Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 29, 1975)
Possession or invention?
Editor's note: This is the story of one woman who was willing to
talk about her "exorcism." She said she got the idea a spirit
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By Nancy Stohs
Karen is a 27-year-old', working Lincoln mother who
under strict Lutheran parents.
She is also divorced, has suffered a nervous breakdown and two
suicide attempts, has known a witch and clairvoyant, and believes
that three weeks ago she was exorcised of a bad spirit.
. v It wasn't your standard MGM exorcism, with flickering candles
and her head turning 360 degrees. It wasn't performed in a church.
The only religious figure present was an ex-nun who once knew a
But Karen believes it was real.
"It's hard to describe," she said. "When it happened, it was like
catching something in your throat and letting it fly out. I just felt
relieved. It was finally gone, and I knew it."
"Of course," she admitted, "I have a tendency to believe in a lot
of things other people maybe wouldn't."
If so, she appears to have good reason. She started teasing the
psychic world, she said, at age 15, when she and her boyfriend
experimented for kicks.
"We'd try to receive each other's thoughts or play with candles.
One time I felt him transmit his body to' where I was standing.
"That was in the '60s, before people started talking about it,
and at that point in my life it was scary, so I quit."
When she was 19, her father died.
"He's been ill, and I was prepared emotionally for his death,"
Karen said. "But then I started wondering whether he went to
heaven or hell. It really bothered me. I couldn't get it off my mind.
"Until one night when I was in bed, he visited me. It wasn't a
clear image, but I knew it was him. He told me not to worry, that
Two and a half years ago, Karen met her witch friend Georgia,
and that's where she believes her trouble began.
"She told me all about her family history, how her ancestors
had been burned at the stake," Karen said. "She was dead serious.
We started having sessions, lighting black candles and reading tarot
At this time Karen also was having problems and withdrew into
deep depression, she said. She's been divorced recently, her
boyfriend moved out on her, and she became "down on men in
One day after a small misunderstanding Georgia started "acting
funny," Kaien recalls. "She came at me in a fit of anger, screaming
and yelling and accusing me of stupid things like having sex with a
guy in front of my four-year-old daughter. I couldn't understand.
She was malicious."
"That was enough," Karen said. "I guess then I had a nervous
breakdown." Her theory is Georgia cast a spell on her and caused
The story after that is long and depressing, one of swallowing
pills to kill herself and spending time in the Lincoln Regional
I4 like a dream"
Karen talked freely - almost too freely - about it and the way
she withdrew so totally from reality:
"I think about these things, and know they happened, but yet
. . . It's like I was in a dream, knowing I was alive and yet ... I
remember walking down the street and not being aware of what
street it was, or of trees or cars or anything. I became obsessed
with death and dying."
This, with some of her comments, makes one wonder-herself
included where the psychological ends and the psychic begins.
Last year she enrolled at UNL to study mental illness and
psychology, but she said she's still convinced her problem wasn't
all in her mind.
"It was like a control," she kept repeating, something she
couldn't get rid of despite all the counseling help she was getting.
After her second suicide attempt, she agreed under family
pressure to committ herself to the Regional Center acute care
There she met a minister, she said, the first person to get
through to her and bring Yet around to reality.
Trie supposed exorcism three weeks ago was during a weekend
group therapy session she and her boyfriend were taking. It was
"By this time I was pretty cleared off in my head " she said.
"But I had this feeling inside of me of a struggle. . . My first desire
was to withdraw. It's like it was crawling into my body. My head
"The group leader told me to go with my feelings, to do
whatever I wanted to get it out. The whole process took about two
hours ... I started feeling I hated this thing and I said I hate
you," louder and louder . . . Then I was screaming and yelling, and
it was suddenly over."
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Wednesday, January 29, 1975
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