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Exorcism Cases: 1778 England & a Saint

Most exorcisms that hit the headlines center on a young adult or teenager, but the case of George Lukins is different. Nicknamed the ‘Yatton demoniac,’ Lukins became famous for his alleged demonic possession that led to an exorcism that took place when he was 44 years old. His case occurred in England and became quite the controversy.

George Lukins

It was 1778 when the Anglican vicar of Temple Church (Rev. Joseph Easterbrook) was called upon by a Sarah Barber. She had told the pastor that she encountered a man named George Lukins, who was a tailor and was displaying rather odd behavior.

Lukins was described as a man that sang and screamed in various voices , some of which she said did not sound human. He told people that doctors could do nothing to cure him. The woman told the clergyman that Lukins was a religious man and of good character. She noted that he had been experiencing abnormal fits for the past 18 years. Lukins believed that his behavior is the cause of a ‘supernatural slap.’ Various doctors and surgeons had all tried to help Lukins, but nothing helped. He even stayed at the St. George’s Hospital for 20 weeks, where the medical professional declared that he was incurable.

It didn’t take long for the community to believe that Lukins was bewitched. He even started to claim that seven demons possessed his body. Lukins was under the impression that the demons could only be removed with the help of seven clergymen.

Lukins underwent an exorcism and the details were published din the Bristol Gazette. It was reported that during the alleged possession, Lukins claimed that he was the Devil, made barking noises, and became quite violent. His exorcism took place on Friday 13, June 1778 with seven clergymen present. Hymn singing and prayer were the extent of the exorcism. It was said that the demons allegedly left his body after they used the Trinitarian formula. The clergymen commanded the demons to return to hell. Lukins exclaimed, “Blessed Jesus!” He then praised God and recited the Lord’s Prayer. He went on to thank the clergymen involved in the exorcism.

Following the exorcism, Lukins was not plagued by any of his previous behavior and was described as calm and happy. His case did not go without question. A medical demonologist, criticized Lukins and called him an imposter pretending to be full of demons.

Mother Teresa

It is alleged that Mother Teresa , the Catholic nun known for her charity work with the sick, poor, and injured , underwent an exorcism late in life. The process was performed under the direction of the Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry D’Souza. It was assessed that she required an exorcism after he noticed that she seemed highly agitated in her sleep. D’Souza feared that she “might be under the attack of the evil one.”