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Chapter 2

CRM 1301 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Demonic Possession, Ed And Lorraine Warren, Tituba

Course Code
CRM 1301
Carolyn Gordon

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17th January 2017
Chapter 2: Study notes for January 18th & 20th
The Demonic Perspective: otherworldly Interpretations of Deviance
Case of the Brookfield demons: Arne Johnson’s trial for Alan Bono’s murder
Set in Connecticut, February 1980, a man named Arne Johnson stabbed and killed
his drunk friend who disrespected his sisters and girlfriend. His trial was bizarre as
his attorney argued that a demonic spirit possessed Arne.
Ed and Lorraine Warren, psychic researches, who claimed to witness episodes of
Arne being possessed before, were prepared to testify in his favor.
The case is extraordinary as it occurred far from the time where demonic possession
was viewed as a plausible explanation for deviant behavior.
What does it mean to have a secularized view of the world as opposed to
“supernatural” or demonic?
Per sociologist Peter Berger,
Secularization: “the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from
domination of religious institutions and symbols… put simply this means the modern
West has produced an increasing number of individuals who look upon the world and
their lives without the benefit of religious interpretation.”
Theoretical image
Demonic perspectives is the oldest of all known perspectives of deviance.
Deviant behavior was believed believed to come about in two ways:
1. Temptation (is to active) 2. Possession (is to passive)
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Outbreak in Massachusetts 1692
In Salem: Distinctions made b/w girls who were possessed/ “taken over” by Satan
and accused witches who were named to be a medium and had been seduced by
the Satan.
Girls were given spiritual assistance and the witches were burned.
It was believed that deviant acts had cosmic consequences: deviant acts believed to
harm more than one individual or victim
1. Harmful to victims
2. Harmful to God
3. Whole order of nature itself.
This sense of cosmic consequences can be seen in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Peace
and order not restored until guilty pay the price. Delivered mostly by theatrical imagery.
Identifying demonic deviance
Identification of demonic deviance in the Kabre tribe of Northern Togo as described
by Anthropologist Raymond Verdier:
In the tribe, the justice of men reflects the justice of God.
How is this justice accomplished?
A form of public trial or a tribunal of ‘notable elders who hear evidence. When the
matters involved witchcraft, tribunal would consult diviners: Possess God-given
second sight. The opinion however I open to challenge. Diviner’s role= A lot like the
role of a psychiatrist in our contemporary criminal trial.
- If the accused rejects the diviner’s conclusion, they must go through an ordeal that
determines their innocence: One of the ordeal involved plunging the accused’s head
into blazing oil and if they survive, it is said bi li sa I “it got him out” the one fails: “bi
kpa I’ it took him.’
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