victims were brought to a chaplaincy which was located across the school, but the priest could not help with the situation so that they were brought to Mary’s Little Children Community to ask the assistance of Msgr. Frederick Kriekenbeck. One of the victims was said to levitate as the priest performed the exorcism rite for them.

The exorcism of the victims did not end the ordeal as their possession by the spirits continued the next day. On the morning of October 8, 2012, after the class prayed the rosary fourteen students were possessed. Msgr. Kriekenbeck went to the school to exorcise the victims and performed the rite of deliverance to rid the students and the school area of demon spirits. School authorities asked the assistance of government agencies such as the Department of Education and brought in medical personnel and psychologist to check the physical and psychological conditions of the victims.

Superstitious people said that the phenomenon was caused by nature spirits. The cutting down of trees in the school campus of Talisay, Cebu which were believed to be the abode of the malevolent spirits angered them. They got back at humans by possessing their bodies. Msgr. Kriekenbeck urged the people of the community especially the students to be more active in professing their faith to keep them from becoming easy prey of demon spirits.

If Christians and other religious groups are to be believed, the spirits that possessed people are those of demons. Demons are said to be once upon a time angels who were cast by God into earth for rebelling against Him. On earth, they try to tempt and mislead humans to keep them away from God. At times, demons cause harm to humans such as making them become sick or possessing their bodies. Humans who are mortal and physical being cannot fathom the nature of spirit because they are invisible and in other realm.

People have heard of stories through the ages of humans being possessed by demon spirits. Even the Bible contains many verses on Jesus casting away evil spirits from humans. An example of those verses is Mark 1:34: “And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.”