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.