“Even the devils believe and tremble”

12 06 2008

 In 1603 Campanella noticed that this fellow-prisoner, whom he calls an “idiota adolescens,” had a horoscope indicating the power of communicating with demons and angels.  He taught him to address prayers to the sun and other planetary deities; and, after unspecificed ceremonies, put him into a state “between sleeping and waking,” in which he transmitted the angels’ replies to Campanella’s questions on important matters – that is to say, he was a medium in a trance.  The spirits which appeared claimed to be the angel of the sun, of the moon, and sometimes God Himself.  The answers began by being satisfactory, and included truthful prophecies; the controls were evidently angels.  But soon this became more doubtful, when the control denied the existence of hell and asserted the transmigration of souls.  Then, when Campanella asked for an unequivocal sign of their angelic nature to be given to the youth, they arranged, with great cunning, for his removal from the prison and eventual death.  Campanella carried on alone, and finally the control said that Campanella had written well on free-will, but that Calvin had written better; when asked its opinion of Augustine and Chrysostom on the same subject, it prudently remained silent.  For Campanella, who was always a fanatical anti-protestant, this was conclusive proof that the control was now a bad demon, and that, as he had suspected, Calvin was directly inspired by the Devil. 

 -D.P. Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella