Let’s revisit for a moment the all-familiar image of the actress Linda Blair as she appears as a girl possessed by demonic forces in the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist. Since its debut, the film has raked in an impressive $402.5 million, captivating its audience with vivid and disturbing images of the battle between good and evil. When the word ‘exorcism’ comes to mind, there is rarely any other point of reference our minds turn to when visualizing what it may actually be like. While Exorcism is commonly thought of as mainly a Catholic practice, it may have actually originated prehistorically among Shamans and has been utilized in religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, and even Scientology. The practice of exorcism has been more widespread in modern times through Christian religions than any other. While the clergy are mainly responsible for approving, organizing, and carrying out exorcisms, there are often others brought in as a part of the process. Within recent decades, those involved in researching and assisting in exorcisms have been given the title of Demonologist.
Although The Exorcist is loosely based on a true account of reported demonic possession, certain elements of the film have been largely dramatized and do not reflect the true nature of the process it takes in factual possession cases. With the film being our one mainstream reference to exorcism, who then do we turn to for answers on what truly takes place in these cases? TAPS Paramagazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Zaffis, nephew to self-proclaimed Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal researcher, lecturer, writer, and expert in the field of possession and exorcism. He has spent the past three decades assisting in cases all over the world and has been featured on numerous television programs regarding the occurrence of disturbing paranormal phenomena. He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities active in the field today.
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© April Slaughter
Articles first published in TAPS Paramagazine