I hate mentioned before that I am absolutely fascinated by the paranormal and further the supernatural, therefore I view a lot of films and documentary that address these topics. I was watching a series on Netflix titled Paranormal Survivor (which I reviewed in a previous post) and in this particular episode a woman was possessed by a demonic entity and underwent an exorcism. I thought I would do some research regarding exorcisms and what exactly they entail, specifically after speaking to my ninety-one-year-old grandfather who was once in the seminary in Europe. He told me a select few priests are trained in how to conduct an exorcism because of the risk involved with the procedure, and after doing some research of my own, I can understand why.
According to Wikipedia, an exorcism involves the religious or spiritual practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from an individual, an object, or an area that is believed to be possessed. I would argue that a majority of persons associate exorcisms with Catholicism or Christianity, however, according to Wikipedia the practice also exists in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Different religions and spiritual beliefs perform exorcisms differently, and it is important to have a clear understanding of how the practice differs amongst different beliefs. For example, exorcisms in Christianity involve the exorcist using prayers, religious materials, gestures, symbols, icons and amulets to remove a demonic presence from someone or something, whereas in Judaism exorcisms are performed by a Rabbi who has mastered practical Kabbalah, along with a minyan, which is a group of ten adult males, who surround the possessed individual in a circle formation and recite Psalm 91 three times after which the rabbi blows a Shofar, which is a ram’s horn.
Exorcisms are an ancient practice and are used in a variety of religions and spiritual beliefs. A study conducted in 1969 by the National Institute of Mental Health discovered that spirit possession beliefs were supported in 74% of a sample of 488 societies globally.
While I cannot say that I have knowingly encountered someone who has been possessed, I certainly do not wish to at any point in my life. There is a multitude of information available via the web regarding the topic of exorcisms and possessions, and if you are at all interested in the concept, it is probable that you will better educate yourself by doing some research.