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Were the Las Vegas shooter and Austin bomber possessed?

Posted on 07 May 2018, 10:04

Authorities involved with the investigation of the Las Vegas shooting massacre and the more recent Austin bombings are mystified as to what motivated such deviant, insane behavior.  Neither the shooter nor the bomber seems to have had anything in his past to suggest he was capable of such a horrendous act.  There is, however, a possible explanation that no authority dares mention, as the person would be ignorantly laughed out of his profession if he or she did.  I’m referring to possession, or even lesser influence by devious “earthbound” spirits.

In her 1999 book, Freeing the Captives, the late Louise Ireland-Frey, M.D. (below) discussed various degrees of attachment or influence by dark souls, beginning with the most mild, temptation, and continuing on through shadowing, oppression, obsession, and possession.  Possession, as she defines it, involves the invading entity taking over the body of the host completely, pushing out the host’s own personality (soul) and expressing its own words, feelings, or behaviors while using the host’s body. 


In his 2003 book, Healing Lost Souls, William J. Baldwin, Ph.D., a pioneer in regression therapy, says that, based on many sessions, he is convinced that “past-life trauma and spirit interference are the primary causes in many cases of mental and physical illness.”  He explains that within six months of starting his past-life regression therapy practice, more than half his clients showed signs and symptoms of “spirit attachment.” 

The terminology differs among various practitioners, some seemingly holding obsession and possession as much the same thing, others referring to spirit interference, influence or attachment.  As for driving off the negative spirit entities, some refer to spirit releasement, others to disobsession, and still others to deliverance or exorcism.  However, they all appear to be talking about the same phenomenon.

As Ireland-Frey and others who have recognized the attachment phenomenon have pointed out, like attracts like and so a deceased alcoholic may look for a living alcoholic to feed off of, while a sex addict when alive will likely look for someone with a similar tendency. 

Brazil seems to be much more open-minded and advanced in this area of healing than the United States, as evidenced by the book Spiritism and Mental Health, edited by Emma Bragdon, Ph.D.  In this 2012 publication, subtitled “Practices from Spiritist Centers and Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals in Brazil,” Bragdon reports that there are 50 Spiritist psychiatric hospitals in Brazil.  In addition to the more standard treatments, including various medications, the Spiritist hospitals include disobsession, “and healing at a distance where mediums liberate patients from the influence of negative spirits.” 

According to Bragdon, the doctors practicing in the psychiatric hospitals of Brazil do not believe that the brain is the home of the mind and the spirit, and therefore cannot endorse the notion that chemicals are the primary means of treating mental disorders.  “They believe that vast aspects of the mind and spirit reside outside the physical brain in the ‘perispirit,’ a subtle body that envelops the physical body and holds the blueprint of the body and the seeds of illness,” she explains.  “The perispirit changes as it is worked with in Spiritist therapies – seeds of illness are dissolved and the receiver becomes spiritually uplifted.”

In Chapter 3 of Bragdon’s book, Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Săo Paulo medical school, states: “Obsession ultimately originates in the moral imperfections of the patient. The patient’s own negative feelings, thoughts, and behavior allow the obsessing spirit to mentally tune into the individual, as well as make the patient accept its influence.  The obsessing spirit is motivated most of the time by a vengeful feeling against the victim.” 

Moreira-Almeida further explains that most of the Spiritist approach to the treatment of such cognitive disorders grew out of the research carried out by French educator Allan Kardec (1804-1869).  He quotes Kardec:  “Obsession one day will be recognized as a cause of mental disorders, just as is accepted today the pathologic action of microscopic living creatures whose existence nobody even suspected, before the invention of the light microscope.”

Kardec cautioned against confusing pathological madness with obsession, pointing out that the latter is not a result of brain damage but “derives from the subjugation that malevolent spirits exert over certain individuals even though the obsession often has the appearance of madness itself.”

Joan Koss-Chioino, Ph.D. is identified in the book as a professor emerita in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and also visiting professor of psychiatry and neurology at Tulane Medical Center.  She states that recent neuroscience research is determining why some persons are vulnerable to being overwhelmed by spirit intrusion or autonomous complexes in the way (pioneering psychiatrist Carl) Jung proposed.”  She adds that “Jung recognized the meaning and relevance of widespread experiences of spirits framed by a theory that accounts for the sharing of psychological processes – between those who are ‘normal’ and able to exert control over the disruptive effects of either spirit visitations or autonomous complexes, and those who cannot.”

Andrew Powell, a British psychiatrist, tells of a patient called Pat, who had suffered from depression for many years, apparently because her mother often mocked and belittled her.  Things did not improve after her mother died, as she could feel her mother’s presence all around her.  She felt that her mother was possessing her and she became suicidal.  In soul-centered therapy session, the mother communicated and explained that she had become pregnant at age 17, thereby ending her hopes and dreams, and that her daughter thus became the life-long target of her resentment.  After Powell convinced the mother to “walk towards the light,” Pat appeared to be at peace.

Doctors Roberto Lucio Viera de Souza and Jaider Rodrigues e Paulo tell of a patient named “Ernesto” who suffered from thoughts of murders and destruction, as well as self-destruction and other negative acts. He underwent 12 electroconvulsive therapy sessions with little progress.  After clairvoyants detected that he was dominated by a group of “spiritual villains,” he received magnetic therapy (chakra cleansing and energy transmission).  “Response to this therapy was clearly positive and fast,” the doctors reported. 

In the Foreword of Bragdon’s book, James Lake, M.D., a California psychiatrist, states that “the Spiritist movement in Brazil is a truly integrative model of mental health care that addresses the core issues of mental illness taking into account patients’ medical, social, cultural, and spiritual needs.”

“A new breed of therapist is healing the mentally ill not with talk and drug therapy, but by releasing troublesome or malevolent spirits who have attached themselves to their victims,” says Dr. Stafford Betty,  (below) professor of religious studies at California State University at Bakersfield.  “I am not talking about religious healers like Francis McNutt, but secular healers, some of them licensed psychiatrists or psychologists, who have discovered, often by accident, that this new therapy works better than what they learned in medical or graduate school.  They tell us that too often drug therapy only masks symptoms, and talk therapy reaches only as deep as the patient’s conscious mind can go.  But ‘spirit release’ usually heals, often permanently.  Not only does it heal the client; it heals the attached (or ‘possessing’) spirit.” 


In an article for the Journal of Religion and Health (“The Growing Evidence for ‘Demonic Possession’: What Should Psychiatry’s Response be?), Betty notes that M. Scott Peck, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and author of the best-seller, The Road Less Traveled, startled the psychiatric community in 1983 by describing his participation in two exorcisms, while stating that the mental state of the two patients was dramatically improved.  “Before the voices were in control of me, now I’m in control of the voices,” one of the patients was quoted by Peck. 

Betty’s research suggests that genuine cases of possession are rare, perhaps applying to extreme cases like Charles Manson, and that most people are merely “oppressed” by the earthbound spirits, although using Ireland-Frey’s terminology they might be “obsessed.”

Since it is “unscientific” to even acknowledge the existence of a spirit world, it doesn’t seem likely that mainstream American mental health practitioners, mired in a materialistic paradigm, will ever accept the idea that mental illnesses originate anywhere but in the brain.    Nevertheless, Professor Betty says he has seen some progress in the psychiatric community, although usually not publicly.  He adds that his 2005 article, which is posted on has received over 14,000 views and over 550 downloads.  So there is a little hope that American mental health experts will eventually see the light.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.

Next blog post: May 21

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Spirits and Crime by Carl Wickland – Habits, desires and inclinations are rooted in the mind and remain with the individual after he is freed from his physical body, until they are eliminated by the will. The spirits of many criminals, murderers, those who were executed or are seeking for revenge, remain indefinitely in the earth sphere and often endeavor to continue their former activities and to carry out their evil designs through controlling the bodies of mortals who are sensitive to their influence. Read here
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