According to my good friend, Wikipedia, ‘possession’ is the “paranormal, supernatural, psychological and/or superstitious spirits, gods, demons/daemons (demonic possession), animas, extraterrestrials, or other disincarnate or extraterrestrial entities taking control of a human body, resulting in noticeable changes in health and behaviour.” You can get the same result after a several shots of Tequila, but that’s another story.
Many believe that possession has its roots firmly planted in demonic territory, but this is not always the case. Some mediums are apparently able to channel the spirit they are contacting and can effectively step aside in their own body to allow the spirit speak through them. An example of this is Margaret McElroy, featured in the You Tube link below, who channels a spirit called ‘Sister’. As far as I can tell, ‘Sister’ does not sound as if she’s one of Satan’s buddies:
I do, however, have my suspicions that ‘Sister’ writes the Queen’s Christmas speeches.
n the other hand, some possessions are not as civil as ‘Sister’. Melanie from Takeley, Essex, remembers her mother telling her about an experience her mother had in Trinidad:
“My mum held a Catholic Rosary Prayer group at our house. On one occasion, one of the ladies from the group seemed to be possessed by the devil or an evil spirit. She turned ‘crazy’ and stripped off all of her clothes in front of the entire prayer group while screaming and shouting (…) I know she made a full recovery as a couple weeks later she came to my salon which was based at our house to do her nails. I remember that as I was a bit wary at the time (as you can imagine!)”
Unfortunately, early psychopathology assumed that people suffering from mental illnesses were possessed by something evil and victims were often tortured to try to drive the demon out. Alas, it would seem that such events still occur even now, despite today’s vast medical knowledge. There are documented cases where individuals have been abused and even murdered by people who believe the victim to be possessed. In 1973, Anneliese Michel, a devout Catholic from Bavaria, Germany, became convinced that she was suffering from demonic possession. Medical professionals now recognise that Anneliese was suffering from severe psychiatric disturbances. However, by 1976, even Annelise’s parents became convinced that their daughter was possessed and two priests were brought in (at Anneliese’s request) to perform a series of exorcisms over ten months.
Tragically, in 1976 Anneliese died. The priests and her parents were convicted of negligent manslaughter for failing to seek medical attention for the dying girl, who was refusing food to ‘atone for other people’s sins’. Annelise’s autopsy report stated that she had died of malnutrition and dehydration after enduring almost a year of semi-starvation and exorcism rituals. It is clear today that poor Anneliese was mentally ill and not possessed, but the following video still makes my hair stand on end:
However, videos such as this aren’t quite as…um… convincing 🙂
©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2010