Has demon possession been researched?

  • #1
Has demon possession been researched? Did science find anything convincing?
 

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Based on what I've seen, most "evidence" is anecdotal and in the domain of the Catholic Church. I have never seen any scientific evidence to support these sorts of claims.

I believe that stigmata is well documented but not for many decades.
 
  • #3
SGT
If demon possession is real, I doubt that it could be discerned from schizophrenia.
 
  • #4
I've seen footages of people being exorcised, and one of the was a petite young woman who was speaking latin and was being held down by 10 guys. From what I've gathered, possessed victims display an unusual amount of strength and the capacity to speak a diff. language. I'm sure they could study this further and find something

I've also read that on most cases, only less than one percent is really possessed
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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Author wrestles with 'the Devil'

Readers of "Glimpses of the Devil" might be tempted to ask, "What would possess a respected psychiatrist to pen a book about his work as an exorcist?" ..."I went to confirm my belief that the devil didn't exist," Peck said. "What happened was that my belief was shaken up - more than shaken up, it was blown to smithereens." [continued]
http://www.masslive.com/living/republican/index.ssf?/base/living-2/110577903962460.xml [Broken]
 
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  • #6
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Ivan Seeking said:
Based on what I've seen, most "evidence" is anecdotal and in the domain of the Catholic Church.
This is far from the case. Almost all "charismatic" christians believe in a literal devil and demon possesion. The main difference between Protestant and Catholic traditions is that Catholics practice "exorcism", while Protestant charismatics call it "deliverance". Demonology also exists in many other world religions. Piles of books have been published on the topic by honest people, but the interpretation of the facts is obviously open to question.

"Possessed" people tend to be wild, but I don't think they have any strength that can't be explained by a large amount of adrenaline and recklessness.

As for speaking different languages, this is usually impossible to verify because only the "demon" seems to know which language it is.

Some people feel better after being "delivered". My main concern is that the "manifestation" of demons is often invoked by the exorcist rather than being naturally evident. People can also experience fits (autonomic movements are often considered proof of the demon's control). This could be unhealthy or even dangerous.
 
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  • #7
arildno
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The "possession" phenomenon occurs just about only within a highly religious community with strict (so-called "moral") principles of living. In particular, those principles seeks a strong regulation of the members sexuality.
"Possession" is best regarded as the flip-side of the religious hysteria characterizing the whole community; a given individual can't take it anymore, and fashions his/her rebellion along the lines of rebellion they know of, namely as demoniac influence.

It is these communities which are the cause of this psychological disorder; each and every one of them ought to be disbanded. We don't need brainwashing institutions/communities and should oppose their formation wherever they are budding.
 
  • #8
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arildno said:
The "possession" phenomenon occurs just about only within a highly religious community with strict (so-called "moral") principles of living. In particular, those principles seeks a strong regulation of the members sexuality.
I'm not sure this is true of eg. African tribal communities that go to the witch doctor to get exorcised. It is probably more true of pockets of western religious communities. I think a scientific study could invalidate or validate your claim. I don't know if anyone has done a statistical analysis of where "possession" is most likely to be seen. I think Africa might just be a hot spot. I would guess it is closer related to the community's education.
 
  • #9
arildno
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And African tribal communities is not straight-jacketed in religious ideas of taboos and proper behaviour??

They sure are.
The sexual fixation is certainly culture-specific (most dominantly in Western cultures, I might have made that distinction); the harmful influence of religion is not.
 
  • #10
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Yeah, we don't have a religion forum anymore because the feelings were too strong on all sides.
 
  • #11
arildno
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jackle said:
Yeah, we don't have a religion forum anymore because the feelings were too strong on all sides.
Since religion is a load of nonsense, you're right: I feel no obligation to treat it with a respect it doen't deserve.
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
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jackle said:
This is far from the case. Almost all "charismatic" christians believe in a literal devil and demon possesion. The main difference between Protestant and Catholic traditions is that Catholics practice "exorcism", while Protestant charismatics call it "deliverance". Demonology also exists in many other world religions. Piles of books have been published on the topic by honest people, but the interpretation of the facts is obviously open to question.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: ...was my Catholicism showing. :blushing:

A long time ago I watched an amazing show about a young man from a remote village somewhere in South America. Of course he wasn't primitive in any sense, but life for he and his was a very simple farming life mostly void of today's modern conveniences. His village was small with perhaps a couple of hundred people, and he was very religious. I don't think he was strictly Catholic. Rather it seems that he believed in a hybrid version of Catholicism that resulted from the local culture.

As I remember the story, he had to go to New York city for some reason. I can't remember why he went...I am thinking that it was for medical treatment such as corrective surgery on a leg or arm. In either case, he was completely traumatized by the city. He had never seen so many people, and the traffic, noise, smog, the contant stream of people, and commotion in general terrified him. In fact, he was so traumatized by the Big Apple that after returning home he unable to function normally. He actually looked like he was in a state of shock. They ended up exorcising him and all returned to normal. Very strange. [reminds me of Nell with Jodie Foster]

This is not meant for jackle in particular as I'm just sticking this in here, please stay away from any religious belief debates or attacks. I know this is nearly impossible in this thread and I may have to close it, but if we all behave we might be able to continue without this becoming unacceptable. :smile:
 
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  • #13
Moonbear
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The_Professional said:
I've seen footages of people being exorcised, and one of the was a petite young woman who was speaking latin and was being held down by 10 guys. From what I've gathered, possessed victims display an unusual amount of strength and the capacity to speak a diff. language. I'm sure they could study this further and find something

I've also read that on most cases, only less than one percent is really possessed
Such unusual displays of strength also occur in methamphetamine users, so I wouldn't use that as an indication of "supernatural" influence. For that matter, so does psychosis and erratic, violent behavior.

http://www.nida.nih.gov/ResearchReports/methamph/methamph3.html#short

I don't think that's the particular problem, just ruling those out as symptoms that can be explained without resorting to the supernatural.

Here's another take on demon possession and exorcism:
http://skepdic.com/exorcism.html
 
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  • #14
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The only part of "possession" that is ever difficult to explain other wise is the ability to start speaking toher languages, particularly dead languages that noone outside of the catholic church would know (and i don't mean lay people either. Papal nuncios study languages such as attic greek and aramaic, in training).
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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franznietzsche said:
The only part of "possession" that is ever difficult to explain other wise is the ability to start speaking toher languages, particularly dead languages that noone outside of the catholic church would know (and i don't mean lay people either. Papal nuncios study languages such as attic greek and aramaic, in training).
Of course there's that minor issue that if the language is so obscure, there are also very few witnesses of the behavior who can verify it is one of those languages and not just random babbling. And if those few who can verify the language also have a bias toward wanting to perpetuate the belief in the supernatural, then we really don't have a reliable source of unbiased information on this. Perhaps we need to locate an atheist who studies ancient and obscure languages present to verify this information.
 
  • #16
Ivan Seeking
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Moonbear said:
And if those few who can verify the language also have a bias toward wanting to perpetuate the belief in the supernatural,
Possibly but not necessarily true. The Catholic Church has always made it very difficult to show evidence for divine or satanic intervention. It may be that any good priest would prefer to avoid such situations. Too much paperwork, long nights dodging vomit, all that nasty incense, the endless prayers sessions... Not to mention that doing battle with the Prince of Darkness is no walk in the park.
 
  • #17
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It happened to me once, scared the person that woke me up half to death, i was babbling and screaming in another langauge apparantly and gesturing wildly with my hands. But as far as i was concerned i was just saying 'whats wrong why are you staring at me like im insane' in a perfectly calm and rational manor.
weird 0_o
 
  • #18
Curious3141
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For me to ever believe that possession is anything but a psychiatric manifestation, unexplainable physical phenomena need to occur. And yes, I'm talking about sustained levitation without visible means of support, psychokinesis, teleportation or "poltergeist"-like activity, etc. not the vague and subjective "superhuman" strength. All caught on tape of course.
 
  • #19
arildno
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Well. I've never understood the demons' inclination to talk Latin.
What is it about Latin which makes it into an eminent demon language??
It beats me..
 
  • #20
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Curious3141 said:
For me to ever believe that possession is anything but a psychiatric manifestation, unexplainable physical phenomena need to occur.
Lets play The Lord's Advocate! What self respecting demon would be foolish enough to get caught on video? Next you will want one in a test tube. :biggrin:

The phenomena that puzzles me is that seemingly ordinary people can wind up blurting out nonsence about being the devil and taking on personalities that are out of their control. Does anyone have any examples of this happening outside exorcisms?
 
  • #21
Curious3141
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jackle said:
The phenomena that puzzles me is that seemingly ordinary people can wind up blurting out nonsence about being the devil and taking on personalities that are out of their control. Does anyone have any examples of this happening outside exorcisms?
I've seen tons when I was working a doctor in a psych hospital.
 
  • #22
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You see, all the demons in our society are locked away in secure units. No wonder nobody believes anymore.

:rofl:
 
  • #23
I was watching a special on the Exorcist and they were interviewing one of the priest who is the only living witness. He stated that on one occassion one of the glasses in the room actually flew and hit the wall.
 
  • #24
godzilla7
Re; posession

Personally I'm a bit dubious about any manifestations being evidence of Demons and by extension god, everything no matter how bizarre can be accounted for either by insanity or by esp etc. why do we have to have the demonic in posession the only thing being posessed is a lack of sanity surely.

I like the quote in the bible when the demon was cast out by Jesus, it's parting words were: 'call me legion for we are many', now if a "demon" said that to me in Aramaic,Latin or Swahili, I'd be inclined to be scared, but then there are many demons in the mind of humanity without looking for external ones.

Those who do not fight the demons within are doomed to fight them without, maybe the world simply needs to exorcise itself, cure for insanity anyone?
 

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