Why am I so obsessed with dying?

exorcismSometimes the fight against the "devil" ends fatally

In our world of science and technology, one might think of it as an outmoded ritual from times long past. Or for pure horror film fantasies. But exorcism, the driving out of the devil, is still widespread today - worldwide. According to experts, it occurs every day in Germany. Sometimes it also ends in a brutal death - like now in Frankfurt am Main.

The term sounds like the Middle Ages and the deepest backwardness - exorcism. Exorcism is the ritual expulsion of evil forces or spirits from people, animals or objects. In the Catholic Church, the exorcism of "possessed" was common in the Middle Ages. The practice did not end in the Middle Ages.

A death in Frankfurt am Main is a terrible reminder of this. A woman dies in a hotel room. Your body is covered in bruises. The investigators suspect a particularly brutal exorcism as the cause. Prosecutors said on Wednesday that five people from Korea between the ages of 15 and 44 had been arrested. They are said to have hit the allegedly demon-possessed victim again and again on the stomach and chest last Saturday. To suppress the screams of the 41-year-old, they put a towel in her mouth. The autopsy showed that the woman suffocated.

Ex-jihadist who comes out as gay is said to be obsessed

All over the world people die in exorcism. The death of a 21-year-old in Belize, Central America, was reported just a week ago. She apparently suffered cardiac arrest in a church while her parents tried to rid her of demons through a religious ceremony. In Hebron, in the Palestinian Territories, a 19-year-old was beaten to death by two miracle healers this summer. The Wiesbaden criminologist Rudolf Egg says: "The perpetrators believe they are doing something good."

Exorcism is not a purely Christian phenomenon. There is also the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčobsession in other religions. In November the British Times reported on a young Muslim ex-jihadist. After he announced that he was homosexual, his father is said to have forced him to go to an Islamic faith healer who was supposed to drive out his demons. The father said that his son's homosexuality was the result of supernatural powers.

According to estimates, several exorcisms in Germany every day

While in Italy and other southern countries the expulsion of devils is addressed comparatively openly, the topic north of the Alps is approached rather cautiously. Still, it seems to be an everyday phenomenon. The journalist Marcus Wegner, who has been dealing with exorcism for 13 years, is certain: "We currently have two to three expulsions of devils per day in Germany in the Catholic Church, but these are not official. From the ranks of the evangelical scene there are six until seven. "

Contorted faces, wild curses in strange languages, mindless people possessed by the devil and priests who fight evil with a cross held in front of them: many ideas about exorcisms are brutal and based on films. However, the procedures do not always have to involve violence - especially not the official ones. Exorcisms, for example among Muslims and among Catholic Christians, usually consist of prayers or Koran recitations or blessings and incantations.

The Vatican has strict rules for driving out devils

The Vatican has set explicit guidelines for driving out devils. According to canon law of 1983, the so-called solemn or "great exorcism" may only be carried out by a suitable priest with the approval of the responsible bishop. Almost every diocese in Germany also has contact points, which mostly bundle under the heading "Advice center for questions of religion and belief" what concerns people, concerns, problems and inexplicable phenomena. The fact that the devil is no longer mentioned by name is mainly due to the discomfort and incomprehension that the topic causes in many people. Manfred Nielen, press spokesman for the Archdiocese of Hamburg, told the dpa news agency: "Of course, people with such concerns turn to us from time to time, whom we then try to help with pastoral discussions. Or we refer them to medical specialists or psychologists."

Obviously there is a need in society for help for people who think they are cursed. Among Muslims, demons are cast out from private individuals in normal homes. These "miracle healers" usually do not appear openly, so they do not advertise. You can find each other through word of mouth. This is mainly due to the fact that there is a certain unease with the subject among Muslims.

Islamic "faith healers" are often private individuals

While strictly conservatives reject such rites as blasphemy or as bida '- that is, changes introduced into the religion by people on their own initiative - belief in demons is part of the religious armament for many Muslims. Because it is less taboo, the belief in demons is probably much more widespread among them than among the majority population in Germany. The more open approach to the subject is already based on theology. In the Muslim context, there is talk of "djinnen" that can enter a person. According to the Koran, these beings, along with humans and angels, were "officially" created by God - out of fire.

In April, around 200 interested people from all over the world met at the Catholic University Regina Apostolorum in Rome to seriously discuss obsession and the devil. The term exorcism comes from the Greek and is translated as "conjuring up". Strictly speaking, the exorcism is a prayer that is said for people who think that they have come into contact with the "evil" in some way and no longer know how to help themselves.