Most of us have seen the movie The Exorcist and our minds have pondered whether exorcism is real or not. Let me take your on the journey of my thoughts and what I’ve learnt from my research into this often misunderstood phenomena.
Exorcism! What is it?
Exorcism is a religious rite aimed at driving out Satan and evil spirits from the soul of a possessed person. Thousands years back, many cultures practiced such rites to cast out demons from persons who were believed to be evil. Today, most religions claim that demons and evil spirits can invade a person and offer spiritual exorcism procedures to remedy the threat.
Exorcism links with pineal gland and third eye
The third eye is a mystical concept referring to a speculative inner eye which is believed to provide perception beyond ordinary sight. The pineal gland is also a mystery gland located deep inside the brain and believed to be a dormant organ that can be awakened to enable telepathic communication. This gland is occasionally associated with sixth chakra.
These two mystic organs are believed to have a connecting link between the spiritual and physical worlds. They are considered the most powerful source of ethereal energy available to humans. For instance, the pineal gland can be activated to initiate supernatural power which is capable of expelling any demons and evil spirits from an individual.
On the other hand, third eye sees beyond the physical world, therefore, possessed individuals can use it to look for ways to expel demons that have invaded them. Or could it be that people with the wrong intentions have opened their third eye causing demons to take advantage of their weak minds and possess them.
Movie The Exorcist And Effect On Society
The Exorcist is a supernatural horror movie released in 1973 by William Friedkin. This movie features the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon. It was the first movie to bring up the subject of demonic possession and controversies surrounding the Catholic rituals. It therefore instilled fear and terror in audiences.
Since its release, The Exorcist has had a negative impact on the society. There have been several catastrophic and strange occurrences which have made many people conclude that the movie itself is fact cursed. Read to find out its effects on the society.
• The movie is based on a real life exorcism event. It features a real life exorcism practiced by Catholic Priests. The practice was conducted on a boy who the priests believed was possessed by demons. The priests had to stop when the boy pulled a bed spring and slashed the arm of one of the priests. The boy’s family requested William to change the character to a girl to hide the boy’s identity.
• During filming of the movie, Ellen Burstyn who took the role of Reagan’s mother was injured when Reagan threw her to ground. Her injuries still bother her today.
• Actors Vasiliki Maliaros and Jack MacGowran died while the film was in post-production. This is strange as their characters died in the movie as well. Other characters who died during the filming of the movie include Max Von Sydow’s brother and Linda Blair’s grandfather.
• The shooting of The Exorcist was delayed after the setting area was destroyed by fire. Director William blamed the incident on a pigeon like creature with talons which flew into the equipment’s circuit boxes causing fire.
• Linda’s back got injured during the shooting of one of the possession scenes. It was reported that she was thrown out of bed. When the film was released, it was reported that Linda received several threats and the director had to hire several bodyguards to escort her to and from the studio.
• 10 years after the release of the movie, actress Mercedes McCambridge’s son murdered his wife and children. Mercedes had played the demonic voice.
• The movie was banned all over Middle East in what the administrators described as the power of evil in the movie.
Examples of modern day Exorcisms
• Father Gabriele Amorth and Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism practice on a 19-year-old girl who started to throw insults during the masses.
• In 2007, a young girl named Janet Moses died when a Maori exorcism ceremony was performed on her. She had fallen lift the curse and her family resorted to perform an exorcism practice which involved throwing water in the girl’s face. Janet Moses arrived at the hospital with her eyes oozing blood and eventually died.
• In 2005, Maricia Irina Cornici went to the Romanian Orthodox monastery to visit her brother. While she was in the middle of the mass, she started to giggle. The doctors diagnosed her with Schizophrenia but the priests and the nuns claimed that she was possessed by evil spirits. To drive the demons out, Father Corogeanu ordered an exorcism procedure to be conducted on her. She was left in isolation room and as a result died after three days.
• Michael Taylor, a member of Christian Fellowship Group in Osset started to behave badly towards Marie Robinson who was the leader of the group. He claimed that he felt the Devil was inside him. The local vicar performed an exorcism on him. Taylor did not belief that he was possessed but he was certain that his wife was. He therefore brutally murdered her, removing her eyes and tongue.
Roman Catholic Church and Exorcism
Today, the Roman Catholic Church still practices the rite of exorcism. They say that the practice of exorcism is in line with their Christian beliefs and practices. In the United States alone, it is believed that Pope has appointed at least ten priests to rid people of evil spirits. Their rituals involve the use of incantations, holy water, incense, bible verses, Christian symbols and various prayers.
The Roman Catholic Church has not practiced exorcism in secret. For instance, The Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry Sebastian D’Souza, openly told the Associated Press that he ordered a catholic priest to perform half-hour exorcism procedure on Mother Teresa immediately after her death in 1997. Doctors had identified heart attack as the main cause of her death, but the Archbishop believed that she had been attacked by the devil.
In 2010, Roman Catholic Church announced their plans of recruiting a number of exorcists to meet the growing demand for exorcist experts. They claimed that millions of their followers had became victims of dark arts, freemasonry, witchcraft and other dark forces, and therefore needed help to get rid of evil spirits.
Protestants and Exorcism
Most Protestant denominations also believe in demonic and spiritual possession, and therefore practice the rite of exorcism. A renowned sociologist at Fordham University, Professor Michael Cuneo, said that there are thousands of evangelical exorcism ministries across the world. Reverend Brian Connor of South Carolina also told NBC that dealing with evil spirits and demonic animates are some of the most overlooked aspect of biblical mandate.
These ministries refer to the practice as “healing ministry” or “deliverance ministry” where anointed pastors cast out devils and demons out of anyone who believes in Jesus Christ. They touch believers with their hands, which they commonly describe as laying on of hands, and perform various prayers over them.
Exorcisms: Could there be a scientific reason?
The belief that the devil and demons exits and can invade and harm people is largely a Judeo-Christian concept. Informed by the bible, which most scientists don’t believe in, most religions claim that human beings can be possessed by the devil and his demons. For example, believers of the bible recount a number of instances where Jesus cast out demons.
Therefore, the belief and practice of exorcism is purely based on religious content and not scientific reason.In India, there are multiple religious places which claim to remove “Shaitaan” or “Bhoot” that possesses a persons mind. Incidentally both those names mean Devil and Ghost respectively.
Many scientists now believe that such possessions are actually medical conditions. Schizophrenia causes huge imbalances in a persons personality and even now this issue is not understood a lot.
The world needs to wake up and education around this issue needs to be spread.