An Arizona lawyer is in hot water for denying that she was possessed by her client’s dead wife. The lawyer, Charna Johnson, was helping defend her client in an estate dispute when she became confused by whether she was actually channeling her client’s dead wife or not. And the proceedings only got stranger from there.
Johnson, who is being penalized for lying during a court proceeding during her alleged possession is currently splitting hairs over the difference between the words ‘channeling’ and ‘possessed’ by her client’s deceased wife. The incredible courtroom drama is a clear case of reality being far stranger than fiction. But the real problem is coming on the heels of a claim by Johnson that she genuinely believes she was possessed, whether or not she later denied parts of it.
Two witnesses to the events surrounding Johnson’s possession claimed the possession was incredible and genuine, willing to testify in court that they too believed the possession to be genuine. Even the experts that were called in to identify whether or not Charna Johnson truly was channeling (or possessed by) a ghost. Some suggest the whole thing could have been part of an elaborate prank or deception in order to gain credibility for her client while others suggest she had been an appropriate and open conduit through which the deceased wife of her client could speak. With the independent witnesses and even some experts convinced, this case is certainly gaining more strangeness by the day.
When dealing with legal matters pertaining to demons, ghosts, aliens, and other paranormal phenomena there actually is a surprisingly well established precedent and protocol. Even without proving or disproving paranormal events, many court proceedings have found ways to mediate and bypass the mysterious elements and deal solely with the human element.
For example, if someone can demonstrate that they truly believe a ghost exists in their home, this can be considered in court cases regarding property value. Additionally, several states have established that the sellers of homes are legally obligated to inform potential buyers of reported ghost possessions with reasonable due diligence. If a seller does not tell a buyer the house is “haunted” (scientifically proving the ghosts actually exist and are present is not a requirement) then the buyer does in some cases have the right to sue the seller. The law obviously varies from state to state but is similar to other stigmatized disclosure laws regarding murders and methamphetamine labs.
Also, a person’s personal religious beliefs surrounding ghosts or spiritual phenomena are protected under the Constitution, meaning if someone’s religion causes them to believe in paranormal phenomena, then the state cannot dispute this. If getting possessed by ghosts is part of that religion, then the state specifically protects these rights.
But even if the case is dealing with the paranormal, rigorous attention is paid to ensure all parties involved remain consistent in their version of events. If stories change, it’s just as much of a problem as if they changed during a more mundane court case.