The Telegraph conducted an extensive interview with Dr. Richard Gallagher, a Princeton-and-Yale educated mainstream psychiatrist with 25 years of experience who is one of the world’s most sought after psychiatrist for discernment of possible demonic possession.
Gallagher, who lives in Westchester County, NY, has written a forthcoming book on the subject entitled Demonic Foes, A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession in the Modern United States. Although he's not the only psychiatrist who gets involved in this kind of work, he’s one of the few who is willing to speak out.
“I feel an obligation to speak out. I think that I should,” he told the Telegraph, adding that, “There is very strict criteria for determining the person’s problem. I am not just intuiting. I’m dealing with it from a very scientific point of view.”
Because 70 to 75 percent of Americans believe in the existence of the devil and that it’s possible for demons to possess people, he doesn’t feel as if he’s “out of the mainstream.”
With a primary focus on individual psychotherapy and psycho pharmacology, Gallagher is a practicing Catholic who became interested in this earlier in his medical career when two prominent exorcists, one of whom founded the International Association of Exorcists, referred cases to him that were so dramatic he had to conclude that possession was real.
One of those cases involved a woman named “Julia” who was a direct worshipper of Satan and a self-described high priestess of a cult. She had acquired paranormal abilities since joining the cult and was very proud of them, all of which she attributed to Satan.
“I worship Satan," she told him. "I don’t know about this God thing. There’s a lot of crap in the world. I don’t see how people can believe in a good God. But Satan I know. He gives me favors.”
In a demonstration of her abilities, she arranged for Gallagher’s normally docile cats to viciously attack one another at 3 a.m. one morning in his bedroom. He and wife had to separate the cats to stop them. Later that day, he was introduced to Julia for the first time and “The first thing out of her mouth was ‘So Dr. Gallagher, how did you like the cats last night?’ I even have a letter from her to a priest that says ‘we raised a little hell in Dr Gallagher’s house last night’.”
That Julia was possessed was not in question. Typical of the possessed, she would go into a trance and speak in a demonic voice, cursing and mocking the priest during the exorcism.
One time, when Julia was thousands of miles away, Gallagher was having a conversation with one of the priests when the same demonic voice broke in on the line and said, “We told you, she’s ours, you leave her alone!” Dr Gallagher asked the priest on the call if he had heard the voice too, to which the priest replied: “Yes, it’s a dramatic case.”
They were ultimately unable to help Julia because she refused to leave the cult, even after being diagnosed with cancer and expressing a fear of dying while possessed. Eventually she stopped coming and they never heard from her again.
Typically, he has found that people who are possessed usually turned to evil in some way and were heavily involved in the occult, perhaps even a Satanist like Julie although this is less common.
He has treated about 100 patients who were possessed and attended several hundred exorcisms as an observer. He describes the experience of watching an exorcism to be “spooky and creepy.”
For example, during an exorcism of a non-Catholic woman who was only educated to the age of 14, the priest was reciting the prayers in Latin while the entity, who had a “nasty attacking personality,” followed along with quips in English.
When the priest said, “Credo in unum Deum (I believe in one God)" the victim/demon replied sarcastically: “Well I don’t.”
The priest went on to pray: “Tertio die resurrexit (he rose on the third day)" to which the victim/demon replied: “No he didn’t.”
Being “pretty devout,” he always has people pray for him when he attends an exorcism but says he’s not afraid because he believes he’s on the winning side.
"They’re very, very smart,” he said about the demons he has personally witnessed. “The intelligence level of a fallen angel, which is what I call them, is far superior to human beings. Which is why they denigrate human beings. They sometimes call us ‘monkeys’."
Although he could take the easy way out and not become involved in these cases, Dr. Gallagher says the possessed “suffer tremendously” and believes they should not be left to suffer just because of the skepticism of conventional medical opinion.
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