Thursday, August 16, 2007

The devil made me do it!

I just watched an interesting segment on "Hannity and Colmes" which I'm almost embarrassed to admit gets any attention in my house!

Anyway, one of the last stories of the evening was that of Bob Larson, a fundamentalist preacher who performs exorcisms.

I remember the movie from the early 70s and won't deny that it scared the living dickens out of me. It was the graphic stuff. When I read the book prior to seeing it, I yawned through it. I was not religious in that way and it didn't seem real enough to qualify as a horror story. A horror story is something that can really happen.

Most religions have some element of this belief, east and west, that demons can possess the bodies of humans. While I find it questionable, my mind is open to the possibility. I can't swear it doesn't happen and I can't swear it does! I know I don't mess around in the spirit world unless I'm reasonably certain what I'm doing. You'll never find a ouija board in my house.

This is how I see it though. In terms of spirits, certainly there is a spirit of depression or a spirit of intoxication or the spirit of anger. These are things we experience and the seriousness of them seems to depend on the cultural context.

In Thai culture, monks often perform a ritual which is intended to remove evil spirits from individuals who are suffering. Most of the time, I suspect it is a placebo, making the person feel better because something was done and their suffering was validated.

Thais love their ghosts though. That is why there are spirit houses everywhere and the spirits of ancestors are appeased and honored. Still, I'd say a ghost is different than a demon! I have a spirit house, too, but I use it as a mindfulness tool. It reminds me to respect those who came before me.

I suspect a demon is something that has a hold on us and we can't let it go on our own. I do believe there are ghosts and spirits ~ but I have a serious problem with the idea of demons, beyond using the concept as a symbol.

How about you?



slouching mom said...

Umm, yeah. I can't say I believe in demons or the devil. Demons have traditionally been invoked when someone's behavior deviates from the norm in some significant way (e.g., psychosis) that a culture does not yet have the tools to explain.

Snoskred said...

Oh, I love Hannity. If only he wasn't such a staunch Republican.. I wouldn't kick him out of bed anyway, unless he started on one of his rants. ;)

Something that has ALWAYS confused me, though it's been a little while since I caught the show.. what the heck is going on with Colmes's forehead? There are no wrinkles there. Is he a botox addict, or just unnaturally unwrinkly? Is this something I don't understand and it's like an inside secret to all those who live in America? How can it be that his eyebrows don't seem to move?

As far as demons go, I don't know.. I think it may be referring to the battle that can sometimes go on in our heads.

I do believe in ghosts, and one left me a message on our computer once. We had one at one of the places we used to live that liked to take my step-son's toys and place them all through the house. The cat used to freak out when it happened, too.


meno said...

I don't believe in demons. But i know that people can behave like demons. (Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway, and so on...) We see much about that on the news.

Our minds are complex beyond our ability to understand.

flutter said...

I think we create our own demons. But as far as little goblins sent to expedite our demise? not so much....

mitzh said...

I agree with flutter.

But I do believe, that all people are made up of two things, the good and the bad and it is always up to us how to us it.

And I actually believe in ghost, try as I might not to.

River said...

"almost embarrassed to admit gets any attention in our house"? why the embarrassment? You like what you like. I'm not ashamed of liking anything. I freely admit to preferring and listening to country music when all my friends and work colleagues rave on about the latest radio/video hits.
I do agree that a "horror" story can only qualify as such if the depicted event could really happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
And the spirits of depression, anger etc., these are what sometimes take people over and get called demons, I believe. Everyone has their own demons and the way they deal with these is what shapes them as a person. The vibes I get from this post tell me that you have successfully dealt with a minor inner demon and are now back on the road to happiness and fulfilment.

Anvilcloud said...

I don't believe, but the concept gives me the creeps.

Gwen said...

I had a friend, growing up, whose father performed exorcisms. She had some scary stories to tell about the things that went on in her house during them. My very rational Western mind wants to reject the notion of demons but having lived so long in a country where animism is the true national religion (regardless of how many people mark Muslim on their census form), I can't quite let go of my belief that a spirit world exists beyond this one.

thailandchani said...

SM, that's it exactly. In northern Thailand, it is mostly directed to women.. and mostly because they begin yelling. Their rage comes out.. and someone calls the shaman.

Here, at least in my experience, it is all about people being "too spiritual" or "too different".

So, oh yeah.. definitely culturally-defined.


Snos, I truly can't stand Sean Hannity. He strikes me as an arrogant little punk.. and when he begins going on and on about who is a "good American", I want to heave!

It just happened to be on last night because I was reading and was too lazy to change the channel. :)

I believe in ghosts also.. It only makes sense. The soul goes back to group consciousness but there is still an "essence" left behind.

Hearing my father moaning after he died in April (he was trapped between the worlds, I suspect) .. that is only one incident among many I've experienced.


Meno, exactly. Our minds and spirits are far too complex to think we just disappear into ether.

And I'm sure there are bad spirits. Demons though, are probably just a tool of fear.


Flutter, exactly. Isn't it so humanlike though to believe we are the center of the multiverse?


Mitzh, why would you try to not believe there are ghosts?


Oh, heavens, River.. I don't like Hannity and Colmes. LOL Not at all!

I agree with your statement overall.

As for my dealing with minor demons, I suppose we all do.. to some degree or another. I've also dealt with big ones. Just samsara, I guess. :)


Anvil, doesn't it? Imagine the idea of any human being having that much power that he believes he can exorcise people?


Gwen, I struggle with this one a bit. After seeing what I did in northern Thailand.. the way people believe, putting the pieces together and finding kernels of truth in there, it's hard to imagine that there is no spirit world.

My mind is eastern and esoteric. I have no trouble with the concept of a spirit world.. but have a real problem with the idea of those who are different being considered "possessed".




heartinsanfrancisco said...

I believe the spirit remains after the body's death. I have seen too much evidence to dispute it.

As for demons, I wouldn't have thought so, but for years I had a stalker who I do believe was possessed by a demon. Sometimes his face and voice changed dramatically, and he emitted a horrible indefinable odor from his chest area, (I think,) at such times.

He was able to speak rationally to the police when I called them, but they were creeped out, too. Something was at work that none of us understood, but it was indescribably evil.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Chani ~ the only demons I believe in are inner demons which, by definition are things within oneself that one struggles with. And I think we all have varying degrees of those.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with your view. No problem with ancestial ghosts and those who came before me. Demons - just the idea that they exist bothers me.

On another note, when partying in Georgetown at the site of the exorcist house (torn down and fenced off) and dark long creepy stairs where the priest died, we would take visitors to there. Half way up the stairs they had 2 choices, go back to the dark alley or up to where the house was. Its still a freaky site at night.

jao moragoat said...

I don't believe ghosts and demons exist in the sense of taking up energy mass in the form of images or forms that travel through space as material or independently live by 'cause and effect' law.

The common factor in all such cases of ghost or demon happenings is the human mind...kind of like that philosophical saying, if a tree falls in the middle of nowhere, does it make a sound?.. If there is no human around to witness or hear a ghost, would there be such thing as ghosts or demons? In other words, could a ghost or demon haunt an empty forest or any other location for the sake of argument?

I agree that demons and angels in the sense of karma, merit, and (positive and negative) aura exist...add other psychological factors and it is possible for anyone to become obsessed, possessed or both...the salem witch trials is a classic example...

On a side note, the only time that I actually saw or thought I saw 'evil' images through my eyes was the first and last time I took acid at the age of 15...My friend became a leprochan in the black light, but that was when it was still pleasant feeling...enough said from that horror...

MsLittlePea said...

Ooh! I'm glad I came back again to get caught up. I do believe in spirits, in fact I've encountered a few-hope that doesn't make you think I'm crazy. I've heard some people say that ghosts or haunts might be left over energy from the past and that sounds like a good theory too. Since I grew up Catholic-I was taught about demons. I'm not as Catholic as I was forced to be, I just like to take what I like and leave behind the rest so I'm not sure if I believe in demons because I was taught to or if I believe because there's so much evil out there it's the only way I can understand why.

That movie scares the sugar out of me too.