Please find below a letter to the editor of a TV-Station, who prepared a show about the subject exorcisms together with Wanda Pratnicka, PhD:
Below I give a few explanations regarding the questions you raised and about the work I do. It's my view that the subjects I write about below should be treated in an article. Maybe you could hit upon the idea of interviewing clients I have helped with demonic possession. I think it could be extremely difficult to find such people because a great fear stays with them for always. They're afraid that as soon as they think about a ghost it may return and possess their body again. This is not some kind of irrational fear, it is very real and very strong. Additionally, all we have left is an account from me and one of the people working with me - my husband.
I'm glad that you want to look at the subject of exorcisms and demonic possession and not because I would be participating in it but because it's an exceptionally burning issue. It has more detractors than proponents and that's because the majority of people believes it's nonsense for mankind in the twenty-first century, when the world has progressed so far, to believe in ghosts. It's not just a question of believing in their existence but of acknowledging the fact that ghosts (beings without bodies) have such a great influence on people's lives. There are huge numbers of individual people (every one of them thinks they are the only ones affected) who are suffering greatly, whom nobody wants to or can help. This is not however a phenomenon which a normal person (and that includes priests) will want to believe. For it inspires fear, irritates with its irrationality and to many people seems to be completely insane. It's therefore much easier to mock it, regard it as prejudice or superstition. This, however, is hiding one's head in the sand in the (usually vain) hope that nothing like this will ever touch us or those closest to us.
Till now demonic possession exorcisms have been carried out only by the Church. A church exorcism is a battle with Satan and as we know every battle has to end with victory for one of the sides and defeat for the other. A church exorcist expels Satan from a person. But where is this ghost - "Satan" - supposed to go? Having been expelled it wanders the world of the living and at the first opportunity will possess another person. That's why church demonic possession exorcisms are, in many cases, of little or no effect. And anyway, in the majority of cases priests will not undertake an exorcism but will concentrate on sending the people needing help to a psychiatrist. This isn't, however, the priests' fault. I've explained quite extensively why this happens in my book "Possessed by Ghosts - Exorcisms of the 21st Century" in the chapter on exorcisms and demonic possession.
I personally do not believe in Satan. In twenty five thousand, sometimes severe or demonic cases of possession of my clients I have not come across Satan. In the majority of these cases these people have already sought help from priests, been treated by psychiatrists and sometimes spent years in psychiatric institutions.
An exorcist - at least in my case - is someone who releases people from ghosts and ghosts from people. An exorcist doesn't expel them from a person any old where but teaches them, persuades them and helps them to pass through to the other side (to God).
I often have to apply therapy, in the form of psychotherapy, to the ghost doing the possessing the same way as I do to the person possessed. During it I explain to them the interdependence they are tied into and how they can release one another from it. It often happens that when I explain its situation to a ghost it will willingly release the person and leave. Similarly, a person will also release the ghost. There are cases, however, when a ghost is completely deaf to all arguments and then it's hard work to persuade it to change its decision. It is not, though, a question of whether or not a ghost will leave but rather of how much time will elapse before it does so.
Anyone can be possessed by ghosts regardless of their age, sex, education, religious affiliation, or social standing. Naturally, one person will have greater predisposition to being possessed and another lesser, but absolutely everyone is threatened by it. The ghost of any person who has died and not passed through to the other side of death's curtain may be the one which has just possessed us; so it may be our mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, granny, uncle, aunt, friend, work-mate, neighbor, school friend or some random ghost which just happened to be nearby. Sometimes it's a very strong bond of which both parties are unaware and which cannot be broken in any traditional way.
The reasons why a person's ghost did not pass through to the other side of death's curtain (to the Light, to God - different people have different names for it) are very many. I'll mention just some of them: Some ghosts won't leave since they think that they sinned so much in their lives that they're afraid of their punishment. They want to delay its imposition as far as possible into the future. Others don't really know where they're supposed to go since when they were alive they believed that their existence will end in the grave. Others again don't go because they are too attached to the material world: their possessions, their work, authority, sex, habits. Others still want to leave but their family didn't want to let them go. However, most souls don't leave because they do not realize that they have died and the reason for that is that after their death nothing much really has changed. They continue to feel, see, hear just as they did in their lifetime. So what could possibly tell them that they are not alive? If they had before their death had so much as an awareness that after death nothing will change then it would be easier for them to face reality.
Possession is based on this: a ghost which has not passed through to the other side of death's curtain has to "hook up" to some person in order to survive. Then it steals the person's energy. For many ghosts this is, however, not enough so then they steal the person's body as well. If such a ghost also succeeds in usurping a person's mind then we're dealing with total possession. Such a person is a puppet which is completely governed by a ghost. Depending on whether this ghost used to be a good person when it was alive or a bad one, we will be dealing either with "demonic" possession or not.
Right at the very beginning possession may not be noticed at all. It causes a person to have mood swings, headaches, stomach aches and panic attacks. With the passage of time and according to the degree of possession, other disorders may follow - physical and mental - more severe personality disorders, severe pains, chronic or incurable diseases, stays in hospital - not just psychiatric ones. People who are possessed by ghosts frequently fall ill with diseases which the ghost had suffered from, or died of, earlier which indicates that very many sick people might well be cured if they only became aware of the fact that they are possessed and ensured that the ghost left them.
Very many people suffer completely not realizing why. My book reveals this dependence clearly and helps people to take charge of their lives. That is one of the reasons it was written.
Wanda Pratnicka, PhD
Why have such large numbers of souls not taken advantage of their right to pass through to the other side of death's curtain? Why are there so many souls suspended between heaven and earth? There are many reasons. The most important is the fact that they haven't come to believe in their own death. Little has changed for them. They overlooked the moment of death and judge that they live on. Often they are people closest to us. A father, mother, brother, sister, grandparent, friends, neighbors, colleagues from work or school. Will you meet with the same fate in the future?
When I ask a soul like that: "Do you know you're not alive?" the surprised answer I receive is: "No, I don't know." And straight after that: "What do you mean I'm not alive? What are you saying: of course I'm alive. How could you talk with me if I wasn't alive? After all, I can see, and hear, and feel!" So I repeat again: "No, you are not alive." Then they're angry and curse, others cry out: "God, why didn't anyone ever tell me life exists after death?" I hear this every day and that's why I decided to write my books.
I want to make you realize, dear reader, that what you know about death, how you think about it during your life and what you expect of it influences what happens to you after death, what fate awaits you. I wrote it for those who are brave and ready enough to prepare themselves and their nearest ones – now, when they have enough time – for a conscious and safe passage through to the other side of death's curtain. All of us, sooner or later, will have to confront this problem – in other words, to die. And we have certainly experienced situations where someone close to us departed. Souls which haven't passed through to the other side of death's curtain reckon they live on as before on earth, that nothing has changed for them. But does that mean that after their deaths nothing has changed for us who remain alive?
Although nowadays the Church does acknowledge exorcisms, it does so only in extreme cases. It considers it to be the activity of unclean powers or of Satan. Yet denying that something like ghosts doesn't exists because "it's safer not to know about it", "it's nothing to do with me" or "it's just superstition, who believes in garbage like that today?" doesn't alter the fact that many people do suffer.
Till now these people couldn't find help because there were very few people in the world who could help them. The reason for this state of affairs is that these things weren't talked about, pretending that the problem simply doesn't exist. A long time ago giving this kind of help was threatened with burning at the stake, hence knowing about ghosts wasn't popular. Now, many centuries later, even those who are designated to help the victims of ghosts don't know how to go about it. For more than twenty years I have been a therapist, an exorcist. During this time tens of thousands of people from Europe, America and the furthest corners of the earth have approached me. So you see this is a universal problem and not confined to just one person, family or country.
To begin with I was surprised that I couldn't categorize the people who turned to me into one social, intellectual, religious or cultural group. It doesn't matter what kind of family a client comes from - rich or poor. Their illiteracy or diploma from the best college are of no significance. My clients come from all walks of life - from housewives through workers, students all the way through to scientists, professors, lawyers and politicians. I have been approached by priests and nuns though one might think that they had professional guidance at home, at hand. All my clients were similarly unhappy, lost, deprived of hope for the future. They often emphasized that I was their last straw, that they already tried literally everything. Doctors didn't help, nor did medicines, nor did psychiatric and psychological help. Equally futile had been the help of conventional and alternative medicine.
We always have said there is no hell at all. It is only being made up by human mind. A similar thought has been expressed by the Pope - John Paul II. "Hell is not a punishment imposed by God, despite what everyone has always said. No, it's just an unwise choice that humans make. The images of hell in scripture are taken too literally. Actually, hell is the condition of those who separate themselves from God..."
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