Turner, Edith - Witnesses an exorcism and healing
Type of Spiritual Experience
Probably a demon, but it may have been possession
A description of the experience
Source Paul Devereux from
Turner, E. (1994), “A Visible Spirit Form in Zambia”, in Being Changed, David E. Young and Jean-Guy Goulet (eds.). Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press.
A number of anthropologists have reported witnessing things when in the field with other societies that would be considered impossible psi phenomena in their home, western cultures. A particularly famous (or infamous) encounter with other worldview reality involved anthropologist Edith Turner, the widow of the eminent anthropologist Victor Turner and editor of the academic journal, Anthropology and Humanism. In 1985, she was invited by the Ndembu people of Zambia to participate in a healing ritual under the leadership of a tribal healer known as Singleton.
At the climax of the somewhat dramatic ritual, Singleton’s patient was healed – suddenly, with an entranced expression on her face, she raised her arm.
“I saw with my own eyes a giant thing emerging out of the flesh of her back,” Turner reported. “It was a large gray blob about six inches across, opaque and something between solid and smoke. The gray thing was actually out there, visible, and you could see Singleton’s hands working and scrabbling on the [patient’s] back.”
The spirit causing the woman’s illness had been exorcised.
“It was a small experience, but one which demanded a reorganization of the way I did anthropology,” Turner later wrote.