Spiritual possessionSpiritual possession
or demonic possession
refers to the supposed ability of some spirits
or demons to take control of a human body
, resulting in noticeable changes in behaviour
. Some would say that modern science
can explain such unusual behaviour in terms of an altered mental state, possibly due to serious mental illness
use, and that spirits are a superstition
; however, many religions
and cultures believe in various forms of spirits and their powers of possession.
Possession may be deemed malignant or beneficial, much depending on the cultural context and the religion of the person possessed. In western society, possession is often believed to be the work of the Devil or his demons. On Haiti, and other places where the voodoo faith is strong, people will willingly offer their bodies as vehicles (horses) for the Loa to ride.
Many believe that possession can be ended by a ritual of exorcism, usually
administered by a priest.