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Observations placeholder

Lhermitte, Professor Jean - Diabolical Possession, True and False – Sorcerors and magicians



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Diabolical Possession, True and False – Jean Lhermitte

…. we must remember that the sorcerer is not to be confused with the magician. The magician acts on those who resort to him by using processes unknown to science and repugnant to it, but the devil is not necessarily involved.

The sorcerer, on the contrary, is a person whose influence is exerted through the medium of the demon. Whether the evil spirit is invoked from without, as in external demonopathy, or from within, as in genuine demoniacal possession, the result is the same; it is always the supposed power of the demon which comes into action.

As M. Amadou rightly reminds us, if the sorcerer is genuinely possessed, he does not permanently remain so; on the other hand, he facilitates the intervention of the demon by prayers, invocations, incantations and a whole set of "magic" means, even by material technical processes, such as fomentations or technical ointments.

The sexual intercourse of the "possessed" which we observe in our days is wholly involuntary: the incubus and the succuba are both subjected to it, whereas wizard and witch invite it, desire it, share it and approve it with all their hearts. These are the essential characteristics of the sorcerer as distinct from the "possessed".

In reality, we must admit that, while there is this delicate distinction between sorcerers and possessed, we cannot see any formal contradiction between these two modes of demonopathy.

Equally, it is not forbidden to look for a natural explanation of each of these modes, saving always, of course, our belief in the real influence of Satan in the world………………………………

As I have mentioned, the sorcerer invokes the demon and asks for his help; more, he tries to be united to him, so that it has been said that witchcraft is simply "an inverted mysticism". That is why some theologians have depicted it like a diptych: the divine mysticism and the diabolical. So we need not be surprised that the behaviour of the sorcerer resembles some of the points which strike us in some false mystics. Imaginary or corporeal visions, auditions, the feeling of being influenced, the apparent splitting of the personality, are found in the sorcerers as well as in the " possessed" demoniacs………………..

Generally the corporeal visions are not seen by the sorcerer's companions, though this rule has its exceptions which, as we may guess, greatly increase the credibility accorded to the Satanic apparitions. But these apparitions, often accompanied by foul smells, seem to the sorcerer a strong proof of the presence of the Evil One. Further, the proof of the devil's reality is revealed, it seems, by the accompaniment of audible words…………………………

The source of the experience

Lhermitte, Professor Jean

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items


Activities and commonsteps