(The fllowing article is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views and opinions of The Spirit Seekers as a whole)

By Tony Harrington

I was on a message forum recently and someone posted a question about demonic possession. They wanted to know if it was possible for a child who had no dealings with the occult to become possessed.

They went on to describe that the child, who recently turned 8 years old, has begun demonstrating traits of demonic possession. They claim the child has fits of anger, spitting, biting and scratching. They state their child becomes despondent, growls and screams uncontrollably.

During these “episodes” his strength increases exponentially and his body contort and twists. He is known to use profane language and sometimes it takes hours for him to calm down.

The family is of devout Christian faith and the child is home schooled. They are obviously concerned for the well-being of their child but upon closer examination some interesting aspects of the “case” become apparent.

1)      They reached out to a message board of demonologists. Complete strangers with an impressive collective knowledge-base. The group immediately began spouting out what demons could be in possession of the child.

2)      The child’s parent (I don’t know if the poster was the mother or father) never once mentioned that they had brought their child to see a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or any other medical profession. By all accounts it seems they made their own conclusion that the child was in the throes of demonic possession.

3)      The family of the boy never mentioned that they had consulted their clergy. The poster did mention that one of the parents is an ordained minister and a pastor of the local church. Perhaps, because of this, they did not feel the need to consult a peer or outside source. Out of embarrassment perhaps?

Interestingly enough, no member of the forum stepped forward and told the parent the most logical thing to do. Get the child to a doctor. We are living in an age of science and reason. I know that science and religion can rarely co-exist. One is faith-based and the other removes God from the equation and backs up their findings with scientific fact and theories.

Theories are explanations not supported by concrete fact. Faith is the belief in something without proof. Is science and religion really that different?

I am going to take the scientific approach and say that the child is suffering from some type of psychological/psychiatric disorder. Before science was able to explain schizophrenia and multiple personality disorders, someone who would display two very different personalities at random was thought to be sharing their body with a demon or spirit.

We have scientific proof in the existence of psychological disorders. Occam ’s razor theory (When two conflicting pieces of information present themselves, the simplest and most logical answer is the correct one-paraphrased) dictates that when someone acts irrationally and uncharacteristically they could either be suffering from a medical/psychological condition –or- a demon has roamed the earth, found the child, taken possession of the child’s mind and body and controls their every action but only part of the time.

The simple and most logical explanation is the former. But, Occam’s razor theory is a theory after all and we already defined a theory as scientific explanation without concrete proof.

A medical diagnosis and treatment can provide some relief, but at what cost. The child becomes dependent on expensive medications and constant therapy sessions to maintain some semblance of a “normal” existence. But what happens when the tests come back negative for any signs of disorder?

I personally would say…get a second opinion. Getting a medical diagnosis is a complex process and is expensive. Ask any parent of a child with autism. Extreme cases of autism are evidenced by the presence of fits of rage, non-verbal (mute) communication, abnormal spasms, seizures, excessive strength, biting, pinching, spitting, the list goes on and on.

The child is looking at therapies for the rest of their life ranging from speech to occupational therapy and everything in between all to help treat a medical diagnosis that requires a minimum of three separate medical evaluations before one can even be classified as autistic.

Once someone has a diagnosis, we’ll use autism for example; there is still the gnawing fact that no one knows what causes it.

Looking at this example from a medical/scientific standpoint we can see that there is some undiagnosed issue at hand. But, when looked upon with the eyes of a deeply spiritual person, the symptoms are of something far more sinister.

The work of a demon or the devil himself has wrought the child with the afflictions from which they suffer. It is the very belief in evil that lends itself to the belief that evil can therefore be cast out.

Exorcism was virtually unheard of outside of Catholic seminary schools and closed doors of the Vatican. Then, an author named William Peter Blatty discovered the story of a young Maryland boy who in the 40’s underwent an exorcism that lasted for days. The records were destroyed and the church disavowed any knowledge going so far as to seal the room in the rectory where the alleged exorcism took place.

Fascinated by the newspaper clipping, he created his bestselling novel “The Exorcist” and the book and subsequent film adaptation set the world ablaze. Reports of possession and exorcism skyrocketed; psychiatric hospitals were overrun with people claiming to be victims of demonic possession.

Things got so out of hand that the Catholic Church went on record to state that they no longer sanction the performance of exorcisms, though some believe the act of casting out demons continued under a blanket of secrecy that lasts until this very day.

So what does this all mean? Is demonic possession real? The answer depends on who you ask and there is a small faction in between that say…”It exists because you believe it does”. And in the end, that is all that matters.

If you believe that a spirit can take control of a living body then you must believe that it can be cast out of the body through the rite for exorcism. If the host of the demon believes this then the very act of exorcism will work.

An interesting side-note to this. There has never been a documented case of an atheist being possessed.

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