Perfect Possession

May 2009By Maria Hsia Chang

Maria Hsia Chang is a professor emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of "Peering Into the Abyss" in the October 2008 issue of the NOR.

Author's Note: Many readers will find this article, a study of the nature of evil, difficult to read. In fact, psychiatrist M. Scott Peck noted that our instinctive reaction to evil is revulsion. Difficult though it may be, it is important that we know and comprehend evil's nature because that knowledge can help us recognize and combat evil, and protect ourselves from its effects. Remaining ignorant of it can only play into the hands of the Evil One himself.

It may be helpful for the reader to know my own experience of studying evil, which began some years ago. Simply put, I was frightened by what I found -- what human beings are capable of doing to one another. That first reaction of fear, however, was soon replaced by a melancholia that endured for quite some time. When I told my best friend, Judge Patricia Chaffin, about my constant sadness, she said, "Offer your suffering to Christ, who understands your melancholia more than anyone. Imagine the sorrow that Christ has, knowing all the sins of humanity." At that, I broke down and wept, tears streaming down my face.

But the melancholia also left me, then and there. Since that epiphany, although I still get alarmed, shocked, and repulsed by the subject, I am no longer fearful or depressed. Prudently guarded and cautious, I now am steadfast and determined, for "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

Lastly, from the very beginning of my study, I have had an abiding love and respect for St. Michael the Archangel, and all the good angels who choose to submit to and obey the Triune God. I pray for their protection daily.

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Back to May 2009 Issue

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Mr/Ms Hearing:

Are you referring to Jamsie Z., who was possessed by "Uncle Ponto"? If so, it's uncertain if Jamsie was perfectly possessed because Jamsie sought out & consented to an exorcism.
Posted by: luvgabe
May 11, 2009 04:19 PM EDT
This is a riveting article. My husband read it straight through, and there was a ballgame on TV! Posted by: Sheryl
May 07, 2009 10:07 PM EDT
I've read Martin's Hostage to the Devil at least twice. As the book's subtitle says, it is about five cases of exorcism, that is, partial possession, NOT perfect possession! Posted by: luvgabe
May 09, 2009 04:59 PM EDT
Excellent article. Maria Chang should get a spot in every issue of the NOR. The melancholia described by Chang is something I've often struggled with during my 25-year career in law enforcement - and I thought I was the only one until I read her article. A symposium of the topic should be considered for Christian law enforcement. Posted by: MikeE
May 11, 2009 08:55 PM EDT

Yes, it's in the chapter about Jamsie Z. Jamsie's boss at the radio station, Martin suggests, could be a case of perfect possession. I hope I'm remembering rightly and not just inventing this.
Posted by: mlhearing
May 12, 2009 02:20 PM EDT
True, but he does briefly describe perfect possession and mentions a man he thinks might be perfectly possessed. Posted by: mlhearing
May 11, 2009 10:41 AM EDT
Yes, it was a good article. But if I remember correctly what I read in Hostage to the Devil, most of Chang's examples here don't fit the pattern for perfect possession that Martin described.

Also, I've always been bothered by the huge differences between the exorcisms in Hostage and the ones on Fr. Amorth's books. Any thoughts on this?
Posted by: mlhearing
May 08, 2009 05:04 PM EDT
This is an excellent article. I did read one of Fr. Amorth's books, and he discussed briefly a young man who dealt drugs that wanted his demon, and mentioned briefly that there are people that do not want to undergo exorcism. He didn't discuss "perfect possession" by name, but he did discuss it.

Posted by: ginalovefire
June 22, 2009 08:49 AM EDT
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