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The article discusses archival evidence of obsession in the Russian Empire in the 19th – first half of the 20th centuries, mainly in the Orthodox community. Previously unknown cases of the so-called “chitka” or “otchitka” of the possessed are presented, including those that occurred in restless haunted houses (teufel-besessens Haus). Similar episodes are given with the expulsion of demons, including attempts by the peoples (or knowledgeable people – black magicians) to exorcise demonic entities directly at home using their own forces (“unauthorized” or “home” exorcisms). The examples of the penetration of the rite of exorcism into the folk environment are shown and studied, followed by the transformation of the rituals of “otchitka”: the transfer of emphasis from the priest to the secular person, from the action to the book being read. It is concluded that in the past, phenomena in the teufel-besessens Haus and obsessions in the social conscience were considered as one, that is, as a manifestation of devilish forces, the “carrier” of which could be any tenant of a “restless” house. This was due to the fact that, in the Christian sense, any “noisy spirits” are, in fact, demons that appear not through a place (house, building), but through a specific person who is somehow connected with the devil.

Keywords: hysterical women, obsession, possession, exorcism

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2020.2.62-76

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About the author 

Ilya S. Butov – PhD (Agricultural Sciences), editor of the journal “Potato and Vegetables”; build. 500, Vereya village, Ramensky district, Moscow region, Russia, 140153;

Nikita V. Tomin – PhD (Engineering Sciences), Senior Research Fellow at Irkutsk National Research Technical University, 83 Lermontov Str., Irkutsk, 664074, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.