True or False Possession: How to Distinguish the Demonic from the Demented

Making a correct diagnosis is, therefore, vital. In the second chapter, Lhermitte discusses paroxysmal forms of pseudo-diabolical possession.

True or False Possession? : How to Distinguish the Demonic from the DeMented

In these forms of false possession, persons sporadically suffer syndromes that involve varying degrees of unconsciousness. Lhermitte examines six well-documented cases of this kind to show the way in which certain now-identified pathologies have been mistaken for true possession. For each case study, Lhermitte presents the facts as they are found in reliable records and eyewitness testimonies, paying careful attention to the signs and symptoms believed to be of demonic origin, and then re-evaluates the evidence based on the insights of modern science.

The strange case of Sr. Jeanne of the Angels, the prioress of an Ursuline convent in seventeenth-century Loudun, France, has all the initial appearances of true demonic possession. Jeanne was revered for her holiness, and quickly advanced to the position of prioress, but at one point she claimed to be the victim of regular diabolical torments during the nighttime.

More exorcisms were carried out on Sr.

Frequently bought together True or False Possession: How to Distinguish the Demonic from the Demented (): Jean Lhermitte: Books. How to Distinguish the Demonic from the Demented "As a psychiatrist, Lhermitte builds on the Catholic understanding of true possession and helps to treat the.

Jeanne in gross violation of the Roman Ritual, but even though she eventually said she was possessed by five demons for whom she even had names, her behaviors and eyewitness observations reveal that this could not have been genuine possession. Lhermitte, they instead reveal that Sister was suffering from hysteria now called conversion disorder , which can cause altered states of consciousness, delusional thinking easily open to suggestion, and seizures.

As for the other nuns, Lhermitte says that they, along with Sr. Jeanne, thought they were possessed and acted as such due to their own psychiatric weaknesses and the pressure of the careless exorcist, not because they were possessed themselves.

Demon Possession Caught on Security Camera

A more complex and controversial case is that of the notorious Sr. Magdalen of the Cross, a nun of the Poor Clare monastery of Cordova, Spain, in the sixteenth century. Jeanne, she was acclaimed for her sanctity and put on the fast-track to becoming prioress. After years of apparently being singled out by God and receiving marvelous signs of His favor, in she announced to her superior that on the feast of the Annunciation she miraculously conceived the Child Jesus.

The ensuing uproar led to an inquiry that confirmed her virginity, yet Sister began to show all the physical signs of pregnancy, lasting until Christmas day. More bizarre occurrences took place until she was finally exposed as a fraud. The exorcisms were considered successful, and she confessed to all her deceptions and also told of diabolical visions she had been having all along.

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Lhermitte argues that the facts of the case show that Sister was not a victim of demonic possession but actually a hysteric and a compulsive liar. Furthermore, the physical manifestations of pregnancy that were observed can be ascribed to pseudocyesis false pregnancy , a condition still seen by modern psychiatrists. Two cases Lhermitte examines in the third chapter are of the lucid form of pseudo-diabolical possession, in which the patient is fully conscious and the supposed demonic control is continuous.

Lhermitte explains that such a person never suspects he has a mental derangement but instead assumes he is possessed, and often lives in constant terror. The case of Antoine Gay is particularly tragic. As a young man in the early nineteenth century, he expressed an earnest desire to enter monastic life. Eventually he showed signs of possession and alleged that three demons resided within him, sometimes causing him to howl and bark like an animal. The only negative item is the use of the word "Demented" in the title. The word "demented" should be taken in the negative way as to mean "crazy".

In either case, this reviewer feels that in either case, possession, or a mental illness, professional help should be obtained for the person in question. This reviewer would like to further advise that this book should not be used as a definitive "check-list", but as a professional guide. It was not written to be a "prayer book". The editor has also provided updated references for the terminology that has become outdated, so as to avoid confusion for the reader. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

According to the blurb, "True or False Possession?

New Oxford Review

The first half of that blurb is true enough, as the author shows how many symptoms commonly associated with possession occurred in cases where it's pretty well established that the alleged victim was either outright faking or suffering from mental illness of natural origin. The second half of the blurb, sadly, seems to have been written by someone who didn't read much of the book. Nowhere does the book lay out anything like a clear description of how to distinguish a charlatan or ill-but-not-possessed person from a true victim of possession; for that matter, it is not always clear how the author arrived at his own conclusions in some of the cases he describes.

The book is not useless, but it's not what the publisher claims it is either. I really enjoyed this book. It has many cases and very easy and interesting explanations. A very good first read if you are into the subject of possession.

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One person found this helpful. Well done, but a little confusing in parts. Lots of 'questioning' of historical documents, but not much revealing of truths. Good book, but not great. Very well thought out. Some things never change despite the calendar. Great condition, thank you! This book documents many cases of psychotically afflicted persons. I was hoping that the author would have been able to outline more clearly the distinctions between psychosis caused by disease and that caused by spiritual influences.

True or False Possession: How to Distinguish the Demonic from the Demented

This is a difficult subject. I am, however, grateful that the author wrote on this subject. In our time, we seem to be hearing of more and more people suffering from some form of psychosis. This book can be a point of focus as you consider the issue. I was expecting more from this book. I don't think it is too useful to distinguish the real possession from false one. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. See all 11 reviews. Most recent customer reviews.

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Therefore, the treatment of genuine demonic possession, the various levels of harassment by evil spirits, and the moral and spiritual factors involved are beyond his competency. That's the work Dr. Good priests and wise Catholic physicians know that, for the sake of their souls, those who are disturbed must never be hastily examined or casually judged. Genuine demonic possessions, admits Lhermitte, evade the explanations and exceed the competence of even the wisest physicians: With sober clarity and reserve, he reviews the detailed clinical records of scores of cases that startled and alarmed our forefathers as well as the cases of many souls he's examined personally: One person found this helpful. New from bestselling author Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

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