The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Debunking Demonic Possession) by@mrfireside
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4,953 reads

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Debunking Demonic Possession)

by Mr FiresideJanuary 6th, 2023
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The comic is based on a post on Reddit about demonic possession. The original post was deleted after it received 30,000 views in 24 hours. The comic is the result of a conversation between the author and a Samoan boy he met in high school. The story is about how the Samoan kid came to believe in demonic possession and how the man who made the post became a believer.
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I'm a fan and user of Reddit.

One of my favorite things to do is to cruise what I like to call the woo-woo subs. It's entertaining. I enjoy anything related to UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Paranormal.

Over the years I’ve been sucked into plenty of Reddit rabbit holes, like the time I got obsessed with the Missing 411 topic until I realized it was probably just a money-making scam used to sell books and DVDs.

Often it’s easy to see that something is not what it is being made out to be, such as this dodgy ghost video, but it's entertaining enough and so I continue digging.

Recently while letting Christmas dinner digest I stumbled across a post titled Theological Explanation on the Most Common Causes of Demonic Possession by Fr. Fortea (Spanish Exorcist).

I thought that this video was completely and utterly ridiculous. There was zero science to it, zero debate, no opposing views, no doctors, no other possible explanations, or even a damned introduction to the video. It was the definition of baseless fear-mongering and clickbait, a bit like my title and image here.

I brought this up on the very Subreddit where I originally discovered it, made a post, and within about 48 hours it had been deleted. I’ll agree it was very poorly and hastily written by me on my phone, sitting on the toilet, and slightly hungover from the Christmas festivities.

Within the first 24 hours, the post had received 30,000 views.

There was a good debate and discussion going on.

I took the contents of that deleted post and began to turn it into the story that you are reading now.

I got halfway through and realized how stupid and ridiculous the topic was and so instead of finishing the story there and then, I decided to pivot my motivation for a few hours and make fun of it by creating a short comic that I published here.

I thought that it was funny and got the point across but the demon believers wouldn’t have it.

When I posted my comic, again, to those same Subreddits, they told me I was wrong and that it was the stupidest thing they had ever seen.

Really, my comic, debunking demonic possession, was the stupidest thing they had ever seen.

Not one to let up, this brings me back to the here and now, back to the story where the comic originally began.

Debunking Demonic Possession

Many years ago in my early high-school years, I befriended a bunch of Samoan kids that went to the same school as me and lived not too far away.

The eldest of their crew, the eldest brother who was a few years older than me, we’ll call him Donny, well he and I connected because he was into religion, I was into meditation, and we’d have conversations about the Universe, and reality itself while staring up at the night sky from our awesome viewpoint in the Southern Hemisphere.

Years later I found out that my friend Donny ended up working for various churches, and traveling around the world. He had remained connected to that same wonder and remained committed to his path. Good for him.

I recalled one specific conversation with Donny. It was about The Exorcist movie, specifically the director's cut release that came out in 2000. I was 15 at the time.

My older brother (17) and I went to see it together. No one was in the movie theater. It was just us and two even younger teen girls that sat a few rows ahead.

The two girls lasted all of 10 ten minutes before running out screaming, laughing, and embarrassed!

When I think about it, it’s very interesting that a man-made creation can have that effect on people.

I had seen the movie before because both my dad and older brother were horror movie fans and it was completely normal for me as a 7-year-old kid to wander innocently into the living room and see my dad and older brother eating popcorn and watching The Evil Dead, sh*tting my pants and running back up the stairs to hide under the blankets until I fell asleep.

Donny laughed when I told him about the movie.

I asked is it real?

He told me he didn’t think demonic possession was a thing. I asked him why and he explained to me that in Samoa when someone would be brought into the church because they or a family member claimed to be possessed, the local church exorcist would throw a boiling pot of hot water over them and that this technique would usually cure the possessed in a scalding flash, but of course, the moment the demon left, the pain from the scalding burn would take over and they’d be sent to the local medical clinic for physical care and less spiritual warfare.

What Donny told me that day stuck with me for years as you can imagine.

How cruel. And yet Donny laughed his big Samoan ass off when he saw the look of shock on my face.

The other shock was that it worked.

Really hot water apparently kills demons.

How interesting. Nothing but hot water. It wasn’t even holy!

I continued watching horror movies, demonic possession was a staple.

  • The Rite
  • The Amityville Horror
  • Insidious
  • Sinister
  • …and more

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose when it came out and ended up feeling uneasy about the whole thing when it ended.

There was something not right about it all and so off to the Internet I went in search of answers.

For those that don’t know, the movie is based on a true story. At least loosely anyway. The story of Anneliese Michel.

Anna Elisabeth "AnnelieseMichel…was a German woman who underwent 67 Catholic exorcism rites during the year before her death. She died of malnutrition, for which her parents and priest were convicted of negligent homicide. She was diagnosed with epileptic psychosis (temporal lobe epilepsy) and had a history of psychiatric treatment that proved ineffective.

I won’t spoil it or give you too much of a background to either the movie or the story behind it other than to say that the poor girl, the real-life one, had basically been starved to death. They left her to dehydrate and she eventually succumbed to this ritual abuse and died.

Anna’s autopsy report stated the cause of death was malnutrition and dehydration. This was a result of almost a year of starvation and exorcism that they put her through. Anna weighed a mere 30 kilograms (66 lb) upon her death, both her knees were broken from continuous kneeling in front of the exorcist, and she was unable to move without help and was reported to have contracted pneumonia.

How sad and cruel. Those demons sure must have been powerful entities, not even able to move the body of a sick and dying girl weighing less than my Labrador.

Makes you wonder who the possessed in that story really were.

Of course, Hollywood does what they are good at and cashes in. They couldn’t make the movie just about Anna, that would have been too easy for people to call them out on. Nope. In their sick and twisted minds, they actually made it about the poor Priest that killed the girl.

Thank you Internet!

I now had a small arsenal of information at my disposal when debating my stupid friends and work colleagues about the supernatural topic!

Warning: If you Google the real story, you may come across some very disturbing images. Not of demonic possession but of a very sick and abused girl.

Demonic Obsession, Not Possession

  • Mental health.
  • Hypnosis-induced trance states.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
  • Scams, and hoaxes.

This is the basis of my position.

That demonic possession is not real and instead, most cases are likely due to medical conditions. The rest are likely hoaxes, not much different in strategy to the fake demonic possession of Martha Brossier from the 1590’s France although the more modern ones use more modern methods naturally.

The most obvious thing that stands out to me, and should to any other real researcher on this topic, is that the more you look for exorcism, the more you discover that certain parts of the world with poor education and poor medicine keep popping up over and over again.

The connections between cases of demonic possessions, exorcism, and witchcraft in these certain areas around the world are unmissable. And yet it’s dismissed. Blatantly sometimes too.

Hollywood has done a fantastic job at transferring their obsession with the topic into the minds of people all over the world. Superman still isn’t real though and NO little Timmy should not try to fly off the balcony with his kite duct taped around his shoulders!

These countries, many in Africa, which have very poor education and medicine as compared with most Western nations are home to cultures that have deep beliefs and ideas that complement the topics of exorcism and possession. In fact, in some of these places, these very beliefs around possession go hand in hand with their religion!

Here is an older article from the Christian Chronicle that details data from Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in parts of Africa.

In Mozambique, some Muslim imams sell magical services for those seeking luck or blessings, said missionary Alan Howell. “A common practice here is to write down verses from the Quran, put them in water and then drink that water to receive a blessing,” Howell said.
Divine healing and exorcism are characteristic of traditional African religions. They’re also common among Africa’s charismatic Christian groups, including Pentecostal churches.

But writing magical spells on paper and dunking them into the water before guzzling them down is one thing. Abusing, torturing, and killing innocent people is something else.

In Samoa, they throw boiling water on the possessed, but in parts of Africa, they kill and torture people that are possessed.

A 17-year-old girl was killed early last year (2022), she was tortured of course, along with several other girls.

How do the Hollywood horror movie buffs and demon believers right here in the West explain that?

Parts of South and Central America are the same. A mass grave was discovered in Panama not long ago (2020). Some of the victims included a pregnant woman (32), and five of her children, aged 1 to 11.

Mental Health, Real Demons

There are mental health issues we in the modern world are acutely aware of, but people in rural indigenous communities or where there is a lack of education are completely clueless too! Is that really that hard to grasp?!

Imagine living in a far-off remote community and a local from your village or tribe develops schizophrenia, bipolar, or something similar. This would scare the cr*p out of the uneducated locals and I can see how they might think that their sister or aunt is now possessed by an unseen force!

What About Demonic Possession in The West?

Some stories suggest the possessed speak in non-native languages, summon superhuman strength, or can even moonwalk up walls backward!

This is a bit different from the areas of the world where you could argue they lack education about medical conditions or that maybe their religious and cultural beliefs attract a certain kind of woo-woo joo-joo.

Of course, these Western stories of possession must be true though.

These are different. These cannot be easily explained away like the ones in rural and poor parts of the world. We are far too smart to be tricked into believing something so unbelievable and surely there are zero other explanations for demonic possessions right here in the West!

There wouldn’t be a skeptical inquirer article about the moonwalking up the wall backward story!

Humans are the most interesting creature on the planet. Not only can we come up with ridiculous, far-fetched yet creative stories that make for awesome $65 million dollar productions but we’re also pretty freaking awesome in other areas that don’t just involve creativity.

And in these other non-creative human aspects we can see how easy it is to confuse some human feats as demonic possession because they shouldn’t happen normally.

We’ve all heard the story of mothers picking cars up off of their children, displaying demon-like strength, also known as Hysterical strength where the theory is that in their delirious state, facing a life and death situation, 100% of their muscle fibers are activated through the release of Norepinephrine or cases where people have had brain trauma, gone into a coma and come out of it speaking another language!

Humans Fear What They Do Not Understand

My point in saying this, tongue very much in cheek is that for every single claim of demonic possession, there is an explainable equivalent. I’ll give you a personal anecdote right now.

My daughter who is now almost 12, used to have absolutely terrifying night terrors.

Terrifying for us, her parents, but not for her.

She’d wake in the middle of the night, either starting off mumbling in an ungodly tone, or simply just going into overdrive, screaming at the top of her lungs, rambling and screeching in what seemed like a mysterious unknown language, and one time she even bit, hissed, spat at and scratched my wife and me!

Does this or does this not sound like a demonic possession?

The difference is that we very quickly realized it was us that was causing this.

You see, we’d heard of night terrors before, but neither of us knew what they actually were, let alone what we should do, or in our case, NOT do, when one happens.

Having no understanding of what was happening we tried to wake her up the first few times that this happened and things from there only got exponentially worse. My wife was visibly frightened when the worst of it happened, but now years later we laugh about how our daughter with her long black hair would wake up in the middle of the night looking like the girl from The Ring and try to murder us.

Funny thing is, when a kid has a night terror, they almost never remember it the next day. This is also a common description of demonic possessions.

Nowadays when her little brother experiences the odd night terror, we know exactly what to do, we comfort and soothe him back to sleep in the comfort of a dimly lit room, and 9/10 he falls easily back to sleep without trying to gouge our eyes out!

Lastly, I thought this would be funny to end on.

Demonic possession and exorcism here in Australia where I am from appear far less than it does in other places around the world and when it comes up, we do what we Aussies do best, we send a smart a$$ journalist that pokes fun at the whole thing and wishes the exorcisms would hurry up and be over so that he can just go home because he is tired.

How unbelievably scary.