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When nuns puked nails

Why are we so obsessed with tales of demonic possession and exorcism?

By Josephine Livingstone  

Why are we so obsessed with tales of possession and exorcism?

Like gout and marrying cousins, demonic possession and exorcism belong to that category of things that one thinks of as having been around forever. They are familiar, part of our everyday language: I’m facing my demons, he’s exorcising the past, she’s running around like a woman possessed. When something becomes a metaphor in this way, it begins to hide its strangeness from us. Brian Levack’s new history of demonic possession in the Christian West, The…

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