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Martha Brosier's Exorcism: The First Exorcism with a scientific approach

Added Fri, 04/03/2022
Дата публикации
Fri, 04/03/2022

Marthe Brosier was a celebrity in France in the 1590s. She was a woman possessed by demons, and her family took a "performance" with them on tour. They traveled from city to city, demonstrating the satanic essence that dwelt in the soul of their child, and all this in front of the crowd.

It was an exciting show. Brosier's eyes rolled back into his head, leaving behind only an empty white space. Her tongue, red as blood, stuck out like a snake's, and she convulsed on the ground as a deep, demonic voice burst out of her stomach.

This attracted such attention that King Henri IV himself ordered an exorcism to be performed on her. He made several of the highest-ranking priests of the country gather around her, sprinkle her with holy water and read the Holy Scriptures in Latin, while the demon in Brosier, tormented by the Holy Scriptures, screamed in agony and pain.

But what Brosier didn't know was that her exorcism was a fiction. Holy water was ordinary water, and the Latin books that the priests read were nothing more than an old poem by Virgil.

Her exorcism was a scientific experiment- for the first time in history, demonic possession was systematically tested. Brosier failed-and in the process discovered some incredible things about the human mind.

Martha Brosier was 20 years old when the demons "possessed" her. She was already considered a bit of a strange bird - a woman who secretly left the house disguised as a man, and, apparently, did not want to get married at all. It seemed self-evident to the residents of her small town when a demonic voice began to break out of her.

Her neighbor Anna Chevreau was accused of witchcraft. She was an unmarried middle-aged woman-by the standards of the time, this was the trademark profile of a witch-and whatever complaints Brosier made against her, they were convincing enough to have Chevreau thrown in jail.

But the Brosier family did not hide their demonic child. They took her with them on the road, traveling from city to city, showing her and letting everyone see the evil spirit that possessed their girl.

For the Catholic Church, the demons in Brosier's body were a godsend. King Henry IV of France conducted a campaign of tolerance towards the Huguenots, local Protestants. For the Catholic Church, their growth was a threat - and in Brosier they had proof that Protestants were in league with the devil.

The voice that spoke through her stomach, even when her mouth was closed, called itself Beelzebub, and he called himself the "prince of the Huguenots."

Before the demon possessed a woman named Nicole Aubrey. The church took her all over the world so that the world would hear her utter blasphemies against God on behalf of the Huguenots. But the spirit from Aubrey was publicly exorcised, and the beloved demon of the church was lost. Therefore, the demon Brosier seemed like a godsend. The Church again had someone who could denounce Protestants on behalf of a demon.

The priest gave her an official certificate of genuine possession, and the church joined their tours. In front of the shocked crowd, they publicly exorcised the demon - only for Beelzebub to climb back into her body to the delight of another crowd.

Michel Marescot, King Henry IV's personal physician, was tasked with exposing her. By order of the king, Martha Brosier was brought to the Abbey of Saint-Genevieve to be exorcised by the Bishop of Paris himself under the supervision of Maresco.

Almost immediately after Brosier knelt in front of the bishop to pray, the demon possessed her. She fell on her back, convulsed and breathed like a wild animal. Her eyes retracted back, her tongue stuck out, and a dark, gravelly voice from her stomach shouted vulgar, unprintable words.

The priests put a piece of wood in her mouth to prevent her from swallowing her own tongue, then gathered around her, holding a piece of the true cross of Jesus Christ in their hands and reading the Holy Scriptures to exorcise the demon. When she saw the true cross, she began to writhe in pain on the floor, and a dark voice inside her shouted blasphemies and death threats.

One Marescot was not impressed. He wrote a short, simple note:

"Nothing from the devil; a lot of fake; and a few things from the disease."

Marescot said that he had replaced the priests' instruments. The piece of true cross they used, he explained, was nothing more than an ordinary piece of wood. The real true cross was in her mouth, it was used as a compressor for the tongue - and she did not react to it in any way.

The priests were still not convinced. They saw Brosier doing something that no human being should do. It wasn't just the strange voice that came from inside her body: lying on her back, she jumped into the air and flew back farther than most men can jump standing up.

To deny what he saw, one of the priests warned Marescot, was blasphemy. The devil may well take him with him.

Marescot was not impressed. "I will take this danger and risk on myself," he shot back. "Let him carry me away if he can."

It was the Archbishop of Lyon, Charles Miron, who found a way to prove the correctness of Marescot. One replacement of a part of the true cross was not enough to convince his fellow priests, so Bishop Myron went further. He changed everything.

For several days, the priests did not allow Brosier to drink anything but holy water, without informing her that the water she drank was blessed by the priest. Then they filled a vessel with holy water with ordinary water and sprinkled it, saying that it was sacred.

Brosier was trapped. She didn't react to the holy water in any way for almost a week, but screamed in agony when ordinary water got on her face.

Every part of Myron's scheme worked. When he picked up a piece of iron and pretended that it was a piece of the real cross of Jesus Christ, Brosier convulsed. When he read Virgil's Aeneid to her in Latin, pretending it was the Bible, she threw herself on the floor.

Martha Brosier was a fraud.

For the first time in history, demonic possession has been exposed through a controlled experiment.

At that time, this story seemed simple to people. The woman had lied about the demon, and there was nothing more to it than a simple scam.

However, there are hints that something more than a simple lie could have taken place here. And Anne Chevreau, the woman Brosier accused of witchcraft, definitely thought so. The Brosier she knew, she said when she got out of prison, was not a fraud. She was just dangerously mentally ill.

It's hard to say for sure if Chevreau was right-but Brosier definitely never admitted that she was pretending. Even after she was exposed, she continued to claim that she was possessed, long after someone paid attention to her.

If she wasn't pretending, it opens up some strange possibilities of the human mind.

Martha Brosier was capable of seemingly supernatural things. She could perform ventriloquism tricks, she could be pricked without feeling pain, and she could jump huge distances while lying on her back. She performed incredible feats-and if she didn't think she was lying, then these actions probably weren't rehearsed.

Perhaps, in some sense, Brosier was really possessed. But perhaps she was possessed by a demon of another kind: a demon of her own mind.

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