Blackwater Valley Exorcism: Equating Demonic Possession with Sexual Assault

When The Exorcist (1973) was first released, it spawned numerous foreign rip-offs and B-movie exploitative versions.  From Şeytan (1974) in Turkey to the reworking of the Italian film ‘Lisa e il diavolo’ (1974/1975)into The House of Exorcism, foreign producers created their own takes on the story of young women being possessed, with more or less successful results. Other foreign appropriations and perspectives include:

  • the German film Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil aka Magdalena: The Devil Inside the Female aka ‘Magdalena, vom Teufel besessen’(1974)
  • the Braziilian film The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe aka O Exorcismo Negro (1974)
  • the Italian film The Antichrist aka The Tempter aka “L’anticristo” (1974)
  • the Italian film Beyond the Door aka Chi sei? (1974)
  • the Spanish film Exorcismo (1975)
  • the Italian film The Night Child aka Il medaglione insanguinato (1975)
  • the French film Exorcisme aka Exorcism aka Les possédées du diable (1974/1975)
  • the British film To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Similarly, in the United States, Abby (1974) aka The Blaxsploitation Exorcist brings a different cultural perspective to this idea of possession and exorcism.  The extent to which these movies deal specifically with demonic possession and subsequent exorcism, or are just marketed as being about such, varies from movie to movie, but the existence overall represents an attempt to capitalize on the popularity and financial success of the exorcist film that started it all.

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An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day Four

Day 4: Tuesday, June 24th

Sometimes you have to get so tired — you have to so completely bump up against your body’s limitations — to be able to overcome those limitations, feel good about the success, and develop new ones.

That lovely sentiment being said — I am really tired.  Many of us are.  The organizers must have known that this would happen, and they scheduled today to be one of reflection.  No readings.  No required meetings.  No lectures.  Just the option to engage in individual and/or group reflection.  To retreat to somewhere for contemplation, introspection, and relaxation.

Several retreat options were made available to us if we so desired some structure to this process.  One involved a morning trip to the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary.  Since a) I love all things nature and b) we have been cooped up here for days now, I jumped at the chance to just go for a walk in the woods.  The goal, of course, was to have us reflect on our relationship with nature and what the walk could help us comprehend about the sacred, the divine, the holiness of creation.

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An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day Three

Day 3: Monday, June 23rd

The reason I came to Collegium is for a specific purpose, one that could potentially help my university.  So it is interesting that what I have gotten out of it so far has been more relevant to a research project that has been in the back of my mind for years.

At my university, I have been helping to develop a sense of how to approach online and blended learning for our students, as well as to help faculty develop their online and blended courses.  One of the issues that we have discussed in this process has been the extent to which we are able to translate the research-centered teaching we have been honing on campus from the face-to-face learning environment to the online environment.  Part of this is to be able to maintain a quality of our institution’s educational experience that makes us distinct in the area.  Another part of this is to be able to maintain a commitment to a Dominican and Catholic approach to higher education.  As part of this process, I was awarded a fellowship to further investigate how to translate the Catholic ethos of higher education to an online learning community.

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An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day Two

Day 2: Sunday, June 22nd

On the topic of mass…

I am still uncomfortable joining in on the spiritual sessions and Catholic Eucharist ceremonies that are scheduled for this colloquium.  I feel like an intruder, an interloper, a negative presence.  There is nothing that anyone here has said or done that has made me feel this way.  In fact, I appreciate their willingness and desire to offer a blessing to those who beseech it, such as those other other religious affiliations who would like to experience the ritual.  And they offer many different spiritual discussions that I am sure can be seen as less denomination than the sacramental rituals.  But I would feel disingenuous in being blessed, as it would have no impact on me.  I do not believe, that is the simple truth of it all.  Perhaps before the end of this week, I will venture into one session, just to listen, which appears to be my main goal here, as I cannot partake in conversations about religion.

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An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day One

This post is a deviation from my normal posts to this blog.  Instead of discussing research and ideas on various things media and pop culture, I am instead going to use this post to reflect on my week long excursion to a colloquium known as Collegium.  My position is with a Catholic university, and this year I was invited by my institution to attend Collegium.  For two decades now, Collegium has been bringing together individuals like myself from various Catholic institutions of higher education from around the country in order to discuss what is the Catholic approach to such education.  Collegium is intended to be for junior faculty of all walks of life, especially of different religious backgrounds, so as to help them understand the philosophical and theological foundations upon which their schools are based.  As I am a young faculty member who was not raised Catholic, I accepted the invitation to better understand this approach to education and particularly what it could mean for the development of online learning communities.

This post will serve as a place of daily reflection for my ongoing experience as a woman out of her elements trying to listen and understand this new world and new position in which she finds herself.

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The Conjuring: a Witch, a Wardrobe, and a Basement

When we started liveblogging our reactions to these exorcism cinema films, sometimes our friends on Facebook would wonder why we were doing it, which lead into some interesting discussions.  During one of these discussions, my colleague at Dominican University suggested a movie that we should watch because it had an interesting variable that made it different from the other exorcism cinema out there.  She suggested we watch The Conjuring (2013) “because the religious part of the exorcism is not enough, the wife intervenes and finishes it off by reaching out to the mom through their shared maternal sensibilities.”

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Comics Adaptations Causing Fractured Fandom

We are now full swing into the summer blockbuster season for Hollywood, and let’s take a tally of movies that are currently out or soon to arrive that originate from the pages of comic books.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Hercules.  Guardians of the Galaxy.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.  Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Big Hero 6. 

I am so looking forward to this one.

I am so looking forward to this one.

All of this, without mentioning the big hitters coming soon, such as the second Avengers movie, or the one that finally brings Wonder Woman to the screen while pitting Batman v. Superman.  All of this, a range of titles for the young to the mature.  And these are only Hollywood films.  Consider all of the movies made from comic books around the world, and the numbers are staggering.  The top ten comic book adaptation movies have grossed around $4.05 billion dollars in just over a decade, proving their dominance at the box office in the United States and around the world.

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