Can exorcisms help soldiers with PTSD?

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Army machine-gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend and seven other members of his unit when a Chinook helicopter — one he was meant to be on — crashed in Afghanistan.

The 2005 tragedy haunted him when he returned to his home in Savannah, Ga. At night, a tall, shadowy figure crept into his room. Sometimes the Black Thing would threaten to kill him; other times it would choke his dead best friend.

The dark figure, a “Destroyer demon,” punished him, he said, “for killing and for living.”

Without answers — his PTSD diagnosis offered little explanation — he went to the one person he felt could save him: a minister who offered $199 exorcisms out of his trailer.

Daniels, profiled in the book “Demon Camp” by first-time author Jennifer Percy, is just one of many deeply troubled soldiers suffering from the after-effects of war who are so desperate for respite they undergo exorcisms at a fringe Pentecostal retreat.

Bear Creek Ranch, in Portal, Ga., is ministered by Tim and Katie Mather, a husband-and-wife team that has conducted over 5,000 exorcisms, some of them on veterans.

Written By: Susannah Cahalan
continue to source article at nypost.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. So con-men target vulnerable adults and persuade them to part with as much money as they can wring out of them.
    Sounds familiar…
    At the mental health centre I work at we’ve just excluded a couple of prosletyzers for similar activities.

  2. The real story here should be how abysmally bad the mental health support for ex-soldiers is. A good therapist could explain those dreams, they actually sound like they might be a specific kind of vivid nightmare that I had when I was younger as well. Not that an explanation would make the nightmares or the guilt go away but it would be a start and it would probably prevent most people from resorting to con men and delusional fools.

    • In reply to #2 by Red Dog:

      The real story here should be how abysmally bad the mental health support for ex-soldiers is.

      No this is this story and it’s real, you’re just talking about another story. Are you suggesting that this story is not real or that journalist can’t write about problems not on the top of your list?

      If you’re in a fight with 2 forces saying that there is only one real fight means very little. If this was a contest to say what the BIGGEST problem facing returning soldiers then I would put your story above theirs but my story – stop having pointless false wars – is above yours.

      There are as many cats to skin as there are ways to skin them. Don’t interrupt me to tell me I should be talking about something else, it’s nonsense and perhaps I’ve just spent the last 10 years talking about that problem?

  3. PTSD is a condition of the mind, and whatever works for an individual works for an individual.

    So asking if it can work is the wrong question. The question should be: Can it be demonstrated to work better than a placebo treatment for the majority of patients in a double blind study?

    Though I’m not sure what a placebo would be in this case. (It would definitely be hard to define a ‘fake religion’ in certain legal jurisdictions!) Let His Noodly Appendage exercise the bad memories from your mind?

  4. The worst thing about this kind of stuff is the blatant exploitation of the desperately vulnerable; and to add insult to injury, a charge of 199 dollars is levied.

    But what else is to be expected from people of “faith”; who was it who said “Put Reverend after your name and you can get away with anything”?

    I’m sure that somebody here can remember!

  5. First rule of understanding modern journalism is that any headline that ends with a question can be answered in the negative. As far as this one is concerned, it is a reminder how the so called caring Christians are more than willing to fleece those with mental health problems.

  6. “Daniels, now in his early 30s, has since cut ties with the demon camp, he tells Percy. “They messed up my friends . . . they get in your head,” he said.”

    Sounds like they replace one messed up concept with another.

  7. The best part of the story:

    As the group surrounded Daniels and prayed, he “felt a burning sore rip open on the back of his neck. It felt as if the flesh was coming off and something was being pulled up his spine toward the burning.”

    Daniels tells Percy he felt the “hot Jesus blood coming down over his face.” Then “a glowing thing moved down his legs.” The minister reached out his hands and announced: “Caleb, you have a reason to live.”

    The hot Jesus body fluid “coming on his face” really did it for me! But not for the kids…

    Steve

    • In reply to #10 by Agrajag:

      The best part of the story:

      As the group surrounded Daniels and prayed, he “felt a burning sore rip open on the back of his neck. It felt as if the flesh was coming off and something was being pulled up his spine toward the burning.”

      Daniels tells Percy he felt the “hot Jesus blood coming down ove…

      Is this entire story just religious slash fiction?! @

  8. I image a double blind study would show that exorcism had little effect upon the delusions attributed to PSTD. Of course a proper study might show that many cases of PTSD are also delusional. I think journalists who use human gullibility and sensationalized headlines should be sent to a truth boot camp.

    Sadly, many in true need of proper treatment will be denied because the flakes are sensationalized.

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