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'Casting Spells': Man's Occult, Ouija Board Obsession Obliterated After Radical Encounter With God

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“I was very involved in the occult, channeling spirits, casting spells, playing with Ouija board six to eight hours a day — all of those things.”

That’s how military veteran and artist Timothy Gagnon described his early years, explaining how he descended into evil practices as a young man.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

Now, decades later, Gagnon is on a faith-filled mission, releasing his “Illuminated Messiah Bible,” an artistic look at the Scriptures that depicts Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, with the artist creating 66 illustration panels that come together to create a life-size portrait of Jesus on the cross.

The project is a major departure from his past interests.

“I was raised in a kind of — for lack of a better word — Christmas and Easter Catholic family,” he said of his background. “We didn’t really attend that much.”

Gagnon said he lived at the time as though God wasn’t an important facet or priority in his life. When he hit the sixth grade, he recalled an oral report assignment he was given. Unsure of what to do, he went to the school library and stumbled upon books on the occult.

That introduction to the topic led him into spell-casting, playing with Ouija boards, and channeling spirits, among other similar activities — things he did “all day long” and “all night long” with two of his friends who also descended into the same practices.

Gagnon said these spells weren’t empty practices — that something happened when he would engage with the occult. He said he and his friends interacted with three entities that claimed to be an angel, a demon, and a “lost spirit in purgatory.” In the end, it was a true encounter with the demonic.

“When I would cast spells, when we would channel spirits, we would experience supernatural events and things that we couldn’t explain,” he said. “It’s like a drug.”

One day, though, something happened that stopped him in his tracks.

“I was casting spells in my room and channeling spirits and I felt a presence that was greater than anything I had encountered before,” Gagnon said. “And I instinctively knew it was God approaching.”

He continued, “It was the spirit of God that was approaching me, and I was terrified.”

Gagnon said he assumed God was coming to kill him because of his occultic practices. So, he ran out of the house “in a panic” and went straight to a local Catholic church where he promptly entered a confessional and told a priest all he had done.

While Gagnon thought he could outrun God, he recalled feeling the Lord’s presence in that confessional.

“God started to speak to my heart,” he said. “It felt like every atom in my body was just shaking from His presence, and I remember Him saying to me, ‘Stop it. Enough is enough. Come and follow Me.’ And that was enough. I said ‘yes’ to God.”

Gagnon said he immediately stopped all of his occultic activity and had a “hunger for the things of God” and the Bible.

“I had this encounter with Jesus,” he said. “I had this born-again experience. But I didn’t know there were words for that.”

The relationship intensified years later, when Gagnon joined the military and met his flight commander, a Christian who started sharing his faith and witnessing to Gagnon.

“He gave me my first real Bible with no pictures in it,” he quipped. “And he started to teach me the Word of God.”

That’s when Gagnon started painting pictures from various scenes in the Bible. As the studies persisted, so did his artistic ability to recreate them. It set the roots for Gagnon to mix his art and faith, something he does in his new “Illuminated Messiah Bible.”

Decades later, Gagnon is helping inspire other believers through this special version of the Bible — one complete with his artwork.

“I made 66 messianic portraits,” he said. “Jesus in every book of the Bible. … Think of it like a painted devotional.”

Gagnon continued, “All of the 66 paintings — even though they’re individual paintings, they combine together and they form a 12-and-a-half foot cross.”

Find out more about the “Illuminated Messiah Bible.”

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.