Exorcism can be funny [Video]

I was first amused by this extremely funny exorcism film clip many years ago. When I came to search for it again much later, the only copy I could find was this one, and unfortunately somebody has added laughter. This makes it seem ungenuine. However, the laughter was definitely not there in the original, and I suspect that the film is of a genuine exorcism. If anyone can find the original, without the added laughter, please send us the url.

Several churches take exorcism seriously. Pope Francis has recently re-affirmed the Catholic Church’s commitment to it and, according to some reports, has even performed an exorcism himself (Google “Pope Francis” “Exorcism”).

–Richard

 

50 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think exocism is funny!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/02/international-association-of-exorcists_n_5552121.html

    The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.

    The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organization’s statutes and recognized the group under canon law.

    More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.

    The head of the association, the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy. “Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,” he told L’Osservatore.

      • Not when people die it’s not!

        In the 1970′s I was a Police officer and one Sunday morning was sent to a report of a man running through the streets of a nearby town covered in red paint. It wasn’t paint!

        Some weeks prior to this a friends of his wife’s had persuaded him and his wife to attend a Christian evangelical meeting. He got drawn into the message and the very charismatic young lady who led the group. To cut a long story short, the young lady in question diagnosed that he was ‘possessed by the demon of lust’, I kid you not. She, in turn consulted with an Anglican priest who ‘had some skill in these matters’, and who agreed with her diagnosis. They persuaded him to undergo an exorcism. The next morning he murdered his wife: with his bare hands he gouged out her eyes and ripped out her tongue, and then literally tore her face from her skull. When we found him he was crouched in a nearby street in the foetal position muttering that it was the ‘blood of Satan’.The pathologist’s opinion was that she thankfully died very quickly. The was found unfit to plead and spent two years in a secure hospital, and a further two years in a less secure unit. The CPS refused to take the matter to court, after all those who perpetrated this appalling event were, as they claimed, ‘only doing God’s work!’

        Yes, I agree with you it is ridiculous but for those who believe it is real, and so are the consequences.

        • @Alan. & @alf1200 Of course, Marie Robinson the women involved has problems as does the Priest who was ‘the exorcist’, the point I am making is that no matter how stupid we think exorcism is it’s not always funny. As usual it’s the innocent who suffer, in this case the woman who died., her husband who killed her and he was completely blameless and their two young daughters (aged 3 and 5). and nowhere did I suggest that all exorcisms result in someone’s death. The man in question is now living in the same community living with what he did.

          I was just making the point that behind the stupidity there can be real tragedy.

          Of course the Vatican got in on the act, although the RCC was not involved however the comment was that during the exorcism all the demons were driven from him except for the demon of murder.

          • I never stated that tragedy was “funny”.
            I never stated that exorcism was safe.
            THIS situation was funny. You went off the deep end.

  2. At about 30 seconds in I wonder whether the priest accidentally touched a live wire in what must have been a poorly earthed church.

    Then again it’s probably just a great example of what bat-shit crazy religion does to people. Hilarious.

  3. Exorcism is a way to use a person’s belief system to affect changes in their psychological state — it’s basically a complicated placebo effect. You see the same thing with faith healings and various shaman’s tricks. These things can have a strong effect on the patient’s mind, regardless of their metaphysical claims, which is really the point of any therapy, right?

    I wonder if the atheist-materialist worldview runs the risk of producing a kind of psychological mediocrity — a tendency to underrate the power of intense human belief. How can you produce intense, cathartic mental states in a typical skeptical, rational, semi-depressive atheist? Sometimes irrationality might be useful!

    • . I wonder if the atheist-materialist worldview runs the risk of producing a kind of psychological mediocrity — a tendency to underrate the power of intense human belief. How can you produce intense, cathartic mental states in a typical skeptical, rational, semi-depressive atheist? Sometimes irrationality might be useful!

      This comment seems to justify the sale of a placebo remedy purely because it stands a chance of success even though it’s a sham. Where does this place honesty and integrity? No one would deny that an exorcism has the possible psychological outcome of ridding the patient of the condition. Belief is a very powerful factor in achieving a cure. Does this make it right, in your eyes?

      Should the practitioner be selective about the type of ailment? Would it be ethical to attempt an exorcism on someone with epilepsy for example, even though the bulk of the population knows full well that epilepsy is a neurological condition able to be treated by medication?

    • Imperius Jul 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Exorcism is a way to use a person’s belief system to affect changes in their psychological state — it’s basically a complicated placebo effect.

      Not necessarily! There could be a simple physical explanation of the effects of that shaking and brain banging!

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210124757.htm

      “This approach allowed us to explore the possible changes of ST (self-transcendence) induced by specific brain lesions and the causative role played by frontal, temporal, and parietal structures in supporting interindividual differences in ST,” says researcher Dr. Franco Fabbro from the University of Udine.

      The group found that selective damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions induced a specific increase in ST. “Our symptom-lesion mapping study is the first demonstration of a causative link between brain functioning and ST,” offers Dr. Urgesi. “Damage to posterior parietal areas induced unusually fast changes of a stable personality dimension related to transcendental self-referential awareness. Thus, dysfunctional parietal neural activity may underpin altered spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors.”

      These results may even lead to new strategies for treating some forms of mental illness. “If a stable personality trait like ST can undergo fast changes as a consequence of brain lesions, it would indicate that at least some personality dimensions may be modified by influencing neural activity in specific areas,” suggests Dr. Salvatore M. Aglioti from Sapienza University of Rome. “Perhaps novel approaches aimed at modulating neural activity might ultimately pave the way to new treatments of personality disorders.”

    • I wonder if the atheist-materialist worldview runs the risk of producing a kind of psychological mediocrity — a tendency to underrate the power of intense human belief.

      I think that the only way for someone who holds an atheist-materialist worldview to underrate the power of intense belief is to not read the papers and ignore facts and history. Well informed non-believers are in fact much more likely to be aware of the power of intense belief than believers could ever be. Hardcore believers simply cannot see through the mental fog of their belief and by definition grossly underestimate the power that belief has over them.

      How can you produce intense, cathartic mental states in a typical skeptical, rational, semi-depressive atheist?

      I get the impression that this statement implies that an atheistic-skeptic-rational worldview somehow leads to a bland personality or outright depression and the inability to experience intense feelings. This is a myth. Personality shortcomings, character flaws and psychological disorders owe nothing to unbelief, rationality and skepticism. Irrational beliefs of all flavours, on the other hand, have been shown to cause all of the above in countless instances. And I am less than certain that “intense, cathartic mental states” is the best path to recovery for people in difficulty. I’m no stranger to such problems and through experience, I have found that mental clarity and self-criticism has always worked best for me. Intense feelings almost never provide wise counsel.

      Sometimes irrationality might be useful!

      The irrationality that makes a person believe they “got better” is the same irrationality that led them to believe they were possessed in the first place. I can only think of two things in which irrationality can play a useful role: humor and sex. But the last thing we need to worry about is our species becoming too rational, don’t we?

      Pax

      • Well, it looks to me like the most secular societies are having a hard time with the most basic task of any species: reproduction. Nor do they seem particular good at cultural preservation (see mass immigration in secular societies from non-secular but fecund societies, political correctness, etc.). We also have the dismal example of the Soviet experiment, which produced a moribund culture and population yet confidently asserted the superiority of its atheist ideology.

        I’m not sure if these are examples of “death by secular rationality,” but that’s how it looks to me. Without passion and irrational exuberance, it’s not clear that atheist civilization can survive in competition with other models.

        • Imperius Jul 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

          Well, it looks to me like the most secular societies are having a hard time with the most basic task of any species: reproduction.

          Didn’t you notice, that they were avoiding the grinding poverty, backwardness, starvation, resource degradation, and suffering, associated with excessive reproduction.

          Nor do they seem particular good at cultural preservation

          They certainly have rapidly evolving cultures rather than repressive fossilised ones, – although some passing-fad, innovations need weeding out by a selective process involving survival of the best.

          see mass immigration in secular societies from non-secular but fecund societies, political correctness, etc.).

          Mass low-skill immigration from backward areas, is a risky capitalist feature rather than a secular one, as with sub-standard shipping using “flags of convenience” and cheap under-skilled labour!

          Emigration and immigration with mobility of skilled people, educates and can improve services, trade-links and technology throughout the world.

          We also have the dismal example of the Soviet experiment, which produced a moribund culture and population yet confidently asserted the superiority of its atheist ideology.

          You seem to be confusing Stalinist ideology with atheism simply because it happened to be anti-royalist/theist. There is no such thing as “atheist ideology”!

          I’m not sure if these are examples of “death by secular rationality,” but that’s how it looks to me.

          What a confused and jaundiced view!
          Stalinism had nothing to do with “rationality”! “Stalinist biology, economics” etc. was irrational ideological pseudo-science, which retarded Soviet intellectual agricultural and industrial development for decades.

          Without passion and irrational exuberance, it’s not clear that atheist civilization can survive in competition with other models.

          Neither emotional enjoyment nor exuberance need to be irrational.

          Irrational exuberance, tends to have a lively night end with a visit to accident and emergency departments, or to a police cell!

          Perhaps you can recognise the irrational exuberance in the exorcism videos!

          • I think when birthrates have hit 1 per female we’re well beyond excessive reproduction avoidance and into cultural suicide territory. And my point about cultural preservation is that secular Western culture is under direct threat by immigration from less secular cultures. Surely this is obvious to anyone living in, say, London or Paris? Don’t you want to preserve your liberal Western traditions, or are those “fossilized”? Do you really think populations are fungible? I think you’re delusional!

            But with all these issues, history will be the final judge. It’s too early to say for sure, but from where I sit, secular civilization looks unsustainable and some kind of transient phase.

        • @ Imperious
          . Well, it looks to me like the most secular societies are having a hard time with the most basic task of any species: reproduction.

          If young women in secular societies were married off in their teens, I’m sure you’d see a rise in fertility. As it stands now, the age of the average first time mother has risen to over thirty. Of course falling pregnant at this age is going to be slightly harder but fortunately medical science has provided assistance in achieving the goal.
          I don’t think you’d find many thirty y.o. mothers who would really regret their decision to wait till they were out of their teens!

          good at cultural preservation

          As with languages, all benefit from a cultural mix. Take what is good and discard what is bad, seems to be for the betterment of all. I live in a vibrant, multicultural society and wouldn’t have it any other way.

          the dismal example of the Soviet experiment

          It’s true that Soviet Russia was not the shining example of prosperity that typified other industrialised nations, however there were some big pluses that are usually overlooked. Education levels improved significantly and I have a feeling that the health of the population would have risen as well, though that’s just a guess.

          The community I envision after reading your comment is a narrow minded, culturally homogenous ghetto where girls are pushed into marriage and child bearing the minute they hit puberty. Not a place I’d like to call home.

    • The snag with that is that the “demons” tend to come back even if the “patient” is assured that God won’t let them .But with a modern scientific approach often a person can be cured or taught how to manage what is really wrong with them. Irrationality is rarely useful long-term. As you well know a placebo is not a cure.

    • We don’t need just the placebo effect. An actual cure also has a placebo effect if the patient believes it will work.

      Anything that helps is a nice extra though, so it may be useful to learn from the placebo effect and apply this to actual medicine, to boost this effect ( for example using colored pills versus plain white pills ).

  4. Imperius Jul 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I think when birthrates have hit 1 per female we’re well beyond excessive reproduction avoidance and into cultural suicide territory.

    The Chinese one child policy was not “cultural suicide”. It was a turning point away from the backward poverty of overpopulation.

    And my point about cultural preservation is that secular Western culture is under direct threat by immigration from less secular cultures. Surely this is obvious to anyone living in, say, London or Paris?

    These are local issues arising from the exploitative capitalist use of cheap immigrant labour. In the past the US did this with the slave trade for years. Nothing to do with secularism.

    Don’t you want to preserve your liberal Western traditions, or are those “fossilized”? Do you really think populations are fungible? I think you’re delusional!

    This is cherry picking! Actions are being taken as they have been for decades, to weed out both native and imported sub-standard cultural effects, to sustain and develop liberal western traditions. It is areas of repressive theism, like the Southern USA and Africa, which are stuck in the past, and compounding the over-population problems.

    Those who believe in the likes of exorcism are severely handicapped in a scientific society.

    But with all these issues, history will be the final judge. It’s too early to say for sure, but from where I sit, secular civilization looks unsustainable and some kind of transient phase.

    Secular civilisation (unlike theocratic or theist dominated states), has shown its self to be very adaptable and capable of taking charge of its own destiny – despite the obstructive antics of the political “faith-thinkers”, and who despite their birth-rates, are fortunately reducing in numbers in Western Europe, where they are educated, and have to compete with clear-thinking neighbours!

    • No society is ever “stuck in the past” — this is a physical impossibility and pure propaganda. The Communists liked to make claims like this about the West — to claim that history was on their side, not ours — and now it’s they who are in the dustbin of history. I suspect modern secular progressivism is headed for a similar fate. And part of the reason is a blindness to the deeper processes that determine the fate of civilizations — demographics, spirituality, “asabiyyah”, etc.

      Go ahead and celebrate your demographic demise and call it progress if you like, but some groups who don’t buy into this lunacy will pursue a different strategy, and the brutal logic of evolution will decide the winner. Already “neoreactionaries” are preparing a breakaway civilization, Zionists and some plutocrats already have broken away to a large extent, and transhumanists may be next. So liberal civilization may not die out so much as fragment and be eclipsed as its more ambitious members start heading for the exits and establishing more powerful alternatives.

      • Imperius Jul 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        No society is ever “stuck in the past” — this is a physical impossibility and pure propaganda.

        Perhaps you should take a closer look at this one, which I pointed out earlier in this discussion!

        http://abcnews.go.com/International/exorcism-group-vaticans-blessing/story?id=24412640

        The Vatican has legally recognized a group of priests who perform exorcisms in which they claim to expel the devil from people who are possessed.

        The International Association of Exorcists was originally founded in 1990 and one of their leaders has been housed in the Vatican for years, but this is the first time that they have been given formal approval by the highest order of the Roman Catholic Church.

        According to The Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Congregation for Clergy announced Tuesday that the Church’s canon law now formally recognizes the group.

        The International Association of Exorcists is made up of 250 priests who are spread over 30 countries.

        One of their most active members is the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, who was one of the six founding members and has spoken extensively about his belief that exorcisms are the most effective way to fight the devil.

        At that point in time, he said that he had treated more than 70,000 cases of demonic possession, and those regularly involved exorcisms where he and six or seven assistants hold down the possessed person as the devil fights back from inside the individual.

        “The devil is pure spirit, invincible. He is shown with the painful blasphemies coming from the person which he possesses. He can stay hidden. He can speaks different languages. He can transform himself,” Amorth says.

    • The Chinese one child policy was not “cultural suicide”. It was a turning point away from the backward poverty of overpopulation.

      Pretty shortsighted though : how are the “single” children going to pay the pensions of their parents ?

  5. That, I have to admit, is the silliest exorcism I have ever come across. I do not deny that it was supposed to be a real exorcism, but, oh, that priest should, among other things, be more careful of the patient’s neck! He should also have taken a lead from the man in whose office he is supposed to believe himself to have been ordained, and addressed the demon or demons with the divine authority vested in him and not tried to shake the demon out of the poor patient by brute force. I do not believe there was a demon in this case or in any other, and I do not believe in any god, but I am dismayed by the manifest ignorance of even an ordained exorcist on how, according to his own religious tradition, his ministry ought to be exercised – with calm authority and trust in God. Thus the patient’s own faith might have been focused and activated to effect the exorcism (no doubt, in many cases at least, some kind of placebo result). But why do I fret? Because I am the sort of person who agrees that, if something is worth doing (and that is the individual’s own decision), it is worth doing well. I have no truck with Catholic or Christian superstitions (including exorcisms), but I do expect a Christian to perform his religious duties properly (according to the traditions he claims to have accepted on faith), intelligently and with integrity. The exorcist in this clip fails on all counts.

    • Well, I had 4 BUT of those 4 one has passsed with no children, another at the age of 50 has none, one has 1 and the fourth has 3 so it evened out in the end. In the 60s we did not think much of overpopulation but I taught my children that it was quite real and advised them not to have so many children and why. Obviously that advice took.

  6. Why Exorcism of Demons and Evil Spirits should be made illegal

    One of the things most religions have in common is an acceptance of the possibility of diabolical possession, that is, that evil spirits or demons have the power to control the bodies of their victims. Taking over the body would not necessarily mean taking over the person. Exorcism is a form of prayer to which God responds by putting the demons out. Exorcism is expulsion. Some religions say the demons actually take over human beings.

    If demons control the body, they can pretend to be the person. If demons control the person and not just the body, it follows that many murderers could be innocent. The Devil made them do it. The concept of demonic possession then is extremely important for it has huge implications if it really happens.

    Exorcism needs to be banned legally because

    There are no peer reviewed medical articles or journals that advocate exorcism.
    Diagnosis is a problem – many people with mental illness have been mistakenly diagnosed as possessed. Some exorcists admit they are not sure if the person is mentally ill or possessed and still proceed with an exorcism. Diagnosis in medicine based on what symptoms the person reports and are observed by others only if there is no way to get hard evidence – such as in a poor country. With exorcism, the diagnosis is based purely on what the victims and their friends or family say. Those people are rarely educated the right way or unbiased – they are not great witnesses. And as they will get away with it, they feel they can lie and exaggerate. And if people fear a demon in their midst their imagination will run away with them. Exorcisms were far more common in the past because people did not have the tools for diagnosing anything properly never mind exorcism. Overall, the belief has hurt and harmed.
    Unlike medicine which is carefully regulated, each religion invents its own rules about exorcism. It is irresponsible to put mental treatment in the hands of non-professionals as is done when the exorcist steps in.
    Consent to exorcism raises problems. The demon is thought to simulate the person so if the person objects to exorcism it will be assumed it is the demon talking.
    Nobody can prove it is a demon at work – if anything paranormal is happening could it be a psychic illness? Treating it as a demon will worsen the problem.
    People with mental health problems may suffer because of belief in demons. If you doubt your sanity, imagine how upsetting it will be if you start to feel you are possessed.
    Exorcisms sometimes cause a violent reaction in the person – how can you know that it is a demon doing this and not the ritual or the person’s delusion that they have a demon?
    Exorcism tends to be private which increases the chance of abuse and harm. It prevents regulation.
    If psychiatry is unable to find out what is wrong with the person, that does not prove that the person is possessed. No sane psychiatrist would approve of exorcism.
    Some possessed people have been diagnosed as mentally ill. Their possession is considered to be a separate issue from their illness. Where can the line be drawn? It is hard enough to do that without bringing demons and the supernatural into it.
    Exorcists believe that somebody cursed the victim or the victim invited the demons in. You need proof before you can say things like that. Exorcism endorses the slander of accusing somebody – even if the identity is unknown – without proof that anybody was to blame.
    Where do you draw the line with belief in possession and exorcism? Why not say your pen was possessed and wrote that poison pen you wrote by itself?
    Exorcism can be a very long process bringing great trauma and worry to the victim and her or his family and friends and it does not always succeed. Often a demon is allegedly put out and when the person seems possessed again it is insisted that the demon was put out and returned. That claim is a cop-out. Exorcists cannot be trusted no matter how kindly they seem to be. Fortune-tellers are great charmers too.
    Exorcists sometimes believe in beating up the victim to get the demon out. How can exorcism be regulated?
    Exorcism is enabling those who carry out extreme and cruel forms of exorcism.
    Exorcists claim to be performing an act of love for the victim – real love is based on evidence what is best for the person. It is not based on the guess that demons exist and that demons possess the person. Exorcism is based on the principle: It is okay for me to take beliefs very seriously when there is little or no suitable evidence in their favour. Where do you draw the line with a principle like that? Real love respects principles for principles serve not only truth but us as well.
    Some victims seem to recover through exorcism by the placebo effect. This effect can be achieved other ways without exorcism. Friendly doctors who listen to their patients are the best catalyst for the placebo effect. Exorcism is about ritual and scary. Any talking or friendliness happens outside of it. The placebo effect in exorcism can backfire – the person might get worse if no better. Doctors telling a white lie to trigger the placebo effect is nothing compared to exorcism which is a big issue and presupposes a whole world view. It is a religious placebo effect not a medical one and should not be tolerated.

    Conclusion: Ban exorcism. The concept of possession gives evil people a way to avoid being found guilty even if they are caught.

    http://whatstheharm.net/exorcisms.html

  7. I think that the priest performing the exorcism had watched a few pentecostal Americans for inspiration but he left out the best dramatics that they have developed over the years. You know like shouting “HEAL -ah !! ” and then knocking the “patient” to the floor with the strong suggestion that he should writhe about a bit !!
    There should also be the famous ” In the Name of Jeez as!” Not forgetting the obligatory two or more helpers just
    in case the demons decide to cut up rough and make a fight of it by making the “patient” ultra violent.
    I am sure that film makers who depict this sort of thing as real are having great fun at the expense of the God-botherers of America. The pentecostal preachers of America wrote the book on all of this and they certainly understand the entertainment value of what they do . They tend to give very good value for money because that is what they want !!

  8. Richard,

    The clip with laughter comes from a programme called TV Heaven TV Hell, where the host was Sean Locke and the guest was David Mitchell. The whole programme is excellent, particularly the bit on religion. I have sought the original of this clip on YouTube without success.

    Paul

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