Demonic Possession / Open Lines

Hosted byRichard Syrett

Demonic Possession / Open Lines

About the show

Is evil a metaphor for the bad things people do or does it prowl the earth like a living, breathing entity that possesses the souls of vulnerable humans? Author Ron Felber joined Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss that topic, as presented in what some are calling the most frightening book about demonic possession since "The Exorcist"- his new novel "The Unwelcomed." Felber spoke about his research into demons and possession, and how his understanding of the phenomenon changed him; as well as how he came across the case of Clara Fowler, which inspired the book, directly from The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty. As Felber explained it, he first became associated with Blatty in the 1970s, while still a student and aspiring novelist. After striking up a friendship, he visited with Blatty in California, where Blatty told him about the case of Clara Fowler. While The Exorcist is based mostly on the accounts of an American boy given the pseudonym Roland Doe, who began experiencing symptoms of demonic possession after receiving a Ouija board from a spiritualist aunt, that wasn’t the only case Blatty researched. The turn-of-the-century Fowler case was another incident he stumbled upon during his research, and it was that case which would eventually inspire Felber’s new book. Felber explained that Blatty had tried to write about the Fowler case, “as a documentary… and found that it was dry and too much like a medical case history and a textbook. So, he decided to take the general concept of demonic possession and exorcism and novelize it.”

The Fowler case came to light after American psychiatrist Dr. Morton Prince, who Felber described as “the father of abnormal psychology” was contacted by general physician Jackson Putnam, who wrote to Prince that if he were living in a different time he would attribute the case to demonic possession, while acknowledging that it was outside his area of expertise. The symptoms, which Prince and his team would eventually observe themselves, included changes in her looks, voice, and temperament. “The symptoms were incredible,” Felber noted. “Her face would remold into a different face. Her voice would change into this terrifying voice… in different languages.” And, she would react violently to religious objects. While Prince was looking for some diagnoses to explain these behaviors – such as schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, or something like a chemical imbalance or a brain lesion – other members of his team, according to Felber, were more open to more esoteric explanations. Those explanations began to gain plausibility for some of the team, Felber explained, when they considered the fact that Fowler had lost two young siblings under tragic and suspicious circumstances. There were also long allegations of Satanic cult activities in the region, some of which were later confirmed, Felber said. Whether abuse led to dissociation in Fowler, or her father’s alleged cult practices opened her up to demonic possession, however, remains the central question of the case.


In the second half, callers on the open lines shared their own stories and theories related to the Fowler story and demonic possession, as well as multiple UFO encounters and more. A pair of callers also shared their strange experiences since the Fermilab particle accelerator near Chicago went online. The first caller to mention Fermilab, Sean, noted that after an experiment in particle collision “two or three years ago” that he said, “detected a brand new form of matter,” which was then, “swept under the rug,” he began noticing strange occurrences around his home. “Ever since they did this experiment, I swear, it’s been like a hole has been ripped open or something. I’m only 80 miles or so from the lab and I’m talking about spirits, the lights forming into ethereal beings, and it just gets more and more intense as the time goes by.” Sean also mentioned UFO activity and entities that could be seen by anyone with the naked eye.

The second caller to discuss the Fermilab installation, Chris from Milwaukee, said he was calling, “just to back up Sean, and say there’s been some weird stuff going on in the sort of general tri-state area” which he attributes to the activity there. That included increased UFO activity, and what he believes is interdimensional travel. “It’s Fermilab,” Chris said. “Honestly, I don’t know if it’s opened a portal, or it’s more sent out a signal… (that) put us on (the) radar” of the UFO pilots, whoever they are.

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