There are women who lived a life of indulgence, focusing their energies on themselves and the world and centering their whole lives and all the pleasure of life on external decorum. As a result polite society valued them more than others. From practice and habit they learned to behave in socially acceptable ways in order to tap into others’ desires and sensual pleasures. This they did under a pretense of respectability but with the desire to control. Consequently their lives became a sham and a lie. They attended church just as others did, but for no reason except to appear honorable and devout. Furthermore, they lacked any conscience and were very much drawn to immoral and adulterous conduct, so far as it could be kept hidden.
Their thinking remains the same in the next life. What a conscience is they do not know, and they scoff at people who use the word. They get inside others’ feelings, whatever those may be, simulating honesty, piety, mercy, and innocence, and using these as covers for deception. Whenever outward restraints are removed from them, they plunge into the most criminal obscenities.
In the other life, these women become sorceresses or witches, some of whom are called sirens. There they eagerly take up arts unknown in the world. They are like sponges that soak up wicked and cunning methods, for which they have such a talent that they put them directly into practice. The stratagems unknown in this world that they learn there are these:
• They can throw their voices, so that it seems as though the sound were coming from good spirits somewhere else.
• They can seem to be with several people at once, convincing others that they are present almost everywhere.
• They can speak as though they were many people talking simultaneously and in many places at once.
• They can deflect what flows in from good spirits and even from angelic ones and immediately twist it to their own advantage in a variety of ways.
• They can impersonate another by seizing on the person’s patterns of thought and mimicking them.
• They can induce affection for themselves in anyone by worming their way into the actual emotions the person is feeling.
• They can suddenly drop out of sight and turn invisible.
• They can create the appearance of a dazzling white flame—the sign of an angel—around their head, and this in front of a large number of spirits.
• They have different ways of pretending innocence, even causing babies to appear and kissing them.
• And they inspire the people they hate to kill them (since they know they cannot die) and then publicly accuse them of being murderers.
In my case, using consummate skill they dredged up out of my memory everything bad that I had ever thought or done. While I was sleeping, they talked to others exactly as if I were speaking, managing to dupe those spirits; and what they said was false and lewd. They have many other devices as well.
Their nature is so persuasive that not a trace of hesitation can be detected in it. For this reason their ideas are not shared generally, as other spirits’ ideas are. Their eyes are like snakes’ eyes, as people say, turning their unflinching, conscious gaze in every direction.
These witches or sirens are punished severely, some in Gehenna, some surrounded by snakes in a kind of assembly hall. The punishment of some consists in being torn apart and buffeted in various ways, with the greatest pain and anguish. After a while they are ostracized and turn into seeming skeletons from head to toe.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 831