One of my friends is aware of my atheism and although we love each other like brothers he does try to "Save" me from time to time. Recently he drew attention to the fact that he had been exorcised. (As in strapped down, talked to and sprinkled w/ holy water by a priest while the demon inside him is confronted talking in tongues.) Of course i did not accept a man rolling around on the floor spouting nonsense as adequate evidence, however upon thinking back I'm not sure of a scientific explanation for the phenomenon especially the whole speaking in tongues part. All i can think of is the power of suggestion and a massive influx of pathos for the "possessed". I admit i am not the greatest when it comes to physics or psychiatry, my field is math. So does anyone have any good explanation for this occurrence?

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Perhaps there really are demons.  I don't mean the sort mentioned in the bible though.  Demons could be frustrations, misconceptions, or other confusing ideas tearing at our phsychological well being.  They are often very deep seated and repressed.  When they do emerge, the effect could be pretty dramatic. 

   I find that the demons are usually spawned by dogmatic teachings.  That is, "this what you're supposed to believe, don't worry about proof, it's all writte down here in the book".  So seeds of doubt may often accompany these teachings.  The seeds are rooted in common sense.  As the seeds grow, they conflict with the dogmatic teachings.  The result, if dramatic enough, will appear to a religious person as a posession.  Unfortunately, this tends to bolster dogmatic junk that really started the whole thing. 

   OK, so I'm not a behavioral scientist, but this is my layman's take on it. 

   It likely will not help your friend, but you may get a better understanding of what is going on using "beer therapy".  Feed him a few beers and just listen.  (You should have a few less.)  Don't try to offer advise, as beer can put some people into advisarial tailspin.  As I said, just listen.

   I'm sure you have heard the old saying, "Instant asshole, just add beer".  Really the asshole was always there.  The beer just broke down social inhibitions and allowed him to come out.  The same thing works for demons.

   Some years back, I attended a housewarming party for a friend and co-worker.  Several folks from the office were there.  I showed up that day as "biker Bob", (one of my peronnas), with a 12 pack, and commenced to putting it to good use.  One of my co-workers commented that I acted differently after a few beers.  I replied, "More civilized?".  Of course he agreed.  I told him that the beer broke down the coarse exterior I use as a protection device.  Ergo, in my case it's intensional, however religious people are used to living in accordance with their particular dogma, and have a hard time distinguishing the real world from what they were told.  The result is often two opposing ideas.  One that they are told is true, and one that deep down they feel for themselves. 

   It appears that I'm starting to ramble, but I think you get the idea.  Just be careful!  don't try to change your friend, or you will gain an enemy.



Exactly what I was trying to say in just one word!

This is it in a nutshell. It's amazing what you can delude yourself into. /Thus says the ex-magic&fairy believing pagan

Brain damage and brainwash all in one?

Not a psychologist here, but the brain can be thought of as containing functioning modules. The speech generating module just generates speech and a separate module sifts through the output to cull out the nonsense. I had a student who sometimes just jabbered meaninglessly, it was later determined he wasn't suited for mainstreaming. Sometimes, when I'm drifting off to sleep I can "almost hear" a stream of random word associations mentally. I interpreted that to be the censor going off line a second before the speech generator. Since our minds are so plastic, it seems plausible we could decouple speech generation from the making sense module, if it were culturally encouraged, and allow ourselves to vocalize the output.

Ruth, could this also be the reason why 'prophets' hear the voice of god? Or angels? They also fall within the realm of theism [devils/demons]. Could they be filtering through a religious lens that we all seem to pickup from our respective societies? Sorry for so many questions, but I find your explanation fascinating and worthy of further elucidation. Thanks in advance if you could get back to me. Utterly fascinating. Be well, my friend.

You did not see what your friend described to you.

'Talking in tounges' is not talking in other languages. It's just primal sound.

It happens and we don't know much about this particular case.

The supernatural does not exist. Therefore there is a natural explanation even if we havn't determined it.


My father "spoke in tongues" when he had a stroke. Scary stuff.

Ask him how he knows it was a demon and not a spell from a witch. (Deut. 18:10-12)


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