JW writes: “I once had a lady tell me that if my child has lyme disease that I needed someone to pray over her, that Lyme had something to do with evil. Is this true? What have you heard about Lyme disease?”
What the woman was probably referring to is a theory that Lyme disease is associated with witches due to the fact that many accused witches in Salem and elsewhere bore red marks and rashes that often resembled the bulls-eye rash of the tick that carries Lyme disease.
A book about this theory, entitled, Disguised as the Devil: How Lyme Disease Created Witches and Changed History, by Mary M. Drymon, asserts that many of the witches in Salem lived in “tick-risky” areas and often had a variety of rashes and red marks on their skin. They were also known to suffer with neurological and arthritic symptoms.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, better known as “deer ticks.” Known as the “Great Imitator” because it can imitate so many different diseases, it can affect any organ of the body, including the brain, nervous systems, muscles, joints, and even the heart. Infection usually begins with flu-like symptoms,fatigue, and severe headaches but can progress to more serious conditions ranging from heart ailments to cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal ailments and even depression and mood changes.
According to this article, Drymon writes that the bulls-eye rash associated with the bite of a tick carrying Lyme was called by several names in the past, including the “mark of the devil” or the “diablo stimata.”
She writes: “According to witchcraft theories that had been established in European thought after 1500, the devil sealed the compact he made when he created a witch by giving him or her some mark of identification on the skin.”
This idea was brought to America during the colonization period and accused witches were regularly searched for any evidence of these marks.
However, as Drymon writes, these marks were not just in the shape of the bulls-eye associated with Lyme. They were also in the form of what appeared to be bite marks and red streaks. This is why Drymon asserts that witches of old were actually infected with diseases, hence the theory that Lyme disease and other bacteria “created witches.”
Although I can’t be sure of what the woman was referring to when she suggested that a child stricken with Lyme needs to be prayed over, this is a likely explanation.
Needless to say, anyone afflicted with disease should be prayed over. Our Lord is the greatest healer who ever walked the earth and it is incumbent upon Christians everywhere to call upon Him for themselves and their loved ones when illness strikes.
Several of my dearest friends are afflicted with Lyme disease, which is as baffling as it is disabling. In addition to praying over those who are suffering from this condition, we should also pray that the Lord will enlighten the medical community to learn more about it so that a cure – or at least adequate treatments – can be found.