Fortean Mysteries SIG      recent history        issue 79         Newsletter of the Fortean Mysteries SIG of American Mensa          
  only 200,000 millicents per 3 issues               Published irregularly since Undecember 1658 AC
 "All things are possible ..." (Mt 19:26)
    I am writing from inside a Texas prison. The hows and whys of my getting here are not why I write. There is however a related issue I would like to explore with you.
   I am a former mental health worker, providing counseling to individuals with substance abuse issue. I went into that field because of my own issues.
   Prior to that excursion I had taught special education at the secondary (MI-School) level and had taught technology at the post-secondary level. my teaching career spans 30+ years. While it may be with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, I am looking for information on demonic possession. Your SIG looks as if it may have some information concerning such. There is an abundance of material from a variety of sources concerning the topic, but few first hand accounts.
   Some publish that they have the "gift of discernment" and can/have seem demonic beings. I have seen behaviors in humans that could only be accounted for by such -- myself included.
   There are several self-help programs on the unit in which I am incarcerated. These, AA, NA, SOS and others repeatedly have inmate presentations made that infect the meetings with a demonic tone or seeming presence.
   I would like to open communication with your group. I am actively involved with Mprisoned and Alkafriends, both Mensa SIGs. I helped start Mprisoned and edit its newsletter.
   I am seeking any who have had a demon exorcised or any with knowledge of such that would share it with me. Many faiths, the Christians among such, hold that addiction is a possession of some sort, even going on to say that AA/NA are just "partial" exorcisms.
   Drop me information in the SASE.
John Cloud

   Reaching into our collection of demonic possession data we can't do better than Alois Weisinger in his classic Occult Phenomena: "It is admittedly difficult to distinguish possession from many other morbid conditions of an occult kind, since the symptoms are often very similar, but there are certain things than enable us to distinguish between the two." and "Psychology and medical science know of no such prompt cure effected by the simple speaking of a single word." That's as in Jesus' exocisms. Documented, non-biblical cases seem to take somewhat longer, but less than "normal" psychological "cures".
   Weisinger gives a few example: the borderline case of Maria Tararico, 1939, the not well documented cases collected by Dr. Justinus Kerner (Geschichte Besessener neuer Zeit, 1834), Dr. C. A. Eschmeyer (Konflict zwischen Himmel und Hölle, an dem Dämon eines besessenen Mädchens beobachtet 1837), and Joseph von Görres (Christliche Mystik, 1842), the nuns of Loudun, 1632-39, and what he identifies as mere obsession in Benediktusbote by Wels Reisinger, 1950 (Chiemsee, Rhineland), superabundant excrement, viciousness, speaking in a voice not her own by a five-year-old girl suddenly gone when a miraculous medal was put on her -- and apparently transferred to another girl whose clothes, hands and head were cut as if by razors until she was blessed by a monastery's cross -- when the original girl was again afflicted!)
   As actual possession (or diabolepsy) we have Theobald, 10, and Joseph, 8, Bruner of Illfurt, Alsace, 1865 (Satan's Power and Works on Two Possessed Children by Fr. Sutter, 1921, Demon Children ed, by Martin Ebon). Well-behaved, decent boys began experiencing thrashing alternating with hours of apparent lifelessness, contortions, vomited seaweed, violent rages especially when holy objects were brought near -- but NOT when told to cry as much as they liked for the glory of God. There was also what Weisinger calls "normal occult phenomena" -- glossialia (answering in French to questions in Basque) and clairvoyance or telepathy. Most telling however was some 20 well witnessed appearances of a hideous being with a duck's beak, claws and stinking feathers, the fear of holy objects (hierophobia) which only ended when the exorcist said "In the name of the Immacualte Conception."
   A similar case of two Kaffir girls, St. Michael's, Natal, S. Africa, 1906 (Gibt's auch heute noch Teufel? by Fr. Wenzel Schöbritz, Demon Children ed, by Martin Ebon, Possessed by Satan by Adolf Podewyk) included what we might indentify as SHC confined to their underclothes, snake-like flexibility, elongated neck, but unlike the boys a written compact with the devil by Germana Cele, 16.
  Signs and Wonders warns aainst laying on of hands rather than commanding demons out and distinguishes between psychism (susceptibility to evil, abnormal suggestions, drives), demonopathy (psychological deformity, hysteria, duped), demonic haunting (violent, distressing, usually before outpouring of grace).
Elsewhere we've found:
--Emma Schmidt, Earling, IO, broke restraints, climbed walls, only ate unblessed food, vomited 30 times per day, 1928
--Michelle Smith's Vancouver, B. C., satanic child abuse, 1958
--compulsive laughing, Bukoba, Tanganyika, 1962-3
--Anneliese Michel, a student at University of Würzburg, Germ., was apparently the victim of a botched exorcism, dying of malnutrition and dehydration, 1976
--"Sr. Rosa", Rome, levitation THROUGH ceiling, polt, apports, obscenities, 1977
--36-year-old Catskill secretary who growled, hissed, snarled, spit bile, thrashed, 1989
--28-year-old waitress, drug addict, heavey metal listener, polt, cold, 1989
--to say (almost) nothing of dybbuks ("body trespassers"), gilgul (Babylonian mythology), taxim (Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were), zombies (Unsolved by John Godwin, Voodoo in Haiti tr. by Hugo Charteris), walk-ins (Ruth Montgomery), and zuvembies (diary of Elizabeth Blassenville).
   "By and large, however," Weisinger says, "one should see the picture as a whole and form one's judgement from the totality of the symptoms.
From Bizarre News we learned:
   Indian Doctor 'Picks' Up Award at Harvard University --  'Digging for Gold' has earned Dr. Chittarajan Andrade a 2001 IgNobel award at Harvard University in the U. S. Dr. Andrade, from Bagalore, based his adolescent nose picking research on general behavior in the population and hypothesized if there is any possible pathological behavior in it. "Somatic habits amounting to psychiatric disorders have long been recognized," explained Dr. Andrade. "Nail biting (onychophagia) and twisting and twirling of hair (trichotillomania) until it comes off from the scalp are common among children and adults," he concluded.
   We happened to notice when accidentally in the hexadecimal mode on our TI-36, which we never use, recently, that there are answers to such seemingly meaningless expressions as BAD + BAD and BAD x BAD since in base 16: A = 10, B = 11, C = 12, D = 13, E = 14, F = 15. Since in the calculator's display I (one) looks exactly like I (uppercase I), 5 (five) like S (uppercase S), 9 (nine) like g (lowercase g), and 0 (zero) like O (uppercase O), we can also calculate --
900D + 900D = I20IA
900D x 900D = SI0EA0A9
900D + BAD = 966A
900D - BAD = 8460
900D x BAD = 69IE7C9
   In case you're curious, or even if you're not, that translates in base 10 to:
36877 + 36877 = 73754
36877 x 36877 = I3599I3I29
36877 + 2989 = 39866
36877 - 2989 = 33888
36877 x 2989 = II0225353
[See more ethicalculus at Jootsy Calculus),