By Al Tyas

So you want to be a demonologist? Just play with a pit-bull you dont know. You'll get the same results.

Now that I'm a retired investigator I want to take a look at the field from another perspective. Recently, over the past few years there has been an upsurge of demon study. I do respect all aspects of the field but it takes much to become a "demonologist". This is my concern. Suddenly more and more ghost groups have a "demonologist" in their team, and that I truly question. We rarely see a specialist in any other type on inhuman, but the demonologist is prominently mentioned.

When I first started in this field, the one demonologist mentioned the most was Ed Warren. He was the only layman recognized as a demonologist by the Catholic Church and was respected for that title. I've known he assisted in exorcisms and studied the topic extensively and he will always my respect for his knowledge. The community lost a great asset with his passing. Ed Warren learned through years of study and did not obtain knowledge overnight. Like him or not, he was the scholar of the age, and it took a long time for him to earn the title of demonologist.

However, much younger, inexperienced people now call themselves demonologists. I, for one, believe that a so-called demonologist, to use that title should have much more than a few read books under his belt. In dealing with demons, we're dealing with the most dangerous form of supernatural beings that can possess, rape and kill. They can tear apart families, ruin lives, and never even leave a trace of their existance for the outside world. I do not believe that just anyone can do this...I believe it's a calling.

First, through discernment, one should truly question why they want to study such a complex and dangerous topic, and ask if they can really help or hurt the situation! I rarely took cases like this, because I simply did not feel qualified. If I did take a case involving something potentially demonic I always informed those more experienced than I and listened to what they had to say. And I would visit as a last resort, and only after several prayers and notifying the clergy where I was going and have them pay as well. I know first hand these things can influence, manipulate and tear a group apart without the individuals ever realizing it. Are you ready, capable and willing to lead a group that's YOUR responsibility into a case like that? One weak link and you all could wind up in the frying pan.

Second, the education needed is vital. You need to study several subjects to understand these creatures. This subject is not as simple as taking an EVP or snapping some pics, just ask anyone affected by a demon. You need to arm yourself, and arm yourself with lots of information.

Demons need to be studied. Therefore study needs to begin with history. Past cases involving possible demons need to be researched. All cases that are legitimate and validated that show the characteristics of demonic influence need to be read so the scholar can see the pattern and compare the current cases with past cases. I suggest beginning with the ancient world, and moving to medieval history and up to the Spiritualist era to see the evolution. Take copious notes, you'll need them.

Then there's religion. That's right, religion. Many people in the ghost-hunting field oppose organized religion. That's fine for you but what about the victims of the demonic attacks? Chances are they will have different religious beliefs than you and you need to be armed with the religious background of the victim in order to assist them. A Jewish person following the Talmud will have a much different understanding than will a Hispanic Catholic or an American Protestant. What about the Muslims? I've worked in cases when people were attacked by jinn. Are you equipped to help them? In some areas there are large Hindu and Buddhist populations, and they have demons as well. And, of course, the people who work with the occult and get in over their heads! Sure, you may oppose organized religion, but the demon really doesn't care, trust me.

Then there is the matter of faith. So you are working on a case and it turns out to be demonic. NOW what do you, the demonologist do. If you have a straight clear plan the you're on the right path, I hope. But what if you don't? Send the thing to the light isn't going to work. Do you know what will work? YOU'RE the demonologist so Im sure you have a gameplan to combat it. Do you know a clergyman who will help? Will the client want one there? What if it doesn't work? You need to know the answers to these questions if you are going to work with demons. They are expecting YOU to get rid of it, or find out how.

Plus, if you have a family, do you really want to go into a demonic environment with the possibility of this thing following you home? It has happened. So do you think you spouse will be supportive of your new family member Mephistopheles? I know as a paranormal investigator it's quite common to inadvertently bring things home. By trying to clear out demonic haunts you're now running the risk of affecting your whole family. Remember that.

So how exactly do you know? Sure, there are some cases where you believe it's just a haunting, and it turns out it's actually demonic, sure. Im not talking about accidentally discovering a demon. Most ghost-hunters with common sense will bow out of the situation they can't handle and try to either help from a distance or get the victim the help they deserve, or at least try to steer them in the right direction. But to attempt to work on a case like this is like a dog-walker entering into a lion's den. As I said, these aren't to be played with. If you do take a case that's actually a demon, be prepared for the worst. It can ruin your life. It can cause accidents, make one sick, drained, tired, angry, violent and can cause insanity or death. As I said, this is the worst of the worst. I've learned enough to help on a consulting basis but stay away! I've seen enough chaos in my day.

Finally, there's always the possibility there are no demons, except in the person's head. The demon scholar needs to be aware of that as well. Suppose you enter the home and there's cocaine on the kitchen table, or empty medicine bottles everywhere, or the kids are being abused? Suppose someone attacks YOU? Possessed or not, are you ready for this? How about calls at 3am? What if the person has a severe psychological problem and it's a mental illness? What are you going to do if you have someone screaming at you at 3am to get the thing out of there, when nothing is there? In addition, many cases like this will not be handled by the clergy. The Roman Catholic Church rarely handles possessions anymore and the red tape is a nightmare. Many Protestant ministers will not either. Can you get ahold of a reputable person to help in the metaphysical community? Suppose you witness child abuse on a case? Will you call the police and explain to them you are there to investigate a possible demonic attack? You need to be prepared for anything with this type of case, and those who have handled them will tell you to expect anything!

If I sound discouraging in regards to demonology, then good! I understand that people need help, but very few people can help with these cases. They need the knowledge, common-sense, know-how and the gift of discernment to know and realize what exactly is going on, and the faith to help. If you're going in there just to "document" kiss your group good-bye. The main way I have seen ghost groups fold (other than jealousy and power trips) is by accepting a case they can not handle and the unity of the group breaks down.

The ones I am concerned about are on the threshold of getting more involved in demonology because they think they can handle it but can't. All I have to say is think twice. If you're not called to work with demons, you can never work with them. Leave them alone. Best thing to do is steer the victim in the right direction of someone who can help, and say some prayers they get there.

I wish you the best of luck with your well as the consequences.

-Al Tyas