By: Tony Capobianco
The Church teaches that there are two categories of demonic activity, ordinary and extraordinary diabolical activity. Ordinary diabolical activity generally pertains to temptation and is a lifelong battle. Temptation is deadly serious when it leads to mortal sin and as such it shouldn't be scoffed at. The great majority of instances of extraordinary diabolical activity first began as ordinary diabolical activity. Extraordinary diabolical activity receives it’s title not merely because it is sensational (it often is) but more accurately because it is “out of the ordinary”. Extraordinary diabolical activity is far less common than ordinary diabolical activity and thanks be to God for that fact! Renowned exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, explains the types of extraordinary diabolical activity in his excellent book “An Exorcist Explains The Demonic” as follows:
1.) Diabolical Vexation/ Oppression: “Diabolical vexations are a type of the demon’s extraordinary spiritual aggression and are far and away the most numerous. They are caused by a person’s cultivation of imprudent habits; by frequenting wizards or seances, through repeated and persistent serious sins, or by submitting to spells. Here the devil acts without any dominant and prevailing influence over the body and the mind of the victim, as happens in the case of possession. Vexations are true and actual aggressions, physical or psychological attacks that the demon works against a person. At times they result in scratches, burns, bruises, or, in the most serious cases, broken bones. At times the victim is the target of stones or other objects. Typical cases of vexation are illnesses without any apparent cause that affect the internal organs or the limbs or pathologies that provoke pain in a part of the body without visible signs. Vexations can involve health, affections, or work.
Vexations can also involve an oneiric dimension: while sleeping, a person may have terrible nightmares, in which he dreams of cursing, damning God, or of becoming perverse and wicked. In this case, we are at the borders of diabolical obsession.” (Fr. Gabrielle Amorth, An Exorcist Explains The Demonic)
2.) Diabolical Obsession: “Diabolical obsessions are disturbances or extremely strong hallucinations that the demon imposes, often invincibly, on the mind of the victim. In these cases the person is no longer master of his own thoughts. Rather, he is subjected to a powerful force that creates mental activity in him that is repetitive, obsessive, and irresistible. Such representations of reality, even if foreign to his manner of thinking, become profoundly fixed in his psyche. The objects of these hallucinations can be manifested as visions, as voices, or as rustlings; they can also appear as monstrous figures, horrifying animals, or devils. In other cases it can be an impulse to commit suicide or to do evil to others; and particularly in the young, it can lead to confusion about one’s gender. The history of cases is so vast that it is impossible to enumerate all the forms of diabolical obsession.
This usually does not completely deactivate the mind and the will of the person, who remains conscious and alert. It does, however, heavily condition him in his relationship with the world. This phenomenon can occur indifferently at night or during the day, and experiencing it can make one’s life impossible, even to the point of suicide. For obvious reasons this situation provokes sadness and desperation in the victim.” (Fr. Gabriele Amorth, An Exorcist Explains The Demonic)
3.) Diabolical Possession: “Without a doubt, diabolical possession, the invincible influence of the devil on a person, is the most striking and serious form of the extraordinary action of the devil. When the demon is able to take possession of a person, he can make him say and do what he wishes. It is necessary to clarify that the devil is not able to take possession of the soul of a man (unless the person expressly consents to it), but only his body. Nevertheless, I must say that the cases of valid and true possession are rare: cases of vexation, obsession, and infestation, which I shall treat further on, are more frequent.
When possession is manifested, The obsessed goes into a trance and loses consciousness, leaving space for the evil spirit to speak; to agitate the person; to curse; to vomit nails, glass, or other objects; and to demonstrate herculean strength — in brief, to take over. On this subject Father Candido told me of the case of a young girl, an extremely thin and apparently weak demoniac who, during the exorcisms, had to be tied with leather straps and held firm, with difficulty, by four very energetic men. Well, she managed to break the straps with which they attempted to tie her, causing them much trouble until the end of the rite. It also happened to me: a decade ago, a very thin young girl — she could not have been more than thirteen years old — accompanied by her mother and her mother’s friends, received incredible from the devil during the exorcism. It took all seven of my ‘guardian angels,’ the persons who accompany me with prayer, to hold her firm.” (Fr. Gabriele Amorth, An Exorcist Explains The Demonic)
4.) Diabolical Infestation: “We come to the last type of spiritual disturbances — diabolical infestations: disturbances that act on houses, objects, and animals, rather than on people. It does not mean that they produce less suffering in the individuals who are associated with this satanic action. Indeed, the infestation of the house, in particular, provokes great sufferings and, at times, enormous economic damage to the property and to the one subjected to it. In these cases, the demons can damage electrical appliances, automobiles, and home heating systems.
There are other examples of infestations: doors and windows that open and slam shut, day and night, without any apparent causes; lights, lamps, televisions, or computers that turn on and shut off without any human intervention; detonators that go off; the sound of footsteps; violent vibrations, mysterious voices or cries; and powerful blows to the walls, all of which can make life difficult for the inhabitants. In some cases, the police were called in order to verify the presence of strong blows, but always without finding the culprit. Still more: there can be stones tossed against windows, but without the glass breaking; intense unpleasant odors; or the invasions of insects, such as cockroaches or ants, that can be so aggressive that they erode windows frames in just a few days. Here also the case history is vast.” (Fr. Gabriele Amorth, An Exorcist Explains The Demonic)
The definitions quoted in this article come from:
An Exorcist Explains The Demonic, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH, 2016.