Taking a very businesslike approach, I queried Susan as to the cause of her distress. At first the words were slow to come and the few that she ut tered made little sense. Gradually the words formed sentences and the sentences arranged themselves into a coherent story. A jumble of events was trans*formed into a logical sequence with a common theme of cause and effect. She had noticed a lump on her scalp, had visited the university health clinic, and had a biopsy performed. "Biopsy!" One thought replaced all others -- "benign or malignant?" The results had indicated skin cancer.
Then Susan confessed that she was disturbed by recent nightmares. I accepted this as a normal reaction to a very difficult semester. One of Susan's closest friends from home, her Bible study leader there, had committed suicide shortly before Susan found the lump. Adding insult to injury, she learned of his death through a newspaper article, since her family and friends were too scared to tell her. The operation alone would have been overwhelming for any emo tionally healthy individual. Given the loss of a dear friend from home, the tension with one's best friend at school, and the pressures of a very demanding academic schedule, it is a miracle that Susan remained sane; nightmares hardly seemed a cause for alarm.
Then Susan started saying words like "visions" instead of nightmares, and I began to get worried and scared. I had always known that Susan was a charis matic Christian, but had thought little of what such labels meant. She had told me of speaking in tongues during certain prayers and even seeing visions in her dreams as a child, but I had never pushed her to talk about such things. I figured that what I did not know could not hurt me. How wrong I was!
Susan started describing various odors (which others would later ascribe to the sulfur that supposedly accompanies the devil),
econds after I re-entered the room, Susan angrily lashed out at me, telling me she never wanted to talk with me again since I did not love her, and ran out in tears.
The students, led by Susan's sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, "Satan, I command you to leave this woman." Others exhorted all "demons to leave in the name of Christ." It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults.
Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leav ing it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.
use this thread to discuss the political merits of exorcisms, believing in demons, being a high ranking member of the republican party, and essentially assaulting a girl exhibiting all the signs of being on her period.
The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical pas sages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
While Alice and Louise held Susan, her sister continued holding the Bible to her face. Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence "Jesus is Lord." Over and over, she repeated "Jesus is L..L..LL," often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed "Jesus is Lord."
With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, "Has something happened?"