Doctor Richard Gallagher
When intelligent and respected professionals, men and women of science, those who start out skeptical then see things that convince them that demonic possession is a real phenomenon, it makes you stop and say, hey, maybe we should take a real look at this thing.
One such man, Dr. Richard Gallagher, a Princeton and Yale educated psychiatrist who runs his own practice and teaches at Columbia University and New York University, started out skeptical.
It all started twenty-five years ago when he was approached for his help in a case regarding a woman who was supposedly being harassed by demons. She was known to be a very nice woman, a religious Hispanic housewife and mother who had no history of mental illness. She and her husband described episodes when she would feel evil spirits overcome her, and then bruises would appear all over her body. Dr. Gallagher was called in to perform a psychiatric evaluation. Over time he assessed her mental and physical health, her symptoms, ruled out other explanations, and eventually came to believe that he was witnessing evidence of actual demonic possession.
Since then he has been called to assist in thousands of cases by providing his psychiatric expertise. He says that the vast majority of cases turn out not to be true demonic possession. Only around one hundred cases Dr. Gallagher has assessed out of thousands turned out to be possession. Gallagher makes sure to take a thorough approach in his consultations. He makes sure to get the whole story by interviewing friends, family, priests of the patient as well as examining symptoms. Symptoms that don’t fit into normal presentations of psychiatric disorders but that follow patterns typical of demonic activity might indicate possession. He describes paranormal features that sometimes occur in severe cases including patients speaking in languages of which they have no prior knowledge and exhibiting extreme strength. Also, those who are possessed might demonstrate personal knowledge of others’ lives of which they have no prior knowledge. After Dr. Gallagher gives the go ahead that the patient is actually possessed and that there is no underlying medical or physical problem, the patient is free to undergo an exorcism.
Dr. Gallagher believes that there are two different types of people who are generally targeted for demonic possession. Many possessed people are involved in satanic practices or cults or had been in the past and then might’ve tried to pull away. They may have made deals with the devil. The other group that might be susceptible to demonic possession are people who are super devout, doing great work helping others.
Dr. Gallagher recalls his scariest case which he says was “creepy.” “Julia” (not her real name) was a 39 year old woman who was part of a satanic cult, and when she was thinking about leaving the cult, the demons began to possess her. He witnessed her fall into trances for a few minutes at a time and speak in a demonic voice which wasn’t her own, saying things like, “Leave her alone, you f****** priest,” and she had no recollection of saying those things when she came to. Then later on another day, Gallagher and the priest who would perform the exorcism were on the phone discussing the case. The priest was asking Gallagher if he would be able to attend the exorcism, and the same demonic voice that Julia spoke with during her trance came over the phone line saying, “Leave her alone, you f****** priest. She’s ours, not yours.” Julia was hundreds of miles away at the time. He said sometimes Julia spoke in foreign languages she didn’t know, Latin and Spanish. Also, one night, his cats started acting wild, going around his house exhibiting strange, out-of-control behavior. Dr. Gallagher was really freaked out when the next day, Julia asked with a little smile how he enjoyed his cats the day before. I’m going to have to agree: creepy. Anyone else have goosebumps?
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