At least, I think it failed. If it actually was an exorcism and there actually was a demon possessing a girl. In stories like this facts do not take a back seat; they’re deliberately thrown out and left behind in the dust somewhere never to be recovered by the ones driving the fantastical tale in the first place.
A Polish priest claims he has been getting hate texts – from a demon.
Parish priest Father Marian Rajchel from Jaroslaw, a town in south-eastern Poland, said he started getting the texts after carrying out an exorcism on a teenage girl.
But he said that the attempt to drive out the devil from the girl’s soul clearly failed, and that it was now using the teenager to attack him by using mobile phone messages.
He told local media: “The author of these texts is an evil spirit who has possessed her soul.”
One text example is included: “She will not come out of this hell. She’s mine. Anyone who prays for her will die.”
Now, a rational person who received a text like this might take the device to the local police where they likely have some techie guru dude/dudette who could do some track back magic and find the phone number of the person sending that garbage. Text messages do not come from hell, typically. By the article, I think he’s implying the girl herself has something to do with it but in a “devil made me do it” kind of way rather than “I’m going to pretend I’m possessed” way, which is my suspicion. It would not be the first time someone tried that.
Possession can be childishly simple to fake. For example, an exorcism broadcast by ABC’s 20/20 in 1991 featured a sixteen-year-old girl who, her family claimed, was possessed by ten separate demonic entities. However, to skeptics her alleged possession seemed to be indistinguishable from poor acting. She even stole glances at the camera before affecting convulsions and other “demonic” behavior (Nickell 1998).
Back to the article:
He said that the devil and his followers were not shy about using modern technology but that in many cases their actions were not identified as being the work of evil.
He said: “Often the owners of mobile phones are not even aware that they are been used like this, however in this case it is clear.”
I’m now put in mind of a very fun book co-authored by two of my favourite writers, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman called Good Omens. I thank the book’s handy dandy Wikiquote page since it saves me hunting through my paper copy for good lines:
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.
He rather liked people. It was a major failing in a demon.
Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.
Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: “Learn, guys.”
The Daily Mail adds one more text quote for their coverage of the story.
He replied, and was then sent another message in return: ‘Shut up, preacher. You cannot save yourself. Idiot. You pathetic old preacher.’
He said: ‘Clearly this young girl has been possessed, and needs further help.’
I don’t think she’s really possessed, but I agree she needs help and probably not the kind this priest provides. She needs a psychologist or someone.
New Scientist interviewed a psychologist named Frank Tallis after he published a novel based on a person who thinks he’s possessed. Tallis mentions he’s had experience in his field with that.
You have to have an openness to it. Lots of people are open to all kinds of spiritual and magical beliefs. An individual could have a perfectly harmless interest in the supernatural but then something happens that triggers this delusion and they get stuck with it, reinforcing it by piling up one misinterpretation after another. If you go out looking for evidence, you will find it.
And people who make exorcism their business will find them demons everywhere…