Demonic Possession & Exorcism (Updated)

Demonic Possession & Exorcism (Updated)

Aug 04

exorcism

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Recent News Articles:

• When Exorcists Need Help, They Call Him (08/04/17 – CNN)
• ‘The Exorcist’ Maker Says Vatican Let Him Film Real Rite (05/19/16 – The Local)
• Woman Possessed By Demons In ‘Portal To Hell’ House Reveals New Details Of Her Family’s Terrifying Ordeal (01/30/14 – Daily Mail)
• Mother Details Haunted House Horrors (01/30/14 – Inside Edition)

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Especially Important Articles on Pulse:

• The Ghosts of Japan’s 2011 Tsunami
• U.S. Exorcist-Trained Priests Overwhelmed With Requests

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Related General Links:

• The International Association of Exorcists
• The Catholic Encyclopedia on Exorcism
• Wikipedia on Exorcism

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Distressing & Hellish Near-Death Experience Resources:

Hellish & Distressing Near-Death Experiences (NHNE’s Formula Website)
Hellish Realms, Evil Spirits, and How Our Vibrations Create Our Experiences
Is There A Hell? (PMH Atwater)
The NDE & Hell (Kevin Williams)
NDErs Who Experienced Hell (NDE Stories)
Hellish & Distressing NDEs on YouTube (NHNE)
Wikipedia on Hell

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Books:

Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist’s Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption
By M. Scott Peck

In his 1983 bestseller, People of the Lie, Peck devoted a chapter to exorcism. In this astonishing new book, the megaselling author of The Road Less Traveled reveals his work as an exorcist and attempts to establish a science of exorcism for future research. Peck knows that many readers will be skeptical of or flummoxed by his report, and thus he emphasizes that he himself scoffed at the idea of demonic possession before encountering Jersey Babcock; Peck became involved in her case mostly to “prove the devil’s nonexistence as scientifically as possible.” But a comment by Jersey at their first meeting “blew the thing wide open.” Jersey, a Texas resident who believed she was possessed and who was neglecting her children as a result, said that her demons were “really rather weak and pathetic creatures” — a statement so at odds with, as Peck puts it, “standard psychopathology” that his mind began to change. Peck describes two cases in this book, that of Jersey and the more difficult case of Beccah Armitage, a middle-aged woman who grew up in an abusive family, married an abusive husband and was practicing self-mutilation when Peck took her case. Both cases result in full-blown exorcisms with Peck as the lead exorcist, and both, according to Peck, involved paranormal phenomena, including Beccah acquiring a snakelike appearance. Peck intersperses his calm but dramatic recitation of these cases with set-off commentary, and he concludes the book with a reasoned proposal for a science of exorcism (“An exorcism is a massive therapeutic intervention to liberate, teach, and support the victim to choose to reject the devil”). A report from what is to most of us a strange and distant land, Scott’s book probably won’t convince crowds, but it’s powerful and concisely written enough to interest many, and maybe to give a few pause for thought. — Publisher’s Weekly

People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil
By M. Scott Peck

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NHNE News List Articles:

As Interest In Exorcism Rises, So Do Questions (11/17/2011)

Don Gabriele, The World’s Most Famous Exorcist (03/12/2010)

To Hell & Back: An Ayahuasca ‘Cleansing’ With Amazonian Shamans (05/12/2009)

Does Satan Exist? Sides Square Off During ”Nightline Face-Off’ (03/27/09)

‘Child-Witches’ Of Nigeria Seek Refuge (11/08/2008)

Exorcist To Star In Reality Show (10/27/2008)

Family Resolves To Take Exorcism Case To Supreme Court (07/27/08)

Ritual Of Dealing With Demons Undergoes Revival (02/11/2008)

Vatican Denies Exorcist Expansion (12/30/2007)

Pope’s Exorcist Squads Will Wage War On Satan (12/28/2007)

20/20 Reports On Exorcism (5/15/2007)

Vatican Exorcist: Hitler & Stalin Possessed Devil (08/29/2006)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (09/20/2005)

Monk Indicted In Nun’s Crucifixion Death (06/20/2005)

Priest Unrepentant After Crucifying Of Nun (06/19/2005)

The Sex Demon Of The Zanzibar Spice Islands (05/19/2005)

Vatican Offers Classes On Satanism (02/18/2005)

More On Exorcism (01/18/2005)

M. Scott Peck: Glimpses Of The Devil (01/18/2005)

Pontifical University To Take On The Devil (12/9/2004)

Pope Has Performed 3 Exorcisms To Ward Off Devil (02/19/2002)

Report: Mother Teresa Had Exorcism (09/6/2001)

Creating False Memories, Exorcism Style (10/17/2000)

Archdiocese Of Chicago Gets Exorcist (09/19/2000)

Devil Defeats The Pope In Vatican Exorcism (09/10/2000)

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• Wikipedia on Anneliese Michel
The Exorcism of Emily Rose Movie Website

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THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE

Original Link

Anneliese Michel (September 21, 1952 – July 1, 1976) was a German college student who died during an exorcism. Her parents and the priests who carried out the exorcism were later convicted of manslaughter.

From her birth on the 21st of September, 1952, Anneliese Michel enjoyed the life of a normal, religiously nurtured young girl. Without warning, her life changed on a day in 1968 when she began shaking and found she was unable to control her body. She could not call out for her parents, Josef and Anna, or any of her 3 sisters. A neurologist at the Psychiatric Clinic Wurzburg diagnosed her with Grand Mal epilepsy. Because of the strength of the epileptic fits, and the severity of the depression that followed, Anneliese was admitted for treatment at the hospital.

Soon after the attacks began, Anneliese started seeing devilish grimaces during her daily praying. It was the fall of 1970, and while the young people of the world were enjoying the liberal freedoms of the time, Anneliese was battling with the belief that she was possessed. It seemed there was no other explanation for the appearance of devilish visions during her prayers. Voices also began following her, saying Anneliese will “stew in hell.” She mentioned the “demons” to the doctors only once, explaining that they have started to give her orders. The doctors seem unable to help, and Anneliese lost hope that medicine was going to be able to cure her.

In the summer of 1973, her parents visited different pastors to request an exorcism. Their requests were rejected and they were given recommendations that the now 20 year old Anneliese should continue with medication and treatment. It was explained that the process by which the Church proves a possession (Infestatio) is strictly defined, and until all the criteria are met, a bishop can not approve an exorcism. The requirements, to name a few, include an aversion to religious objects, speaking in a language the person has never learned, and supernatural powers.

In 1974, after supervising Anneliese for some time, Pastor Ernst Alt requested a permit to perform the exorcism from the Bishop of Wurzburg. The request was rejected, and a recommendation soon followed saying that Anneliese should live even more of a religious lifestyle in order to find peace. The attacks did not diminish, and her behavior become more erratic. At her parents house in Klingenberg, she insulted, beat, and began biting the other members of her family. She refused to eat because the demons would not allow it. Anneliese slept on the stone floor, ate spiders, flies, and coal, and even began drinking her own urine. She could be heard screaming throughout the house for hours while breaking crucifixes, destroying paintings of Jesus, and pulling apart rosaries. Anneliese began committing acts of self-mutilation at this time, and the act of tearing off her clothes and urinating on the floor became commonplace.

After making an exact verification of the possession in September 1975, the Bishop of Wurzburg, Josef Stangl, assigned Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt with the order to perform “The Great Exorcism” on Anneliese Michel. The basis for this ritual was the “Rituale Romanum,” which was still, at the time, a valid Canon Law from the 17th century. It was determined that Anneliese must be saved from the possession by several demons, including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann, a disgraced Frankish Priest from the 16th century, and some other damned souls which had manifested through her. From September ’75 until July ’76, one or two exorcism sessions were held each week. Anneliese’s attacks were sometimes so strong that she would have to be held down by 3 men, or even chained up. During this time, Anneliese found her life somewhat return to normal as she could again go to school, take final examinations at the Pedagogic Academy in Wurzburg, and go to church.

The attacks, however, did not stop. In fact, she would more often find herself paralyzed and falling unconscious than before. The exorcism continued over many months, always with the same prayers and incantations. Sometimes family members and visitors, like one married couple that claims to have “discovered” Anneliese, would be present during the rituals. For several weeks, Anneliese denied all food. Her knees ruptured due to the 600 genuflections she performed obsessively during the daily exorcism. The process was recorded on over 40 audio tapes, in order to preserve the details.

The last day of the Exorcism Rite was on June 30th, 1976, and Anneliese was suffering at this point from Pneumonia. She was also totally emaciated, and running a high fever. Exhausted and unable to physically perform the genuflections herself, her parents stood in and helped carry her through the motions. “Beg for Absolution” was the last statement Anneliese made to the exorcists. To her mother, she said, “Mother, I’m afraid.” Anna Michel recorded the death of her daughter on the following day, July 1st, 1976, and at noon, Pastor Ernst Alt informed the authorities in Aschaffenburg. The senior prosecutor began investigating immediately.

A short time before these final events unfolded, William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” (1974) came to the cinemas in Germany, bringing with it a wave of paranormal hysteria that flooded the nation. Psychiatrists all over Europe reported an increase of obsessive ideas among their patients. Prosecutors took more than 2 years to to take Annaliese’s case to court, using that time to sort through the bizarre facts. Anneliese’s parents and the two exorcists were accused of negligent homocide. The “Klingenberg Case” would be decided upon two questions: What caused the death of Anneliese Michel, and who was responsible?

According the forensic evidence, Anneliese starved to death. Specialists claimed that if the accused would have begun with forced feeding one week before her death, Anneliese’s life would have been saved. One sister told the court that Anneliese did not want to go to a mental home where she would be sedated and forced to eat. The exorcists tried to prove the presence of the demons, playing taped recordings of strange dialogues like that of two demons arguing about which one of them would have to leave Anneliese’s body first. One of the demons called himself Hitler, and spoke with a Frankish accent (Hitler was born in Austria). Not one of those present during the exorcism ever had a doubt about the authenticity of the presence of these demons.

The psychiatrists, whom had been ordered to testify by the court, spoke about the “Doctrinaire Induction.” They said that the priests had provided Anneliese with the contents of her psychotic behavior. Consequentially, they claimed, she later accepted her behavior as a form of demonic possession. They also offered that Anneliese’s unsettled sexual development, along with her diagnosed Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, had influenced the psychosis.

The verdict was considered by many to be not as harsh as they expected. Anneliese’s parents, as well as the exorcists, were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence and omitting first aid. They were sentenced to 6 months in jail and probation. The verdict included the opinion of the court that the accused should have helped by taking care of the medical treatment that the girl needed, but instead, their use of naive practices aggravated Anneliese’s already poor constitution.

A commission of the German Bishop-Conference later declared that Anneliese Michel was not possessed; however, this did not keep believers from supporting her struggles, and it was because so many believed in her that Anneliese’s body did not find peace with death. Her corpse was exhumed eleven and a half years after her burial, only to confirm that it had decayed as would have been expected under normal circumstances. Today, her grave remains a place of pilgrimage for rosary-praying and for those who believe that Anneliese Michel bravely fought the devil.

In 1999, Cardinal Medina Estevez presented journalists in Vatican City the new version of the “Rituale Romanum” that has been used by the Catholic Church since 1614. The updates came after more than 10 years of editing and is called “De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam,” otherwise known as “The exorcism for the upcoming millennium.” The Pope approbated the new Exorcism Rite, which is now allowed for worldwide use. This new form of exorcism came after the German Bishop-Conference demanded to ultimately abolish the “Rituale Romun.” It also came more than 20 years after Anneliese Michel had died.

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HORROR: THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN GENRE
By Peter T. Chattaway
Christianity Today
August 30, 2005

Original Link

Can a Christian make horror movies? Scott Derrickson thinks so. As a screenwriter — and a Christian — he has worked on quite a few films in the genre, including Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dracula 2000 and Hellraiser: Inferno, the last of which he also directed. His newest film as co-writer and director, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, coming to theaters on September 9, looks at first glance like more of the same.

But this movie is a little different. It is based on the true story of a German woman named Anneliese Michel, who died during an exorcism in 1976; the priest who tried to cast the demons out of her was charged with manslaughter. So the film is part horror story, part courtroom drama — and Derrickson says it will get people talking about God.

Derrickson spoke to Christianity Today Movies from his home in Glendale, California.

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Why would a Christian get involved in horror films, of all things?

Scott Derrickson: In my opinion, the horror genre is a perfect genre for Christians to be involved with. I think the more compelling question is, Why do so many Christians find it odd that a Christian would be working in this genre? To me, this genre deals more overtly with the supernatural than any other genre, it tackles issues of good and evil more than any other genre, it distinguishes and articulates the essence of good and evil better than any other genre, and my feeling is that a lot of Christians are wary of this genre simply because it’s unpleasant. The genre is not about making you feel good, it is about making you face your fears. And in my experience, that’s something that a lot of Christians don’t want to do.

To me, the horror genre is the genre of non-denial. It’s about admitting that there is evil in the world, and recognizing that there is evil within us, and that we’re not in control, and that the things that we are afraid of must be confronted in order for us to relinquish that fear. And I think that the horror genre serves a great purpose in bolstering our understanding of what is evil and therefore better defining what is good. And of course I’m talking about, really, the potential of the horror genre, because there are a lot of horror films that don’t do these things. It is a genre that’s full of exploitation, but the better films in the genre certainly accomplish, I think, very noble things.

How do you avoid what some might consider a fascination with evil?

Derrickson: It’s something I’ve thought a lot about. I think of this kind of material in an almost dietary fashion. It’s something that is potent and powerful and it’s not healthy for anyone to overindulge in it.

I would be concerned if one of my children were constantly watching nothing but horror films or indulging in gothic literature without the balance of other types of art and entertainment. I do think that’s a danger. C. S. Lewis had that very practical wisdom, well stated, in his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, when he talks about how the two great dangers, in regard to our thoughts about the demonic and the devil, are to think too much of them or too little of them. To be too afraid of them, to be too hesitant to engage in discussion or thought or art that deals with this realm, is to give in to fear; but to become fascinated with it and to indulge in the material is also very unhealthy.

So for me personally, I stagger the kinds of material that I do. I’ve written in other genres, and if I’m working on a project like the one that I just did, during the course of working on it, I don’t watch any horror films, I don’t read any scary literature, I try to fill myself with things that are a bit brighter, to keep myself personally balanced. But I think that both kinds of material are important for a balanced diet — at least for me.

It’s been said that The Passion of the Christ was very popular with horror audiences. Do you have any perspective on that?

Derrickson: I do. It’s very gothic, a very dark film. And I think there are people who just have an inclination to want to see material that deals with that aesthetic. And yet I think that film also ought to be regarded by Christians as a horror film. I think the crucifix is gothic iconography, and yet what I love about the horror genre, what I love about gothic iconography, what I love about gothic literature, is the potential that it carries to blend with it beauty and meaning. And when beauty and meaning are combined with the horrific, you get things like the cross, and you get things like medieval art, and you get things like Dante’s Inferno.

And it is something that American evangelicalism has abandoned, for the most part — to their own detriment, because I think the result is, we have left gothic imagery and the power of that aesthetic to Catholics and to non-Christians. Not that Catholics are non-Christians — I think most Catholics are Christians — but my point is that there is a great value in that aesthetic and people need that. I think that the history of the Christian church is one that is marked by an understanding of this. When I went to Europe a few years ago, I felt very at home there, and I loved standing in Notre Dame and looking at all the gargoyles on the outside of that building, and realizing that, as scary and frightening as they were, what I was looking at was something that was built to the glory of God.

How did your interest in the horror genre begin?

Derrickson: When I was in film school. I knew that I wanted to integrate my faith with cinema in some way that was relevant to the culture. And I was looking for a way to do that, and I had just re-read The Screwtape Letters, and within the same year, I read Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot, and there was a line in Lancelot that said, “‘Evil’ is surely the clue to this age, the only quest appropriate to the age. For everything and everyone’s either wonderful or sick and nothing is evil … God may be absent, but what if someone should find the Devil?”

It really started to resonate with me, that this was the genre where a Christian could connect with mainstream culture, and there was potential there to not preach to the choir — not even preach to the culture, but connect with the culture. And that is certainly what I have been trying to do with a lot of my work. And in the case of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I was very committed to not making a movie that was intended to give spiritual or religious or metaphysical answers to the audience. I really just wanted to make a film that was going to provoke the mainstream audience to ask themselves what they believe, and cause them to come away from the film provoked to think about and discuss spiritual matters and spiritual issues that I think are profoundly important.

Turning to Emily Rose specifically: I’m aware that there is a possession case and I’m aware that there’s a court case. Is the movie kind of divided like Law & Order? How does it balance these two elements?

Derrickson: They’re pretty balanced all the way through the movie. With Law & Order, the first half is a cop show and the second half is a legal show, and this one is really a courtroom movie all the way through and it is a horror film all the way through.

Is the possession told in flashbacks?

Derrickson: Yeah, it’s very inspired by Rashomon. And that’s a term that gets thrown around by filmmakers a lot, inaccurately I think, because typically, any time a film has a fragmented narrative and has any flashbacks, people talk about Rashomon. But Kurosawa is my hero and I’ve taught courses on his films, and I love what he does, and Rashomon is, I think, his second greatest film after Ikiru. And I think what is so amazing about that film is not just that it’s a fragmented narrative and not just that it has flashbacks, but that it really has flashbacks from multiple points of view that are not all compatible. And this movie does have that strategy at work in it. It is a movie that is looking at the past from various retrospectives, trying to extricate from that past what really happened.

This film is about presenting cogent arguments for two very different perspectives on this girl’s condition and her story, and I tried to have those articulated very well throughout the film. The goal is, again, not to provide any metaphysical answers for the audience, but to leave them asking themselves what do they believe about this particular girl’s case? What do they believe about the larger questions that her case proposes? Do demons exist? Is there a spiritual realm? How does God play into all of that? Is there a devil and therefore is there a God? Questions like that. And I don’t think that anyone can watch this movie without asking themselves what they believe.

You’ve got some really great actors in there — Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, and of course Laura Linney. Was it intimidating to be surrounded by so much talent?

Derrickson: It wasn’t intimidating because they were all such generous people. It was a really, really enjoyable experience.

When Laura Linney and I first met, Laura was very hesitant to do a movie with this title, I think. She had read the script and thought the script was really good and really fascinating, but she reeeeally had a lot of questions. We met and talked for maybe three hours, and she really wanted to know very specifically where I was coming from, and what kind of film I wanted to make. And I think, when we were finished, she was sold that this was not going to be an exploitive film but a classy movie, which it really is. There’s virtually no gore or blood. It’s not a violent film. But Laura just wanted to know that it was going to be intelligent and that it was going to represent various points of view and not just one point of view on the subject matter.

It was a thrill to watch them act, particularly the scenes with Jennifer; some of the possession scenes with Jennifer were just jaw-dropping to observe, to watch an actress do the things she was doing, and go as far as she would go. But then, also, the more intimate scenes between Tom Wilkinson and Laura Linney — that was a real delight for me as a director, and as a writer, to sit there and listen to them say things that I had written, and to watch them act. I had just never been physically in the proximity of that kind of talent, acting-wise. It was quite a thing to behold. I felt really privileged to do it.

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