History Of Exorcisms In Religions Other Than Catholicism 

History Of Exorcisms In Religions Other Than Catholicism 

History of exorcism in religions other than Catholicism

Demonic Foes, A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession in the Modern United States.

Dr Gallagher’s forthcoming book will be the first mainstream publication by an experienced, highly credentialed American psychiatrist presenting research and case studies on church-referred discernment. In an endorsement of Dr Gallagher’s research, Joseph English, former Psychiatry Department Chairman at New York Medical College, stated:

“Contrary to a widespread impression, such phenomena (suspected demonic possession) not only continue to be reported in today’s world, but they still defy easy explanation as simplistically conceived medical or psychiatric disorders.”  

Two of the most popular books published to date on demonic possession are Glimpses of the Devil by Scott Peck and Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin. Both authors are deceased. Dr Gallagher describes his book as “a much broader treatment of the subject of possession”. He goes into the history of the concept, how to discern and which cases cause confusion, and describes people who may think they are possessed but are not.

Such people could be suffering from seizure disorders or other neurological disorders such as temporal lobe epilepsy. People hearing the devil’s voice might be psychotic and having auditory hallucinations. Others suffering from delusions that they are possessed might be bipolar, schizophrenic, or have drug-related conditions.

Dr Gallagher noted that borderline or anti-social people can have an internal battle of evil warring with a sense of decency. People who are suggestible and the histrionic may have the misconception that there is a demonic presence around them and/or that they are being manipulated by other people into believing that. Those with multiple personality disorders might have an evil alter ego that can be misinterpreted as demonic by “overly credulous or fundamentalist people”, according to Dr Gallagher. 

Demonic Foes profiles dramatic possession cases discerned by Dr Gallagher who gave their permission for their stories to be told. Julia is one. 

Discernment

The discernment process requires a broad spectrum of information. Dr Gallagher not only examines and interviews the victim but also speaks to the clergy involved and the victim’s family. A challenge of discernment is gathering enough information. If Dr Gallagher has enough history and information he says he can make a determination in one meeting with the victim. Sometimes it takes several meetings.

Dr Gallagher will want to know if the victim turned to evil, was heavily involved in the occult, or was a Satanist, which he believes is a rare phenomenon. He noted that this kind of history is typical of people who are possessed. There are other specific criteria used to evaluate for possession: the ability to speak in other languages, abnormal strength, paranormal ability, and the knowledge of secret things. What all those criteria have in common, he said, is that they are indicative of another entity being in possession of the person.

Dr Gallagher has heard demonic voices come out of possessed people when they are in trance-like states, which they go in and out of. When they come out of the trance they are more or less themselves but do not remember what happened.

The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond

The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond

Over time, people have offered inadequate explanations for the manifestation of possession criteria, Dr Gallagher said. For example, a theory is espoused that knowledge of hidden things really just amounts to a cold reading, which law enforcement officers can be trained to do by observing facial expressions. But the hidden knowledge of someone who is possessed is true esoteric knowledge. Julia, for example, accurately told Dr Gallagher how his mother had died. 

The Exorcism

Dr Gallagher has directly observed 100 full blown possessions over the past twenty-five years. He has attended a few hundred other exorcisms as an observer, none of whom were his patients. He only attends exorcisms where the team “knows what they’re doing”. And that includes proper restraint of the victim to prevent that person from trying to run away or attack the exorcist. In the United States, the victim must sign a legal form indicating they have agreed to the ritual. According to Dr Gallagher, when the demonic is accessed, the demon is in control and “would do all sort of things if not restrained”.

Attending an exorcism, Dr Gallagher says, is “spooky and creepy”. He draws a comparison to his experiences interviewing terrorists and criminals committed to an evil life. Describing himself as “pretty devout”, Dr Gallagher says he has people praying for him when he attends an exorcism and is not afraid because he believes he’s on the winning side.

He has heard victims speak in different languages, noting that demons know all languages. When priests are conducting the Rite in Latin, victims are clearly following along, Dr Gallagher said, and will often comment in English. An entity with a “nasty attacking personality” with one or more of the other criteria for possession is demonic. He said he had seen all those traits on one or more occasions. 

At one exorcism, the priest was reciting prayers in Latin, which Dr Gallagher knows and the priest knew, and the demon in the possessed woman was sarcastically commenting on it. According to Dr Gallagher, the woman had the equivalent of an education up to around age 14 and was not Catholic at the time. She had never been exposed to Latin. He said the following dialogue occurred: 

Priest:  “Credo in unum Deum (I believe in one God).” Victim/demon, sarcastically: “Well I don’t.”

Priest: “Tertio die resurrexit (he rose on the third day).” Victim/demon: “No he didn’t.”

Priest:  “Descendit ad infernum (on the third day Christ descended into hell).” Victim/demon: “And he’s still there.”

Priest:  “Ad vitam aeternum (life everlasting).” Victim/demon, wearily: “There is no life.” 

Dr Gallagher believes that demons have been observing human beings since the beginning of time. “They’re very, very smart. The intelligence level of a fallen angel, which is what I call them, is far superior to human beings. Which is why they denigrate human beings. They sometimes call us ‘monkeys’,” he said.

Eight people, including two nuns and two priests, told Dr Gallagher that Julia levitated during one of her exorcisms and he believes them although he was not an eyewitness. But he would not believe film or videotape showing levitation. “Demons are intelligent, malevolent, manipulative creatures. They aren’t going to perform for a camera. They know they’re being taped,” he said.

He does not believe in group exorcisms, which he says can potentially harm the merely mentally ill, preventing them from getting the medical help they need. For the truly possessed, he said, the ritual must be done privately not publicly. And he is opposed to anyone who charges for an exorcism as it goes against biblical teaching.

Dr Gallagher made it clear that he has discerned possession only in cases where it was already suspected. “The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond.” These victims, he said, should not be left to suffer because of the scepticism of conventional medical opinion. 

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