Distortion of Character.
Dr Kurt E Koch
Occult oppression sometimes takes the form of extreme tendencies and traits of character. I will give a few examples.
Ex 283: In Brazil, a twenty-year-old girl came to me for counseling. She suffered from a violent temper. On one occasion she had thrown a pair of scissors at her younger sister and injured her head badly. Then she had tried to cut her own arteries, but had been stopped in time. She desired to follow Christ and was even a helper in Sunday school. But her terrible temper was a great trouble to her. In the course of counseling, it came to light that she had been charmed when ill at the age of six by a Curandeiro.
Ex 284: B., the nature healer of Appenzell, also gives treatment by telephone. The mother of a seven-year-old child telephoned him and said that the child had an inflamed appendix and would have to go to hospital for an operation. “That is not necessary,” replied B. “She will be free of her appendix trouble in no time at all.” The operation did prove unnecessary. The result was that the child became dreadfully depraved. At the age of ten she seduced a married man — not vice versa. At the age of twelve she had sexual relations with a man in public service, who was brought to court because of it. From the age of twenty onward she lived with a well-known public figure without being married.
Occult healing is always dearly paid for. The cost is not only the loss of salvation, but often serious disasters in a person’s lifetime, or accidents, or continual illness.
Ex 285: A young boy was often caught stealing. He stole a bicycle, although he had one of his own. At school nothing was safe when he was around. He stole pens and books and rubbers, and many little things that he had already.
When he was called to account, he tried to get away by lying. Finally he admitted it and said, “I don’t want to steal, but I am forced to do it.” In counseling it was learned that as a young boy his mother had taken him to a charmer when he was ill.
Compulsive lying, compulsive stealing (kleptomania), and compulsive arson (pyromania) are frequently the result of occult healing. In the last few years there has been much news in the papers about pyromania. A young incendiary in North Germany, for instance, set fire to a number of historic buildings and destroyed property worth millions. The boy was subjected to a psychiatric examination. But the psychiatrists never considered the possibility of connections with the sorcery practiced by a person’s forebears. They will put it down to a maladjustment or faulty development.
Ex 286: A married couple were converted during an evangelistic campaign.Both husband and wife accepted Jesus as their Lord. Since their conversion, terrible attacks and troubles have come into their lives. The struggles begin usually two days before the festivals of the church or when a prayer meeting takes place in their home. Then fits of temper and quarreling break out between this Christian couple. Strangely enough, the couple’s unbelieving relatives do not suffer such problems. Again, the couple are frequently ill. Their unbelieving relatives say, “That comes of your religion.”
In counseling it became clear that both husband and wife come from families of sorcerers. Here we have again the oft-repeated pattern of the devil leaving in peace those who serve him. Not until they run away from his school does he begin to attack.
Ex 287: A woman from Poland came to me for counseling. She told me that as a child she had had rickets. Her mother went to a magic charmer and was given the following instructions, “Get some earth from nine different fields; tie it up together with a spell from the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses in a cloth. Then pour some hot water over the earth. Then bathe the child in this water. Then take the earth back where it came from. Then the child will recover.” The Polish woman obeyed the instructions. The child recovered. But the child also developed in a strange way. She was very ready to quarrel, apt to fly into a violent temper, and suffered from severe sexual perversions. She brought a great deal of disharmony and quarreling into the family.
Ex 288: A man told me, in the course of counseling, of great problems he had in his thought life. In his youth he had practiced homosexuality. He often had sexually blasphemous thoughts about Christ. This man was converted during an evangelistic campaign. He was not however freed from all these problems. I told him that I had encountered such symptoms before in connection with sins of sorcery. He admitted that this was so in his case. “When I was a soldier,” he explained, “I had my palm read. Later I went also to cardlayers and pendulum dowsers. My grandfather was also a man who suffered from magical oppression. On the eve of May Day, he used to stand a broom upright to ward off witches.” I showed the man how he could find deliverance and prayed a prayer of renunciation with him, for he was willing to become a follower of Jesus.
Ex 289: A man of high position in the academic world came to me for pastoral advice. He told me about his mother who had practiced sorcery. His mother had once said to him in anger, “I am going to the lake of fire of my own free will. God will not have to send me there. I will not give Him the chance.” The son, who was repelled by his mother’s activities, sought the way to Christ in order to be free from the vicious circle. From that time on, he had terrible struggles. In fits of anger he broke the crockery in the kitchen. He beat his wife and children so badly that they ran away from him in fear.
None of this had happened beforehand. This behavior only began when he decided to lead a Christian way of life. One should not conclude from such stories that the devil is stronger than Christ. The devil is an enemy we should take seriously, and no more. The fact remains that Christ conquered him on the cross of Calvary. If we make use of all the means and possibilities of help which are shown us in the Bible, we can find complete deliverance. We shall return to this later.
4. Emotional Disorders.
There are many things which can give rise to emotional disorders. Years ago, I was invited by Akira Hartori, the well-known radio evangelist in Tokyo, to address a meeting of ministers on the subject of depression. In my address, I described some twenty different causes of depression. Only one of the twenty is occult in character. Those who are not familiar with the medical aspect of emotional disorders are in great danger of making false diagnoses and therefore giving the wrong treatment. In this chapter I am concerned only with emotional disorders having occult causes and not with the complex subject of hereditary, reactive, or organic causes for emotional disturbance.
Ex 290: A woman in a European port told me the story of her family. As a girl, her sister had taken part in spiritistic seances. She herself had refused to do so. The medium in the seance was so strong that she only had to think about the table and not even to touch it. The table would then move and give tapping signals. The sister who took part in these seances today suffers from a compulsive neurosis. She hears voices and talks to them. The voices give her commands which she obeys. This sister under the influence of spiritism is almost driving her healthy sister out of her mind.A psychiatrist would of course regard the voices as a symptom of
schizophrenia. But there are voices which have a spiritistic background.
Ex 291: During an evangelistic campaign in Edmonton, a Christian woman came to me for help. She gave me permission to publish her story provided I mentioned no names. One morning this Christian woman woke up and said to her sister, “I saw you in a car with your friends. You had an accident. You were one of those killed.” A week later the accident happened. Three girls and a young man, all of them believers, and members of Christian Endeavor, were in a car when they were hit by a truck. It was the truck driver’s fault. All four of the young people died, including my informant’s sister. I told this woman that predictive dreams of this sort often originate with sorcery practiced by one’s forebears or magic charms. She admitted that once she had her warts charmed. Since then she had suffered from depression, although she had been able to overcome this through faith in Christ and prayer.
Ex 292: A young man came to me for counseling, complaining of depression, suicidal thoughts, and inability to make decisions. Often he felt unable to cope with his work. He felt as if he were paralyzed. His family history presented a dismal picture. His great-aunt, who lived with the family, practiced pendulum dowsing. She used the pendulum for all the members of the family. She swung her pendulum over their daily food. She used it to solve everyday problems and to discover the future. She used it whenever decisions were to be made. The result was that the whole of their family life was disturbed. Both children and parents suffered from depression, and all sorts of other troubles afflicted them.
I have several hundred examples concerning pendulum and rod dowsers, and all are negative in character. I cannot understand those theologians and Christian workers who regard dowsing as harmless.
Ex 293: A young woman of thirty-four came to me for counseling. She told me that her great-grandmother had been a charmer and card-layer. All four generations were depressive and tended to extremes of character. A psychiatrist would, of course, probably talk in terms of manic-depressive psychosis. This is a disorder which frequently repeats itself over four generations. Manic-depressive psychosis has different characteristics from the depressions which arise from sins of sorcery.
Ex 294: A Christian nurse came to me for a personal talk. She said she had problems. She heard voices, she suffered from depression, and her sleep was disturbed — all in spite of the fact that she read the Bible, prayed, and belonged to the Church of Christ. The history of her trouble revealed that at the age of ten she had been charmed for boils.
Ex 295: A theology student suffering from a compulsive neurosis came to me for counseling. His father and mother were believers. His grandmother was an active magic charmer. The young man had compulsive, fixed ideas, with a pronounced tendency to repetition. On one occasion he had played a practical joke on April Fools’ Day. Four years later he went from house to house, asking the people to forgive him for this joke. He was well aware that some things he did were ridiculous. But this compulsion from his unconscious mind was stronger than his conscious will. Twenty-five years ago I had an interesting experience. I pointed out to Dr. Lechler, then the head of the Hohe Mark nerve clinic, that about fifty percent of the compulsive neurotics whom I had counseled had connections with spiritism or magic in their background. Dr. Lechler was unable to comment on this, because he was not in the habit of asking patients about their occult involvement when tracing their medical history. He said, however, that he would introduce this point into his examination of patients. About fifteen years later, he wrote to tell me that he could confirm my finding.
A good half of the compulsive neurotics had forebears who had come under occult influence
as a result of sins of sorcery. At this point I must again warn against ascribing all mental disorders to occult causes. Only a small percentage of emotional disorders have occult roots. Other forms of mental disorder must be treated by psychotherapists or psychiatrists. It is, however, often difficult to separate the two areas and to say whether a particular problem is spiritual or medical. We must not let these many examples make us impulsive in our judgments, or worse still, make us victims of an occult neurosis. That too is possible. I am sometimes plagued by people who want to account for anything unusual in their lives in terms of the occult. This is a form of delusion. I warn people against the occult but have no wish to make people paranoid about the occult. My opponents will want to attack me at this point. I do not mind. The problem of the occult is neglected by theologians, psychiatrists, and psychologists to such an extent that someone has to raise a warning.
5. A Breeding Ground for Mental Illness.
I t must be clearly emphasized that I do not regard occult practices as the causes of mental illness, but as the breeding ground, the environment , the spiritual climate in which mental
disorders can easily develop. There are, moreover, within the field of spiritism some disorders, for instance the mediumistic psychosis, which are very similar to real mental diseases. I will try to make clear what I mean by examples.
Ex 296: A missionary and his wife came to me for advice. The missionary’s brother heard voices and had compulsive ideas. The doctor’s diagnosis is schizophrenia. The family history revealed that both the grandfather and great-grandfather were magic charmers. Here again it must be emphasized that the practice of charming is not the cause of the mental disorder, but rather provides the conditions, the soil, in which mental disorders can easily grow.
Ex 297: A man came to me for counseling in Blumenau. He told me that he suffered from compulsive drives. He often heard voices saying, “murder your wife,” or “take your own life.” On being questioned, he informed me that his mother practiced spiritistic table-tapping. He also told me that all his children were abnormal. At the age of 10, 12 and 15 they still wet their beds and did other abnormal things.
Ex 298: In England, a doctor came to me for counseling. He had had a nervous breakdown and had been suspended from his profession. He had been given nine electric shock treatments at a sychiatric clinic. When I asked him to tell me the history of his illness, I discovered that his father had been a freemason and also a spiritist. His mother was a fortuneteller and spiritist healer. It is actually quite usual for such a marriage to produce children who are severely oppressed. This was the case with this doctor.
Ex 299: In England, an Anglican priest told me the story of his brother. Years before his brother had had trouble with his knee. The doctors who examined him thought that it was tuberculosis. Then a pendulum practitioner was called in. He said, “No, it is not tuberculosis.” How did this man make his diagnosis? On his table he had a paper with a list of the various bacilli and bacteria.
He put his left hand on this paper. To the right of the table was a transistor with an electrode and a meter connected up between. He laid his right hand on this. Then he concentrated mentally on the patient, who was also present in the room. Then he moved his left hand down the list of bacilli. The transistor gave the highest reading when he came to the right disease. As a result, the Anglican priest’s brother was able to be healed. Two years later, the man who had been healed developed religious mania. Pendulum diagnosis and treatment belong within the field of occult practices.
Ex 300: A woman came to me for counseling. She complained of the disintegration of her family and her marriage. Her husband would sometimes rage and roar like a bull, and then he would become quite sensible and normal again. He had already spent some time in a mental institution. His grandfather had been an active magic charmer.
Ex 301: In Canada, a spiritist woman came to me. She told me that her grandmother had been a spiritist, and that she herself was a spiritist medium. She confessed that all four grandchildren of this spiritist grandmother were mentally abnormal. This spiritist medium came to me because she wanted to protest against my address on the subject of healing. In the address, I had declared that spiritist healings also cause oppression. She denied this and stated that she herself had been healed by a spiritist healer. She went on to say that she had the ability to make contact with good spirits. She could hear them, feel them, and sense their presence. Sometimes, it was true, bad spirits would find their way in as well, but she was able to drive these away by prayer. This confirmed my suspicions. This woman is already suffering from a mediumistic psychosis.
I fully recognize treatment given by psychiatrists in cases of genuine mental illness. There are various forms of therapy. Pharmacists have developed a number of effective medicines. In serious cases, electric shock treatment or a sleeping cure can be used. In the USA, now often used is a water cure, in which the patient is put in a bath in a fetal position. In the case of mental disorders which have developed in the context of sins of sorcery by the forebears, these forms of treatment are very often ineffective. One must simply distinguish between medical problems and Biblical, spiritual problems.
In every situation of evil, God has provided a way of escape. It is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
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