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Psychiatrist Admits Mental Illness Is Caused By Demonic Possession

Psychiatrist admits most mentally ill people are possessed by demons

A top New York psychiatrist has admitted that most patients who suffer from mental illness are actually suffering from demonic possession.

Richard Gallagher, a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, says he has personally encountered demonic possession, and is convinced that possession is much more widespread than anybody is willing to admit.

Washingtonpost.com reports:

In the late 1980s, I was introduced to a self-styled Satanic high priestess. She called herself a witch and dressed the part, with flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow around to her temples. In our many discussions, she acknowledged worshipping Satan as his “queen.”

I’m a man of science and a lover of history; after studying the classics at Princeton, I trained in psychiatry at Yale and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. That background is why a Catholic priest had asked my professional opinion, which I offered pro bono, about whether this woman was suffering from a mental disorder. This was at the height of the national panic about Satanism. (In a case that helped induce the hysteria, Virginia McMartin and others had recently been charged with alleged Satanic ritual abuse at a Los Angeles preschool; the charges were later dropped.) So I was inclined to skepticism. But my subject’s behavior exceeded what I could explain with my training. She could tell some people their secret weaknesses, such as undue pride. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer. Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances. This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed. Much later, she permitted me to tell her story.

The priest who had asked for my opinion of this bizarre case was the most experienced exorcist in the country at the time, an erudite and sensible man. I had told him that, even as a practicing Catholic, I wasn’t likely to go in for a lot of hocus-pocus. “Well,” he replied, “unless we thought you were not easily fooled, we would hardly have wanted you to assist us.”

So began an unlikely partnership. For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness — which represent the overwhelming majority of cases — from, literally, the devil’s work. It’s an unlikely role for an academic physician, but I don’t see these two aspects of my career in conflict. The same habits that shape what I do as a professor and psychiatrist — open-mindedness, respect for evidence and compassion for suffering people — led me to aid in the work of discerning attacks by what I believe are evil spirits and, just as critically, differentiating these extremely rare events from medical conditions.

Is it possible to be a sophisticated psychiatrist and believe that evil spirits are, however seldom, assailing humans? Most of my scientific colleagues and friends say no, because of their frequent contact with patients who are deluded about demons, their general skepticism of the supernatural, and their commitment to employ only standard, peer-reviewed treatments that do not potentially mislead (a definite risk) or harm vulnerable patients. But careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained no other way.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

The Vatican does not track global or countrywide exorcism, but in my experience and according to the priests I meet, demand is rising. The United States is home to about 50 “stable” exorcists — those who have been designated by bishops to combat demonic activity on a semi-regular basis — up from just 12 a decade ago, according to the Rev. Vincent Lampert, an Indianapolis-based priest-exorcist who is active in the International Association of Exorcists. (He receives about 20 inquiries per week, double the number from when his bishop appointed him in 2005.) The Catholic Church has responded by offering greater resources for clergy members who wish to address the problem. In 2010, for instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops organized a meeting in Baltimore for interested clergy. In 2014, Pope Francis formally recognized the IAE, 400 members of which are to convene in Rome this October. Members believe in such strange cases because they are constantly called upon to help. (I served for a time as a scientific adviser on the group’s governing board.)

Unfortunately, not all clergy involved in this complex field are as cautious as the priest who first approached me. In some circles, there is a tendency to become overly preoccupied with putative demonic explanations and to see the devil everywhere. Fundamentalist misdiagnoses and absurd or even dangerous “treatments,” such as beating victims, have sometimes occurred, especially in developing countries. This is perhaps why exorcism has a negative connotation in some quarters. People with psychological problems should receive psychological treatment.

But I believe I’ve seen the real thing. Assaults upon individuals are classified either as “demonic possessions” or as the slightly more common but less intense attacks usually called “oppressions.” A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them. The subject might also exhibit enormous strength or even the extraordinarily rare phenomenon of levitation. (I have not witnessed a levitation myself, but half a dozen people I work with vow that they’ve seen it in the course of their exorcisms.) He or she might demonstrate “hidden knowledge” of all sorts of things — like how a stranger’s loved ones died, what secret sins she has committed, even where people are at a given moment. These are skills that cannot be explained except by special psychic or preternatural ability.

I have personally encountered these rationally inexplicable features, along with other paranormal phenomena. My vantage is unusual: As a consulting doctor, I think I have seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

Most of the people I evaluate in this role suffer from the more prosaic problems of a medical disorder. Anyone even faintly familiar with mental illnesses knows that individuals who think they are being attacked by malign spirits are generally experiencing nothing of the sort. Practitioners see psychotic patients all the time who claim to see or hear demons; histrionic or highly suggestible individuals, such as those suffering from dissociative identity syndromes; and patients with personality disorders who are prone to misinterpret destructive feelings, in what exorcists sometimes call a “pseudo-possession,” via the defense mechanism of an externalizing projection. But what am I supposed to make of patients who unexpectedly start speaking perfect Latin?

I approach each situation with an initial skepticism. I technically do not make my own “diagnosis” of possession but inform the clergy that the symptoms in question have no conceivable medical cause.

I am aware of the way many psychiatrists view this sort of work. While the American Psychiatric Association has no official opinion on these affairs, the field (like society at large) is full of unpersuadable skeptics and occasionally doctrinaire materialists who are often oddly vitriolic in their opposition to all things spiritual. My job is to assist people seeking help, not to convince doctors who are not subject to suasion. Yet I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners nowadays who are open to entertaining such hypotheses. Many believe exactly what I do, though they may be reluctant to speak out.

* * * * * * *

As a man of reason, I’ve had to rationalize the seemingly irrational. Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe “such outdated and unscientific nonsense,” as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence. I have been told simplistically that levitation defies the laws of gravity, and, well, of course it does! We are not dealing here with purely material reality, but with the spiritual realm. One cannot force these creatures to undergo lab studies or submit to scientific manipulation; they will also hardly allow themselves to be easily recorded by video equipment, as skeptics sometimes demand. (The official Catholic Catechism holds that demons are sentient and possess their own wills; as they are fallen angels, they are also craftier than humans. That’s how they sow confusion and seed doubt, after all.) Nor does the church wish to compromise a sufferer’s privacy, any more than doctors want to compromise a patient’s confidentiality.

Ignorance and superstition have often surrounded stories of demonic possession in various cultures, and surely many alleged episodes can be explained by fraud, chicanery or mental pathology. But anthropologists agree that nearly all cultures have believed in spirits, and the vast majority of societies (including our own) have recorded dramatic stories of spirit possession. Despite varying interpretations, multiple depictions of the same phenomena in astonishingly consistent ways offer cumulative evidence of their credibility.

As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts. As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.

In the end, however, it was not an academic or dogmatic view that propelled me into this line of work. I was asked to consult about people in pain. I have always thought that, if requested to help a tortured person, a physician should not arbitrarily refuse to get involved. Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their spiritual ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue. For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.

  • SpidermanVitamin

    Don’t go around sssharing all of our sssecretsssss

  • Pat Mc Ginley

    Absolute nonsense. There’s no evidence for any ‘paranormal’ or ‘supernatural’. The only evidence is that it’s a great cash-cow for all kinds of con-men, fraudsters, fake tv shows, etc. Totally anti-science. The Randi Foundation has $1Million on offer to anyone who can prove any form of ‘supernatural’ activity, etc. Still unclaimed, of course. Unfortunately, this kind of nonsense is extremely lucrative and on the rise. Partly because it also benefits the religious-right, ‘creationism’, etc. to keep the majority believing in such nonsense in their desperate struggle against increasing scientific knowledge e.g. the fact that 4% of most people’s DNA derives from Neanderthal i.e. more solid proof for evolution.

    • db

      Yet another reflexive response to religion. If it’s not pedophilia, it’s creationism. How about the fact that most secular people are patterned thinkers who regurgitate the same tired arguments over and over again, while congratulating each other for being so ‘nuanced’?

      • Dennis Eijs

        Don’t religious people do the same?

      • Pat Mc Ginley

        db It isn’t about behavioural traits or stereotyping. It’s about comparing known facts with known fiction. Religion must be the only thing in a ‘believer’s’ life which is not subjected to the usual scrutiny, fact-checks, etc. The majority just accept it as easily as we accept our surnames. A cultural thing. But it’s crucially important and we owe it to our children to, at least, check-it-out before lumbering them with it, don’t you think?.

        • Christian Thomas

          If you knew that every “fact” you think you know was actually a lie and every thought you had was influenced and everything you thought was good in the world was wrong, you wouldn’t be quite so arrogant and ignorant. One of the best ways of finding out quite how lost you are is to set some absolutes and stop lying to yourself, and one the best ways of doing that is religion. You are comparing two things you know nothing about.

          • Pat Mc Ginley

            Typically pathetic, nonsensical rant by those who are completely devoid of valid counterarguments. But, thankfully, it only fools the extremely easily-fooled. Unfortunately and tragically, these are in the majority thanks to successful media dumbing-down.

          • Christian Thomas

            I’m not recommending or evangelising for any one religion. Yours is the blinkered and content-free reaction. You have slid over two or three comments containing core valuable truths without even noticing what you are missing. I guess you’re destined for a life unfulfilled; or at least for the time being. If only you knew how ignorant you are. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” Rev. 3:17

          • Pat Mc Ginley

            Christian, some comments clearly indicate that a reply would be pointless. But I’m replying in the hope you at least know why I sometimes don’t reply. Something like that..

    • Keet Hensley

      Sorry Pat, but your Education is Showing. I giggle so much, at how so many so called Christians Claim to Love GOD and His Son Jesus Christ, yet they Fail Miserably because they Deny “The Holy Spirit” that is “The Comforter” that Jesus sends to them.

      The Spirit, is written about in Proverbs 8:1-36 as to what wonderful abilities it has. Toward the end, 8:35-36 also addresses those that Deny the Spirit, ” All those that hate me love Death” and if you check out many people that claim to be Satanic or even Atheist, may even posses abilities a bit above the Norm.

      Those abilities come from the fact that they refuse to hear the Voice of their Conscience, The Holy Spirit. Those people achieve high places and power over the average people that cannot even imagine that such evil thoughts or people could exist.

      I myself had a very difficult time, trying to understand what my Ex-wife could possibly be thinking, when she did so many strange things, which have been called Crazy, Insane and even Multiple personalities. I finally came to my own senses and realized, that because I am not Insane, that I cannot imagine her thoughts.After her many attempts to cut her children into pieces, I found it easier to Divorce her and keep custody of the children.

      My eyes were opened, to see that in her family, there were many members, Father, Mother and some of the 12 Siblings, but not all , only the ones born After the infant that had Died, at the hands of his Mother, had these same issues and sudden personality changes on temporary basis but never more that one of them at a time.

      If you see what I am getting to, there is yet one more twist.

      As I was raising her Children, only one of whom was my own, we became devout Church goers and Believers. I too had an incident that brought a very strange man, Guided to me by some Supernatural ability that he had. His Name was Jim, and he had explained that he Allows “The Holy Spirit” to send him to people and places that need his Abilities. Jim, tho he never claimed to be, is or was an Exorcist.

      Jim had come to me knowing that there was a Spiritual Curse on my children and that it filled my home.

      It would fill a whole book for me to go into full detail of the events that followed, but to keep it short, I was open to follow his instructions, no matter how weird they were. It was truly awesome and very powerful,
      even life saving. I was made aware and even Infilled with the Holy Spirit, and given powers and gifts that even amaze me. Our curse was gone, and I even know where it went and resides today, but there too would be another chapter in a book, that is still being lived out today.

      Science, is awesome, and I am a Mechanical Scientist myself, with training in many fields which include Psychology, Social Sciences, Electronics, Computer Sciences and there too, the list keeps running on, but I am uneducated, only because, I never received any Formal Degrees.

      Here is my Secret, Proverbs 8:1-36, The Name of the Holy Ghost is “Truth and Wisdom” and it’s power is Love.

      The other Spirit that is very alive in those that deny the Holy Spirit, also has a name, it is “Lies and Errors” and there is No Love in them. You will know those that live by that Spirit, because they Lie, do anything to obtain their goals, do not have remorse of any kind. Death is just the inevitable end of life, and to them, murder of one being or a Million, even a whole planet is no different, as long as they survive. Along with their like minded associates, then even to war among themselves, because those like minded would do unto them as they would do to others.

      Just look at the world today, and see the huge scale of what I am writing about. People in positions of power, that have done wicked things to get there. Having wicked plans, when they achieve their powerful goals.

      Look at the Monsters walking the Earth, believing they are doing a cleansing in the name of their god, even sending their children to their deaths, and celebrating that they served their god. Those same people fear death so much, that they don’t dare not believe and worship that god or be killed by their own families.

      Satanist are a Special breed, they first must believe in GOD, but view God as the Enemy of Lucifer who was the one that released Adam and Eve from their Slavery and captivity in the Garden of Eden. Again, their worshiped one, keeps them in control by the fear of Death. These people have connections and active groups of other associates with great Egos and Aspirations and they use each other to achieve those goals on conditions that they owe the ones that got them there. They also must swear to keep the Secrets, or forfeit their lives. Many famous public figures, have lost their lives, by going public about these evil societies.

      I could go on forever, but don’t want to bore you. My bottom line is, GOD gave us the Gift of “Free Will” to choose what to believe, who to believe or Not to believe, because to worship or follow because you fear, has no value, but to come to GOD because of Love is so much more powerful. Why would any god want his followers to piddle their pants whenever they come to his command? I’m sure that GOD feels awesome as we approach Him as a Mature Dog would after his Master has been away for a day or years, the Love of a good Master is un-expressible by any form of Human measure.

      Keet 1 <3

      • Melanie Wood

        I would very much like to hear more about your journey. Please.

      • Glamamama

        I have personally experienced contact with demons, having been a worker bee I. a deliverance ministry. These creatures who were possessing the persons I was helping were definitely of the “dark realm” -the evil was palpable. Of extraordinary strength (I’ve been attacked several times and it was on my the superior strength of the Holy Spirit that saved me), just really ugly appearance, language and general behavior, I can attest to the reality of these beings. If you knew the persons I was helping and had seen who they were before the manifestations, you would know that nothing human was speaking, acting, etc. It’s all good to say that science must demonstrate the existence of these things, but they will not manifest themselves to scientists just because the scientist wish to observe them. Those who deny the existence of demons are not paying attention to what’s happening to our society. Be very careful how you show disrespect for the evil kingdom! They don’t like being dissed and you will not like how they show their anger. I’m deadly serious. There are those of you who will laugh at me and do your best to discredit me, but I know what I have seen and experienced. This psychologist did not adequately explain how he knew he was dealing with demons. Not being a believer himself, he probably can’t explain it. Just please understand that they are real, and they hate you just for being human, because God set His love on the human race. I know I am beating my head against a brick wall, but I had to try.

    • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

      Also unproven, is the scientific claim that mental illness is caused by a “Chemical imbalance” in the brain. That has pretty much gone by the wayside. The best ‘”science” can come up with is to “carpet bomb” people’s brains with chemicals, which not only does not “correct” the original issue, which it should if it was a “chemical” issue, but also causes brain damage in some instances. Unfortunately, both sides are disingenuous . Have a great weekend, friend! 🙂

      • Pat Mc Ginley

        To say mental illness is not caused by a chemical imbalance would require you to provide some solid evidence. A good friend of mine always went off-the-rails every time he stopped taking his medication. Normality was always restored when he was finally encouraged to take his medication again.

        • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

          That is because the medication ‘rewires” the person’s brain and what is happening is they are experiencing “withdrawal” until the brain reasserts it’s original functioning. Even in the drug trials, perfectly normal people who took these drugs had the same “off the rails” experiences when they discontinued the drug. The problem is in many cases “withdrawal” symptoms are being misinterpreted as “proof” of a psychiatric condition. The number one “misdiagnosis” of people coming off these drugs too fast, without a proper tapering of the drug over time, is bi-polar. perfectly normal people in these drug trials who take these drugs for a few months and then stop cold turkey all exhibit bipolar symptoms, because their brains are all having “mini seizures” that mimic anger outbursts, etc. Psychiatric medication withdrawal is a number of independent yet interrelated neurological events, and too many of these poor people are getting misdiagnosed for things they don’t have due to the temporary withdrawal symptoms they experience when they don’t taper the dose slowly over time.

        • Christian Thomas

          The evidence you’d have to provide is that medicine knows anything about how the brain works. Splurging chemicals that affect neurotransmitter quantities into someone’s brain is like pouring more petrol into an engine and hoping it to cure the problem. If the problem is mechanical or electrical it simply won’t work. The detail of axon firing is well known but what goes on in the medulla in sorting information is completely unknown. They haven’t any more of a clue than you or I going along to a Google datacentre and tugging on wires hoping to fix a problem.

  • Javo Santo

    The church should spend more time doing something about their perverted pedophile priest before going around playing ghostbuster’s. The church is roten to its core, I prefer the demons…

    • db

      Actually, regarding pedophile rings in Hollywood and within the public school system, and considering the fact that there’s no evidence Catholic clergy participate in it at greater rates than the overall population, the real difference between the Catholic response to pedophilia and the rest of the world’s is that the Church actually expresses regret.

      • Ariel

        Don’t forget about me

    • Jose

      Less than 1% of all of the priests have been pedophiles, and they have done something about it. Maybe it’s times for the rest of the world to clean up their own rottenness before pointing their fingers at the priests. That includes you. As for preferring demons; Maybe you think you’re being cute, but you’re not. You need some serious prayers if you believe your own words. Putting your name into my prayer groups.

      • Javo Santo

        The church is sick to the core and you are just as bad for defending them. Why don’t you do some research about you priest and there holy love!? No need for you to pray for me, I would rather you spend your time doing more productive things. I prefer the demons any day of the week! Please give me information of a demon that has raped a child.. Not like you, I can show you thousands of cases of priest abusing the youth whom they supposedly should protect.

  • Holly Hayes

    ..I mean, it’s a pretty big logical leap from “I think I saw a case of demonic possession” to “mental illnesses are caused by demonic possession”. That right there is fundamentally bad science, and the author never explained how he made such a leap, so I’m inclined toward skepticism.

    • Pat Mc Ginley

      Exactly, Holly. The big difference being, there’re no lucrative articles, books, tv shows or careers in ‘I think I saw…’

    • NathanDF

      Well, Sean Adl-Tabatabai is known for his batshit crazy theories like this. Doesn’t surprise me at all with this guy.

  • disqus_W8X6VR1yyA

    The author is blatantly lying in his opening claim. The doctor does not say MOST cases of Mental Illness are Possession, He says SOME.

  • Ariel

    I’m at home with my family

  • Ariel

    Good morning my dear friends are so cute

  • Ariel

    Gays ass men

  • Ariel

    My dad just told my about the bible

  • Lights&Sounds

    Badly formulated. Way to sensationalize Newswire. He clearly states most mental illness is scientifically explainable and only in rare cases are there ones that lack scientific explanation, & can fall under “possession” category. This mag’s clearly trying to create drama needlessly.