Abnormality vs. Possession
I just happened to watch the movie “Exorcism of Emilie Rose” right now. The movie was made in the year 2008, and is apparently based on a true story.
This movie made me think of a number of things, and as I write this I still have a plenty of questions on my mind.
· Does anything like spirits exist?
· Do people really get possessed?
· What is the difference between the exorcist rights which are performed and the medicines which are given to clinically abnormal patients for treatment?
· How do, if yes, merely chanting helps the person get free from the spirit that possesses him/ her?
This movie reminded me of the comparison I had drawn between clinical therapy, psychiatry and the exorcist rights that would be performed at Balaji, Rajasthan. A place well known for freeing people from the ‘sankat’ that possesses them in addition to there being a temple of Lord Hanuman.
This movie, to me, indeed seemed very convincing as far as the existence of ‘dark forces’ is concerned. But Philosphy makes me question not to believe anything on the basis of ‘just’ what I have seen. Well surely this was not a face to face interaction of mine with a spirit or a person who is possessed that I can take it further; but what I think, after watching documentaries telecasted at Discovery of people narrating true stories of their encounters with spirits or eerie events surely there is a possibility of the existence of spirits.
Of course to help ourselves from any kind of harm, we use the defense of denial so as to soothe that part of the brain which gets threatened after hearing such stories.
As I heard a senior of mine at my college share with me the events that would take place atthe Balaji temple (note: just heard) I had goosebumps as I tried imagining the atmosphere there. She told me that the sufferer would be brought by his family members and at times it would take years to free him from the ‘sankat’. As the rights would be performed, the clothing, the hair (in case of a women) would be freed, so that nothing would entangle the person, and then the rights would be performed.
It would be fair enough to say that no matter where science has reached today, surely some studies do seem to have been done which do indicate how exorcism leads the person to get free vs. a medical psychiatric treatment.
As I watched the movie, I had words like ‘catatonic rigidity’ and ‘auditory hallucinations’ going in my mind as the prosecutor lawyer uttered them. But the way Emilie’s behavior was portrayed in the movie, it in no way seemed that she was suffering from any kind of mental abnormality.
I’m sure as you read this; you’ll find a lot of loose ends in this prose. Yes, I admit it myself, for they are my spontaneous thoughts.
What I wonder is, that a year back as I read about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), earlier known as Multiple Personality Disorder, I also watched the movie ‘Three faces of Eve’ and ‘Sybil’ in addition to reading Sydney Sheldon’s book ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’ .
Now my point is, I totally freaked out simple as ‘I read and saw’ about DID. Of what I have come to learn, it is a mental abnormality. What about a case of possession? Where not only the victim but his/her whole family undergoes the trauma, the shock of their family member’s suffering? Where the ‘dark forces’ refuse to leave your presence? How would one live in such an atmosphere?
I’ll leave you as I leave myself to ponder over these questions, perhaps some things just ‘come to us’ making us change in ways we never imagined! What do you think?