The Profound Wickedness and Nefarious Arts of Infernal Spirits
In the same degree that there is wisdom and intelligence among the angels, there is also wickedness and cunning among infernal spirits…. In the life of the body the evil in the spirit of a man was under the restraints which are imposed upon every man by the law, by his love of gain, of honour, and the fear of losing them; and therefore the evil of the spirit could not then break forth and manifest itself, as it was in itself. Besides, the evil in the spirit of a man then also lay wrapped up and veiled in the outward probity, sincerity, justice, and affection for truth and good, which such a man manifested and feigned for the sake of the world. The evil lay so concealed and in such obscurity under these semblances, that he scarcely knew himself that his spirit contained so much wickedness and craft, and that therefore in himself he was such a devil as he becomes after death, when his spirit comes into itself and into his own nature. Such wickedness then manifests itself as exceeds all belief. There are thousands of evils which then burst forth from evil itself; among which are even such as no words of any language can express. It has been given me to know and also to apperceive their nature by much experience for it has been granted me by the Lord to be in the spiritual world as to the spirit, and at the same time in the natural world as to the body. This I can testify, that their wickedness is so great that it is scarcely possible to describe even a thousandth part of it; and also that if the Lord did not protect man he could never be rescued from hell.
The worst of all are those who have been in evils from self-love, and who at the same time, in their interior selves, have acted from deceit; for deceit enters more deeply than any other evil into the thoughts and intentions, and infects them with poison, and so destroys all the spiritual life of a man. Most of these are in the hells behind, and are called genii; and their delight there is to make themselves invisible and flit about others like phantoms, secretly infusing evils into them, which they spread around like the charms of the viper. These are more direfully tormented than others. And those who were not deceitful, and not so eaten up with malignant cunning, and yet were in evils from self-love, are also in the hells behind, but not in so deep hells. But those who have been in evils from the love of the world are in the hells in front, and are called spirits. They are not in such evils, that is not in such hatreds and vindictiveness, as those who are in evils from the love of self; consequently they have not such profound wickedness and cunning. Their hells are therefore more mild. (HH n. 577, 578)
The nature of the wickedness of infernal spirits is evident from their nefarious arts, which are so many that to enumerate them would fill a volume, and to describe them, many volumes. These arts are almost all unknown in the world. One kind relates to the abuse of correspondences; another, to abuses of the ultimates of Divine order; a third, to the communication and influx of thoughts and affections, by conversions, by searching looks, and by other spirits distant from themselves, and by emissaries from themselves; a fourth relate to operations by means of fantasies; a fifth, to a certain casting themselves out beyond themselves, and consequent presence elsewhere than where they are in the body: a sixth, to pretences, persuasions, and lies. Into these arts the spirit of a wicked man comes of itself, when released from the body; for they are inherent in the nature of its evil, in which it then is. By these arts they torment each other in the hells. But as all of these arts, except those that are effected by pretences, persuasions, and lies, are unknown in the world, I will not here describe them specifically, both because they would not be comprehended, and because they are abominable. (ibid. n. 580)