Posted by: davidlarkin | January 13, 2022

Encounters with the Demonic in Los Angeles, Perhaps?

Please note: This post and the second post are pinned to the top of this blog on the “Home” page. If you have read the first two posts already, for newer posts, scroll past the first two.

Jesus Casting out a Demon - Paul Kreutzberger_Illustration for a Bible_German, c. 1620-1660_London, British MuseumPaul Kreutzberger, Jesus Casting Out a Demon, From Illustrations for a Bible, German, c. 1620-1660
London, British Museum

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath,  and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Luke 4:31-37 (English Standard Version)

With over 100 posts on this blog since I started it in 2008, this is the first post I have written about the reality of the demonic, commonly dismissed in this age of science and unbelief in the truth of Scripture. Nevertheless, exorcising demonic spirits was a significant part of the ministry of Jesus in the Gospels.

In the early 90s, my wife Susan and I went to an Assembly of God Church (Pentecostal) in Scottsdale, Arizona (We attend a church near us now, a theologically conservative non-political Reformed PCA church “Presbyterian Church in America“).  At the Scottsdale Assembly of God church, there was a woman who sat in the front row on the far right every Sunday, who clearly was very devout and serious. We met her and talked with her. She was Kathy Lutz, who was the mother in the family that lived in the Amityville house in Amityville, NY, that became the book and film, The Amityville Horror. She became a Christian after that experience, which she told us had happened though not as exaggerated as the film, but flies on the windows, doors opening by themselves, furniture levitating, etc. Here is the video of an interview with Kathy Lutz wherein she describes the experience. It begins with a rendition of the Amityville story, and then the interview with her:

Video of Kathy Lutz interview:

Her husband George did not become a believer and looked at it as “paranormal” in general. He exploited the experience with the film and other things.

I read an account by Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigated possible demonic activity for the Catholic Church and Protestant churches and people who needed help. The Warrens’ first book written by Gerald Brittle, The Demonologist, had incredible accounts of places he investigated including the Amityville House, and the events that became the Conjuring film series, so far 3 films which I thought were very good, knowing what they were about before hand. In Conjuring 2, during the credits, they compared the cast to the actual people involved in England, including a TV broadcaster who covered the haunting depicted in that film, which came out of the Warren’s book, The Demonologist (I have an original 1980 first edition of the hardback book and the original 1981 paperback which I read when it was published).  The Conjuring films were directed by James Wan and starred Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren. About the book, The Demonologist, and the stories in the book about which the Conjuring films were based, James Wan said, “I watch/read a lot of scary stories. But, The Demonologist, true life account of Ed & Lorraine Warren, is the scariest book I’ve read.” Because the book, its accounts, and the Amityville Horror, and Conjuring films adapted from the stories in The Demonologist are about the supernatural, great efforts are made by those who don’t believe to debunk them, easy to find on Google, but if you know the story Ed and Lorraine Warren, and Kathy Lutz herself, tell you can see that the debunking is dependent upon opinions formed by those who were not there. The satanic spirits do not want us to believe that they did these things, and the Devil is happy that people don’t believe in him because it makes his life easier. God preserves all of us from the demonic manifestations generally, and typically it is those who are involved with the occult, e.g., Ouija Boards, witchcraft, etc. who are susceptible to the “poltergeists” or manifestations of the demonic.

The Roman Catholic Church reports continuing need for its exorcists. See American Exorcism from the December 2018 Atlantic. See also, “Demonic Foes” by Richard Gallgher, MD, a psychiatrist educated at Princeton and Yale Medical School who practices psychiatry in Westchester County, NY and is a professor at Columbia University Medical School. He was introduced to a patient by a Roman Catholic priest who believed the patient, a Satanist, was possessed by demons. Gallagher examined her, and did not see any significant psychiatric disorder. But she had some psychic gifts, and Gallagher began to have more experiences with the demonically possessed, and developed a subspecialty in demonic possession cases. He emphasizes how rare this phenomenon is in his book, “Demonic Foes: My Twenty-Five Years as a Psychiatrist Investigating Possessions, Diabolic Attacks, and the Paranormal” published in 2020.

And Ed Warren included photos in his book, The Demonologist, of a chair levitating in the Amityville House among other things, and a transcript of a recording of him talking with a demon in one of the episodes that became a filmed scene in one of the Conjuring films. The events at the Amityville House, and other “poltergeist” type events are more technically and accurately referred to as a demonic “infestation”, where demonic beings infest a house or other place rather than a person, different from “oppression” where a person is being oppressed spiritual by demonic beings, or “possession,” where demonic beings take possession or control over the person, the most severe activity of demons.

Having met Kathy Lutz, and knowing what I know about the demonic, I believe that these things happened close to what Ed and Lorraine Warren tell in their accounts. Lorraine Warren has the “gift of discernment of spirits” (King James Version) or gift of “the ability to distinguish between spirits” (English Standard Version) of spirits which the Apostle Paul includes as one of the supernatural gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (English Standard Version).

Here are some of the encounters in my life with the demonic when I was living in LA in the 80s, and was renewing my relationship with the Lord after 12 years as a spiritual lone ranger after being saved in 1971 reading the Bible. I prayed daily, read the Bible, asked forgiveness for my alcoholic and ungodly conduct, but I was simply not living a good godly life, backslidden.  I had lost everything in a computer hardware business in Phoenix, Arizona around 1982, was drinking too much and moved to LA in 1983, where I straightened myself out, quitting alcohol, 35 years old then, and reading the Bible, going to church, praying, asking God to show me spiritual things, and generally reforming my life.

Around 1983-84, I was without a car in Los Angeles for about 11 months (Court ordered). I got a bus pass. I had quit drinking May 24, 1983 (and it will be 40 years of sobriety for me May 24, 2024). I was at a large meeting of AA on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, probably three hundred people. I was standing in the back with some friends and we heard someone outside making strange loud noises. The guy next to me said, “sounds like someone speaking in tongues.” and laughed. I went outside and there was a homeless Asian woman sitting on the ground, probably in her thirties, and making the sounds. I went up to her, along with another guy I did not know. Some people gathered away from us watching. I spoke to her, and asked her if she needed help. She muttered incoherently. I said to the guy with me, “I am a Christian and wondering if she is possessed.” The other guy said, “me too.” I asked her if she could say the name of Jesus, because the demonically possessed have a hard time with that, because they hate him. She hissed “Jesus” with a look of hatred. I could not be sure of course. I got the name and address of a Catholic ministry to homeless women nearby in West LA, and gave it to her on a piece of paper with the address and phone number. She took it. She got up and left.

I prayed that night for God to show me the difference between mental illness and demonic possession and I believe He did over the next couple of months where I had two encounters with women, one in downtown LA near the Post Office, and one on the bus in the Melrose area.

After the incident with the Asian woman in Beverly Hills and praying for discernment, I was riding the bus in the Melrose, Beverly Blvd area east of Beverly Hills, and a woman got on the bus, who was unwashed, thin, wearing a thin dirty white cotton shift and possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern, not unattractive but with a disturbed look on her face. She walked down the bus aisle, looked at me, and sat down in the seat next to me, probably the only vacant seat, I don’t recall. She looked at my Bible, looked at me and said something repeatedly like, “Rabayuga, Rabayuga, the door is open,” with a vacant look on her face. I began asking the Lord if this woman was possessed by a demon? As I silently prayed that God would let me know if I should speak out words to the demon, and demand it leave her in Jesus’s name, as the Jesus and New Testament saints, she stood up in the aisle and backing away, looked at me. I silently asked God, “should I now speak to the demon?” wondering how that would impact the other riders on the bus nearby to hear and see that. Before I could sense a response from God, suddenly, the bus driver slammed on the brakes, and stood up, calling to the woman, “You, get off the bus. Now.” And she obediently walked down the aisle got off the bus, and the driver sat down without a word, and the bus moved on. I believe she was possessed and that my prayer to see the difference between someone mentally ill and possessed by demonic forces was answered because of the correspondence between my inner dialogue with God, and what happened as I did have that dialogue. I believed the demonic spirit did not want to be made his existence public, nor did it want to be cast out of her. Of course, there are other possibilities, like coincidence only, but after my prayer to be shown the difference between mental illness and possession, and what happened, that is what I believe occurred.

Soon thereafter, I was walking on a sunny Sunday afternoon in downtown LA near the post office, dressed in a very nice bright yellow Palm Springs sports jacket and white slacks, looking sharp, and praying in my mind as I walked. Suddenly from behind me I heard in a very angry and gravelly voice, a woman shouting, “It’s all in your head. You know who I’m talking to. It’s all in your head.” It sounded like someone telling me that my prayers were not real and were all in my head. It did not seem like something I had broadcast to the folks on the sidewalk. I turned as saw a short stout black lady holding a shopping bag and pointing at me, with a twisted angry look on her face, yelling, “Yes, I’m talking to you. It’s all in your head.” I started talking to God, “Is this lady possessed? Do you want to call out to the demon, tell it to leave her?” As I prayed these words, I spoke to her, “Ma’am, did I do something to disturb you?” as calm and nice as I could, and slowly walked towards her. All of a sudden, she covered her eyes with her arm, and ran away down the street. I asked a Hispanic lady standing nearby if she thought I had done something to disturb the woman, and she said, “No, that woman was crazy!”

So, I believe those two incidents were examples God gave me in answer to my prayer to see the difference between mental illness and demonic possession, in the way that my inner dialogue with the Lord, and questions and prayer, corresponded to the sudden act of the bus driver, and the lady covering her eyes, and running away, which seemed like something a person with a demon would do, the covering of the eyes especially to avoid the light of the Holy Spirit in me. I have not asked God for any more of these experiences. God graciously spared me the danger of an actual encounter of speaking to the demonic as I was ready to do with my Biblical faith.

Some accounts I have read from pastors and theologians who believe in the activity of demonic spirits and angels, have said that most people who are possessed by demons are not obtrusive and go about their business, sort of like psychopaths or sociopaths without consciences, who don’t murder or commit crimes, while doing the bidding of the evil one. I think that is likely true. Here where most people are not Christian believers, the devil doesn’t have to do much special activity to keep the lost in his fold.

I haven’t had any close encounters with spiritual evil like that since. I believe God protects me, my family,  and most people from the extreme evil of demonic possession through his common grace, though not from the temptations of sin and the influence of spiritual evil. Most of the recorded accounts of possession begin with someone dabbling with the occult, and opening the door, so to speak.

I will close this post with one other interesting event from my time in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Like an demonic infestation, possibly.

I lived in a “haunted apartment” in LA, up in the High Tower residences in Hollywood. My neighbors included Magician David Copperfield, actor/director Bill Duke (he was in the Predator film with Arnold Schwartzenegger), and others. Once I ran into David Copperfield and his assistant coming off the elevator carrying life-like nude female mannequins which was a real surprise.

Among the High Tower residences, I lived in a downstairs apartment of a house owned by a gay couple, both of whom worked in upscale retail men’s clothing in Beverly Hills and who lived upstairs.

Once I had this feeling that there were bad spirits in my apartment, partially due to an unusual smell, which could be demonic in accounts I had read, and simply by the feelings of my own discernment. I looked around the apartment for a physical solution for my sensations, and found nothing.

I was at a large AA meeting a few months later in Beverly Hills, and was talking with a woman Film Editor I knew, and I told her about the apartment at the High Tower, and that I thought I had experienced some poltergeist or demonic activity in my basement apartment. She gave me this expression of recognition and said, I lived in an apartment up there. We talked and it was clear she had lived in the upstairs quarters of the same house where I lived in the basement apartment (the basement was mostly above ground). She said it had been owned by an older lady who occupied the basement apartment and leased my film editor friend the upstairs apartment where my gay landlords now lived. She said that the demonic activity I reported might have something to do with the lady that used to own the building and lived in the basement where I did. My friend told me that the lady was “eccentric” and that one day an ambulance came to get her and took her away. She had basically lost her mind. My friend saw her when the paramedics took her out of the apartment. She had very long hair, uncut very long fingernails and a wild look in her eyes. Reminded me of Howard Hughes later in life and especially of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. Here is the account of the Prophet Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual madness or demonic possession:

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

Daniel 4:28-34 (ESV)

Here is the Wikipedia description of the High Tower area and also some photos of the High Tower residences where I lived (in the second photo you can see the roof of my house behind the multilevel white house to the right of the tower which was the location of filming in the Long Goodbye and Dead Again, and other films. the 3rd photo gives a good view of the circular shape of that home on the right of the tower where all the filming was done over the years:

The High Tower (2178 High Tower Drive) is a five-story, over 100-foot-high tower housing a private elevator. It was built circa 1920 in the style of a Bolognese campanile. The tower provides access to a Streamline Moderne fourplex known as High Tower Court, built between 1935 and 1936. Architect Carl Kay designed both. The High Tower was featured in The Long Goodbye, The High Window, Dead Again, Michael Connelly’s novels Echo Park and The Closers, and a 1961 episode of Naked City. It also leads to the Alta Loma Terrace neighborhood, which includes the Otto Bollman House – one of Lloyd Wright’s first projects – and the B.A.G. Fuller House (6887 W. Alta Loma Terrace), which is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. Residents of the hillside enclave around the tower have included David Copperfield, Michael Connelly, Tim Burton, Timothy Hutton, Kurt Cobain, and Courtney Love.

High Tower description in Wikipedia “Hollywood Heights” entry.,_Los_Angeles

Here are some photos of the High Tower area;

High Tower 2high Tower 3High tower 4High Tower 5high tower 6


To learn about how I got to Los Angeles and had these experiences, to those who have not read it, and would like to read it, here is the link to David Larkin’s Spiritual Memoir. It is about 23 pages long:

Here is a shorter version, Supernatural Answers to Prayers in my Life, which has a brief account of my conversion and the second half of my Spiritual Memoir with the record of the more remarkable supernatural answers to prayer and the providential events that were God’s revelation and confirmation to me of his existence and his hand in my life.

Here is a recent post about Spiritual Warfare and prayer for opposing and protection from spiritual forces of evil, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (English Standard Version)

“The Flaming Darts of the Evil One:


  1. In my experience with mental illness and demonic activity, someone can be oppressed by a demon or possessed by a demon. A Christian cannot be possessed by a demon, but a Christian can be oppressed by a demon. I believe mental illness is demonic oppression in Christians. I believe extreme mental illness in unbelievers is possession.

    Levels of Spiritual Warfare

    • I don’t disagree, but some extreme mental illness has an organic disease basis. Most mentally ill people I have met are extremely self-obsessed. It is not unlikely that the demonic can cause organic disorder as well. But there is a difference between extreme possession with supernatural manifestations and acute schizophrenia, for example. Mysterious subject.

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