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Exorcism and physical manifestations


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Hello.

 

I recently talked to someome and I was reminded that many people seem have seen exorcisms or demonised people in the Orthodox Church and that is a confirmation of belief.

     What tgey usually see is people (mostly women) going into epileptic seizure like states , some scream, some say awful words, anti christian ones,  especially during a certain type of church service thought (wrongly actually ).it is for exorcism.

     I never saw one. But there numerous eyewitneses so I am willing to believe they saw something. Now, curiously, they never said that they saw demons coming out of the body of the exorcised. Like they never see angels during Lithurgy although they maintain angels are present every moment.

      So I say. Ok. Let s say it might be demons. Then 1. How do you make the difference between that and mental ilness or going into deep trance, volutarily or involuntarily?

        Second. Why are there exorcisms in most religions? If Muhammed was a devil worshipper or forerunner to the AntiChrist, how can Muslim imams perform exorcisms? Or the Catholics when you think the pope is an Arch heretic? 

      Have you seen such things? How were they and what do you think?

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In the Nazarene church where I first attended in the 80s (during the strong revival of belief in demons, pushed by campus groups like Maranatha, and then by seemingly conservative believers), they had a teaching series on Spiritual Warfare. The pastor embraced the teachings as biblical and began talking openly about demons, whereas previously he held that they were more mental illness. At a Sunday morning service a woman let out a scream like a caged tiger combined with tearing metal, flipped out of the pew backwards and landed in the lap of my buddy. The pastor began quietly doing spiritual warfare and she calmed down. It was very theatrical, especially since many in the congregation saw the whole demon thing as primitive religion. The pastor saw it as confirmation that it was all true, as did some others.

 

A few weeks pass, and during a Sunday evening service, the pastor's wife did a rambling free-form song on the piano that she claimed was being given to her by God as she played. She talked and talked about how wonderful and great her husband (the pastor) was, until finally he intervened and took charge of the service again. A few weeks pass and we get word that she had a "confrontation with Satan" and said she could defeat him. Her mind snapped and she drove (she says backwards) the family dog up a local mountain and sacrificed it to Satan, drove back and tore out her own eye. Weeks pass and a 20-something woman (who turned out to be the daughter of a Baptist minister in town) confessed to being a witch who was sent to curse the pastor. That made the staff feel very significant as warriors for Jesus. Other members began to "manifest" as well.

 

Ok, so the actual reality of what was happening, since I've seen it play out in believers repeatedly over a couple of decades, is that the pastor's wife was having a manic episode where she "didn't need to sleep because God was giving her strength" and she felt like she was in intimate communion with God, receiving special revelations needed for the end times, seeing things that were normally invisible, etc. A mental health physician prescribed lithium to even out the classic manic/depressive bipolar symptoms she was showing. The lady who had screamed during the morning service had a TON of life issues, decades of poor decision making and abuse from others since she was small. She did what a lot of people do and shift the blame onto the devil. Acting out was a way to simultaneously shift the blame (see, it isn't my fault) and get attention and "help" from others who seem to have their shit together. 

 

The 20-something came from a family of religious abuse and was rebelling against her controlling father. I know lots of witches, none of whom believe there is a devil. Witch covens don't typically assign people to curse anyone. They take cursing very seriously, and believe it can be instant karma, so don't practice it much. Satanists on the other hand are not witches and don't claim to be. 

 

So to summarize, bipolar behavior can definitely seem to be both God and the devil, during manic episodes people will not sleep for weeks at a time, see and hear things they think are spirits (this also starts to happen in old age when the mind drifts towards dementia), and in the depressive episodes they feel like God has cut them off, that they must have sinned, some kill themselves. People (especially superstitious people) who are not used to seeing the behavior can ascribe it to the devil.

 

I've seen my best buddy go through a long manic phase (due to intense emotional pressure from being in the uber-Pentecostal group Maranatha) where he was convinced he was going to be a warrior for Jesus and win North Korea to salvation (he looks like a tall Celt). Weeks in a mental hospital changed that and he had to fight depression then at feeling like a failure. I watched another friend in college who was envious of the Pentecostals for their seemingly intimate relationship with God, so he did what he called a marathon prayer session where he refused to sleep. He snapped and suddenly was getting revelations from God, visions of heaven and angels, talked and talked and talked about all these amazing things and the fact that he no longer needed to sleep (see the pattern yet?)

 

My neighbor recently was acting out in bizarre ways. She spent tens of thousands of dollars on sports equipment, remodeling her house, contractors over all the time, not sleeping for weeks at a time, blasting music, driving her jeep at high speeds in our cul de sac, and many other things that brought in the police. They were never there while she was acting out, so they thought I was mental for calling them so much. Then they finally caught her in the act, committed her to psych eval and then she committed herself. When the doctors evened out her mind, she realized she had spent her life savings and was broke. She hung herself. 

 

The mind is a machine that requires constant chemical balancing. It usually takes care of that on its own. Sometimes we need help. Sometimes there are natural helps like magic mushrooms for things like PTSD and anxiety. But for someone in full blown bipolar imbalance, doctors are the best approach. And no, there were never any demons. Those are a myth, as Jesus who is invoked to combat the other non-existent beings we blame for our problems. 

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Good explanation Fuego.  And in my observations through the years most of the people who have these "crazy" episodes have suffered some kind of severe abuse, or trauma, often in early life, which has been repressed.  And in my opinion, in a lot of cases, it is a lot easier to blame Satan or some spirit, and have an exorcism, than to admit, or recognize the abuse.  There are some really horrific things that go on in families that never come to light.  And if it is brought to light, it is almost always flat denied.

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I went to a "Holy Roller" church (we used to call them) once with a girl friend and they had a mass "indwelling" of the holy ghost.  Several people talking in tongues, waving their hands in the air, moaning, etc.  One guy was laying on the floor twitching.  He was later diagnoised with epilepsy, but to them at that time he was experiencing the holy spirit.

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On 10/15/2020 at 2:29 PM, Fuego said:

And no, there were never any demons. Those are a myth, as Jesus who is invoked to combat the other non-existent beings we blame for our problems. 

Speaking as someone who has 'seen' and 'heard' spirits or other energies, I was very interested in what you shared.   I know that my brain does not work as well these days due to trauma and so it seems that these manifestations could possibly be due to brain damage.  I take medication to help hold things together so to speak.

 

However I'm also still thinking that theres likely a spiritual reality alongside our own.   

 

 

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7 hours ago, freedomwalker said:

Speaking as someone who has 'seen' and 'heard' spirits or other energies, I was very interested in what you shared.   I know that my brain does not work as well these days due to trauma and so it seems that these manifestations could possibly be due to brain damage.  I take medication to help hold things together so to speak.

 

However I'm also still thinking that theres likely a spiritual reality alongside our own.   

 

 

Sorry that was written in a hurry.   I've read much on mental health but my ability to process information isn't what it was.   Theres convincing evidence linking psychosis with trauma.

 

I also had an experience where someone at church  tried to exorcise me when I went to them for advice because I said I heard or sensed voices sometimes .   Needless to say that didn't go so well.

 

When she was commanding things out of me....on no evidence but her 'spiritual discernment' I did hear a loud male voice (and I'm female) swearing.  It was pretty stressful.   I didnt feel better afterwards.

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19 hours ago, freedomwalker said:

 

 I take medication to help hold things together so to speak.

 

I am glad you are getting help and taking medication.  Hang in there! 

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Hi @Myrkhoos

On my honeymoon I visited the Catacombs in Kiev (very creepy, not romantic!) and was shown an area where exorcisms are still performed on a regular basis. My ex husband nodded, as if this information was ordinary.

Fast forward 20 years and my ex turned into a fundamentalist Christian. I now understand that he experienced religious trauma as a child, through very powerful indoctrination about demons and hell.
 

@FuegoYes I see a pattern too. Over a period of six months my ex’s mental health declined and he barely slept, which eventually resulted in psychosis. He was experiencing demons and was convinced that he was going to hell.

In hospital his doctor told me that religious delusions are common. Another of his male patients was convinced that he was pregnant with baby Jesus.

My ex’s doctor gave him some little white pills and Satan disappeared. He thinks that his recovery was not due to medication or doctors, but God saving him via spiritual warfare.

I wonder... can religion, superstition and cognitive dissonance drive a person to psychosis? Must there be an underlying predisposition to mental illness? Prior to my ex’s psychotic episode his mental health was fine, I was almost jealous of his stable mood.

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I've been exercising lately; and people say my physical manifestation is starting to look a lot better.

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2 hours ago, LostinParis said:

On my honeymoon I visited the Catacombs in Kiev (very creepy, not romantic!)

So cool.  I've been to the ones near Odessa.

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5 hours ago, LostinParis said:

I wonder... can religion, superstition and cognitive dissonance drive a person to psychosis? Must there be an underlying predisposition to mental illness? Prior to my ex’s psychotic episode his mental health was fine, I was almost jealous of his stable mood.

 

Really hard to tell sometimes. The mind is a quirky machine. I do think that our mental "ruts" tend to guide our conclusions. If we think in a particular way over and over again, we will tend to think that way the next time. My wife has been devoted to conspiracy theories for years, but also tries to keep an open mind to see if they are mistaken or lying for profit. It rubs me the wrong way often, but then again, I am fond of asking "what else have I believed that is a lie?" and sometimes the mainstream info is tweaked for profit or agenda. I do find that we tend to see our fears reflected back more than anything, regardless of what we fear. So when there are fears that really "peg the meter" of adrenaline, then a mental illness can magnify them into living beings, and as my buddy saw, shame can drive us to overcompensate with bravado and feeling like a special chosen one of God. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Fuego said:

My wife has been devoted to conspiracy theories for years,

Is your wife still a christian? It seems to me that conspiracy thinking patterns are similar to religious thinking patterns - “everything happens for a reason”. As if there is a purpose or intent behind every event.

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7 hours ago, LostinParis said:

Is your wife still a christian? It seems to me that conspiracy thinking patterns are similar to religious thinking patterns - “everything happens for a reason”. As if there is a purpose or intent behind every event.

I do believe there is purpose behind every event - I am inclined to be a determinist. The thing is I do not claim special knowledge of the causes or effects. Just that there are causes and effects.

      Yes, I live in Romania, a traditional Orthodox country. Exorcisms especially in monasteries , especially certain monasteries are a common thing.  People told me of screaming demoms. 

      To your answer, yes, religious practices can lead to psychosis. Extreme fasting and repetive prayers like the Jesus prayer - you might know it - are well known trance inducing tehnique. Contradictory and extreme beliefs like heaven and hell, God is extra loving but he punishes you are also trance inducing. Terror love and brainwashing by Alexandra Stein helped me here a lot. 

    A doctor told me that excess dopamine is thought to be causing svhizophrenia and psychosis. Many anti psychotics are dopamine antagonists. Uncertainty, rapid change, massive risks are well known dopamine increasing things. Heaven and hell and risk of perdition is like gambling addiction gone through the roof. Plus the intoxication of being a "spiritual warrior". And our body has DMT . I believe that many religious mustical practices increase Dmt and dmt absorbtion in the brain.

   I also have a psychiatrist relative that told me mystical delusions are quite common and gave me examples. In Romanian the official name is mystical delirium.

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2 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

repetive prayrs like the Jesus prayer - you might know it

I used to repeat the Jesus prayer on the train on my way home from work (in Russian), in order to relax. Then one day I realised that I was simply meditating using a mantra, and perhaps I wasn’t connecting with the supernatural.

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4 hours ago, LostinParis said:

I used to repeat the Jesus prayer on the train on my way home from work (in Russian), in order to relax. Then one day I realised that I was simply meditating using a mantra, and perhaps I wasn’t connecting with the supernatural.

I used to repeat it hours and hours, sometimes all the time. Especially during my trips to monasteries.  I learned several ways of doing it. Pretty psychedelic effect sometimes. My moment of surprise with is when I learned that name repetiton is common also in Islam, Buddhism, and others probably. That is also when I discovered the hypbotic element of short repetitive phrases. I mean even modern self help uses affirmations. Like you, I started to think it could a purely biological thing, nothing supernatural.

    And I would add to trance inducing tehniques "rocking" movements like traditional Orthodox prosternations, which you can also see in Islam and Buddhism also has an effect in the brain. That is why mothers have an instinct to rock their babies when they are upset. And that type of traditional Byzantine chant. Basically the whole Church service is an array of choreographed trance inducing tehniques :). And I think the teaching has the same quality. That is why I think many religions are hard to get out of your system besides the habituation. It is the trance.

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19 hours ago, LostinParis said:

 

Prior to my ex’s psychotic episode his mental health was fine, I was almost jealous of his stable mood.

 

I had an aunt that was the "perfect" Christian.  People couldn't believe how steady and continually upbeat her mood was, even though she lived in a difficult situation.  She always saw the bright side of things.  In some ways she functioned like a robot.  But she eventually had a psychotic break and was hospitalized for weeks.  They medicated her, she went back to church, and although her husband was an SOB, she  was the perfect wife and smiling Christian until she died.  It was later learned that she was abused from an early age.  The way to survive was through being  "perfect."  Obeying husband and god.

 

20 hours ago, LostinParis said:

I wonder... can religion, superstition and cognitive dissonance drive a person to psychosis? Must there be an underlying predisposition to mental illness? 

 

My observation is that predisposition doesn't "cause" psychosis.  It almost always takes some kind of extreme fear early in life to eventually develop.  Somehow a sense of capable "self" doesn't develop, leaving them dependent upon hero preachers and higher beings.  HA! This seems to happen to a lot of people, even though psychosis doesn't develop.

 

It sounds like your X and my aunt never had their early abuse issues, that drove them to psychosis, addressed.  Just load them with medication and send them home.

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Lostinparis, did I offend you in any way?  I didn't mean to do so.  You have some good insights and ask some great questions. The last sentence was a statement of typical treatment done with the mentally ill today.

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2 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

That is why mothers have an instinct to rock their babies when they are upset. And that type of traditional Byzantine chant. Basically the whole Church service is an array of choreographed trance inducing tehniques

I never thought of rocking to be so powerful. I thought that extreme sleep deprivation was the reason for my trance-like state with my newborn!
 

When I was in Jerusalem I noticed the jews rocking while praying next to the wall. For me, praying inside the eastern orthodox church in Jerusalem was hypnotic, almost intoxicating, due to the incense, the singing and the chanting. Of course this pleasant feeling was confirmation of my belief.

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8 minutes ago, Weezer said:

Lostinparis, did I offend you in any way?  I didn't mean to do so.  You have some good insights and ask some great questions. The last sentence was a statement of typical treatment done with the mentally ill today.


No offence taken, you are correct. My ex did not address his issues with a psychologist, he just prayed instead. He weaned himself off his medication far too soon and became impossible to live with.

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2 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

That is also when I discovered the hypbotic element of short repetitive phrases. I mean even modern self help uses affirmations. Like you, I started to think it could a purely biological thing, nothing supernatural.


One time I decided to test the supernatural by using the mantra “satan” whilst meditating. Nothing unusual happened, just the same normal deeply relaxing feelings.
 

Occasionally while meditating I have what best could be described as an out-of-body experience. Our brains can do wacky stuff.

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21 hours ago, LostinParis said:

Is your wife still a christian? It seems to me that conspiracy thinking patterns are similar to religious thinking patterns - “everything happens for a reason”. As if there is a purpose or intent behind every event.

 

No, we deconverted around the same time. She's quite good at number crunching and seeing patterns (usually in business), so when we see the power plays going on behind the obvious politics it is natural to wonder who is the power behind the power (to her it could be a cabal of humans/aliens/extra-dimensional beings) and if there is anything we can do about it. The same guys she listens to also talk a lot about religion. Some are believers, but even some of them see the Bible in context of aliens interacting with Sumerians and creating the myths that eventually started the cult of Yahweh. Some of it is interesting to hear, but I don't personally put a lot of emotional stock in it. 

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