Monday, January 26, 2009

Never before has there been such a compelling account of demonic possession and deliverance in a Protestant, Evangelical context.

At two-o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, March 11, 1980, Pastor J. Stephen Conn received a long distance, collect telephone call from a young woman desperately pleading for help. Afraid, alone, and deeply involved in witchcraft, all Jessica Leek knew about the man she was calling is that his number had been given to her by a stranger while she was hitch-hiking. As Jessica spoke, numerous demonic voices unexpectedly came from her lips–blaspheming, threatening, and identifying themselves by name.

The unsuspecting pastor had little practical knowledge of demons and no experience in casting them out. Yet, overwhelmed by compassion, he seized this as an opportunity to help a tormented young woman find deliverance, and at the same time, put the reality of God’s power to the test.

The week-long search for Jessica and her liberation from multiple evil spirits is unlike any other account of an exorcism ever written. The stories of the hellish manifestations of malevolent spirits through their tortured victim are chilling. Yet, the spiritual warfare ends in victory and leaves the reader with a triumphant affirmation of faith and hope.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Table of Contents

The Devil Called Collect is a relatively short book with nine chapters and just over 100 pages. It is easy to read and the type of book that many readers will complete in a single evening. Here is the Table of Contents:

Author's Preface
Foreword: Grady Mosley
1. The Devil Called Collect
2. The Light went Out
3. A Holy Urgency
4. On the Devil’s Turf
5. Jesus, Why are you so Bright?
6. The Demons Return
7. I am Lucifer
8. On Holy Ground
9. The Road Back to Reality

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It has been twenty-seven years since I began following God’s call in my life to pastor in the United Methodist Church. I started as a part time youth director in a downtown church in Augusta, Georgia. Paul Dana Walker, my best friend and College Age Ministry leader significantly encouraged me to take this first step. Most of my childhood and adolescent years were in Southern Baptist churches, so it probably is a bit surprising my credentials would include being involved in something as bizarre as demonic deliverance. I have been part of a great number of experiences in my years as a Christian and a pastor, but I can undoubtedly say this event was unlike any other. I will quickly add that I have not had additional experiences nor have I felt a leading to take this us as a regular scheduled event in my weekly duties.

The friendship with my pastor, Stephen Conn, and Paul Dana Walker opened an avenue for me to witness God’s power of deliverance and love. I am not sure how God worked all the circumstances or “coincidences” in a way to include me, but I still remember that night in the Conn’s family room as clearly as I did then. I can see the facial expressions, hear the voices and sounds, and stunningly remember the power of prayer as we witnessed demonic powers subjected to the name and the blood of Jesus. What I remember vividly was an absence of fear. Because of the genuine love for this young girl, who was tormented and trapped by evil, God’s love cast out all fear.

As incredible as the story is, it never became a point of boasting in our mutual conversations. If anything, we shared with humility the honor to be used by God. Occasionally I have retold the happenings of this event to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. As I share, I often find myself leaving out details because the story seems too incredible (it is not the usual illustration you hear from a United Methodist pastor in North Georgia). I am thankful that Stephen has recorded this memoir in such detail. The Devil Called Collect is a gift to today’s Christian culture that often ignores, if not denies, the reality of demonic holds on people’s lives. The greater story within the sotry is of a God, who through His ever loving, providential care, chooses to use willing servants to bring the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ to a lost soul.

In your reading, may you come to know the truths I experienced: there is no one so far removed from God that He cannot reach him or her; and God will answer whoever cries out and calls to Him, even when it is collect.

H. Grady Mosley II, Senior Pastor
Prospect United Methodist Church
Lawrenceville, Georgia

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Author's Preface

This is the true story of God’s grace in the deliverance of a young woman from demonic possession. It began when Jessica Leek, a twenty-three-year-old practicing witch, called me long distance, collect in the middle of the night. As we talked, a guttural male demonic voice interrupted, speaking through Jessica’s lips–blaspheming and threatening. Thus began one of the most incredible experiences I have had in a ministry which has spanned almost five decades.

Like all religions, Witchcraft comes in a wide variety of expressions. I was to learn that Jessica belonged to an order of the darkest kind, one that delved in black magic, consorted with demons, and even worshipped Satan.

After the very first telephone conversation with Jessica on that fateful March night in 1980, I immediately wrote it down verbatim, to the best of my ability, confirming my recollection of the call with my wife who had just listened in over the telephone extension. It was such an unusual experience that I didn’t want to forget a single word.

Several calls followed. I kept a pen and notebook beside the telephone and took notes during each one. Immediately after hanging up the telephone, I wrote out each conversation exactly as it had transpired.

A few days later, I, along with an associate, Paul Dana Walker, met Jessica in person for the first time in a Savannah, Georgia, hotel. There we counseled and prayed with Jessica for several hours. It was an experience like none I had ever had. Numerous different demonic voices spoke through Jessica. At times the demons reacted violently when we prayed or read the scriptures. Although neither of us had ever been trained in exorcism, we used the authority of Jesus’ name in an attempt to cast the demons out.

I had with me a pocket-sized tape recorder which I always carried during that period of my life. As a busy pastor, I used it to record notes, letters, etc. which were later transcribed by my secretary. With the recorder, I taped many of our conversations with Jessica, including the demonic voices. Much of the dialogue between me and the demonic entities which you will read in this book was taken verbatim from those tapes.

In order to continue ministering to Jessica, I took her to my home in Augusta, Georgia, where I lived with my wife and our three sons: Gregory, Christopher, and Jeromy. I would have hesitated to take her into my home if I had known what was to happen. On Jessica’s second night with us, things became much more intense. She was not completely delivered until after an all-night exorcism which at times was violent and even life-threatening. A plethora of demonic entities manifested themselves through Jessica, speaking through her, identifying themselves by name, and manipulating their victim in uncanny ways.

Even though some of the things that were said by the demonic voices still puzzle me, I have not changed any of the wordings and have tried to present them in a way that does not favor any particular theological position. I simply share the events as they happened.

The very title of this book shows that it is a story which I did not seek; it came looking for me. I have often wondered why the Lord allowed me to have such an incredible experience. If God needed an exorcist, surely he knew that at best I was a very reluctant vessel–albeit a willing one. Perhaps it was because my heavenly father knew he could teach me to trust him more fully through the ordeal. While I have always been a believer, I have often been tempted to doubt.

The events recorded here were life changing for me. In the fifty-five years that I have been a born-again Christian, nothing has done more to confirm my faith. This story is presented to you, the reader, with the prayer that it will be a boost to your faith as well.

The manuscript has lain in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet in my study for more than twenty-seven years. It is presented here much as it was first written, except for the addition of a few minor updates, this preface, and an epilogue. I am indebted to my beautiful wife, Karen, for her expert editing and proofreading.

Those who have asked me why I waited so long to publish it deserve an honest answer.
First, there are elements of the story that did not correlate with my theological training. As a pastor who has spent a lifetime studying the Bible, there are some things about demons, possession, and deliverance that I still do not fully understand. I thought the day would come when I would have a more perfect knowledge. I would then present this story along with an in-depth teaching about exorcism.

Now that I am retired from the pastorate, I have accepted the reality that there are many things one will never fully comprehend on this side of eternity. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counselor?” Romans 11:34. Therefore, I present this story, exactly the way it happened, as a testimony and not as a thesis. Although this is not an instruction manual on casting out demons, there is still much that can be learned from the narrative. Readers may draw their own theological conclusions.

Secondly, I have hesitated to tell this story because I feared being branded as a kook. Even though the events recorded here are completely true, documented, and have been verified by credible witnesses, there are some who will not believe them. They will put this testimony in the same category as an alien abduction or a Bigfoot sighting. Others will offer a psychological explanation or dismiss the story as the product of an overactive imagination. However, I have no point to prove; I only have a testimony to share.

A third reason I did not publish the book earlier is because I did not want it to be seen as an advertisement of my services as an exorcist. When I shared part of this testimony with my own congregation, even as it was unfolding, news of the exorcism spread very quickly throughout the city and beyond. I was deluged with calls and visits from people who wanted me to cast demons out of them, their acquaintances, their homes and/or their pets. I did not refuse to counsel and pray with any of those who came to me. Most of them had very real problems–spiritual, emotional, mental or otherwise–but I considered few, if any of them, possessed. I’ve ministered to many people over the years who were tempted, tormented, harassed, and oppressed by the devil. But only once have I encountered a person whom I was absolutely convinced to be possessed by a legion of demons. That person was Jessica, the young woman whose story you are about to read.

So after all these years, why publish the book now? Because it is a story which needs to be told and in my spirit I feel the time is right. Although I do not have all the answers–and don’t believe anyone does–the story has much value. Some will be enlightened by it. Others will have confirmed to them things they already know. Most of all, through this testimony, some reader might find hope, encouragement, or faith.

Recently I have been reminded of a promise I made to the Lord when I was sixteen years old. I shared that story in an earlier book, Growing up Pentecostal. As a teenager, I felt strongly that God was calling me to preach, but I wanted to be sure it was God who was calling me and not just my own desire. After months of sincere prayer, I decided to put the decision in the Lord’s hands. I promised him that, without my telling anyone I wanted to be a minister, if I were ever invited to preach, I would do it.

Shortly thereafter, I was asked to give a sermon to the inmates at a county jail. After that first, faltering effort, another invitation came, and then another–until soon I was receiving more invitations to preach than I was able to accept.

I remembered that promise I had made to the Lord when I was invited to come to two different churches and share this remarkable testimony, twenty-seven years after it happened. The same pastors have also encouraged me to publish the story in a book, little knowing that I had written the manuscript so many years ago.

So here it is. Although the devil is a major character in this story, the hero is Jesus Christ. I trust that I have not glorified either myself or Satan. Rather, it has been my aim to give testimony to the power of the blood of Jesus and to the authority of the Bible, God’s holy word.

J. Stephen Conn
Loveland, Ohio

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chapter One: The Devil Called Collect

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8

"There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan."
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
British Scholar and Author

The jarring ring of the telephone awakened me from a deep sleep. Groggily, I picked up the receiver as I glanced at the clock. It was 2:00 AM.

Since I was the senior pastor of a large and growing congregation, I was accustomed to hearing the telephone ring at all hours. However, this was no everyday emergency call. The conversation which followed was one of the most bizarre I had ever experienced.

“I have a collect, long distance call for anyone from Jessica. Will you accept the charges?” the operator asked.

In my half awake mind, I could not think of anyone I knew by that name, but I reasoned that whoever it was must need help so I answered, “Yes, Operator, I will.”

Next, I heard the pleading, soft, almost childlike voice of a young woman. “Hello, this is Jessica. Can you help me?”

“Where are you? What kind of help do you need?”

“I’ve been hitch-hiking and I’m on the side of the road in Atlanta. Somebody gave me your name and number and said that maybe you could help me.”

“I would be very happy to do whatever I can to help you,” I told her. “But, I’m in Augusta and that’s 145 miles from Atlanta. Why don’t you call the Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta first thing in the morning? I believe their office opens at 8:30. There are lots of wonderful people there and they are close enough that maybe they could give you the help you need.”

“But, I’m afraid,” Jessica replied. “You see, I’m a witch of the fifth degree. I’m about to be initiated into the sixth degree of our Order and all of a sudden I’m scared. Strange things are going on and I’m afraid something bad might happen to me.”

It wasn’t my intention to put Jessica off or dismiss her lightly. She obviously needed help. But, I told her a second time, “I really think it would be better if you called the Mount Paran Church there in Atlanta.” I let her know I was a personal friend with the pastor and some of his staff and I was certain they would do whatever they could to minister to her.

Jessica’s voice became more pleading and desperate now. “But can’t you help me?”

Witchcraft was definitely not a subject about which I knew a great deal. My experience in ministering to people trapped in the occult was limited. “Jessica,” I answered, “to be truthful, I’m not sure whether I can help you or not. But I know someone who can. His name is Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard of Jesus? He has the answer you are looking for.”

I was shocked when I was answered, not by Jessica, but by a man’s curt, demanding voice. “No, no, you can’t have her. Just hang up the phone. You can’t have her. She is mine!”

I thought that Jessica must have had a boyfriend standing beside her in the phone booth who had been listening in on our conversation. “Who are you?” I asked.

What came next startled me as nothing ever had before. The guttural masculine voice spat back, “There are many of us.”

For a split second, I thought “many of us” might refer to a group, like a motorcycle gang. Then, my mind flashed to the incident in the Bible where Jesus encountered the demon possessed maniac of the Gadarenes. When Jesus asked the man his name, the demons had answered through him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Mark 5:9.

“How many are you?” I asked the voice.

“There are about three thousand of us here,” came the demonic reply.

Now I was so wide awake that I knew I would not be able to sleep again that night. My wife was also awake, so I frantically motioned for her to get out of bed and go listen in on the kitchen telephone. She would be able to tell me that the voice I heard was real and not just a nightmare or a trick of my imagination at two o’clock in the morning.

I demanded of the voice, “If there are so many of you, then who are your leaders?”

In rapid succession, the voice spat out four names, “Orion, Adrian, Beelzebub, Leviathan.”

I had heard of this kind of phenomenon but in nearly two decades of ministry, this was my first such personal encounter with demonic spirits. I had never made a particular study of how to deal with demons. Yet, a sudden resolve gripped me as I was now standing beside the bed. I was surprised to hear myself suddenly speaking with an authority that surpassed my normal demeanor. “Orion, Adrian, Beelzebub, Leviathan, I command you to go in the name of Jesus. I come against you and cast you out by the power of Jesus’ blood. You must go and torment this girl no more.”

The demons were not to be exorcised so easily. A wicked, mocking laugh came back. “No, we won’t go. She is ours. You can’t have her.”

“No, Satan! Jessica has called me for help and I am a child of the most high God. She does not want you to be her lord any more. In the name of Jesus, I command you to go.”

“No, we won’t go.”

“You have no choice. Be quiet and let me talk again to Jessica. Now go in Jesus’ name.”

I found myself listening once again to the pleading, soft voice of the young woman who had first called me. “What happened?” she asked in bewilderment. “Why are you talking to me like that? Are you mad at me? Where do you want me to go?”

“Oh, no, Jessica,” I assured her. “I’m not angry with you at all. I was speaking to the demons that were talking through you. Did you not know that enemy spirits were using you to talk with me?”

“But there’s no one here except me and the telephone and the radio.” “Jessica, do you know anyone by the name of Orion or Adrian?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Those are some of the spirits that we use in our witchcraft. Why do you ask?”

“I was just talking to them through you, and also to Beelzebub and Leviathan. Were you not aware when they were talking through you?”

“That can’t be,” she insisted. “I know those spirits but they don’t use me. I use them. They never appear unless I summon them to come.”

“They have deceived you, Jessica,” I explained. “You have allowed them to possess you and now you are no longer in control of the spirits but they have control of you.”

I remembered the scripture, “Hereby know ye that Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist….” I John 4:2-3.

I had once heard an evangelist preach that a person who is truly demon possessed either can not or will not utter even the name of Jesus except in a blasphemous way. Although I felt that premise could not be proven unequivocally by scripture, I thought it might have some validity. I asked, “Jessica, have you ever heard of Jesus? Can you say Jesus?”

“Sure, I can say his name if I want to,” she answered.

“Then say it, Jessica. Say Jesus.”

“Jekkkk,” came the reply, followed by a choking sound.

“Say Jesus, Jessica.”


“Jessica, can’t you say his name? Can’t you say Jesus?”

“But I said it,” she replied in a puzzled voice.

“Jessica, you tried, but the enemy spirits hate Jesus, and they would not allow you to say his name,” I told her. “Didn’t you notice when they choked you off every time you tried to say ‘Jesus?’”

“No, I thought I said it.”

“Let’s try this.” I suggested. “Let me hear you say Jesus is Lord.”

This time I heard the name of Jesus spoken clearly but it was not in Jessica’s voice. A demon hissed defiantly, “Jesus is a pile of s__t.”

“No!” I fired back. “Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!”

“Jesus is a liar,” came the demonic retort.

“Now, Devil,” I demanded angrily. “I told you to go and I’m telling you again. Leave this girl and never come back to torment her any more.”

“And who are you to tell me to go? You have no power over me.”

A holy boldness welled up in me. “I am God’s child. I am filled with his Holy Spirit and washed in Jesus’ blood. It is not in my name but in his name that I say you must go.”

“No, you can’t make us go.”

“Be quiet, Satan. I don’t want to talk to you any more. I want to talk to Jessica. Now let me speak to her.”

Once more the bewildered voice of a young woman spoke. “What happened? Where have you been? Did you leave the phone and go somewhere?”

I explained that I had been there all the time and the evil spirits had taken charge of her again and talked through her.

“Is that why I’m getting this terrible headache?” she asked.

“It might be, Jessica. I don’t know for sure about that.”

“Well, I’m getting thirsty too,” she said. “Will you hold on for a while and let me go to get a drink?” I assured her I would wait.

For the next two minutes while Jessica was away from the telephone, I prayed fervently that God would direct me and somehow help me to reach this young woman who was so desperately in need of God’s deliverance. Compassion as I have seldom experienced came over me and I felt almost a sense of desperation to reach out to this lonely, pleading voice and set her free in Jesus.

There was a rattle at the other end of the line and I heard Jessica say, “Okay, I’m back.”

“Jessica, I’ll do anything I can to help you,” I volunteered. “Can you tell me where you are?”

“I’m in Atlanta.”

“Atlanta is a very big place. Can you tell me exactly where you are in Atlanta?”

“I’m hitch-hiking and I don’t know where I am for sure,” she answered, “just somewhere.”

“Listen to me very carefully,” I instructed her. “I could never find you in a big city like that unless you tell me exactly where you are. As soon as you get to any place that you can tell me where to find you, then please call me back. Wherever you are, I will come and get you. If you don’t want me to come for you, then please come to Augusta and meet me here. Do you understand me?”

“I understand you,” she puzzled, “but why do you want me to come to Augusta?”

“Remember, you called me and asked if I could help you. Well, I can and I want to. But, I can’t do it over the telephone. We need to get together.”

“No!” I was interrupted again by the mocking voice of a demon. “We will not let her come. We will kill her first. We will not allow her to meet you.”

I rebuked Satan once more and forbade him to hinder Jessica from reaching me. In the name of Jesus, I bound any power he had to harm her. Then, I spoke a final word to Jessica.
“Whatever you do,” I urged, “don’t lose my telephone number. Hold on to it as if your life depended on it because it’s my only link with you. Please, please call me back as soon as you know where you are. I’ll be praying that you will make it to Augusta.”

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll call you.” A click signaled she had hung up the receiver.

I slowly returned my telephone to the night stand. The moment the telephone hit the cradle, it was ringing again–now at 2:30 AM.

“Hi, Stephen, this is Don.” I recognized the voice as that of Donald Goodrum, a friend I had known since our college days together. Don was now pastor of a church in west Tennessee. I had not seen him for several years.

“Have you been talking with Jessica Leek?” Don asked.

“I didn’t know her last name was Leek, but yes, I have been talking with Jessica. How did you know?”

Don told me the same young woman had called him first and he had referred her to me since I was the only minister he could think of off hand in the state of Georgia. He said someone had given her a gospel tract with his name and telephone number on it. At least that explained the mystery of how Jessica had gotten my number.

After I hung up from talking with Don, I laid back down on the bed and stared at the ceiling almost in disbelief. I asked my wife, Pat, “Did you hear what I just heard? Was that real?”

“I heard it,” Pat said, “but I never heard anything like it.”

After a few minutes of stunned silence, I mused, “Can you believe I’ve been actually talking to the devil? And, he didn’t even pay for the call. The devil called collect.”

I stayed in bed but did not go back to sleep until after the sun came up a few hours later. As I awaited the sunrise, I prayed silently, but fervently, that God would somehow help Jessica reach me, or help me reach her, the following day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Dedication

To the memory of
Paul Dana Walker

and to Pastors
Randy & Mary Byrd

Dear friends and colleagues in ministry
Who have encouraged me to share this story

"Paul Dana Walker, my youth minister who played such a remarkable role in Jessica’s deliverance, was one of the most gifted young ministers I have ever known. In all of my 35 years as a senior pastor, I have never had a staff member who was more effective, more dedicated, or more loyal. He was also one of my closest friends.

"Tragically, Paul Dana was killed in a head-on collision on Interstate-20 near Atlanta on November 19, 1980 - about eight months after Jessica’s deliverance. Paul Dana’s beautiful wife, Julie, miraculously survived the crash, which was caused by a drunk driver going the wrong way down the Interstate. However, Julie had severe multiple injuries which took many months to heal. Paul Dana would soon have graduated from Augusta College (now Augusta State University) with his Master’s degree in Psychology. The school awarded the degree to him posthumously. He had already made plans to enter a Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee...."
--From the Epilogue

Pastors Randy and Mary Byrd of Bible Fellowship Church in Evans, Georgia, were members of my church in Augusta at the time of the exorcism. For many decades they have traveled in full time ministry with "The Byrd Family," a three-generation gospel singing group. Randy and Mary, more than anyone else, have encouraged me to share the testimony of Jessica's deliverance. They have been instrumental in opening doors for me to speak in dozens of churches throughout the United States on the subject of Spiritual Warfare.