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Case #1
A smell—any smell—nauseates her. Her eyes squint at the 4 p.m. daylight. Amy turns off the radio, gulps a fistful of Ibuprofen, and swears softly. Her temples pulsate with thumps of debilitating pain for the second time this month.

Like many other evangelical women in the 21st century, Amy is suffering from:

a) a migraine headache
b) PMS
c) demon harassment
d) all of the above

Case #2


Bob catches a glance of porn actors disrobing as he surfs the hotel TV. At first he wants to change the channel, but something makes him linger. He indulges. Later he despises himself.

Like many other evangelical men, Bob wishes he could get rid of this:

a) psychosomatic addiction
b) sinful nature
c) demon of lust
d) all of the above

Case #3


When someone insults Nancy, she hears voices in her head telling her to kill the offender. She prays for this to go away, but to no avail. Nancy needs to:
a) cut back on coffee
b) get professional help for her dissociative identity disorder
c) see an exorcist
d) all of the above

More commonly than ever, evangelicals have been embracing options c) and d) as bona fide explanations in scenarios like these. One no longer needs to levitate to be diagnosed with demonic infestation. Stunning numbers of North American Christians believe demons may be at the root of apparently natural maladies or temptations. Between the cinematic release of The Exorcist three decades ago and its re-release last year, evangelicals like Amy, Bob, and Nancy have sought help from deliverance ministers, spiritual warfare counselors, or exorcists. Many of those who had their demons removed vow that liberation from the internal tormentors often resulted in shedding of bad habits, physical illnesses, and false idols.

Besides headaches, ...

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In the Magazine

September 3, 2001

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