ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Possession Fact or Fiction?

Updated on January 30, 2016

Popular Movie Material

Movie depicting Jewish exorcism.
Movie depicting Jewish exorcism.

Recently I saw a film depicting an exorcism from a Jewish perspective. The movie The Possession was entertaining although like many other films, books and documentaries it leaves us with many questions. Do demons exist? Many people have belief systems where these concepts are indoctrinated into believers at an early age. Even those who do not believe in a supreme being will admit that evil exists in the world today. Atrocities are seen daily from the comfort of our living-rooms and many people find themselves growing immune to acts of tyranny, terrorism and war.

Is there a design behind those things we see and accept as the “norm?” Are there faces other than human we can attach to many atrocities that take place? Is the belief in demons or malevolent entities merely a way to deny the fact that within every man lays the capacity to be truly evil? Regardless of what your belief may be could a rite of exorcism still be successful if demons truly exist or are the rites purely based on the power of suggestion?

Is this the face of Possession?

Anneliese Michel 1973-1976
Anneliese Michel 1973-1976

Epilepsy or Demonic Possession?

Anneliese Michel was diagnosed with grand mal seizures in 1952 but by 1973 she and her family were requesting that an exorcism be performed. Anneliese and her family were devout in their belief system and thought that Infestatio (possession) was her real problem, Although those factors taken into consideration for possession: aversion to religious objects, ,displaying powers of the supernatural and speaking in tongues were not present the family persisted in their requests.

Anneliese not meeting all the requirements for an exorcism could not acquire permission from a bishop. Over time her condition gradually worsened. Annesliese began to attack her family members. She also started starving herself, drinking urine and defaming religious objects. Incidents of self-mutilation also started taking place. In 1975 the Bishop of Wurzburg assigned Pastor Ernst Alt and Father Arnold Renz to her case. They began a rite of exorcism which consisted of two sessions a week until July of 1976. The entities thought to be manifesting included: Lucifer, Cain, Nero, Judas Iscariot and Hitler. Various other lost souls were also recorded while the exorcism was taking place. During her last session due to pneumonia her parents had to coerce her to engage in the final stages of the rite.

Clip from The Possession-

Art Imitating Life-

After a German-Bishop conference she was deemed to have never been possessed. Anneliese’s believers persisted in the belief that she had suffered through a possession of multiple demonic entities. Eleven years after death her body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed but showed no evidence other than death due to a pulmonary embolism. The medical findings were ignored by those that believed.They continued to hold regular prayer sessions at her at her grave-site. Art imitating life the movie The Possession is one of many films based on the belief of possession. The Possession is a dramatized and largely fictional account of a young girl in need of an exorcism from a Dybbuk. According to the Jewish faith a Dybbuk is a malevolent spirit of a dead person which takes over a living host. Each organized religion seems to have a rite of exorcism suggesting that evil causes every culture to speculate on the influences of other-worldly manifestations.

No Answers.

Was she possessed? The movie the Exorcist had come to cinemas in 1974 and many believed she manifested increased symptoms shortly after. This would lend credence to the theory of suggestion although she was reported to have never seen the film. A theory also at the time was that she would have benefited from psychosurgeryanother controversial treatment. Developed in 1880 by Swiss psychiatrist Gottlieb Burckhardt it is also referred to as Neurosurgery for mental disorder (NMD,) modern use of the treatment did not begin until the mid-1930’s. Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz developed an operation known as leucotomy.

Psychosurgery or the surgical procedure developed by Moniz (leucotomy) is the interruption of nerve tracts to and from the frontal lobe of the brain. This operation was performed to relieve severe and otherwise intractable mental or behavioral problems from the patient. The results are marked changes in cognitive skills and personality. This was available at the time of Annilese’s illness as a alternate to undertaking the rite of exorcism. Medically Is going from possessed to zombie really a a valid treatment?

Come to Your own Conclusion

Regardless of how you feel about the subject of those possessed and the rite of exorcism most people can admit to the presence of evil in today's world. Can a person actually be possessed? This is a question that can only be answered by the individual. Strange incidents occur every day to people all over the world. Are these individual acts of personality change, violence and distortion of reality a sign of the demonic or they only manifestations of mental illness?

For some these threatening influences are working to defeat the spirit of mankind for others they are merely illustrations of the potential in us all to do wrong. For those that embrace the rites of exorcism perhaps are given hope and a belief that good can triumph over evil. Those that are skeptical also have their place in the equation. The belief that we alone are responsible for the evil in the world today can confirm our need for change. Believe what you may but also realize for every moment of darkness there is also a ray of light.

Where Do You Stand?

Do you believe in demonic possession?

See results
Depiction of Christ dispelling a demon
Depiction of Christ dispelling a demon | Source

Christian Rite of Exorcism

The most well-known rite of exorcism is The Christian or Catholic rite. Popular films such as the Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose have given the viewer an inside track on the mechanisms employed. During the Christian rite an exorcism is performed in the name of Jesus Christ. This is known as the Rituale Romanum and consists of strict guidelines for conducting the rite. The use of amulets, symbols and specific prayers are used to expel the demonic force.

Depiction of Rabbi performing exorcism
Depiction of Rabbi performing exorcism

Jewish Rite of Exorcism-

In the Judea exorcism the possessed and the possessor are addressed. it is a ritual of healing and preform by a rabbi who has mastered the practical art of the Kabbalah. A group of 10 mature men called a minyan join the rabbi in a circle around the afflicted. Psalms are used and the group recites the 91 Psalm three times and a shofar is blown (horn used in Jewish religious ceremonies.) varied notes and tones are used during the ritual in order to shake free the spirit. The rabbi and minyan then directly communicate with the spirit coercing it to leave the body.

Source

Hindu Rite of Exorcism-

The ritual of exorcism is directly related to the Hindus. One of the four books of Hindus (holy books of the Hindu religion) called the Atharva Veda holds the key to magic and alchemy. This book provides specific chapters relating to exorcisms. Hindu basic forms of exorcism are mantra (sacred utterance) and Yajna (worship or offering.) A recitation of sacred names is also employed and the reading of the scriptures found in the Hindus Bhagvata Purana is also used. Mental offerings given to the afflicted afford the ghostly apparition the opportunity to depart the body.

Ali and the Jinn, Golestan Palace, Iran, 1568.
Ali and the Jinn, Golestan Palace, Iran, 1568. | Source

Islamic Rite of Exorcism

The Islamic exorcism rite is known as rugya. It allows for the cleansing of an individual from black magic. A sheikh (holy man) places his hand on the person possessed and recites passages from the Quran which directly relate to the glorification of God. A call for daily prayer is also requested called the adhanj. The jinn (non-angelic beings) are then instructed to leave the possessed.

Man or Beast?

Evil Does Exist

Regardless of how you feel about the subject of those possessed and the rite of exorcism most people can admit to the presence of evil in today's world. Can a person actually be possessed? This is a question that can only be answered by the individual. Strange incidents occur every day to people all over the world. Are these individual acts of personality change, violence and distortion of reality a sign of the demonic or they only manifestations of mental illness?

For some these threatening influences are working to defeat the spirit of mankind for others they are merely illustrations of the potential in us all to do wrong. For those that embrace the rites of exorcism perhaps are given hope and a belief that good can triumph over evil. Those that are skeptical also have their place in the equation. The belief that we alone are responsible for the evil in the world today can confirm our need for change. Believe what you may but also realize for every moment of darkness there is also a ray of light.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.