Article: Dealing With Attaching Souls and Entities – Jan Erik Sigdell (Is.21)

by Jan Erik Sigdell

A workshop at the first European Summer School of the European Association of Regression Therapists in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, August 22-24, 2006


This article discusses cases in which it is found that the client has an attaching foreign soul or entity, how this can be discovered and what we can then do about it. It also discusses a theological background relating to the world view of the Gnostic Christians, which fits very well to not only cases of this kind but also to regression experiences in general. The question is dealt with why souls and entities sometimes attach to persons, and the role of the aura in this respect. A possibility to free another person, other than the client, who is not present, is described.

What is the difference between a soul and an entity?

I use the following definitions in order to state a difference between two cases in a simple manner:

  • A soul is, of course, also an entity, but one that has left a body because the latter died, i.e., it was incarnated (and will most probably be so again)
  • An entity in the sense the word is used here has never (or not yet) been incarnated in a physical body.

Theological background

As a background, let me briefly sketch the world view of Gnostic Christianity. I find in my work throughout more than 25 years that this world view fits better than any other I know to experiences of past existences in regressions and to experiences of the phenomenon we are dealing with here.

The Gnostic Christians taught reincarnation, but began to be regarded as heretics as defined by the Council of Nicaea in 325. Origen was a Gnostic Christian. The Church claims that he opposed reincarnation, but an in-depth research in his work reveals the opposite. The statement of the Church is based on censored versions of Origen’s texts. I have dealt extensively with this and many other things in my book Reinkarnation, Christentum und das kirchliche Dogma[1], downloadable in an English translation from my website[2].

The Gnostic Christians taught that we are “fallen angels,” in the sense that we existed from the beginning of Creation as entities or spiritual beings in God’s world of light. Some of us, however, began to feel weariness for the existence in the light world, “satiated with the vision of God,” and wanted to have experiences that the light world couldn’t offer us. Stated with a popular expression: we wanted more “action”…We wanted to be able to fully live out our free will. This wasn’t possible in the light world, since we were there so much in communion with the others, that if we would hurt another entity, we would in the same moment feel its pain ourselves. This is a kind of “instantaneous karma.” Therefore, we never hurt anyone, but came to view this condition as a limitation of our free will. If we would freely live it out, conflicts with the free will of others would be unavoidable, and then we would at the same time hurt ourselves. We wanted God to give us a form of existence that wouldn’t have this limitation.

God therefore created new worlds. He created nine angelic levels of existence, a human 10th level, and an 11th level: the level of demons and adversaries. The entities—better called “negative entities”—we are dealing with here can be assumed to belong to that 11th level.

We humans became souls which, as the Gnostics put it, “for punishment were put in bodies like in prisons.” Here, we will also have to suffer the pain ourselves which we cause to others, but not instantaneously. It comes later with a time delay, often in a later incarnation; this is called “karma.” Otherwise we couldn’t live out our free will even in such ways that don’t respect the free will and integrity of another person. But through “karma” we still do experience ourselves what we once did to others and thus slowly learn how wrong and futile this is, since at the end we will still have to pay for it ourselves.

Why don’t some souls go to the light world when they leave the body?

What normally occurs after a soul has left the body is that, after some time (of varying duration), it leaves the “earth plane” and enters a light world (which I presume will be a peripheral region of God’s light world). After a time of largely varying duration the soul then reincarnates in a new body. But why do a few of them stay here and attach to living bodies (which already have their own souls), instead of going to the light?

There will be varying reasons, but one typical case is the materialist. He has spent a whole incarnation being convinced that there is no life after death; that when he dies his self would simply cease to exist. Now he finds himself outside his dead body and can look down upon it. He is confused and disturbed: “This isn’t possible!” He finds himself in this totally unexpected condition. He may see a light far away and feel an attraction towards it, and reacts. “If I go there, I surely will be really dead. Better I try to stay here.”

He discovers that it is easier to stay here if he clings to a living body. He can hold on to it, he can take life energy from it (usually not malevolently, but simply since he doesn’t see another way to get the energy he needs) and he may seek to have experiences through the “host,” which he enjoyed having when he was incarnated. The latter can take a somewhat malevolent aspect if he seeks to enjoy alcohol through animating the “host” to drink more, if he seeks to experience certain forms of “kinky” sex through him, and the like, but he will feel a disappointment, since it doesn’t work very well for him. After all, it doesn’t feel to him like it used to. I have little doubt that drug addicts usually have souls of dead drug addicts with them.

Another case is the fear of punishment. If the soul in his incarnation believed in hell and eternal damnation, he may for that reason fear to go to the light. Looking back upon his life he will realize that he did a lot of things he should not have done: “If I go to the light, they may send me to hell”—so he tries to stay here.

Of course, there cannot be an eternal damnation, since this would contradict the love of God. The Gnostics taught that after death some souls could descend to the 11th level (as a kind of hell), but not forever, only for the time needed for insight, regret, repentance, and changing the attitude. Then the soul would return to the level of the humans.

There will certainly be several more reasons why a soul wants to stay here. Usually the intention of the soul isn’t really malevolent, but it seeks refuge. It is fearful and confused and feels safer clinging to a body. There are cases that are more negative. For example, someone may seek to take revenge after dying, or someone strives to prevent the revelation of a secret by the “host” (usually about the person the soul was). Or the soul wants the “host” to die too so that their souls can be together again since they were friends or lovers. In the view of the soul this doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing.

Then there is the case of, for example, the possessive mother who always thought that she knew better than the son what he should do and what not to do. After dying she believes that she still has to stay with him and control his life. She thinks it is a good thing and doesn’t realize how selfish she is.

Another case is the soul seeking forgiveness for what it has done to the “host,” but this normally doesn’t work (since the “host” doesn’t know what is going on), and such a soul will eventually realize this and leave. Or it doesn’t want to leave a beloved person. If that beloved person after a few years finds a new partner, the soul might try to sabotage their relationship.

Some souls are even trapped by the grief of the surviving loved one and cannot leave because they are held back through it. When we have “lost” someone we loved (but not really lost since he or she still exists), we must, of course, go through a period of grief, but never “wallow” in it for all the rest of our life, since that way we could cause much harm to the soul. In such a case, the grief becomes rather selfish…

And so on…

There are rare cases in which we were born with an attached soul that followed us from another incarnation (and may even have done so through a few incarnations). And there are also rare cases in which one “inherits” a soul. It had earlier attached to, for example, the mother, and after she died it switched to one of her children.

If a woman has lost a child through a spontaneous or even intentional abortion, it is not rare that the soul of the child stays with her. If she becomes pregnant again, the soul may once again enter the fetus (or rather: attach to it in the natural process to become born with a new body, which is a positive attachment and not the kind of attachment we are dealing with here). This can even happen in the presumably quite rare case that the woman lost the child so early that she never became aware of being pregnant and, therefore, doesn’t know she was.

What about negative entities?

For a long period of time, I dealt with cases of attaching negative entities according to William J. Baldwin (1939-2004)[3], and it worked very well. However, in rare cases, I had to give up. Later, I found another way to deal with such cases and since have not yet had to give up.

Baldwin states three principles in connection with negative entities:

  1. They believe that they have no light inside themselves.
  2. They are controlled by the powers of darkness (ruling the 11th level) and believe that they can only exist in darkness, since light would be dangerous and could kill them.
  3. They believe that they could be punished if they let themselves be discovered.

So why do they seek to control a human being? They enjoy power and have forgotten what love is. They have fun out of manipulating humans. And they are told to do so. They furthermore can experience rapture from doing what they do. In their attitude they are usually quite arrogant and rather sly. But at the same time they are, in a way, often a bit dumb and dull. If I ask the entity (through the client):

Jan Erik: “How long are you doing this to people?”

Entity: (It may say) “Several hundred years.”

Jan Erik: “Isn’t it becoming pretty dull to always do the same thing?”

Entity: “I don’t know anything else and I have been told to do this.”

Jan Erik: “Wouldn’t you like to try something different”

Entity: “What???”

It seems hard for it to imagine doing something else, and what it could be.

So what do the negative entities do? One common thing is to make the client have strong negative emotions like fear or hatred. They stir up such emotions in us. When we have strong negative emotions we “excrete” corresponding energies from ourselves and such entities feed on them. Like a plant feeds on our physical excretions, they feed on our emotional excretions. They are energetic coprophagists…

Let us now compare with the world-view scheme of the Gnostic Christians. It could be as follows. We feed on nature and through it on the light, which the plants absorb. The angels will feed directly on light. The entities of the 11th level have no light, but must feed on something. They may have no alternative to feeding on the energetic waste from the level of the humans…

How do we discover the presence of a foreign soul or a negative entity with the client?

There are certain symptoms which may indicate the presence of a soul or entity. To these belong moments of an inexplicable lack of energy, sometimes impulses or urges to do something one doesn’t really want to (such urges could be drinking to much, taking drugs, gambling, straying in brothels, etc., even though they may have other causes), in more rare cases hearing a voice (in which case the person may fear to become insane).

In the regression technique, which I use, a “guide” or “counsellor” plays an important role. I understand this guide to normally be a way to meet your own unconscious self, as if it stands in front of you in some more or less symbolic appearance, so that you can talk directly with your unconscious self.[4]

When we meet the guide the first time in a regression, there is an important first question to ask: “How do you feel with this appearance?” If it is the real guide, one will feel good with it—safe, peaceful, one feels love from him or her. In rare cases, this is not so. If the appearance is unpleasant, doesn’t give a feeling of love, maybe even frightening, it is not the real guide. In most such cases it is a foreign presence; a soul or a being who doesn’t want to be discovered. It tries to make us believe that it would be the guide, but this never feels right. In such a case we leave that figure and continue until we find the real guide with which the client has a good feeling. The first question we have the client ask the guide in such a case is: “Who was it you met on the way? A part of yourself or a foreign presence?” The usual answer is: “A foreign presence” or “A soul or a negative entity”; more often “A soul.”

If there is an unconscious resistance to seeing a scene in the past (or maybe to hear the answer of the guide), I let the guide take the resisting part of the unconscious self out and put it at the client’s side. What does it look like? I then tell the client to ask the guide to take care of that part. Then the client goes back in the past scene (leaving the resisting part with the guide) and can go on with the experience (or can hear the guide’s answer). This resisting part can also be a foreign soul or entity, which is, however, rarely the case.

In rare cases the client claims to know he/she has a foreign presence or suspects it before we go in the regression. Then the question arises, if this is really so or not. The first step is to find this out through asking the guide about it.

Rarely the foreign presence is discovered in still another way.

So what do we do then?

More often the foreign presence is that of a soul rather than of a negative entity. We ask the guide to show the soul to the client and we start a conversation with it, intermediated by the client. The “classical” method to deal with this is to motivate and encourage the soul to go to the light. We try to make clear to it that it is missing a marvellous opportunity when it stays here, in ignorance of the wonderful world that is expecting it in the light. It may fear judgment and punishment in the light world, but there is no such thing there. There is only relief, recovery, and peace, but also self-evaluation of the life left behind. There is no hell. No one is punished, but we ourselves choose our next life according to what lesson we need to learn. These are all things we talk about with the soul and try to make it understand.

The case of an attaching soul can be compared to a child staying in the school-yard when the school year is over, while the other children go to the summer holidays.

As time went on I was brought to learn a new approach. A female client had a soul of a woman with her. They had been very close friends. The soul liked so much to be with the client that it didn’t want to go to the light. Then all of a sudden the client said:

Client: “But I can go to the light with her!”

Jan Erik: “OK, tell me when you are there together.”

Client: “Now we are there.”

Jan Erik: “Ask your friend how she feels in the light.”

Client: “She is astonished. She hadn’t expected that it would be so wonderful!”

Jan Erik: “Ask her if she wants to stay there.”

Client: “Yes, she wants to.”

Jan Erik: “Then say goodbye to her and go back to your guide.”

Since then I always do it in a similar manner. “Ask the guide to show the soul to you!” We then would like to know if that soul and the client knew each other while the soul was incarnated. They may have but is not always the case. We would also like that the client can forgive the soul for having been there, which is usually not difficult. Then I typically say:

“Ask the guide to show both of you the entrance to the light world!” They will see it.

“Now take the soul with you and go together through that entrance into the light world.”

“Ask the soul how it feels to be in the light world.” Always very well indeed.

“Ask it if it wants to stay.” Nearly always: “Yes”

“Do you see light beings, maybe like angels, around?”

If not: “Call them and tell me when they are there”

“Ask them to take care of the soul. Then you return to your guide.”

It sometimes happens that there are more souls than one. Then I usually do it with one after the other. It is very rare that the soul doesn’t want to stay in the light world. We ask why. Then we ask the light beings to explain to the soul that there is really nothing that she can do on the earth plane, anymore—for no one. But when she incarnates again out of the light world there is so much more that she can do.

In one case the soul didn’t want to go to the light and resisted being taken there. I had the client ask if it remembered having been in a physical body. Of course it did:

Jan Erik: “And do you remember your birth?”

Client: (After some hesitation as it will have needed a little time to remember) “Yes.”

Jan Erik: “Then you will remember that before your birth you were in your mother’s womb?”

Client: Again after a little hesitation, “Yes”

Jan Erik: “So where were you before that? Where did you come from?”

Client: (Apparently there was a moment of confusion, and then) “But then I was in the light!”

Now the soul has nothing at all against going to the light, anymore…

Heal the aura!

A soul or an entity finds attachment to a person where the person’s aura has a hole, a weak place, or some other damage. It can get a grasp there. It is, therefore, important to have the client ask the guide if there is any such damage to the aura. There will be. Where over the body? “Now ask the guide to heal your aura there and all over, and tell me, when it is done.” After that, another soul or entity will not easily be able to attach to the person, unless new aura damage occurs.

What causes such aura damage? Usually intoxication or intense negative feelings. If a person is heavily drunk (and not just under a moderate influence) or under influence of heavy drugs (heroin, crack, etc., but hardly a moderate dose of “grass”), the aura will be damaged or loosened up, at least temporarily. And while it is, a soul or a negative entity could attach. Narcosis is, of course, a drug intoxication. It therefore does happen—but rarely—that a person “picks up” a soul while in the hospital for an operation. An accident with loss of consciousness could possibly also have such an effect, as can exceedingly strong negative emotions, like a very big fear (panic) or an almost uncontrollably strong rage or hatred, which loosens up the aura.

Beware of cheating!

If we use the “classical” method of encouraging the soul to go to the light, there is a possibility that it may cheat us. It may say: “OK, I’ll go to the light,” but hides and returns after the regression. It is, therefore, important to have the client ask the guide: “Is the soul really gone?” If the guide confirms this, the soul release will have been successful.

However, if we have the client accompany the soul into the light, as described above, there will hardly be a risk that the soul will return. And if the aura is healed and closed, it would hardly find a grasp, anyway.

How do we deal with negative entities?

If it turns out that the foreign influence isn’t from a soul, but from a negative entity, the case can be a bit harder to deal with. As I mentioned above, I first worked according to the principles mentioned by Baldwin. Doing it that way (in my version of the procedure), we ask the being to look deeply inside itself to see if it has a light inside:

Entity: “Nonsense, I have no light!”

Jan Erik: “Well, look deeply inside you and you will find out how it is.”

After a while the entity will reply, with some astonishment:

Entity: “But I do have a light inside. I didn’t know that!”

Jan Erik: “Of course you have; no one could exist without a light inside, since it is the source of life. Does it burn?”

Entity: “No!”

Jan Erik: “So you see: they have lied to you.”

We then have the guide call an angel to come from the light world and ask the entity to carefully touch its light:

Jan Erik: “Does it burn?”

Entity: “No! It almost blinds me a bit, but it doesn’t burn!”

Jan Erik: “So again you see that you have been lied to.”

Now we allude to point 3 mentioned above:

Jan Erik: “You are now discovered! It could happen that they want to punish you for that! But you can easily escape it! If you go to the light world with the angel they cannot reach you and you are safe. How about that?”

If things work rather easily, the entity may accept this. We then ask the angel to take the entity to the light world, leave it there and come back without it (since we may need more help from the angel).

But things are not always so easy. The entity may resist. We may ask it (see above) if it isn’t very dull to keep doing the same thing all the time. Of course it will be:

Entity: “What else is there?”

Jan Erik: “If you go to the light world there are many new possibilities there, which you cannot imagine now. And no one has to stay there, you are free to leave again, but it seems that hardly anyone wants to leave the light world once one is there.”

Talking to it in such a manner, we may be able to motivate it to go with the angel. We can also ask what it gets from doing what it does:

Entity: “Power!”

Jan Erik: “And what about love?”

Entity: “What is love?”

We can ask the angel to help it to understand what love is.

Jan Erik: “Would you like to experience that?”

Entity: “Maybe, sounds good! But love and power is like fire and water. Where there is power, there can be no love. No one loves the one who has power, but is with him only because one has to.”

We ask the angel to make him understand that.

Jan Erik: “Would you like to give it a try?”

Entity: “Why not…?”

If the entity is still persistent and refuses to go to the light, we may have to use force and tell the client: “Ask the angel to encapsulate the entity in a light capsule” (Baldwin talks about a net of light). Then we ask the angel to carry the enclosed entity to the light world and leave it there. Isn’t this brute force? Well, the entity doesn’t understand the good we are really doing to it! And, as mentioned, no one is forced to stay there. And should we allow it to stay with the client and continue to cause harm to him?

I would like to compare this with a person going through a forest and seeing a man molesting a girl in the bushes. It is our duty to do whatever we can to save the girl in such a case, even at the risk of seriously hurting the man or of getting a knife in our own belly! If we don’t, we will acquire a load of karma for an act of omission…

A new procedure

What is described above is the procedure I originally used according to the principles stated by Baldwin. Later I discovered a new and better way.

I was thinking of the soul (see above) that first didn’t want to go to the light, until it remembered that it had already been there. And I thought about the Gnostic concept of the world. So when a case with an entity came up again, I first asked the guide to call an angel and then told the entity:

Jan Erik: “You have once been in the light world, but you fell out from it a very long time ago. Do you remember that?”

Some have a vague memory. If not, we ask the angel to remind the entity.

Jan Erik: “How was it in the light world?”

Entity: “It was very nice, indeed!”

Jan Erik: “Do you want to go back there?”

Entity: “Can I really do that?”

Jan Erik: “Ask the angel!”

The angel says “Yes.”

So far, using this new approach, I have not had an entity that persisted in refusing to go to the light! Instead, I even had cases in which the client reported that the entity became softer and brighter. In one case, it even fell on its knees and asked the client for forgiveness.

Always with love!

Jesus taught us to love each and every one. Buddha taught us love and compassion for all sentient beings. This includes souls who have left their bodies and even negative entities! We shall treat them with love, too! When a client is found to have an attaching soul or entity, in that moment we actually have two clients—the second is the soul or entity! It needs our help, too, even if at first it doesn’t (want to) realize it. Therefore, the classical exorcism is really a bad approach! This makes the soul still more confused and afraid, and it will quickly find a new “host.” Or if it is an entity, it will feel confirmed in its negative view and become still more arrogant and spiritually violent. The new “host” could in the worst case be the therapist himself! But if we use the approach outlined above, that seems to be highly improbable.

Haunted places

Some earthbound souls, instead of clinging to a person, stay in the house where they lived while they were in a body. In certain cases this can be disturbing for those who live there after them. In such cases we can proceed in the same manner as outlined above. It is a good idea to perform the regression (and in it contact the guide) while being in the house, but this is not necessary. We have the client ask the guide if there is an earthbound soul (or possibly an entity) in the house. If there is, we continue as already described.

Foreign presence with another person

In the regression procedure I use I have added a technique by Phyllis Krystal  in a somewhat modified and simplified manner.[5] We have the guide make a circle of light on the ground or floor (or maybe on a cloud) where the guide and the client are standing, such that the client is standing in the middle of the circle. If they are floating in the air, the circle is floating at the height of the feet. The guide makes another (empty) circle in front of the client so that the two circles touch and form like the figure 8. If there is a karmic or other special relation between the client and another person, often someone the client knew  in a past life, we ask the guide to put that person in the second circle. It could be a friend today with which the client in a past life had a perpetrator-victim relationship. It could be an actual partner or an ex-partner. It could be the mother or father and so on. We then find symbolic ties between the two. Material ties are cut and burned, since they symbolize a more or less negative connection; usually having to do with the one soul having felt hurt by the other in the past. Immaterial ties, usually rays of light, are positive and kept. We then tell the client to with his hands to heal any wounds on both sides that may result from cutting the ties and seek reconciliation. Normally there will be something to forgive both ways (it is unlikely that only one has to forgive the other). This is a healing reconciliation ritual.

Now it could happen that we discover that the other person has an attaching soul or entity. In such cases we can do the same thing, as if it would be with the client. I have had some remarkable positive feedback after doing that. How can that work? Experience shows that we obviously do create a contact with the other person on a soul level when standing in the light circles.

Guide or Higher Self?

Above I have mentioned the “guide” several times as a more or less symbolic appearance of the client’s unconscious self. In a similar way we can have the client meet his or her Higher Self. If the client obviously has not been devoting himself much to spiritual things, but is quite “down to earth” and with certain doubts gives regression a chance as a possible way to solve a problem, I prefer to use the guide. But if the person is spiritually oriented, I usually have him or her meet their own Higher Self, and then we do the same thing as we would do with the guide. If someone finds neither the guide nor the Higher Self, I tell him: “Ask your Higher Self to send you an angel.” That usually works very well. We then use the angel as a “guide.”

Some things relating to regression techniques are here mentioned only very briefly. They are described extensively in my book (in German, Swedish or Dutch…)

What happens to our consciousness after we die?

When a soul enters the light world, it obviously has another, expanded state of consciousness. It sees most things differently from how it saw it when incarnated. And if it does, why do some souls fear to go to the light? It seems that this expansion of consciousness occurs only when we have entered the light, or it may occur gradually on the way to it. But a soul who stays here also, to a major degree, remains in a state of consciousness he or she had while incarnated. In such cases it doesn’t understand what the light is and fears it. Such a soul may still find earthly things important, which lose all importance to us when we are in the light. It doesn’t understand how futile earthly material “joys” really are, and it may even be blinded by a desire or by a wish for revenge. Some such souls still care about the material property they had when incarnated and try to stay to watch and, if possible, care about it. The latter, however, isn’t possible. They cannot do anything about it, except to try to stop certain persons from taking certain actions, which may not work. They will then often be very upset about what people do with their “property”—which actually isn’t theirs any more.

Possession and “circumsession”

In medieval texts one made a difference between possession (lat. possessio) and “circumsession” (lat circumsessio). The case of a true possession is, luckily enough, really rare. In such a case, a soul or entity wants to completely control the host and, if possible, drive its soul out of the body to take it over for itself. What we are dealing with here are cases in which there is an attaching presence of a soul or an entity, which often tries to influence the host, but not take complete control over him or her. That is what has been called “circumsession.”

“Walk in”

Cases of “walk in” are neither possession nor “circumsession,” but a very different thing. If, for a period of time, a person is “clinically dead” (or unconscious), it could happen that his or her soul actually leaves the body and doesn’t return. To the soul it means that it is definitely what we call “dead.” In such a case, another soul could take over the body, while it can still be revived, like someone takes over a used car and drives it… What has happened here is an exchange of souls. The body still has only one soul at a time. It has been suggested that in this rare case, when it occurs, the new soul often has a specific task and takes the opportunity for a “shortcut.” This means that it could then save itself 20 years or more of being born and growing up, before it can do its task. It has, therefore, been suggested that “walk-ins” would in many cases be more spiritual than others. This will, of course, not generally be the case.


[1] Jan Erik Sigdell: Reinkarnation, Christentum und das kirchliche Dogma, Ibera, Vienna, 2001

[2] > ENGLISH > Texts: Reincarnation, Christianity and the Dogma of the Church (two versions for different paper sizes)

[3] William J. Baldwin: Spirit Releasement Therapy, Human Potential Foundation Press, Falls Church VA, 2nd ed., 3rd printing 1993

[4] Jan Erik Sigdell: Reinkarnationstherapie, Heyne, Munich, 2005. Also published as translations of earlier German editions (out of print) in Dutch: Putten uit vorige levens, bres/Synthese, Den Haag, 2004, and in Swedish: Emotionell befrielse genom regres-sion, Solrosen, Västerås, 1997.

[5] Phyllis Krystal: Cutting the Ties that Bind, Aura Books, Los Angeles, 1982.


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