© 2016 Tünde KOMÁROMI

2016 – №2 (12)

photo - Komaromi

Keywords: possession, witchcraft, religious healing

Abstract: The paper presents the case of possession of a young man (János) from a Transylvanian village inhabited mostly by Romanians and Hungarians. János’s family is ethnic Hungarian and while his mother is Calvinist, János, his father and brothers are Roman Catholic. János lives in a household with his mother and his youngest brother. The parents separated for years but live at walking distance from each other. At the time of the interview János only passed a long and difficult crisis. The memory of the experience was alive, both his mother and János gave detailed account of what happened.

This paper was written as part of the author’s PhD thesis on contemporary witchcraft in a village from the Aries river valley, Transylvania (2005) and became one of the chapters of her book (2009).


In the following case study I will describe a young man’s half-year long life crisis from Arieș river valley, Transylvania, Romania, which is seen by himself, his mother and the local Orthodox priest acting as his healer, as possession caused by witchcraft. The starting point of my analysis is an interview that lasted for long hours (with the mother, the son and finally with both of them at the same time). I had known both of them before. I had already discussed similar topics with the mother before.2 In my study first I will describe the familial and social context; afterwards I will discuss the story of the bewitching and the healing.

* – Familial and social context – Life history, background

János Vári was raised in a large family. His parents were factory workers. His father has been out of work since the early 1990s, while his mother retired after 32 years of active work at a relatively young age. The father tries to live on doing odd jobs, day labor and his son’s financial support.  He is condemned by the family and the villagers as well as he has a drinking habit, he is not reliable at work, and he is more of a burden than help for the family. The mother moved to her grandmother’s house two streets away with their two sons after her mother-in-law had died. They have not divorced officially, but they have been separated for at least 15 years. After 1989 the mother worked on other people’s land in exchange for a share of the crops, then she bought a piece of land herself after she had saved enough. All her sons go out to work except the youngest one, who is a trainee joiner. János is living with his mother and the youngest son of the family, who has not grown up yet.

From the story’s point of view the most importance of the family is given to three women: the paternal grandmother, the great-grandmother and János’ mother. The grandmother was one of the most well-known rural specialists dealing with fortune-telling from cards, divination from casting tin, healing with ointments; she was consulted by many people from the adjacent town.  The great-grandmother was said to “have the ability to cast spells”.

At the time of the interviews and the time of the events that is described here, János was 34 years old,  which is old enough to be “a bachelor, or old lad”3 according to the villagers. He is short and stout, not seen as attractive. He has little education: he only went to vocational school. He is not very sociable and neighbors say he is a little foolish. He speaks a mixed language blending Romanian words into his speech in Hungarian. He is the least mobile member of the family; he only works around the house and her mother’s land apart from his work in the factory.  His social connections are poor and his life is a failure. As the population of the village is rather segregated, János only has a chance to establish more intimate ties with the immigrant Romanian families and Hungarian families of low social standing due to his own low status. He met mostly Romanian boys at the factory and he talked quite a lot with one of them being especially interested in esoterism. These relationships have probably influenced his views on bewitching, his interpretation of his own state and the choice of the treatment as well.

János began to go on dates quite late, mostly as a result of his mother’s nagging, and all his relationships were followed by the mother’s comments as they were living in the same household. He did not court any girls from the village; he only dated Romanian girls from town. He did not reveal anything about his relationships, it was the mother who did, and even her knowledge did not go beyond the girls’ probable mountaineer origin and that they work in the factory. On one hand the mother is rather prejudiced against the Romanians from the mountains (in this case the Western Carpathians) as well as against those living in blocks of flats, who “have the time” to learn to “do evil magic” as they do not have to work hard in the fields.4 This prejudice is held not only by János’s mother but most ethnic Hungarian villagers think Romanians, especially those from the mountains are “very skilled in bewitching”. So the girls János had been courting are supposed to know a lot about magic, at least due to their descent, so they have had the chance (and probably it was their interest as well) to improve their skills in the town.

 János’s brothers are no different either, as the mother says, they chase after Romanian girls only. The mother very strongly disapproves of these relationships and keeps trying to convince them to find a spouse from “their own kind”. In her view Romanians, and implicitly the lovers’ knowledge and magical skills might be dangerous to her sons. On one hand the establishment of a relationship is a problem in itself as in case of a marriage the daughter-in-law and the mother-in law would probably have to live in the same household and based on a precedent from the family she supposes she could not use her mother language freely with her son and what is more, her grandchildren would not even learn to speak it.  On the other hand, as we will see later, she presumes her son would be in danger in case of a breakup.  While the mother is willing to share her house with the newly-weds in case he marries a girl of Hungarian ethnicity, she would want them to move to the town in case of a mixed marriage.

It is not part of the story of bewitching but it is quite important to mention from the contextual point of view that the mother, as she has admitted it, is not only a passive onlooker of her son’s fate. She is already telling the story of the latest date and she admits she keeps praying for her son to get to hate the Romanian woman that he is seeing. It is a divorcee from the village with two children, and we can interpret his mother’s prayers as her intention to destroy her son’s relationship. Nevertheless, when the son tells the mother that his lover suspects her “doing harm, bewitching them”, she denies it fiercely.

The touch of the shoe (the story of bewitching)

János had one more lonely passion apart from body building, that is riding a motorbike. He bought not one, but even two motorbikes: a smaller one and a bigger one. In his free time, mostly on Sundays he went on a ride as the Lord reminded him through a series of misfortunes that no work should be done that day. He was shooting through the village towards the mountains. On one of these occasions he had an accident. He was not badly hurt as he had a few superficial bruises. He was very sorry though, that however he had had a warning in his dreams of an imminent danger, he was not able to interpret the dream so he could not prevent the accident. In his dreams he also received a warning of an even bigger trouble but when he understood this, it was too late again, so he could not prevent it.

Somebody threw a spell-casting object into his father’s courtyard and made him go there to find and touch it. Quite unusually for him, that night he went there to park his motorbike, and when he was going to leave, he stumbled upon a shoe in the courtyard. He lifted it to check what it was, and all the troubles began here with this touch.

János firmly believes that he was just a tool for someone that night when he took a mysterious shoe in his hands.  He was with four others there, and he claims the others have also seen the shoe but all of them saw a different kind of shoe. The following day the children who had been with him tried but could not find it, so they did not believe he had had anything in his hands and they found the whole scene so abnormal that they said he was a fool. But, according to János’ account of it, although it was late at night and it was also dark, all of them saw the shoe and they perceived some other strange things.

These unusual phenomena made him realise right there on the spot that something extraordinary had happened to him. He must have realised there was danger since he cried out to the children to make them run away. However, the gate did not open until he threw away the shoe. So, the magic spell had an element which was released after the touch was gone. At that time, however, there was still a dangerous entity present, which he tried to fight away by kneeling down and praying Lord’s Prayer. Judging from his reaction, he had already felt that some devilish or impure thing was going on, but he did not have an idea of what was coming.

His suspicion of bewitchment had become stronger by the next morning. After the happening in the evening he went to work a night shift. In the morning, when he got home, he did not go to bed as usual, but he went to see the priest immediately as he knew there is no time to waste. He knew from his colleagues’ stories that one has to see a Romanian Orthodox priest with ‘this kind’ of problem.5

The mother’s account of the story differed in several points from the son’s recall. She mentioned other miraculous things and she described the consequences of touching the shoe in a different way. It helped much towards a more accurate reconstruction and interpretation of the story. While János talked in general about how neighbours and women can cast a spell on you (so he listed a set of stereotypes as far as the doer of this act is concerned), his mother came up with two well-thought out presumptions. On one hand she claimed it was the Romanian girl from the factory that he had been seeing from a while and then left. She supposed that the girl took revenge because he did not marry her.6

The other hypothesis of the mother was not connected with the shoe and the spell but an alternative explanation to János’s sensitivity to spirits and the devil. János’s grandmother was believed to have dealt with witchcraft by the mother and some other villagers, so she had a relationship with the devil. She thinks this kind of relationship can affect the family, for example, the future generations, thus the afflictions of János can be seen as the acts of the devil, provoked by the grandmother (and the great-grandmother, who did magic as well).

Based on what János has let slip, we may come to the conclusion that he also shares the beliefs about the girl. Now let us see what has become of the touch of the shoe and what has been done about it.

Possession and being bewitched

The mother and son both share the conviction that János has been bewitched, so the shoe must have been a bewitched object, an object which transmits a spell, and when it is touched, the intentions of the sender or the person who placed it on the spot are activated.

The concept of a spell activated upon touch is quite well-known within the family. Both mother and son can tell stories of bewitched objects placed or thrown in somewhere. It is interesting to see that these stories of the family always depict one single object, like the shoe in this case, not a mixture (the combination of impure materials or objects, which would be common in their village). In János’ story the object seeming to be a shoe is something that changes its appearance or is seen differently by each person. According to the local beliefs everything that can change its shape is considered impure so it is to be feared and avoided.

The touch of the shoe was followed by a prolonged, hardly tolerable state. János was troubled by nightmares, suffocation (“being pressed upon his chest”), and he kept uttering animal sounds. He woke up anguished and sleepy in the morning. Then he had insomnia and wandered around the streets restlessly at night. The family was horrified by his behaviour and the occurrence of so many strange phenomena: sometimes they saw a sudden emergence of bright light in the house, or they had nightmares, it was mostly the mother who complained that she could not sleep when she lay down in her son’s bed. So it was not only his behaviour and state that had changed, the whole life of the family changed as well. They experienced unusual phenomena both while asleep and awake. All phenomena were perceived inside the house, and the family were inclined to arrange their experiences in a string and jump to the same conclusion, that is, János had been bewitched. Since on the day following the touch of the shoe, when János had arrived home from the factory (and the priest), the family sensed an intolerable stench7 inside the house: “the smell of a rotting animal corpse”, as the mother put it. So the presence of the unclean had taken a perceivable form, and what is more, it was getting fixed into their consciousness so strongly that they could not escape it. Airing the rooms did not help and common-sense explanations like it was gas leaking or rotten meat were excluded. The terrifying suspicion that the stench had something to do with János, which was so obvious for himself since the first moment was becoming more and more realistic for the others.

János let himself troubled only until he did not make sure that he had faced the devil (or an evil spirit). According to their interpretation János had been possessed by the devil caused by witchcraft (via touching the shoe), his symptoms are typical of demonic possession, so that was the cause of his suffering.8 His treatment could go on for long, and it should involve not only the exorcist ritual service of the Orthodox priest but also a series of cleaning and strengthening rituals which also require the mother’s help.

It was not clear from the accounts of the story who exactly established the diagnosis of being possessed. There is a reason to say it was the priest, since based on the views of the Orthodox Church this explanation is obvious. The idea of demonic possession emerged in the accounts when they described the priest’s healing, and they seemed to be quite familiar with it. There are several similar concepts in the mother’s recall, like “the girl made a contract with the devil in order to bewitch her son”, or “only those can do witchcraft who are in league with the devil”. As János believes, in order to be able to do witchcraft, “you must ally yourself with the devil”. It takes only one more step to imagine that the witch sends the devil to get the victim to possess him or her.

The alliance with the devil has permanent consequences. In their beliefs pure, godly life and devilish, impure life are distinguished, as are probably the worlds of God and Satan, and if the alliance with the Satan is settled on the borderline between the two, nothing can be done afterwards that is connected with God, like going to the church, as your house begins to shake. The house, which re-emerges in a close relationship with its owner (or the people living in it), becomes impure if there is someone living there who performs or suffers from magical acts. This state can even continue after the owner has died, but it can be purified via the godly life and pious prayers of the following dwellers.9

A special trait in János’ case is that his possession is the result of witchcraft. It is not so typical in the villagers’ stories, they mostly describe cases when people are haunted by the dead.10 The family member who did not fulfil the last will of the deceased is haunted by his or her ghost.  Such thing had already happened to János, as the mother said incidentally.  So it turned out that some of the symptoms had occurred before and János also consulted the Romanian Orthodox priest about them. Thus, he was not a new client of the priest, they had known each other, what is more, he already knew the cure for them. So, he was prepared for salvation shielded with patience and optimism.  Some other facts were revealed during the interview, for example János had been on friendly terms with a person called István who is also a bachelor who is already kept away from him. After his mother died, István has been suffering from (her) curse. He did not fulfil her last wish: to transport her coffin to the graveyard with her own horses. As a consequence he was attacked by the devil. He couldn’t stay in peace and swore a lot. That time János has been attacked by the same curse. István’s mother addressed her wish to János too.

One of the conclusions of István’s case with his mother is that the curse can affect other people than the one who was originally cursed.  The “contagion” of possession has manifested in the case of János and his mother as well: the mother helps his son with fasting in order to get rid of the magic and implicitly get rid of the devil, so the devil attacked her as well, as manifesting itself in “visions”.11 On the other hand the mother was attacked by the devil when lying on János’ bed: she could not sleep and also had terrifying visions. The mother drew our attention to another type of contamination through István’s example: swearing persons should be avoided and kept away from the house, since if they were let in, the devil could also enter with them. If you want to feel safe and secure, you must break up with them completely.12


Below I will compare the ideas of some other authors dealing with possession to the case of János.13

The metaphor of the human body as a vessel is often used to illustrate possession.14 The body acts as a case holding the soul, which can escape from it and spririts can fly into it, replacing or accompanying the soul.15 That is how we can imagine János’ case: his soul remained inside but another spirit got into his body as well.16 When he uttered frightening sounds at night, “he sounded nasty”, he was aware that it was because he was bewitched. He was not in control of his actions and he was disturbed by the spirit that had moved inside him.

The exact definition of the possessing spirit is not so important for János or his mother. The mother describes it as the devil, sometimes in the plural (devils), while János uses the words for evil spirits, ghosts and the devil. Obviously it is the image of devil as seen by the church and the image of a demonic being seen by the folk that are merged together in their phrasing, the reason being their similarity in function.17

The mother thinks the possessing devil is seated in people’s stomach.18 This idea is traceable in other villagers’ thinking.19 On the other hand her son talks about how the Orthodox priest treats him with prayers, like in the case of other possessed clients (he spreads his cassock over him, touches him with the Bible, and sometimes even hits his head with it). So, according to his idea, the devil or the spirit is seated in the head, so it is also related to his problems of losing judgement and inner peace as well as the nightmares.20

Erika Bourguignon says the idea of possession in the Christian tradition is connected to witchcraft. Witches enter into an alliance with the devil to join their powers to do harm to others.21 Bourguignon describes two types of possession based on the changes it brings about: (1) nontrance possession belief: it brings about changes in the physical functions of the body (e.g. illness, unusual strength); (2) possession trance: it brings about the change in consciousness, personality and volition.22 We can say János’s case is possession trance, and it is quite interesting that according to Bourguignon this type of possession is typical of societies in which submissiveness, obedience and compliance are highly expected. The other type is dominant where achievement, self-confidence, independence are important; here possession causes physical changes.23

According to I.M. Lewis the possessed persons are powerless, marginal people who can bring up their problems this way. Lewis and his followers refer mostly to female members of male dominated (like Muslim) societies, who tried to gain some gifts and a little attention from their husband in this culturally tolerated way.24 Probably the question of status and power is not irrelevant in János’ case either. In this case it is not even the status within the village but rather within the family and the household which is important. János lives in a household managed by his mother, basically in a child’s status, although he might have become independent for a long time. The fact that he has not married by the age of 34 must give him and his family a huge sense of failure. Unlike his younger brothers, he has not had any achievements at work. We may venture to say that he really needed this particular attention and help that was offered to him in his state of possession.

János’s recovering

There are two key persons involved into the healing process: his mother and the local Orthodox priest. Besides the rites of the church, the relationship with the priest also plays an important role in the healing process, as well as everything else the family does upon the priest’s advice for the sake of his recovery. This healing brings about a change in his way of life and his attitude towards other people.

Jeanne Favret-Saada in her study called Unbewitching as therapy describes she was surprised to see that the rituals performed by the unwitcher (by which they send back the spell on the witch) have so little role in the process of unbewitching. However, the other things they do beyond this as well as the acts that they make the clients to perform have a large importance in soothing the crisis. We can see the complex of these factors as family therapy, since the unbewitching process involves the whole family.25

Favret-Saada’s study as well as her previous book26, describes North-western French peasants, where the victim of the witchcraft is always a head of the family, the owner of the farm, and the witch is another landowner. The victim is usually a young man who has just begun farming. The ideology of witchcraft is in fact the explanation for his failures, and as a consequence of the subtle manipulations of the unwitcher they always point out a witch outside of the family. It is hardly ever detectable that it is the conflicts and tensions within the family that are resolved through the counter-magic.

We find here significant differences in comparison to János’s case. He is not going to take over the management of the farm, he is not married yet, the misfortunes do not involve the whole family just him personally, they see a priest and not a counter-witch or sorcerer (kuruzsló in the local Hungarian terminology) to perform the unbewitching. Despite the differences it is important to see that there are essential similarities between the therapeutic processes. We find in each case a long and confidential relationship with the healer based on essential information exchanges. János sought the Orthodox priest’s help not the first time, so they had known each other, and this was a kind of guarantee to succeed. János turned to the religious healer with great confidence. He knew the Orthodox priest can deal with problems of this kind, and unlike facing the local Catholic or Calvinist priest he would not make a fool of himself if he talked about bewitching.

If he follows the priest’s advice, that is he pours incense on the the kitchen stove, lights a candle, kneels down to pray, reads the Talisman and the Bible, he fasts on the prescribed days and goes to church, then he may hope he can get rid of the Devil soon and can keep it away as long as possible as well as he can prevent bewitching. However, he can count on the efficacy of the priest’s help (celebrating the liturgy and praying for the client) since this priest is clean. According to the explanation that János has given, a priest can reach cleanliness if he keeps fasting when he is required to by the church regulations, and also on those days when he performs a service for someone.

As each member of the nuclear family living in the house was involved in the healing process, this case can be considered as family therapy. They all followed the changes that János had undergone to the slightest detail and they discussed them with one another and the priest as well. For example, János asked his family members to wake him up with a stroke if he “makes nasty noises” (utters scary animal sounds) at night. They supported him in performing the little personal rites that would hopefully lead to his recovery (e.g. they let him in his own in the only room of the house when he was praying or reading holy readings). They all woke up during the night to pray to chase away the evil spirit when they perceived strange light phenomena. The following day they all went together to the Catholic church to ask God for help, and the Calvinist mother dipped her hands in holy water and (quite unusually) crossed herself. We know that the mother helped her son with fasting upon other people’s suggestion, that is, on the prescribed days she also kept fasting for the sake of a faster and more positive effect. Thus, in this case there is also a woman, the mother, who participated in the therapy, supporting her son actively with her actions and opinions. She is so sympathetic with her son that she also feels to be attacked: she has nightmares, which she interprets as being haunted by the devil.27

János exploited all the opportunities suggested for recovery. The priest gave him candles, incense and prayers. His personal rites involved the whole person, his body and soul as well. He cleansed his body through fasting, he cleaned his soul by praying and reading the Bible (on Wednesdays and Fridays he fasted as the priest had recommended, taking special care of “not taking alcohol into his mouth”). He was given a text by the priest, which was particularly precious for him, so he made photocopies of it. This was the text that he thought to have had the largest healing power of all: it is a pamphlet called Talisman28 describing the powers of faith and the power of Jesus. It is most effective to read it while kneeling, but one can also place it under the head.29

The elements of folk medicine and religious healing are combined in the process of treatment and healing. The utilization of written texts is widely known in folk medicine (they are thought to have a magical effect, they are often sewn into clothing to prevent certain diseases, small slips of paper are carried on the body, sometimes with meaningless words or texts on them, and even illiterate people are carrying them). A similar usage of religious texts like prayers or miracle stories (putting under the head while asleep or carrying it in the pockets) fits into this tradition. Literate people can complement the therapy with the reading of these texts for prevention and cure, like János did.30 It does not necessarily mean a particular attitude of literacy towards the texts. Everything that he says shows that he mainly sees the texts as carriers of magical power and reading them is just for invoking the power. János prefers shorter texts, the Bible is too complicated for him, it may even be a little frightening and János is depending on the the priest’s explanations of the Holy Scripture.

Villagers share an interesting belief in connection with fasting (it is all the same if it is for healing or cursing), that is, at the time of fasting one must not give away anything from the house and must not receive anything from others. Apparently cutting off all communication – at least with certain potentially dangerous objects and persons – is essential. You must not accept anything as you take the evil words of magic spell and evil thoughts together with the objects that you receive. And you must not give anything away from the house as it weakens the “power potential” of the family and the individuals.31

Apart from the elements mentioned so far, dominated by rites performed personally at home (or together with the family) the exorcist rites32 of the Orthodox priest are essential. János and his mother describe them as follows: the priest spreads his cassock over him and prays above him, as well as he drives the devil away in an evening33.

János does everything possible in his own ways to maintain his peace that was so difficult to recover. He lives the pious life of Christians, says prayers, goes to the church and burns incense inside the house. He reads and carries along the Talisman, which he still thinks has great power but he is aware of the major importance of faith. He protects himself from further curses and witchcraft by maintaining a stable contact with sacrament via different objects and rites. After his recovery, János begins acting as a healer.  He uses the Talisman to help others. He reads it out, touches patients’ shoulders with it and blesses them.


  1. The original, much more extensive version of the case study formed part of my PhD thesis (Komáromi 2005 Chapter IV.). A slightly modified version was published in a separate book of studies (Komáromi 2007 448-468.), and later in the publication of the thesis (Komáromi 2009, 113-138.).
  2. The names of persons in my study have been changed for the sake of privacy. The name of the village (Hagymás) is also fictional. That is what we have agreed upon when we began to talk in terms of my publication.
  3. There are many Hungarian bachelors in the village, usually living together with their mothers. A relatively large number of these bachelors have become alcohol-addicts or have committed suicide. This phenomenon is linked to the changes that happened in the second half of the 20th century (migration, collectivisation, industrialisation).
  4. The natives of the village consider farming as the most valuable kind of labour. They think the people from town are lazy, do not work, so they look down on them (and of course the peasants are looked down by the townspeople).
  5. It is important to mention that János is of Roman Catholic religion and his mother is Calvinist. The Hungarians from the village are Calvinists, Unitarians or Roman Catholics. The Romanians are mostly Orthodox Christians. Only the Orthodox priests fulfil the role of religious healer.
  6. On men cursed by girls who were refused to be taken as wife (Blum & Blum 1970: 210, and also Cristescu–Golopenţia 2002: 84–8).
  7. Intolerable stench has an importance in the context of witchcraft and possession in several cultures (cf. Kari G. Telle 2003: 75-104; de Certeau 2000: 33, Komáromi 2002: 15–18).
  8. Goodman 1988: 96; Pócs 2001: 143-144, 165.
  9. See more examples on haunted houses or places in: Pócs 2001: 160.
  10. possession by the dead: Pócs 2001: 151–154.
  11. circumpossessio or obsessio: Pócs 2001: 137–138.
  12. They do accordingly: when he comes to visit them, they close the door again and again, so he gradually gives up coming to see them. They do not go to see him either, and the mother was horrified to describe how István was living an impure life in a polluted house since the death of his mother.
  13. On possession, see: Bourguignon 1976; Crapanzano (ed.) 1977; Goodman 1988; Lehmann–Myers (eds.) 1997; Levack (ed.) 1992; Pócs 2001; Worobec 2001.
  14. See for example: Kamppinen 1989: 58, in N. Scheper-Hughes and M. Lock 1987: The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
  15. Goodman 1988: 1-2.
  16. According to Éva Pócs the image of “the devil inside” can be documented nowadays mostly in the eastern boundaries of the Hungarian-speaking area (Pócs 2001: 161–162).
  17. Stewart 1991: 153; Pócs 2001: 156–157; Ivanits 1989.
  18. The mother thinks however, that those who commit suicide are swallowed up by the devil. The devil’s stomach is a kind of hell in this case.
  19. Caciola (2002: 117-132): the devil is located in the digestive system, especially in the stomach.
  20. Dubisch (1990): the possessed Greek (orthodox) woman is said to have the devil in her head.
  21. Bourguignon (1976: 52).
  22. Bourguignon (1976: 2 and 46).
  23. Bourguignon (1976: 47).
  24. Lewis (1992).
  25. Favret-Saada (1988).
  26. Favret-Saada (1980).
  27. According to Kleinman it is not a healer-patient relationship in case of rural healers, it is more of a family-practitioner relationship: Kleinman (1980: 206). The illness affects the family as well as the social relationships, so the practitioners deal with this aspect as well. Since most patients are accompanied by someone from the family, in most cases the mother, the healer often talks directly to her regardless of who the patient is, as the mother is a key figure in the process of healing.
  28. Ofrim (2001: 190): Talismanul [The Talisman].
  29. János’s mother also put a book of prayers under her head to keep the devil away in her sleep.
  30. Ofrim 2001: 203–206, 255.
  31. Favret-Saada (1980).
  32. On exorcism for example see: Charles Stewart (1991: 211).
  33. See Ofrim (2001: 251., 254) on the gospel read above the patient’s head; on exorcism (in Romanian ieurgiiexorcisme); on blessing the cattle, water and flour; on blessing the new house, or against unclean spirits and spirits of the dead (sfeştanie).


Badone, E. (1990) Introduction, E. Badone (ed.): Religious Orthodoxy and Popular Faith in European Society, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, p. 3–23.

Blum, R., Blum, E. (1965) Health and Healing in Rural Greece. A Study of Three Communities. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Blum, R., Blum, E. (1940) The Dangerous Hour. The Lore of Crisis and Mystery in Rural Greece, Chatto&Windus, London.

Bourguignon, E. (1976) Possession, Chandler&Sharp Publishers Inc., San Francisco.

Caciola, N. (2002) Lélegzet, szív, bélrendszer: a test és a szellemek a középkorban [Breath, heart, enteron: the body and the spirits in the Middle Ages] É. Pócs (ed), Mikrokozmosz, makrokozmosz. Vallásetnológiai fogalmak tudományközi megközelítésben. Tanulmányok a transzcendensről III.) [Microcosm, macrocosm. Concepts of the ethnology of religion in an interdisciplinary approach. Papers on the transcendent III.], Balassi Press, Budapest, p. 117–131.

Certeau, M. de (2000) The Possession at Loudun, The University of Chicago Press.

Crapanzano, V., Garrison, V. (1977) Case Studies in Spirit Possession, John Wiley & Sons, New York – London – Sidney – Toronto.

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