Researching this issue's cover story (see "Possessed or Obsessed?" p. 46) gave assistant editor Agnieszka Tennant nightmares. Agnieszka traveled to Dallas to interview therapist Jerry Mungadze and several of his patients who had symptoms of dissociative identity disorder and who reported a history of satanic ritual abuse.

"Their grisly stories saddened me," says Agnieszka. "I empathize with people, which is not always the best thing for a reporter to do." The "dark trip" to Dallas gave her "bad dreams," which stopped only when she asked Jesus to take them from her.

Agnieszka's research also brought her into contact with America's most famous atheist (since Madalyn Murray O'Hair). In January, Agnieszka attended one of Bob Larson's Spiritual Freedom Conferences. ("See the supernatural as you've never seen it before!" boasts his Web site before promising, "It's like being in the midst of an invisible war with spiritual grenades exploding everywhere in the audience.") A man seated behind her was laughing crazily at Larson, and when she finally turned around to "give him a mean stare" and get him to be quiet, she found herself face-to-face with Rob Sherman, the atheist crusader who made his reputation by suing an Illinois village because it had a cross in its official seal.

As she and Sherman talked, she felt strange that she was agreeing with a famous atheist about Larson's manipulative techniques, and sad that it was an atheist, and not most of the Christians there, who saw through it all.

Sorting out misguided fervor from spiritual and psychological reality comes naturally to Agnieszka. She comes from a medical family (her mother is a pediatrician, her father is an internist, and her sister is doing research at the Mayo Clinic ...

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