Apart from possession by the Holy Spirit, Christianity regards possession as the work of the Devil. In medieval theology Satan entered the victim directly, or by using an intermediary, such as a witch or wizard, causing the victim to act abominably and renounce God.
According to demonological literature, sometimes the voice of the possessed person changed, sometimes even his or her appearance. The body might be thrown into convulsions, and strange objects and even creatures were said to be passed from the orifices, mainly the mouth and anus. The possessed person also displays hatred and/or fear for the symbols of goodness and sanctity. The cure for possession by evil spirits is exorcism.
In Judaism the most feared evil possession is by the Dybbuk, a doomed soul that wreaks mental and spiritual havoc on the hapless victim. In many nonwestern cultures communication with, and voluntary possession by, various deities is central to religious worship (see Voodoo).
Similarly in Christianity, voluntary possession by the Holy Spirit is encouraged, especially in the Pentacostal movement, whose adherents may speak in tongues, perform faith healing, and writhe uncontrollably in a form of ecstatic communion with God.
Evidence for genuine possession by an evil supernatural force is unavailable, mostly because those who have supposedly been possessed insist on anonymity, and those who have participated at exorcisms refuse to reveal any details which might breach that anonymity and permit verification of some of the reported phenomena. People participating in exorcisms are usually also firm believers in demons and the efficacy of exorcism. Their accounts and testimony are most likely colored by their beliefs, because their interpretation of events are certainly based on their faith.
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