Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, January 13, 2006

Are There Demons Among Us?

The answer is yes, if the rising popularity of exorcisms means anything.

Last month I spotted an Associated Press article about eight relatives in Mexico who believed two young family members were possessed by demons. The exorcism they performed ended in the death of both children. The story was so grisly it prompted me to do some research on modern-day exorcism.

Here’s what I found out: Demonic possessions – and exorcisms – are on the rise. An official Rite of Exorcism from the 1600s has been updated and translated from the original Latin. There’s even a bona fide International Association of Exorcists, which offers advice on how to distinguish mental illness from demonic possession. An exorcist convention last year in Mexico drew over 500 participants.

Unfortunately, it seems the “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME” warning labels are in short supply. Amateur exorcisms often result in the injury or death of the possessed. In Guyana, a woman was sentenced to ten years in prison after killing her friend in an exorcism rite that included beating the possessed woman with an iron bar. In England, a woman was whipped to death during an eight-hour exorcism ritual. In West Bengal, when a professional exorcist failed to help an ailing girl, her father tried a do it yourself beat-the-kid-with-a-broomstick remedy that killed the girl.

And then there are the more benign charlatans: In Germany, a young woman paid 5000 Euros for an exorcism remedy after a fortune teller convinced her she was possessed by evil spirits.

If the Devil’s out there, I’m sure he’s laughing.



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