Category Archives: Horror

Exorcism in Christianity and Catholicism

The United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio is one of the official U.S. seminaries that treats supernatural aspects as real and even have multiple conferences that focus on divine healing. This tends to go against the common upper-middle class American Protestantism belief. Non-Catholics refer to casting out demons as “spiritual warfare and deliverance” and Catholics refer to this act as “Exorcism.”

I was taught that there are invisible and spiritual forces out there that are undetectable by any scientific instruments. It is a general Christian belief that demonic activity occurs regularly and that there is a constant battle against evil. The phenomena has been documented across cultures and across time. There are many biblical mentions of demons and exorcisms. The New Testament even commands believers to battle demons.

I was always taught that the Methodist Church has appointed people to handle deliverance or exorcisms and that they have strict guidelines about determining whether or not an exorcism is actually necessary. My father always remained adamant that the need for an exorcism is actually very rare. For the purpose of this blog post, I want to be clear that this post in based on my personal opinion gathered from information that I was taught. Please feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions on the subject.

The Roman Catholic Church is more commonly known for performing exorcisms. Despite what you see in the popular films, it is not done on a regular basis. The guidelines are very strict and each case is investigated thoroughly. It is very rare for an exorcism to be authorized and exorcisms are not considered a Sacrament. Unlike Christians, most Catholics believe that if a priest did not obtain special permission from the bishop, he can still perform a prayer of deliverance but it is not considered to be a full exorcism. It also does not include addressing the evil spirit directly. Therefore it is not recommended for cases of possession. However, in cases of a real possession, priests must never conduct solemn exorcisms without the permission of a bishop. They can only assist in exorcism through prayer and helping the exorcist. The only formal exorcism rites sanctioned by an established church can be found in the Ritual Romanum.

In Christianity, exorcism is better known as “casting out” or “spiritual warfare and deliverance.” It is the practice of casting out demons from someone who has been deemed to be possessed. The person who is performing the “exorcism” or “casting out” is commonly known as the exorcist. The exorcist is usually a minister, a lay person, or an individual who is believed to have special powers or skills. However, it is common for many Christians to believe that any mature Christian can perform an exorcism, not just members of clergy. Most Christians believe that the authority to cast out demons is given to them by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (also known as the Holy Trinity).

My father stressed that before determining that a person is suffering from a spiritual issue, the person should be assessed by a medical doctor to rule out any medical or psychological conditions that may be causing the symptoms they are experiencing It is also important to make sure that the person is not experiencing symptoms caused by medications, alcohol or drugs.

Exorcisms should never be performed on someone who has not been properly examined by a medical doctor first.

After all medical and psychological conditions have been ruled out by a medical doctor, the “possessed person” is not labeled as “evil” or held wholly responsible for their actions. The possessed person is considered to be an unwilling person who is manipulated by a demon. This usually results in harm to self or others and for this reason, exorcism is believed to be a cure instead of a punishment. the Exorcist and their assistants must do everything possible to ensure that proper precautions are taken so that no one (including the possessed individual) is harmed during the exorcism.

The majority of exorcisms usually include at least one or more of the following: prayers, scripture, gestures, symbols, sacred or blessed religious items. God, Jesus and archangels are invoked and asked to intervene during the exorcism. My father also stressed the importance of having at least two spiritually mature adults, preferably clergy or laymen, performing the exorcism.

 

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or religion. Recommendations within this article are only recommendations. They should not be utilized in real-world scenarios unless advised by trained and experienced persons. Assumptions made within the articles are not reflective of all Christians or Catholics or any other religious organizations. The author advises you to exercise your own judgment and to seek out your own answers through research and guidance from experienced and educated leaders. It is the authors’ opinion that there is no such thing as a demonologist and if there is, they did not take an online class to receive this certification. Demonology is not a subject to be taken lightly or without in depth study. The author also recommends that proper education and experience certifications should be requested from individuals claiming to possess such skills. No pun intended.

 

The Madison Seminary: One of Ohio’s Most Haunted Places

The Madison Seminary in Madison Ohio. This location was dubbed “One of Ohio’s Most Haunted Places.”

The Madison Seminary started out as a small, frame building when it opened in 1847. It served as a high school and college. The buildings were used for education until 1891, when the property was purchased by the Ohio Woman’s Relief Corps. The Civil War Army nurses, wives, sisters and mothers of soldiers used the facility and it became known as the National Relief Corp Home. The building that stands today was built on the site of the original small frame wood structure and was added by the Woman’s Relief Corps  in 1891. By 1904, the WRC could not maintain the facility so it was donated to the State of Ohio. The property changed hands and functions several times over the next few decades. The building was used as the Ohio Women’s Reformatory and by various medical facilities. It also served as an extension of housing for mentally disabled, aged or senile women.

In the 1970’s, the Lake County commissioners acquired the buildings from the state and leased them to Madison Township for administrative offices until a new facility was built. The building is on the National Historic Register and in 1993, the building was advertised as “can be leased cheap, caution — building may be haunted.”

Previous paranormal teams claim to have made contact with the ghost of a young boy named Steven, odd photos of orbs, disembodied voices, knocking sounds, cold spots, light anomalies, flashlight manipulation, EVP’s and personal paranormal experiences.

By: Cindie Harper

Twitter: @thefemmeforce

Website: http://www.femmeforce.org

 

 

Stingy Jack and the Jack O’Lantern 

cindie harper halloween jack o'lantern pumpkin carving tradition historyPeople have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him but didn’t want to pay for his drink so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Jack decided to keep the money instead of paying for the drinks so he put it into his pocket next to a silver cross to keep the Devil from changing back. Jack eventually freed the Devil if he agreed not bother Jack for one year. The next year, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack he would leave him alone for ten more years. Jack died shortly after this. God would not allow Jack into heaven. The Devil wouldn’t allow Jack into hell because of the tricks he played so he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth. He has been called “Jack of the Lantern,” and “Jack O’Lantern” ever since.

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Facts:
The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets. People began making their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips, beets or potatoes and placing them in windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.

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The jack o’lantern tradition was brought to America by immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and England. This is where they discovered that pumpkins made excellent jack-o-lanterns.

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Written by:

Cindie Harper

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SUNDS: Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome

There were a disproportionate number of Hmong in America who reported night visitations by the dab tsog demon and over half of the Hmong immigrants also reported having episodes of sleep paralysis.

I have suffered from sleep paralysis several times in my life but my episodes increased after spending four days and three nights in the infamous Sallie House in Atchison Kansas. It is one of the most disturbing and terrifying feelings in the world. These experiences peaked my curiosity to find out more about the similarities between sleep paralysis and sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

During my research on this subject, I found that most Anthropologists identified the Hmong immigrant deaths attributed to the tsog tsuam demon, as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

So where does sleep paralysis come into play in regards to SUNDS? According to some medical experts, one probably triggered the other and it is believed that the Hmong immigrants were scaring themselves to death in their sleep. They also believe that sleep paralysis reinforced the Hmong immigrants’ belief that they deserved to die. So in other words,  the negative thinking in relation to the mind-body connection creates a phenomena in which your health gets worse by focusing and thinking negatively. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

We also know that beliefs are powerful. Believing in evil spirits makes them real to the believer. Those who died of SUNDS were immigrants with religious backgrounds. Interestingly enough, studies show that it did not afflict those who did not believe in spirits. Medical experts also believe that severe and ongoing stress, along with intense feelings of powerlessness could have contributed to the phenomena. Especially among people whose culture and belief system reinforces the notion that evil spirits have the power to kill men who do not fulfill their religious obligations.

I will be researching more on this subject in the near future.

By:

Cindie Harper

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Dab Tsog Demon and Tsog Tsuam Spell

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) was identified as an epidemic in the early 1980’s after many healthy male Hmong immigrants fled Communist Laos and began mysteriously dying in their sleep. These odd nocturnal deaths became that leading cause of death among healthy male Hmong immigrants who fled to the United States.

The Hmong people believed that the deaths were being caused by an ancient demon named dab tsog. The dab tsog was known to dwell in caves but would leave the caves at night to steal people’s souls by sitting on their chests and suffocating them while they sleep. This frightening experience is known as the tsog tsuam. The Hmong community believed that the only way to stop this horrible experience was through a ritual conducted by a shaman.

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There is a similar experience known to Southeast Asia. In the Phillipines, this evil demon experience is known as Bangungut. While I was living in Hawaii, I learned of this epidemic from a Fillipino family whom reportedly lost a male relative to the experience. They believed that SUNDS was responsible for killing thousands of lives since it was identified in the Phillipines in 1917. I am told that the term Bangungut means “nightmare” or “rise up loudly”. The Hawaiians refer to this phenomenon as a “Dream Disease” and it is believed to attack those of Fillipino ancestry. I found several common themes among the different cultures. Each person I spoke with reported that the experience involved sleep paralysis, a heavy weight sensation on the chest from an evil presence. It is believed that if the person is not woken during the experience, then they would die.

These occurrences seem to have many similar characteristics to the phenomena known as sleep paralysis. Unfortunately, I have experienced sleep paralysis on several occasions. It is not a pleasant experience.

Written by:

Cindie Harper

 

ZoZo Phenomena: Hoax or Hysteria

The first reported appearance of this entity occurred in 1816, when a young girl in Picardy, France fell victim to a severe demonic possession. She became the vessel for a number of demons, one of which was reportedly the mysterious Zozo (de Plancy, 1863).

Later, when Ouija boards entered popular culture in the 20th Century, stories of Zozo began to rise. There were numerous tales told of the Ouija spirit, the one who devours souls and changes lives. It’s difficult to tell which stories about Zozo are authentic and which are urban legends. Some tell of murders and suicides, while others involve possession, physical ailments, abuse, curses, and other phenomena commonly associated with demonic forces.

What is the Zozo Demon?

The Zozo demon is a demon that has been documented since the 1800s. The Zozo demon is the demon specifically associated with the Ouija Board, now referred to as the Ouija Board demon to most. This demon is said to be a “Demon of Destruction.” He is a three-headed dog demon that guards the gates of Hell. Each of his three mouths has very sharp fangs.

Zozo typically attaches his presence to unsuspecting Ouija board users. It is believed that once he attaches himself to you, it can take weeks or months before he leaves. According to many, Zozo is very intelligent and intuitive. Zozo will do everything in his power to trick those who have summoned him in order to attach his essence to their being. Some have claimed that Zozo is Lucifer himself.

When Zozo is summoned, either by accident or on purpose, some common themes are reported among Ouija users. It is reported that the planchette on the Ouija board makes a repetitive movement through the alphabet from “Z” to “O” or counts down from ten to one to announce arrival. Some people have reported that the letter “Z” will be scratched into a nearby surface or on the board itself. Many people believe that you should not go backwards in the alphabet or numbers while using a Ouija board. It is believed that demons and evil spirits use this method to open portals into our world and break through from the other side. As a result of this belief, it is believed by some that the name “Zozo” is a trick.

While researching the “Zozo” phenomenon, it was common to come across claims that “Zozo” may actually be a demon named Bahzozo from ancient Babylonian times. Upon further research, no evidence of an entity named Bahzozo could be found in any Mesopotamian belief systems. It is possible that Bahzozo might come from Pazuzu, the Babylonian demon of the wind.

Research also found that some people believe that “Zozo” could be a djinn. Djinn do not possess for the soul, they possess for pure pleasure. Other people believe that “Zozo” is actually Lola Zaza, the daughter of Aleister Crowley. Crowley was known by many as one of the most evil men in the world.  It is reported that Aleister Crowley claimed that “Zozo” also represented 666.

Among the most common beliefs surrounding the “Zozo” phenomenon is that “Zozo” (the destroyer) is a three headed dog demon who guards the gates of hell. Others believe that “Zozo” is also a version of “Zaza” who is described as the Jewish goat-like demon, Azazel.

However, not everyone believes that “ Zozo” is a demon. Many people believe that Ouija boards are fake and that it is possible that “Zozo” could be a shared experience of our human creation. According to Brunvand, word-of-mouth transmission of stories heard “from a friend of a friend” is a powerful way to spread memes.

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The Ouija board has become one of the most feared occult devices. Once this method of “communicating with spirits” was invented, the Zozo phenomenon really took off. It is reported that “Zozo” was always hanging around looking for a way to enter the Earthly plane.  It is believed that the Ouija board allowed access. Once the entrance was provided, it is believed that Zozo would torment the individual forever.

There is a paranormal researcher, Darren Evans, who has a blog called The Zozo Phenomenon. This blog documents hundreds of encounters with Zozo. Darren calls himself a “Zozologist” and states that “The fact remains that an entity or group of entities are harassing Ouija participants all over the world. Language is not a barrier. Geographical locations on earth are no barrier. It is best left alone. If you experience aggressive interaction and planchette movements while using a Ouija, take precautions. It is not just a game. Be aware of the circular patterns, and do not let it count through numbers forward or backwards thru the alphabet. Figure eights while common, can result in some type of manifestation.” (Evans, 2012)

Is the Zozo phenomenon just superstition or is it possibly a result of the ideomotor effect? Rob Schwartz’ article at Stranger Dimensions suggested that it’s possible that the Zozo phenomena could possibly be purely human inventions that rely on credulity and a blurred understanding of the line between fact and fiction.  Regardless of individual belief of Zozo’s existence, reports of Zozo continue to increase.

 

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Table Tipping: Physical Phenomena or Supernatural Force?

Humans have been attempting to contact the dead since the earliest of times. It was so much of a concern, that God forbade people to seek out mediums as recorded in the book of Leviticus. However, throughout the years, humans continued to seek out ways to contact the spirit world. In the 19th century, Kate and Margaret Fox announced that they were going to contact the spirit world. The two young Fox sisters began demonstrating their skills for an audience and within a few months, Spiritualism emerged.

Table tipping in the early days was predominantly considered a parlor game. The basic technique behind table tipping or table turning is simple. Have the participants sit comfortably around the table and have everyone put their hands on the table, palms down. One participant should perform a ritual of protection. Select a leader for the group and have this person address any possible spirits in the room. Ask the spirits to communicate with you by giving them instructions for how you would like them to communicate using the table. After some time, the table should start to move. Participants have reported tables sliding, swaying, turning, tipping and occasionally it has been reported that knocks have been heard in response to the questions.

Table tipping phenomena became the subject of scientific investigation (Heap, 2002). In 1852, the term Ideomotor was first used in a scientific paper discussing the means through which the spiritualistic phenomena produced effect. In the paper, William Carpenter explained his theory that muscular movement can be independent of conscious desires or emotions (Carpenter, 1852). Chemist and physicist Michael Faraday also took an interest in the phenomena and began some scientific testing of his own.

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At some point, several other respected researchers took an interest in the table tipping phenomena. Among these notable men was surgeon James Braid, the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, and American psychologists’ William James and Ray Hyman. The general consensus among these men was the belief that the phenomenon that was attributed to spiritual or paranormal forces, or to mysterious “energies,” was actually due to ideomotor action. Hyman reported that these tests demonstrate that “honest, intelligent people can unconsciously engage in muscular activity that is consistent with their expectations.” He also implied that verbal suggestion can guide behavior after being given subtle clues (Hyman 1977).

In 1853, John Prichard wrote “A Few Sober Words of Table-Talk.” Prichard agreed that the table movement is the result of some physical phenomenon, not a supernatural force. While Prichard agrees with Faraday in principle, he did not agree with Faraday’s explanation. Prichard explains that there is an interaction between atoms, nerves, and electricity that creates a force “antagonistic to the force of gravity.” According to Prichard, he discovered a completely new physical law, boldly declaring that not only will the theory of gravity need to be revisited, but the very movement of the cosmos must be reconsidered (Prichard, 1853).

Raymond Buckland reported that table tipping phenomena is not phenomena of levitation, but most likely a demonstration of parakinesis. Parakinesis is the movement of objects with physical contact that is not considered sufficient enough to explain the movement of the object (Buckland, 2006). Many reports have documented claims that tables have tipped and also lifted into the air and galloped about. There are even reports of tables moving with all participants sitting on top of them. Despite numerous documented experiments, table tipping phenomena remains a mystery to most people.

Scientists and Spiritualists continue to disagree on the methods and results from table tipping phenomena experiments. Most skeptics dismiss all table tipping as either fraud or a result of the ideomotor effect as they do not typically believe in telekinesis, parakinesis, or paranormal phenomenon. Either way, the power of the human mind is fascinating. It has been found that the average person utilizes only ten percent or less of their brain capacity. That leaves a lot of possibilities for researchers to explore. Regardless of whether or not table tipping is a result of some physical or psychic phenomenon or a supernatural force, it is worthy of further research and investigation.

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

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