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Possession II

Updated on July 15, 2017

Let us now look at situations where a person receives intimation with regards to a future event. On the morning of June 28, 1914 at approximately 3.15 am Bishop Lanyi wrote “I awoke from a terrible dream. I dreamt that I had gone to my desk early in the morning to look through the mail that had come in. On top of all the other letters there lay one with a black border, a black seal, and the arms of the Archduke (Francis Ferdinand)”.

“I immediately recognized the letter’s handwriting, and saw at the head of the notepaper in blue coloring a picture which showed me a street and a narrow side-street. Their highnesses sat in a car, opposite them sat a general and an officer next to the chauffeur”.

“On both sides of the street there was a large crowd. Two young men sprang forward and shot at their highnesses”. “The text of the letter was as follows: ‘Dear Dr Lanyi: Your Excellency. I wish to inform you that my wife and I were the victims of a political assassination. We recommend ourselves to your prayers. Cordial greetings from your Archduke Franz. Sarajevo, June 28, 3.15 a.m.”

Having written the document, Bishop Lanyi dressed, called the household together, gave them the sad news that he had received and said that he would at once offer mass for their highnesses in his private chapel.

At 3.30 p.m. on that same day, June 28, 1914, a telegram arrived to say that the Archduke and his wife had been assassinated in Sarajevo. The crime occurred at 11 a.m., nearly eight hours after the Archduke had notified Bishop Lanyi of his own murder.

As aspiring parapsychologists, we need to find a determinant that will help us distinguish between intimations and alternate personalities that are a result of a person's own latent abilities and actual cases of possession, which is by virtue a difficult proposition.

In 1671 in Groton Massachusetts a young lady by the name of Elizabeth Knapp began to display signs of an alternate personality.

She was a servant in the Willard household, and without warning the sixteen-year-old began to act in a strange manner and would burst into inexplicable laughter or utter audible shrieks when asked what was wrong.

Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she had even complained of strangulation and had attempted to throw herself into the fire on several occasions.

Knapp would make senseless statements repeating the words "money, money," and sometimes "sin and misery" and her body would go into violent convulsions.

"Her tongue would be for many hours glued to the roof of her mouth, so that no fingers applied to it could remove it. Six men were scarce able to hold her in some of her fits, but she would skip about the house yelling and howling and looking hideous, her tongue being drawn out of her mouth to an extraordinary length”.

In his book, “Epidemiological Spirit Possession among the Maasai in Tanzania” Finnish author Arvi Hurskainen states that a large number of Maasai women experience possession at some time or other. “In a certain survey almost half (47%) of adult females had experienced the spirit possession phenomena and in almost half of the spirit possession cases the women had reproductive problems” - reproductive problems are among the over 100 symptoms of spirit possession.

In a case published in the East African Medical Journal, November 2000 edition, “E.D., a twenty-three-year-old single male from Kpando Dzoanti in the Volta Region of Ghana, a predominantly rural area of Ghana attended a general adult psychiatric outpatient clinic at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH). He was accompanied by his mother and other relatives who claimed that E.D. had been possessed by a spirit for the past three years.

“The onset of his “possession” was sudden and started just before his final examination at his college. He believed that a spirit had taken hold of him and that it had made him so forgetful, that he could not take his examinations.

He also started behaving “abnormally” and this included wondering around aimlessly in his village. He further claimed that he had no control over his actions.

In his own words …. “It was the spirit that was making me do it, and putting thoughts into my mind, which are foreign to my religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic." According to him he could hear voices from outside his head, commenting on his actions and criticizing some of them. He was certain that the voices were that of the spirit.

© 2016 Kathiresan Ramachanderam and Dyarne Jessica Ward

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