Infestation is the presence of demons in a place, object, or animal. Infestation occurs when demons are able to take up residence and create disturbances. It is a precursor to more serious demonic problems, such as oppression and possession.
The Bible does not make direct reference to Exorcims of Demons from places or animals; however, demonic infestations were well known and accepted in ancient times. Origen, an early father of the church, wrote that the power of the name of Jesus could expel demons from places and animals as well as people.
Infestation can happen as the result of a curse or magical spell or ritual, or by the actions of people living in a place. For example, the Catholic Church teaches that using spirit communication devices such as an Ouija™ board, dabbling in the occult, making a Pact with the Devil, or leading a sinful life can create the conditions for infestation. Curses and hexes can allow demons to contaminate an object (see Possessed Possessions).
Infesting demons create chaos and fear through poltergeistlike activity, the manifestation of shadowy figures, and other paranormal phenomena. Victims may hear knocks on the door when no one is present. The knocks usually occur in threes (to mock the Trinity) or in sixes (double three). There are scratching sounds on doors or within walls, hot or cold spots, rooms that just feel “creepy,” sounds of baby animals in pain, whisperings, knocks that become pounding on the walls or roof, plumbing that does not turn off, appliances that go on or off without help, and Levitation of small objects.
Often such behaviours are attributed to ghosts or poltergeists, especially if there are teenagers in the home. Or they are dismissed out of hand as the products of an overactive imagination. Other mistakes made in this early stage include disbelief by friends, clergy, or family members, leaving the victim frustrated and confused, and turning to a medium or psychic to evaluate the phenomena, because the demonic can easily manipulate the medium’s sensitivity.
Sometimes infestations are more subtle, with demons maintaining a low profile in order to gain more oppressive influence over a victim.
Infestations are cleared by minor rites of exorcism performed by clergy or trained laypersons. Severely infested objects are destroyed by burning while praying and then scattering the ashes in running water. Mildly infested objects can be exorcised with prayer and a sprinkling of holy water.
- Amorth, Gabriele. An Exorcist: More Stories. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.
- Fortea, Fr. José Antonio. Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Diabolic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance. West Chester, Pa.: Ascension Press, 2006.