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POSSESSION

DEMONIACAL ANDOTHER

POSSESSION

DEMONIACAL AND OTHER

AMONG PRIMITIVE RACES, IN ANTIQUITY,

THE MIDDLE AGES, AND MODERN TIMES

BY

T. K. OESTERREICH

PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TUBINGEN

LONDON

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD.

BROADWAY HOUSE : 68-74 CARTER LANE, E.C.

I930

Authorized Translation by

D. IBBERSON

M.A, (OXON)

FEINTED IN QEEAT BRITAIN BY

SELLING AND SONS LTD., GDT1DFOED AND USHER

CONTENTS

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

FOREWORD

PAGE

ix

xi

3

.

.

.

.

PART I

THE NATURE OF THE STATE OF POSSESSION

INTRODUCTION

THE AGES CONSTANT NATURE OF POSSESSION THROUGHOUT THE

CHAPTER I. SOURCES

.

.

.

.

.

.12

II. THEEXTERNALSIGNSOFPOSSESSION

 

.

.

17

Changes

in the physiognomy of the possessed, 17. Changes

Old descriptions, 25.

.

ofvoice, 19. Muscular strength, 22. Apparent substitution of the spiritual individuality oper-

i. THE SOMNAMBULISTIC FORM OF POSSESSION. Kemer's and

III. THESUBJECTIVE STATEOFTHEPOSSESSED

ating"

in the organism,

26. Examples of dialogues with

possessing spirits,"

29. Autobiography of one of these,

81. Somnambulistic possession without inner duplica-

tion,

32.

Transformation of the personality, 34.

The

problem of division of the subject, 36.

ii. THE LUCID FORM OF POSSESSION.

Eschenmayer's cases, 40.

The Janet-

49. Father

61.

Fritz

Ravmond case,

Surin, 51.

Algar, 70.

Jeanne des Anges, 86. Jeanne des Anges,

45.

Staudenmaier, 57.

Montan, 75.

Caroline St.,

Possession and obsession, 77*

Temptations, 80. Transformations of lucid possession,

83.

IV. THE GENESIS AND EXTINCTION OF POSSESSION.

EXORCISM .

.

.

.

.

26

.91

Autosuggestion and compulsive processes, 91. Fathers

Surin, Tranquille, Lactance, 92.

Kerner's cases, 94.

pulsion of " possessing possession spirits," by 100. The

Causation of

medical

treatment, 96. Ex-

magic papyrus

of Paris, 101. The Manuale Exorcismorum, 102.-t-Exor-

vi

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

PAGE

A modern psychological exorcism by P. Janet, 109. The

death through

possession of Lactance, 117. Extension of

Ageandsexofthe possessed, 121.

present the idea* day: ofexorcism, psychasthenia, 119. 124. Acute hysterical attacks,

Modern extensions of the idea of possession, 121. Un-

conscious possession, 123. Allied morbid states of the

125. History of psychic pathology, 128.

PART II

THE DISTRIBUTION OF POSSESSION AND ITS

IMPORTANCE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF

RELIGIOUS PSYCHOLOGY

V. SPONTANEOUS POSSESSION PROPERLY SO VI. SPONTANEOUS POSSESSION IN THE HIGHER

CALLED AMONGST PRIMITIVE RACES .

.

of Possession the Malay in Archipelago, Africa, 132. In Abyssinia, 145. Amongst 136. the Kabyle, In East 132. Africa, In

Central Africa, 133.

137.

Amongst the Ba-Ronga of South-East Africa, 138.

In South Africa, 143. In Asia, 145. Amongst the Bataks

131

CIVILIZATIONS

.

.

.

.

.147

(i.) IN THE PAST

1. Antiquity.

The region of the Tigris and Euphrates,

147. Ancient Egypt,

149.

Hellenistic Egypt,

151.

Classical 155. Late antiquity, antiquity, 154. 157. Primitive and classical Greece,

Early

Christian times, 158.

Jesus, The Christians 169. The as last exorcists, days of 164. Judaism, Possession 170. Possession in Russia, 196.

Jews, 168.

The Old Testament: Saul, 168.

Ancient India, 172.

amongst

the

The time of

2. The Middle Ages.Cases from the life of St. Augus-

tine, 176.- BernardofClairvaux, 177.

The Kabbala, 185.

Henrythe

Saint, 183.

In Syria, 185. In Northern Africa,

186.

3. Modern times.

Luther, 186.

sion,

187.

The possessed and

The

epidemics

of

witches, 191.

posses-

Zooan-

thrppy,191.

period,

194.

TheAgeofEnlightenment, 192. Theromantic Jews of 219. Eastern Japan,

In France and England, 195.

China,

230. Arabia,

Greece, 196. America, 197.

(ii.) IN THE PRESENT.

The Catholic attitude, 199. Protestantism, 202. Spirit-

ualism, 202. France,

The

The Near East, 212.

218.

202.

Germany, 203. Russia, 203.

Europe,

206.

America, 210.

India, 213.

Siam, 217. Burmah,

224. Egypt,

CONTENTS

vii

CHAPTER

VJI. ARTIFICIALAMONGST

AND VOLUNTARY POSSESSION

PRIMITIVE PEOPLES. SO-CALLED

PAGE

SHAMANISM .

.

.

.

.

.236

Autosuggestibility of primitive races, 236. Cases of death

primitive by autosuggestion, races of normal 238. Artificial stature, and 253. voluntary In Peninsula, Central possession Africa, 243. native, 278. Melanesia, 280. New Guinea, 284.

amongst primitives, 241. Masked dances, 242.

Shaman-

ism amongst the pigmies of the

Malay

Amongst the Veddas of Ceylon, 247.

253.

Tripolitania, 255.

Shamanism The amongst

Malay

East Africa, 263.

Archipelago, 265. The Bataks of Sumatra, 265. Malacca, Ancient accounts, 294.

276.

The Tonga Islands, 276. First-hand

America, 286. The masked testimony dances of the

The Fiji

of a

Islands, 285.

South American Indians, 287. North American Indians,

289

The semi-civilizations of ancient America, 292.

SHAMANISM OF THE NORTH ASIATIC

VIII. THE

PEOPLES IN ITS RELATIONSHIP TO POSSES-

SION

.

.

.

.

.

.

Wrangel, 295.

.294

Their social importance, 304. Gmelin, True 295. North Asiatic Sham-

Castren, 297.

Pallas, 299.

Choice of Shamans, 300.

anism not possession, 305. Radloffs description, 305.

Tschubinow, 306.

IX. ARTIFICIAL AND VOLUNTARY POSSESSION

AMONGST THE HIGHER CIVILIZATIONS

.

311

(i.) IN THE PAST (THE GR^ECO-ROMAN WORLD).

Cassandra, 311. The Pythoness of Delphi, 311. Recent

descriptions of her states of inspiration, 313. Ancient

sources, 314.

The problem of the chasm in the Adyton

of the temple, 316.

The psychological nature of the Py-

part played by the priests, 322.

thoness' state, 320. The

the The oracle, oracles, 325. 323. Relations History ofthe between authority Christian and antiquity influence and of

the

The

Pythoness, 326. Later views,

cult of Dionysos, 335.

The

331.

The

" Bacchje "

Sibyls, 332.

of Euripides,

336. Religious fervour of the cult, 337. Divine possession

in the Mysteries of Jamblichus, 343. The corybantism Siam,

of the Phrygian cults, 344. Possession in the other oracles,

344.

Plato's theory of possession, 347. The Emperor

Julian, 347. Possession Possession in in Egypt, the Hindu 348.

(ii.) IN THE PRESENT.

In" Asia, 348.

religion, 348.

The

devil-dancers " of Southern possession India and Ceylon, 349. Bur-

mah,

351.

352.

Marco Polo, 356. Wu

China, 355. Earlyaccounts, 356.

in the Chinese oracles and

theirkinshipwiththatofDelphi,357."Spirit-hopping," 361.

Mrs. Taylor's account of Chinese possession,

sion by snake-spirits, 364.

362. Posses-

Europe and America, 365. The

spiritualist movement, 365. Alleged incarnations, 366.

Semi-somnambulism, 368. The Piper case, 371. Auto-

matic writing and speech, 374. Extension of the idea of

viii

CONTENTS

CONCLUSION .

.

.

.

.

session, General 376. survey Possession of the distribution and rationalism, and importance 379. The of situa- pos-

tionintheprimitiveworld, 379.

APPENDIX ON PARAPSYCHOLOGY

.

.

PAGE

.376

.381

Parapsychic states in primitive possession, 381. Amongst

ofparapsychic phenomena The by problem German idealism of the and parapsychic specula-

civilized races, 381.

faculties of the Pythoness at Delphi, 383. The

philology of

neo-Shamanism in the light of tradition, 383. Recognition

tive theism, 384.

torians, 387.

Dependence Attitude of of philologico-historical modern philologists criticism and his-

on the further development of parapsychology, 389.

INDEX

.

.

.

.

.

.

.391

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

PROFESSOR OESTERREICH, the author of this work, has made

a survey of the history of Possession from the most ancient

times down to the present day and in all countries of the

inhabited globe, together with an analysis of its nature and

relationship to other phenomena, such as hysteria and the

manifestations of spiritualism.

The subject treated is a very fascinating one, to the

general reader as well as to the student of psychology and

ethnology. It would be difficult to see the human race in a been followed in its occasional abbreviations of quotations

As regards the text, the authorized French version has

further research.

session. The work abounds, moreover, in suggestions for

more fantastic light than that cast by these stories of Pos-

given in the original work, and M. Sudre's footnotes on

spiritualism source except in one, France which have it has also not been been inserted. possible The to discover, German

text has, however, been used throughout for purposes of

translation. sponding passages from English versions. The passages

original, have either been translated or replaced by corre-

fromthe Bible are given in the Rev. Dr. Moffat's well-known

version, bythekindconsent ofMessrs. HodderandStoughton,

its publishers.

and classical extracts, many of which the author gives in the

All English quotations have been traced to

IX I.

ix

FOREWORD

THIS

book is

the result

of

investigations which have

been published in the

first two

issues

(simultaneously

produced) of the review Deutsche Psychologie. The present freely, since first-hand knowledge of the texts cannot be

be expected to examine them, I have not hesitated to quote

some ofwhichare difficult of access, so that the reader cannot

matter is gathered from widely scattered literary sources,

much fuller than the original publications. As the subject-

extensive work is not, however, a mere reprint; it is very

replaced by any secondary account.

The attention of

classical philologists is especially directed to the passages

concerning Dionysos (pp. the 335 oracle sqq.). of Delphi I should (pp. thinkmyselfwell 311 sqq.) and the rewarded cult of

for my labours if they for their part were induced to approach

these two problems, which are of peculiar interest to the

philosopher, from a fresh angle.

After the completion of the work I was obliged through

table considerations of relevant of literature. space to renounce Essential the works idea are of adding indicated a

by the notes.

TUBINGEN,

Early March, 1921.

XI

THE AUTHOR.

PART I

THE NATURE OF THE STATE OF POSSESSION

INTRODUCTION

THE CONSTANT NATURE OF POSSESSION

THROUGHOUT THE AGES

book affording to us inhabitants of the European

of the states called

THE

zone of culture our earliest glimpse

"

possession m is the New Testament. Bible stories often

give, in fact, anaccuratepictureofthese states, whichwereex-

tremely frequent in the latter days of the ancient world. To out of the the boat tombs a manfromthe and tombs

the authors of the New Testament they were evidently very

familiar, and their accounts, even should they be recognized

as of little or no historical value, bear in themselves thestamp

of truth. They are pictures of typical states exactly re-

produced. 2

The following are a few quotations to refresh the reader's

memory :

And as soon as he stepped

came to meethim, a manwith an unclean spirit who dwelt

the tombs ; by

among

this time no one could bind him, not even with a your they begged him

name ?"

*'

Legion," he said,

(For he had said,

Jesus asked

" there is a host of

him,

earnestly not to send them out ofthe

chain, for he had often been bound with fetters and chains and

had snapped the chains and broken the fetters

tame him. All night and day among

shrieked and

Jesus"

gashed

himself with stones.

On

nobody could

the hills he

catching sight of

from afar he ran and knelt before him, shrieking aloud,

Jesus, son of God most High, what business haveyouwithme ?

By"

God, I adjure you, do not torture me."

Come

out of the man, you unclean spirit.")

44 What is

us."

And

country (Mark v 2-10).

I will pass over the rest ofthe passage, the alleged entry

of the devils into a herd of swine.

The same story is to be

fojind in Matthew vii 28-33 and in Luke viii 26-39.

1 In ancient, as also sometimes in later times, it was customary to

class as possession other states of enthusiasm or inspiration. I shall

at first confine myselfhere topossession in the accepted sense,and later

extend * Besides the acceptation the quotations gradually given in each direction.

Hodderand Stoughton), cf. also

Luke xi 14-26.

in the text (Moffat's trans.,

pub.

Mark xii 24 sq., 48 sq., Mark iii 22 sq.,

8

4

THENATURE OP THE STATE OF POSSESSION

Some strolling

retorted, "Jesus Jewish exorcists

also undertook to pronounce

the name of theLordJesusoverthose whohad evil spirits, saying :

*' I adjureyoutotheJesus whomPaul preaches !" Theseven

sons after Teacher, convulsinghimthe I

But the evil

of Sceuas, a Jewish high priest, used to do this.

spirit

you?"

I knowand Paul I know, butyou who are

Andtheman inwhomthe evil spirit resided leapt atthem,

overpowered them all, and belaboured them, till they rushed out

ofthehousestrippedandwounded (Acts xix 13-16). 1

whoNowat thereonce shriekedwas a manwith an

you with us ?

unclean spirit in their

Have out, you " come Jesus to of destroy Nazaret,

holy

One." But

what business

us ?

synagogue,

have

We know who

Jesus checked it; " Be

cry (Mark i 28-27).

brought

you are, you

quiet," he

unclean

A man

my

it

son to

throws him

are God's I to bear with

it out, but they

generation, how

said, "comeoutofhim." And

spirit

did come out ofhimwith a loud

from the crowd answered him. "

you;

he has a dumb spirit, and whenever it seizes him

down, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his

with it ; so I told your disciples

to cast

O faithless

teeth. He is wasting away

could not." He answered them, "

must I still be with

Bring him to me."

long on destroy us." him. Jesus Howlonghas If said you aloud and convulsing people him violently. said,

cried out, *' I do

that a crowd was rapidly gathering,

Deafanddumb spirit,"

**

never enter him again."

he said,

"

so that most

"

you ? How long have

boy to him, andwhen the spirit saw Jesus it at once convulsed the the

you ?

So they brought

boy ; he fell on the ground

"

Jesusaskedhisfather,

achildhood,"

time,

to

he said; " it

have pity

and rolled about foaming at the mouth.

hebeenlike this ?" " From

has thrownhim into fire and water many

anything, do help us, do

Anything

boy

can do

to him, " ' ifyou can '!

can be done for one who believes." At once tfie father ofthe

believe; help my unbelief." Now as Jesus saw

he checked the unclean spirit.

leave him, I commandyou, and

did come out, after shrieking

And it Comparing these brief stories with accounts of the

The child turned like a

he is dead" ; but, taking his

up

(Markix 17-27. Same story

healedhim, so thatthe dumbman hegot

Then a blind and dumb

hands,Jesusraisedhimand

corpse,

in Matthew xvii 14-21, andLuke ix 35-45).

demoniac was brought to him, and he

for eighteen spokeandsaw years (Matt, xii 22).

When he was teaching in one ofthe synagogues on the Sabbath,

there was a woman who

had suffered weakness

from an evil spirit; indeed she was bent double and quite unable

to raise herself.

Jesus noticed her and called to her, " Woman,

you

and

instantly she became erect and glorified God (Luke xiii 10-13).

are released from your weakness." He laid his hands on her, surprising, 1 It is not while without our importance respect for to the the understanding historic truth of the of New the

phenomena of possession in later times, we find what may be

described as the perfect similarity of the facts extremely

Gospels is enhanced to an extraordinary degree. Excluding

Testament writings and their bearing on the psychology of religion

to observe that the term weCpa is not only used in the expression

77-vefyta ayiov, but that the devils ofthe possessed were designated under

the name

realistic and objective character. In particular the succinct 5 we are dealing with a tradition which is veracious.

psychology, that it is impossible to avoid the impression that

know of these states from the point of view of present-day

particulars of his cures, 1 coincide so exactly with what we

failure together with that of his disciples, as well as the

accounts of Jesus' relation to these events, his success and

In order to show the constant nature ofthe phenomena of

possession ance of these throughout various quotations, the ages and we to will vindicate place side the import- by side

with the extracts from the New Testament several cases from

morerecenttimes. It wouldbeeasyto countthembydozens

andeven by hundreds. Thelives ofthe saints ofthe Catholic

Church as related in the Ada Sanctorum, are full of stories

INTRODUCTION

thestory oftheherd ofswine, the narrativesareofan entirely

of possession and its cure.

But it is not only in Christian

1 in In the this connection quotations were such astounded. as the following, the the historical

Now when Jesus had finished these parables he set out from

there and went to his native place, where he taught

did he

synagogue

get

this

till

they

They

said, " Where

people

wisdom and these miraculous powers ? Is this

home." son And of he the did joiner not ? Is not his mother called Mary and his

not the

brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas ? Are not his

sisters settled here among us ? Then where has he got

"

Sotheywere repelled byhim. ButJesus saidtothem,

all this ?"

Aprophet

never goes without

honour except in his native place and in his

many

mighty works there because of their

unbelief xiii 53-58). 2 (OVK eVoi^ac^ Ki Swa^cis TroAAas Sta TVJV dmariav avrwv) (Matt,

truth of which is incontestable, are extremely characteristic.

Afew chapters later Matthew relates how in one instance anexorcism

by the disciples of Jesus failed, and he replied to their questions as

to the cause of the failure: Sid ryv oXiyo^iariav vpajv, on account of

little faith (Matt, xvii 14-21 ; cf. Mark ix 28 sq.). Both accounts are in

full agreement with what psychology would lead us to expect in the

attendant circumstances. Moreover,the first report is not even favour-

able to the miracle-working power of Jesus. It must rest on specially

old and reliable tradition which in this

retouched. We should indeed rather expect to read: There he was

not able to work many

obvious, however, that

passage he could not do many

author. Moffat's version,

miracles owing to their lack of faith.

this mode of

expression cannot proceed from

a naifoutlookwhich regarded these cures as miracles. Moreover,Jesus

might, tively withheld in face of from the any lack greater of faith efficaciousness. opposed to him, have been instinc-

in accordance with the text

which I have otherwise used,

miracles owing to their lack

2 I have followed the Revised Version in this sentence only, as it is

used by

reads :

the

" There

offaith " (TRANS.).

has not yet been your

It is

6

THENATURE OF THE STATE OF POSSESSION

literature that such facts are described, it is also in that of sends them back home whole and free from their

non-Christian antiquity.

Let us first take the Greek world. Here,

by way of ex-

ample, is an extract froma dialogue ofLucian (born A.D. 125) :

I should like toaskyou,then,

whatyouthinkofthosewho deliver

publicly conjure phantoms.

demoniacs from their

terrors and who

I need not recall to you the master of this art, the famous

of Palestine, everyone

Syrian

already knows this remarkable manwho in

the case of people falling down at the sight of the moon, rolling

their eyes andfoaming atthe mouth, calls onthem

to standupand

infirmity,

for

the persons which man's he he charges body asks : this is the moment chosen to conjure

a large sum each time.

When he is with sick

themhow the devil entered into them; the patient

remains silent, butthe devil replies, in Greek or a barbariantongue,

andsays whathe is, whencehe comes, andhowhe has enteredinto

him to come

forth ; if he resist, the Syrian threatens him and finally drives him

out.1

At the beginning of the third century A.D. the Greek

sophist, Flavius Philostratus, in his biography of the ascetic brought with him Indians

andthaumaturgeApollonius ofTyana, compiled attherequest

of the wife of Septimius Severus, Julia Domna, a Syrian full

of wit and beauty (A. Furtwangler), relates the following:

These discourses were

interrupted by the arrival of the

who implored the aid

messenger. He

of the Wise Men.

He presented to them a poor woman who

commended her son to them; he was, she said, sixteen years old,

andu Onwhatgroundsdoyoubelievethis?" for two

is," said she, " of

demon loves him ; he does not leave

particularly pleasing

him

years had been possessed by an evil and lying demon.

askedoneoftheSages. the use of his reason, "He but

appearance ; therefore, the

prevents him from going to school, from learning

bow, and even from remaining in the house;

into desolate places. The

boy

to shoot The with eyes the

he drags him away

man.

All this afflicts me

no longer even has his own voice;

grown

he utters deep and grave sounds like a The Sage asked her if

deeply, I rendmy bosom and seek to