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Observations placeholder

Sorgel becomes possessed



Type of Spiritual Experience


Of course in cases like the one here, it is all too easy for the perpetrator of a crime to plead multiple personality or possession as defence acting the second part when needed.  The man described, Sorgel, may just have had an extremely violent streak.  But the fact that he was epileptic and that the change coincided with the epileptic fits leads one to deduce that he was not acting but that the change was genuine

A description of the experience

Instances of Double States of Consciousness – Dr John Elliotson

Sorgel was a poor, innocent, industrious youth, subject first to violent epilepsy, and then to paroxysms of second consciousness, in which he had delusions and ungovernable criminal propensities, the whole of which he was ignorant of upon returning to his ordinary state of consciousness, though in his morbid state he remembered the occurrences of his natural state.  On September 7th, 1824, in a state of post epileptic consciousness, Sorgel murdered an old woodcutter in a forest, chopping off his head and both his feet with one of his own axes.  Returning from the forest, Sorgel told several people what he had done.  He said that he had drunk a felon’s blood, and that he was now quite well, as a felon’s blood was supposed to be a cure for the falling sickness.

The next day Sorgel was examined by the criminal court and repeated the same story; he was taken to see the body, and recognised it without the slightest air of embarrassment or remorse.  As an excuse for the murder, he repeatedly said that he killed the man in order to drink his blood and be cured by it.

This state of consciousness lasted a week.  He then returned spontaneously to his natural state.  On September 15th the judges found him quiet; his conversation was coherent; his appearance and manner totally changed.  He did not remember anything about the murder, but supposed he must have committed it, since every one told him he had.  Of the period between September 7th and 15th, he only knew that ‘his head was very confused, and that he dreamt all manner of nonsense’.  He was acquitted of the crime, as not being responsible for his action at the time, and died a few months later in a lunatic asylum

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps