or The Last Exorcism, I researched a lot of real exorcisms. I watched videos of exorcisms, I listened to tapes, and I read actual accounts of priests' logs. I also looked at a lot of the physicality. I would look into fits of hysteria and look at energies of people in manic, hysteric fits.
Not only in peasant homes, but also in city skyscrapers, there lives alongside the twentieth century, the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe in the magic powers of signs and exorcisms . . . movie stars to mediums. Aviators who pilot miraculous mechanisms created by man's genius wear amulets on their sweaters. What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance and savagery!
Does it take a blanket presupposition for a historian to discount some miracle stories as legendary? No, because, as even Bultmann recognized, there is no problem accepting reports even of extraordinary things that we can still verify as occurring today, like faith healings and exorcisms. However you may wish to account for them, you can go to certain meetings and see scenes somewhat resembling those in the gospels. So it is by no means a matter of rejecting all miracle stories on principle. Biblical critics are not like the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
Robert M. Price
What I notice, as a historian reading stories about so-called nature miracles, the walking on the water, or the miraculous catch of fishes, they're done especially for the insiders, for the disciples. Usually healings and exorcisms are done for people along the road, as it were. Jesus doesn't come on the water to save the fishing fleet from Capernaum, he comes on the water to save the disciples. It's a parable, dummy, it's a parable, don't you get it? If the leadership of the church takes off in a boat without Jesus, it will sink, it will get nowhere.
John Dominic Crossan
As regards the prohibition on the utterance of the fairy name by mortals, either that of the species as a whole, or of individuals, it his undoubtedly issued from sources exceedingly ancient. It is implicit in animistic belief that the name of a man or spirit is a vital part of the individual. In some remoter areas of the world a person's name is still regarded as being equally vital or important with his spirit or soul, and to know it and pronounce it presumes power over the person or spirit to whom it belongs. Supernatural beings in general are indeed exceedingly touchy upon the subject of their names being freely bandied about, and to this rule fairies are no exception. It is for this reason that the fays have bestowed upon them such alternative titles or sobriquets as 'the good neighbours, ' or 'the wee folk.' 'We find, ' says Wentz, 'that taboos of a religious and social character are as common in the living fairy-faith as exorcisms. The chief one is against naming the fairies.' 'Gin ye ca' me fairy / I'll wark ye muck Ie tarrie [trouble], ' says an old Scottish rhyme which popular belief put into the mouths of the elves. 'The fairies, ' remarks Robert Chambers, 'are said to have been exceedingly sensitive upon the subject of their popular appellations. They considered the term 'fairy' disreputable.