BEATING A DEMON
Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare
December 1994 By Bobby Jindal/New Oxford
In 1994 when Jindal was in his early 20’s he wrote an article
entitled, “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare.” In it he describes being present for what
many would refer to as a spiritual exorcism. It involved his best friend at the time “Susan.” It
is a truly captivating read full of talk of demons, screaming, praying, crosses, peace, etc. In many ways the whole experience
left Jindal with more questions than answers but you can bet that if Jindal runs this topic will come up big time.
The Brody File has read the entire article but had to pay $1.50. To do the same, click here. However, The Brody File has provided a major excerpt of it below. This is in Jindal’s own words and
it is essential reading.
I’m sure some will read this and afterwards try to label Jindal as someone with strange religious views. But in typical
Jindal fashion, he dissects the situation intellectually. He experienced something that clearly had a major impact in his
life. Now if he does run for President, this incident will be under the microscope and he’ll be put on the couch by
the mainstream media.
(A quick set up. Jindal's best friend "Susan" has been diagnosed with cancer. She had been exhibiting
unstable emotions lately and that is about to lead to a "prayer session" for Susan.)
A senior in UCF (University Christian Fellowship) and
a leader of my Bible study group had once asked me if I believed in angels, spirits, and other such apparitions. I had recently
heard a priest confidently proclaim that the Bible's words on such phenomena were never meant to be interpreted literally;
he had historical evidence that incidents involving spirits were merely metaphors for tangible events. Being a new Catholic
and very eager to avoid the subject, I had accepted the priest's views without question. After I related my doubts, the senior
proceeded to describe recent incidents involving mutual acquaintances -- e.g., a woman who claimed demons inflicted physical
scars on her arms. I remained polite, but incredulous. The issue of spirits did not affect me, and I was thus content to leave
its resolution to others. I had no opinions or feelings on the subject.
But Susan was forcing me to take a stand on the entire issue of spirits and charismatic Christians. Having given the
subject little thought, I was hardly ready to present an informed opinion. Susan was my closest friend and I would have tried
to believe her had she claimed Martians had kidnapped her; friends are supposed to believe in each other even when nobody
else does. Despite my verbal reassurances and lack of condemnations, Susan knew me well enough to see that I was having problems
accepting her visions and spirits. I was doing everything I could to convey my support and sympathy; however, I
was definitely in unfamiliar territory and was overwhelmed by the strength of her convictions. I wavered between my loyalty
to Susan and the apparent irrationality of her claims.
I left the room we were in for a moment, on some flimsy pretense, made the sign of the cross in desperation, and pleaded
with God for divine assistance. Seconds after I re-entered the room, Susan angrily lashed out at me, telling me she never
wanted to talk with me again since I did not love her, and ran out in tears. I tried following her, to no avail. I did not
understand what I had done. All I could think was, "Gee, thanks God. So much for prayer." I realized that Susan had never
fully presented her interpretation of the recent events in her life, and I had not had the chance to accept or reject her
claims. The entire conversation remained very nebulous in my mind, and many of Susan's reactions made little sense. I had
a vague sense that her anger and tears involved both my inability to care for her and also my inability to understand her
I was stunned, and so was hardly prepared for what was to follow the next day. While Susan's older sister flew in to
provide comfort during this trying time, Susan visited the doctor for one last set of tests. UCF had organized a prayer meeting
that night for Susan's upcoming operation and the intense emotional trials she had endured. I called Susan, in an attempt
to make peace, but was greeted with cold indifference. As she was hanging up, I asked if she wanted my presence at the prayer
meeting. She declined the offer, but suddenly changed her mind just before the line was disconnected. I, along with several
other students, gathered in a classroom, despite the hectic finals schedule, to offer our prayers and support for Susan.
Since she was a very active member and Bible study leader in UCF, many upperclassmen were in attendance. These students,
the most active and experienced Protestant leaders on campus, came from different churches with different creeds.
The meeting started, as did any other UCF gathering, with group songs and a few prayers. We sat in a circle on
the floor so we could face one another. Susan refused to acknowledge my presence when I entered. Though I was accustomed to
feeling an emotional high during these meetings, I felt the initial songs were a bit dry. Given the circumstances, the group
had lost much of its normal enthusiasm. Susan's sister then asked for a period of meditative prayer, the entire group would
fall silent while individuals would pray aloud "as the Spirit led them." This is a common practice in both Bible studies and
group meetings within UCF. My inexperience as a new Christian and my reserved nature prevented me from speaking during
these times; rather, I prayed silently.
After a period of group prayer, a student made a movement to end the meeting. Suddenly, Susan emitted some strange
guttural sounds and fell to the floor. She started thrashing about, as if in some sort of seizure. Susan's sister must have
recognized what was happening, for she ordered us to gather around and place our hands on Susan's prostrate body. I refused
to budge from my position and froze in horror. I will never forget the first comprehensible sound that came from Susan;
she screamed my name with such an urgency that the chill still travels down my spine whenever I recall this moment.
Confused as to the events occurring before my very eyes, I responded to the desperation and cry for help so evident
in Susan's voice. I wanted to rescue my friend from these horrible people who were holding her down and ridiculing her dignity.
I tentatively approached the group and placed the edge of my fingertip on her shoulder, as if afraid of becoming
infected with the disease that was ravaging her body. I had yet to realize that the affliction was ravaging her soul.
In a voice I had never heard before or since, Susan accused me: "Bobby, you cannot even love Susan." Before I
even noticed the sound of her voice, I thought it funny that Susan would refer to herself in the third person. Then the full
impact of the words hit me. Forgetting the frantic students around me and even poor Susan lying on the floor, I thought of
our conversation the day before. The real argument had been whether I was capable of loving Susan. I needed the answer to
be yes, more for my sake than ours. I have always been a closed and relatively unemotional person and needed to know that
my best friend felt that I at least could love her, due to some very strong remarks made two years before by my former girlfriend
(hardly an objective source), I was beginning to doubt that I had the capacity for feeling.
Knowing that I was doing Susan no good, I quickly retreated to the opposite side of the room. Susan proceeded to denounce
every individual in the room, often citing very private and confidential information she could not possibly have known on
her own. It was information capable of hurting individuals -- attacking people, as she did, by revealing their hidden feelings,
fears, and worries. The night was just beginning!
The students, led by Susan's sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers
while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, "Satan, I command you to leave this woman."
Others exhorted all "demons to leave in the name of Christ." It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those
assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults.
Though I attempted to maintain a stoic attitude and an expressionless face, my inner fear must have been apparent to
all present. I was the only one present who remained silent and apart from the group.
I repeated to myself that such things do not happen to normal people. I had attended a charismatic church once,
out of curiosity, but had merely seen a congregation dance wildly, pray enthusiastically, and speak in a language that
sounded like gibberish. I wondered how the horror unfolding before my eyes could make any sense. I desperately wanted
it all to end, but could not leave.
Then the fear and doubts began. Though I have experienced the normal periods of questioning, I have never come so close
to abandoning my faith as I did that night. I could not pray to God. I tried as hard as I could, but I couldn't. Out of desperation,
I called upon the saints to articulate my prayers and rescue me from this living nightmare. Though I had never prayed with
the saints before, I began to understand the Church's teaching of the unity within the One Body. I pleaded with the saints
in Heaven to offer God the prayers I was unable to formulate.
Susan's sister sent someone to call a local minister experienced in such matters. Some desperate part of my brain
wondered if we should also call the campus priest. I wanted the full authority of the Church to confront this demon, or whatever
was causing this horrible scene. I wanted the priest to bring the Eucharist and watch the spirits fall before the power of
Christ's Real Presence. But I was scared. I wondered what would happen if the Eucharist did nothing and the priest was
helpless. What if the consecrated Bread was just bread? What if the Church had no power over the cause of Susan's bizarre
behavior? I was unable to pray and too frightened to test my Church's spiritual strength.
I, like many other students feeling the effects of the night, was swaying from exhaustion. I was mentally, emotionally,
physically, and spiritually drained of everything I possessed. I was ready to give up. I rubbed my hands over my face and
through my hair in an attempt to stir hidden reserves of energy. Though her eyes had been closed the entire time and I was
kneeling several feet away, Susan must have sensed my actions. Addressing me for the second and last time, Susan told me to
leave because I was tired.
Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if
something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. Being a biology major at the time, I greeted
this feeling with skepticism and rational explanations. I checked my pulse for signs of nervousness and wondered what could
cause such a sensation. Shortness of breath is a common symptom that can mean very little or may signal the onslaught of a
fatal stroke. Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I
began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving
it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.
I gave up all attempts at prayer and admitted conditional defeat. The effort succeeded and I felt relief immediately.
There were no more mysterious forces and I was able to watch the proceedings with the security of an outsider, beyond the
immediate reality of the frenzied action I was witnessing. It may have been I was trying too hard to pray and be there for
Susan; however, the sense of fear and dread felt like more than mere anxiety at the time.
Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape.
She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive
the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice,
a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of
options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance
and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was
too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.
Alice's presence countered Susan's recent burst of energy, and Alice's confidence inspired us all. Surely Crusade's
experienced leader would be able to rescue us and reaffirm our faith in Christ, the Bible, and everything good. Even I felt
confident enough to approach God once again; Susan's lunge for the door awakened and invigorated me. Strangely, I found myself
repeating the Hail Mary until it became a chant. Being a recent convert to Catholicism, I had yet to accept the Catholic doctrines
concerning Mary and considered any form of Marian devotion to be idolatry. Though I had never before prayed a Hail Mary in
my life, I suddenly found myself incapable of any other form of prayer. Somehow, Mary's intercessions allowed me to find peace
during that long night; I knew that I had survived the worst and that I would exit with my faith intact. It terrified
me to recall how close I came to turning away from Christ out of fear.
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first,
Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate
pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan
would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and
loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit
that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages
and could not finish the sentence "Jesus is Lord." Over and over, she repeated "Jesus is L..L..LL," often ending in profanities.
In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied
her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed "Jesus is Lord."
With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, "Has something happened?"
She did not remember any of the past few hours and was startled to find her friends breaking out in cheers and laughter,
overwhelmed by sudden joy and relief.
My expression must have betrayed my former fears; Stacy, a freshman I hardly knew, asked about my welfare. I was startled
that anyone would be offering me assistance when Susan should have been the focus of attention. I eventually left the
room in a stupor. As I was leaving in a crowd, Susan's sister, who had met me once years before, called my name and asked
that I "commit my nightlife to prayer." I hardly understood what she meant and was startled that others continued to single
me out for attention. I nodded and looked gently at Susan, who thanked me for coming.
Though I waited for a friend to avoid being alone during the walk home, the rest of the night proceeded without incident.
My nightly prayers, despite my apprehensions, came to me easily and I no longer had any problems approaching God; indeed,
I left that night with a reaffirmed faith in God's power over any force in or out of this world. If the night's events had
not seemed so real, I would have thought my earlier fears silly.
(Jindal's final conclusion in the article is below:)
I left that classroom with a powerful belief in Mary's intercessions and with many questions about spiritual warfare;
I also learned a lasting lesson in humility and the limits of human understanding. Was the purpose of that night served
when so many individuals were inducted into the Church? Did I witness spiritual warfare? I do not have the answers, but
I do believe in the reality of spirits, angels, and other related phenomena that I can neither touch nor see.