In November 2006, under unusual circumstances a woman fell from the second story of her home. She was left paralyzed below the waist. She had been sitting on the sill, and even now she claims it was not deliberate. She didn't jump; this was not a suicide attempt.
This woman's name is Amy Stamatis.
Seven months before her fall Amy heard voices telling her to commit suicide, this was also paired with strange ailments. Being a nurse she believed she was undergoing a mental breakdown and sought the help of mental health professionals.
She worked at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. She had just finished a 24-hour shift as a med-flight nurse and her patient was suffering from burns. After completing a report about her patient, she found herself walking aimlessly around the emergency room hallways. She found she had forgotten how to do her job.
She went home after this. Her confusion persisted, and Amy who was a marathon runner found she couldn't run straight, and even simple tasks like picking out her clothes escaped her.
Fearing a nervous breakdown, she discussed it with her husband, and then began a round of visiting doctors and psychiatric hospitals. She received different diagnosis, and was prescribed antidepressants "like they were candy". The worse though is that her behavior became unpredictable and the voices didn't stop. At a family gathering she stripped off her clothing, and as a patient at the hospital where she used to work she screamed at her former co-workers.
Amy and her husband sought help elsewhere and went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. She broke away from the physicians, ran to a parking garage and climbed eight stories threatening to jump. She was finally talked down by her husband and the police. The voices continued.
During her hospitalization after the fall from her home's second story, a woman named Cindy Lawson visited her bedside. Lawson claims she can heal those suffering from terminal illnesses and also raising the dead. She then described something inside of Amy. She called them demons.
A friend of Amy told her that Cindy Lawson came to pray over her.
“The Lord spoke to me and told me to go to the hospital to cast the demons out of her,” Lawson said. "I could feel something churning. I could see the demons." She described Stamatis as being "wide-eyed." She said that then something inside of Amy growled at her and said, "Why are you here?"
Lawson anointed Amy's forehead with oil and commanded, “Lord, in the name of Jesus, I command that these demons release her and come out of her and that she comes to her right mind, in Jesus' name."
"The spirit of the Lord fell into that room," Lawson recalled.
The problem lies in the similarity of symptoms between demonic possession and the diagnosis of schizophrenia or epilepsy.
Dr. Richard Gallagher a psychiatrist works with Catholic priests to differentiate between those suffering from mental illness versus a demonic possession.
In 2016 he wrote an article in the Washington Post where he described, “The same habits that shape what I do as a professor and psychiatrist — open-mindedness, respect for evidence and compassion for suffering people — led me to aid in the work of discerning attacks by what I believe are evil spirits and, just as critically, differentiating these extremely rare events from medical conditions, but careful observation of the evidence presented to me in my career has led me to believe that certain extremely uncommon cases can be explained no other way.”
Dr. Gallagher warned that there has to be caution among clergy members in seeing the devil everywhere.
In 2018, the Vatican changed and expanded it annual exorcism course, due to an increased demand. Within the Catholic Church only a priest properly trained and given permission by a bishop is allowed to perform the "solemn exorcism."
Amy Stamatis, now 49 described where she had been diagnosed with porphyria, which is a rare chemical imbalance with symptoms of seizures, abdominal pain, mental confusion and nervous system dysfunction.
She now believes she was possessed, and the medical field could not help her because they don't believe in it.
Despite the extreme portrayal seen in the 1973 film, The Exorcist it does not present the more common form of spiritual attack which demonic influence or another word which is temptation. The next level is demonic oppression, which is more ordinary, and it can be addressed with Catholic sacraments, blessings and prayers. Addiction and violence are other examples of demonic manipulations.
Monte Cox, Stamatis’ preacher and the dean of the College of Bible and Ministry at Harding University said, “On one hand, there are those infatuated with the demonic and being drawn into a kind of magic that sounds more faithful than it is, and on the other hand, there are those suckered by a modern worldview that says such things don’t actually exist.”
Amy Stamatis cannot recall her exorcism, but her family noted a change in her immediately, and she has not regressed to her prior behavior.
Source - KATV
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer