I've already asked my fair share of questions on the paranormal, but so far I have mainly received answers from the Catholic viewpoint. Therefore, this time I want to limit the scope of this question to the Protestant perspective.

According to Protestants, are there genuine cases of paranormal activity in modern times? If so, is there agreement among Protestants as to the causes? Are genuine cases of paranormal activity caused by God, angels, demons, the disembodied spirits of the dead, people endowed with psychic abilities or something else?

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    This is one criticism I tend to bring up to my protestant friends. Did demons just stop possessing people after the apostles?
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 19:27
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    I do. I have experienced my fair share of paranormal activity both before and after my salvation. The difficulty, and the point of theological divergence for Protestants, is in the biblical explanation of what the heck happened. Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


Yes. Satan is a paranormal force for death in the modern world.

The answer is a fairly confident, yes. I cannot recount the number of times I have heard pastors note that "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist." It is hard exactly to pin down the origins of this quote, but it's prominent use by Protestant Pastors is representative of the dual facts that (1) Protestants believe Satan and demons are hard at work today, and (2) many in the West suspect part of their work has been to disguise their presence. As such, it is not uncommon for Protestants to connect (not conflate) certain physical and mental disorders with the work of Satan. I know pastors overseas who claim to have performed exorcisms on those that were in their opinions, clearly possessed. Meanwhile, professing protestants and long-standing medical professionals in the West have pointed to the possibility of schizophrenia's origins in demonic influence. For example, Dr. Matthew Sleeth writes in his 2021 book, Hope Always:

The woman, Araceli, lived in a mud and thatch hut. Although in her early twenties, she weighed about sixty pounds. She lay in a contracted fetal position. She was nonverbal. Her only activity was to bang her head against the wall...Her distressed parents...had lost two other children around the same age from the same mysterious malady..."If ever there was a woman possessed by seven demons, I was looking at her," John [a volunteer Doctor] said. Perhaps this was schizophrenia. The diagnosis, much less treatment with the drug, was uncertain. However, she was going to die within days if left untreated, and Providence had seen to it that the team had antipsychotic medicines with them. The medicines were started, and they worked. Araceli began to eat...I have before and after pictures of Araceli. Even though I know it is the same person, I wonder when I look at the change. I have a picture taken several years later, which shows a quite woman standing beside one of the Sunday school children she now teaches. She is a modern-day Mary Magdalene: a woman possessed of a demon that surely would have killed her had not the Lord intervened. (93-94)

This is but a clearly documented case of a protestant Christian in the West attributing at least partial responsibility for life-destroying mental illnesses to the direct influence of demons. Dr. Sleeth's book is on the topic of suicide, which, despite the increasing success and application of suicide prevention measures, is almost inexplicably on the rise in the West and around the world.

  • I would further argue that Philosophical Naturalism is Satan's most effective lie in most of the current Western world; convinging people not only that he (Satan) doesn't exist, but that God doesn't exist. That lie (and the religion of Naturalism) would obviously be undermined by the demonstrated existence of supernatural influences. I've heard (very anecdotally, and could not cite a source) that countries that have not bought into that lie to the same extent experience much more overtly demonic activity. Food for thought.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 4:18
  • This is but a clearly documented case of a protestant Christian in the West attributing at least partial responsibility for life-destroying mental illnesses to the direct influence of demons - I don't understand how this case shows that demons were involved. Wasn't she healed with antipsychotic medicines?
    – user50422
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 9:06
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator I'm not saying this is an indisputable case, nor even is Dr. Sleeth, I'm merely citing an example of a Western medical professional (and his fellow Doctor friend) who saw something like schizophrenia as the work of demons. In the book he details how the medicines were almost not brought but providentially were, suggesting divine intervention. He also may be suggesting that Satan and demons are not more powerful than the proper use of the material world. ie he may be able to break chains but may not be able to break diamonds and so medicine can fight demonic effects.
    – ninthamigo
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 13:54
  • @GratefulDisciple I think I too heard it through CS Lewis, but as the source I cited notes, it dates from well before him.
    – ninthamigo
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 13:55
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    @ninthamigo You're right. I should have read it first :-). Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 14:11

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