Dissecting Dragons

Episode 296: A Young Priest and An Old Priest - Exorcism in Fact and Fiction

October 15, 2021

Continuing on the Spook-tober theme, this week the dragons take a look at a classic trope in gothic and horror fiction: possession. Made more popular in the genre by films like The Exorcist, possession is an unsavoury subject, combining body horror with psychological terror. But where does the idea originate? What part does the human understanding of 'souls' or religion play? And what about the alleged 'true story' status some speculative fiction featuring possession is based on - is there any truth to the claim? Jules and Madeleine take a deep dive into the origins of the trope, citing several 'real life cases' and drawing parallels with popular fiction. On the slab this week: the Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series and many more.

CW: Some of this discussion centres on familiar and religious abuse, as well as mental health issues. 


Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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