Phobias, Obsessions, Fears

Below are excerpts from Wanda Pratnicka's book
"Possessed by Ghosts - Exorcisms in 21st Century" 

It can happen that a normally functioning person may suddenly, from one hour to the next, stop knowing who they are, what they're saying, what they're doing; they see visions, they hear voices. They can sense that they're being touched, forced to do things, they feel compulsions. They may notice scratches or wounds on their bodies and not know where they've come from. They may be aware of the moment the injury occurred, see the blood flowing, and feel pain even though they are far from any sharp objects. A person who till then had been active, sociable, cheerful may suddenly become closed in on themselves, it may be hard to make contact with them, they themselves may start to have suicidal thoughts. Or vice versa: a calm person may become aggressive, ready to destroy everything in one moment, sometimes even to kill someone. Their eyes emanate hatred even towards those they'd loved till now. A refined person may suddenly become vulgar, swearing at people for no reason - in a streetcar, a shop, a church or the street. They may smell some scent everywhere, anything from a pleasant one to a terrible odor. Or vice versa, people around them may smell an unpleasant stench coming from the person, even though that person may wash constantly.

Some people suffer from various kinds of phobias and obsessions. Sometimes they are able to function to a lesser or greater degree and people around them may not notice anything. But other people's phobias are so intense that their whole lives are subordinated to them. And occasionally not just theirs, but the lives of the whole family, too. There are instances when a phobia is so strong that it ruins a life. The majority of people tormented by a phobia believe that it's just something they have to live with for ever. It often never enters their heads that the phobia could have anything to do with ghosts or with possession. It makes no great difference if it's a fear of infection we're talking about or a fear of heights, open or confined spaces, an obsession with hand-washing, constant cleaning, checking or correcting. They all function in a similar manner. The client doesn't realize that they could live differently until the moment arrives when, cleansed, they can suddenly do something which, till then, they had feared so much. Once liberated, they may behave like little children, constantly repeating the very action they had regarded as prohibited. If they feared heights, they will now climb wherever they can. If they were afraid to go out of their rooms they now don't want to spend any time there, etc.