Waterboarding Spirits

During the previous run of the show  I gave a fair amount of coverage to the increasing number of exorcisms finding their way into the news. While the Vatican seemed to be devoting some real resources to it, I also looked at the secular concept of spirit release promoted by a small faction of the psychiatric community.

A recent story from Japan, points to a sect of Buddhism, Nakayamashingoshoshu, also interested in purging evil. In this case via bastardization of the “waterfall rite” known as takigyo. The victim, Tomomi Maishigi, a thirteen year old girl had a history of health concerns, both mental and physical, that doctor’s were not able to bring under control. Her father enlisted the help of Kazuaki Kinoshita, a monk. Kinoshita determined the Tomomi was possessed by evil spirits.

She was belted into a chair where water was dropped on her face from a pump 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) above her. This was an established apparatus at the temple where she was “treated,” indicating she likely wasn’t the first to undergo such a thing.  She was subjected to this over 100 times, before it killed her. She died of suffocation after losing consciousness in the chair.

A spokesperson for Nakayamashingoshoshu’s main temple indicated both the binding of the subject and use of the rite as a means of exorcism is not its intent. It is rather a means of helping one bring their wishes into reality. The participant is meant to endure the ritual standing and the water is not delivered to their face. Whether that is the case, or this exposed a process they would have preferred to keep secret, a 13-year-old girl is dead because she was believed possessed.

Here’s a video of a more traditional application of the rite. It’s easy to see how this could go sideways under the influence of someone with bad ideas.


Spookatorium 023

Episode 23 has arrived… tin foil hats are optional but fashionable. This time we take a peek at the life of Thomas Dyott. Dyott amassed a sizable fortune selling patent medicines under such tantalizing names as Roberton’s Infallible Worm Destroying Lozenges & Vegetable Nervous Cordial. The fortune was sizable enough to enable him to build a “utopian” village, called Dyottville (what else?) that conveniently allowed him to skirt labor laws to perpetuate his business.

From there we peek behind the curtain of opportunist psychiatry and look at the phenomenon of Spirit Release, the process of psychiatric exorcism. In fairness to the recent stories I’ve done on the exorcism/possession upswing (here’s another one), I thought we’d look at some charlatans of a different color. As well as a brief overview we look at the case of Askinra, a spirit that reportedly tormented a man who was possessed by the spirit when he was murdered in a past life.

Finally we look at the Mormon theory that Bigfoot is actually the earthly incarnation of the biblical Cain. It is accepted among some within the church that Bigfoot is in fact the doomed Cain milling about the earth as penance for the murder of his brother forever wracked with misery and virtually immortal.

Music this time supplied by…

BELBORN (20:48)
IMPETIGO (28:50)
GOLIAH (44:16)

With background accompaniment from

Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium 023

That’s it until next time…

Prof. Gruntsplatter

They Came For the Mayor

Ken Williams (aka Don LaRose) was the mayor of Centerton, Arkansas for 6 years until this March 5th when he resigned. His reason for resigning – 30 years ago he believes he was abducted and brainwashed by Satanists. He claims he was not aware of his tormented past until he recently was injected with a “truth serum.”

This “truth serum”, which is unnamed in the article, caused these memories to come rushing back, and he realized he had a wife and two kids in his previous life as Don LaRose. Williams said he left his wife and kids to protect them from the Satanists and changed his name and started a new life.

The ReligionNews Blog details the story further, their take is slightly different and fills in some of the back story. LaRose became Pastor of a Hessville Baptist church in 1978. At some point he told his parishioners that he was abducted by a cult in in Maine, New York back in 1975 for “blaspheming Satan”. He says they gave him multiple shock treatments to erase his memory and took him from Maine to Minneapolis and dumped him off. In 1980 he began acting strangely and telling people the Satanists were after him again for criticizing cults. He claims to have seen one of the Satanists through the window of the church while delivering a sermon, no one present at the sermon saw anyone suspicious. The next day LaRose did a runner and disappeared.

He floated around for a few years before settling in Arkansas, and ultimately wound up a multi-term mayor in Centerton under his new identity, an identity he stole from a man who died in 1958.

LaRose/Williams now claims, at least to some media, it was an underworld crime organization rather than a Satanic cult that was or is after him. He is quoted here as saying that he lived in fear of being found out ever since, and now that he’s been outed feels he may be in danger again. This suggests he didn’t need the “truth serum” to recall any of this and his Grandson isn’t buying the tale at all.

Here’s a peek at “Satanic Panic: The Creation Of A Contemporary Legend” on GoogleBooks if you are unaware of the of the Satanic Panic movement. A more concise summary can be seen here courtesy of the Skeptics Dictionary. The media space this idea consumed in the 80’s really was absurd. Geraldo Rivera pretty much built a career off of it as well as numerous moth like pop-psychologists drawn to the fictional satanic flame. There was never any evidence uncovered that organized and violent Satanic Cults existed.

Devil May Care

Here are some additional pieces to follow up on the stories in the last podcast regarding possession and exorcism.

The latest exorcism death comes to us from Texas where a 60 year old man killed his 59 year old wife. His claim is that he was attempting to perform an exorcism when the devil entered HIS body and the devil killed her. He told the police he was pinning her face down on the carpet when she died. When the police arrived he’d wrapped the body in the a sheet and placed a cross and a sword on the body. I haven’t seen any reports on the autopsy yet in regards to what actually killed her, suffocation sounds like a real possibility. Hubby was charged with murder. I believe this was the 4th exorcism death I have seen a report on in the last month.

The other part of the story from the show was in regard to the Catholic Church and their renewed focus on exorcism and satanic fear mongering. This story from the BBC struck my curiosity… during the reign of Pope John Paul II enrollment in the religious orders fell 25%, and just between 2005 and 2006 it dropped an additional 10%. So, the ranks and influence of the Church and its full time adherents seems to be hemorrhaging and has been for sometime. It could be suggested that the Vatican may be trying to spice up the prospect of a life within the Church. In this day and age with the knowledge we have of science, the evolution of myth and archetypes, with the politicization of religion and zealotry on the upswing in some circles the Catholic Church doesn’t have the presence it once had. They are seeking the resurrection of the bogeyman.

Additionally, the Washington Post picked up the story on the possession treatment center in Poland we covered in the last show. Here’s their piece on that one. There is a bit more detail in this one than the originally translated Polish article I mentioned, and it offers a bit of a larger picture.

Rev. Amorth, who is considered the “Exorcist In Chief” for the Vatican says, “People don’t pray anymore, they don’t go to church, they don’t go to confession. The devil has an easy time of it,” Amorth said in an interview. “There’s a lot more devil worship, people interested in satanic things and seances, and less in Jesus.”

According to Rev. Jankowski, one of the folks working at the center those at risk include “include people who turn away from the church and embrace New Age therapies, alternative religions or the occult. Internet addicts and yoga devotees are also at risk.”

Yoga is potentially Satanic, but raping children isn’t on their list for some reason. However a woman who was seeking a divorce and began to hate her husband is most likely possessed as the story linked indicates.

They are resurrecting the bogeyman to validate themselves. This message is filtering down to those who… don’t have a real good sense of discretion, and as I said this is the 4th exorcism death I have seen in a month.

– Prof. Gruntsplatter

Spookatorium 020

Greetings once again, episode 20 is now up for your consumption. It is nice to reach the 20 show landmark.

This time we take a look at a rise in reports of possession, exorcisms and the mark of the beast in the news, and some things the Catholic church are doing to that end, including a treatment center for demonic possession being built in Poland.

Next up we take a look at the legacy of John “Goat Gland” Brinkley. Brinkley was a medical huckster that made a fortune off the idea that goat testicles were an excellent cure for virility issues. He became a multi-millionaire during the Great Depression peddling this idea, and even made a couple failed attempts at the Governorship of Kansas.

Finally, we look at George Daynor’s Palace of Depression in New Jersey. It’s tale of determination built from scraps in a swampy auto graveyard that became a monument to perseverance and hard work during the Great Depression. Its eccentric creator however ended up in a paupers grave, the victim of his own ambition and promotional vision.

The sounds this time around are supplied by…

BIG BLACK (1:05)
16 VOLT (45:25)
BLACK FLAG (58:33)
NEUROSIS (68:06)

With background accompaniment from

Thanks again as always for tuning in, if you have anything to say or any good stories to share feel free to leave a comment or send over an email.

Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium 020

– Prof. Gruntsplatter