The Devil Inside (2012): the Truth about demonic possession, exorcism and Satanism

Any good Christian has to believe in demonic possession. After all, Jesus was always casting out demons. If the Bible and Christianity is true, then Jesus couldn’t have mistakenly viewed mental illness using the common superstition of possession. He would have known better. So they’re real.

That basis has been the support for dozens of demonic possession/exorcism movies, which mostly make good entertainment because, demonically possessed people look really freaking scary. They are great horror flicks.

But the new movie “The Devil Inside” takes the genre a step further, by filming in the guise of a documentary that one daughter makes after her mother kills 3 people while being exorcised.The movie’s website ( invites you to be a part of the continuing investigation, shows a “real” newspaper article about the case, shows the “real” hospital footage, and the “real” original emergency call – all of this leading viewers to ask the question, “Is Maria and Isabella Rossi’s story a true story?”

The answer, although a resounding “no” (everything about the movie is fake) nevertheless gets confusing; on online chatboards users discussing the movie argue that it is based on real events, because demonic possession is true and exorcisms are real. According to one user on yahoo answers:

Yes, “The Devil Inside” is based on a true story. They filmed it that way so that it would look real. No one believes in that stuff until it happens to them. Then when it does happen to them they try to share their experience to others and other people still don’t believe. No one wants to believe the Devil is real. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t nor will it protect any of us from him. That movie is true. It is based on true events. It may not be a 100 % real because it was recreated, but the the whole movie of “The Exorcist” wasn’t either. The priest did not throw himself out of the window at the end. The devils greatest victory is getting people to believe that he doesn’t exist. People want to do what they want and don’t want to think about the consequences or what will happen if they suddenly realize all the “fun” they are having is sinful. People are becoming upset because they want the truth and they feel they are not getting it. The fact of the matter is, they are getting the truth they just choose to find something wrong so they can prove that it is false. Once they prove that it is false then they don’t have to face it and they can go on living thinking that it is just another story. Ignorance and anger for things that we all know deep down to be true, yet no one is ready to admit it. It was a good movie. I learned a lot.

To further confuse the matter, the Devil Inside website has links to real newspaper articles about possession, such as a post on the Telegraph called “Surge in Satanism sparks rise in demand for exorcists, says Catholic Church” and “Satanism through the ages”. What isn’t clear is that both of these articles are thinly-veiled propaganda.

According to one, “The term Satanism represents a broad range of religions, world views, and literature that all look favourably on Satan or similar rebellious figures.” What they don’t point out, however, is that there are No Satanists that believe Satan is real! Satanists view Satan favorably as a literary symbol, because he champions humanist values like self-direction, willpower, strength, free speech, the right to challenge authority. This includes the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in 1966. But they don’t worship him as a God!

A handful of sensationalist book projects claiming to be from victims of Satanic cults (like Rosemary’s Baby, which was made into a movie in 1986), described all the disgusting details of these baby-eating, fornicating devil worshipers – leading to the widespread belief that these cults were real.

However, these books have all proven to be complete fabrications by evangelical fear-mongers. The FBI has never found ANY instance of a Satanic cult – and for obvious reasons, for anyone who believes and excepts religious ideaology cannot help but know that God is the eternal victor, and that there is no hope or reason to support the perpetually failed rebel figure. From within orthodox religion, Satan can NEVER be the hero, precisely because the rules defineGod to be the champion.

Nevertheless, dozens of high-profile Hollywood movies are based on the central theme of Satan wanting to takeover earth and a bunch of Satanists who need a baby to make this happen. It’s all fiction. Cults are always religious. People who do crazy, stupid, immoral things do it because they think God wants them to – there has never been any indication that they are doing it because they think Satan wants them to. However, some religious folks do convince themselves that they are “possessed” by Satan, therefore they have no choice or power or control. Belief in Satan allows people to let themselves be taken over by their worst impulses.

The Devil Inside Plot Summary

This newest look at exorcism tries hard to prove that possession is real. The daughter goes to Rome to learn more about it and hooks up with a team of young student-priests who are doing underground exorcisms, because there’s so much political tape nowadays that the church hardly gets the opportunity or legal approval to conduct one.

The aim of the movie, furthered by various coffee table discussions about possession, is to find “The REAL difference between demonic possession and mental illness.”

The tagline goes, “When you see a REAL possession, you’ll KNOW it’s not a case of mental illness.” In other words, rather than trust psychiatrists and doctors, who don’t really know anything about it, pure subjective experience of possession is enough to convince any witness. Hence – any Christian/believer who is determined that someone is possessed is RIGHT because the only proof they need is their own experience of the possession (in the same sense that they are right in their beliefs about God, because their personal experiences of Him are non-lingual, impossible to communicate but nevertheless totally convincing.)

Interestingly, the tradition of exorcism doesn’t come from Christianity at all; it’s a remnant of Jewish-Pagan magical practices, based on beliefs in the multiplicity and hierarchies of demons and angels. You need to learn a demon’s name and rank so you can control him (not only for casting him out – in the same way, Isis learned Set’s true name, which is what gave her magical powers, and King Solomon learned the king of the demons’ true name, which is how he got the magic ring with which he controlled all of the demons (who he commanded to build the first temple – yes, Solomon built the first temple through demon labor and black magic.)

Later priests of Jesus used Jesus’ true name as a magical password to command demons – using the same magical tradition that was developed mostly in Ephesus, and you can still find in the Greek Magical Papyri.

In a critical scene, the skeptical camera man says:

“This is it. We are now going to see a person who is possessed. So now we can see if it’s bullshit or not.”

They tie the woman to the bed. I have to wonder how many women were persecuted in the early days of the church for being possessed, in the same way that they were later accused of being witches and burnt; I also have to wonder whether priests got some sadistic pleasure in the ritual).

The Proof: The demon knows the protagonist’s name. Uncanny knowledge and omnipotence is a common proof of demonic possession. Interestingly, the exact same proof was used to sell “Heaven is Real” – a book about a kid who almost dies and goes up to heaven, and comes back with knowledge he just couldn’t have known.

After that scene, everybody is convinced that exorcism is real – then the possession starts to spread like wild fire. Everybody gets possessed. The start killing themselves and each other. It’s madness.

Aren’t exorcisms REAL?

Yes – the Church has a long history of exorcism and maintains that demonic possession is possible. When I was studying theology in Malta, I met one of the Church’s 6 exorcists. However, this movie and many others like it, including the original Exorcist, were based on the true life story of Anneliese Michel; a sick woman who was convinced that she was possessed. Her family finally convinced a young priest to perform an exorcism (even though they’d already asked the Church, who had told them “NO, and continue medical treatment”). In the last year of her life, Anneliese refused all medical doctors and was treated ONLY by the exorcist, a couple times a week. She finally died of starvation and malnutrition.

What we can prove is that there are definitely people who think they are possessed. To my knowledge, every account of possession has only happened to sincere and devout believers – if you believe in Christ and God, you also must fear the Devil. And if your fear eclipses your faith, you may begin to believe that you’re possessed. (The safest way to avoid possession, it seems, would be to become an atheist – I’ve never heard of any possessed atheists; atheists are also much less likely to commit violent crimes, according to all statistics.)

And for someone who thinks they are possessed, exorcism may actually be effective; hence you could argue that exorcists are a critical and vital role in the Church Community – to deal with anybody whose fragile mind is overpowered whenever the priests have too successfully established fear of Satan and Hell.

‘The Devil Inside’ is a 2012 horror film directed by William Brent Bell that stars Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley, Bonnie Morgan, Brian Johnson, Preston James Hillier, and D.T. Carney.

  • Bile_Gran_Vieira_Correa

    very well written “What we can prove is that there are definitely people who think
    they are possessed. To my knowledge, every account of possession has
    only happened to sincere and devout believers – if you believe in Christ
    and God, you also must fear the Devil. And if your fear eclipses your
    faith, you may begin to believe that you’re possessed. (The safest way
    to avoid possession, it seems, would be to become an atheist – I’ve
    never heard of any possessed atheists; atheists are also much less
    likely to commit violent crimes, according to all statistics.)

    • Grant

      You guys should watch the possession
      It’s about a dibboc an evil Jewish demon. A dibboc is a spirit that attaches itself to a victim and slowly runs him /her into the ground. I’ve seen motherfuckers like this and there older than any of this religious stuff. You need a strong will to overcome their effects. Maybe that’s why so many priests die in these stories, not connected to the ancient knowledge are destroyed by the church and other conquering societies.These things must be having a field day in light of or current world situation.


    i thank the movie is incomplete.

  • Bill Kearns

    Derek, I arrived here while searching pictures on Google pertaining to ‘comical demonic possession’ yeah don’t ask lol. But I have to say, I started reading and came up with a few over-sites. Let’s tackle the easy one first because it’s probably a typo. Rosemary’s Baby starring Mia Farrow, was probably one of the worst (satanic) horror movies that I’ve ever had the displeasure to endure. Since I’m old enough to remember seeing the movie trailer on TV at age 4, I have to tell you that its film debut was in 1968, not ’86. That could have been verified by visiting

    My next question is how can you make such blanket statements about books on the occult? Explaining them away as lesser works of literature when you claim “these books have all proven to be complete fabrications by evangelical fear-mongers”. According to who? How do you know they are complete fabrications? What process/source did you use to discredit them? Am I to believe that you attended world renowned Universities, you are working toward you PhD and you are an author who researches the truth… yet you fail to follow your statements with citations to back your claims? Come on Derek!

    Further on this point, to also make a statement like “The FBI has never found ANY instance of a Satanic cult” is just disappointing. Especially when I was able to prove you completely wrong with less than 30 seconds of searching the FBI website. See for yourself.

    November 2000 – FBI — Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Waco FBI Transcripts Tapes 171 – The Vault – FBI

    Law Enforcement and the Millennialist Vision – FBI

    Waco Main File Part 10 of 10.pdf – The Vault – FBI

    Animal Mutilation Part 2 of 5 – The Vault – FBI

    More importantly than being a “Christian”, because that word has so many different meanings. I am someone who believes in truth. I am concerned that you so easily explain away your experiences (good and bad) during you teen years as sleep paralysis. I am not saying it isn’t SP. But you know if only one of us is right there is a lot to lose! I have several friends who are ‘Recovering Catholics’ so I get your theme here. I didn’t take this time out of my night to bash you, convert you, and I hope you’ll take my comments as constructive. But when you say everything Jesus or the old testament says is taken from other pagan religions, I would have liked to see you provide the evidence of those comparisons.

    Honestly, the only thing I can come away with from reading here tonight is that you were forced into attending a bureaucratic church where ‘religion’ was the main push and now as an adult your pissed off about it. I don’t think that is absurd at all. If this weren’t the case I would see some other entries here perhaps titled “Beheading Mohammad”, “Buddha Is Fat and Hindu’s Are Anorexic?”, or my personal favorite “The Jihad Martyr and His 40 Homosexual Virgins”. From where I sit, you’re just looking to prove the Church wrong. That’s not a bad thing but present it that way if that is the case. What I like is that you want the truth, you go to great lengths to dig for the truth. In the end you will believe whatever you want to believe because you are dramatic and susceptible to your own beliefs 😉

    Have a great night. Bill

    • Derek Murphy

      Thanks Bill – you’re right to pick apart my research and I appreciate you doing so. I post quick thoughts on my blog with minimal research as an outline for me to pick up again when writing my books. Of course it needs much more fact checking and I wouldn’t use such blanket statements in serious non-fiction (unless I could prove it). As for the links you provided, none of them seem to be about Satanic cults (just missing children, animal mutilation and the Waco cult – a Protestant sect that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidians.)

      There are cults who do violent things. They do not worship Satan (unless they are strangely deluded Christians who believe Satan has taken them over). Real Satanists believe in Satan as a symbolic character of positive moral values.

      It is true that the FBI responded to the “Satanic Panic” by setting up special investigative units. But no, they never found anything (according to the research that I’ve done so far, but I’ll be sure to probe deeply before publishing my next book).

      As for your estimation of my character, I don’t much give a damn about Christianity, except that I found the literary traditions and influences in contemporary pop culture and literature fascinating, and I can’t stand when a vast segment of the general voting public believes things that are contrary to historical fact and evidence. But again, I appreciate you taking the time to correct me and question my research (if you’d like a copy of the book, I’d be happy to send one – I’ll be the first to admit I have blind spots that need challenging.

  • dyah

    it’s true, devil inside our body. but depend us how can protect ourself

  • algernon

    Sir, I appreciate your openness and candor regarding of what many will not speak. I will admit, as it is refreshing to hear your take on ideas I find of particular interest, I do believe you are a bit dismissive – arrogant in a manner which will cause some to question your authority. That said, I look forward to reading more.

    • Derek Murphy

      You’re absolutely right. I also hope I can mature and learn more humility and patience.

  • Josie

    I know they say *we have our own demons inside* but I strongly believe in demonic infestation and possession. Whether *The Devil Inside* is fact based or true events, Well I’m left a little sceptical, as at the very end of the film they give you a web address yet I been unable to establish a link to this address.

    I have in the past read *Ghost Hunters* by Ed and Lorraine Warren, and oh my is that an eye opening book.

    Why is demonic possession such a taboo subject? People are willing to watch movies containing possessions yet shy away from believing this actually exists among us.

    • Derek Murphy

      Hi Josie – I don’t think “taboo” is the right word. Although the movie was crap, and tried to appear hyperreal with fake links to “real demon stories”, the truth is that any believing Christian has to believe in demonic possession. It’s in the Bible. A lot. And if the Bible is history, demonic possession is real, and it should still be happening. And since 33% of the world is Christian (and another 21% Islamic, who also believe in demons), that’s about half the people on earth who believe demons are really out there.

      I think it’s a taboo subject to say, wait a minute, there’s never been any proof. All the eye-witness accounts and personal experiences are rubbish. People need to keep believing in and being afraid of demons because it justifies their belief in God. Demons are a psychological crutch. I’m not even saying I don’t believe in “super-natural” (as in, natural things we can’t currently explain). Like ghosts maybe, or magic powers. But “demons” is something I can’t accept, because their reality necessitates an illogical/impossible system of reward/punishment and some very bizarre theological structures…