19 Signs of Demonic Possession

Demonic possession, while rare, does happen. It describes several conditions when someone falls under the influence of a demon. During the possession, the demon exerts physical, psychological, and emotional control over its victim. Across a wide spectrum of cultures, people believe in demonic possession. 

Understanding some of the symptoms can protect you on a ghost hunt. Usually, I recommend that you never go alone on paranormal investigations. Demonic possession is rare, but it still happens more than many people realize. 

If you want to learn more about spirit attachment, which means attachments by ghosts, you find more information in the article below.

Related article: The 10 Most Common Signs of Spirit AttachmentOpens in a new tab.

Important: Never label anything paranormal before all natural causes are ruled out. Please consult a professional health provider if you are struggling with health or mental issues or think a demon possesses you. Find international suicide prevention helplines hereOpens in a new tab..

If you want to learn how to self-exorcise, you can learn more about this in the article below. It can be very helpful to try as a first response if you suspect you or a loved one is under demonic attack.

Related article: How to perform a self-exorcism [PLUS alternatives]Opens in a new tab.

Sign #1: Distorted Voice

The possessed normal voice may shift in tone. Depending on the demon, the voice will sound anywhere from a high soprano voice to a low bass. Sometimes, their voice will shift from high to low to guttural and back again. 

A distorted voice shows you one of the earlier signs of demonic possession. You may even feel the evil presence from the resonating voice, or it will become apparent that the individual has become the victim of possession. 

Individuals possessed will speak uniquely or more sinisterly than a normal person. Many times, they will become hostile at some point.

In some cases, you may hear multiple voices from the same person simultaneously. This is a guaranteed sign of demonic possession. The Bible refers to it as a legion, a group of demons claiming a human body. Still, interestingly enough, even occultists believe in the legion phenomena where up to 2,000 demons (the number may vary) inhabit the body.  

Sign #2: Changes in Personality

Someone who normally has a bright and bubbly personality can suddenly turn toward a more quiet and dark attitude. Look out for when someone becomes extremely quiet since this often gives you one of the signs of demonic possession. They may even display signs of having multiple personalities. 

A normally outgoing individual suddenly chooses a more isolated activity, or they might wander away from the group during a paranormal investigation. When a demon takes control over the person’s body, they may control their ability to speak, and they may make them mute. 

Sign #3: Hair or Eye Color Changes 

Many may have heard of how demons can change someone’s eye color, but they may not realize how they can even change their hair color. This happens only slightly often and isn’t as exaggerated as on TV. How much it can do this depends on the level of the demon, but it can change your eye color, and hair color, darken your skin, or make veins appear everywhere.

Sign #4: Possessing Supernatural Knowledge

Someone under demonic influence may possess supernatural knowledge of things they couldn’t have known. For example, they might know personal information about someone they don’t know or have just met. Usually, this knowledge will be used sinisterly to hurt the other person. 

Individuals dealing with demonic possession may predict the future. You know it was a demonically possessed person if it comes true. They may know about past events that they shouldn’t know about, and they will use it against the other person. You can tell it’s demonic possession because the person under the influence will almost always use it as a weapon. 

In some cases, the demon will know what the other person thinks, and they will use it as a weapon against them as well. 

Sign #5: Numbness

Many people who suffered demonic possession reported how their bodies felt numb before they felt the demon take over. This is a common theme with possessions, but no one knows why it happens. However, a similar phenomenon has happened with individuals who experience sleep paralysis. 

During this experience, the person may be in the process of waking up or going to sleep, but they can’t move and may not be able to speak, either. 

Sign #6: Strange Visions

During demonic possession, the person may experience strange visions and see things that don’t exist. This can also happen with mental illness, so people must be aware of the differences in the symptoms outlined before. 

Unfortunately, in the past, the difference between mental illness and demonic possession wasn’t well defined, which led to many mentally ill people going through terrible trauma. Many people who have played with the Ouija board and experienced possession reported this and numbness as one of the symptoms. 

They might attack someone because of those visions, which is one thing that people should remain aware of. 

Sign #7: Going into a Catatonic State

Many who experience demon possession enter a catatonic state. There was an episode of Ghost Hunters on the Travel Channel where one of the team members became catatonic and unresponsive. This shows you one of the signs of a demon attempting to take control of a body. 

In the episode, the person became almost entirely unresponsive to their questions and even grew hostile.

Later, they reported how they felt angry and wanted to harm the rest of the crew members. I wish I could remember the episode, but it was a great example of what happens when someone goes into a catatonic state due to a demon, and it’s a warning sign that a demon has tried to take control of their body. 

Sign #8: Performing Acts of Humiliation

Demons seek to destroy everything good about everyone and everything. They will look for ways they can humiliate their host. One example of this is to cause the possessed person to wet their pants in front of everyone. Demons do this to show control over the person they have taken control of. They may masturbate in public or become overly sexually preoccupied. 

These are all symptoms that the person has lost control of themselves. 

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Sign #9: Violence and Trying to Hurt Animals

It should come as little surprise that demons seek to hurt the host and anything nearby. They have no regard for life, and because of that, demon-possessed people may become violent from the thoughts given to them. They may attempt to hurt animals or self-mutilate. You want to look at the other symptoms of demonic possession. 

Sign #10: Severe Nightmares

Individuals who suffer from demonic possession will suffer frequent and severe nightmares. The dreams will be disturbing; in some cases, they may wake up crying, screaming, or in a state of blind panic. Some nightmares can be so severe that they require counseling. 

You have to look at the other factors as well because you don’t have a way of telling if a demon caused your nightmares. I know someone who reported that they used to sleep at a haunted dormitory. They would fall asleep and hear this woman humming—who wasn’t there. As they were sleeping, they would see their grandpa’s face slowly rotting away. Other people in the dorm would report the same humming. 

No one knows why they can influence our dreams, but it can be quite severe when demons are involved. One of the ways to mitigate severe nightmares is to fall asleep listening to the Psalms. 

Sign #11: Levitating, Speaking in Tongues, and Walking Up Walls 

One of the unmistakable signs of demonic possession, levitating has often been one of the most commonly reported signs of demon possession. Multiple exorcisms have seen the possessed in levitation, and objects may also levitate in their presence. Speaking in tongues is another sign. 

In some cases, priests have reported how the possessed walked up the wall. The demonically possessed will often move unusually. They might appear to glide rather than walk. Once a demon has possessed someone, getting rid of it can be extremely hard. Most reports describe levitation as involuntary. 

Sign #12: Physical Attacks

You may see scratch marks on the body of the demonically possessed. They may attack the person, and in some cases, they have been thrown or pushed into shelves or walls. Demons want to frighten and destroy. Nothing good exists in them. They want to harm their host in whatever way possible. 

Sign #13: Superhuman Strength

Demons possess a strength not found in humans, and this characteristic has often been found in frightful tales.

In one example, during an exorcism, a boy slipped the restraints and used a bed spring to slash a Catholic priest. This shows you an example where the strength didn’t come from the person but from the demon influencing them. 

Once a demon takes over a human body, it can do all sorts of inhuman things, and superhuman strength is one of the things widely reported in demonic possessions. 

Sign #14: Animals May Bark or Run Away Afraid

You have stories of haunted houses where the animals won’t go near the home because they can feel the evil presence. In the same way, animals may appear afraid, or bark or growl at someone demonically possessed.

Obviously, this should be taken with a grain of salt, but when you have other factors playing a role, this can indicate demonic possession. 

Animals are more sensitive and often feed off our own vibes. At the same time, they can sense when something doesn’t feel right about someone. Another telltale sign is that the animal previously had no issue with that person. 

Sign #15: Can’t Move the Person

The demonically possessed may become rigid to the where you can’t move them. Even multiple people who try to move them will see little success. No one knows why this happens.

Sign #16: Writing or Symbols Appear on the Body

You may see this as scratches or welts on the human body. One of the ways to truly test this is to check for areas that a person couldn’t reach, much less find a way to write coherently.

In some cases, the person may have participated in an occult ritual beforehand, leading to those same symbols being written on their body. This shows what may have led to the demonic possession. 

Occultic rituals and practices such as the Ouija board are common things that increase the risk of demonic possession.

Sign #17: Hearing Voices with No One Present

This one can easily fall into the mental health category, and you may need to check with a psychiatrist. Hearing voices is not always a symptom of demonic possession, but it could indicate mental illnesses like schizophrenia. 

Many reports how the demon tries to talk to them or scare them. Sometimes, people hear their name called, but when they look deeper into it, they find no one called them. This is a common occurrence with couples. 

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Sign #18: Retaliation After Trying to Stop the Activity

Someone dealing with demonic possession should prepare for retaliation if they try to stop it since the demon often won’t go quietly. They will attack the person more.

As one exorcist notes, getting rid of demons can be extraordinarily difficult once they latch onto someone. Even if you get rid of them initially, they often return. Sometimes, they come back with others, leaving the person in a worse state than before.

That doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t seek help when demonically possessed, but they should understand how it can be difficult to eliminate. The demon will often look for ways to retaliate for them seeking help. They should keep trying until they’re free and be prepared for the long haul. 

Sign #19: Foul smells and odors

A common sign of demonic presence and possession is unexplained foul smells of excrement, vomit, sulfur, methane, or rotten flesh. If the room or the victim’s home has strange smells, it might be due to a demonic attachment.

Final Thoughts

Demonic possession, while rare, does happen more often than people realize. Occult activities may increase the risk of demonic possession. Having one vague symptom doesn’t automatically mean you suffer from demonic possession.

People should take this with a grain of salt. Also, don’t frighten yourself too much by thinking that demonic possession happens like in the movies. Hollywood often exaggerates it to add extra fear, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. 

If you want to learn more about demonology and what it takes to be a demonologist, I invite you to read the article below.

Related article: How to become a demonologistOpens in a new tab.

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Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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