Rawiri Whanau and four of his sisters were convicted of manslaughter yesterday in Wellington, New Zealand. It seems that in 2007 they performed a makutu, a curse-removing ritual, on their niece Janet Moses. Things didn’t go well and the 22 year old died, apparently from drowning when water was forced down her throat in an attempt the rid her of the demons that they felt possessed her. Here are links to the story:
Exorcism has been around for many centuries and has a colorful, if nothing else, history.
Who can forget the movie, The Exorcist? Didn’t sleep for a few nights after that one, the sounds of Tubular Bells in my head. I remember yelling at the screen–as if that would help–every time they headed back up stairs to where Regan (Linda Blair) was lashed to the bed…”Let her go. He’s got her. Get the hell out?” They didn’t listen. Has it been 36 years since that movie came out? Geez.
William Peter Blatty’s story was based on the true account of a young boy known only as Robbie.
I would suspect that many exorcisms in the old days took place as part of religious zealotry, but perhaps just as many for political gain, punishment, offing a rival, things like that. I suspect that in modern times, many victims are afflicted with mental illness rather than demonic possession, not to mention the mental state of the exorcists themselves. Most deaths are due to dehydration, starvation, exhaustion, drowning, trauma of various types–I mean you just have to beat the devil out of some folks–and reactions to various potions and drugs.
I wish the case of young miss Moses was an isolated event, but unfortunately it’s not. There are many other cases out there, many more bizarre than this one.
These are a few odd cases but there are many others. Google Exorcism Deaths and you’ll see. There’s nothing quite like that Old Time Religion.