An Open Question

Many of my colleagues believe there are no spirits or demons. They seem to know a priori that everything that exists is physical. This writer does not know any such thing. The topic of exorcism is best known in popular culture through William Blatty’s 1971 novel The Exorcist and the subsequent film of the same name in 1974. What is generally unknown is that the novel and movie are based on an actual 1949 case in Georgetown, which had been reported at the time in The Parapsychological Bulletin of Duke University. Whether demons exist and can possess a person is an empirical question, which should turn on actual evidence. D. Scott Rogo’s book The Poltergeist Experience (Penguin, 1979)(Chapter 6) describes a case of an allegedly possessed child who levitates and speaks Latin to which he has never been exposed. The author claims this was testified to by forty-one witnesses.

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