From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine

When I was fifteen, in high school, we had one period of Religious Education per week. For about half of the school year, this lesson consisted solely of our class reading through From Witchcraft to Christ, chapter by chapter. Today, revisiting the book two decades later, I’m amazed by how much of the story I remember. You might say it had something of an impact on me originally; it certainly reinforced Christianity and coloured my opinion of the occult.

When I was fifteen I was completely naive, and when I became a Christian at age seventeen, I wasn’t much brighter. Now, however, as an adult who survived the brainwashing exercise of religion and came out the other side with a razor sharp intellect, my memories of Doreen Irvine’s autobiography take on quite a different light. My intention in re-reading this book is to either confirm or deny my suspicion that what we are dealing with here is a liar.

The problems begin with the author’s note at the beginning. “I have of necessity omitted many details of my former life, the people I was associated with at this time and other personal details.” She explains that her intention “was to present a readable account of part of my life and to avoid having to relate definite dates and situations with known persons living or dead.” Unfortunately for the reader, such details could have corroborated Irvine’s claims, Without them we are left to simply wonder how much of what we are reading is fantasy. This is especially important given the fantastical nature of some of her claims, which we will come to shortly.

Nevertheless, the early part of book has an air of credibility; the reader gets the feel of someone relating direct experience. Irvine was a disadvantaged child, living in a council estate in Britain during World War II, with her mother, alcoholic father, and younger sisters. She was mischievous and a ringleader to the children of the neighbourhood, continually getting into trouble. Home life got worse when her mother upped and left and her father brought home a mistress. In her early teens, a local charity worker decided to help Doreen by getting her a job as a maid for a local upper class woman. Doreen stuck it out for a while, but naively longed for the idea of a better life in London. After saving some money, she left on the train without a word to anyone. In the big city, she quickly found work as a prostitute, then as a stripper, calling herself Daring Diana. In this profession, she made some serious money, and was able to afford a classy flat for herself. Despite material success, her main problem was loneliness, for which she turned to drugs. Heroin addiction ended up ruining her ability to do her job, so she returned to prostitution and also indulged in shoplifting. One day she was caught stealing jewelry and got three months in prison, which at least served as a withdrawal clinic for the drugs.

You can tell that this is shaping up to be one of those sensationalist Christian testimonies where the author revels in telling the audience how rotten she was, and how great God is for saving her. In all honesty I have nothing but contempt for such screw-ups. If you’re dumb enough to invite a man to stick a heroin needle into your arm, then you deserve whatever consequences befall you; I have no sympathy. The only time I felt any sense of respect for Doreen was when she was getting it together as a stripper (something she no doubt looks back on with disdain). Not the most respectable of jobs, but you’ve got to salute a woman who brings about material success for herself using whatever assets she has. That said, for the most part, this is the story of a young girl who squandered the opportunities given to her and whose recklessness brought about her undoing. The message of the book is basically: “God rescued me from my stupidity.” Am I being too harsh? Frankly, the people I have respect for are those who have the sense not to ruin their lives, or those who bring themselves back from the brink of disaster by their own determination. Doreen Irvine, however, belongs to the self-pity school of thought: “Poor me. Help me, Lord.” You ever notice how such testimonies are always about acceptable sins: “I was an alcoholic, but God redeemed me!” “I was addicted to heroin, but by the grace of God I’m now free.” “I was an IRA hitman, but by God’s mercy I am forgiven!” “I was a Satanist, but the might of Jesus freed me from the power of the devil!” You never hear anyone say, “I used to rape little boys, but through the blood of Christ my sins are washed clean!” That’s why I can’t stand these big boastful displays of past sin, because there’s sin that’s trendy to parade, and there’s SIN that isn’t.

You may have noticed that From Witchcraft to Christ hasn’t yet included any witchcraft. That’s because there’s not a lot of it, only a couple of short chapters worth. And it’s these chapters where Irvine’s credibility falls asunder. The believable detail of the early chapters is replaced with the sort of summarising brevity that is indicative of someone who wasn’t really there doing what she claims to have been doing. But that’s only a minor criticism. The details that she does give are enough to damn her.

When she came out of prison, she went back to her life as Daring Diana the stripper. One night, she overheard two girls talking about a “Satanist temple.” She asked them about it. At first they were reluctant to say anything, but with a quick nudge, they conceded to take Doreen to their Satanist meeting place. Doreen was blindfolded and taken by car to a secret location. There were about five hundred people in the hall, which was draped in black. A Satanic ceremony takes place, involving the sacrifice of a cockerel, people dressed in robes, and lots of chanting. The ceremony is said to last two hours, but Irvine gives practically no detail. Afterwards, she is asked by the chief Satanist if she would like to join their religion. And she does.

Anyone who has done some research into the occult will see that Irvine has no more knowledge of the subject than you would gain from a few Hammer movies or Dennis Wheatley novels. She refers to her religion as “the order of Satanism,” not seeming to realise that an order is a subdivision of a religion – a religion that is never named. Perhaps it’s the order of Satanism of the religion Satanism? On another occasion she refers to it as “the most ancient order of Satanism.” If so, you would think that the leader would be called by a legitimate occult title like “Ipsissimus” or “High Priest.” No, Irvine has no familiarity with occultism, so in her limited imagination she continually refers to the leader as “the chief Satanist.” Often, she erroneously refers to Satan as Lucifer, something that crept into Christian tradition through a mistranslation of the Old Testament into Latin. You would think the real Prince of Darkness would know that he isn’t a minor Roman deity. Irvine is also fond of calling her master Diablos; it’s unfortunate that the devil can’t spell (correct rendering “Diabolus”).

Irvine furnishes us with some of the rules of Satanism that she was required to obey:

1. Secrecy is the keynote for all Satanists. They must never reveal the whereabouts of the temples to an outsider or the things that go on inside the temple.

And yet somehow all it took for Doreen to be transported right into the heart of the most secret organisation (one whose existence isn’t even known today in the internet age) was to ask a couple of its members in a stripclub?

3. Satanists must never enter a Christian church unless sent in to spy by the chief Satanist.

Why not? What would a Satanist be afraid of? The power of the Christian Gospel? I think not.

4. Satanists must never read the Holy Bible for their own edifiction.

Again, why not? What self-respecting Satanist would be afraid of a book he thinks is full of lies? Compared to Anton LaVey’s “Nine Satanic Statements,” Irvine’s rules of Satanism seem rather infantile.

Lies are compounded upon lies, as Irvine thoroughly insults the reader’s intelligence in her tale of how she became initiated as “the queen of black witches” (another title that has no existence in occult lore). She had to walk through a bonfire, and as she did so, the devil walked with her, visibly as a black figure. On several occasions she talks about seeing Satan physically, hearing his voice audibly, then later as a Christian she makes the same claims about Jesus. Of course, there’s not a shred of evidence, and the reader is simply expected to take her word for everything. One night Irvine is with her witch chums on the moor when several men come over the hill. She uses her Satanic powers to make the witches invisible, and avoid getting caught. Brimming with occult power, with zero esoteric knowledge. How does she do it?

In the two brief chapters about Irvine’s experiences with Satanism and witchcraft, she had opportunity to completely blow the lid off this. But she refains. Details are scant, events are summarised, locations remain unknown. She talks about how the meeting places used as Satanist temples change regularly to maintain secrecy, but after she becomes a Christian she doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting in touch with her old pals and attempting to convert them.

Irvine’s conversion to Christianity is fraught with difficulty, as apparently she is possessed by numerous demons. Rev. Arthur Neil exorcises her over a period of many months. The demons that leave her have names like Doubt, Deceit, Lust, Lies, Pride, Witchcraft, Tormentor. That’s right, folks, if you’ve ever experienced doubt, that’s not your brain’s way of making sure you have a robust enough reason to believe in something; that’s an infernal demon from the pit of hell gnawing at you! There’s even a demon called Lesbian. Yes, all you rug-munchers; you are possessed!

Once Irvine is on the “right path,” the final quarter of the book is taken up by sanctimonious, melodramatic stories of her early ministry as an evangelist. Oh, now we get the detail. I had to smile when she sprained her ankle and had to cancel one of her appointements, for she believed that to be Satan’s doing. This reminded me so much of the silly damaging ideas that used to occupy my own brainwashed mind in another life.

It’s difficult to know how much of Irvine’s story is deliberate deceit and how much is down to over-enthusiatic evangelists preying upon a psychologically unstable woman. In any case, it is clear that Irvine’s witchcraft experience is entirely bogus, or at best grossly exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Interestingly, there’s not a single mention of the Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) of children, something which became a staple of Satanic testimonies in the 1980s and 1990s (the period known as the Satanic Panic). Clearly, in the 1970s, when Irvine wrote her story, SRA hysteria had not become part of the zeitgeist. It’s omission makes From Witchcraft to Christ an important book historically, for it demonstrates how people simply accept sensationalist tales, regardless of their content or veracity. This book has become a big seller in Christian circles and is still in print today. That depresses me, because the material is easily debunked by anyone with a healthy sound mind. Sadly, the success of this book only attests to the credulity of the general mass of humanity.

Let the honest Christian reader take note, you should be every bit as concerned as I am to expose people like Doreen Irvine. Liars in your ranks do you no credit.

If you would like to see this lady in action, telling porkies for Jesus, look her up on YouTube.

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60 thoughts on “From Witchcraft to Christ by Doreen Irvine

  1. Alex V. says:

    When I was 15 I read this book and was naively impressed and just today, 30 plus years later, am realizing this story must be a fraud. I spent a lot of time on internet just now, trying to find substantial evidence. There is absolutely nothing…..I can¨t find ANYTHING on Doreen Irvine which is not related to her book. Thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies of this story. I feel cheated and brainwashed. How can the Christian community publish something like this without checking the facts. Could it be that they, too, are only in it for the money…..I am so upset. I invite anyone else who was marked by this fraudulous book during his or her impressive teenage years and now feels cheated to unite in exposing this intentional deceit.

  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    Thank you for sharing how this book affected you, Alex. I would encourage other readers to do the same.

  3. Rev David says:

    I must inform you that I have met Doreen Irvine and Rev Arthur Neil has been my Pastor for 30 years. I can verify everything in the book as true and authentic. Doreen and her family have served the Lord faithfully ever since the book was written and despite being hounded by constant attacks on her has kept the faith and had a remarkable life of christian service. On youtube you can find interviews with her. Rev Arthur Neil has been regarded for many years as one of the leading experts in the field of spiritual warfare.

    • Cath says:

      I also read it as a teenager like other people commenting here. Maybe some aspects of the story are true, I don’t know I wasn’t there. However something always bothered me for years and years later. She became a Christian but the demons remained in her? Took so many deliverance ministry sessions to remove?
      No. Not possible. When you become a Christian you are filled with the Holy Spirit and you can’t be filled with demons and the Holy Spirit it’s not possible.
      Jesus has authority over all things – He has authority over all evil spirits. Are we to believe turning to Jesus isn’t enough to be delivered from demon possession? Is man greater than God that so many deliverance ministry sessions were needed? Jesus who removed many demons could Legion with a few words not powerful enough to deliver someone turning to Him in repentance from any demon they are possessed with? Not only false this is really dangerous teaching.
      Jesus is all powerful. He can do all things. He has all authority.
      Yes we are in a spiritual war, yes we should avoid all evil. I’m not trying to downplay that at all. Whether anyone believes me or not I also had attacks from evil spirits in the past – I called out to Jesus and they went.
      You can’t belong to Jesus and be demon possessed. If this story was true the second she turned to Jesus she would of been free from demon possession.
      I don’t care how many people say Arthur Neil is a leading expert in spiritual warfare – I believe the word of God above the word of man whoever that man might be, however much respect I have for them.
      It’s appalling that these people have lied – and dangerous. You can’t be a temple of the Holy Spirit and a temple for demons, it’s not possible. The Bible warns us to be on guard for false teachers,

      12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
      1 Corinthians 15:12-15

      Jesus is greater than any demon. Calling on him to be saved is enough.

  4. Darryl Sloan says:

    Rev David,

    I went into great detail in my review about why the things that Doreen says are ludicrous, from the point of view of one well versed in the occult. You have not refuted a single one of them.

    You say you that everything in the book is true, but frankly, you were not there. You are simply expressing trust in a person, because you know them personally.

    If Doreen’s claims are true, let’s have the evidence. Let’s have real names and places. Where is this “Order of Satanism” today? Who is the most recent “Queen of Black Witches”? The lack of evidence and the ridiculous nature of her brand of “Satanism” leads me to the only possible conclusion I can make: she is a liar.

    I’m sorry if she’s a personal friend of yours, but the facts are not on your side.

    • yemi says:

      Are you saying Satanism and witchcraft dont exist. I haven’t read the book, but i will. Nevertheless the occult is very much alive today there are many more people who have come out of occultism since this woman’s story. If she hasn’t mentioned names and dates could be she was afraid. These groups are evil and will all end up in the pit of hell.

  5. tolu taiwo says:

    there’re two things either you darryl is a satanist too trying to protect satanism or …even if someone lies against the devil and his ways why should it bother you if you want to live only in the physical realm then you cant be a christian because none of us saw jesus christ. I would rather believe something based on the spirit to discern given to us to know what is true and acceptable till the day of christ jesus than based on physical reviews ,that way we can know what to believe

  6. Darryl Sloan says:

    Tolu,

    “Satanist trying to protect Satanism” You do like your conspiracies, don’t you? If you want to voice a suspicion, at least have the decency to state some evidence. How very “Doreen Irvine” of you.

    “Even if someone lies against the devil and his ways, why should it bother you?” Because she’s reinforcing superstitious nonsense that is detrimental to mankind. Here’s a better question: why do you feel it is necessary to diminish the importance of a Christian who tells outrageous and damaging lies?

  7. Steve says:

    http://youtu.be/Y091ZmK9qI8 Who here has sympathy for the devil? The article writer ‘s razor sharp intelligence is a delusion of grandeur. Demons are real,Satan is real, angels are real and so is God. The burden of proof really is not on Dorean Irvine at all. She is under no obligation to satisfy any one who requires such ‘omitted detail ‘ . It has been said the gospel is a fairy tale and that Matthew Mark Luke and John do not agree on any one point as what Jesus really did or didn’t do. All i can say is go and interview half a dozen people who were witnesses to the same event and compare their stories and their “omitted details” I know one thing is for sure God Almighty judges righteously and we must all appear before His penetrating gaze after our little pilgrim journey here. Who will stand on that day?

    • Beulah Brown says:

      Dear Daryl

      YOu obviously do not realise that there is more to life than physical evidence called the Spiritual Realm. Scientists call it ‘METAPHYSICS’, they believe most in physical evidence, but even realise that what they cannot phathom is beyond them and therefore could be from a realm that they do not understand!
      Doreen Irvine wrote about her life experience, and owes no one apology for not including every detail, it is her right to choose whether to give evidence or NOT- she has the right NOT to satisfy the curiousity of the likes of you. Giving up the title of Senior Black Witch was just the beginning of her salvation by JESUS CHRIST, she did not have to tell you who took over her title in the dark kingdom, so there!

      • Darryl says:

        Beulah,

        You’ve stated that you place no importance on evidence. You will be at the mercy of every conman (or woman) with a story – as long as the story confirms your existing worldview, of course. That seems to be your only criterion for separating truth from falsehood. I’ll leave you to your gullibility.

        As for metaphysics, I have more appreciation for that than you know. Click the link to my book “I, Universe” on the sidebar to the left.

  8. Darryl Sloan says:

    Steve,

    “The burden of proof really is not on Doreen Irvine at all.”

    That really says it all. With an attitude like that, you are the prey for every wild fantasy story on offer … as long as it supports the Christian worldview, of course.

    I could set up a blog under a pen-name, and concoct a big story about how I was ritually abused as a young child in a Satanic cult. And you would instantly believe me. It’s an amazing thing, this “faith.”

    “We must all appear before His penetrating gaze after our little pilgrim journey here.Who will stand on that day?”

    Save your irrational fearmongering. It only works on cowardly superstitious tremblers.

  9. pippinsmum says:

    reading through your ‘testimony’ it appears that you were never really A Christian. Have you never heard of’ the perseverance of the saints?’

  10. Darryl Sloan says:

    Pippinsmum,

    This seems to be your logic: “Christians cannot become non-Christians, therefore those that do were never Christians in the first place.”

    That’s a conventient way of dismissing me without even considering my past and the reasons why I had to rethink the veracity of Christianity. I was indeed a very wholehearted Christian at one point. But you won’t believe me, because that would show your doctrine of Perseverance to be false. And that would never do, eh?

  11. pippinsmum says:

    Just read through the parable of the sower.

  12. Darryl Sloan says:

    I know the parable of the sower well, and I understand its meaning. Again, it’s just a convenient way for you to file me into a category without examining my life in any detail.

  13. mikayla says:

    I am only ten and still this book ”from witchcraft to christ” means a lot to me! did this all really happen?
    mikayla

  14. Darryl Sloan says:

    Mikayla,

    Being only ten makes it hard for you to know how to discern truth from error. I would suggest one principle that will help you decide, in this case and many others:

    When people make out-of-this-world claims, they should only be taken seriously if they present evidence. Otherwise they are just insulting your intelligence.

    • Libeerty says:

      Dear Darrly
      Doreen wrote of her personal life. Im sure you DO UNDERSTAND what a personal testimony is, They was no need to include other people’s names that were involved in the chain of activities. What evidence do you want her to involve, she has the right to omitte whatever details she felt .
      Like what Tolu said, its either you are part of Satanisms or u need the grace of God to help you,
      Please stop judging what’s write and wrong and give that to the one and only who will do that @ the right time, Jesus.

    • Libeerty says:

      Hi Mikayla
      Don’t be fooled, dercentment of Spirit has no age, ask the Holy spirit to reveal the truth to you and he will do, Don’t listen to Darryl telling you that you only ten so its difficult to decern the truth, I read the book when I was maybe 12yrs and now I am 36 yrs, the reason I came across Darrly’s site is becouse I am looking for the Book, not to review it, but to understand more about spiritual realm.

  15. Alan says:

    I am a committed Christian, but I agree with Darryl to the point that claims such as Doreen Irvine make should not be taken on trust. Fraudsters are usually very plausible people. It does seem at least possible that we are dealing with an attention-seeking fantasist. If her claims are true, and I am entirely open to the possibility that they are, then let her substantiate her claims. She could at least take a lie-detector test, but this would be inconclusive on its own.

  16. Tony Elward says:

    Arthur Neil was my minister at Brixham Baptist Church for a number of years and a more saintly man you could not wish to meet. Even people that never went to church said that he exuded the joy of The Lord. I heard Doreen give her powerful testimony and also the account from the Rev Neil. Yes it does sound incredible but if you knew the man you would know that he was greatly used of God. I personally witnessed the healing of my Wife’s bridesmaid who was rendered partially deaf from a road accident and was to be fitted with hearing aids.Arthur Neil prayed over her and she said that it was like corks popping from her ears and she could hear and still does to this day some 40 years later. Sadly these days Rev Neil is not in good health. Like Doreen many people are indebted to his ministry and healing.

  17. Darryl says:

    Tony,

    You can praise Rev. Neil all you like. A man who exorcises “doubt” demons and “homosexuality” demons out of people is not dealing with reality – even by Christian standards. If you can explain to me how the healthy, rational response of doubt is a demon, then I’ll take your opinion of him seriously. Until then, his ministry is a joke.

  18. Subella says:

    “And if any person was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”

    Revelation 20 : 15.

  19. Peter Nash says:

    The problem with this book is that none of it can be verified,…it gives no dates, no names….locations are vague….”in a big house in London” “somewhere on the moors”. The occult rituals are straight out of a hammer film …sacrificed cockerels, black masses etc. There is NO SUCH TITLE as QUEEN OF BLACK WITCHES ….it simply doesn’t exist. All the evidence suggests that this is a complete work of fiction. Pete Nash

    • Libeerty says:

      Hi Peter
      Are you or have you been a witch to be so sure that the title QUEEN OF BLACK WITCHE DOES NOT EXIST?
      Unless you been, then your criticsism is BASELESS.

      • Peteer Nash says:

        Hi Libeerty…..Yes I was a follower of Wicca for 32 years. I am no longer active but still speak at pagan events and conferences. In other words what the red top press would call a white witch. If there was such a title as Queen of Black Witches (a complete nonsense anyway if you think logically) then trust me on this one….we’d know who it was. None of her testimony adds up and none of it – as I have said – is verifiable, Her lack of knowledge of even the basics of the occult is evident after reading just a few pages. Let me say it again – this book is just about complete fiction.

  20. Subella says:

    For the fearful, and UNBELIEVING, and abominable, and fornicators, and SORCERERS, and idolaters, AND ALL LIARS, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21 : 8.

  21. Peter Nash says:

    all liars??? ironic comment.

  22. rebecca says:

    When i read her book ten years ago, book had beg impact on me and for days I was afraid and worried that something similar should not happen to me.
    When two years ago I bought copy of the same book and read it,i was disapointed.It looks like she excluded parts who gave biggest impact on readers.

  23. Philip says:

    I’m so sorry for the hurtful and plain ugly comments that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ have written condemning you. It makes me so sad.

  24. Subella says:

    I just watched ‘Doreen Irvine : Dangers of Halloween and Oiuja Boards’. She’s putting out a genuine warning to anyone listening, that such things harm human beings.
    God Almighty Himself tried to warn people off that stuff millennia ago.
    He said, This is what the heathen do, it’s an abomination to Me, one day I’m going to send my Prophet to Israel – LISTEN TO HIM !
    (Jesus Christ) Deuteronomy 18 : 9 – 15.
    God has warned us off that stuff, like a good father says, “Don’t jump off that cliff, you’ll kill yourself.”

  25. Subella says:

    Thanks for the youtube video above, Steve.
    Of course, that ex-satanist didn’t know what she was talking about either. Nor did the other ex-satanists on videos at the side.
    And Anton la Vey, master satanist, didn’t cry out for mercy as he was falling into hell. Nor did Dr Whittaker, unbeliever extraordinaire, give a hoot, UNTIL, ON HIS DEATHBED, HE FOUND HIMSELF DESCENDING INTO DARKNESS.

  26. Darryl says:

    Subella, you have no idea how nutty you sound. The mentality is basically: “God’s on MY side, and all those other people, boy are they gonna get it!” So deluded.

    • Subella says:

      God is not on MY side. He called me to be on HIS side and I said ”yes”. Now I am concerned for all the darkened souls out there, headed for eternal judgment. God wrote a Book to tell us how to avoid the flaming fire He prepared for the unrepentant devil. I’m only telling you the truth.
      Remember, the friends, brothers and mother of Jesus Christ thought He was deluded at one stage. Later on they saw that He was Truth embodied.
      In a hundred years, or much less, all human beings will know whether what Jesus Christ, Doreen, other ex-satanists, and even I myself said, is true or not. But truth can be seen too late. THAT is sad.

  27. Joe Roberts says:

    “I was an alcoholic, but God redeemed me!” “I was addicted to heroin, but by the grace of God I’m now free.” “I was an IRA hitman, but by God’s mercy I am forgiven!” “I was a Satanist, but the might of Jesus freed me from the power of the devil!” You never hear anyone say, “I used to rape little boys, but through the blood of Christ my sins are washed clean!” That’s why I can’t stand these big boastful displays of past sin, because there’s sin that’s trendy to parade, and there’s SIN that isn’t.

    I could not agree more. This sort of thing is very similar to some idiot who’s never laced on a boot claiming military service; they will always say they were in the SAS, the Parachute Regiment or the Commandos. They won’t say they were a baggy arsed Rifleman or a bloody dog handler! Neither one is good enough for them. Their problem of course is that in reality they are claiming membership of one or another very small club and usually, it isn’t long before they are exposed as what they are. Liars and wannabes.

  28. Dr. Macaw says:

    While the material included in this text is obviously not true, some elements of it (such as the hallucination of a black figure) are quite common occurences during severe psychosis. A friend of mine (brought up as Christian) suffered this during a psychotic attack, and initially interpreted the “black figure” who entered her room as the Devil. Luckily, she was in touch with competent medical health professionals, while Doreen ended up in the hands of an exorcist. Scientifically speaking, most accounts of demonic possession result from pre-scientific accounts of psychosis in any case, as in the much graver story of Anneliese Michel (who was clearly 100% sincere). Given the account’s splendid hallucinatory passages (its only recommendation), general vagueness (people are confused during psychosis – very, very confused) perhaps it should be interpreted, rather than a lie, as being an account of mental illness accompanied by religious hysteria. After all, the author explicitly states that she was mentally ill. Some people have occultist beliefs that they somehow inherit (mostly Christians, actually). These people often interpret their experiences through that lens. Following long exposure to them, I have concluded that these individuals are just different, and should be tolerated and understood, not stigmatized. After all, psychosis is a terrible experience for the sufferer, and it is logical that, ex post facto, the person should create some narrative to rationalize their fears. Sometimes, if we cannot verify such a narrative, it is because we are trying to verify the wrong bit of it, or verify it in the wrong way. Levitation, for example, obviously contradicts the laws of physics, and is therefore something that I just wouldn’t try to verify (even laying aside the obvious dangers involved in the attempt). On the other hand, I think the diagnoses of mental illness should be checked, because, were they verified, they would lend credit to the status of the narrative as a channel for post-traumatic stress, rather than a commercially motivated lie. I do believe that some people sincerely think they have been possessed by demons, just as others believe that they are being followed around by extraterrestrials. It all comes down to the brain, plus inherited beliefs and early impressions. As regards the actual existence of possessing demons, I think this is at least as strongly related to the beliefs and interpretations germane to the exorcist as to the victim, and a “cycle of reinforcement” would be an important concept for me there.

  29. Subella says:

    Well Joe, how many decades before a ‘liar or a wannabe’ is ‘outed’ ?
    Doreen has not deviated from her testimony ever since her conversion.
    A minister and a churchgoer testify on this thread to the godly life of Doreen, and of her elderly pastor. ”Two or three witnesses.”

    Yes, Dr.Macaw, humans are complex beings. The spiritual realm is very influential too. Let anyone try and explain away the testimony given by Dr Blumhardt in ‘Blumhardt’s Battle’.

  30. Dr. Macaw says:

    Interestingly, Blumhardt’s Battle is a fight particularly easy to account for on naturalistic terms. The narrative seems very affected by spiritualistic ideas, particularly in the details of post-mortem justice (how could it possibly matter to a spirit whether or not it has a roof over its head?) These ideas were as viral in the nineteenth century as ecological conversationism is today, and it is certainly impossible that a responsible chuch-leader could have been unaware of them.

    Particularly conclusive in this regard is the fact that only Blumhardt’s version exists: despite the supposed involvement of multiple witnesses, including a doctor and the local mayor, no one else seems to have written about the events. This is highly suspect, given the fact that the alleged witnesses would have been literate & professionally disposed to frequent writing, as well as accustomed to traumatic situations, and that these would have been the most extraordinary events of their lives. The “two or three witnesses” required by scripture are therefore conspicuous by their absence.

    As stated in my previous comment, I agree with you that Doreen Irvine is not a liar or a wannabe and is most probably sincere in her account. I also agree with you that the spiritual realm is important, and in all likelihood, very influential. However, I do not agree with you that the spiritual realm = domain inhabited by spirits.

    Incidentally, “two or three witnesses” was regarded as a high standard of proof in the ancient world in which the Bible was written. It is, however, an anachronistic standard. Few women in India are content that this is still the standard for proving the occurrence of a rape in their country.

    I therefore suggest that in any reading of the Bible contextualized for our era, “two or three witnesses” should in no case exclude the requirement for a scientific standard of proof.

    • Subella says:

      Good to see some common ground here, Dr. Macaw. Doreen is not a liar. Yes, two or three witnesses was a high standard, and mainly related to proof required before anyone would be executed for a serious offence. However, reasoning from silence is not acceptable.
      The doctor and the mayor (of Blumhardt’s town) may or may not have written of the events they saw and heard. The fact that we don’t have any written testimony from them does not prove the events never happened.
      I have seen and heard some interesting things in my life. There were no witnesses. What ‘scientific standard of proof’ could be presented to prove that I was once a TV addict, or not ?
      I know I was. Close family (2 ) could testify under oath that I was such, before conversion. If there were four books about Blumhardt’s battle, would that convince everyone of his truthfulness ?
      What about the four Gospels, which give different eye-witness accounts of the miraculous life of Jesus Christ ?
      What scientific proof could be proffered at this stage to prove His Divine origin, Resurrection, and the truth of His words ?
      Changed lives, eg, my own deliverance from the timewasting ‘box’.

      • Dr. Macaw says:

        This reply indeed raises a wry smile, because it appeals to standards of proof of which it then makes a classically fallacious use, unfortunately most common among proponents of religious / paranormal beliefs.

        “Reasoning from silence” is indeed not acceptable, and is, furthermore, exactly what you do in the very act of quoting this axiomatic parameter. Obviously, I cannot prove something did not occur, just as I cannot prove that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves do not in fact exist. (In fact, they do exist – as well-attested characters in an oft-repeated fairytale).

        But since you admit in your comment that there are no independent written accounts of Blumhardt’s “fight”, and since the axiom I have just quoted (that the burden of proof lies exclusively with the proponent) is equally imperative in philosophy as the one you quote, it is you, not I, who reason from silence when you argue that these events occurred in the first place! Indeed, my initial remark, which you obviously misinterpret (“despite the supposed involvement of multiple witnesses, including a doctor and the local mayor, no one else seems to have written about the events. This is highly suspect…”) may be fairly summarised as “proponents of these events are reasoning from silence”.

        A further level of fallacy arises in your argument when you compare Bumhardt’s “fight” with the fact that you were once a telly addict. You suggest that the same standard of proof may apply to both. This is clearly wrong, if you think about it.

        Pierre-Simón Laplace declared that “the weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.” This has become accepted as axiomatic in philosophical discussion and was popularized by Carl Sagan as “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.”

        Your claim that you were once a telly addict (and have now ceased to be so) is in no way extraordinary, and I can certainly accept your testimony in this connection, just as I could accept your testimony that you love your partner, or that you do or do not have children. These are not extraordinary claims.

        But Blumhardt in his testimony specifically declares that he was a protagonist in a battle against supernatural powers that helped to change the balance of power in Heaven & Earth. This is as extraordinary a claim as I can imagine and I am not even going as far as Laplace – I am not demanding extraordinary evidence at all, just the normal standard of evidence that would be required by academic historians to assert that an event occurred in the first place – evidence which you have already admitted you cannot provide.

        It would be hard to imagine a more threadbare argument on your part – against your will, it argues for my position and demolishes yours.

        Your position as here stated is therefore an outright loser. My advice (charitably intended) is that you abandon it.

  31. Darryl says:

    Well said, Dr. Macaw. The only problem (speaking from personal experience) is that appeals to reason rarely work on religious zealots. I have engaged in such argumentation before, and I almost never get satisfaction, because my opponent’s irrational brain allows him lots and lots of room to manoeuver. I predict the same will occur here.

  32. Subella says:

    Dear Darryl
    It would be interesting to me to hear and understand from you, even privately, how ” a very wholehearted Christian at one point ” turned away from belief.
    (Not with the intent, on my part, of taking some cheap shot or indulging in some nasty repartee.)
    Subella.

    • Darryl says:

      Hi, Subella.

      I appreciate the interest. Please click the link to my ebook “I, Universe” on the sidebar to the left. This will let you download a PDF of my book. It is, in part, autobioographical. Parts 1 and 2 tell the story of my Christian experience. I welcome any commentary you may have.

      Darryl

  33. Renee says:

    Darryl,
    At one point in reply to Mikayla, you implied that Doreen made ‘out of this world claims.’ All I can say, is that Jesus is out of this world; he is more than this world and so is not confined to the restrictions of this world. As he is the key to Doreen’s redemption, this allows for some pretty ‘out of this world’ action to take place. You can’t conclusively say that all that stuff never happened because you weren’t there, just as I can’t conclusively say it did happen because I wasn’t there. It comes down to what you believe personally really. I think it’s sad how nowadays people scoff, or laugh at the prospect of supernatural happenings, both good and bad, because they happen so rarely to the general population because we have pushed God out of the picture by becoming our own gods. If we close our minds to only what we know, and put our human limitations on everything, then of course we’re going to have trouble believing all that Doreen claims. If we open our minds a little bit to the glory and wonder of Jesus Christ, then it’s a little easier to see how all of her claims are possible.

  34. Darryl says:

    Renee,

    I appreciate what you’re saying, but if you had studied the occult in any detail, you simply could not take seriously Doreen Irvine’s claims. She has no idea what real Satanism is. She depicts a horror movie cliche.

    Also, what criteria do you personally use to discern truth from falsehood? If you say, “If a Christian claims it, I believe it,” then all I would have to do to convince you of anything is to call myself a Christian and concoct a wild testimony for myself, for personal glamour. You would be my prey, and you wouldn’t know any better, because you have no rigorous standard of truth other than, “If it reinforces what I wish to believe, then I believe it.”

    Furthermore, I am no stanger to the reality of the paranormal, but I still know Irvine is a liar, because I am a student of the occult who has actually done his homework.

    • Dr. Macaw says:

      I advise no-one to open their minds even the weeniest bit to the glory and wonder of Jesus Christ, given that the consequences of so doing are quite clearly noxious to one’s mental health.

      When people make statements such as “You can’t conclusively say that all that stuff never happened because you weren’t there”, I do wonder if the human genome, at least the bit relating to the transmission of functional neural networks, is somehow being threatened by the levels of pollution in our society.

      Since you can’t be present at something that never happened, this statement begs the question we were all discussing: whether it happened or not.

      Of course, for this kind of reason, it is in fact an axiom of philosophy that you can’t ever prove 1.) that something doesn’t exist 2.) barring concrete referents, such as “Napoleon was not yet born, so he couldn’t have defeated Caesar during the Gallic wars”, that something didn’t happen.

      For this reason, it will always be possible to claim that anything at all happened. For example, I talked to an extraterrestrial yesterday, who showed me a photo he had taken just under two thousand years ago, of Jesus engaging in wild sex with John and Andrew.

      Of course, he wouldn’t let me keep the photo, but since you can’t prove it didn’t happen, I will carry on spreading the story.

      I think it’s sad how nowadays people scoff, or laugh at the prospect of extraterrestrial happenings, both good and bad, because they happen so rarely to the general population because we have pushed E.T. out of the picture by inventing our own extraterrestrials.

      Still, I feel confirmed in my deep personal faith in the existence of Snow White and the seven dwarfs, the objective referent for my personal erotic connection with the wicked queen. After all, I challenge anybody to prove they don’t exist.

  35. Peteer Nash says:

    Agree with Darryl 1001% and see previous post……if Ms Irvine’s testimony were submitted – to give a hypothetical situation – as evidence in court – how much weight would it carry? Well – none! No jury in their right minds would even consider it as evidence because – to see my original points – none of it can be verified….in fact the evidence points to From Witchcraft to Christ as being a work of fiction. Peter Nash

    • Subella says:

      I’ve just watched Doreen in Part 8 of her testimony (on youtube) in which she mentioned a few things she saw in the satanist temple she attended. The conviction with which she speaks is something sadly missing from so-called Christian ministers today. (Which, by itself, does not guarantee the truth of it, but her respect for the Word of God is refreshing.)
      When it comes to the matter of proof, what would meet the standard of ‘credibility’ ? If she said, We used to meet on the moor two miles west of Sudbury village, who would then say, Oh, some paraphenalia was found there decades ago, Doreen must be telling the truth ?

      Most belief systems have a Supreme Being, some writings, some leader(s) on Earth, ceremonies, and gatherings at which devotees say and do certain things to honour their ‘lord’.
      In Christianity this would be Jesus Christ, Father God, and the Holy Spirit ; the Holy Bible ; pastor, prophet, etc ; baptism, Holy Communion; weekly meetings where there is prayer, singing, Bible teaching and fellowship.
      So, what things would satanism put in the place of each of these ?

  36. Darryl says:

    Subella,

    “When it comes to the matter of proof, what would meet the standard of ‘credibility’ ? If she said, We used to meet on the moor two miles west of Sudbury village, who would then say, Oh, some paraphenalia was found there decades ago, Doreen must be telling the truth ?”

    Would I be right in thinking that you don’t use any standard for measuring truth from falsehood, or that your standard is entirely subjective, based on your own wishes, reinforcement of your existing convictions, and the general “feeling” of whether what you’re hearing is true? It seems that you believe Irvine simply because you want to.

    • Subella says:

      Hi Darryl
      My question still stands, What would meet the standard of ‘credibility’ ? (especially this late in the piece). I recall reading many years ago, in the press, that it was suspected that ceremonies were being carried out on the moors at night. Someone knew something.
      What sort of ceremonies do satanists carry out ?
      Personally, I wish Doreen’s book was pure fiction, and that no such dark deeds were ever carried out. (Prostitution, drug-taking, satan worship.) However, although I’ve never witnessed or been involved in them, I am convinced that such dirty deeds are done in our ‘society’.
      The weight of evidence, from the police for example, is hefty.
      About your second paragraph … I entered life as an empty vessel and as a clean slate waiting to be written on. I wanted to know the truth, but no-one told me clearly what it was. What was the meaning of this short existence ? Etc. A friend invited me to Sunday school and, feeling a joy in my heart there, I started to attend, but I was not a committed believer at all. The ladies bought me a Bible but I hardly ever read it because neither parent approved of my reading it.
      However, when tragedy struck my life and I had no-one to turn to, I started praying to the God I’d heard about. After some days He came into my life at one particular moment. I was immediately changed from an aimless tv addict to someone with convictions which lined up with the Holy Bible. Decades down the track I’m still rejoicing that Father God enlightened me. My standard for measuring truth is the Holy Bible plus the Holy Spirit. Doreen’s testimony is that Jesus Christ can permanently change a corrupt individual into a godly one. This is the Gospel ! Her Bible teaching and exhortation to godly living is totally accurate and motivated by compassion. She lines up with the Holy Bible and the Holy Spirit Whom I’ve come to know over decades.
      Thank you.

  37. Darryl says:

    Subella,

    Everything single thing you’ve said, both in defense of Doreen Irvine and in defense of Christianity, is subjective. It all revolves around your personal feelings.

    You ask what would meet the standard of credibility? Something objective – e.g. something, anything, that could be verified beyond reasonable doubt.

    For instance, you believe that while Jesus hung on the cross, darkness fell across the land for three hours in the middle of the afternoon (as Mark records). You believe this, without question, and yet not a single historian from the time period records that this alarming event (which would have been witnessed by all) occurred. That omission, to any rational thinker, is very telling.

    The difference between us is that I require evidence and you merely believe what you wish.

  38. Dr. Macaw says:

    The problem with the Bible is that the one we have (whichever one it is – that varies) seems really to have fallen together, historically speaking. The scriptures cited within the scriptures, are in no case the scriptures we have today. Also, the text is in truth more difficult to decrypt than Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre.

    Having said that, if one were to make the basic leap of faith required of converts by, say, the Eastern Orthodox Curch, and accept that this heterogeneous and variably-calibred hodgepodge of Hebrew, Aramaic Koine, and a small bit of Akkadian is a coherent phenomenon, then a strange consistency would almost certainly emerge (as it might in many ancient libraries, were the same leap to precede interpretation).

    A group of deities called Elohim (singular word with plural meaning, like “people” in English) create a proto-human couple (proto-humans are found in various creation myths of the ancient Near East, and elsewhere). They are made in the image of God: i.e are male and female, like the Elohim. The proto-humans become human by consuming the (sexual) discernment that releases them from omniscient androgyny (knowledge of good and evil being the fragmentation of knowledge) after being induced to do so by one of the Elohim, known simply as “The Serpent” (a transcendental being, not an animal – the genre is apocalyptic literature, where animals such as lions, eagles and serpents signify supernatural inhabitants of the Divine world). They are then “judged” or instructed by another Elohim called YHVH, who helps to create the genealogies of Cain, Abel and Seth. The descendants of the first two breed a super-race called the Nephilim, by procreating with angels (the original angelic rebellion: the Letter of Jude in the New Testament states explicitly that the rebel angels were excluded from Heaven for this reason. Interestingly, the Deity sees the desire to breed a master-race as the very crux of evil). God destroys the ancient world by a flood to exterminate the Nephilim (He didn’t get them all, as the story of Goliath illustrates). He later destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, for attempting to sustain sexual relations with visiting angels.

    Having assured the continued “humanity of Man” (using that term androgynously) He (charity on my part – I could say They) then begins the difficult task of regenerating a sense of the divine presence among those who have escaped the consequences of Angelic copulation. He approaches the lineage of Abraham (descendants of Abel and Seth) who “leave the gods of Ur” in favour of two Elohim called Adonai and El Shaddai, are instructed by YHVH and worship a group of idols called theTeraphim, which Jacob entrusts to the care of his highly nubile daughters (no esoteric readings here – up to now all this is entirely explicit in Genesis, even if I’ve never heard it mentioned in a sermon). Before he dies, Jacob promises the coming of a future god-man messiah called Shiloh.

    The Deity eventually widens its focus from individuals to the entire seed of Abraham – for want of a better expression, the Jewish nation. This process turns out to be difficult, given the group’s tendency to worship actual animals, rather than the divine principles they represent. He tries to form a special friendship with some of the Jewish kings, such as David, Solomon and Ahab, but finds them all eventually recalcitrant. He speaks to groups of prophets who help to compose the major prophetic books, but only actually shows the Divine World to two of them: Daniel and Ezequiel. (There is a major contradiction in the Book of Daniel. According to that book Daniel was a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar and Also of Antiochus IV, which would make him 1,400 years old – far older than Methuselah, whom the Bible declares to be the world’s oldest man).

    Eventually, Jesus gets himself born. He denies explicitly that he is on the level of God, according to the gospels, but also claims to be so closely synchronized to the Deity that (“I and the Father are one…he who has seen me has seen the Father”) as if the two of them are different representations of one common reality (the interpretation favoured by the Arians, who were all native Greek scholars, as opposed to the Trinitarians, none of whom were). A drama takes place involving another being called “the Satan” (who comes on stage in the inter-testamental period – he is never mentioned as an antagonist of God in the Old Testament: in the Book of Job, for example, he is merely one of God’s angels). As a result of this, Jesus gets crucified (according to St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2, largely because the demons failed to understand the Divine plan) but is then resurrected, physically or symbolically (in Corinthians, Paul dismisses as “infantile” the debate over which of these it is). After this, another Divine being called the Holy Spirit (the concept of spirit is associated with language throughout Biblical literature) bestows glossolalia on the Apostles at Pentecost, so that they can spread “the Testimony of Jesus” (Apocalypse of St John) throughout Asia Minor. According to the Bible, a process has occurred, culminating in Pentecost, which indeed seems to have made it progressively easier for the Deity to “permanently change a corrupt individual into a godly one.” (St.Paul, for example, was a serial killer before becoming an Apostle).

    I don’t know if any of this is what Subella has in mind. The reiterated theme (also found in the Inquisition’s witchcraft archives) of human women having sex with bad angels, is a constant one, right through what we now call the Scriptures, and therefore, to that extent, was indeed not invented by Doreen Irvine.

    The scripture references are memory – all basically accurate, but I’ve had no time to check chapter and verse…

  39. Subella says:

    For the sake of time, I’ll answer Darryl’s last two postings and Dr. Macaw’s one as one. Have either of you heard of Ivan Panin ? Brilliant mathematician, PhD, linguistic scholar, who in his spare time investigated the mathematics of the Greek New Testament.
    All the letters of the Greek alphabet are also used for numbers : alpha=1, beta=2, etc). Letters have ‘numeric values’, that is.
    Every Greek letter also has a ‘place value’ : where the letter stands in the Greek alphabet (a number from 1-24).
    The sum of the numeric values and of the place values of a Greek word gives what is called the ‘value’ of the word. For example, in Greek, the name Jesus has a numeric value of 888 and a place value of 87, giving a total ‘VALUE’ for His name of 975.
    As he carried on this painstaking and exacting work, Dr Panin began to discover amazing mathematical patterns, beyond all human ability to contrive. This complexity was woven into the very fabric of the whole Greek NT. In his labours on this project, which consumed the rest of his working life, he produced 40,000 pages of closely-written mathematical calculations.

    During the work all sorts of other mathematical facts were taken note of, like how often the word occurred in the NT, word order in a verse, the number of vowels and consonants in a passage, the factors of large numbers, etc. Panin wrote, ” In not a single case of the thousands [of examples] hitherto examined have its numerics been found exhausted. Every return thereto always discloses more yet. It has therefore been found advisable to set a limit to the recital of the phenomena. This is set at a number of nine figures. Whenever the chance for mere coincidence is found smaller than one in a hundred MILLIONS, design is accepted as present rather than coincidence.”

  40. Darryl says:

    Subella,

    A quick search on Wikipedia for Ivan Panin reveals that his work is far from widely endorsed in the Christian community. Read the criticism written there.

    You have to deal with the real arguments we have against Christianity. Attempting to pull out an “Ace up your sleeve” doesn’t work.

    But no doubt you’ll believe Ivan Panin because you want to, because it reinforces the direction you’re already heading down with your own subjective desires.

  41. Subella says:

    “Something objective e.g. something, anything, that could be verified beyond reasonable doubt.” Yes, the work of Ivan Panin ! Objective ! Forty thousand pages of mathematical calculations that verify the whole New Testament of the Holy Bible, in the original Greek, down to the last letter.
    The four Gospel writers witnessed the Crucifixion of Jesus and wrote about that dreadful scene. One writes of “the sun failing”. All four of these eyewitness accounts occur in the divinely-inspired ‘Numeric English New Testament’.
    Darryl, your unbelief is showing. No amount of evidence could convince you. And what do you have to do with “the Christian community” ? So few in the Western “Christian community” have a 100% commitment to the truth anyway, from what I’m seeing. Look at the person’s own writings rather than going to detractor sites or Wikipedia which could have been written by anyone.

    Your “pursuit of truth” looks more like the attempt of a wolf to RUN DOWN a lamb and destroy it, than an open-hearted quest to know and obey the truth. It’s up to you to work out how you got to this place and to reverse your journey – if you will.
    The words of Jesus, ” I to this end have been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.”
    He also said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.”
    Also, ” … whoso shall stumble one of these little ones believing unto me, it is profitable for him that a great millstone be hanged about his neck, and he be sunk in the depth of the sea.”
    A friendly warning, Darryl – Do what you will with your own soul, but keep far away from tripping up any trusting soul who believes Jesus Christ.

  42. Darryl says:

    You believe too easily, Subella. I was a Christian for almost two decades (and a Christian who studied a lot); I had many equally studious friends. And I can tell you that the name Ivan Panin never came up. The first I have heard him is you. It’s interesting that you have to malign the Christian community just to defend this man’s work. (“A house divided against itself …”)

    Josh McDowall defended Christianity with a 700-page book called “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.” I have read it. He does not mention Ivan Panin. You are clinging to one so-called mathematician’s pet theory as if it’s gold-dust.

    The fact even now you have to close with a “friendly” warning – well, that says it all.

  43. Rebecca says:

    is Doreen still alive? if not what year did she die?

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