A woman recently relayed to me her dream, which she thought was demonic. People often tell me that they are suffering from demonic dreams. I am always a bit skeptical. But this one caught my eye:
Last night, as usual, I sprinkled holy water around my bed and room. As I was sleeping, I felt two warm creatures wrap up to me, one near my shoulder, and one below, near my waist. I reached to feel them. They had warm, soft fur, and my thought was, “How sweet” but I went to remove them and they sunk their sharp eye teeth in my arms and wouldn’t let go. I tried yelling, but was so weak, so I tried to scream louder, and when I did, I woke up and they were gone. It was terrifying! I’ve never had a dream like that and don’t want another one.
As a psychologist, I know that many intense images and emotions can surface during our dreams. Many clinicians believe dreaming is a way for our minds to process the events and emotions of our lives. The mind tries to work through our inner conflicts and traumas to bring resolution and peace. As such, dreams can be full of strong emotions and frightening images, especially when our lives contain fear, pain, powerlessness, and/or abuse.
But this woman’s dream had signs of a true demonic encounter. First, it was a clear dream with a plot to it, rather than being a melange of images. Second, it was an intense encounter that she vividly remembered. Normal dreams tend to be forgotten quickly unless written down immediately upon waking. Third, the actions of the demonic character were typical of what demons do. In this case, they tried to seduce her into thinking they were “warm, soft fur” and thus friendly. But when she rejected them, they turned vicious, having sharp eye teeth and refused to leave. Fourth, her emotional response was one of intense fear; she said, “It was terrifying.” This would be a typical emotional response to a demonic attack.
What is especially interesting is that she somehow knew that she should reject them, despite feeling they were warm and soft. Likely, seeing through the demonic deception was a grace from Holy Spirit perhaps with a nudge from her Guardian Angel. It took a bit of effort for her to get rid of the demons, but when she “screamed louder”, they left. So, her rejection of the demonic seduction was strong and persistent, which is critical. Her use of holy water before sleeping probably helped to spiritually protect herself against this demonic attack.
I do not quickly ascribe a demonic cause to any dream that might be ugly and terrifying. But this dream fit the criteria of a true encounter with the Evil One. In fact, they are not really “dreams” at all, but rather spiritual encounters while we are asleep. But, even in such a vulnerable state, the Lord protects us. As the psalmist says: “I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:9).
“I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:9)
This post was originally published on CatholicExorcism.org and is reprinted here with permission.
Image: Angel on the San Angelo bridge, Rome; Photo taken by the Author