al demonic possession, where demons supposedly took control of their victims manifesting evil characteristics and abilities not associated with the persons hosting such evil spirits. In the last half of the 20th century, an epidemic of a personality disorder called dissociative identity disorder (DID) emerged, which is primarily characterized by the presence of two or more personalities or alters that compete in taking control over the same person. A comparison of their respective symptoms, causes and treatment indicate that DID and demonic possession are almost identical.
Demonic possession, both individual and collective, is a significant part of the Judeo-Christian faith in Europe and the Middle East and documented cases were noted up through the 1700s with isolated cases emerging in the 1800s up to the present. 1 The Old Testament refers to demonic possession sparingly but the New Testament is replete with it, such as Jesus casting out ‘unclean spirits.’ In Luke 8:30, for example, Jesus exorcised the demons called Legion and cast them into a group of pigs. Some other biblical passages on the subject are: Luke 9:38-43, where an epileptic boy is said to be possessed by a demon; Luke 11:14 a person is made mute because of demon; Luke 13:10-13, a woman was possessed by a demon who crippled her for 18 years, and; Matthew 15:21-28, a woman pleaded with Jesus to cast a demon from out of her daughter. 2
In the Middle Ages, the Church became preoccupied with demonic possession suspecting anyone exhibiting out-of-the-ordinary behavior of being possessed by the Devil. During the Inquisition, people believed to be possessed by demons were arrested, tried and executed if found guilty. The Catholic Church issued a procedure for exorcising demons in 1614 included in a document called Rituale Romanum, which can be performed by a priest alone while the Protestant Reformation discarded the idea of demonic possession. 3
The known symptoms of demonic possession are: sharp