Many people may be familiar with one of the most iconically frightening movies in film history: The Exorcist. The film features demonic possession, exorcism, and frame after frame of terrifying images. After watching (if you dare to watch!) you may be left disturbed, scared, or horrified. But the good news is, that movie is just a fake, made-up Hollywood plot! Right?
Not quite. Many people, of multiple faiths, believe demonic possession IS a real occurrence - and alarmingly, it is also apparently on the rise.
Reportedly, over the last decade the U.S. has seen an increase in the demand for priest-led exorcisms, leaping from 12 to over 50. An exorcism training course held by the Vatican blames the increase in demonic possession on a decline in Christian faith and the internet for providing easy access to black magic, the occult and Satanism.
With demonic possession becoming so prevalent in modern day, why does it still seem taboo to believe in such spiritual activity? Why do we not start looking beyond the curtain of Hollywood movie sensationalism and take the subject more seriously?
Because, according to Dr. Richard Gallagher, a private psychiatrist and a professor at New York Medical College and Columbia University, demonic possession is often treated as or confused with mental illness. Many medical professionals are hesitant to treat or evaluate for “possession” - a fact that needs to change if for the demonically possessed are to receive the proper help for their serious affliction.
Read more about Dr. Gallagher’s insights and case studies about demonic possession here: www.yahoo.com/news/apos-demonic-possession-real-victims-081531844.html.
Not included in Dr. Gallagher’s observations but something perhaps worth noting is the recent rise in teenage mental illness, which has also been attributed in part to internet activity:
“In surveys of over five hundred thousand American adolescents, psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues found that adolescents, especially girls, who spent more time on screen activities (smartphones, Internet, and social media) were significantly more likely to have symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation than those who spent their time on non-screen activities...” (Read the full article here: www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-personal-renaissance/201801/the-alarming-rise-in-teen-mental-illness%3famp.)
Two questions come to mind: 1) How much has the internet taken over our minds (and spirits)? And 2) Could there be any overlap or relation between the noted increases in these two urgent problems?
Mental illness is real and serious. Demonic possession is also real and serious. It may be time to consider, as Dr. Gallagher does, how to equip mental health professionals to offer treatment for afflictions of both the mind and of the spirit in order to better aid those who may be suffering in the mind, or the spirit, or both.