[Saint Michael and the Angels at War with the Devil, Domenico Ghirlandaio, 15th c.]
When "Joyce" came in for her deliverance session, she looked normal. There were no physical signs of a demonic presence. She appeared to be fully lucid and herself. But on the way into the chapel, she started to spout bizarre ideas. She said in an arrogant tone: "Satan is stronger than your God." She emphatically added: "You cannot expel him." Joyce, who had previously been involved in witchcraft, said: "My spells are stronger than your worthless prayers."
At this point, one of the priests started to argue with her, pointing out the omnipotent power of God and the triumph of Christ's death and resurrection. Joyce was unfazed and continued her evil rant. I looked at the priest and said, "Don't waste your breath. You are not talking to Joyce. You are talking to a pack of demons." I led them into the chapel and said, "What we need to do is to pray."
When a demonic presence takes over control of a person's physical body, there are typical signs. For example, the body will react strongly to sacramentals such as holy water, crucifixes or the prayers themselves. There may be pains in different parts of the body, especially where the demons are particularly active. Also, there may be marks such as scratches, bruises, lumps that move, and/or burn marks. And more.
But sometimes demons manifest without physical signs. Rather, they infect the person's brain. The person starts thinking like demons, a state which our team calls: "demon brain." In the midst of a bout of demon brain, many times people are not aware of it and do not realize the source of their evil thoughts. But our team recognizes that the demons are exercising some control over the afflicted people's minds when out of their mouths comes typical demonic thoughts and ideas.
Some common examples of these demonic obsessions or "demon brain" are:
*arrogant, haughty denigration of others, especially priests/church
*statements exalting Satan's power and dismissing God's providence
*statements exalting the power of pagan "gods" or demons, the
power of their witchcraft and occult practices.
*intense uncharacteristic feelings of despair and thoughts of suicide
*intense depressive and dark emotions
*a consuming narcissistic rage
*extreme feelings of abandonment, rejection and/or hopeless isolation
An alert, experienced exorcist will recognize when a client is manifesting such demonic obsessions, i.e. demon brain, even if there are no physical manifestations. He knows that it does no good to try to reason with people in such a state. Only deliverance prayers are effective. Rather than argue with them, an exorcist will launch directly into the prayers.
Most people do not suffer from intense demonic obsessions. But when I listen to what comes out of people's mouth on the street, I sometimes hear the voice of Satan. For example, I may hear an arrogant judgmentalism of others, an inner violent rage, a hatred of the Church, a dismissal of God's power and love, temptations to violence and destruction, rejoicing in other people's injury or harm, and/or dark depressive thoughts of a hopeless despair. When I hear these, I hear the voice of Satan. Sadly, it suggests that such people are increasingly under the Evil One's power.
As Ephesians 4:29 (RSVCE) says, "Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear."