Help, I’m Possessed!

Possessed Kitty

Not too often, but usually about once a month, I get emails from people begging me to help them because they are cursed, possessed, or surrounded by evil spirits, or all of the above, or someone else they know is. Are they really? I mean, how do they know they are and how do I know they aren’t schizophrenic or had a bad reaction to prescription meds and are hallucinating? Now if it was a fellow Witch or Pagan or a very sane sounding person who wrote me a rational email with examples I might take them seriously, but the emails I usually receive are rife with spelling errors, craziness, and no specifics other than wild claims that come off as paranoid. If you send me an email like this I will most likely not respond as I don’t want to feed the paranoia.

If you think you are cursed, possessed, or surrounded by evil spirits do me and all Witches and Rootworkers a favour and do divination first to see if you really are. Not a magical person? Find a tarot reader with a good reputation and DON’T tell them what your issue is, just tell them it’s a yes or no type of question. Some readers are shady and will tell you what you want to hear so they can charge you even more for other services. Don’t let the reader fish, just wait for them to tell you what the cards say. If you get a yes and all kinds of creepy cards then maybe you really are – but it’s still a maybe. If you get a resounding no, maybe it’s time to take a trip to a local therapist to find out if it could be a psychological disorder causing the issue. Mental illness is far more common than we all like to believe  and it could be something easily remedied once you seek evaluation and help.

Now even if you really think you are, you still don’t need to bug a Witch –it’s time to hit the books. Pick up a copy of one of the many manuals of defence against the dark arts, aka Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defence, Draja Mickaharic’s Spiritual Cleansing, Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft, or Jason Miller’s Protection and Reversal Magick. Each has many spells and rituals for curse reversals, banishments, and protections and you don’t have to be a Witch or an occultist to use them, especially Draja’s book which is meant for the everyday Dick and Jane. Actually perform the spells and rituals that pertain to your situation and give them time to take effect – some may need to be repeated for days or a week until your situation improves. Follow instructions to the letter and don’t be lazy about it.

If it doesn’t work and you find yourself in way over your head with things you don’t understand and that scare the crap out of you – then call a professional Witch or Rootworker to help you out. A good one won’t be cheap so save your money. If they try to charge you over a few hundred dollars or only repeat what you’ve told them and don’t give any new information or clarity about the situation, run away and find someone else. I personally don’t do long distance work so I’m not the one to run to.

If you are thinking of hiring a Witch, read this amazing post by Deborah over at Charmed I’m Sure first – Etiquette Lessons: Magic Is Not for Free (Sometimes)

If you are a Witch or Rootworker who offers such services you will quickly learn how to spot which clients are sane and need your help and which ones suffer from paranoid delusions and won’t believe anything other than the opinion they’ve formed in their head. It’s important to be able to distinguish the difference as you’ll make a lot of money off of the crazies, but your magic will be wasted and they will just keep coming back to you for more and more and never get over the initial paranoia. I personally do a tarot reading or have a quick chat first with my spirits to see if I should take on the client or not. Shut them down and say no right away and don’t try to be nice. As much as we’d like to think we are and as often as we need to act like them, we are not therapists or psychologists and cannot replace them.

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  • corestarme says:

    I knew there was a good reason I subscribe to your posts! Sane Witch.

  • This is a fantastic blog post! Thank you for doing us all a service by exposing this weird and all too often happening experience! The books you recommend are all top notch as well!

    Nice Sunday post… Thanks for that!

  • Awesome post, Sarah. Me gusta the possessed cat.

  • Great post! I had a potential client not too long ago who fit the “crazy, I’m possessed and cursed e-mail rife with spelling errors” demographic to the “t”. After that I decided to start carrying around a list of free and sliding scale counselor services in my city if they really need help.

  • Robert the rGyatso says:

    Thank you Sarah, this is a very useful post.

    I save a bit of angst by not charging for magical services. Goes back to my roots. Also, the Shamanic trad I trained up in wanted their grads to support themselves completely with a “day-job,” and their *other work was a responsibility, thus donated, to the community. So in addition to being Shaman-Weird, we had to as well be sane enough to “pass” as solid citizens. Limited the grads somewhat, but foiled any “witch-hunters” that were sniffing through the community. In Olde China, if a person did not “Measure up” to the norm, the authorities “trimmed” them to fit. Could be uncomfortable, and best to avoid.

    In this area you speak of, I have developed a serious BS detector, I do not want to waste my time either. But sometimes the person *is a nut, AND they are having spiritual problems. Best to play it carefully and slowly, observe long, judge later. And there are some *very serious problems that may manifest.

    And for all exorcism and healing work, I want to hear that the client has current medical care. If they go to a Chiro as well, I do not have to push as hard, LOL.



  • chloe says:

    Sometimes the suffering endured by those with mental health issues can feel like possession, and the potenial that someone else can take away the pain attractive. The first step in either situation is to get support, and it cant hurt to try both avenues, Sarah great suggestions. The result of understanding, and alleviating whats going on is the desired outcome. Its a pity that theres so much stigma around seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, or there wouldnt be an issue, it would be like consulting a medically trained doctor and a herbalist for differing views and information on a physical issue. Most people begin by consulting with someone they trust, which has obviously been you, Sarah for some of the folks who’ve emailed you, delusional or otherwise, and whilst your advice in this post is certainly sound, you probably dont enjoy having to repeat it….

  • Alchemyguy says:

    Indeed, one must eliminate the mundane before we leap to the extraordinary; the rough statistic is 1 in 5 experience a bout of mental illness at some point in life and that is far and away a far more likely explanation.

    Another factor is that it’s far ‘sexier’ to be haunted/possessed/hag-ridden than it is to be depressed/schizoid/drug-reacted…

  • Geetar646 says:

    One of your most thought-provoking pieces in a long time. Truly, out of suffering is borne great art? Here is a little novella worth reading: Zizou and the Smiler, the first chapter in Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. Consider the story of a young uptowner at Barnard who, inter alia, becomes “possessed,” develops a hankering for anal sex, engages in long periods of disassociation on park benches, cakes her apartment in filth and faeces, and returns boxes of birthday presents to her parents filled with effluvia. Turning to Cluster B, then, in the DSM-V, we either have: 1) Pazuzu living on the Upper W. Side; or, 2) Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Harold Roth says:

    What has struck me in such requests is how often sex is involved. For a while there, it seemed like anyone who contacted me about demons was claiming to be under attack by a local group of witches who sent a succubus to them at night to sexually assault them. It’s not possible to reason with such people, IME. I can tell them their problem is psychological, but I know they will just keep calling around until they find someone who is willing to rip them off.

    I have found that when someone who is actually the focus of some kind of magical onslaught contacts me, the bad stuff being fired at them (call it demons or whatever) is so nasty and so powerful that it is palpable even during a phone call.

  • Scylla says:

    I rarely get the “possessed” bit – I usually get the old chestnut of “Someone’s cursing me”, but it’s all-and-all the same sort of core. I make clients jump through hurdles, and I really ought to post a helpful how-to on my blog about that at some point.

  • I think that the social stigma against mental disease definitely plays a part here. As Alchemyguy said, there’s a sort of misanthropic “cool factor” to being haunted/possessed, which can only reinforce any present mental issues. Personally, I think everyone can benefit from therapy, so I’d be wary of those with actual issues (real or imagined) who aren’t willing to give it a shot.

  • hynafol says:

    Wonderful post, Sarah~! I have been lucky to not have been approached by such people. I, myself, have not encountered anyone claiming such and for that I am glad :) Mostly I have some root workers and Haitian Vodun folks who use spirit possession as a form of ritual practice which obviously is not similar in context. However, when considering the fact that you are well known its not surprising that you attract a few crazies every once in a while 😀 . I luckily am a unknown and ergo no one comes to me, lol. I prefer it that way. 😉


  • What a great post! Love it! I wish my life was easy to fix with just a cleansing. :)

  • Lifencompass says:

    Psychic Self Defense. +
    I think the Witches Shield by Penczak is pretty good too.

    It’s surprising how many people on a path that’s got the tools to ask questions, don’t ask questions and still jump to conclusions.

    I’m not an angry badger, promise, I just have a long time on the walk but it’s one of those basic tools that people don’t seem to use: Ask a source. Cards, runes, guides, bones, your cat…

  • Laurel says:

    Definitely sound advice which I hope other practitioners who service folks take to heart. After dealing with one or two though, one definitely learns how to set up boundaries, whether offering simple readings or something more.

  • “As much as we’d like to think we are and as often as we need to act like them, we are not therapists or psychologists and cannot replace them.”

    Quite true! I had a potential client who needed a cleansing done on their bedroom. After they continually stalled on the operation, yet the situation was getting “worse”, I realized there was no ghost, spirit, or demon haunting the potential client. They were haunting themselves. Luckily, this person’s family recommended therapy, and when I heard this news I fully supported it. For professional workers, it is very important to recognize the signs between actual magical activity and psychotic fantasies.

  • elementalspirit says:

    Hi Sarah — I discovered your blog recently, and I have learned a great deal. I’ve enjoyed going through the posts, and your Pagan Bookworm site influenced me to add several new books to my already hefty magical library. Thank you! My question for you is this: What resource do you recommend for learning about sigil magic? Thanks, Tamara