Rev Dr Edgar Mayer;
For more sermons and other writings check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org
Victory At Moettlingen
[We are preparing for Good Friday and Easter and when we look at the story of how Jesus came to be nailed to a cross, we can see that – unbeknown to most of the human characters – certain individuals and the entire population suffered exposure to the supernatural contest between God and Satan. “ . Satan entered Judas, one of the [disciples] … ” (Luke 22:3) who was consequently to betray Jesus and begin an evil chain of events whereby Jesus was arrested, spat upon, disowned, mocked, insulted, sneered at, tortured and finally killed by having his body pinned to a cross with nails. At that time Satan seemed to have his way and finally triumph. Even Jesus conceded – Luke 22:53: “ … this is your hour – when darkness reigns.” Yet, then the cross did not turn out to be Satan’s triumph but his ultimate defeat. The penalty for sin was paid. Satan lost his grip on a fallen world and Jesus rose from the grave in victory. May our eyes become attuned to the supernatural conflict in our current situations.]
In August 1844, Pastor Johann Christoph Blumhardt (Lutheran) wrote to his church superiors and gave an account of what happened in the small village of Moettlingen (500 inhabitants – southern Germany) when he began to pray for the healing of a Christian woman by the name of Gottliebin Dittus (August 1842 – December 1843). He writes in the preface of his account:
Friedrich Zuendel: The
Blumhardt wrote that he now dared to share his testimony in the name of Jesus
because Jesus was and is the victor. That was his experience and so he wrote
the verdict of those who read this account, I rest assured in the knowledge
that I have spoken the unvarnished truth, and in the
rock-like certainty that Jesus is the victor” (Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening,
spring of 1840 a poor family by the name of Dittus, consisting of two brothers
and three sisters, moved into the ground floor apartment of a ramshackle house
near the edge of the
From childhood on Gottliebin experienced uncanny things, and contracted one strange illness after the next (e.g.: she could never urinate without a special medical instrument), which more than once forced her to give up a good job. Though no one was certain of the cause of these afflictions, they were presumed to spring from her involvement in the magic practices rampant in rural German villages of the era. However, her illnesses made her a more earnest and committed Christian.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt became the new pastor. Gottliebin felt as attracted to Blumhardt as she felt repelled by him. At his first sermon she had to fight a desire to scratch his eyes out. On the other hand, Blumhardt could be sure of seeing her wherever she had a chance of hearing an uplifting word from him. For instance, she attended his service at the remote parish branch of Haugstett every week, even though one of her legs was shorter than the other, and it was difficult for her to walk long distances. She had a marked, dejected sort of shyness, which, when broken, revealed a defensive reserve. She made a downright unpleasant impression on Blumhardt and on others as well.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p12-14: No sooner had the Dittuses moved into their new apartment than Gottliebin reported seeing and hearing strange things in the house. Other family members noticed them, too. On the first day, as Andreas said grace at table, Gottliebin fell unconscious to the floor at the words “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest.” Then in the bedroom, sitting room, and kitchen her siblings heard recurring banging and shuffling, which terrified them and upset the people living upstairs. Other peculiar things happened too. At night, for instance, Gottliebin would feel her hands forcibly placed one above the other. She had visions of figures, small lights, and other things and her behavior became gradually more repulsive and inexplicable. Yet because no one was greatly concerned about the ‘poor orphan family,’ and because Gottliebin kept quiet about her experiences, most people ignored it. Blumhardt heard rumors about the matter, but he took no notice of them.
Finally, in the fall of 1841, when her nightly torments became unbearable, Gottliebin came to Blumhardt in his rectory. Voluntarily confessing various things from her past, she seemed to hope that confession would relieve her trials. Yet she spoke in such general terms that Blumhardt could not say much to help her. From December 1841 through the following February Gottliebin suffered from erysipelas of the face and lay dangerously ill. Blumhardt did not visit her often however, as he was annoyed by her behavior. As soon as she caught sight of him, she would look to one side. When he greeted her, she would not reply. When he prayed, she would separate her previously folded hands. Though before and after his visits she acted fine, she paid no attention to his words and seemed almost unconscious when he was there. At the time, Blumhardt regarded her as self-willed and spiritually proud, and decided to stay away rather than expose himself to embarrassment.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p14-19: Gottliebin did have a faithful friend and adviser in her physician, Dr. Späth and she poured out everything, including her spooky experiences, to him. Dr. Späth was unable to cure her strangest ailment – breast bleeding – but later, when Blumhardt took her into his care, it vanished, though he was informed of the complaint and its cure only later.
Not until April 1842, after the mysterious happenings had gone on for more than two years, did Blumhardt learn more details from the tormented woman’s relatives, who came to him for advice. They were desperate, for the banging noises that echoed through the house at night had become so loud they could be heard all over the neighborhood. Furthermore, Gottliebin had begun to receive visits from an apparition. The figure resembled a woman who had died two years before, and carried a dead child in her arms. Gottliebin claimed that this woman (whose name she only divulged later) always stood at a certain spot before her bed. At times the woman would move toward her and say repeatedly, “I just want to find rest,” or, “Give me a paper, and I won’t come again,” or something of the sort.
As Blumhardt reported: The Dittus family asked me if it would be all right to find out more by questioning the apparition. My advice was that Gottliebin should on no account enter into conversation with it; there was no knowing how much might be her self-deception. It was certain, I said, that people can be sucked into a bottomless quagmire when they become involved with spiritualism. Gottliebin should pray earnestly and trustingly; then the whole thing would peter out of its own accord. As one of her sisters was away in domestic service and her brother wasn’t home much, I asked a woman friend of hers to sleep with her to help take her mind off these things if possible. But she was so disturbed by the banging that she helped Gottliebin investigate the matter. At length, guided by a glimmer of light, they discovered behind a board above the bedroom entrance half a sheet of paper with writing on it, so smeared with soot that it was undecipherable. Beside it they found three crowns – one of them minted in 1828 – and various bits of paper, also covered with soot.
From then on everything was quiet. “The spook business has come to an end,” Blumhardt wrote to Barth. Two weeks later, though, the thumping started again. By the light of a flicker of flame from the stove, the family found more such objects, as well as various powders. An analysis by the district physician and an apothecary in nearby Calw proved inconclusive.
Meanwhile, the banging increased; it
went on day and night and reached a peak whenever Gottliebin was in the room.
Along with some others who were curious, Dr. Späth twice stayed in the
apartment overnight, and found it worse than he had expected. The affair became
more and more of a sensation, affecting the surrounding countryside and drawing
tourists from farther away. In an attempt to put an end to the scandal,
Blumhardt decided to undertake a thorough investigation himself. With the mayor
Kraushaar (a carpet manufacturer known for his level-headedness) and a half
dozen village councilors, Blumhardt made secret arrangements for an inspection
during the night of
As Blumhardt entered the house, he was met by two powerful bangs from the bedroom, followed by several more. He heard all sorts of bangs and knocks, mostly in the bedroom, where Gottliebin lay fully clothed on the bed. The other observers outside and on the floor above heard it all. After a while they all gathered in the ground floor apartment, convinced that what they heard must originate there. The tumult seemed to grow, especially when Blumhardt suggested a verse from a hymn and spoke a few words of prayer. Within three hours they heard the sound of twenty-five blows, directed at a certain spot in the bedroom. These were powerful enough to cause a chair to jump, the windows to clatter, and sand to trickle from the ceiling. People living at a distance were reminded of New Year’s Eve firecrackers. At the same time there were other noises of varying volume, like a light drumming of fingertips or a more or less regular tapping. The sounds seemed to come mainly from beneath the bed, though a search revealed nothing. They did notice, though, that the bangs in the bedroom were loudest when everybody was in the sitting room.
Blumhardt reported: Finally, at about , while we were all in the living room, Gottliebin called me to her and said she could hear the shuffling sound of an approaching apparition. Then she asked me if, once she saw it, I would permit her to identify it. I refused. By that time I had heard more than enough and did not want to run the risk of having many people see things that could not be explained. I declared the investigation over, asked Gottliebin to get up, saw to it that she found accommodation in another house, and left. Gottliebin’s brother Hans told us later that he still saw and heard various things after our departure.
The next day, a Friday, there was a church service. Afterward, Gottliebin went to visit her old home. Half an hour later a large crowd had gathered in front of the house, and a messenger notified Blumhardt that Gottliebin was unconscious and close to death. He hurried there and found her lying on the bed, completely rigid, her head burning hot and her arms trembling. She seemed to be suffocating. The room was crammed with people, including a doctor from a neighboring village who happened to be in Möttlingen and had rushed to the spot. He tried various things to revive Gottliebin but went away shaking his head. Half an hour later she came to. She confided to Blumhardt that she had again seen the figure of the woman with the dead child and had fallen to the floor unconscious.
Another search of the place that afternoon turned up a number of strange objects apparently connected with sorcery – including tiny bones. Blumhardt, accompanied by the mayor, took them to a specialist, who identified them as bird bones. Wishing to quell the general hubbub, which was now getting out of hand, Blumhardt found new accommodations for Gottliebin, first with a female cousin and later with another cousin, Johann Georg Stanger (the father of Mose Stanger), who was a village councilor and Gottliebin’s godfather. Blumhardt advised Gottliebin not to enter her own house for the time being, and she agreed – in fact, she did not move back there until the following year. He also tried to prevent further commotion by advising her brother Hans not to visit her. I had a particular dread of manifestations of clairvoyance, which are often unpleasantly sensational. A mysterious and dangerous field had opened up before me, and I could only commit the matter to the Lord in my personal prayers, asking him to protect me in every situation that might arise. Whenever the matter took a more serious turn, the mayor, Mose, and I would meet in my study to pray and talk, which kept us all in a sober frame of mind. I shall never forget the fervent prayers for wisdom, strength, and help that those men sent up to God. Together we searched through the Bible, determined not to go any further than Scripture led us. It never entered our minds to perform miracles, but it grieved us deeply to realize how much power the devil still has over humankind. Our heartfelt compassion went out not only to the poor woman whose misery we saw before us, but to the millions who have turned away from God and become entangled in the secret snares of darkness. We cried to God, asking that at least in this case he would give us the victory and trample Satan underfoot.
It took weeks for the uproar in the area to die down but gradually things quieted down and most people in the village remained unaware of what followed. Before long, similar noises started in Gottliebin’s new dwelling. Whenever they were heard, she would fall into violent convulsions that could last four or five hours. Once they were so violent that the bedstead was forced out of joint. Dr. Späth, who was present, said in tears, “The way this woman is left lying here, one would think there is no one in this village to care for souls in need!” Blumhardt took up the challenge and began visiting Gottliebin more often:
Her whole body shook; every muscle of her head and arms burned and trembled, or rattled, for they were individually rigid and stiff, and she foamed at the mouth. She had been lying in this state for several hours, and the doctor, who had never seen anything like it, was at his wits’ end. Then suddenly she came to, sat up, and asked for a drink of water. One could scarcely believe it was the same person.
One day a traveling preacher acquainted with Gottliebin visited her and dropped in at the rectory. On taking leave, he raised a forefinger at Blumhardt and admonished him, “Do not forget your pastoral duty!”
“What am I to do?” thought Blumhardt. “I’m doing what any pastor does. What more can I do?”
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p21-26: Blumhardt continued:
It became clear to me that something demonic was at work here, and I was pained that no remedy had been found for the horrible affair. As I pondered this, indignation seized me – I believe it was an inspiration from above. I walked purposefully over to Gottliebin and grasped her cramped hands. Then, trying to hold them together as best as possible (she was unconscious), I shouted into her ear, “Gottliebin, put your hands together and pray, ‘Lord Jesus, help me!’ We have seen enough of what the devil can do; now let us see what the Lord Jesus can do!” Moments later the convulsions ceased, and to the astonishment of those present, she woke up and repeated those words of prayer after me.
This was the decisive moment, and it thrust me into the fight with irresistible force. I had acted on an impulse; it had never occurred to me what to do until then. But the impression that single impulse left on me stayed with me so clearly that later it was often my only reassurance, convincing me that what I had undertaken was not of my own choice or presumption. Of course at the time I could not possibly have imagined the horrible developments still to come.
Blumhardt only recognized the full significance of this turning point later on. He had turned deliberately and directly to God, and God had immediately begun to guide his actions. From this point on, Blumhardt was convinced that it was vital for the ultimate victory of God’s kingdom that the kingdom of darkness and its influences suffer defeat here on earth. He also recognized more clearly the role of faith in the struggle between light and darkness. The depth to which divine redemption penetrates into human lives in this struggle, he saw, ultimately depends on the faith and expectation of its fighters.
Blumhardt explained what he saw as his own role in all this:
At that time Jesus stood at the door and knocked, and I opened it to him. This is the call of Him who wants to come again: “Behold, I stand at the door; I am already waiting there. I want to come into your life, want to break into your ‘reality’ with the full power of grace given me by the Father, to prepare for my full return. I am knocking, but you are so engrossed in your possessions, your political quarrels, and theological wrangling, that you do not hear my voice.”
Far from fully subsiding after Blumhardt’s intervention, Gottliebin’s illness soon resumed in earnest. Following this first breakthrough, the woman had several hours of peace, but at in the evening Blumhardt was called to her bedside again. Her convulsions had returned. Blumhardt asked her to pray aloud, “Lord Jesus, help me!” Once more, the convulsions ceased immediately, and when new attacks came Blumhardt frustrated them with the same prayer, until after three hours she was able to relax and exclaimed, “Now I feel quite well.”
Gottliebin remained peaceful until the following evening, when Blumhardt called on her with two friends he brought along whenever he knew her to be alone. As they entered Gottliebin’s room, she rushed at Blumhardt and tried to strike him, though she seemed unable to aim the blows effectively. After this, she plunked her hands down on the bed, and it seemed to those present as if some evil power came streaming out through her fingertips. It continued like this for some time, until finally the convulsions abated.
But before long, a new wave of distress engulfed Gottliebin. The sound of tapping fingers was once more around her, she received a sudden blow on her chest, and she once more caught sight of the apparition she had seen in her old home. This time she told Blumhardt who the figure was; it was a widow who had died two years before, a woman Blumhardt knew well. In her last days she had sighed a lot, and said she longed for peace but never found it. Once, when Blumhardt had quoted to her from a hymn, “Peace, the highest good of all,” she had asked him for it and copied it. Later, on her deathbed, tormented by her conscience, she had confessed several heavy sins to Blumhardt, but it had not seemed to give her much peace.
Blumhardt wrote: When I got to Gottliebin, I heard the tapping. She lay quietly in bed. Suddenly it seemed as if something entered into her, and her whole body started to move. I said a few words of prayer and mentioned the name of Jesus. Immediately she began to roll her eyes, pulled her hands apart, and cried out in a voice not her own, either in accent or inflection, “I cannot bear that name!” We all shuddered. I had never yet heard anything like it, and in my heart I called on God to give me wisdom and prudence –and above all to preserve me from untimely curiosity. In the end, firmly resolved to limit myself to what was necessary and to let my intuition tell me if I went too far, I posed a few questions, addressing them to the voice, which I assumed belonged to the dead widow. The conversation went something like this: “Is there no peace in the grave?” “No.” “Why not?” “It is the reward for my deeds.” “Have you not confessed everything?” “No, I murdered two children and buried them in a field.” “Do you not know where to get help? Can you not pray?” “I cannot pray.” “Do you not know Jesus who can forgive sins?” “I cannot bear the sound of that name.” “Are you alone?” “No.” “Who is with you?” Hesitatingly, but then with a rush, the voice replied, “The most wicked of all.”
The conversation went on like this for a while. The speaker accused herself of sorcery, on account of which she was bound to the devil. Seven times she had possessed someone and then left his or her body, she said. I asked her if I might pray for her, and after some hesitation she permitted me. When I finished, I told her she could not remain in Gottliebin’s body. At first she seemed to plead with me, but then she became defiant. However, I commanded her to come out. At that, Gottliebin’s hands fell forcefully to the bed, and her possession seemed to come to an end.
Along with his close friends the mayor and Mose Stanger, Blumhardt earnestly pondered whether or not he should enter into even a limited conversation with a spirit. The Bible always guided them in such considerations, particularly the passage starting at Luke 8:27. In light of his own experiences, Blumhardt offered the following thoughts on Luke’s account of how Jesus healed the possessed Gergesene:
Luke reports that instead of departing immediately, as was usually the case, the demons voiced a request. They feared being sent into the abyss. Evidently, Jesus did not respond harshly. Having come to redeem the living and the dead to the widest extent possible, he, their future judge, could not stand there insensitive. Hence he showed himself approachable, and stopped to listen. He asked the unclean spirit, who was representing all the others, “What is your name?” He evidently put this question not to the possessed man, but to the spirit speaking out of him; he wanted to know what name the spirit had when alive. Jesus was aware that demons, as departed human spirits, fear hell. By asking the demon’s name – which he, being the Lord, would of course already know – he showed interest and compassion. This also suggests that he considered the demon to be human rather than non-human. The demon chose not to reveal his name, thus cutting himself off from further consideration the Lord would have been glad to show him, to let those present see how all-embracing his redemptive urge was. Instead, the spirit replied, “Legion, for there are many of us.” This answer indicates that there were many in need of freeing.
States of possession like this give one a glimpse of something mysterious, incomprehensible, indeed horrifying: thousands of spirits looking for shelter in a human being or in subjection to a dark power that compels them to torment the living.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p26-28: Gottliebin experienced another apparent instance of possession a few days later, though this time Blumhardt did not intervene as he had before. It seemed as if specific demons were now coming out of her by the hundreds. Every time it happened, the woman’s face assumed a new, threatening mien. The demons, by their own admission, were not permitted to touch Blumhardt, but they did attack the others present, including the mayor, who received more than a few blows. Gottliebin meanwhile yanked her hair, beat her breasts, banged her head against the wall, and tried to injure herself in other ways, though a few simple words from Blumhardt seemed to calm her. As these scenes grew increasingly terrible, Blumhardt’s presence sometimes seemed to make matters worse. He related:
No words can describe what I endured in soul and spirit at that time. I so badly wanted to have done with the matter. True, in each instance I could depart with inward satisfaction, believing that the demonic power had given way and that the tormented woman was again completely all right. However, the dark powers always seemed to gain fresh strength, so intent were they on entangling me in a labyrinth and ruining me. All my friends advised me to give up. But I thought with horror of what might become of Gottliebin if I withdrew my support, and how everyone would consider it my fault if things turned out badly. I would endanger myself and others if I tried to extricate myself by withdrawing. I felt caught in a net. I must also admit that I felt ashamed to give in to the devil – in my own heart and before my Savior, whose active help I had experienced so many times. I often had to ask myself, “Who is Lord?” And I always heard an inner voice call: “Forward! We may first have to descend into the deepest depths, but it must come to a good end, if it is true that Jesus crushed the Serpent’s head.”
As the scenes in which demons came out of Gottliebin grew more frequent, there were other mysterious occurrences as well. For example, one night when she was asleep, Gottliebin felt a scorching hand grab her throat, leaving large burns behind. Her aunt, who slept in the same room, lit a lamp, and found blisters around Gottliebin’s neck. Day and night Gottliebin would receive unexplainable blows to her head or side. On top of this invisible objects tripped her in the street or on the stairs, causing sudden falls and resulting in bruises and other injuries.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007,
p29-33: When the fight was at its
But if anyone thought the fight was now over, they were wrong. As Blumhardt put it, he seemed to have taken on an enemy who constantly brought out fresh troops. In August 1842 Gottliebin came to him, pale and disfigured, to tell him something she had been too shy to reveal but could keep hidden no longer. At first she hedged, making him tense and apprehensive, but finally came out and told him how every Wednesday and Friday she would bleed so painfully and severely that she was sure she was dying. In her description of other things she experienced in connection with this bleeding, Blumhardt recognized several bizarre fantasies of popular superstition, apparently become reality. He later recalled:
To begin with, I needed time to collect my thoughts, as I realized what a hold the power of darkness had gained over humanity. My next thought was “Now you are done for; now you are getting into magic and witchcraft, and what can you do to protect yourself against them?” But as I looked at her in her distress, I shuddered to think that such darkness could be possible, and help impossible. I recalled that there are people thought to have secret powers enabling them to ward off all manner of demonic evils; I thought of the sympathetic magic that people swear by. Should I look around for something of that sort? But I couldn’t. I had already long felt that that would be using devils to drive out devils. At one point, it is true, I considered affixing the name of Jesus to the door of a sick person’s house, but then I found a warning in Galatians 3:3: “Can it be that you are so stupid? You started with the spiritual; do you now look to the material?” I took this as a reminder to keep to the pure weapons of prayer and God’s word.
Questions flooded through me: Cannot the prayers of the faithful prevail against this satanic power, whatever it be? What are we poor people to do if we cannot call down direct help from above? Because Satan has a hand in it, must we leave it at that? Can he not be defeated through faith? If Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, ought we not to hold on to that? If magic and witchcraft are at work, is it not a sin to let them continue unchecked when they could be confronted?
With these thoughts I struggled through to faith in the power of prayer, where no other counsel was to be had. I said to Gottliebin, “We are going to pray; come what may, we shall dare it! There is nothing to lose. Almost every page of Scripture tells of prayer being heard. God will keep his promises.” I let her go with the assurance that I would pray for her and asked her to keep me informed.
The next day, a Friday, was unforgettable. Toward evening – as the first storm clouds in months began to gather across the sky – Gottliebin was thrown into a veritable frenzy. First she raced madly from room to room looking for a knife so she could kill herself. Then, running up to the attic, she sprang onto a windowsill. While standing on the ledge, ready to jump, the first lightning of the approaching storm startled her and brought her to her senses. “For God’s sake, I don’t want that!” she cried. But her sanity lasted only a moment. Once more delirious, she took a rope – later she was not able to say how it had come into her hands – wound it artfully around a beam in the loft, and made a slip knot. Just as she pushed her head through the noose, a second flash of lightning caught her eye and brought her around as before. The next morning when she saw the noose on the beam, she wept, claiming that in a sober state of mind she never could have tied such a clever knot.
At the same evening, Blumhardt was called to Gottliebin and found her in a pool of blood. He said a few comforting words to her, but she did not respond. Then, as thunder rolled outside, he began to pray earnestly.
As I prayed, the anger of the demons afflicting Gottliebin broke loose with full force, howling and lamenting, “Now the game is up. Everything has been betrayed. You have ruined us completely. The whole pack is falling apart. It is all over. There is nothing but confusion, and it is all your fault. With your unceasing praying you will drive us out completely. Alas, alas, everything is lost! We are 1,067, but there are many others still alive, and they ought to be warned! Oh, woe to them, they are lost! God forsworn – forever forlorn!”
The howls of the demons, the flashes of lightning, the rolling thunder, the splashing of the downpour, the earnestness of all present, and my prayers, which seemed to literally draw the demons out – all this created a scene that is very difficult to imagine. Among other things, the demons yelled, “Nobody could have driven us out! Only you have managed it, you with your persistent praying.”
After fifteen minutes of intercession, Gottliebin came to and Blumhardt and the others left the room while she changed her clothes. As he tells it, “When we came back and found her sitting on her bed, she was a completely different person. There was no room in us for anything but praise and thanks. The bleeding had ended for good.” Before long other demonic manifestations made their appearance. Blumhardt, unable to see the way forward, poured out his need to a friend, the director of a seminary, who pointed him to Jesus’ words, “There is no means of casting out this sort but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21). Thinking on it further, Blumhardt began to wonder whether fasting might not be more meaningful than he had previously assumed:
Insofar as fasting enhances the intensity of prayer and shows God the urgency of the person praying (in fact, it represents a continuous prayer without words), I believed it could prove effective, particularly since this was specific divine advice for the case at hand. I tried it, without telling anybody, and found it a tremendous help during the fight. It enabled me to be much calmer, firmer, and clearer in my speech. I no longer needed to be present for long stretches; I sensed that I could make my influence felt without even being there. And when I did come, I often noticed results within a few moments.
[Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p34-37: In general, most of the demons that showed themselves in Möttlingen between August 1842 and December 1843 desperately yearned for liberation from the bonds of Satan. On occasion, Blumhardt responded to demons that longed to be set free:
For a long time I would not listen to their talk. But I often found myself in a dilemma, seeing how they showed themselves in Gottliebin’s tormented features, her hands raised in supplication, her streaming tears, and the sounds that came from her – sighs and groans of fear, despair, and entreaty that would melt a heart of stone. I resisted becoming involved in any attempt at freeing them, because everything I had experienced made me suspect a pernicious ruse of the devil and made me fear for my reputation. But in the end I could not help at least trying, since those demons that appeared to have some hope for themselves could not be moved by threats or exhortations.
The first demon I attempted to help was that of the woman who seemed to have been at the root of the whole affair. Reappearing in Gottliebin, she declared in a firm and decisive voice that she wanted to belong to the Savior and not to the devil.
At this point the woman asked Blumhardt, “Who are you?” When he answered, “A servant of the gospel,” she replied, “Yes, and what a hard one!” This response shook Blumhardt to the core. Then he asked her, “Where are you?” and she said, “In the chasm.
Then she told me how much had changed in the spirit world because of this fight, and that I had succeeded thus far only because I had relied solely on the word of God, and on prayer. If I had resorted to popular means of warding off evil spirits – remedies and spells and cures – I would have been trapped. The demon raised a finger to emphasize her point and ended with the words, “It is a dreadful battle that you have under taken!” Then she pleaded with me to pray for her to be released from the devil’s power – she had unwittingly fallen into his thrall by dabbling in idolatry, sorcery, and sympathetic magic – and to be given a place of rest. I had known this woman well in her lifetime; she had shown a hunger for the word of God such as I had rarely seen. My heart ached for her. Glancing toward heaven, I asked her, “But where do you want to go?”“I should like to remain in your house,” she said. Taken aback, I said, “That cannot be.”“May I go into the church?”
I considered this request a moment and then replied, “If you promise not to disturb anybody and never make yourself visible, I would have no objection – if Jesus permits it.” This was risky, perhaps, but I trusted that God would set everything right, and felt no presumption before him. The spirit seemed satisfied, named the farthest corner as the place where she would be, and then seemed to come out of Gottliebin willingly and easily. No one told Gottliebin any of this, though to her horror she later saw the woman at the designated place in the church. Apart from her, however, nobody noticed anything, and the spirit soon vanished for good. There were subsequent struggles with other spirits who also claimed to love God but were still bound to the devil through idolatry and sorcery. They, too, sought liberation and security. Only with utmost caution and after consulting the Lord did I consent to their requests. My standard reply was, “If Jesus permits it.”
It soon became evident that there was indeed divine guidance in all this, for not all were granted what they asked for. Some had to depart relying only on God’s mercy. I do not wish to expound on this beyond saying that it always brought relief to Gottliebin. One interesting case I cannot leave unmentioned, however. To one of the spirits who asked to be let into the church, I answered as usual, “If Jesus permits it.” After a while he burst out crying desperately, saying, “God is a judge for widows and orphans!” and declaring that he had not been permitted to enter the church. I replied, “You see, it is the Lord who shows you the way; what I say doesn’t count. Go where the Lord bids you go.”
He continued, “May I go into your house?” I was again startled by this request and, thinking of my wife and children, was not inclined to accede to it. Then it occurred to me that this might be a test to see if I was really ready for any sacrifice, so I said, “If you do not disturb anybody, and if Jesus permits it, it would be all right.” At this a voice cried from within Gottliebin, “Not under any roof! God is a judge for widows and orphans!” Once more the spirit seemed to burst into tears and asked if he might at least go into my garden. That request was granted. Apparently, the demon was guilty of having made orphans homeless.]
Friedrich Zuendel: The
I can hardly believe that the Lord will simply turn up one fine day and slay the devil without the faithful having to be greatly concerned about it. Then, when these events threatened to continue indefinitely, I rallied all my inner strength and begged God that he, the power who made everything out of nothing, might now reduce these things to nothingness and utterly undo the devil’s trickery. In this way I struggled for several days, and the Lord – who promised “Whatever you will ask in my name, I will do” – kept his word!
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p40-44: Several times during Blumhardt’s struggle there was a surcease, but following such periods the forces of darkness assailed Gottliebin with renewed vigor, as if determined to kill her. On one occasion, after she had wounded herself dreadfully and the wounds had healed, they suddenly burst open again. A friend hurried to Blumhardt with the message that every minute’s delay would be perilous. Blumhardt recalled:
At that I fell on my knees in my room and in my distress spoke bold words. This time – my faith had become so strong – I decided I was not even going to do the devil the honor of going to Gottliebin’s house. Rather, I sent a message back with Gottliebin’s friend asking her to get up and come to me, adding that with faith she would have strength to do it. Before long, there she was, coming up the stairs. No one can possibly know how that made me feel.
Around Christmas 1843, from December 24 to 28, the fight finally came to a climactic and decisive conclusion. In Blumhardt’s own words:
It seemed as if all the evil powers that had appeared before were joining forces for a combined assault. Most disconcerting was that now these sinister workings affected Gottliebin’s brother Hans and her sister Katharina, so that I had to fight a most desperate battle for all three of them at once. I can no longer tell the exact order of events; so many things happened that I cannot possibly recall them all, but those were days I never want to experience again. It had come to the point where I simply had to risk everything; it was a question of victory or death. Great as my own efforts were, I sensed a tangible divine protection. I did not feel the least bit tired or worn out, even after forty hours of watching, fasting, and praying.
Gottliebin’s brother was the first to regain freedom from his apparent posession – so much so that he could aid me in what followed. This time the brunt of the attack was not directed at Gottliebin, who seemed to be completely at peace, but at her sister Katharina, who up till then had not been affected at all. Katharina now began to rage so furiously that it took great efforts to control her. She threatened to break me into a thousand pieces, and I did not risk going near her. She also made continuous attempts to injure herself and slyly looked around for opportunities to injure those holding her as well. At the same time she kept babbling and ranting so horribly that thousands of spiteful tongues seemed to be speaking all at once.
Remarkably, Katharina remained fully conscious, and one could reason with her. When admonished, she would say she could not control her speech and behavior, and asked us to keep a firm hold on her to prevent her from doing something terrible. Afterward, too, she remembered everything distinctly, which depressed her so severely that I had to spend days counseling and encouraging her. Gradually, after much prayer, these memories faded away.
The demon inside Katharina did not make himself out to be a departed human spirit, but an eminent angel of Satan. He claimed that if he were forced to descend into the abyss, it would deal Satan a fatal blow, but would also cause Katharina to bleed to death. All of a sudden, at , a series of desperate howls issued from Katharina’s throat. Lasting for about a quarter of an hour, the cries were gruesomely forceful, and so loud that half the inhabitants of the village heard them. At the same time Katharina started shaking so violently that it seemed her limbs would come loose. The demonic voice expressed fear and despair mingled with tremendous arrogance and defiance. It demanded that God perform a sign to allow it to go to hell with at least some honor, instead of forcing it to abdicate like an ordinary sinner.
Then, at in the morning, while Katharina arched her upper body backward over her chair, the purported angel of Satan, in a voice no human throat could make, bellowed out the words, “Jesus is the victor! Jesus is the victor!” Everyone in the village who heard these words understood their significance, and they left an indelible impression on many. The strength and power of the demon now appeared to wane with every passing minute. It grew quieter, moved less and less, and finally left Katharina altogether unnoticed – just as the light of life goes out in a dying person –around in the morning.
At this point the two-year-long fight came to an end. True, there remained things to work through afterward, but that was like clearing away the rubble of a collapsed building. Hans, for instance, was subject to a few more attacks, but they were scarcely noticed by others. Katharina had occasional convulsions as well, but soon she, too, recovered fully. Further incidents were insignificant and unnoticed by others.
As for Gottliebin, she suffered from several renewed attempts on the part of the dark power during the following months, but these attacks were doomed to failure and did not claim much of my attention. Eventually she attained complete health. All her former ailments, well known to her physicians, completely disappeared – the high shoulder, the short leg, stomach troubles, and others. Over a considerable time her health has remained stable in every respect, which is a miracle of God.
Gottliebin’s disposition, too, has improved in a most gratifying way; her humility, her sincere and sensible way of speaking, coupled with decisiveness and modesty, have helped many others. I know of no other woman who can handle children with such insight, love, and patience. I often entrust my own children to her. During the past year she has taught handicrafts; now I am starting a nursery school, and have not been able to find anyone as suitable as she to direct it.
In 1850 Blumhardt commented on Gottliebin’s subsequent life and work:
Since she became part of my household, Gottliebin has been my wife’s most loyal and sensible support in managing the household and raising the children. Others can testify to her faithfulness in this role, and her effect on those who pass through the house. Everyone who knows her speaks of her with respect and appreciation. She has become nearly indispensable to me, particularly in the treatment of mentally ill people, who usually develop such a trust in her that they require little of my time. She is not employed by us as a domestic servant, for her gratitude will not allow her to accept payment for her work. Rather, she considers herself one of the family, as do her sister Katharina and her brother Hans.
Hans became the handyman in Blumhardt’s rectory, as adept at splitting wood as at dealing with mentally ill persons, for which he, too, had a special talent. Blumhardt fondly called him his majordomo. Thus the fight, which had for a time threatened to take on increasingly bizarre dimensions, ended for good. One consequence of the conflict was that Blumhardt found himself increasingly isolated. Friends all but abandoned him, and even his confidant, Barth, no longer seemed to understand him, as the following letter from Blumhardt indicates.
Now we pause for a moment. How are we hearing the testimony? Satan and his demons occupy a prominent place in the Bible and Jesus commissioned us, saying – Matthew 10:7-8: “As you go, preach this message, ‘The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick … drive out demons … ” Then, God admonishes us in the Bible to take up the fight against the kingdom of darkness as our core business – Ephesians 6:10-18: “ . be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power … take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms … be alert and always keep on praying … ” However, the testimony of Pastor Blumhardt and Gottliebin Dittus is confronting because of the warfare’s extreme nature. Who would have expected that the struggle for freedom would almost take one-and-a-half years? Who would have expected that a Christian woman would be attacked so ferociously by hundreds – if not thousands – of demons?
Maybe we can relate to some extent to the Pastor because he was not keen to be involved. The spiritual nature of this kind of warfare was as foreign to him as it was to his church superiors who would later distance themselves from him. Maybe it is foreign to many of us right now. It took years before Pastor Blumhardt began to pray for the deliverance of Gottliebin Dittus. At first, he felt helpless and defeated, saying: “I’m doing what any pastor does. What more can I do?” But then indignation seized him – inspired by the Holy Spirit – and then he shouted into Gottliebin’s ear: “Lord Jesus, help me!” He had seen enough of what the devil can do, now he wanted to see what the Lord Jesus can do. This was the turning point. Holy indignation made him enter the fight. What would it take for us to enter the fight? Do we feel holy indignation stirring in us when we see what the devil is doing in our midst – the Toowoomba region – with child abuse, drugs and homelessness, the filth on TV and the internet, the lies about the accidental nature of our creation, the demonic powers of the new age and witchcraft, etc. Under the power of the Holy Spirit do we get mad about the devil’s work and seek to destroy it?
Blumhardt learned to grow in his faith and he learned to appreciate the power of this simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, help me!” In times of desperation he was tempted to fight magic with magic. Why was the devil not being defeated by faith? Yet, he stood firm and persevered with the only weapons that we have as Christians, that is: prayer and the Word of God. Blumhardt also discovered that fasting enhanced the intensity of his prayers with the result that often breakthroughs came within a few moments and he no longer needed to be present with Gottliebin for long stretches. He learned to pray with increasing faith and Jesus’ promise became more and more real to him: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do” (John ). In him there was distress but also growing boldness. One time he decided that he was not even going to do the devil the honour of going to Gottliebin’s house.
The battle was dangerous. At the height of the conflict other people around Gottliebin came under the power of her demons (her brother and sister). Blumhardt knew that he had to risk everything. It was a question of victory or death. Yet, God was with him. He wrote: “Great as my own efforts were, I sensed a tangible divine protection. I did not feel the least bit tired or worn out, even after forty hours of watching, fasting and praying.” Finally, the most eminent angel of Satan conceded defeat. Out of the throat of Gottliebin’s sister – he bellowed: “Jesus is the victor! Jesus is the victor!” The two-year-long fight had come to an end.
There is more reality in this testimony than we often know. This side of eternity we are in a war. And right now – with what God is doing in our midst – with the glory that is being poured out on us – he is making us take on the enemy with his power. There is a war going on and you – right now – you may experience being in the forefront of it. Your health, your finances, your family, your sense of well-being is under attack. You (we together) need to stand your ground – persevere – pray with fasting and hold on to the Word of God – until victory in Jesus’ name is yours. Even this week someone from this church thought about taking her life. This is the journey that we are on. The deeper we get into God, the more Satan is stirred up because we are becoming more dangerous to him – through Jubilee ministries, our prayers, mission trips, etc.
I come back to the testimony of Pastor Blumhardt. Something surprising and unexpected happened after Gottliebin Dittus became absolutely free.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007,
fight came to an end on
Because of its raw drama, Blumhardt’s fight for Gottliebin’s soul tended to interest his contemporaries more than the awakening that followed. This pained Blumhardt. When an old friend begged him for a copy of An Account of Gottliebin Dittus’ Illness, he handed it over only after some hesitation, reminding him, “But you know, this is not Möttlingen!” To Blumhardt, Möttlingen’s significance lay in the change it experienced after the fight, not in the notoriety it gained because of the fight itself.
Blumhardt’s fight had engendered a sober mood in his congregation, but its impact was greatest on him, his family, and his two closest supporters, the Mayor Kraushaar and Mose Stanger. For them, as well as for Gottliebin, it was a time of judgment and repentance. Insights kept coming to them from the Bible, and the new awareness they brought was piercing and punishing. “We were being curried with an iron comb,” one of them said. Already before the fight in 1841, the first harbinger of the awakening showed itself – in Blumhardt’s confirmation classes. He told of one striking incident:
With my twenty or so pupils sitting around me, I noticed that one of the boys – a troublemaker whom some had written off as a lost cause – was crying. Tears were streaming down his face. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I had him stay behind after class and asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why are you crying?” Trustingly, he told me he had heard a voice whisper in his ear, “Your sins are forgiven.” I never expected anything like that and cannot recall any similar occurrence. From then on, the boy was a completely different person.
Then, on Good Friday 1842, just before the beginning of the fight, Blumhardt sensed another breakthrough. At the time church attendance was fair at Möttlingen, even at the notoriously independent parish branch of Haugstett. But everyone slept in church.
Blumhardt tended to be lenient with people who couldn’t keep their eyes open while he preached. If hard work, sleeplessness, or sickness was to blame, he would likely tell them, “Have a little snooze then! It will do you good, and afterward you can be more attentive.” But he also said, “Some of them are sleeping simply because they are satisfied with who they are. They think they know everything, and if they hear anything new, it only annoys them. They are not ready for a new burst of life. And what can you say in cases like that? You just have to let them sleep.”
But this Good Friday, sitting in the sacristy before the service, Blumhardt couldn’t bear the thought of watching his congregation snooze on such a holy day. Desperate, he cried to God from the depths of his heart, and felt he was heard. Then he went out, fortified, scrapped his prepared sermon and preached instead on John 19:26–27: “Woman, behold, your son… Behold, your mother!” According to those who were there, Blumhardt spoke so passionately about the Savior’s love of his own that the drooping heads popped up one by one in surprise; people began to listen and, captivated, went on listening. The sleepiness was gone, never to return.
The real awakening, however, started around Christmas 1843, on that last decisive night of the fight when so many heard the cry, “Jesus is the victor!” The following morning others up and down the valley reported hearing, at the same hour, mournful cries of, “Into the abyss! Into the abyss!” Everybody was disquieted. Blumhardt reported: “They don’t talk much about it in the village; but there is obvious amazement and trembling. One after another, they are coming to me and confessing their sins.” Again, it was among members of his confirmation class that he first noticed a new movement afoot. He received letters from several of them secretly confessing their sins. In his classes, the change was tangible. Without telling him, some of the boys even began meeting in one or the other house to pray.
As 1844 began, the movement spread to the adults in the parish. On New Year’s Eve a young Möttlingen man known for his revelry and his temper showed up at the rectory entrance. He had, in Blumhardt’s opinion, “a bad reputation and a nature so twisted that I avoided talking to him, for fear of being lied to.” Now this man stood shame-faced at the door, and asked Hans if he could see the pastor. “What do you want to see the pastor for?” asked a skeptical Hans. “Oh, Hans,” he replied, “I am miserable! Last night I was in hell. I was told there that the only way to get out again was to see the pastor.”
Hans took him upstairs to the Blumhardt’s study. Blumhardt offered him a chair, but he said, “No, pastor, I belong on the sinner’s bench.” Hans, realizing that the man was in bitter earnest, left the room. Blumhardt remembered:
Pale and trembling and not at all himself, he asked me, “Pastor, do you think I can still find forgiveness and salvation?” He claimed he had not been able to sleep for a whole week. If he could not get his burdens off his chest, he said, it would kill him. I remained somewhat reserved and told him straight out that until he confessed his sins in specific, I could not trust his sincerity. But I could not bring myself to let such a distraught man go without praying with him. Doing something I had never done before, I laid my hands on him and said a few words of blessing, which visibly comforted him.
Two days later the man returned. Blumhardt wrote to Barth, “Yesterday the poor sinner was back, looking so brokenhearted and distressed as he stood in the doorway that the sight of him made one of the housemaids weep.” This time the man intended to confess his sins, but still could not bring himself to do so. On his third visit he finally declared, “Now I am going to confess.” – and did.
He confessed his sins, with remarkable honesty, and it gave me my first real insight into the many evils rampant among our people. He was still greatly troubled, and my comfort had no lasting effect. He said that to give him complete peace, I would have to pronounce forgiveness in the authority of my office; he wanted to have his sins formally forgiven. Since I saw no reason not to fulfill his request, I laid my hands on his head and declared that his sins were forgiven. When he rose from his knees, his face radiated with gratitude.
This was the second turning point in Blumhardt’s life. The first – the response to his cry, “Lord Jesus, help!” – had led him into grim conflicts and only through them to a memorable victory. This time the reward fell into his lap unexpectedly. Blumhardt later wrote about this important moment:
I can never forget the impression that the absolution made on that man and on me. An unspeakable joy shone from his face. I felt drawn into a completely new sphere, in which holy spiritual powers were at work. I could not yet understand it, nor did I try to, but I continued to act in the same simple and cautious way when others came along.
As the visitor left the rectory, he cheerfully told Hans, “Now I must go back and to talk to my friends. They’ve listened to my dirty jokes; now they can listen when I tell them how they can find salvation.” And he kept his word. The next day he was back at the rectory, bringing along another man, just as remorseful as he had been. Same procedure, same result. Soon another came, and another.
A few weeks later Blumhardt was reporting that an influx of people wanting to confess kept him constantly busy “from in the morning until at night. Some whom I never would have expected sat in the living room for hours, silent and withdrawn as they waited their turn.”
Friedrich Zuendel: The
This became the watchword of his life: Hope and pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p75-76: Later he wrote again:
Everywhere consciences are waiting to be freed. People come streaming to me from all the villages around, and how happy I would be if I could say to them, “Go to your pastor!” I feel sorry for the people, but I am not allowed to do anything, and must turn them away. If only my Christian brothers had taken note of my concern…Oh, God knows how I feel, and how my heart burns for the whole world!
Despite the concern evident in this lament for people beyond his village, Blumhardt refused to encroach on other pastors’ spheres of authority. Because of this and because of the cool and unsympathetic attitude of many of his colleagues, what could have been a universal movement gradually took on the appearance of a local phenomenon tied to his own person. The elemental power of repentance and forgiveness that had awakened and gripped thousands ended up being put down as “Blumhardt’s special theory” and some of his theological friends almost regarded it as heresy. This grieved him tremendously. To him the awakening was an unquestionably auspicious event in God’s history, and he had simply been the one to experience it firsthand.
Blumhardt took particular offense to charges that he was returning to Catholicism, for he was a Protestant through and through, and deeply rooted in Luther’s spirit and writings. He held no animosity toward the Roman Catholic Church – it being one of the great historic forms of Christianity. But he knew that it was the abuse of the two main factors of the Möttlingen movement – confession and absolution – that had sparked the Reformation. Ever since then Protestants have been uncomfortable with these two features of church life, even though they are based on the words of Jesus: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18).
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p83: Already in the winter of 1844, when the people of Möttlingen came weeping to the rectory, some of them experienced the unexpected healing of their physical ailments, as well as inner peace. One, a man who suffered so severely from rheumatism in one thigh that he often fell, was healed after confession. When Blumhardt laid hands on him as a sign of forgiveness, he felt something slide from his thigh and pass out of his body, and from that moment on he felt completely well. At first he did not quite believe his good fortune, and kept quiet while he waited for the next bad spell. But it never came; his rheumatism seemed gone for good. Many such miracles came to Blumhardt’s attention. Each one encouraged and reassured him, particularly since the controversy over his pastoral work had isolated him from his fellow ministers, as described in the preceding chapter.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p85-86: Before long word spread and people outside Blumhardt’s congregation began to flock to him in search of physical healing. Every week new people came, and they went away thanking God for the help they had received. Infirmities of all kinds vanished: eye problems, tuberculosis, eczema, arthritis, and more. Similar miracles happened within the rector’s own household, though these were kept quiet. A person who was there at the time later said, “There were so many miracles that I can no longer recall the details. We felt the Lord’s nearness so tangibly that they seemed natural, and no one made a great deal of it.”
One Sunday a young man from a village an hour’s walk away carried his younger brother, a hunchback, to Möttlingen. When they came again the following Sunday, both of them walked, though the boy was still quite deformed. A short time later, however, he was straight and healthy. When asked what had happened, he said simply, “I had something on my back, but now it’s gone.”
One day a university student came whose eyes were so bad that he had to be led about, and so light-sensitive that even dim candlelight caused him pain. It was a Saturday, the day Blumhardt held a weekly evening service known for its intimate character, and Blumhardt invited the young man to listen in from the dark sacristy. This the man did, and when a light was carried through the sacristy to him at the end of the service, it no longer bothered him. By Sunday morning he was seeing so well that he could walk unaided.
At Easter a garrulous young man with tuberculosis came to Möttlingen from a considerable distance, certain that he would find healing during the holidays, even though his doctor had given up on him. Before the Sunday service, it seemed that nothing could silence him, but afterward he grew pensive. The sermon had pierced his heart like an arrow and he murmured to himself, “I have got to change; I must see the pastor.” Later, broken and quiet, he made his way to Blumhardt’s study. In the evening he appeared again, cheerful and healthy. He stayed another day, then traveled home and resumed work – at the same unhealthy occupation the doctor had declared to be the cause of his illness in the first place. There he remained well, indeed, so happy that he sang while he worked, and held his own in every way until he died two years later of unknown causes. “He became like an angel,” an acquaintance said of him.
Friedrich Zuendel: The
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p96-99: Blumhardt’s influence was a considerable nuisance for the local authorities. More than a few clerics and physicians complained that he was infringing on their rights. Besides, until 1848, the state government displayed such a marked aversion to “pietism” that lively expression of Christianity other than that sanctioned by the established church hierarchy was looked at with suspicion.
These difficulties were eased in two ways: for the authorities, by Blumhardt’s tact, and for Blumhardt through his various friendly associations …
In January 1846 the ministry forbade him to “include healing as part of his pastoral duty instead of directing people to the medical profession.” Blumhardt answered with a twelve-page document, which ended, “I shall no longer lay my hands on any stranger, nor let any stay here over the weekend. In short, I shall do no more than listen to their complaints, maybe give them some advice, and then let them go. But if miracles continue – for God will not let his hands be tied – and people continue to flock here, let no one charge me with disobedience.”
In May of the same year Blumhardt
accepted another considerable restriction in an effort to appease his embarrassed superiors. In a letter dated
Things are going forward despite an outward hitch. About four weeks ago I stopped allowing people to tell me of their ailments, and since then I have had to refuse seeing strangers privately at all. They have to be satisfied with attending my church services. I am doing this voluntarily, because otherwise I might lose everything. In spite of it all, much is still happening in the church, though the stream of sick people has fallen off considerably.
Around the same time he announced from the pulpit one day that he had promised not to accept visitors from outside Möttlingen into the rectory. But his matter-of-factness betrayed how heartbreakingly difficult was for him to accept his new restrictions:
You sick ones, just come to church, lay your suffering before the Savior, and listen carefully to the sermon. You are assured of my intercession and that of the congregation. There is no need for me to know your specific ailments.
People who had not heard the announcement kept coming, and when Hans would have to turn them away, Blumhardt’s eyes filled with tears: “The poor people! Gentlemen, officers, students, merchants – no one stops them. But the poor are not allowed in, they just get pushed around.” Of course, it wasn’t just ignorance of Blumhardt’s prohibition that kept his visitor’s coming. Many of them simply felt they had to see Blumhardt, and nothing would stop them.
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening, Farmington: The Plough Publishing House 2007, p121-122: As Blumhardt often pointed out, the significance of the power he had been granted went far beyond his work as a pastor or healer, and far beyond Möttlingen:
If someone asks whether everything God does through me is tied to my person or can be copied, I must answer that something has indeed been given to me as a result of the fight – and I doubt everybody can suddenly have it in the same manner. But I am convinced that it must become widespread, and that we should ask for the original powers of the gospel to be fully restored. For the time being, though, what has happened through me shows that we are justified in pleading for a renewal.
But until the heavens open up, that renewal will not take place. It is wrong to think that believing is all that is needed to experience apostolic times again. No, those powers can only slowly be won back. Christianity’s faithlessness and apostasy over two thousand years have aroused the Lord’s disfavor as well as an upsurge of satanic powers. The first thing that is needed is the conversion of Christendom.
Blumhardt never doubted that this renewal would come, or that it was worth fighting for. He had tasted victory, and through him many others had too. What God gave one village through one man who turned to him, he wants to give the entire world. Möttlingen’s triumph over darkness should give us courage to face our own demons, and hope to expect greater things to come.
When Gottliebin Dittus became free from Satan and the most eminent angel of Satan bellowed the words: “Jesus is victor” – not only Gottliebin – but the whole region experienced renewal – widespread repentance – and many miracles. This is an important – practical – lesson for us. The stranglehold of Satan in our community needs to be defeated before a fresh outpouring of God’s glory can be enjoyed.
Pastor Blumhardt offered the following explanation for what happened in the spiritual realm. What emerged was that soon after her birth – even at that early stage – Gottliebin was in danger of being carried away by invisible forces of witchcraft. Her mother often told her that – as a baby – she slept next to her in the bed. One night the mother became worried about her child and then cried out: “Lord Jesus, my child!” Then and there something fell to the ground at the door and it was her child – Gottliebin. Then the child came into the household of a relative who was feared as an evil person. This relative told Gottliebin: “When you turn ten years old (apparentl the age of induction into witchcraft), then I will teach you something right. If you just had a different name (Gottliebin means ‘loving God’) and had different god-parents, I would see to it that you attained great power in the world.” However, the relative died before Gottliebin turned ten years old.
Gottliebin created tension in the demonic realm because she kept resisting the
evil influences – which endured for
whatever reason – by putting her trust
in God and fearing God. Somehow the
Once these regional powers were broken, everyone else living in the region experienced a positive change. Repentance broke forth and the power of sin was broken in many other people and many other life circumstances. May we have the boldness and tackle the head-spirit over Toowoomba. This is not going to be an easy fight but I have the feeling that just like Pastor Blumhardt we are going to be confronted by increasing warfare – as God’s favour on us increases.
I close with what became central in Pastor Blumhardt’s life and the life of his son: “Jesus is victor.” Even the most powerful demon screamed out the truth: “Jesus is victor.” The Bible teaches – Colossians 2:9-15: “ … you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority … God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Pastor Blumhardt’s son writes:
Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt: Jesus Is The Victor, Farmingon: Plough Publishing House 2007, p1-2: It happened one day in Möttlingen, where my father stood in a fierce struggle with spiritual darkness, that he was walking in the countryside with several others from his congregation. He was so weighed down and agitated by the spiritual battle that his heart was ready to burst. Their path lay through a wood and across a large clearing. There they paused and my father said, “Let us sing a song I have written. It will encourage us.” He then recited to them the verse, “Jesus is the victorious King.”
Jesus is the victorious King
Who o’er all his foes has conquered;
Jesus, soon the world will fall
At his feet, by love o’erpowered;
Jesus leads us with his might
From the darkness to radiant light.
The voices of the people rang out heartily. But as they were singing they could barely believe their ears—they noticed that they were not singing alone but that an invisible chorus grew louder and louder around them. It was as though an unseen host of angels was surrounding them and singing together with them. Amazed and elated, they hurried home, where yet another wonderful thing happened. As my father entered the house of Gottlieben Dittus, who had been under demonic oppression and who had been so much a part of my father’s fight against darkness, she sang him the same song. It was as if the invisible singers had gone ahead of them to bring the verse to her.
This verse has become my battle cry and song of victory. True, the battles of that time have quieted down, but they have never ceased. Each year there are new battles, but Jesus continues to be felt daily, not only in our hearts, but also outwardly.
Jesus is victor – also in your life and the life of this church and wherever God sends us. Jesus is victorious and no demonic enemy can prevail against him. We take up the fight – with boldness. We will grow in faith, prayer and fasting, the power of God’s Word. We are determined to see the reality of God in our midst: Jesus is victor. Amen.
 Available on the internet. Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening,
 My account borrows heavily from
Friedrich Zuendel: The Awakening,
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9.
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die
Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in
Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p21-23: “ …
Mein Drang, der Sache ein Ende zu machen, wurde immer größer, und obwohl
ich jedesmal befriedigt scheiden konnte, sofern ich fühlte, dass die dämonische
Macht sich fügen müsse, und sofern die Person jedesmal vollkommen recht war, so
schien die finstere Macht sich doch immer wieder zu verstärken und mich zuletzt
in ein großes Labyrinth verstricken zu wollen, mir und meiner amtlichen
Wirksamkeit zum Schaden und Verderben. Alle Freunde rieten
mir, zurückzutreten. Aber ich musste mit Schrecken daran denken, was aus
der Person werden könnte, wenn ich meine Hand von ihr abzöge, und wie sehr ich
vor jedermann, wenn es übel ginge, als der Ursächer dastehen müsste. Ich fühlte
Nach jenen 14 Dämonen steigerte sich die Zahl schnell zu 175, dann zu 425. Eine nähere Beschreibung von den einzelnen Auftritten kann ich nicht mehr geben, da alles zu schnell und zu mannigfaltig aufeinander folgte, als dass ich Einzelheiten sicher im Gedächtnis behalten konnte. Nach dem letzten dieser Kämpfe trat auf etliche Tage Ruhe ein. Doch drängten sich des Nachts viele Gestalten um das Bett der Person, nach ihrer Aussage; und auch ihre Wärterin wollte um jene Zeit etliche Gestalten erblickt haben. Auch geschah es, dass sie sich in einer Nacht im Schlafe plötzlich von einer brennenden Hand am Hals gefasst fühlte, welche alsbald große Brandwunden zurückließ. Bis die Wärterin (ihre Tante), die im gleichen Zimmer schlief, das Licht anzündete, waren bereits gefüllte Blasen um den ganzen Hals her aufgefahren; und der Arzt, der am folgenden Morgen kam, konnte sich nicht genug darüber verwundern. Der Hals wurde erst nach mehreren Wochen wieder heil. Auch sonst bekam sie bei Tag und bei Nacht Stöße an die Seite oder auf den Kopf, oder fasste es sie an den Füßen, dass sie plötzlich, entweder auf der Straße, oder auf der Treppe, oder wo es war, niederstürzte, wovon sie Beulen und andere Schäden davontrug. Die schwerste Nacht hatte ich vor dem 25. Juli 1842. Ich kämpfte von abends 8 Uhr bis morgens 4 Uhr, ohne befriedigt fertig zu sein, wie sonst noch nie. Ich musste sie verlassen, weil ich eine Fahrt zum Kinderfest nach Korntal bestellt hatte. Als ich spät abends wieder zurückkam, hieß es, sie sei in völligem Delirium und nun als fast ganz wahnsinnig zu betrachten. Wer sie sah, jammerte; sie zerschlug sich die Brust, raufte sich die Haare aus, krümmte sich wie ein Wurm und schien eine völlig verlorene Person zu sein. Ich besuchte sie erst am folgenden Tag, morgens 8 Uhr, nachdem ich in der Reihe meiner täglichen Bibellektionen die merkwürdigen Worte im Buch Jesus Sirach (Kap. 2) nicht ohne Tränen und mit fast gebrochenem Herzen gelesen hatte: „Mein Kind, willst du Gottes Diener sein, so schicke dich zur Anfechtung. Halte fest und leide dich und wanke nicht, wenn man dich davon locket. Halte dich an Gott und weiche nicht, auf dass du immer stärker werdest. Alles, was dir widerfährt, das leide, und sei geduldig in aller Trübsal. Denn gleich wie das Gold durchs Feuer, also werden die, so Gott gefallen, durchs Feuer der Trübsal bewähret. Vertraue Gott, so wird er dir aushelfen; richte deine Wege, und hoffe auf Ihn. Die, so ihr den Herrn fürchtet, hoffet das Beste von Ihm, so wird euch Gnade und Trost allezeit widerfahren. Die, so ihr den Herrn fürchtet, harret seiner Gnade, und weichet nicht, auf dass ihr nicht zu Grunde gehet.“
Mit diesen Worten gestärkt, kam ich zur Leidenden. Bis gegen
11 Uhr schien wieder alles gut zu stehen. Allein des Nachmittags musste ich
wiederkehren; und jetzt ging es fort bis abends 7 Uhr, jedoch so, dass auf einmal
das Ausfahren der Dämonen durch den Mund anfing. Eine Viertelstunde lag sie wie tot da. Ich hatte alle Glaubenskraft
zusammenzuraffen, bis sie wieder atmete, während ich von der Straße herauf die
Leute einander zurufen hörte: „Jetzt ist sie gestorben!“
Nach manchen heftigen Zuckungen des Oberleibs öffnete sie jetzt weit den Mund,
und es war, als spucke sie einen Dämon um den andern
heraus. Es ging immer partienweise, je 14 oder je 28, oder je 12, und so schien
es bis in die Tausende zu gehen, ohne ein Wort von meiner Seite, auch ohne dass
ein Wort von den Dämonen gesprochen worden wäre, außer dass diese, wenn wieder
eine neue Partei kam, zornige Blicke umherwarfen. Endlich
hörte es auf; und jetzt schien eine bedeutende Epoche gekommen zu sein.
Mehrere Wochen kam so gut wie nichts vor; und G. konnte wandeln, wo sie hin wollte. Ich freute
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p27-28: “ … Indessen war die Arbeit jener Nacht noch lange nicht vorüber. Während wir noch umherstanden, auch Lobgesänge sangen, sank die Kranke rückwärts, wie sonst, wenn Dämonisches sie überfiel. Es kamen zornige Drohworte, bei denen ich aber leicht Stille gebieten konnte. Dann kehrte die Besinnung scheinbar zurück. „Sie können jetzt gehen!“ sagte sie. – „Kann ich aber ruhig sein?“ entgegnete ich. – „Warum denn nicht?“ fuhr sie fort; „Sie trauen einem auch gar nicht.“ – „So?“ sagte ich; „nein, ich traue Dir nicht“, worauf ich Hut und Stock wieder beiseite legte. Noch sprach ich ein kurzes Gebet, als es hohnlachend ausbrach und sagte: „Du hast recht getan, dass Du nicht gegangen bist; Du hättest‘s verspielt und alles verloren.“ Ich achtete nicht sehr auf das Gesprochene und sprach und handelte auf die gewöhnliche Weise.
Plötzlich brach mit ganzer Stärke der Zorn und Unmut der Dämonen los, und es wurde eine Menge Äußerungen folgender Art vernommen, meist mit heulender und wehklagender Stimme: „Jetzt ist alles verspielt! Jetzt ist alles verraten! Du verstörst uns ganz! Der ganze Bund geht auseinander! Alles ist aus! Alles kommt in Verwirrung! Du bist schuld daran mit Deinem ewigen Beten! Du vertreibst uns doch noch! Wehe! Wehe! Alles ist verspielt! Unser sind 1067, und derer, die noch leben, sind auch viele!“ – Von denen, die noch leben, hieß es: „Aber die sollte man warnen! O, wehe ihnen! Wehe! Sie sind verloren!“
Ich sagte hier dazwischen hinein: „Die noch leben, können sich noch bekehren; Gott vermag sie wohl noch zu retten! Denket ihr nur an euch!“ – Da erhielt ich mit starker Stimme die Antwort: „Siehaben sich mit Blut verschrieben!“ – „Wem denn?“ – „Dem Teufel, dem Teufel!“ – Von solchen Blutverschreibungen war später oft die Rede, besonders mit dem Beisatze: „Gott verschworen, ewig verloren“, als ob solche Verschworene keiner Bekehrung und Rettung mehr fähig wären. Doch schienen sie das mehr nur von sich, den Verstorbenen, zu sagen. Im gegenwärtigen Augenblicke zeigte sich bei den Dämonen nur Verzweiflung, weil der Weg in den Abgrund ihnen gewiss schien. Das Gebrüll der Dämonen, die zuckenden Blitze, die rollenden Donner, das Plätschern der Regengüsse, der Ernst der Anwesenden, die Gebete von meiner Seite, auf welche die Dämonen nach oben beschriebener Weise ausfuhren, – das alles bildete eine Szene, die sich kaum wird jemand auf eine der Wirklichkeit entsprechende Weise vorstellen können … ”
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die
Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in
Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p38-39: “ …
Unter mancherlei Erfahrungen rückte der 8. Februar 1843 heran. Da lag die G. fast den ganzen Tag
bewusstlos auf dem Bette, jedoch ohne dass es Besorgnis erregen konnte. Es
schien ihr eine Ruhe gegönnt zu sein, die aber mehr als
eine Entrückung ihres Geistes in fernere Gegenden anzusehen war. Ich berichte, wie sie nachher erzählte. Es war ihr, als würde sie von jemand mit außerordentlicher
meisten aber entsetzte es
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p40-50: “ … Mit dem 8. Februar 1843 begann eine neue Epoche in der Krankheitsgeschichte. Denn von jetzt an kamen noch entschiedenere Erscheinungen und Wirkungen der verschiedenartigsten Zauberei zu meiner Beobachtung. Schauerlich war es mir, wahrzunehmen, dass alles, was bisher unter den lächerlichsten Volksaberglauben gerechnet wurde, aus der Märchenwelt in die Wirklichkeit übertritt. Ich fasse zunächst alle Erscheinungen zusammen, die im Laufe des Jahres 1843 aus dem Gebiete der Zauberei vorgekommen sind.
Es zeigte sich, dass unzählig viele Dinge in die G., um das allein anwendbare Wort gleich zu gebrauchen, hineingezaubert waren, die alle den Zweck zu haben schienen, sie aus der Welt zu schaffen. Es fing mit Erbrechen von Sand und kleinen Glasstücken an. Allmählich kamen allerlei Eisenstücke, namentlich alte und verbogene Bretternägel, deren einmal vor meinen Augen nach langem Würgen nacheinander zwölf in das vorgehaltene Waschbecken fielen, ferner Schuhschnallen von verschiedener Größe und Gestalt, oft so groß, dass man es kaum begriff, wie sie den Hals heraufkommen konnten, auch ein besonders großes und breites Eisenstück, bei welchem ihr der Atem ausging, dass sie mehrere Minuten wie tot dalag. Außerdem kamen in unzähligen Mengen Stecknadeln, Nähnadeln und Stücke von Stricknadeln, oft einzeln, da es am schwersten ging, oft auch in Massen, mit Papier und Federn zusammengebunden. Es hatte öfters das Ansehen, als ob Stricknadeln mitten durch den Kopf gezogen wären, von einem Ohr bis zum andern; und es kamen das eine Mal einzelne fingerlange Stücke zum Ohr heraus; ein andermal konnte ich es unter der Handauflegung fühlen und hören, wie die Nadeln im Kopf zerbrachen oder sich drehten und zusammenbogen. Jenes waren stählerne Nadeln, die sodann langsam in kleineren Stücken sich gegen den Schlund hinspielten und zum Munde herauskamen; dieses eiserne, die sich biegen ließen und endlich, drei- bis viermal gebogen, doch ganz, ihren Ausweg gleichfalls durch den Mund fanden. Auch aus der Nase zog ich viele Stecknadeln hervor, die sich von oben herab, da ich sie über dem Nasenbein zuerst querliegend fühlte, allmählich, mit der Spitze abwärts gerichtet, herabspielten.
Einmal kamen 15 solcher Nadeln auf einmal mit solcher Heftigkeit zur Nase heraus, dass sie sämtlich in der vorgehaltenen Hand der G. stecken blieben. Ein andermal klagte sie sehr über Kopfschmerz, und als ich die Hand aufgelegt hatte, sah ich überall weiße Punkte vorschimmern. Es waren 12 Stecknadeln, die bis zur Hälfte noch im Kopfe steckten und einzeln von mir herausgezogen wurden, wobei sie jedesmal durch ein Zucken die Schmerzen kund gab. Aus dem Auge zog ich einmal zwei, dann wieder vier Stecknadeln heraus, die lange unter den Augenlidern umherspielten, bis sie ein wenig vorragten, um sachte herausgezogen zu werden. Nähnadeln zog ich ferner in großer Menge aus allen Teilen des oberen und unteren Kiefers hervor. Sie fühlte dabei zuerst unerhörte Zahnschmerzen, und man konnte lange nichts sehen, bis sich endlich die Spitzen anfühlen ließen. Dann rückten sie immer weiter hervor, und wenn ich sie endlich anfassen konnte, brauchte es noch großer Anstrengung, bis sie ganz herauskamen. Zwei alte fingerlange und verbogene Drahtstücke zeigten sich sogar in der Zunge, und es kostete Zeit und Mühe, bis sie völlig herausgenommen waren. Um den ganzen Leib ferner waren unter der Haut zwei lange, vielfach verbogene Drahtstücke eingewunden, und ich brauchte mit meiner Frau wohl eine Stunde dazu, bis sie ganz da waren, und mehr als einmal fiel sie dabei, wie dies überhaupt oft der Fall war, in Ohnmacht. Sonst kamen aus allen Teilen des Oberleibes ganze und halbe Stricknadeln so häufig zu verschiedenen Zeiten, dass ich im ganzen wenigstens zu 30 schätzen darf. Sie kamen teils quer, teils senkrecht heraus, nach letzterer Art namentlich öfters mitten aus der Herzgrube. Wenn die Nadeln oft schon zur Hälfte da waren, hatte ich doch noch eine halbe Stunde mit aller Kraft zu ziehen. Auch andere Dinge, Nadeln verschiedener Art, große Glasstücke, Steinchen, einmal ein langes Eisenstück, kamen aus dem Oberleibe. Ich kann es wahrlich niemand übelnehmen, der misstrauisch gegen obige Mitteilungen wird; denn es geht zu sehr über alles Denken und Begreifen. Aber die fast ein ganzes Jahr hindurch fortgesetzten Beobachtungen und Erfahrungen, bei welchen ich immer mehrere Augenzeugen hatte, worauf ich, schon um üblen Gerüchten vorzubeugen, strenge hielt, lassen mich kühn und frei die Sachen erzählen, indem ich völlig versichert bin, was ich schon vermöge des Charakters der G. sein müsste, dass nicht der geringste Betrug obwaltet noch obwalten konnte. So oft ich sie in jener Zeit besuchte, gerufen oder ungerufen, regte sich wieder etwas; und nach einiger Zeit arbeitete sich ein Zauberstück aus irgendeinem Teile des Leibes hervor. Der Schmerz war jedesmal fürchterlich, und fast immer so, dass sie mehr oder weniger die Besinnung verlor. Ja, in der Regel sagte sie: „Das mache ich nicht durch, das ist mein Tod!“ Alles aber wurde bloß durch das Gebet herausgebracht. Wenn sie zu klagen anfing, dass sie irgendwo Schmerzen fühle, so durfte ich nur die Hand, gewöhnlich dem Kopfe, auflegen; und, durch lange Erfahrung im Glauben geübt, war ich versichert, jedesmal sogleich die Wirkung des Gebets, das ich mit kurzen Worten aussprach, zu erfahren. Sie fühlte auch alsbald, dass die Sache sich bewegte oder drehte und einen Ausweg suchte.
Durch die äußere Haut ging es am schwersten, und man fühlte es oft lange, wie sich von innen heraus etwas vordrückte. Blut floss niemals; auch wurde keine Wunde verursacht, und höchstens konnte man noch eine Weile den Ort erkennen, von dem sich etwas herausgearbeitet hatte, sobald alles durch bloßes Gebet vor sich ging. Bisweilen aber schnitt sie sich, vom Schmerze überwältigt, mit einem Messer ohne mein Beisein die Haut auf, und diese Wunden waren fast nicht mehr zu heilen. Der Gegenstände sind es zu viele, als dass ich sie alle aufzählen könnte; und ich erwähne nur noch das, dass auch lebendige Tiere, welche ich jedoch selbst zu sehen nicht Gelegenheit bekam, aus dem Munde kamen, einmal vier der größten Heuschrecken, die sodann noch lebendig auf die Wiese gebracht wurden, wo sie alsbald forthüpften, ein andermal 6-8 Fledermäuse, deren eine totgeschlagen wurde, während die andern sich schnell verkrochen, wieder einmal ein mächtig großer Frosch, der ihr durch eine Freundin aus dem Hals gezogen wurde, und endlich eine geheimnisvolle Schlange, eine Natter, wie es scheint, der gefährlichsten Art, die nur G., sonst niemand, flüchtig sah. (Doch glaubte ich einen rasch hinfahrenden blinkenden Schimmerstreifen vom Munde aus über das Bett hin wahrzunehmen.) Diese Natter verursachte ihr, nachdem sie aus dem Munde gekommen war, bald nachher eine Wunde an dem Hals, ein andermal stach sie sie, während sie mit der Familie zu Tische saß, so heftig in den Fuß, dass das Bluten fast nimmer aufhören wollte. Beide Wunden machten ihr wohl ein Vierteljahr lang Schmerzen, und es war deutlich zu sehen, dass es gefährliche Giftwunden waren.
diese Seite des Kampfes nicht beschließen, ohne wenigstens einen Fall der schauderhaftesten Art spezieller zu erzählen. Zu
Anfang Dezember 1843 hatte G. ein Nasenbluten, das gar nimmer aufhören wollte.
Wenn sie eben eine Schüssel voll Blut verloren hatte, so fing‘s wieder an; und
es ist unbegreiflich, wie bei so ungeheurem Blutverluste das Leben erhalten
werden konnte. Auffallend war, dass das Blut zugleich einen
sehr scharfen Geruch hatte, aber immer besonders schwarz anzusehen war.
Der Grund davon lag in der zauberischen Vergiftung, deren nachher gedacht
werden wird. In dieser Not traf sie mehrmals der Arzt,
der zwar etwas verschrieb, aber wohl selbst schwerlich viel Hoffnung von der Wirkung
der Arznei hatte. Nun machte ich in jener Zeit nachmittags 1 Uhr auf einem Gang
zum Filial, der
könnte ich nicht alles erzählen, wenn ich Zeit gehabt hätte, ein Tagebuch zu
führen! Unter den vielen Kämpfen, die ich nach obigem zu bestehen hatte, machte
ich mir allerlei Gedanken über die Art und Weise, wie die Zauberkräfte etwa angewendet
werden, da es mir ein Bedürfnis war, wenigstens irgend etwas zur Erklärung mir
denken zu können. Natürlich fiel mir dabei ein, dass in Beziehung auf das Wesen
der Materie noch Geheimnisse obwalten, auf die die Philosophie mit Gewissheit noch
nicht gekommen ist. Dachte ich mir die Materie als ein
Aggregat einer Art von Atomen, wie sie von manchen Philosophen schon aufgefasst
worden ist, so wäre (stelle ich mir vor), die Zauberkunst nichts anderes als
eine geheimnisvolle, von der finstern Macht gelehrte Kunst, das Band der
einzelnen Atome aufzulösen, um so den Gegenstand, mit dem sie ihr Wesen treibt,
unkenntlich, ja unsichtbar zu machen und mittels anderer Gegenstände, z. B. in
gewöhnlichem Essen, dahin zu bringen, da es nach dem Willen dessen, der die
Kunst ausübt, kommen solle, wo sodann das gelöste Band wieder hergestellt wird
und der Gegenstand wieder als das
erscheint, was er vorher war. So konnte sich G. aus früherer Zeit gut erinnern,
dass sie bisweilen auf das Essen einer Suppe oder anderer Speisen sogleich
etwas Eigentümliches im Hals oder Leib gefühlt habe, das sie an eine
Verzauberung denken ließ. Einmal warf sie Überbleibsel von einem solchen
lauteten die Erzählungen der G., wie sie bei Nacht öfters habe Personen aller
Arten und Stände im Geist zu sich ans Bett kommen sehen. Diese hätten ihr,
während sie dabei immer bewegungslos gewesen sei, entweder etwas wie Brot in
den Mund gereicht oder andere Glieder ihres Leibes berührt; und alsbald habe
sie Veränderungen in sich gefühlt, die sich zu den später hervorkommenden
Gegenständen reimten. Jener Bretternagel und der kleinere Nagel, wodurch das
heftige Bluten verursacht wurde, wurden ihr abends mitten auf der Straße von
jemandem, der einen geistlichen Ornat trug und da wartete, jedoch nur
scheinbar, d. h. im Geiste da war, wie sie glaubte, durch eine besondere
Manipulation in den Kopf geschafft, wobei sie nicht den geringsten Widerstand leisten
konnte; und alsobald fing das Bluten an. Einmal traten des Nachts auf gleiche
Weise, d. h. als Geister, drei Männer vor sie, die einen giftigen Spiritus in
der Hand hielten. Sie konnte sich abermals nicht bewegen. Der eine öffnete ihren
Mund, der andere hielt sie am Kopf, und der dritte wollte ihr den Spiritus
eingießen. Letzteres geschah ein wenig, und um sie zu
ersticken, wurde ihr nun wieder der Kiefer zusammengedrückt. Der Dampf
des Spiritus ging aber durch die Nase heraus; und sie, die wenigstens imstande
war, noch zu seufzen, blieb gerettet. Als die Männer
merkten, dass sie nichts ausrichteten, schütteten sie das Glas über den Kopf
hin und entfernten sich. Am Morgen war die Nachthaube von einem gelblichen,
hässlich riechenden Stoffe ganz zerfressen und ließ sich leicht zerbröckeln.
Ein andermal, da sie wieder in ihrer eigenen Stube lag, hatte sie abends ihren
Rock an die Kammertüre gehängt, und die Schwester, die mit ihr in einem Bette lag,
wusste gewiss, was in der Rocktasche war, und dass G. nicht aus dem Bette kam.
Letztere aber sah des Nachts eine Gestalt zu ihrem Rocke gehen, aus der Tasche
ein blechernes Geldbüchschen, wie es die Bauersleute haben, herausnehmen nebst
anderem, dann vor sie damit hintreten, – und am andern Morgen wurden unter
heftigem Würgen Geldstücke und das Büchschen von ihr erbrochen. Dies alles
führt darauf, dass gewisse Personen die Kunst besitzen, im Geiste außer dem
Leibe zu sein, wohl nicht immer mit völligem Bewusstsein. Allein die
Gegenstände in den Leib zu praktizieren, wie soll das zugehen? Auch darüber
gewährt das einigen Aufschluss, dass bei allen den
Gegenständen, die eingezaubert wurden, immer noch ein verstorbener Mensch oder
Dämon mitwirkte, der allein die Kunst ausübte und mit dem Gegenstand in den
Menschen fuhr. So stellte sich‘s vielfältig dar; und so kommt es, dass die
Besitzung eigentlich nur um der Zauberei willen da war, und es sich nicht
sowohl um die Heilung einer Besessenen, als um die Befreiung einer bezauberten
Person handelte. dass aber die Gegenstände nicht wirklich töteten, wie die
Finsternis beabsichtigte, daran war eine besondere Bewahrung Gottes schuld, die
sich auf eine auffallende Weise mit dem Eintritt des Zaubers schon dadurch zu
erkennen gab, dass G. fortan zunächst wenig Empfindung von den Gegenständen, die
in ihr waren, hatte, bis die Zeit kam (manches muss über 2 Jahre in ihr gelegen
sein), dass diese wieder entfernt werden sollten. Daher ferner, dass ein Dämon
immer sozusagen der Wächter der Gegenstände war, kam es, dass der Zauber oft
erst durch meine Anwesenheit und besonders, wenn ich mich, auch abwesend, für
sie zum Beten bewogen fühlte, in Bewegung gebracht wurde, und dass in der Regel
vor oder nach Entfernung des Zaubers ein Dämon ausfuhr. Das aber bin ich fest
überzeugt, dass, wenn ich einmal einem Unglauben
Gesagte war Ergebnis vieler Erfahrungen und Beobachtungen und
beständigen Nachdenkens über die seltsamen Erscheinungen. Ich kann
Wesen der Zauberei hineinblicken ließen, noch weiter auseinanderzusetzen. Nach dem obigen wirkte zur Ausübung der Zauberei ein verstorbener und ein lebender Mensch zusammen. Durch die früher geschilderten Abgöttereien nämlich kann es geschehen und geschieht es auch leider bis zu einer schauderhaften Ausdehnung, dass ein Mensch, ohne es zu wissen und zu merken, im Geiste vom Satan gebunden wird, so dass der Geist, freilich ein psychologisches Rätsel, vom Leibe abwesend sein kann, selbst, wenn die Seele, wie es scheint, im Leibe gegenwärtig bleibt. Im Geiste wird er in Verkehr und Gemeinschaft mit andern, auf gleiche Weise gebundenen Menschen gebracht, sowie mit Verstorbenen, die auch mehr oder weniger im Leben sich gebunden hatten. Die letzteren sind es eigentlich, die die Zauberei ausüben; während die ersteren zur Herbeischaffung der Materialien angehalten werden. Wider ihren Willen müssen die Lebenden (so konnte es aus mancherlei Äußerungen der Dämonen geschlossen werden), die durch Sympathie usw., wie auch durch freche Flüche, durch grobe Fleischessünden usw. an den Satan gebunden sind, im Geiste diesem zu Dienst sein, wiewohl dieser Zwang nach dem Grad der Vergehungen in Abgöttereisünden verschieden ist. Ich wurde zuletzt von selbst darauf hingeleitet, mir ein gewisses satanisches Komplott zu denken, durch welches allmählich nach dem Plane Satans alle Menschen heimlich und mit List sollten von Gott abgezogen werden, damit so Satans Reich allgemeiner und Christi Reich vernichtet würde. Hier hatte die finstere Macht um so mehr Glück, weil alles in der tiefsten Verborgenheit vor sich ging, und wo sich etwas kund tat und merklich machte, niemand auch nur im geringsten darauf bedacht war, mit Mut und Glauben ihr entgegenzutreten. Die meisten sogenannten Hexen und Hexenmeister, denen man allerlei Unglück, Krankheit, Plagen an Menschen und Vieh zuschreibt, sind, was sie etwa in dieser Art sind, ohne ihr Wissen und haben höchstens je und je ein Gefühl davon, was sie im Geiste tun, ohne dieses Gefühl sich erklären zu können. Es sind also jedenfalls höchst unglückliche Menschen, und es folgt daraus, dass die Beschuldigung eines lebenden Menschen in der Regel eine Unbarmherzigkeit ist und von vornherein völlig verworfen werden muss, weil sie zu keinem Resultate führen kann, indem die Beschuldigten oft völlig unschuldig sind, und wenn nicht (ergänze: immer), doch in der Regel, wenn man sie auch, wie in Hexenprozessen geschehen ist, mit Marterwerkzeugen zum Geständnis bringen will, sich als unschuldig betrachten.
Ich danke Gott, dass ich von Anfang an von dem Grundsatz ausgegangen bin, keine Beschuldigung, zu der ich oft Veranlassung hatte, bei mir aufkommen zu lassen, und niemand für das anzusehen, wofür ich ihn hätte vielleicht ansehen können. Ich wäre dadurch in eine schauerliche Verwirrung geraten, in welcher Satan mit mir und meiner Sache gewonnenes Spiel gehabt hätte. – Wenn übrigens der gebundene Mensch von dem, was er im Geiste tut oder zu tun gezwungen ist, kein Bewusstsein im gewöhnlichen Leben hat, so folgt daraus nicht, dass er dafür nicht zurechnungsfähig ist … ”
 Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p40-50: “ …G. weiß schon aus ihrer Kindheit Umstände zu erzählen, die auf Nachstellungen hindeuten, sie in das Netz der Zauberei zu verflechten; und ich bedauere, sogleich aufs neue etwas berühren zu müssen, das in der Regel zu dem märchenhaftesten Aberglauben gerechnet wird, und das ich doch jetzt Ursache habe, nicht mehr so ganz wegwerfen zu dürfen. Sie stand bald nach ihrer Geburt in Gefahr, unsichtbar weggetragen zu werden. Ihre Mutter, die vor 10 Jahren gestorben ist, erzählte ihr oft, sie habe das Kind neben sich im Bette gehabt, und im Schlafe sei ihr plötzlich bange um das Kind geworden, sei erwacht, habe das Kind nicht gefühlt und ausgerufen: „Herr Jesus, mein Kind!“ Da fiel etwas an der Stubentür zu Boden, und es war das Kind. Dasselbe kam auf ähnliche Weise noch einmal vor. Die Kinder, an deren Stelle die Sage sog. Wechselkinder gesetzt werden lässt, scheinen, wenn die Sache einige Realität hat, nach Schlüssen aus einer weiteren Erfahrung dazu bestimmt gewesen zu sein, Zauberern in die Hände zu fallen und durch diese in das ganze Gebiet der Zauberei von früh auf eingeweiht zu werden. Solche abergläubisch lautende Dinge hatten für mich früher nie eine Bedeutung und bekamen sie in diesem Falle erst durch die Betrachtung über die mit der G. gemachten Erfahrungen. Bald kam das Kind zu einer Base, die allgemein als böse Person gefürchtet war, und die zu dem siebenjährigen Kinde sagte: „Wenn Du einmal 10 Jahre alt bist (dies der auch sonst laut gewordene Termin der Möglichkeit einer Einweihung in die Zauberei), dann will ich Dich etwas Rechtes lehren“; ferner: „Wenn Du nur nicht G. hießest und andere Paten hättest, so wollte ich Dir große Macht in der Welt verschaffen.“ Dergleichen Äußerungen kamen schon dem Kinde bedenklich vor; und unter den stillen Gedanken, die es sich darüber mache, fiel ihm jedesmal der Spruch ein: „Unser Herr ist groß und von großer Kraft, und ist unbegreiflich, wie Er regiert“, mit dem Sinn, dass doch Gott allein es sei, der die Welt regiere.
Die Base starb, als das Kind erst 8 Jahre alt war. Indessen wurden auch bei dem letzteren, wie eben der Unverstand des Volkes es zur Gewohnheit gemacht hatte, je und je sympathetische oder zauberartige Mittel bei Krankheiten angewendet, woher es kam, dass sie, wie andere, in einige Verstrickung geriet. Die Fähigkeiten des Geistes, die sie besaß, machten den Unterricht, den sie durch Pfarrer Barth erhielt, sehr fruchtbar an ihrem Herzen. Ihre lautere Gottesfurcht bewahrte sie vor noch tieferen Verstrickungenin Sünden der Abgötterei; und, durch fromme Eltern gewarnt, scheute sie frühzeitig alles, was daran hinstreifte. Indessen – ich erzähle nach den Ergebnissen, die sich erst im Verlaufe ihrer dämonischen Krankheit herausstellten – war sie eben doch schon gebunden, und in einem Grade, bei dem sie nach dem Prinzip der Finsternis im Geiste zur Plage anderer missbraucht werden sollte, ohne, wie dies immer bei geringerer Gebundenheit der Fall ist, Ahnung oder Gefühl davon zu haben. Ihr Geist aber, wie dies nach der früheren Darstellung möglich ist, widerstrebte den Zumutungen der Finsternis, was ihr den Hass der letzteren zuzog. Es entstand, wie es scheint, eine Art Spannung zwischen ihr und dem finstern Reiche; und dieses, das in sich selbst auch einig sein will, setzte ihr, als einer Abtrünnigen, nach. Es handelte sich nun darum, sie entweder wirklich in die Zauberei zu verlocken, und zwar in die tiefste Zauberei, weil sie nur so dem Satan gesichert zu werden schien, oder sie aus der Welt zu schaffen, damit durch ihren Widerstand dem finstern Reiche kein Nachteil erwachse. So war die Aufgabe der G., wie später die meinige, Treue und Glauben, Treue wider alle und jede Abgöttereisünde und Glauben an die die Treuen schützende Macht Gottes, auch wenn die ganze Hölle sich aufmache. Beides ging still Hand in Hand bei der G. fort, und dass sie in beidem Tag für Tag, ohne eine Ahnung von der Wichtigkeit zu haben, bewahrt wurde, schätzt sie jetzt als das größte Wunder, das an ihr geschah.”
Christoph Blumhardt: Sieg ueber die Hoelle. Die Krankheits- und Heilungsgeschichte der Gottliebin Dittus in Moettlingen, WBF-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-930730-33-9, p59-60: “ … Diese Vorgänge geben gewissermaßen den Schlüssel zur ganzen Geschichte. Es handelte sich vorerst um eine Seele, die dem Satan widerstand, obwohl sie sein Band bereits an sich fühlte. Sie fühlte sich nach der einen Seite, dem Satanischen, mit einer gewissen Gewalt festgehalten; und ihr Inneres suchte die andere Seite, das Göttliche. Jenem entwunden zu werden, musste sie Treue und Glauben beweisen. So entspann sich ein Kampf, der immer weiter und umfassender wurde, weil auch die Finsternis nicht nachgeben wollte, und weil auch im satanischen Reiche ein Glied am andern hängt und alles im engsten Zusammenhang miteinander steht. So konnte, so unscheinbar auch die Person war, welche Veranlassung dazu gab, doch allmählich die ganze Hölle aufgeregt, ja der Kampf gar die Ursache werden, dass diese einen nicht geringen Stoß rücksichtlich ihrer geheimnisvollen Kräfte erlitt. Nachdem G. in den ersten Anfängen Treue und Glauben bewährt hatte, ging die Forderung der Treue und des Glaubens mehr auf mich über, welche darin bestand, die Angefochtene um keinen Preis eine Beute der Finsternis werden zu lassen, was nur damit möglich war, dass ich kein anderes Mittel versuchte als das Gebet, das an die unsichtbare göttliche Kraft sich hielt. Auf das Leben der G. war es von Seiten des Satans beständig abgesehen, und zwar einmal schon darum, weil das Geheimnis des satanischen Betrugs immer weiter offenbar wurde, wie es auch schien, als ob das die Dämonen vornehmlich empört habe, sodann, weil die satanische Kraft der Zauberei, die auf dem geordneten Wege überwunden wurde, nach Wahrnehmungen, die sich mir später und besonders am Schlusse unwillkürlich und fast gewaltsam aufdrängten, Gefahr lief, für immer vernichtet zu werden, also eine Entfernung der Person den finstern Mächten gewissermaßen um ihrer Selbsterhaltung willen immer notwendiger schien. Was letzteres betrifft, so war es mit Händen zu greifen, dass jede verborgene Zauberkraft an der Person eigentlich sich erschöpfte. Um ihr wieder aufzuhelfen, wie wenigstens möglich schien, wenn sie gestorben, also der weitere Kampf unterdrückt worden wäre, wurden – man verzeihe mir den Ausdruck – immer wieder neue Batterien vorgerückt. Weil aber auch mir Mut und Kraft wuchs – mir selbst weitaus das größte Wunder, da ich es nur als eine für diesen Kampf mir unmittelbar gegebene Gnade Gottes ansehen kann –, so wurden auch sie zu Schanden; und ein Bollwerk der Zauberei um das andere musste niedersinken, bis endlich der Hauptschlag am Schlusse erfolgte, da das Haupt aller satanischen Zauberkräfte aufzutreten schien.
Ich gebe hier unerhörte Gedanken; aber der, der mir Schirm und Schild war, und der mein Inneres kennt, weiß es, wie langsam und ungern ich sie fasste, und wie schwer es mir, eben um dieser scheinbaren Bedeutung des Kampfes willen, die ich, wenn nicht das Ganze als ein fast sinnloses Rätsel erscheinen soll, unmöglich verschweigen kann, geworden ist, diese schriftliche Darstellung zu geben.
 Cf. David Herzog: The Ancient Portals Of Heaven, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 2008, p95: “ … One girl, whose mother was a witch, seemed to have embodied the actual principality of witchcraft over the city. When she was finally set free, the glory exploded even greater. Souls were saved all over the place.
As we entered the room of our hotel 30 minutes away, the lights and power of the entire region began to flicker off and on for quite a while. The Lord began to tell me that the last night’s meeting knocked down the principality. I discovered that after we left at about 3:00 A.M., people on the streets looked up to the sky and saw blue lightning like flame strike the earth and even the transformers, but they did not get consumed. The spiritual and physical power grid of the city had been touched aby the greater power of God. People began to hit the dirt and repent of their sins, including many who were in the occult. This led to a wave of more souls being saved for weeks after those meetings … ”