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Exorcisms & Religion in Madagascar

Professional paranormal investigator and feature columnist for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, Joe Nickell, provided his skeptic's take on the paranormal. Nickell has investigated many so-called ghost sightings and experiences, and often is able to explain the anomalies in scientific terms. "What I'm trying to do with my work with ghosts [or bigfoot]... is to actually go and actually investigate... and provide the simplest and best scientific explanation for it," he said.

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Exorcisms & Religion in Madagascar

Show Archive
Date: Monday - July 15, 2013
Host: George Noory
Guests: Robert Bennett, Whitley Strieber

Dedicated to studying how various cultures view Christianity and various forms of spirituality Dr. Robert Bennett discussed his study of demon possession, exorcism, and spiritual warfare in Madagascar, as well as his research into Haitian voodoo. Traveling to Madagascar, an island country off the southeastern coast of Africa, he conducted interviews about the incredible growth of Christianity there, as well as met many practitioners of the traditional religion, including witch doctors, mediums, and diviners. The indigenous people believe in "animism," a world view that natural physical entities are all imbued with a spiritual essence, and this realm of spirits can be manipulated for various goals.

Many of the locals who have converted to Christianity still interact with spirits and the supernatural, and exorcism is sometimes practiced on them to undo their possession, said Bennett, adding that mass exorcisms and exorcisms of locations also take place. The Christian church there views these animistic spirits as demons, and deceptions of the devil cloaked in different masks. Madagascar is known for its practice of "reburial," where every three years the dead are exhumed from immaculate tombs, and the ancestor spirits are celebrated, then returned to the tomb. Those who have converted to Christianity have been moving away from this practice, he noted.

Bennett described one exorcism he dealt with-- a family that had dealt with "ghost children" in their home for over 30 years. By conducting an exorcism of the place, saying "be gone in the name of Jesus," the spirits have stayed away for over three years now, he reported. "We all view things with a different lens or world view. If I believe in ghosts and spirits, and crossing over, and things like that, it's going to be impossible for me to believe the biblical picture of things, because the two just don't fit together," he remarked. Bennett also traveled to Haiti and studied Voodoo there, which he described as mixing traditional African religion with re-interpretations of Christian elements.

Whitley Update

First hour guest, author Whitley Strieber commented on NBA player Baron Davis' alleged alien abduction-- first, Davis announced on a podcast that he was abducted by ugly half-human looking aliens but later denied it on Twitter, leaving people uncertain. Strieber talked about a wave of UFO sightings that took place around July 4th that did not appear to be either fireworks or sky lanterns. He also spoke about his wife Anne's battle with cancer, and his encounters with ghosts.

News segment guest: Christian Wilde

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Monday July 15, 2013