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Ha. I saw the title of the post and thought it was going to be about the CIA and Brennan sabotaging democracy.

Anyhow, agree. You could get really carried away with this stuff really fast.

At the end of the day, I think that unless you're totally possessed by a totally out of control spirit, you should be able to void this kind of problem by having firm clear ideals, values and aspirations. That way if a spirit wants you to do something, you won't readily do it and the spirit will get frustrated and leave; seeking out someone with a weaker mind.

I do think that spirits probably influence us to some extent far more than we realize. I mean they're out there and their doing stuff, thinking things, etc. If psi is real then we and the spirits must be picking up each others' comms. I don't think there is a wall with border patrols to keep spirits from accessing our realm. However, if you have consciously set your sights high and adhere to your positive goals, then the spirits you attract will be positive helpers. So no worries.

The title of the post was inspired by this very bad movie:

I’ve actually seen this thing. Much worse even than it sounds. I don’t know what "possessed" them to make it!

As far as spirits are concerned, I basically agree. The danger of becoming paranoid (or getting conned in some phony "aura cleansing" scam) probably outweighs the danger of spirit harassment, for the most part. There are exceptions, though — the unfortunate Joe Fisher, author of "The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts," comes to mind.

("Troubled by personal problems – as well as by the spirits he claimed to have angered in writing The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts – Joe Fisher took his own life on May 9, 2001." )

I don't know how you find such great links but I appreciate the one to Jonathan Zap and his review of Joe Fischer's "The Siren Call of the Hungry Ghosts" Although his review is very long I recommend it for those who are learning about possession. Zap seems to be an excellent writer and thinker and I would like to share his comment about paranormal research.

"It is a frustrating but very real problem in paranormal research that it is hard to falsify or eliminate competing paranormal vectors of causality. My approach to paranormal investigation is to withhold from the premature closure onto too definite and exclusive a theory, because once you invest in a particular theory you burden your observational powers with an enormous a priori constraint, and inevitably tend to corral evidence to support your pet theory. The mind and the ego hate ambivalence and ambiguity, and would understandably love to settle on one definite explanation, but this tendency creates gigantic distortions in both normal and paranormal research. Fundamentalist materialist scientism eliminates the paranormal as even a possibility, but with similar habits of mind, many paranormal investigators reach premature closure onto only one paranormal possibility, and then become true believers and self-righteous proselytizers of this particular theory."

Now isn't that a great thought! -AOD

It’s a good quote, but I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s true that the only way to maintain a high degree of impartiality is to take no definite position and draw no firm conclusions. On the other hand, remaining in a state of perpetual doubt or indecision may prevent us from moving further in our explorations and discoveries. We may get stuck at the preliminary level of investigation and never move beyond it.

Also, it may be a bit faint-hearted to have the evidence necessary to draw at least a tentative conclusion but refuse to commit oneself. Meanwhile, people who take an adversarial position, such as professional Skeptics, don’t hesitate to draw dogmatic conclusions on even the most tenuous basis. From a practical standpoint, if the Skeptics aggressively maintain their certainty, and those on the pro-paranormal side are paralyzed by doubt, then it’s hard to see how "our" side of the debate can make any headway.

Michael, I am about three-quarters through "The Unquiet Dead" by Fiore. On first read I usually just read things uncritically unless there is a lot of just plain stupid stuff so I won't negatively comment about her. I agree that apparently Fiore seems to find spirit possession in almost everybody she sees as a client. I think she mixes a lot of past life regression with spirit possession. I guess if one technique doesn't work then it is worth a try with another. I will just rack Fiore up as another person, like most of us, trying to find the answers to the unknown.

As far as the Zap quote is concerned I think I just took it to apply on a personal level to anyone who is trying to find answers to things; probably as a thought to keep in my own mind as I read through all of the books about the paranormal. I really don't care what the Skeptics think. I have spent a lot of time trying to find the answers for myself. To my detriment I am not one to want to argue much about anything.

I would like to mention another person who promoted spirit release therapy and depossession and that is Irene Hickman D.O. who during the middle part of the 20th century used spirit release therapies with her clients. Apparently Hickman was well thought of by her close associates but she did not get the recognition that she may have deserved for using spirit release for clients with emotional and behavioral disorders. One of Hickman's books was "Remote Depossession" and I see that Fiore also related a remote depossession in her case study about 'Barbara' where she performed an "absentee depossession" in which she had 'Barbara' bring her husband 'Gary' to mind and tell her if there were any spirits with him. 'Barbara' said that 'Gary's' father and an old man were with him and "two others". Fiore said," I addressed them, en masse, performing an absentee depossession. I explained that their bodies were dead, that they were with Gary as possessing entities, and that their loved ones had come to help them---to take them to the next stage of their lives. I blessed them, telling them to go into the Light."

(As an aside. Hickman self-published a book titled "I Knew Patience Worth" written about 10 years or so years after Pearl Curran died in 1937 in which she related her experiences with another woman, "Anne" who claimed to be able to channel Patience Worth as Pearl Curran had channeled her.)

So, Fiore was really into spirit release. The examples she gave that I have read so far did not seem to involve malevolent spirits or daemons. They were just spirits who were lost or confused and didn't want to recognize they were 'dead' and did not want to move on to the 'light' or were ashamed to meet relatives who had passed on.

Very interesting! - AOD

Aw shucks! I meant to include this link to Irene Hickman - AOD

I have finished Dr. Edith Fiore's book "The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologist Treats Spirit Possession" and perhaps feel more comfortable to further comment. As Michael noted, Fiore states in several parts of her book that she is not sure that spirits exist or something to that effect. On page 136 she writes, "Please remember that even I, after thousands of depossessions, am still not one hundred percent convinced of the existence of spirits. But it works!"

I am not convinced either but I am pretty sure that Fiore uses effective hypnotic techniques with her clients. She is able to personify various problems of her clients with visualizations and then sends those personifications packing to the nether realms. I agree that if this is done well, over several hypnotherapy sessions and supported with self hypnosis and hypnotic tape recordings which she uses that many people will be able to relieve various disturbing or unwanted symptoms. There is no need to call up spirits to effect a cure. From personal experience I believe that these post hypnotic suggestions really do work, at least for a while. (Fiore did not include any really long-term follow-up of her clients who were reportedly depossessed. )

I am a strong believer in creative visualizations to ameliorate various emotional and nervous problems and I recommend Bruce Lipton's "The Biology of Belief" for a cutting edge theory of how thoughts might effect human biology. The book presents experiments which according to the book summary ". . . examine in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do not control our biology; instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. This profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics has been hailed as a major breakthrough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.",204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

It may be that Fiore is simply using a tried and true method of using hypnotic suggestion to retrain the thinking of her clients using a very effective transference of negative thoughts onto imaginative spirits which are eventually banished from the psyche of her clients and replaced with positive thoughts and beliefs. - AOD

I think this explanation probably holds true for many of the depossessions — maybe not the best cases. There could be various factors at play.

I wasn’t sure how seriously to take Fiore's caveats, because for 99% of the book she does treat spirits as real. She even says she psychically cleanses every room in her house every day.

At one point she says (I think) that she believes in spirits intellectually but, on a gut level, she remains doubtful. Or something like that.

Arthur Ellison's book “Science and the Paranormal” presents a useful account of the subconscious mind and its role in psi. Here’s something I wrote about it in an old comments thread:

//An interesting take on the subconscious was provided by Arthur J. Ellison, who nicknamed the subconscious 'George,' which was a name used by pilots to identify the autopilot. George is tenacious and resourceful but kind of dumb. He will believe whatever you tell him, which is why he's so suggestible. He operates in the background carrying out instructions and delivers the results to you when he gets them. If you tell him to track down a name you've forgotten, you can let him do it without further supervision and the name will pop into your head eventually. George also seems to be connected to the psychic or spiritual world. Information from this realm is typically filtered through George.

FWH Myers took a slightly different view, regarding the subconscious and the higher self as two aspects of the subliminal self.//

I think there is definitely something going on that suggests spirit activity in this world. There are too many various and sundry paranormal reports and it may be the same thing that is evidenced in spirit possessions, past life regressions , poltergeists, medium channeling, direct voice, automatic writing and other reports of activity by disembodied spirits; the mechanisms of which are just not known yet. There seems to be an underlying something or other, a unity, with all of these things. I don't think it is all imaginings or fabrications. But, it might be something having to do with the subconscious of living beings. I have a bias toward past lives which remain as remnants in the subconscious mind, whatever that is. However multiple causes of paranormal activities must exist because it is difficult to fit all such cases into a reincarnation or subconscious source paradigm. (or super-psi)

I think a crucial factor differentiating true possession by spirits is whether or not there is amnesia of events by the primary personality when secondary personalities are in control.

(I know---amnesia can be achieved with a post hypnotic suggestion.)

Examples are as mentioned before: the "Watseka Wonder" case in which Lurancy Vennum was replaced by the spirit of Mary Roff for several months. I think that Sally Beauchamp was a possessing spirit in the Morton Prince case of Clara Norton Fowler although he believed that Fowler was an example of multiple personalities (dissociative identity disorder). Fowler also had periods of amnesia when Sally was in charge of the physical form for hours or days at a time. Leonora Piper might also be a case of possession since various spirit controls seemed to be jumping in and out of her body over a period of many years and at the time they were in control, Mrs. Piper claimed that she didn't remember anything that was said by the controls or the spirits for whom they transmitted messages.

Fiore and others who claim that they are able to throw out possessing entities have gained notoriety by promoting their depossession techniques through hypnosis. Most of them have written and marketed a book I would guess.

Hypnosis may be underestimated as a way to engage the subconscious mind though. As Michael has previously written, the subconscious mind can be "kind of dumb." What is meant by that I think is that the subconscious mind has a difficult time discriminating between what is real and what is not real and it can't differentiate between positives and negatives. Whatever is told to the subconscious mind---real or not---it records and stores for future reference. If one tells the subconscious mind, for example, that "I will not smoke." the subconscious mind may record that as " I will smoke." since it doesn't recognize negatives. Similarly "I will try to not smoke". That's an easy one for the subconscious since it doesn't record the negative but it can easily try but not succeed in not smoking. More successful commands for the subconscious are strong direct commands such as " I hate to smoke." "Smoking makes me sick." "I enjoy being free of cigarette smoke." "My family is healthier because I made good decisions about smoking."

Well, you get the idea.

I have always cringed when I hear popular radio commentators repeat, sometimes ad nauseum, negative comments about their favorite politician as examples of falsehoods to fight against. What they may really be doing is imbedding in the subconscious minds of their listeners the very falsehood that they wish to fight against. - AOD

I'm going to take the psychological approach and suggest another more plausible theory is that we all have sub-personalities - the extreme case being people with multiple personalities. These sub-personalities are created in response to adverse childhood experiences. Even healthy people seem to have them to a limited degree - they are one way at the office, another at the bar, on a date, etc. The use of alcohol and drugs is self-medication of wounds experienced in childhood.

From a religious/spiritual perspective, why would the-all powerful God or the "White Light," depending on your inclination, even allow possession? Wouldn't this completely abrogate His will? I do kind of like the approach C.S. Lewis took in "The Screwtape Letters." The demons are real, but they can't posses someone - although they can tempt and try to influence people into bad decisions. That seems to be more plausible and a little more logical.

There is an old science fiction/dark fantasy author named Richard Matheson who wrote a fictional account of some of his actual beliefs about the afterlife called "What Dreams May Come." Robin Williams played in the movie. Anyway, in the book which I listened to on Audible he makes some points that resonate with me. The main character in the book is unable to get his wife to hear him or see him after he dies. She engages a psychic who isn't really very good at all although the psychic does manage to cause a fake manifestation of the character. Shades of the story of college students inventing a character during a séance and then actually having the character interact with them. ( The Philip experiment - creating a ghost. In the 1970's, a group of Canadian parapsychologists wanted to attempt an experiment to create a ghost.) I recommend googling the Phillip Experiment. But, in the story the author goes to a place much like summer land and all the actual history of the human race is in the library's. Not the politically inspired accounts that are written by the victors. Reincarnation is a thing but not the main thing of spiritual life and you seem to attract the people, places and things that you most desire. So, his wife unable to believe he is still in existence somewhere takes her own life and he tries to rescue her from a dreary afterlife. Anyway, this book and the movie "The Astral City" seem to have much in common as far as what happens when we die. It doesn't say anything about possession so this may be the wrong thread for this comment. But the Fiore book reminds me so much of fundamentalist religion where almost anything you do or try to find out about the next life apart from scripture or church will lead you into the devils snares. Hard to experience life with that type worldview because everything is scary as hell. Literally. I do think C.S. Lewis is a good sane look at the subject although it is absolutely a Christian perspective. Malachi Martin who was a Catholic Priest wrote a book called "Hostage to the Devil" which I would recommend if one is serious about researching this subject. Although, like Lewis it is very slanted towards Christian actually Catholic in Martin's case perspective.

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