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17-year-old Hannah is losing her grip on reality, which is affecting not only her but her friends and family too. She wrecked the car when bugs crawled over her hands, but were the creepy things even real? Now someone is moving Hannah’s possessions around in her room, or is she imagining that also? Why does she feel like she isn’t in control of her own brain anymore? Hannah is terrified she’s headed for a horrible life in and out of the mental institution, just like her dad.
When her friends bail, Hannah is left floundering. Her boyfriend, Manny, doesn’t believe her wild stories, and new girl Chelsea is practically replacing her at school. Only artsy outsider and self-proclaimed occult expert, Plug, agrees to help Hannah discover the truth, but even he can’t help Hannah reclaim her mind from whatever is taking over. She’ll have to do that on her own, especially if she wants to save her friends, her mom, and herself.”
Do Demons Really Exist?
– by Margo Kelly
For the plot of her novel, UNLOCKED, Margo Kelly researched mental illness, hypnosis, the occult, and demons. These topics have the potential to twist and intertwine around each other, and scary things can happen when they are unlocked without warning.
We’ve all heard people use phrases like:
“What possessed you to do that?”
and / or
“The devil made me do it.”
These phrases bring us to a basic yes or no question:
Do demons really exist?
The answer is not simple, and before we can even begin to explore it, we must understand the definition of the word demon.
- A demon is a supposed evil spirit
- A demon is a personal fear or anxiety that torments someone
So … which is it? Do you believe that a demon is a supposed evil spirit? Do you think a demon is a personal anxiety that torments someone? Or do you think it’s both?
By choosing the definition you agree with, you acknowledge that demons do in fact exist.
Yes, demons do exist.
Now, we might disagree on the precise definition, but we agree on the existence.
Stereotypically, there are two schools of thought regarding demons. Religious and secular.
If you’re religious or spiritual to some extent, you probably believe demons are evil spirits that whisper in your ear, toy with your emotions, or to an extreme, possess your mind.
According to psychiatrist and born-again Christian, M. Scott Peck, “the distinction between ‘human evil’ and ‘demonic evil’ is crucial” (1) And according to an article in Psychology Today, “The Roman Catholic Church’s official diagnostic criteria for discerning genuine demonic possession … includes speaking in tongues … supernatural physical strength, and visibly negative reactions of the victim to prayers.” (1)
However, secular psychiatrists will argue that many of these symptoms can be “seen in the most severely [mentally] disturbed patients.” (1)
For example, some of you might remember the Andrea Yates case from 2001. She claimed that she was possessed by Satan himself and he compelled her to drown her five children. “In her second trial, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity…” (2) Was her demon a personal anxiety that tormented her? Did she suffer from a mental illness such as postpartum depression? Schizophrenia? Or was she possessed by an evil spirit?
If you lean more to the secular side, one that’s not as concerned with religious aspects, then you probably agree more with the psychiatrists who explain that these so called demons are actually your own inner fears and anxieties that have not been dealt with properly.
Dr. Leon Seltzer wrote, “If you’re tightly ‘in the grip’ of something, it’s really a recessive part of your own being that’s ensnared you and it’s probably a part so foreign to how you’d prefer to see yourself that you can hardly withstand the temptation to see it as not really you at all.” (3) “The consensus of mental health professionals today is that the source of most—though certainly not all—so-called ‘evil’ thoughts and behaviors is linked to growing up in a seriously dysfunctional family.” (4)
Either way – religious or secular – an evil spirit or an unresolved personal anxiety – a demon can torment and endanger your sanity.
And the bottom line is: Yes, demons do exist.
[Margo Kelly extensively researched mental illness and demons for the plot of UNLOCKED. Feel free to leave a blog comment with your opinions on the topic.]
Thanks to Margo for offering this exclusive content!
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books. To enter the scavenger hunt, you need to know that my favorite number is 10. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!