“They’re very, very smart. The intelligence level of a fallen angel, which is what I call them, is far superior to human beings.” – Dr. Gallagher on demons

Joining the Catholic Church in the fight against demon possession is a Princeton-and-Yale-educated psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Gallagher, whose medical assessment of whether a person is mentally ill or possessed by demons will determine whether the Church will perform an exorcism or not.

In other words, we may as well call him the first “Demon Inquisitor.”

As of this moment, Dr. Gallagher is a board-certified psychiatrist in New York, a professor at the New York Medical College in psychiatry, and is on Columbia University’s faculty. He is also a practicing Catholic and the first physician officially ordained by the Vatican to help the Church battle demons on U.S. soil because they are Legion for there are many.

Dr. Gallagher is a member of the International Association of Exorcists, which is the only official organization formed specifically to combat demon possession who the Vatican formally recognized in July 2014.

The International Association of Exorcists is headquartered in Rome and was founded in the 1980’s by world renown exorcist founded by Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, an Italian priest renowned known globally for his Great Work in dispelling demons who he co-founded the organization with the French exorcist, Father Rene Chenessau.


The organization claims that it was formed in response “to an upsurge in interest in Satanism and occult practices.” The aim was to have exorcists gather regularly to exchange their experiences and best practices, the Vatican newspaper said.

The Devil and Father Amarth

According to the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the Congregation for Clergy signed the formal decree June 13 approving the group’s statutes and granting it “private juridical personality,” which recognizes the group’s autonomy as an organization of Catholics not operating in the name of the Catholic Church, but as having some accountability to the Vatican.

Although Dr. Gallagher will have some accountability to the Vatican, he will still have to abide by U.S. laws that govern the medical profession. In my opinion, this fact actually helps him in being a key advisor during the diagnosis process because he is not basing his judgments solely from a religious perspective, but a medical one so people who truly need medical assistance will get the help they need and those who are diagnosed as possessed will get the exorcism they need.

The Vatican seems to think so as well.

Dr. Gallagher’s journey into this profession seems to be a reluctant one. When he was first asked by the leading U.S. Catholic priest of exorcisms if he would help them diagnose these people, Dr. Gallagher had told him that, even as a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t likely to go in for a lot of hocus-pocus. “Well,” he replied, “unless we thought you were not easily fooled, we would hardly have wanted you to assist us.”

Dr. Gallagher says that out of the thousands of cases he had examined, only a couple hundred were legitimate demon possession. He has 25 years experience in a private psychiatric practice and as a professor at New York Medical College and Columbia University, which has given him a rare vantage point to observe what he calls “human behavior and there is the inhuman.”

The inhuman behavior is where the demons seem to dwell and this is where Dr. Gallagher may give the controversial diagnosis of demonic possession. In other words, these people who are possessed act inhumane and it is this inhumanity in the world where he locates the demons whose name is Legion, for there are many.

The Roman Curia of the Catholic Church and Dr. Gallagher are not the only people who believe in demon possession. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, approximately 60% of Americans believe there are a devil and hell, and 57% believe in demonic possession.

Dr. Gallagher is the author of a book called Demonic Foes, A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession in the Modern United States,” and he has opened up to the media over the last decade about his role as a psychiatrist and the diagnosis of demon possession.

“There are many other psychiatrists and mental health care professionals who do what I do – perhaps not to the scope that I do – who seem hesitant to speak out,” he explained. “That’s what gives my work some singularity. That I have had so much experience and that I am willing to speak out. I feel an obligation to speak out. I think that I should.”

Speaking to the Telegraph from his office in Westchester County New York, Dr. Gallagher had said that there are people who “suffer tremendously” from demon possession.

“There is very strict criteria for determining the person’s problem. I am not just intuiting. I’m dealing with it from a very scientific point of view,” he said.

“There are cases of spirit possession in pretty much every culture,” he said. He has evaluated cases referred to him by priests, rabbis, Christian ministers and representatives of other spiritual traditions.

In an article Dr. Gallagher had written for the Washington Post titled, “As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession,” he explains his role and also how one victim was able to see other people, even total strangers—where they were and what they were doing—when those people were hundreds of miles away.

“They’re very, very smart,” Gallagher remarked, “The intelligence level of a fallen angel, which is what I call them, is far superior to human beings. Which is why they denigrate human beings. They sometimes call us ‘monkeys.’”

In June 2018, Dr. Gallagher described to Yahoo News the signs of demon possession.

He said that to determine whether or not a person is possessed, he looks at whether he or she exhibits “certain strict criteria.” He explains, “The essence of a possession is a person going into a trance and a demonic sounding voice coming out of them, attacking the people, attacking religion, usually using very crude and violent language, like, ‘Leave her alone. She’s ours’ — this type of thing.”

Other behaviors include superhuman strength, speaking ancient languages, and knowing secrets of people that a person would never know otherwise. He has been on the record saying, “I’ve heard them speak Chinese; I’ve heard them speak ancient Greek, which I studied and he has said, “I’ve certainly heard them speak and understand Latin.”

Dr. Gallagher believes many spirits choose to “speak in tongues” just to show off and terrify the living.

He writes in the Washington Post, “My vantage is unusual: As a consulting doctor, I think I have seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.”

Dr. Gallagher concludes the article explaining how his views are not dogmatic but based on the simple fact that whether a person is of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.

He writes, “In the end, however, it was not an academic or dogmatic view that propelled me into this line of work. I was asked to consult about people in pain. I have always thought that, if requested to help a tortured person, a physician should not arbitrarily refuse to get involved.

Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their spiritual ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue.

For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.”

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