Demons, Possession, and the Book I Almost Didn’t Finish


A photo I took from inside the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.

A photo I took from inside the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri.

I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding the subject of demons or demonic possession on this blog. This isn’t due to being afraid of the topic or needing to leave the closet light on when I talk about it, but because the BS-o-meter tends to immediately start flashing in my head when the topic is brought up. It’s not something I do on purpose, and it’s not that I’m trying to be a jerk, it just doesn’t resonate with me, I guess. I’ve always done my best to not offend anyone in discussions about their beliefs, or when people recount their demonic experiences. As Jim Harold famously says, “I keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.” Most of the time I just listen and try to see the activity as simply paranormal, just like any other experience that may or may not be explainable, rather than attach a demonic name or entity to it. 


I admit it! 

But I think I need to finally come clean and admit that I have issues believing in the concept. Oh I know what some of you will use to argue already. Light can’t exist without darkness. A belief in angels requires a belief in demons. Those arguments sound nice, but they don’t settle anything for me, and to be fair, I have the same issues wrapping my head around angels sometimes too, with their names and their color coded wings. For a while last year I was involved in a few phone conversations with a popular television production company about the possibility of being involved in a pilot about angels and investigating whether or not they really existed. I’m not sure where the project ended up going, but many of the personalities they were interested in just had a knowing that angels existed, and that’s not what they were looking for. They wanted someone who needed the proof. It was exciting to be approached, but I’m not sure the topic of angels would have been enough to keep me focused or serious for a whole series. One thing is for sure, though. I’d have to see some evidence before I could confidently say I believed in angels. Now ask me if I believe in spirit guides. (Well… I can’t wait all night for you to ask, but just know the answer is YES. My regular readers already knew this.)

Oh I believe in evil, in a sense that there are bad people, good people, and a whole spectrum of people in between. Those same people may just end up being either the innocent ghost or the trouble-making poltergeist in a haunted house. Many people believe, as I do, that we’re placed here on earth, maybe more than once, to learn lessons and allow our souls to grow spiritually. Perhaps these “bad people” are here to be a part of those lessons, and maybe their struggle with being bad has something to do with their own lesson. But believing in an inhuman demonic entity, or the devil himself, is something that I admittedly struggle to take seriously. Some popular paranormal television shows haven’t helped my opinion, either. Often those suddenly possessed investigators or home owners seem to look like they’re simply starving for attention, and oh look, there just happens to be a camera rolling! The spotlight is on me! I don’t mean to be flip, but that’s how it appears. I have absolutely no doubt that spirit can make use of our energy, or manipulate the world around us, and I believe in some cases a person with a gift can be used as a channel for spirit. But sometimes I wonder if people confuse being mentally unstable, or just plain drama, with demon possession. 


The book

This post was originally intended to be a book review, but like it or not, I’ve always had a policy about not mentioning a book by name if I don’t have many good things to say about it. Therefore, I’ll be somewhat cryptic in talking about it, and I hope that isn’t seen as poor taste. I’m far from being qualified to be an English teacher, but if I have the urge to take out a red pen to correct grammar and spelling in every chapter of your book, you simply didn’t try very hard to edit it, and so that certainly means I’m going to have a hard time taking you seriously or trusting your qualifications. The book contains story after story of what is supposed to be taken from actual case files of demonic activity, but they just sounded like good fictional storytelling to me… and I’m not big on reading fiction. I simply don’t believe much of those events happened. And people shouldn’t be led to believe that a simple creek, a rap on the wall in response to a question, or an occasional shadow is a reason to convert to Catholicism, get a crucifix for every room, or look for an exorcist.

If you know me, you know that I can’t NOT finish a book, even if I’m not enjoying it. I take pride in finishing the last word and shelving it ceremoniously. But for the first time in years, I considered not finishing this one. I felt a little silly spending the time on it. It took me forever, but I finished it, sighed, and moved on to the next book on my “to be read” shelf.



Like some things I’ve brought up in this blog, I might change my mind about all of this in a year or two, or maybe even next week! If I’m suddenly involved in an investigation where I have pea soup spat by someone walking across the ceiling while cursing me in 12 different languages, you’ll be the first to hear from me. Until then, this is where I am with it all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out in search of evil. I’ve always preferred pleasant spirits “from the light”, but until I’ve experienced it, I refuse to make it something dramatic to fear.


Now it’s your turn to tell me why I’m right or wrong.

I know that many of my readers will disagree with me on this. As I say to my students, “you’ll still like me, right?”

As a counter to probably every opinion I just gave here, you may be interested in checking out the ongoing Hidden Astral World series from Gary Leigh’s Psychic Empaths blog, where he quite literally introduces you to Omen, who he claims is a demonic entity. Gary is a loyal reader of the Big Séance and I have a lot of respect for him, so I hope he chooses to still like me after this post. He’s writing about fascinating stuff. I’m just not sure where I am with it all or how to respond. Go check it out!  


You might also like:

Categorizing Hauntings (Big Séance)

Categorizing Hauntings (Big Séance)

About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

16 responses to “Demons, Possession, and the Book I Almost Didn’t Finish

  • Gary Leigh

    Great entry, Patrick, and if it makes you feel any better, I put Omen through all kinds of tests until I finally was satisfied that he was legit.

    Not that I doubt what I was feeling, but I owed it to everyone for me to be certain if I was going to make such a strong claim.

    You might be interested in some of the things I had him do.

    He claimed he could possess people and he said he would show himself by making them say: I am hungry. I set the intention for someone who would agree to such a thing, and I went to have a massage. Omen said he would possess the masseuse. And at the end of it (which this lady acted very oddly, saying I should massage her..!) she clearly stated 3 or 4 times ‘I am very hungry’. Can’t say anyone’s ever said that to me after a massage.

    I also invited him to try and possess my body. One night, he tried to do just that, and I felt my limbs moving of their own volition while I was in bed. My mind was fully aware and it was a really odd sensation to have that happen. (I mentioned it to him the next day and he made the comment that I shouldn’t have been aware that he did that, and found it creepy that I was ‘watching’ him.

    Thirdly, I wanted to see if he could arrange a visit from a succubus for me. And yes, let me tell you that he successfully managed that and it was an interesting experience, but one that was unmistakable.

    And finally, not so long ago, my partner rang me up I the morning at work and asked if I could check to see if something was at the house. Apparently she had felt something try to hit on her while she was waking up in bed. She blasted whatever she felt it was off her, and then rang me.

    I asked Omen, who said he went to visit me, but I wasn’t there.. and then later admitted that it had been him.

    • Patrick Keller

      A. I’m not sure the “hunger” test would have worked so well with me, because I say it all the time. 🙂

      2. Your partner’s unwanted and surprise visitor gave me serious chills!

      • Gary Leigh

        Really? I just groaned and though, typical. lol

        Yeah, I’m hungry could be common, but it’s the only time I’ve ever heard it said in that kind of context 🙂

  • Renae Rude - The Paranormalist

    I think I believe in an entity / entities that are labelled demonic. By that, I mean entities that are self-aware, intent on doing evil … and perhaps not formerly human.

    I also think that far too many hauntings, and too much paranormal phenomena, is attributed to such entities.

    Even violent hauntings and poltergeists, I think, are most likely rooted in disembodied souls, residual energies and psychic tantrums by the living (who may or may not be aware that they are the source.)

    I’m concerned that the first line of defense in such situations has often been exorcism. When I look at the cases that have warranted ritual exorcism, I usually see mental illness combined with religious fanaticism.

    That said, I deeply fear the demonic (as I defined it above) and can totally see how such an entity would disguise itself as a “simple” ghost.

    • Patrick Keller

      Yes, I would agree with the mental illness/religious fanatacism portion of your comment for sure. I brought this idea up in my podcast with Marilyn Painter that is coming out soon.

  • J

    Hi Patrick,

    I read your blog regularly and enjoy most of the postings. You are right about not believing something till you experience it but let me share something in this regard: I have not only seen but have been touched by an other-dimensional being which was never human, which could be described as demonic. It was massive, pitch black, somewhat 2D and had a strange feel when it brushed against me, pressed the base of my spine and walked/floated away. It also had a triangular head-like structure and ‘extensions’ instead of hands and legs. The proportions were unbelievable – it was slightly shorter than my ceiling. It had no obvious/overt physical features and yet I sensed red-orange coloured ‘eyes’ (or something) and also the fact that it came across as more ‘male’ being, though it really wasn’t of specific gender (I was made to understand this, there was nothing to suggest it, overtly). It also had tremendous stench preceding it and while it was around – rotting smell. I could also see what it was seeing, through its eyes and that’s a very, very strange way of looking at something. Its presence was accompanied by a low deep growling sound. I wasn’t scared, more like taken aback and then curious. But when I look back at it, that’s one experience that I don’t want repeated. It was very different from spirits, formerly human, annoying or pleasant, that one comes across, otherwise. There’s something more menacing about it. More like an animal with brute force and predator instincts. Its attitude was of contemptuous indifference.

    I’m glad it left me alone.


    • Patrick Keller

      J — First off, sorry for my tardiness in replying. But I’m curious. Was this the only major “demonic” experience you’ve had? How often does it happen? And did any kind of event or situation seem to contribute to the experience, or was it completely random? Thanks for commenting!

  • Randall Keller

    Well, I’m one of those who believes “you can’t have good without evil” folks. But we’ve talked about this before, I think, and I don’t believe there are demons in every corner, or in the bad milk you get from the store (I was once actually told how that happened to someone – demon possessed milk). I believe in respect, so I find a healthy respect for evil to be important; important enough for me to avoid it. As a result, I’m still waiting to have that head-to-head with some kind of nastiness, but I’m not seeking it and I can definitely do without it. Problem is, for me, not recognizing the existence of this particular kind of evil seems similar to purposefully running over that three-foot deep pothole in the road – you never know how much damage might occur – granted, if any. I always believed that if we ran into one of these Cretans, we’d know it, and I suspect if you do, you will. Until I do, I’m believing, but only in the possibilities and the incredibly few documented cases we know of (I think there’s less than ten world-wide). I’m sorry if it bothers anyone, but I don’t have to always see to believe (or hear) – sometimes I think there are lots of unprovable stuff that we have no choice but to just accept. That said, it’s a very very VERY long walk to Demonville, and you can’t always get there from here. Peace!

    • Patrick Keller

      I get that. And I would agree with how few real cases probably exist. But I’m not going to lie. And I hope this doesn’t offend anyone… but I completely believe in demon possessed milk.

  • LeeAllenHoward

    Great post, Patrick, and I’m with you on this one. I used to believe in demons when I believed in a cosmology of duality, which I no longer subscribe to. “Evil” is relative and is just at the lower end of the spiritual development spectrum. Granted, there are spirit beings I choose not to hang around with, just as there are living people I don’t invite into my inner circle. (This is the primary reason I abandoned pursuit of physical mediumship for higher communications.)

    I have found that what you believe in shows up. If your belief system allows (or fears) demons and dark spirits, entities fitting this idea will show up. The same thing goes for angels. I believe in a hierarchy of developed spirit beings who have either stopped or never incarnated. But angels with wings? Not really. “Angel” from the Greek means “messenger,” and this fits any spirit being who wants to communicate with those in the physical realm, including departed loved ones.

    What really clinched it for me was E. W. Sprague’s book, ‘Spirit Obsession: A False Doctrine and a Menace to Modern Spiritualism.’ He makes a good argument, and I recommend it.

    I think too many of the popular ideas about angels and demons are fueled by dualistic religion. Double for books, TV, and movies. While these may be fun concepts for entertainment, I don’t believe they reflect spiritual reality.

    All beings, incarnated or not, are on an evolutionary journey toward perfection and the highest. Along this infinite spectrum, where is the dividing line between “evil” and “good”? There is none. Our job is to help others progress toward the Light in love.

    • Gary Leigh

      I think on the point of evil, it’s quite correct that evil is relative. I tend to avoid using good and evil.

      Just like light workers who claim to be good as they use their light to blast ‘evil’ away.

      In my opinion, true light, one that is God source, does not destroy, it help calm, brings joy and makes the dark feel better. At least, that’s my view. 🙂

    • Patrick Keller

      Wow. I like how you put all of that, Lee! And I wouldn’t have necessarily expected you to agree with me. Cool.

  • J

    I think it’s good for those who haven’t come across such a hyper dimensional being. I would wish that they remain buffered from such an encounter. It did not do any good to my life, nor to my mind. It disturbed me deeply. I don’t think I was in any way lucky to have encountered it. I would rather hope that they remain in their territory, the hyper dimensional reality, and not be in our physical space. I would not forget its sight till my dying day. I also don’t come from a culture where demons are discussed routinely as a part of religious discourses. They were, for me, a part of mythology. Unfortunately, the being did display some signs that seem to be used as cliches by now while describing what is called ‘demonic’. No, it did not have a tail or horns like the movies or some scriptures would state, yes, it was accompanied by a growling sound, terrible stench and it did have some sort of red-orange vision points through which it could see. I state this here because this site has readers who would have respect for something they have not yet encountered (the same reason why we don’t rubbish Gary’s series on Omen). I know a lot of people who think EVPs are nonsense. Or for that matter spirit photography. But all of us know otherwise, don’t we?

    • Gary Leigh

      I’d agree with that, J. No one would want to come across such things unless they are able to have the upper hand. For most people, that’s very, very rare.

    • Patrick Keller

      I should have read this first, J. I think you partly answered my question from above. And I wasn’t sure about Omen before, but (and I know he wouldn’t want to hear this) his thoughts are growing on me…

      • J

        Patrick, it’s been many days now but not a day passes without me thinking of the being which i encountered. I refuse to sleep in the room that it emerged from, i despise walking through the passage way that it floated in at night (though i have to use it, there’s no choice). I keep every single light on in the house all through the night. It hasn’t happened again (thankfully) and though with all rationality I say, “it’s ok, it’s just another being from another dimension. We all know they exist and I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it,” the memory is extremely traumatic. It was random sighting. Like I said, nothing other than an unbearable stench for some time had preceded it. But I have heard innumerable noises from the same room since I was 9. They died down every time I went to look at what was happening.

        As someone interested in the paranormal, the sight of this being should have got me excited, it’s not every day that you see them, and yet, I wish I had not seen it. I pray with all my might that I do not encounter it ever again. My energy was drained severely for some time around that time. Nothing had apparently happened but i was bedridden due to sheer lack of energy. Like I had become a sieve and it was just flowing away from my feet.

        What was remarkable was that despite no apparent facial features, it made me understand/feel the red-orangeness of its vision points. surreal!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: