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“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
In 1997, a missionary pastor from Brazil visited Pyramid Printing, my parent’s “mom-and-pop” shop in Kissimmee, Florida. God used this casual event—a simple business card order—to deliver us from generations of occult practices. This is a summary of what my family and I experienced during decades of being deceived by Satan through the practice of spiritism.
My parents, sister, and I were born in Brazil. Our European ancestors, brought with them to the New World, occult beliefs and rituals practiced for generations before them. I became a fourth generation spiritist medium in Brazil.
My father’s paternal grandparents came from Italy. His Sicilian grandmother was a healer who used potions, herbs, and incantations to heal ailments, as well as spiritual harm caused by “evil-eye” curses. Dad’s father exhibited strong psychic abilities. As a young boy, he alerted his parents about a fox killing all piglets in the pen. But when his parents checked the animals, the suckling piglets were intact, sleeping next to the sow. Later, the scene repeated, however, this time the family witnessed the fox escape with a piglet dangling from its jaw after killing the entire litter as my grandfather predicted. One of grandfather’s visions even saved a man’s life who went missing after his horse returned home alone. Grandfather accurately described the area where the man lay injured after a rattlesnake spooked his horse.
My mother’s ancestors immigrated to Brazil from Spain. All practiced spiritism. My maternal great-grandmother, grandmother, and grandfather were mediums. Family, neighbors, and friends often brought sick children to their home to be blessed or to receive spiritual energy “passes” (Reiki). The healings included removal of the “evil-eye,” fevers, spiritual attachments, even intestinal worms. Teas, herbal baths, incense cleansing, and the lighting of candles in honor of spirit guides and guardian angels were prescribed for cures.
The Gospel According to Spiritism by Allen Kardec was our “bible.” This 1800s French educator codified spiritism. One of his missions was to ‘clarify’ the teachings of Jesus that were “inaccurately” translated in the Bible. We believed in reincarnation and lived in communion with spirits in relation to the corporeal world through Kardec’s mantra:
“To be born, to die, to be reborn yet again, and to always progress—that is the natural law.”
We called ourselves Catholics, but for traditional purposes only: weddings, child baptisms, and seventh day masses for the dead. In reality, we rejected traditional religion and did not believe in heaven or hell. “Crentes” (Christian believers) who came door-to-door evangelizing were not welcomed. When they stood behind our property fence, clapping at the gate announcing their presence, we shunned them. At the age of fourteen while living in Brazil, my indoctrination to develop as a practicing medium happened at an Umbanda Temple. Until meeting the Brazilian pastor at the age of thirty-eight, I had never read the Bible, much less, heard about eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. We were not evil. We truly believed communication with spirits came from God, and our psychic abilities were a gift from Him.
CHILDHOOD EXPOSURE TO THE OCCULT
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).
I was five-years-old. Once again, I was awakened from innocent sleep, the type of sleep only children experience. Wide-eyed, I stared into a sea of deep blackness. In the void, someone, or something was hovering close to our pull-out sofa. Watching. Glaring. Fear clawed at my heart. A chill enveloped me. My skin prickled with raised bumps, and my scalp tingled. Too scared to blink, yet too terrified to see what was behind the blanketing darkness, I tried to scream. Only low, garbled sounds escaped my lips. Air caught in my throat. My lungs burned for oxygen. Am I dying? I thought. My vocal cords and muscles were completely paralyzed. The only movement possible was through my eyelids: blinking, shutting tight, opening wide.
It came closer. Menacing. Cruel. Hostile. Palpable evil filled the atmosphere. While I struggled with invisible chains choking the life out of me, my younger sister stirred. I heard her steady breathing, and the swooshing of blood pounding against my eardrums.
Finally, I broke free. A scream shattered the silence. It took a second to realize I was the one screaming. Shaken, I sat up crying out for my mother. Through the dimness I saw silhouettes across the room: a chair, the television set with rabbit ears, and papai’s turntable console where a shadowy figure retreated, then passed through the wall.
My sister bolted up awake. She hugged my trembling body. Her voice was warm against my cheek, “Don’t cry…mamãe’s coming.”
A door creaked open and shut with a click. The hallway light came on. My mother’s flip-flops slapped the floor in hurried steps. Shushing, she entered the room. It took many hugs and kisses to finally calm me, “I’ll get you some sugar water. And tomorrow, you’ll see. Vovó will make the vultos go away, yes?”
Vultos are shadow people, or spiritual attachments. In spiritism, they are described as disincarnated, wandering spirits. Vovó, my grandmother, explained that even though the spirits scared me, they meant me no harm. Because I was a vidente (seer of the spirit world), I was only a vessel used by the spirits to communicate their messages. When I matured physically, emotionally, and mentally, I would be ready to develop as a medium. This was my mission here on earth.
That day, Vovó blessed me while I sat on her lap. With pinched fingers, she made crosses over my head, my forehead, back, and chest while praying words I did not understand. Her fingers snapped above my bowed head, my bangs a thin blond curtain over my eyes. I stared at the floor—a patchwork of red ceramic tile fragments laid piece-by-piece by my father. Beneath the table, a mosaic pattern of different colored fragments in the shape of a five-point star.
Vovó yawned. Tears on her cheeks streaked the rice powder she applied every morning, “There. All better,” smiling, she smoothed my hair with both hands, “all you need now is a sprig of rue behind your ear to protect you.”
THE “SHADOW PEOPLE”
When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19)
As I grew, I continued to see shadow people, or sense their ominous presence following me everywhere I went. Day or night. At school, or while at play. It seemed like the rituals made little to no impact on how they constantly tortured me. I could not be left alone anywhere. My younger sister tired of chaperoning me whenever I had to go into a room, including the bathroom. I’m ashamed to admit that even now. When I had no choice but to enter a room by myself, bruises covering my arms and legs were the evidence of my fight-or-flight response. It’s not possible to fight the invisible. Attempting to escape the threat, at times I would crash against walls and furniture, then trip and fall when unseen forces seem to push and shove me about.
During second grade vacation, my mother took me to spend a week with her paternal grandmother and aunt. I hated going there, but I never expressed this to my parents. Their house was filled with shadows, even on the sunniest days. But what frightened me most about this place were the two vicious German Shepherds chained behind the chicken-wire fence in their backyard.
After supper, I stood behind the kitchen’s screen door watching my great-aunt feed the dogs our scraps. It was twilight, and there was a purplish glow in the sky projecting lilac shadows about the yard. Birds pecked at papaya peels scattered on the grass next to the herb garden. The dogs strained at their chains, baring teeth dripping with saliva at the food being set in their bowls.
My attention turned to the groaning hinges of the gate at the front of the property. Fear gripped me when I saw a middle-aged man enter the yard. Wearing a black suit and tie, his shiny shoes tapped the tiled walkway. Smoke from his cigarette billowed above his slicked-back hair. How did he unlock the gate? Why weren’t the dogs barking? He was fast approaching my great-aunt’s stooped body. Oblivious to the intruder, she caressed the dogs’ heads while they devoured their meal.
When I tried to scream to warn her, I became paralyzed. It was the same type of paralysis as when I slept. Straining to scream, my mouth was wide open, but I had no voice. With arms extended, the man bent over to embrace her from behind. But before touching my great-aunt, he vanished into a puff of smoke.
The next morning, my great-grandmother took me to her medium friend. She wanted to know if the man I saw was her husband, my deceased great-grandfather coming to visit his daughter. The medium’s spirit guide confirmed it was her husband and instructed my grandmother to tell my mom to take me to the Mesa Branca (White Table) Spiritist Center in our neighborhood for counseling on my mediumship development.
In the Mesa Branca séance meeting, mediums sat around a table covered in white linen. A vase with white roses, a jar with water and several glasses were set at the center of the table. The “patients” sat in chairs placed against the walls. The Center was always filled with people looking for guidance from spirit guides regarding health, relationships, finances, and spiritual matters.
Waiting for the session to begin, I stared at a charcoal drawing of Jesus blessing a boy kneeling at his feet. There were shelves with several statues around the room: St. George slaying a dragon, St. Joseph holding a baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Aparecida, the venerated black Madonna and patron saint of Brazil. Candles flickered casting elongated shadows on the walls. Sweet incense fragrance filled the atmosphere.
Through clinks of a beaded curtain, the medium entered the room wearing all white. She was joined by three other mediums also dressed like doctors. They sat around the table, and the session opened in prayer inviting the spirit guides of light to join us. Moaning, the head medium, an elderly woman with bluish hair, channeled her spirit guide. Her body convulsed, and the table shook splashing water from the jar on the tablecloth. The mediums took turns reading from The Gospel According to Spiritism. Soon after the readings, the “patients” stood before each medium to receive their spiritual consultations and healing energy “passes.”
When I received my “pass,” the medium repeated what my grandmother told us for years. I had a gift, but I was too young still to develop my mediumship abilities and receive (channel) my spirit guides. No matter how often we attended the meetings, or how carefully my mother performed the rituals prescribed to cleanse our home and bodies of negative energy, the attacks only intensified as I get older.
My psychic abilities also increased, giving me a sense of power. My intuition was strong, and sometimes I could read people’s minds. Revelations of things no child should be privy to was a burden I could not share with anyone. Since I was not emotionally prepared to process these things, I became an ultra-sensitive and moody child.
IMMIGRATING TO AMERICA
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).
In 1968, after years of applying for a Visa, our family was granted entry to America. It’s a complicated story of how we came to this country, specifically Massachusetts. In short, my father’s mother was born in Taunton, Massachusetts and lived there until the age of six. She eventually immigrated to Brazil, but never lost her American citizenship. Two years after the death of her husband, my grandmother returned to her country of birth in 1966, reuniting with her mother after decades of separation. Two years later, we embarked in search of the Great American Dream.
I was nine, my sister eight when we immigrated. We adjusted well to the English language and culture. My mother however did not. This was my father’s dream, not hers. They had an agreement to live here for five years, work hard, save money, and return to Brazil. Dealing with my spiritual attacks in this country was difficult. There were no mediums, or spiritist Centers that we knew of to seek help. We learned right away, our beliefs were not something to discuss openly in American culture. My mother did her best finding herbs for cleansing baths and incense at the local A&P. And we kept our faith a well-guarded secret.
Sleep paralysis, seeing spirits, hearing noises, and footsteps in the ancient house we lived in was a common occurrence. From Brazil, my grandmother mailed us books on spiritism to study, and attended the Mesa Branca on our behalf.
UMBANDA: A MIXTURE OF AFRICAN SPIRITISM AND CATHOLICISM
“The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists” (Isaiah 19:3).
Five years later, my parents sent us back to Brazil to live with my maternal grandparents. They planned on joining us as soon as they saved enough to buy a house in Brazil. Even though my sister and I were excited to return home, America had also become home to us.
One night, not long after returning to Brazil, while watching the telenovela with my grandparents, sister, and cousins, I had my second fully-awake paralysis experience.
It was the highlight moment of the telenovela’s cliff-hanger episode. From the corner of my eye, I noticed an entity enter the hallway. Paralysis took over my body. Watching in silent horror, I saw the translucent, bluish form of an elderly man enter the living room. Even though I couldn’t hear what he is saying, I could tell he was angry. His scowling features were surprisingly visible, even if I could see through him. For a few moments he stood there, waving his arms, trying to get our attention. With a dismissive gesture, he bowed his head in defeat before turning away, and leaving the room.
Released from the paralysis, my screams shocked everyone out of their seats. When I told them through tears what happened, they groaned in annoyance. The most awaited moment of the television program was interrupted. My grandmother was livid. I could tell by her high arched eyebrow. She ordered me to follow her to the kitchen. To my surprise, she also saw the entity. Her anger was not because I disrupted the show, but how I reacted toward a spirit in need—her grandfather. Her reprimand about my spiritual immaturity cut deep. Why was she angry with me for something I had no idea how to control? After all these years, I still had no direction. She advised me to study Kardec’s books again. And insisted I return to the Mesa Branca sessions for mediumship development.
After sharing this experience with two of my aunts, they invited me to come with them to the Umbanda Spiritist Center they had recently joined. I wasn’t familiar with Umbanda, and my aunt explained it me.
Umbanda, a religion brought to Brazil by African slaves, was syncretized with Catholicism. When the slave masters forced the slaves to worship the Catholic saints, the slaves bowed at the altar, however when their foreheads touched the ground, they worshipped the images of their own gods buried beneath the altar. In Umbanda, there is a supreme god called Olorum, a deity also known as Zambi. The other lesser deities worshipped are called Orixás. Each Orixá is also represented by a color and/or an element.
For example: Oxalá (Jesus) is white. Iemanjá (Virgin Mary), the sea goddess, is blue. Xangô (St. John), god of thunder, is red and brown. Ogum (St. George) god of war is dark blue and green. There are legions, phalanges, ranks or hierarchies such as: spirits of African slaves, children, gypsies, and sailors. However, the “left side” or dark forces must be worshipped too. Once a month, Exu (a demon-like deity), is celebrated to ensure he will continue to be the guardian of the Umbanda temple called “terreiro,” keeping dark forces at bay. Pomba-gira, is the female part to Exu (Incubus and Succubus-like spirits).
This fascinated me, and the following week, I attended my first Umbanda service. When we arrived at the temple, an unassuming blue building, we waited outside with a group of mediums. The guests arrived in throngs, walking in the front door. I peeked in from the side door, the mediums’ entrance, and noticed the guests being ushered to benches. A low fence, with a small gate separated the worship area (terreiro) from the congregation seating area. A large altar called congá, extended across most of the front wall of the terreiro. It was covered in white lace with many statues of Orixás, candles, and flowers. Two tall atabaque hand drums made of wood, sat at each side of the congá.
When the Pai de Santo (the head medium) arrived, my aunt introduced me. He was a short, kindly looking man, and like all the other mediums, he wore white clothing and beads around his neck. He took my hand, and I was mesmerized by the brilliant pool of his blue eyes. I couldn’t blink when he spoke to me. Hypnotized by his gaze, I listened intently to his words, “Welcome sister. You are from the waters…daughter of Iemanjá. You are ready to develop your mediumship. Welcome.”
My heart accelerated. I felt lightheaded. Something was stirring in my soul. There was such a strong spiritual presence there. But it seemed different. Beautiful. Hopeful. Soothing. At last, at the age of fourteen, it felt like the search for my purpose in life was being revealed. I joined the guests behind the fenced area. My feet refused to step on the sacred ground of the terreiro until I was invited to do so. Incense smoke cleared the room of negative energy. The mediums entered, forming a semi-circle around the room. The Pai de Santo bowed before the altar touching his forehead to the base three times. Pounding his chest with closed fist, he saluted the Orixás. With chalk in hand, he knelt, drawing a circle with symbols inside on the cement floor. When he finished, a lighted candle was placed in the center of the pentagram.
Drumming thundered across the room. Bodies swayed from side-to-side. Hands clapped to the percussion rhythm. Voices sang in worship to the gods. The Pai de Santo mounted by his spirit guide Xangô, thumped his chest in salutation. Speaking in an African sounding language, mingled with broken Portuguese he summoned the spirits. The mediums took turns receiving their spirit guides. Shoulders shook. Bodies convulsed and writhed. Dancing broke out. Voices rose in chants.
My heart was about to explode. The room was spinning. Electric current-like vibrations caused me to shake uncontrollably. Xangô commanded me to enter the terreiro. Someone told me to remove my shoes. I did it without hesitation. At the altar, I bowed before the Orixás.
Hyperventilating, I stood before the Pai de Santo for the energy pass. Swaying, I noticed a female medium with outstretched arms, standing behind me. Momentarily, I lost consciousness and found myself being lifted from the floor by two other mediums. A siren song resonated all around me in worship to my goddess, Iemanjá.
At that moment, I knew in my heart, My life is Umbanda. Umbanda is my life. My mediumship began developing well. It became the happiest time of my life, except I missed my parents terribly. It had been over a year since we left America, and there was no set date for them to reunite with us yet.
The next step in my spiritual progression was to be baptized at a waterfall. Waterfalls had tremendous vibrations, and energy to cleanse spiritual impurities, I was told.
At the base of the waterfall’s veil, I stepped before the Pai de Santo. The slippery rock felt cool against the soles of my feet. I had no fear of falling into the bubbling pool below. He took my hands summoning my spirit guide. Frigid water showered over my bowed head. Like a bolt of lightning, Iemanjá possessed me. Violently, my head snapped back and forth. My long, wet hair arched high over my head, whipping my face repeatedly. When I came out of my trance, I was overwhelmed with joy and peace.
HAPPINESS TURNS INTO CHAOS
The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God (Micah 3:7).
A few months later, my parents returned to Brazil. It was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives, but soon, our lives took a turn for the worse. My parents fought constantly. My father hated Brazil. My mother loved it. Only a few months after their arrival, my parents placed a life changing decision in my hands and my sister’s hands. If we wanted to stay in Brazil, my mother would stay with us, but my father would return alone to America. However, if we decided to return to America, the four of us would go back.
This was a heavy burden for me at fifteen, and my sister at fourteen, to bear. Even though my sister was madly in love with a boy she had dated since we arrived, she and I agreed we must all return together. Both our hearts were broken, hers for her boyfriend, mine for Umbanda.
Before we left Brazil, the Pai de Santo told me never to channel my spirit guide unless it was in the presence of an experienced medium. I vowed to keep this promise, knowing it would be impossible to find mediums in Massachusetts. That was in 1975. Now in 2020 (the time of this writing) mediums and spiritist centers can be found almost anywhere in America.
After returning to Massachusetts, my parents bought a beautiful home sitting on a hill, with a pond in the backyard. For the first time in our lives, my sister and I had our own rooms. New furniture and appliances. Nice cars. In high school, I reconnected with old friends, and dated a boy I fell in love with before returning to Brazil. We had a lot in common. He also immigrated from Brazil in the 1960s, and his grandmother, who lived in São Paulo not far from my family, was also a medium.
At first, everyone was content. Except for my sister. She was miserable without her boyfriend. After a year, she returned to live with my grandparents in Brazil. I continued to worship Iemanjá, faithfully. At the beach, I offered her flowers. Blue candles were lit in her honor. In my room, her statue and my aquamarine beads were a constant reminder of my love for Umbanda and the Orixás. Of course, I still saw shadow people, continued to have sleep paralysis, and vivid psychic dreams. But through Umbanda, I believed my spiritual life was under control.
When my sister decided to get married at sixteen, my father didn’t approve, and wrote asking her to wait. Besides, we couldn’t afford to make another expensive trip to Brazil at that time. My sister insisted on going forward with the wedding plans. In America, our lives began to fall apart. My parents were on the brink of a divorce. The day my sister married, my mother almost lost her mind with grief. The atmosphere at home was heavy with oppression and depression. No matter how much I prayed to Iemanjá to help, things only got worse.
Through vivid dreams and whisperings of spirits in my ear, I developed intense jealousy for my boyfriend. Like my parents, we fought all the time. There was no peace. No joy. Miraculously, our relationship survived my constant bouts of possessive mistrust and accusations.
We received wonderful news a few months later. My sister was pregnant. Plans to arrive for the baby’s birth moved forward. Even my boyfriend was going to travel with us. Soon after my high school graduation, we left for Brazil.
My sister gave birth to a sweet baby boy. He only lived for four days. This was a tsunami of devastating pain., What my sister and brother-in-law went through was unimaginable. Words from mediums saying the baby’s life was short because of his high-level spirit, and his corporal mission here on earth was completed, did not bring us consolation.
After the funeral, I visited the Umbanda terreiro. During worship, a girl next to me was mounted by her spirit guide. While I bowed my head attempting to concentrate to receive Iemanjá, the girl spun in dance, violently hitting my face with the back of her hand. My concentration broke and I looked up, only to receive another full-blown slap. Her aggression was a poorly disguised ruse through wild dancing. Tears stung my eyes, when I heard gasps and snickering coming from the congregation. The Pai de Santo stood before me calling on Iemanjá for a long time while I sobbed in anger and shame. I knew the girl had done it on purpose. It was impossible for me, in my emotional, contaminated state to receive Iemanjá. And this was the last time I attended the Umbanda terreiro.
When we visited my boyfriend’s grandmother a few days later, her spirit guide told me I could no longer allow my body (chakra) to remain open. The spirit explained it was too dangerous since I was not regularly attending a temple under the direction of a strong medium in the United States. I was told that this left me open, like a magnet, for evil entities to enter my body. Devastated, I reluctantly agreed. She performed the ritual to close the chakra where spirits entered my body. Someday, when I was ready again, this would be reversed.
I vowed never to set foot in Brazil again. Despondent after her baby’s death, my sister decided to return to America with us. Her husband stayed behind to wait for his visa documentation. After returning to America, my life became an ash heap of hopeless oppression. The strong pillars of my faith came crashing to the ground.
MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE LIGHT
“I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people” (Leviticus 20:6).
The first thing I did, was remove Iemanjá from the shelf in my room. In a cardboard box, I stored her image along with my beads. From that moment on, the spiritual attacks only intensified, and I didn’t know where to turn to for help. After a few months, my brother-in-law arrived, only a day before the Great Blizzard of 1978. In June, I was married at nineteen. We bought our first home and had good jobs. We went out and had fun with friends and family. But inside, I was dead. I went through the motions of life with no joy. No peace.
Four years later my son was born. My daughter came four years after my son. In the surface our lives looked perfect. My sister also had another boy and a girl, both healthy and beautiful. My parents mended their marriage and enjoyed their grandchildren. But spiritually, we all spiraled into a black hole of despair.
My parents, sister, brother-in-law, my husband and I decided we needed a change of scenery. Perhaps moving to Florida and starting a new life in a warmer climate would help raise our spirits. The gray New England winters seemed to be getting longer each year.
Living in Florida was great at first. We all had lovely new homes, swimming pools, and gorgeous beaches nearby. But soon, the spiritual contamination returned to plague us. Even the children were affected by the hellish atmosphere brewing around us night and day. Sometimes they saw or heard things that scared them. Sensing an evil presence particularly in my bedroom, my children refused to enter my bedroom alone.
On many occasions, pounding noises above our bed startled us awake. Once, sounds of shattering glass like a rock thrown through a window had us all scrambling out of bed. We inspected the entire house. The windows were all intact, and we found nothing out of place or broken anywhere.
My mood was usually foul, angry, bitter. People walked on eggshells trying not to set off my explosive outbursts. Once I was triggered, anything could happen. I was reckless in my fits of rage, especially when driving. The children, white-knuckled, held on to their seats for dear life. When my temper flared, whatever I got my hands on became a projectile across the room. My hysterics and madness transformed into guilt and shame once the tempest in my soul calmed. And for reasons I can’t fathom, my husband had the strength to tolerate my violent temper for years.
My health suffered to such extent I had only enough energy to work as an operating room nurse for my shifts. When I got home, I passed out on the couch, unable to cook, clean or care for my family. There were times when I contemplated ending it all, spurred on by sinister voices whispering there was no hope. I was worthless. Insignificant. Love for my children was the only thing keeping me from jumping into the abyss.
When my sister phoned me to tell me she met a pastor from Brazil at the printing shop, my suspiciousness went into hyper-drive. She became emotional describing his beautiful prayer for her. She told me after he prayed, she felt a peace she never had experienced before. Like a volcano, words of pure hatred for this man I never met erupted from my mouth. I warned her to keep away from him. He was no doubt a charlatan looking for money.
This did not dissuade her from gushing about how he also prayed with my teen nephew. And how the pastor encouraged him to marry the girl he recently impregnated. My nephew not only agreed to this but swore off drugs as well. I didn’t believe her. Personally, I took him to counseling for help with his addiction, with no positive results.
She invited the pastor to come for coffee at her house the following Saturday. My parents were going to be there too. And she wanted us to join them. I refused the invitation.
After hanging up with her, I reconsidered. If this holy man believed he could weasel himself in my family with his self-righteous teachings, I would be there to confront him. On Saturday, I arrived at my sister’s house, armed and ready to fight. We walked in to see the pastor, my parents, sister and brother-in-law at the table, drinking coffee and eating cake. At the sight of the pastor rising from his chair, making his way to greet us, I froze in place with burning hatred for him.
Embarrassed, my sister got up from her chair, “Pastor, this is my sister, the one we’ve been praying for.”
“I don’t remember asking anyone to pray for me.”
Unphased, the pastor extended his hand. My husband shook the man’s hand and made his way to the table. But the pastor didn’t budge when I ignored his hand. During our standoff, he touched my shoulder saying the Lord brought him here to help me and my family. Suddenly, there was such a strong presence of my spirit guide, like I had not experienced in years. I was warned. This was an ambush by the pastor. He was cunning and must be struck down. It was impossible to remain in close proximity to the pastor. I sidestepped him and headed for the patio telling my husband to finish his cake so we could leave.
Slamming the sliding glass door with force, I sat by the pool. With trembling hands, I lit a cigarette. My wrath for the man was insurmountable. Seconds later, the patio door swooshed open. I could not believe the man followed me outside with Bible in hand. Abruptly, I rose from my chair intending to intimidate the man to stop him in his tracks. My face flushed when I told him I was not interested in talking about religion.
With maddening calmness, the man quoted scripture, “If you call upon His name, He will answer you. He will be with you in trouble. He will deliver you and honor you. With long life He will satisfy you and show you His salvation.”
Snuffing out my cigarette, I told him I didn’t believe in a book written by men to control people through fear and condemnation. Furthermore, he couldn’t manipulate me like he did my sister and rest of the family, “I have spirit guides to protect me. I don’t need your religion.” I brushed past him, but he followed me back inside. “Sister, there are no such things as spirit guides.” He opened the Bible, jabbing the page with his index finger, “These are demons you listen to.”
I whirled around to face my family. Were they listening? Did he not offend them? It baffled me how no one reacted to this stranger’s arrogance in criticizing our beliefs. With patience, my mother suggested I at least listen to what the man had to say. What if this was true? What if what we believed our entire lives was not from God?
My head was throbbing, and I squeezed it between my hands. The room went silent except for the sounds of the onion-skin Bible pages turning. Like seismic waves, my anger rose. The last thing I wanted was to give him the satisfaction of seeing me lose control. Grabbing my purse, I told my husband we had to go.
“Before you leave sister, I challenge you to read with your own eyes what the Word of God has taught for thousands of years: ‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God’” (Leviticus 19:31).
Through clenched teeth, I reminded him the Bible meant nothing to me. Finally, my father interceded and told me to sit. All the arguing was getting us nowhere. He suggested the pastor ask me about my beliefs, before judging. At last, I had an ally. Taking a seat, I accepted a cup of coffee from my sister’s extended hand.
“Fair enough,” he tapped his Bible, “You don’t believe in heaven, or hell, correct? Tell me what happens to people when they die?” My response was obvious: spirits pass through many stages of evolution. What he called demons were merely obsessive spirits in parallel dimensions here on earth. They couldn’t evolve because they chose not to. The good spirits of light were superior, evolved spirits. Before our own spirits achieved this light, they repeatedly reincarnated until attaining it.
Taking his Bible, he pointed to a verse and asked me to read it. But I crossed my arms, refusing the offer. Smiling, he said there was no such thing as reincarnation, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Something about those words piqued my interest. And for a millisecond, I wanted to hear more. Nevertheless, with a dismissive wave I told him it was pointless trying to discuss what I believed with him if he kept referencing the Bible.
When the time came for him to leave, he offered to pray for us, inviting everyone to join hands in a circle. I refused. But with a warning look, my father snatched my hand, and my husband grabbed the other, closing the circle. As soon as the pastor began to pray, what I believed to be my spirit guide, suddenly manifested. Laughter spilled from my mouth unchecked. The harder I tried to stop, the more I laughed. Through my trance, I heard the pastor yell, “In the name of Jesus Christ! Come out of her, evil spirit!”
The entity had a hold of me. Writhing in pain, coming in and out of consciousness, I couldn’t understand what was happening. How could I be possessed, if my chakra was closed years ago? I was close to passing out. My heart pounded. My chest hurt. Perspiration beaded on my face. And I begged the pastor to stop, thinking this was his doing.
My father came to my rescue and ordered the pastor to let me be. Finally breaking free, I ran to the bathroom and vomited, not the coffee I drank a few minutes before, but a clear gelatinous substance. Feeling spent and betrayed, I told everyone in no uncertain terms that I never wanted to see the pastor again.
FREE AT LAST
“Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Legion,’ he replied, because many demons had gone into him” (Luke 8:30).
After the experience at my sister’s house, I began to doubt my spirit guide’s identity. I began to question spiritism in general. Even though I was not yet convicted, it broke my heart to hear the pain in my husband’s voice when he suggested for the pastor to at least come to the house and pray. He described how hideously distorted, and disfigured I became while possessed. My teenage son and nephew witnessed part of the possession. Both were distraught and begged me to let the pastor help me. Even though I was confused and conflicted, out of love for my family, I finally agreed to a deliverance session.
The pastor instructed my entire family to fast, and to remain in prayer on the day of my deliverance, Saturday, March 29th, 1997. He and his wife were scheduled to arrive at my house at five in the afternoon. I fasted too and tried to read the leather-bound Bible he gave me. My husband and children left to join my parents, sister and family at my sister’s house to remain in intercessory prayer.
While alone, I had second thoughts about the deliverance. Panic took over me. Voices kept whispering for me to flee, to run away before he arrived. I took the Bible in my hands, but I couldn’t open it. I tried to pray, but my mind became flooded with alarming threats. Unable to stand the tension any longer, I grabbed my car keys and ran to the door. When I opened it, the pastor and his wife were already standing there.
Prayer and Scripture reading by the pastor and his wife initiated the deliverance process. When he tried to anoint me with oil, I recoiled away from him with a screech. There are only a few things I recall clearly about my deliverance. Most details were given to me by the pastor and my sister later on.
We went through the entire house removing items consecrated to the demonic realm I served my entire life. Images of my hands going through drawers and closets, finding the box with Iemanjá and my beads, the rosary above my bed, clothes, jewelry, occult books, records, and video tapes, are my main recollections of the event. Like in a dream, I also remember crouching behind my house, digging the dirt with my fingers trying to unearth a statue of St. Joseph buried upside-down (a superstitious ritual to sell my house).
My sister however, related horrific details later on to me about the deliverance. Physically, I became transformed. My eyes turned black with hatred. Like a serpent’s tongue coming in and out of my distorted mouth, I spat and blasphemed God. My hands like claws threatened the pastor. When the pastor placed a crucifix on my forehead, the demon laughed hysterically. But when he placed an empty cross over my forehead declaring Jesus Christ’s victory over death, His resurrection, and that our sins were forgiven by His precious blood, the demon screeched in agony saying it was being burned. Momentarily, I remember opening my eyes to a silhouette of a cross. The light felt bright like the sun, blinding me to the point where I had to cover my eyes with my arm.
Finally, when the pastor yelled, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,” Satan’s yoke in my life was broken. His stronghold collapsed. Like a bomb exploding around me, my body flew high in the air. I was violently thrown several feet, halfway the length of the hallway. When my back crashed on the tile floor, I opened my eyes. Amazingly, the force of the impact did not injure me. Instantly, a dark veil lifted from my eyes. I stood smiling, in awe of my surroundings. I instantly, intuitively understood what it meant to be born again. I became a new creation in Christ. The old was gone. Never before had I felt such peace. Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One, had truly set me free.
It surprised me to see my sister sobbing into her hands. I had no idea she was present since she arrived after the deliverance started. The air smelled of sulfur and smoke. I looked at the clock. It was two in the morning. It seemed as if only a couple of hours had passed. But the deliverance lasted more than eight hours. When my husband arrived, the first thing he noticed were several trash bags filled with items to be burned. The second thing was the smell of smoke in kitchen. Even though the pastor assured him this was residual odor from the deliverance, my husband still rushed to the refrigerator, pushing it away from the wall, certain we had an electrical fire. Immediately, I repented of my sins, and surrendered my life to Jesus my Redeemer and my Lord.
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
MY RESURRECTION DAY
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The day after my deliverance was Resurrection Sunday. Even though I only slept for three hours, I was able to wake up without an alarm clock for the first time in my life. Feeling refreshed, I rushed out of the house to attend my first sunrise service. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ used this missionary pastor to bring the Good News of Salvation and deliverance from the occult to many members of my family. He ministered to our family in Florida, in Massachusetts, and in Brazil. Many were saved and now live for Christ and Christ alone. My parents, my sister and her family, my family and I all accepted Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Savior. We were all baptized in my sister’s pool. As soon as we became Christians, my parents changed Pyramid Printing’s name to Hosanna Printing. After the business was passed on to me and my sister, the name was changed to Redeemer Printing. All for his honor and glory.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Today, when I look at my grandchildren’s innocent faces, I shudder to think they could have inherited the demonic curses attached to the deceptive beliefs I once held. Praise the Lord for His promise of lavishing unfailing love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep his commandments (see Deuteronomy 7:9).
I pray for you who read this and are not saved, to ask Jesus Christ into your heart. If you have been involved in the occult in any way, including horoscopes, Ouija boards, fortune telling, the New Age, spiritism, yoga, far eastern meditation, crystals, or any other non-biblical spiritual practices, please ask the Lord to deliver you from it. Find a Bible teaching church and ask for God’s direction in all areas of your life.
I believe my testimony illustrates the grave danger of occult practices. Not many people have heard of Umbanda, but there are many other alternative spiritual traditions, practices and beliefs that result in a similar demonic infestation of a person’s heart and life. Sadly, the kingdom of the occult is spreading at an alarming rate, infiltrating all areas of our modern culture, including schools, healthcare, and even churches. The fact that many pastors ignore this topic and turn a blind eye to this spiritual holocaust is distressing.
Some may ask how can healing the sick, or aiding a person in need be from Satan? The Word of God teaches us through many verses in Scripture about the tactic Satan uses to ensnare the unwary:
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Even the Antichrist (called “the lawless one”) who will emerge on the world scene in the last days will be empowered this way, as the following scripture foretells:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
If you are involved in any form of divination, spiritism, necromancy through the work of mediums, witches, or even playing with Ouija boards, I appeal to you in the love of God to repent and ask the Lord to deliver you from these practices. God’s Word warns us that this type of idolatry (occult practices or the worship of false deities) is sinful and an abomination to Him. It should be an abomination to us as well. It opens doors to demonic activity in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. It is a direct rejection of God’s love and authority in our lives. You should heed this warning from the Bible:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world (1 John 4:1-3).
Satan’s goal is to use his craftiness and trickery to stray humans from God’s truths, and eternal salvation. But, when we put our trust in Jesus Christ, and give our lives to Him, our eyes are opened to His truth.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
The family print shop where a minister ordering business cards shared the Gospel. You never know how powerful your words can be to change lives when you testify of the love of Jesus.
You may get in touch with the author of this transformation story at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shreve, M. (2002). In Search of the True Light. Cleveland, TN: Deeper Revelation Books
Hunnemann, M. (2011). Seeing Ghosts through God’s Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits.
Martin, W. (2008). The Kingdom of the Occult. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
All scriptures in this article are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan