• Msgr. Stephen Rossetti

Exorcist Diary #52: Heavy Demons

Gemma Galgani (d. 1903), great mystic, stigmatist, and saint, wasted away and died presumably from tuberculosis. She certainly weighed less than 100 lbs at the end. Yet four days before she died, several strong workman could not move her. Gemma's response was, "It is not I, you know, that weigh so." She was mercilessly assaulted by demons and their oppressive presence held her down. Once she died, she was easily lifted.

We have had possessed individuals who, in the midst of their manifesting a demonic presence, were unexplainably heavy and well nigh impossible to move. One of the classic signs of possession includes preternatural strength. This is usually interpreted to mean the person exhibits a strength beyond their natural abilities, which often makes them hard to restrain in an exorcism.

However, this sign of superhuman strength is actually much broader. It refers to physical effects in the individual that cannot be humanly accounted for but which can be explained by a demonic presence. For example, levitation is just such a sign. A human being cannot naturally levitate, but demons can use their own natural abilities to lift someone off the ground, and occasionally they do.

We are careful in diagnosing possession. But sometimes there is no other reasonable explanation. I fairly often read that someone does not believe in angels or demons, Satan or hell. Sometimes even priests say such things. I often think that a day or two with Gemma Galgani or in the chapel of an exorcist would likely change their minds.


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