Christianity Today, ‘They accused me of killing and eating my grandmother’: Agony of Congo’s 50,000 ‘child witches’ who are brutally exorcised to ‘beat the devil out of them’


‘They accused me of killing and eating my grandmother’: Agony of Congo’s 50,000 ‘child witches’ who are brutally exorcised to ‘beat the devil out of them’
  • There are around 50,000 children living on the streets of Kinshasa, all abandoned after being accused of witchcraft
  • The communities say they are capable of horrific crimes, drinking the blood and eating the flesh of their relatives 
  • But a lot of the time the children are rejected simply because their parents cannot afford the extra mouth to feed 
  • It means the children – some newborn – are left to fend for themselves, turning to crime and prostitution to survive
  • But there are people working to help these desperate children, and the UN’s new ‘global goals’ hope that the drivers of this horrific tradition, poverty and a lack of education, will be completely eradicated in the next 15 years
  • find out more about this horrific belief, and the impact it has on the children 

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 Squeezing a toddler’s eyeballs and shoving his thumb into her tiny nose a Catholic priest purges a child of the devil, one of many exorcisms he carries out every day.

Flicked with holy water, her face smeared with olive oil and poked violently in the stomach, two-and-a-half-year old Angel bursts into tears as she is rid of the evil spirits that lurk within her.

The child wriggles to free herself but her mother holds on firmly, insistent that she endures the exorcism to protect her from the sorcery that many in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) believe controls their lives.

Distraught: Angel, two, cries with fear as she undergoes an exorcism to purge her from the evil that a Catholic priest believes lurks within

Distraught: Angel, two, cries with fear as she undergoes an exorcism to purge her from the evil that a Catholic priest believes lurks within

Evil spirits: A woman takes part in an exorcism ceremony in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where many have embraced Catholicism while holding on to traditional beliefs surrounding evil spirits - with some truly horrifying consequences

Confused: Eleven-month-old baby Grace endures an exorcism at a Catholic church in Kinshasa, DRC

Cleansed: Anyone can be possessed by evil, people believe, including children - even newborns. These children are being blessed and purged of the spirits, but if it isn't successful, they will be thrown out of their homes, and exiled from their communities

Possesed: It is thought there are 50,000 child 'witches' living on the streets of the capital Kinshasa as a result of these beliefs; children like Dorcas, eight, and Therese, 18. These youngsters are accused of horrific 'crimes', including eating the flesh of their own relatives

But tens of thousands of other children in this troubled central African country have been branded ‘child’ witches and flung out onto the streets by their families into a life of destitution, violence and abuse.

MailOnline ventured into the frightening world of the occult in this African heartland, famously described as the ‘heart of darkness’, as part of series examining the challenges facing the United Nations trying to help these children.

In the capital Kinshasa, at the Gallicane Catholic Church, Father Alexis Katziota Mungala talks almost matter of factly of his work releasing thousands of children from the devil.

Exorcism is a daily ritual he performs in his church.

‘These witches they eat human flesh, they drink human blood,’ Father Alexis told MailOnline.

‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child. It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother.

‘Witchcraft is part of our tradition; it is part of Congolese culture.

‘Children can become infected with sorcery but we carry out exorcisms to help children find their families again.’

Accepted: Exorcisms are a normal part of life in the DRC, explains Father Alexis Katziota Mungala of the Gallicane Catholic Church, Kinshasa, which invited MailOnline to witness just such a ceremony (pictured)

Medieval: 'These witches they eat human flesh, they drink human blood,’ Father Alexis claimed, as he argued he provided a service

Corrupted: 'Children can become infected with sorcery but we carry out exorcisms to help children find their families again,' he said

Danger: But if the children aren't cured by priests, or traditional healers, the community will shun them - and they will end up on the streets

Those who cannot be ‘saved’ scavenge an existence in the violent, filth-ridden city abandoned by their families and feared by their fellow outcasts.

It is estimated that up to 50,000 children have been accused of witchcraft and left to fend for themselves in the sprawling slums where 20 million live.

Some are newly born or bewildered toddlers thrown into a nightmare world where survival is by crime, prostitution and violence.

Dorcas, aged eight, is typical of the ‘child witches’. Traumatised, she was found five days ago, her puny body riddled with lice, fleas and ticks.

Found by workers dedicated to helping the street children, she was taken to a care centre where half-starved she wolfed down a bowl of stale bread and a beaker of sweet tea in silence.

Although she has barely spoken since, she has said enough for the volunteers here to know her story is heart-wrenchingly common.

‘She was accused of being a witch,’ care centre director Claudine Nlandu told MailOnline.

‘I don’t know how long she had been living on the streets. She came here five days ago. She was covered in fleas, lice and ticks when we found her.

‘She did not tell us her name so the other girls called her Dorcas.’

Another is six-year-old Malengeli – stick-thin with sores all over his malnourished body – he has not been as ‘lucky’ as Dorcas and still roams the streets begging for handouts.

The litany of ‘crimes’ attributed to such children is beyond medieval in scale and almost impossible to comprehend in our society.

Alone: It is a fate children like Malengeli , who is just six, knows too well – he has made the streets his home since being named a ‘witch’

Vulnerable: These boys are among thousands who have made their way to the capital, seeking safety – but Kinshasa is anything but safe

Prejudice: Some of the children are accused of being witches because of a physical disability, like Bienvenue. The nine-year-old has paralysis in his arms and legs following ceberal malaria, which led his aunt to throw him out. His mother is dead

Starving: It’s not known why Malengeli – who is stick-thin with sores all over his malnourished body – was thrown out, but these days he roams the streets, and is forced to beg for scraps to keep himself alive. Others turn to crime or prostitution in desperation

These youngsters are accused of killing relatives by eating their flesh and drinking their blood in the dead of night.

They are accused of casting spells – delivering death, illness, unemployment, pregnancy, debt, or simply bad luck – to any or all around. But possibly worst of all they are accused of being evil – having the devil living within them.

“There are conscious witches who know they are evil and unconscious witches who do not know but get up in the middle of the night and eat human flesh.” Pastor Jean-Pierre Kwete

These cruel and unfounded accusations cause misery for tens of thousands of children not only across the Democratic Republic of Congo but also in other parts of central and west Africa.

‘Children accused of witchcraft are subject to psychological violence, first by family members and their circle of friends, then by church pastors or traditional healers,‘ a UNICEF study by Aleksander Cimpric, entitled Children Accused of Witchcraft, found.

‘Once accused of witchcraft, children are stigmatized and discriminated against for life. Children accused of witchcraft may be killed, although more often they are abandoned by their parents and live on the streets.’

Deeply suspicious and steeped in mysticism the existence of child-witchcraft is deep-rooted in Congolese culture.

‘Child witchcraft is part of our tradition,’ Etienne Maleke, who has worked with Kinshasa’s street children for over 20 years, told MailOnline.

‘All of the boys here at the shelter have been accused of being witches.’

But the collapse of the economy in the 1990s following mass lootings by the unpaid army and the following chaos of two devastating wars turned this phenomenon into an epidemic.

Witchcraft was often used to simply rid a household of an unwanted mouth to feed.

Refuge: There are shelters for the children to use, affording them a little more protection. But those who run them find many come and go, unused to being cared for after spending so much time in such a hostile environment

Poverty: But while belief in witchcraft is widespread, there are other, underlying reasons why these children are kicked out onto the street. Poverty is a major driving force behind the trend, as many are thrown out because their carers can no longer afford to feed them

Aim: Ending poverty is the number one goal of the UN’s new sustainable development goals. Doing this one thing would go a huge way to ending the culture of ‘witchcraft’ in the DRC, and across central Africa. Pictured: A street in Kinshasa, where one of the shelters is located

Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, said: ‘Here in Central Africa every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation.

In Central Africa every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation. If there is no explanation then it is considered witchcraft.
Remy Mafu, children charity REEJER

‘If there is no explanation then it is considered witchcraft.

‘Poverty is a real driver. People don’t want to take care of children so they accuse them of being witches.

‘When there’s a breakdown in the family unwanted children – often step-children, nieces and nephews – are accusations of child witchcraft.

‘Children who do not bring anything into the household are accused of being witches.’

One of the last parts of Africa to experience European ideas, the tribes of Congo embraced Catholic missionaries who brought modern medicine, education and their religion to the far reaches of this vast nation.

But just over a hundred years after Belgium claimed Congo as a colony the traditional ideas of sorcery remain.

However the rise of child-witchcraft is a recent phenomenon linked to the breakdown of the traditional extended family, according to the leading authority on ‘child witches’, Professor Filip de Boeck, of Belgium’s University of Leuven.

In his book, ‘The Devil’s Children’, he wrote: ‘The phenomenon of ‘child witches’ is a thoroughly modern phenomenon that is shaped by global capitalism.

‘Contrary to older forms, the witchcraft ‘new style’ is experienced as being wild, random and unpredictable.’

And it is through this mixture of religious beliefs that families try to ‘cure’ the children in their care of witchcraft.

Mystery: It is not just poverty which means children are rejected. Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, explains that   'every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation'

Mystery: It is not just poverty which means children are rejected. Remy Mafu, of the street children charity REEJER, explains that ‘every development within the family – a death, unemployment, bad school marks, and an unexpected pregnancy – demands an explanation’

Solution: But, of course, some things cannot be explained - and that leads families to turn away from reason, and look to the spirits

Solution: But, of course, some things cannot be explained – and that leads families to turn away from reason, and look to the spirits

Guardian: It means Father Alexis is kept busy. 'I have saved thousands of children,' he told MailOnline. 'Today I saved three.' Whether he has saved them from a spirit is debatable, but he has certainly saved them from a life alone, rejected and shunned by their community

Guardian: It means Father Alexis is kept busy. ‘I have saved thousands of children,’ he told MailOnline. ‘Today I saved three.’ Whether he has saved them from a spirit is debatable, but he has certainly saved them from a life alone, rejected and shunned by their community

Catholic and Evangelical churches and animist religious centres confirm accusations of sorcery as well as providing remedies for youngsters who may otherwise be thrown into the gutter.

Catholic priest Father Alexis said: ‘I have saved thousands of children. Today I saved three children from sorcery. Every day I must save a child.

‘I hold exorcisms twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

He added: ‘We are Catholic missionaries so it is our duty to carry out exorcisms.

“When my grandmother died they said it was my fault. They stuck their fingers in my mouth, down my throat. They wanted to take out pieces of my grandmother that they thought I had eaten.” Therese, 18

‘We have a way to shoo away the sorcery, to chase away the demons.

‘We tell the family not to throw their children out onto the street. We tell them to pray for the child.’

Along with hours of prayer the ‘child witch’ must endure being purged with salt-water and oil.

Evangelical preachers promise their congregation immediate relief from the ‘child witches’ within their community.

Pastor Jean-Pierre Kwete, of the Laodice Church, Kinshasa, told MailOnline: ‘There are conscious witches who know they are evil and unconscious witches who do not know but get up in the middle of the night and eat human flesh.

‘I can tell if a child is a witch just by looking at them. I can see it in their eyes.’

And if parents are reluctant to call in Catholic or Evangelical ‘saviours’ then they can turn to more ancient rites.

Animist preachers offer a different way to rid children of the devil.

Inside a corrugated iron structure, deep inside a Kinshasa slum, children knee in front of a small charcoal fire.

The smoke from specially chosen herbs is wafted into their faces as a high priestess sprinkles them with holy water as part of rituals designed to rid the youngsters of evil and protect them from the devil.

All around the congregation chant and dance as African drums beat out a hypnotic rhythm.

Silent pain: No one knows why Dorcas was accused of being a witch – those who found her roaming the streets of Kinshasa, starving, five days before MailOnline arrived could not even find out her name. The other children gave the little girl her name, Dorcas

Accused: Unlike Dorcas, Therese – who suffers from epilepsy and has a cyst on her forehead – knows exactly why she ended up on the street, and living in the same shelter as Dorcas. After her grandmother died, her family decided she had killed her

Assaulted: Therese, pictured with other girls from the shelter where she lives, was taken to church where priests shoved their fingers into her mouth, checking for pieces of her grandmother’s flesh. They didn’t find any, but said the cyst on her head was filled with evil

Preacher Bangadi-Kikongo Nkakama, of the traditional Kaba Dia Bana Ba Mpeve spiritual centre, claims to have saved over 800 children this year from sorcery.

He told MailOnline: ‘Ours is the religion of the Congo before colonisation. We worship nature and the spirits around us. We understand about mysticism.

‘The spirit has given us the strength to treat case of witchcraft, the spirits inspire us to cure the ill.’

Other priests are more brutal – shoving their fingers into a ‘child witch’s’ mouth in search of the flesh of recently deceased relatives.

One victim told MailOnline how she was beaten and starved after she was accused of being a witch, aged just eight.

Therese, now 18, who is epileptic and has a large cyst on her forehead, said: ‘I was quietly living with my parents but a relative said I was a witch.

‘When my grandmother died they said it was my fault.

‘They took me to a church where they pray for children. I was made to drink salt-water, lots of it. They stuck their fingers in my mouth, down my throat.

‘They wanted to take out pieces of my grandmother that they thought I had eaten. They couldn’t find anything so they kept me and beat me.

‘This bump on my head is a cyst but in the church they told me it was where the witchcraft lived.

‘There was nothing to eat. I escaped and went out onto the street and begged. I picked up anything from the ground I could find – old food, anything.

‘I have been in five different orphanages. I came here and told the mother I had nowhere else to go.

‘I still suffer epileptic fits.’

The old religion: It isn't just the Catholic priests who carry out exorcisms. Traditional healers also rid children like these of evil spirts

Blessing: The ceremony is slightly different, with the smoke from specially chosen herbs - which can be seen burning on the ground here - wafted into the children's faces as a high priestess sprinkles them with holy water as part of rituals

Epidemic: There is one area where they are the same as their Catholic colleagues - in the vast numbers of children they claim to have healed. Preacher Bangadi-Kikongo Nkakama claims to have saved more than 800 children this year alone from sorcery

Therese’ heart-breaking story is one of many to be heard at the centre for girls living on the streets where Dorcas has found sanctuary.

Others tell how they were thrown out of their home by relatives – uncles, aunts, step-mothers, remarried fathers – who accused them of witchcraft.

Most say they begged to be allowed back but were beaten so badly they could not return.

When they come here the boys are feral. We have to teach them how to eat an egg, how to eat a fish. They only want the clothes on their backs. If you give them two shirts it becomes a burden.
‘Papa Etienne’ Maleke, director of a shelter for the boys on the street

Many have been raped. Some work as prostitutes to survive. Few remain children.

Care Centre director Claudine Nlandu told MailOnline: ‘Some of the children accept life here others refuse. Some prefer to stay on the streets. They can come and go as they please. We are just a point of help, a sanctuary.

‘Some of the girls prostitute themselves. We try to help them protect themselves from disease. We urge them to use condoms.

‘Two or three times a week we go out on to the streets seeking young girls in difficulty.

‘Market traders and hawkers tell us about new girls who have come on to the street.

‘The girls hang around the big markets, the stadiums, the major junctions of the city. Often they have been raped.

‘They tell me they have been accused of being witches.

‘We hope to give them a good life. We teach them to read and write. We teach them trades – hair dressing, restaurant skills and dressmaking.

‘Often when we get in touch with their family they say they don’t want the child anymore and that we can have them as a ‘gift’.’

Tragically newborn babies are also condemned as witches – if they are born to so-called child-witches.

Remy Mafu said: ‘Two babies are born on the streets of Kinshasa every day to girls who have been condemned as child witches. Their children are considered witches by inheritance.

‘We know girls aged 12 who become pregnant. Once they are on the street they are no longer children.’

Devil: Back at Gallicane, Father Alexis - performing during the ceremony - explains what happens a little more. ‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child,' he says. 'It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother'

Devil: Back at Gallicane, Father Alexis – performing during the ceremony – explains what happens a little more. ‘It is the work of the devil. Witchcraft kills the love within the child,’ he says. ‘It fills them with hate, it makes them eat their father, fight with their brother’

Learning: But it's not enough says Etienne Maleke, director of a street children shelter for boys, who argues 'the government needs to educate people that there are no such thing as child witches'. Education for everyone is another of the 17 sustainable development goals

Others are considered in league with the devil due to the disabilities they suffer – like Jeremy, 10, who is deaf and Bienvenue, 9, who has paralysis in his arms and legs following an attack of cerebral malaria.

Etienne Maleke, director of a street children shelter for boys, told MailOnline: ‘Jeremy is deaf. He was chased out of his home by his family. We don’t know how badly he was mistreated.

‘Bienvenue suffered paralysis as a complication from meningitis and malaria. His mother died when he was still a baby.

‘His aunt was looking after him but she threw him out.

‘We tracked down his father and we took him back to his family.

‘But within a month he was back on the streets.’

Papa Etienne, as he is known by the thousands of children he has helped added: ‘When they come here the boys are feral. We have to teach them how to eat an egg, how to eat a fish.

‘They only want the clothes on their backs. If you give them two shirts it becomes a burden.

‘We help them in every way we can. We feed them, teach them, help them sort out pay disputes with people they work for.

‘I know many boys who have become successful.

‘There was one boy who was very bright. We encouraged him to stay at school, to go to university, he wasn’t convinced to start with.

‘Now he is a doctor. I asked him to come to talk to the boys. He still calls me “papa”.

‘The government needs to educate the people that there are no such things as child witches.’

Changing the culture: Ettienne - known as 'Papa' to the boys he helps - hopes in the future he will no longer need to run his shelter, but for now he is focused on making them successful members of society. One, he tells MailOnline proudly, has even gone to university

Ensuring these children lead healthy lives; are able to go to school; are allowed to participate fully in society and can be treated fairly, are among the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations last month.

The ambitious new set of aims hopes to end poverty, hunger, advance equality and protect the environment over the next 15 years.

UNICEF works with local charities that support street children and other vulnerable youngsters accused of witchcraft.

‘UNICEF is particularly concerned about the issues of the most vulnerable children including children who suffer violence, abuse and exploitation,’ spokesman Yves Willemot told MailOnline.

‘A change in attitudes about sorcery should be promoted by educating families, community leaders and working with accusers, church leaders and traditional religious practitioners.

‘The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child apply to all children without exception.’

Tragically such laudable aims will come too late to save the likes of Dorcas, Malangeli, Jeremy, and Bienvenue.

But it is at least a recognition of an evil being visited on DRC’s children which has nothing in truth to do with witchcraft.

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Exorcism, The Vatican Death Cult, and Mental Health


'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

Exorcism, The Vatican Death Cult and Mental Health

There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here?

The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition.

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain.

–Beagle

'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

Exorcists on trial for kidnapping and ‘crucifying’ teenager


Exorcists on trial for kidnapping and ‘crucifying’ teenager

Anthony Hopkins as the exorcist in "The Rite."

        Four former members of the Seventh Day Adventists, a US-based Protestant church, went on trial in France Monday for the kidnapping and torture of a 19-year-old woman during an exorcism. The incident took place in 2011 in Grigny, a suburb of Paris, when police entered an apartment and found the woman tied to a mattress in the attitude of Jesus Christ on the cross. The woman, identified only as Antoinette, an émigré from the Cameroun, was in shock and showed signs of recent beatings as well as emaciation and dehydration. According to her testimony, she had been bound to the mattress for a week and given only a few sips of oil and water during that time.

Three men and one woman, all of French Caribbean origin, have been charged with kidnapping, acts of torture and barbarism. One of the men, Eric Deron, was the victim’s former boyfriend. The others are his mother, Lise-Michelle Babin, and two men, Philippe Grego and Lionel Fremor. The prosecutors claimed that Deron has delusions of being a prophet on a divine mission. According to testimony by the accused assailants, Deron organized the exorcism after the victim allegedly leapt upon him while shouting incoherently.  All four denied committing any acts of violence and claim the victim consented to the exorcism.

From the AFP:

Their lawyer, Jacques Bourdais, said the four had acted in good faith. “To them, she was possessed, that is why they did not call a doctor. You call a doctor when someone is sick, when someone is possessed you exorcise them,” Bourdais told AFP.

Bourdais also told the court that the victim was very much in love with Deron and that she and all four of the accused shared strong religious convictions and a thorough understanding of biblical texts.

The victim met the accused several years before the alleged assault through the Seventh Day Adventists, which has 13,000 members in France. The Adventists claim that the assailants were expelled from the Church a year before the attack and that their teachings don’t include that kind of exorcism.

Infected by Priestcraft, Catholic Poland Regresses Further Into a Culture of Credulity | “country is in the midst of an exorcism epidemic”


Rash of demonic possessions in Poland gives rise to ‘Exorcist Magazine’

poland - Rash of demonic possessions in Poland gives rise to 'Exorcist Magazine'

Posted by George Dvorsky

Business is good in Poland for priests who are skilled in the arts of demonic extrication. The country is in the midst of an exorcism epidemic (or boom, depending on how you feel about it.) And this has inspired Catholic priests to join forces with a publisher, and launch the world’s first monthly magazine devoted to the subject. And with a three-month waiting list for exorcisms in Warsaw, people had better start reading.

Called Egzorcysta Magazine, the monthly journal contains such page-turning titles as, “New Age – the spiritual vacuum cleaner,” and “Satan is real.” The first issue is 62 pages and costs about $3.00.

The Raw Story tells us more:

“The rise in the number or exorcists from four to more than 120 over the course of 15 years in Poland is telling,” Father Aleksander Posacki, a professor of philosophy, theology and leading demonologist and exorcist told reporters in Warsaw at the Monday launch of theEgzorcysta monthly.

Ironically, he attributed the rise in demonic possessions in what remains one of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic nations partly to the switch from atheist communism to free market capitalism in 1989.

“It’s indirectly due to changes in the system: capitalism creates more opportunities to do business in the area of occultism. Fortune telling has even been categorised as employment for taxation,” Posacki told AFP.

“If people can make money out of it, naturally it grows and its spiritual harm grows too,” he said, hastening to add authentic exorcism is absolutely free of charge.

Ah, so it’s authentic exorcism that’s free of charge. Good to know; now we can avoid all those inauthentic kinds.

Demonic Possession Video Proves That Satan, Demons and Exorcisms are REAL


Demonic Possession video proves that Satan, demons and exorcisms are REAL

Posted by Derek Murphy

Demonic Possession video proves that Satan, demons and exorcisms are REAL

I swear not 3 months goes by before I see the movie trailer for a new cinematographic take on the “Demonic Possession” genre.

The newest in this long, long chain of movies (all of which are eaten up by the faithful as pop culture affirmations of religious experiences, based on TRUE STORIES of demonic possession and exorcism), is “The Possession: Darkness Lives Inside.” The tagline: “Fear the Demon that Doesn’t Fear God.”

Proof that Demonic Possession is Real?

“The Possession”, like all exorcism and demonic possession movies, claims to be based on a true story.

But try finding the real evidence to back it up – and you’ll usually come away empty handed (I’ve seen links that go to Catholic Websites that then link to Satanist Groups (who don’t actually believe in a real Satan – they only use Satan as a symbol for humanist values).

However in this case, I found a background story here which is pretty cool. Lots of bad luck.

But at the same time, I can go on Ebay and buy a magic ring full of all kinds of evil spirits or demons ready to gratify my desires.

Look, here’s a 3000 year old ring with magical fire coming out of it! Amazing. For me, an old box full of Jewish spirits is the same thing.

Our beliefs have the power to change our reality, and our perception of that reality.

We see and experience what we believe in.

Why I don’t believe in Possession

1) I’ve experienced demons before. They were a horrifying manifestation of Sleep Paralysis symptoms, which I believe are the root of most religious experiences. I saw and heard demons when I was a Christian. Later, I had UFO abduction experiences. Now that I have no beliefs, I don’t really get them anymore.

2) I’ve also had some pretty serious depression/anxiety/craziness – when I felt like every morning was a nightmare hassle and I wasn’t satisfied with anything, and nothing could make me happy. That’s a serotonin disorder. Not a demon.

3) Religious people, especially Christians, get possessed. The more zealous you are, the more terrified of losing control to those dark forces that are ALWAYS trying to get you ALL THE TIME, the easier it will be for you to lose it. If demons were real, they wouldn’t only attack Christians (unless maybe you think they don’t give a damn about the rest of us, cuz we’re doomed anyway).

But almost all faiths have some kind of demonic possession. Who doesn’t get possessed? Atheists. If they screw up, it’s their own damn fault.

The more important question is:

Who the Fuck is in Control Up There?

OK, sure, God allows us free will. He wants us to love him completely, and he wants it to be our choice.

But he never offered Satan, or the demons (fallen angels?) the same deal. They get to rule Hell, until the end of time.

And yes, maybe even God allows Satan to tempt us (like he did with Job) just to make sure that we really love him (the same way a jealous girlfriend would get a friend to try and sleep with her boyfriend, so he could win her trust by not cheating).

But apparently, if these movies and the whole idea of demonic possession are to be believed, God also allows demons to wander around the earth and take over our bodies by force, against our will, and kill people. And he usually picks children, because they’re freaking terrifying.

So there’s a bunch of murdering kids with demons inside of them. If they die they probably go to Hell.

What’s God doing about it?

It’s one thing to say that James Holmes went crazy and shot people, and God didn’t stop him because he doesn’t interfere with free choice. It’s another thing to say that maybe a demon that God let out of Hell took over his body (rather than just destroying all the fallen angels, God allows them to play a violent and active role in humanity).

The truth is this: all of these “Satanic/Demonic Possession” or “Exorcism” movies are Christian Propaganda, focusing on the only tangible aspect of their faith: the evil. (“God is Love” is an internal emotion – you couldn’t make a movie about how awesome faith makes you feel).

Satan is the god who actually interferes and interacts with humans. Satan is the only one who actually caters to desires and wishes (traditionally, God never gave you what you wanted, and Satan was the temptation of following your desire rather than what God allowed you to have; hence all of the “sold my soul to Satan” literature.)

These days, with “The Secret” and other New Age, Eastern influences, we’ve come to believe that “God” allows us to manifest our own selfish desires, that we are destined to be bountiful, that we are co-creators.

All of that, however, stems from ideas directly taken from a Modernist perspective which was fiercely anti-religious and often openly Satanic (using Satan as a liberal symbol for revolution, freedom, and rationality).

Since the Red Scare of the 50′s, and then the Satanic Panic of the 70′s, (and more recently with the religious patriotism following 9-11), Americans have been forced into religion; to be un-religious was the same as to be, respectively:

  1. a Communist
  2. a Satanist
  3. a Terrorist

Only in the past decade have we begun, slowly, to shake off these shackles and allow creative independence again – and these angry, violent possession movies are the contemporary version of the medieval Hellfire scare tactics that used to get people back into churches.

Are they good entertainment? Sure – but the line “Based on a True Story” promotes a wholesale adoption of a Christian system of Good and Evil which has always been intrinsically flawed; and allowing such a blatant misuse of the word “True” is what allows millions of adults to blur the lines between fiction and reality, believing in Satan but not The Hulk or other fictional  characters.

Now that I’ve seen the movie…

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I have a better picture of the real factors influencing this horrific story (some of these you have to read between the lines of the plot subtext):

  1. A father who’s always away from home (and possibly beats his children)
  2. A high-strung, emotionally volatile wife who drinks (and probably cheats)
  3. They get divorced
  4. The youngest daughter acts up, make-believing, talking to herself/invisible friends/ telling lies and stories maybe even
  5. Being a freaky little psycho bitch from Hell child
  6. There probably was a creepy antique Jewish box involved
  7. They probably did contact some Jewish guy, even possibly tried an exorcism
  8. They probably did say stuff like “Doctors can’t help us! We need spiritual guidance!” and reject medicine.
  9. The crisis bring mommy and daddy back together, the girl stabilizes

Things that almost certainly did not happen:

  1. The creepy death/suicide in the beginning
  2. Tons of scary moths
  3. An MRI showing another person living inside a little girl – ie medical proof
  4. The girl finding the box after her dad threw it away
  5. The girl making mom’s boyfriend’s teeth fall out
  6. The car accident at the end

That’s what “Based on a True Story” and “These Events Really Happened” means.

One great line of the movie:

Dad goes to the Jews for help. They say “These things are best left in God’s hands.”

He says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Are you fucking kidding me? My daughter is possessed by a devil and I should leave it to God?” (implying that, either God allowed this to happen, or he caused it to happen, and he will stop it only when he feels like it). It’s tricky: Belief in Demons should make you an atheist – or at least make you pissed off that God is such an asshole. But it doesn’t.