Young woman appears possessedAn exorcism is a religious ritual designed to remove demons, evil spirits, or similar forms of “evil” from people deemed to be possessed. Although exorcisms are strongly associated with Roman Catholicism, many religious traditions and cultures engage in some version of exorcism.

What Is an Exorcism?

Many spiritual traditions believe that demons, evil spirits, and similar entities can occasionally take possession of a person’s soul or body and affect a person’s behavior or health. An exorcism is an attempt to remove any entities that are believed to have possessed a person. Exorcism rituals vary greatly, but might involve extended periods of prayer or anointing the believed-to-be possessed person with holy water. The Roman Catholic church has several “official” exorcists, whose precise methodologies and training are kept a closely-guarded secret.

Exorcisms still occur in contemporary society. In some extreme cases, people have been hurt or even killed during exorcisms gone wrong. Some exorcists restrain people who are believed to be possessed, deny them food, or withhold water. When an exorcism ritual lasts for days or even weeks, this can prove fatal. Interest in exorcisms has increased with the creation of movies about exorcisms, most notably The Exorcist (1973) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005).

Exorcisms and Mental Health

In previous generations, people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia might have been mistakenly believed to be possessed, particularly because of odd or delusional behavior. People with epilepsy can also appear “possessed” when they have seizures. While most people now recognize the signs of mental health conditions and seizures, some cultures and devoutly religious people may attribute certain behaviors toward supernatural entities rather than medical causes. Consequently, exorcism rituals in some cases might prevent people from getting access to competent mental or physical healthcare.


  1. Exorcism. (n.d.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05709a.htm
  2. Radford, B. (n.d.). Exorcism: Facts and fiction about demonic possession. LiveScience.com. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/27727-exorcism-facts-and-fiction.html
  3. What’s the harm in exorcisms? (n.d.). What’s the Harm? Retrieved from http://whatstheharm.net/exorcisms.html

Last Updated: 01-25-2018

  • Leave a Comment
  • Nash

    December 5th, 2022 at 3:56 AM

    nything that I come to “know” about myself, goes “up” into some field above me head thats “not who you are” according to them, and they just take it..

    My physical life force has been taken by them, and they’re giving it to my body according to what they want to see, for example, if im going into an area where I may surface knowledge about myself that they dont know yet, its worth them giving me life force, so il see them start feeding my body life energy, sometimes I avoid this activities as I dont want to surface it infront of them, like romance, women, work related things, deep interests and any are that may surface vital beliefs..
    But over the course of 6 months or so, they’ve taken enough that my body and mind is smaller, my social relations have paid a price, how I see and feel about myself have taken a toll..

    Im not sure what to do about this? Its like its secret leaving me and people around me can’t tell because manage the shift of knowledge and life force so discretely, but I can see all of it as its happening and its secretly devastating.. can’t raise an alarm though or sense of urgency, they’re so infested to what’s happening in my life I can’t even get angry about it, its a possession.

    Im standing in this secret spot where the people in my reality can see me One way, but its not me truly, and these other spirits see me in one way, but its not me truly,

    Before they came here I was trying to birth a new reality, where I used the space where the other spirits are now are inhabiting..

    So I got stuck trying to birth a new reality when the spirits came here, they attempted to assist me but fell sceptical and thought I should have a worst reality..

    So now im stuck where everyone even you cant really see me, and I mean intuitively you’re only seeing one side,
    And they’re seeing one side also…

    “You’re not enough and you dont deserve”

  • Jo

    January 7th, 2023 at 11:19 PM

    Why doesn’t anyone respond to people who need help? Yet y’all claim to pretend you care! This is what’s wrong with this world!! Lies and deceptions. Sad I’m sorry to those who are desperate for help.

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