PARIS — Michel Chiron was a simple educator in an institute for the mentally disabled in central France and led an uneventful life. In the 1980s, boredom and a love disappointment led him to participate in spiritualist séances with some colleagues.
The Catholic education he received in his childhood had been swept away by the cultural revolution of May 1968, and he proudly described himself as an atheist. However, as he started such practices in order to “have fun,” without believing in their effects, Chiron saw, with great astonishment, the pedestal table turn and the spirits communicate coherent messages through Scrabble letters.
A decade later, it is with a darker state of mind that he appealed to the same spirits again, alone, in search for answers regarding his romantic life. It was a step that will cost him dearly, as it enabled demonic spirits to take possession of his body and to torment him day and night for more than nine months.
In this interview with the Register, Chiron gives a chilling account of this authentic trip to hell — from which he came back, thanks to his return to the faith. Such a story is told in the newly published book J’étais Possédé (“I Was Possessed”).
Prefaced by Father Jean-Baptiste Golfier, a prominent expert in the field of exorcism and demonic possession, this book also provides a warning against the deleterious and unknown effects of occult practices, more and more popular in Western societies.
You claim to have been possessed by several demons 25 years ago. How did everything begin?
It was in 1993. I had recently been divorced. I had a free life, but I was feeling very lonely. I hoped I could start over. I didn’t want to grow old this way, so one day, I decided to ask questions to a pendulum with Scrabble letters.
When I did it with my colleagues 10 years earlier, we couldn’t get interesting answers. But I felt it was different this time. I was far more serious, and I was looking for answers to my questions and miseries. I wrote down the words, which were coherent but didn’t answer my deep questions about my emotional life. I was in desperate need of help. For about 10 days, every day after work, I tried to get some answers. I was impressed by the idea of an openness to the hereafter.
But one day, the letters said: “Now, we won’t need the pendulum anymore. We will talk to you directly, from inside you.” And I immediately heard weird voices coming from my head, from my chest and throat. They wanted to show me they could totally control me. At some point, they said, “It is the devil speaking.” I was so afraid. I trashed the pendulum right away and went immediately to bed. I slept like a brick. When I woke up, they started playing with me. “Yesterday we scared you, but now we will tell you the truth,” they said.
How many were they? And what was that “truth” they wanted to tell you?
I don’t know how many spirits were inside me, but they were definitely an impressive number. They said they were sent by their “king” and described themselves as part of the “first kingdom.” There was a hierarchy. At the beginning, they described themselves as spirits of anterior lives and not as demons, of course. I asked them many questions, especially how they were formed. We had a dialogue. They said: “You don’t know that, but we are made of ions, of particles.” They also told me things about my life and childhood, things I totally forgot. They had a full access to my brain and memory.
Don’t you think that your distress may have contributed to making you more prone to possession, or even to hallucinations? Were the voices distinct enough? Didn’t you believe that you could have had a kind of split personality?
No, absolutely not. My mind was clear, but it is obvious that the demons were already there. The devil is interested in every person, especially the most fragile, those who are going through difficult times. It can also happen to people who have faith, as we can see in the cases of pedophilia. The demonic aspect is here. But these people are responsible for their actions because they failed taking weapons against these demonic attacks, like the practice of prayer and virtue, just like me when I gave up my faith in the 1970s.
How was their voice like?
They had very clear voices. But I noticed they had no sense of humor at all. They just sounded like strict teachers, because they claimed to have knowledge and spoke with authority.
Did they explain what they wanted with you?
They said their program was to transform me so that I could have “potentialities.” Such potentialities were clearly diabolical, but I didn’t know that at that time. They said I had been chosen for that. It was crazy. They said that such potentialities were meant to help me bring more people to their king.
How did they show their power to you?
For instance, they would ask me to hold a card deck, and they would always guess which card I was about to pick. Then, after about 10 days, it became worse. The real nightmare began. They began making me stick out my tongue, and there was nothing I could do. The first time they did it, it lasted more than 30 minutes. And I felt tingling sensations in my head, just like thousands of ants trying to bite me. They really tormented me. One day, while I was eating, my palate started bleeding. I couldn’t eat, it was so painful, and I couldn’t eat anything tough. For about a week, I couldn’t eat anything but soft food.
Some nights, I woke up with terrible backaches — it burnt so bad. They said these trials were meant to purify and strengthen me.
Then they made me drink water. A lot of water. Perhaps more than 15 liters a day. They said that it was what would enable me to have “potentialities.” I’ve been told later that it could be very dangerous for the body to drink too much water, but my body resisted. Water gave them strength, a kind of electric strength. I gave them power by drinking; hydrogen gave them power. I believe there is something scientific behind this.
They also told me they would change my face and that I would rediscover new youth. They even tried to make me believe that I would become immortal. One day, they told me to put my fingers on my facial bones, and all of a sudden, my bones became soft, especially my chin. It was incredibly scary. The following morning, everything was back to normal.
Were you able to work during these nine months? How did you manage your relationships with others?
I did work the whole time. When I was in presence of other people, they kept quiet, most of the time.
Did they ever talk about Jesus?
Yes, they did. They told me he did exist in the past but that he should be forgotten, as nowadays human beings no longer needed him. They even said that he was with their king now. They also attacked Jesus by putting him in the same basket as Buddha or Allah, etc., saying they were only parts of history, irrevocably behind us. But they spoke often about the Virgin Mary, naming her “The Woman,” but it is only later that I understood who they were referring to. They were very scared of her.
In your book, you say that you maintained a free will the whole time, even though the devil took possession of your body. How do you explain that?
The fact that I didn’t commit suicide during this nightmare was the fruit of my own will, as the demons wanted me to do so at some point. But my body was prisoner during the whole possession. My thought was somewhat free, but they had access to my thoughts and tried to manipulate them. They also tried to make me leave my own body … but they failed. They couldn’t do what they wanted with me. They couldn’t possess my soul. Obviously, some limits were put to them, but I didn’t know where such a protection was coming from. I understood later, after my conversion, that it was the Virgin Mary and my mother, who died years before this demonic attack.
Have you ever felt they were capable of killing you?
The demons cannot kill humans directly. But they can make you want to die. And it happened to me. At some point, they understood they couldn’t really use me to serve their agenda. I wanted to make them stop. I remember I even banged my head against the wall so that they would stop talking to me.
Can you tell me more about the turning point that made you fight against these demons?
I got more and more angry. I went three times on the edge of a railroad. I didn’t really want to die; it was more a way to test them. Oddly, they stopped talking to me when I was doing this.
One day, though, it just became too much. It was on the New Year’s Eve. I was so desperate that I took a bottle of surgical alcohol and opened the gas in my kitchen. But I quickly had a kind of jolt. I said: “No, you don’t want to die. You have children, and you must resist.” I immediately decided to go and see a doctor to ask a work stoppage and thought I should see a priest. I didn’t really know why I was thinking to see a priest, but I was deeply convinced it was what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t very aware of the fact that I was possessed, but I knew I was in deep trouble.
The most incredible fact is that the demons heard my thoughts and suddenly told me they lied to me and that God existed.
How did you react?
Not very well. Initially, I wasn’t very pleased to hear that, as I had gone so far in sin. It was such a shock. So, I thought that if God existed, then the entities within me necessarily belonged to the devil. This is how I understood I had to see an exorcist. And I started to pray. It was so difficult at the beginning, as I wasn’t used to it; even in my childhood, when I received a Catholic education, we weren’t really taught how to pray. But I quickly found prayers and realized it was not so difficult. In fact, I couldn’t stop praying. It was like running water. I had a kind of effusion of the spirit, thanks to the Holy Spirit. It showed the demons the power of God, his mercy! So, it silenced them. It was such a relief, such a revelation.
The day after, I called the exorcist of my diocese in Loir-et-Cher (Centre-Val de Loire region), Father André Farcet.
Did you feel any sign of internal resistance when the priest performed the exorcism?
Not at all. Usually there is resistance when the soul is prisoner, which wasn’t my case. Their power was due to their number.
Did you notice any reaction from the demons during the exorcism?
They kept saying that they got robbed the whole time. And they repeated it was all “The Woman’s” fault. I understood that “The Woman” referred to the Virgin Mary, as I was doing Rosaries and praying many Hail Marys every day. She was their ordeal. They were afraid of her, as well as “the cauldron.” I found this word very funny; they didn’t mention hell, but [called it] the cauldron. The demons took power over me, but the situation changed, and I finally took power over them.
Did the exorcist eliminate all of them all at once?
He only removed the biggest demons. They disappeared. But a few demons stayed, and it took quite a lot of time to totally eradicate their voice inside me. One day, as I was simply shaving in my bathroom, I got a lightning flash of the Virgin Mary. She appeared inside me. I couldn’t even think; the image took all of my body. She was infinitely beautiful; she had pretty dark skin and wore very colorful veils. Then another image appeared, without any rupture between the two images — it was like a crossfade. The second image was my mother. She was dressed all in white; she looked very young and was all smiles. This is when I understood how I was saved. The remaining demons didn’t leave right away, but were even more fearful of “The Woman,” without ever pronouncing her real name. The full and definitive liberation happened in Lourdes, a few years later, where I deeply felt that Mary, my Mother in heaven, was welcoming me with open arms.
You finished the book by quoting a prayer to St. Joseph. Why him?
Simply because the Prayer to St. Joseph is one of my favorite prayers. I pray a lot with saints today. I wake up every morning at 4:30am and start praying to the saints to which I am close. I start with the Holy Spirit and continue with the Virgin Mary, then St. Joseph, St. Padre Pio and St. Michael the Archangel. I feel very close to St. Margaret Mary and St. André of Montreal, as well.
Today, I feel fully protected and couldn’t be happier; this is why I accepted to share my testimony. I’ve never had the idea of writing a book, but I do have a blog in which I publish stories about my experience; and a Catholic journalist noticed it and showed his interest. This is how the idea of the book was born. I am happy to share the treasure I received with as many people as possible, and I hope it can help them.
Solène Tadié is the Rome-based Europe correspondent for the Register.