Exorcism at the ghost fair [India]

Malajpur is a small but not ordinary village in central India. In fact it is probably the only village in India which has been hosting a ghost fair for the past several years. People from across the country come to this fair to get rid of ‘evil spirits’ that they claim to be possessed by.

As night falls on Paush Purnima (full moon night) the ‘possessed’ are taken to the local shrine to be exorcised. People who bring their relatives here feel the latter’s bodies have been ‘taken over by ghosts of the dead’ and that exorcism is the only release for them. Interestingly, most of those who come here to be exorcised are women. When I asked the priest the reason he said, “They are emotionally weak and hence easy target for spirits.”

On the first day when I went to the temple, it looked to me like any other temple complex. But suddenly from the middle of the crowd I heard a woman scream as she started running around the temple courtyard. According to priests the ghost inside people becomes weak the more they run around the courtyard in an anti-clockwise direction. For those who don’t run voluntarily (which is the case often) relatives or priests make them do so by pushing or kicking.

blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2013/02/05/exorcism-at-the-ghost-fair/

There is more at the link, including several photos

Only a ritual -surely you do not believe that all these people are possessed simulataneously

This may come as shock to some here, but I actually see some value in exorcisms. If people believe that they can be possessed and if they also believe that demons can be exorcised by some ritual, then people can likely benefit from an exorcising ritual. Of course all I’m describing is the placebo effect.

I know very little about possession by evil spirits or about the numbers of such spirits.

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