Exorcism (from Greek ἐξορκισμός, exorkismos – binding by oath) is the religious or spiritual practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or an area they are believed to have possessed.
I’m not sure what to think about exorcism. I’d always believed that possessed people are mentally ill, but I recently read a book that describes the thorough process the Roman Catholic Church follows before agreeing to perform an exorcism. One of those processes is exhaustive testing for mental illness. And being mentally ill wouldn’t explain how so many of these people are suddenly able to speak languages they’ve never known, including dead languages.
While my thoughts on exorcism are conflicted, my thoughts on exorcists are not. These spiritual demon hunters have devoted their lives to the protection of others, and that’s pretty awesome, no matter what your religious beliefs.
I recently read The Devil Hunter, an account of the work of exorcist Dr. Donald Omand. Excited and nervous, I dove in, expecting plenty of spooky accounts of otherworldly possession.
I was disappointed.
The majority of the book was filled with tales of Dr. Omand exorcising a supposedly haunted spot in England, some roads that are prone to car crashes, the Loch Ness monster, and the Bermuda Triangle.
According to Dr. Omand, it’s not only people who can become possessed–landmarks and even monsters like Nessie can fall victim too. I have to admit, the thought of a reverend exorcizing the Loch Ness monster was a bit much for me, and I usually have an open mind.
What do you think? Is exorcism real? Can people or locations (or monsters) really be possessed by demons and evil?