Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Possessed in medieval England

As is my usual practice, I read my "feeds" as usual this morning. These "feeds" are mostly science related; however, there are some medieval-themed ones too(unfortunately, the people who write these don't post very often). So, to my surprise, I came across this interesting item in National Geographic.

It sort of fits in with the period I'm writing about, although the one character who might have been considered "demon-possessed" in the terms of the time, is really "possessed" by a sentient virus(rather like Star Trek's Borg), which infects people's brains, and essentially tells them to do as much damage as possible to other people. And this character is actually trying to fight what he conceives to be these "demons". Which is not much like "demonic possession" the way many modern people think of it. Nor do I make that much of it in my book, except as a motivation for my "bad" character to do "bad" things.

But the National Geographic article makes it clear that, the attempted "standardization" of churches after 1066, it could have been "good for business" for churches to have powerful saints who could rid a sufferer of his or her "demons" --- obviously, they had no way of knowing how the brain works, nor could they have known about viruses and bacteria, other than their effects in making people sick. So, in a time when people had few other options, they turned to churches and their saints. That this happened somewhat later in England than other places, and never seems to have taken hold in a way that would later, much later, result in the "witch crazes" that condemned many innocent, though often troubled, people to various horrors, it did have its effect. Who knows? I might even be able to expand on my "bad" character's "demonization", now that I know.
Anne G

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