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Diseases mistaken for demonic possession


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#1    Jessica Christ

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:18 AM

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In 2009, Susannah Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old reporter for the New York Post, when she began to experience numbness, paranoia, sensitivity to light and erratic behavior. Grasping for an answer, Cahalan asked herself as it was happening, "Am I just bad at my job — is that why? Is the pressure of it getting to me? Is it a new relationship?"

But Cahalan only got worse — she began to experience seizures, hallucinations, increasingly psychotic behavior and even catatonia. Her symptoms frightened family members and baffled a series of doctors.

After a monthlong hospital stay and $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans that proved inconclusive, Cahalan was seen by Dr. Souhel Najjar, who asked her to draw a clock on a piece of paper. "I drew a circle, and I drew the numbers 1 to 12 all on the right-hand side of the clock, so the left-hand side was blank, completely blank," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "which showed him that I was experiencing left-side spatial neglect and, likely, the right side of my brain responsible for the left field of vision was inflamed."

As Najjar put it to her parents, "her brain was on fire." This discovery led to her eventual diagnosis and treatment for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain. Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of "demonic possession" throughout history.

http://www.npr.org/2...r-brain-on-fire

So what do you think of this story and what other diseases throughout history have been mistaken for demonic possession?

Edited by I believe you, 02 December 2012 - 10:20 AM.


#2    Simbi Laveau

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:24 AM

View PostI believe you, on 02 December 2012 - 10:18 AM, said:



http://www.npr.org/2...r-brain-on-fire

So what do you think of this story and what other diseases throughout history have been mistaken for demonic possession?
I don't think anyone ever said she was possessed . She just displayed stuff seen in the exorcist ,and not the stuff that I would deem demonic .
Her displays sounded like violent seizures to me .
If she began speaking in Latin and levitating ,then I would have worried .

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#3    Jessica Christ

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:26 AM

View PostSimbi Laveau, on 02 December 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

I don't think anyone ever said she was possessed . She just displayed stuff seen in the exorcist ,and not the stuff that I would deem demonic .
Her displays sounded like violent seizures to me .
If she began speaking in Latin and levitating ,then I would have worried .

No one ever said she was possessed, correct.

"Cahalan says that doctors think the illness may account for cases of "demonic possession" throughout history."


#4    Jessica Christ

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

View PostSimbi Laveau, on 02 December 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

I don't think anyone ever said she was possessed . She just displayed stuff seen in the exorcist ,and not the stuff that I would deem demonic .
Her displays sounded like violent seizures to me .
If she began speaking in Latin and levitating ,then I would have worried .

Also I don't believe that most actual cases deemed possession by religious authorities (from Rome to India) include levitating or "stuff seen in the exorcist" movie. Please, those are fictional Hollywood depictions.

This was a serious topic asking about other diseases throughout history that could be mistaken for possession.

Edited by I believe you, 02 December 2012 - 10:31 AM.


#5    Simbi Laveau

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:50 AM

View PostI believe you, on 02 December 2012 - 10:29 AM, said:



Also I don't believe that most actual cases deemed possession by religious authorities (from Rome to India) include levitating or "stuff seen in the exorcist" movie. Please, those are fictional Hollywood depictions.

This was a serious topic asking about other diseases throughout history that could be mistaken for possession.

I posted a thread about her some weeks ago. She made the observation ,her body movements etc,were like out of the exorcist .
It's just no one correctly diagnosed her .
I forget the title of my thread .
Let me look.
She's written a book ...


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#6    Simbi Laveau

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

http://www.unexplain...opic=237626&hl=

Here it tis

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#7    JGirl

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:56 AM

i think there are a lot of diseases and disorders that can be mistaken for demonic possession by those who believe in such things.
consider the symptoms of many psychiatric disorders, just for starters.

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#8    Simbi Laveau

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

View PostJGirl, on 02 December 2012 - 10:56 AM, said:

i think there are a lot of diseases and disorders that can be mistaken for demonic possession by those who believe in such things.
consider the symptoms of many psychiatric disorders, just for starters.
Same for vampirism ,and even witchcraft .

Girls in the new world,Salem specifically ,that came over on boats,actually all displayed end stage symptoms of untreated Lyme disease .
They probably contracted it in Europe ,and it went into advanced stages when they were in the USA a few years .
The minute they had seizures or contorting from muscle spasm etc ..SHE'S A WITCH .

Edited by Simbi Laveau, 02 December 2012 - 11:18 AM.

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#9    JGirl

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

View PostSimbi Laveau, on 02 December 2012 - 11:17 AM, said:

Same for vampirism ,and even witchcraft .

Girls in the new world,Salem specifically ,that came over on boats,actually all displayed end stage symptoms of untreated Lyme disease .
They probably contracted it in Europe ,and it went into advanced stages when they were in the USA a few years .
The minute they had seizures or contorting from muscle spasm etc ..SHE'S A WITCH .
interesting tidbit. thanks

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#10    GreenmansGod

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

When your brain goes wonky, you can say or do anything. I know, mine has gone wonky a few times.  So many people in the world don't receive the medical treatment they need because of superstition.  The Catholic Church and others don't help the problem with things like Exorcist hotline.

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#11    Bling

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:52 PM

The ones that come to mind are Schizophrenia and Epilepsy.


#12    markdohle

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:19 PM

View PostBling, on 02 December 2012 - 08:52 PM, said:

The ones that come to mind are Schizophrenia and Epilepsy.

Probably the main ones I would think.

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#13    pallidin

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:45 PM

I would agree with everyone.

Many cases of supposed demonic possession can be medically traced to known severe psychiatric disorders, or even the intake of hallucingens.

I also know of a case shown on a national TV talk show, where a man's face would become completely contorted right in front of everyone in the audience and the TV viewing audience. I remember this well, and it was billed as "proof" of demonic possession.

However, while watching, I noticed he put his hands up to his eyes just before the visibly horrific contortion took place. Apparently, others noticed this as well, and it was somehow later discovered to be a fraud.

It turns-out that that he has a severe allergic reaction to some type of substance, and he would place it in his hands and wipe it in his eyes, feining that action as a "just before" possession anxiety response.
Within 20-30 seconds, his face fully contorted from the allergic reaction. It was quite dramatic, as you could clearly see the markedly distortions in his face.

I can't remember the talk-show that aired this(It was not Oprah, I do know that).

Edited by pallidin, 02 December 2012 - 09:50 PM.


#14    White Crane Feather

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:58 AM

View PostI believe you, on 02 December 2012 - 10:18 AM, said:



http://www.npr.org/2...r-brain-on-fire

So what do you think of this story and what other diseases throughout history have been mistaken for demonic possession?
Amoung the myriad of candidates, I think disassociative dissorders like multiple personality dissorder are strong possibilities.

These personalities can "posses" a person, know different languages, even believe themselves to be a ghost or demon.

Given this disease generally happens in people abused as a children, the harsh conditions of the past, and the minds ability to bury trauma away.. It's probably the source of the most convincing cases.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#15    Sakari

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:40 AM

There have been a huge amount of deaths from Exorcisms. I have posted a few lists on other topics.

All of the " possessions " were a Psychological, or medical issue that a Doctor would have been able to help with.

If you would like, I can try to find them again. At work right now, and working grtaveyard, or I would search now. Have them at home I believe.

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