Demonic possession has returned … as vaccine injuries

Screaming ghost faces

Everything old is new again and that applies to demonic possession. Only now some people call it “vaccine injuries.”

Demonic possession is believed by some to be the process by which individuals are possessed by malevolent preternatural beings, commonly referred to as demons or devils.

Historically it has been used to explain symptoms and illnesses that otherwise seemed inexplicable, particularly neurological and psychiatric symptoms like seizures and mental illness.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Not surprisingly, cures involve the modern analogue of exorcism: detoxing.[/pullquote]

In some Catholic doctrine demonic possession can take multiple different forms, including:

  • Possession, in which Satan or some demon(s) takes full possession of a person’s body without their knowledge or consent, so the victim is therefore morally blameless.
  • Obsession, which includes sudden attacks of irrationally obsessive thoughts, usually culminating in suicidal ideation, and typically influences dreams.

When we knew very little about the function of the brain, the idea that seizures — with their loss of awareness, involuntary movements and altered mental state in the aftermath — were caused by demons temporarily possessing an individual was quite compelling; the true cause, an electrical storm in the brain, was beyond comprehension.

When we knew very little about psychiatry, the idea that mania, depression and psychosis — profound alterations in behavior of beloved family members and friends — was the result of demons was a lot more believable than the concept of altered levels of neurotransmitters.

Even today, autism — the paradigmatic vaccine “injury” — is both frightening and apparently inexplicable. A previously health toddler, one who has begun to socialize and acquire language, regresses and develops profoundly disturbing behavior, including:

  • Repetitive movements, such as hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking.
  • Compulsive behaviors … such as placing objects in a specific order, checking things, or hand washing.
  • Resistance to change; for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved or refusing to be interrupted.
  • Ritualistic behavior: Unvarying pattern of daily activities, such as an unchanging menu or a dressing ritual…
  • Interests or fixations that are abnormal in theme or intensity of focus, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game.
  • Self-injury: Behaviors such as eye-poking, skin-picking, hand-biting and head-banging.

Demonic possession offers an comprehensible explanation, and, importantly, an explanation in which parents bear no responsibility for the bizarre symptoms. But in 2019 most people in industrialized countries recognize that claiming their child is possessed by demons would be considered bizarrely superstitious. So they’ve hit upon a new name for the same phenomenon: vaccine injury. It is a simple, easily understandable explanation that, importantly, places no responsibility for the bizarre symptoms on parents or their genes.

All vaccine “injuries” share common attributes. Anti-vaxxers never claim that a vaccines causes heart disease, gall bladder disease, bone abnormalities or any of the myriad diseases for which causes are already known. They always insist that vaccines cause autism, vague “damage to the immune system” or unspecified neurologic injury.

In “All manner of ills”: The features of serious diseases attributed to vaccination, authors Leask, et al. explain the common features:

Idiopathic nature (unknown cause):

Anti-vaccination writings tend to attribute causal connections between vaccination and diseases with idiopathic origin. Autism, asthma, multiple sclerosis, cancers, diabetes and Gulf War Syndrome have all baffled science and draw intense media interest when new claims about their origin arise. Their power comes from the suggestion that danger lurks in the familiar, with the sub-text that vaccines are modern day Trojan horses, promising prevention but disguising hidden threats.

Apparent rise in incidence:

Along with having idiopathic origin, diseases like autism and asthma appear to have increased in incidence in recent decades. Anti-vaccinationists allege this increase coincides with more vaccination…

Dreaded outcomes:

Many of the ills attributed to vaccination have lethal, insidious or dreaded consequences. SIDS, autoimmune disorders and developmental disability are a few examples. Such qualitative components of dreaded diseases reduce the acceptability of even minute risks…

Temporal relationship to vaccination:

Some of the diseases most often attributed to vaccines become apparent in early childhood when many vaccines are given. In such cases, parents understandably search for an agent of blame, scouring their memories for events shortly before the illness… For parents who may feel guilt, albeit unwarranted, about their child’s problem, vaccination is a graspable external cause…

Not surprisingly, since vaccine injuries are the modern analogue of demonic possession, cures involve modern analogues of exorcism.

Exorcism is the religious or spiritual practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person, or an area, that are believed to be possessed…

Attempts to “cure” autism and other purported vaccine injuries involve bizarre efforts at “detoxifying,” with special diets, supplements or medications.

According to the folks at Body Ecology:

How important is the Body Ecology Principle of Cleansing and detoxification for autism recovery? We believe it’s absolutely essential. Here’s why: children affected with autism often have a build-up of toxicity from exposure to chemicals, metals and environmental poisons, as well as internal bacterial and viral infections, like candida.

The webpage reads as if it were a Saturday Night Live sketch:

It’s liver cleansing season. Doug, can you tell us how important detoxification was to your family during Dougie’s recovery and if you have changed his diet or added detoxification techniques during this time of year to help him cleanse more?

A: Well, it was clear to me very early on that my son, Dougie was filled with poisons. Many parents have different stories. But our son’s health gradually declined as a result of countless ear infections, throat infections, colds, fevers — ­ you name it. At this point, of course, he was also regressing developmentally, but I didn’t link the two right away…

Doug, had he lives a few hundred years earlier, could just as easily ascribed Dougie’s difficulties to demons and embarked on a course of exorcism. Dougie probably would have been better served by being subjected to a useless exorcism, rather than detoxing.

It can get far worse. There are Facebook groups involving thousands of members who force their autistic children to ingest bleach either by drinking it or through enemas. The “theory” is that autism is caused by parasites and the bleach kills them. When children begin to shed their intestinal lining as a result of the “treatment,” the parents believe this is evidence of the parasites leaving their bodies. It’s a chemical exorcism.

Many of us marvel when we consider that people used to believe that demons caused illness. But just like the demon believers, people still seek explanations for behavior of loved ones that otherwise seems inexplicable. So demonic possession has made a comeback among anti-vaxxers; but now they call it vaccine injured.