Saturday, 10 May 2014

Don't Cry "Demon".... UPDATED!

Important Update at the end of the post. Also be sure to read Pete's post in the comments section. 

Here's some video footage that you are probably going to come across quite a lot in coming days, if you visit paranormal pages on social media. I warn you before you watch it that it is quite upsetting.

Now this assault that occurred on Thursday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,  is being circulated as an example of demonic possession, obviously I have a problem with this. There are simply too many possible rational explanations for this footage to immediately assume "possession"  as the woman recording this clearly does initially. Its interesting to note that even the lady who immediately says "she's probably possessed...", changes her stance to "she's on drugs..." as soon  as the authorities arrive. There isn't anything in the video that a person not under the influence of demons COULDN'T do. There's no head spinning, supernatural strength, levitation. The violent outburst itself seems clumsy and some what in-effective. The punch she throws is hugely telegraphed, delivered with a bent wrist and completely misses the victim's face! If this is a demon, its a demon who has never thrown a punch before.

Now a lot of people are calling hoax on this, I can understand why. The movements seem very rehearsed and, as mentioned above, the violence clearly hasn't been thought through. If it is a hoax the victim certainly isn't in on it. His reaction is far more violent, he doesn't seem afraid of this lady at all after his initial shock, and seems to aim to do her some real harm, not playing the part that would of be intended for him. Our "possessed" lady seems a little shocked by the retaliation and certainly isn't prepared for it. Maybe she has done this kind of thing before and never had someone fight back? Maybe she actually doesn't remember the attack itself? I suspect the former is true.

The question leading to the accusations of "hoax" is this: What were complete strangers doing filming this lady in the first place? Well the answer is quite simple. She was behaving strangely from the moment she boarded the train, and in these vapid and thoughtless times we live in, some people's reaction to this is no longer the urge to help, or the urge to move away. Its the urge to film something that could well go viral and earn the shooter five minutes of adulation from their equally thoughtless and dim witted peers.

A quick internet search uncovered additional footage that seems to back this up.

Here we can see her clearly disturbed, making jerking movements and clawing at what appears to be a crucifix around her neck.  Now this may further add cause to cry "demon" to some. But there are mental illnesses that in some, especially the particularly religious, can manifest as an aversion to religious iconography. There may be a very logical reason that this lady is displaying many of the traits we associate with possession. Whatever affliction she has is causing her to believe she is possessed and she is acting out the same cues that we have all been exposed to by horror films and the media in general.

We can see this acting out in virtually every "exorcism" we've ever seen whether they are presented as fact or fiction. The growling voice, the hissing, the sudden jerking movement, the fear of religious objects, the clawed fingers, this footage means all of the criteria that we have been conditioned to expect by our cultural heritage. Except the things that would be impossible or at least very difficult  to achieve, the talking in Latin, the supernatural strength, the impossible body contortions and the levitation are all conspicuous by their absence. As they always are in "real-life" footage of possession, despite still being a factor in unfilmed real life accounts from demonologists, priests, pastors and exorcists.

I am sure we will be hearing and seeing this footage a lot in days to come, I hope during the sensationalism of this, we can all stop to remember this is a lady, clearly suffering in one way or another, who is very lucky that she didn't seriously hurt herself or some else. Let's thank the emergency services for their quick involvement and hope she gets the help she clearly needs.

After reading Pete's comment below I decided to take a look at some of the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy and frontal lobe epilepsy. Taken from
 I've added my comments in italics. Obviously some of these symptoms would only be known to the sufferer at the time. 

  • Flushing, sweating, going very pale, having a churning feeling in your stomach
  • Seeing things as smaller or bigger than they really are
  • Seeing or hearing something that is not actually happening
  • Smelling non-existent smells
  • Tasting non-existent tastes
  • Feeling frightened, panicky, sad or happy - in the earliest video she certainly seems very panicked and afraid. 
  • Feeling detached from what is going on around you- this is definitely evident.  
  • Feeling sick
  • Having vivid memory ‘flashbacks’
  • Having an intense feeling of ‘deja vu’, when you are convinced you have experienced something before – even when you haven’t
  • Being unable to recognise things that are very familiar to you - sometimes referred to as ‘jamais vu’
  • Chewing, smacking your lips, swallowing or scratching your head - the lady certainly rubs her head and chews and smacks her lips at several points during both videos.  
  • Fumbling with your buttons or removing items of your clothing
  • Wandering off, without any awareness of what you are doing, or where you are going - she certainly does this immediately after the assault. She also seems confused as to why she is being confronted.
Of course none of this is conclusive, but it certainly appears to a probable explanation.

Thanks Pete. I'll add any more information as I come by it. You can read more about TLE here, the resource includes two videos of case studies in which patients display some commonalities with the lady in our train attack video.  Worth noting that this disorder can manifest differently in different individuals.

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