Clara Germana Cele

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Clara Germana Cele was a Christian woman, who in 1906, was said to be possessed by a demon when she was a sixteen year old school girl at St. Michael's Mission in Natal, South Africa.[1] The girl was an orphan of black origin and was baptised as an infant.[2] At the age of sixteen, the girl made a pact with Satan and this is said to be the cause of her demonic possession.[3] Clara later revealed this information to her confessor, Father Hörner Erasmus.[4] In an account written by a nun, Clara was said to be able to speak languages of which she had no previous knowledge.[5] This fact was also witnessed by others, who recorded that she "understood Polish, German, French and all other languages."[6] The nun reported that Clara demonstrated clairvoyance by revealing the most intimate secrets and transgressions of people with whom she had no contact.[5] Moreover, Clara could not bear the presence of blessed objects and seemed imbued with extraordinary strength and ferocity, often hurling nuns about the convent rooms and beating them up.[5] The nun reported that the girl's cries had a savage bestiality that astonished those around her.[7] In regards to the girls voice, an attending nun even wrote:
No animal had ever made such sounds. Neither the lions of East Africa nor the angry bulls. At times, it sounded like a veritable herd of wild beasts orchestrated by Satan had formed a hellish choir.

The girl, according to some, was said to have levitated five feet in the air, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally; when sprinkled with holy water, the girl is purported to have come out of this state of her satanic possession.[8][9][10][11][12][13] According to a Lutheran Pastoral Handbook, one possessing these symptoms is an indication that an individual is truly possessed, rather than suffering from a mental illness.[14] Consequently, two Roman Catholic priests, Rev. Mansueti (Director of the St. Michael's Mission) and Rev. Erasmus (her confessor), were appointed to perform an exorcism on Clara Germana Cele; this deliverance lasted for two days.[15][16] During the exorcism, Clara's first action was to knock the Holy Bible from the priest's hands and grab his stole in an attempt to choke him with it.[16] At the end of the exorcism, it was said that the demon was forced out and the girl was healed.[16] According to the Christian argument, while most psychologists would like to dismiss this case as that of mental illness, they cannot fully explain why she never had a relapse.[17] Clara went on to lead a normal and healthy existence, whereas schizophrenia and other dissociative disorders are often lifelong and require extensive psychiatric treatment.[17] In the early to middle part of twentieth century, people were committed to sanitariums for these conditions.[17] Yet, in this case, there seems to be no recorded residual effects. Full-blown mental illness rarely (if ever) goes away on its own.[17]

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See also

References

  1. Ordinary Magic. iUniverse. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “In 1906 Clara Germana Cele, a sixteen year-old school girl from South Africa, was said to be demon possessed.” 
  2. The Catholic digest, Volume 12. College of St. Thomas. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Clara Germana Cele, a Kaffir girl, had been baptized while an infant,” 
  3. Servamus, Volume 96. SARP-Uitgevers. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “In 1906 Clara Germana Cele, a sixteen year-old school girl from South Africa, was said to be demon possessed.” 
  4. UN PACTE AVEC SATAN. Dark-Stories.com & Sehrus. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “À l’âge de seize ans, Clara Germana Cele fit un pacte avec Satan – ou, du moins, c’est ce qu’elle avoua en confession au père Erasmus Hörner, à l’école de la mission qu’elle fréquentait depuis l’âge de quatre ans.”
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “While there is no doubt that much of humanity's aberrant behavior can be classified as mental illnesses or conditions, there remains a number of unexplained cases that continue to frustrate those who completely rely on scientific reason and logic to explain all psychic phenomena. There are two well-documented instances of exorcism, which occurred during the twentieth century. The first, which happened in 1906, concerned an orphan at the St. Michael's Mission in Natal, South Africa. The account, written by a nun, tells of a girl named Clara, being able to speak languages that she had no previous knowledge of and demonstrate clairvoyance by revealing the most intimate secrets and transgressions of people with whom she had no contact.” 
  6. The Devil's bride: exorcism: past and present. Harper & Row. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Rodewyk also cites the 1907 case of an African girl, Clara Germana Cele, who was supposed to have understood Polish, German, French and all other languages,” 
  7. A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Her cries had a savage bestiality that astonished those around her.” 
  8. Ordinary Magic. iUniverse. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “She raised up five feet in the air, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally. When sprinkled with holy water she came out of these states of possession. This was taken as proof of demonic possession.” 
  9. Tibetan magic and mysticism. Llewellyn Worldwide. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “In 1906, a sixteen year-old South African schoolgirl, Clara Germana Cele, levitated five feet off her bed during a seizure- and it was promptly diagnosed as a case of demonic possession.” 
  10. The Guinness encyclopedia of ghosts and spirits. Guinness Publishing. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “In 1906, a 16-year-old possessed schoolgirl, from South Africa, Clara Germana Cele, levitated up to five feet high, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally. She fell if sprinkled with holy water.” 
  11. Harper's encyclopedia of mystical & paranormal experience. HarperSanFrancisco. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “In 1906 Clara Germana Cele, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl from South Africa, suffered demonic possession and was said to rise up to five feet into the air,” 
  12. Rigid: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases. ICON Group International. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “Clara Germana Cele, a young South African girl, in 1906 reportedly levitated in a rigid position.” 
  13. Encyclopedia of mystical & paranormal experience. Retrieved on 2010–04–02. “In 1906 Clara Germana Cele, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl from South Africa, suffered demonic possession and was said to rise up to five feet into the air,” 
  14. Quotes and Paraphrases from Lutheran Pastoral Handbooks of the 16th and 17th Centuries on the Topic of Demon Possession. David Jay Webber. Retrieved on 2009–05–27. “Symptoms of physical possession – One must be careful not to mistake demon possession for a natural disease. Some symptoms which are sometimes mistaken are ecstasy, epileptic seizures, lethargy, insanity, frantic state of mind, and similar conditions. Convulsions and stupendous bodily movements should not be assumed to be demon possession. These sorts of symptoms could stem from purely natural causes, or could be partially assisted by the devil. Primary symptoms of true possession: 1. The knowledge of secret things, for example, being able to predict the future (Acts 16:16), find lost people or things, or know complex things that one has never learned (e.g., medicine). It is said that fortune-tellers often ask a spirit for help and that this spirit gives them certain powers. In that case, the evil spirit is assisting, not necessarily possessing the person bodily. 2. The knowledge of languages one has never learned. Just as the devil can bind one's tongue (Luke 11:14), it is reported from the early church as well as the time of the Reformation that certain demon-possessed people could speak languages they had never learned. 3. Supernatural strength (Mark 5:2-3), far beyond what they previously had or should have considering their sex and size. Much caution in judging demon possession is required. All of the circumstances and symptoms must be taken into consideration. Insanity should not be confused with possession. On the other hand, possession may be taking place even where these symptoms are absent.”
  15. UN PACTE AVEC SATAN. Dark-Stories.com & Sehrus. Retrieved on 2010-04-02. “Le 10 septembre 1906, l'Église autorisa le père Erasmus, son confesseur, et le père Mansuet, directeur de la mission, à exorciser Germana.”
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “Two priests were chosen to perform the exorcism, which lasted for two days. Clara's first response was to knock the Bible from the priest's hands and grab his stole from his shoulders and attempt to choke him with it. But, in the end, the demon was forced out and the girl was healed.” 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 A Faraway Ancient Country. Lulu. Retrieved on 2010-03-27. “While most psychologists would like to dismiss both these cases as that of mental illness, they cannot fully explain why both people never had a relapse. Clara and the Maryland youth went on to lead normal, healthy existences, whereas schizophrenia and other dissociative disorders are often lifelong and require extensive psychiatric treatment. In the early to middle part of twentieth century, people were committed to sanitariums for these conditions. Yet, in both cases, there seems to be no recorded residual effects. Full-blown mental illness rarely (if ever) goes away on its own.” 

Further reading

  • Demon Children, Martin Ebon, ed., pgs. 154-164
  • Possessed by Satan, Adolf Roderwyk, pgs. 120-127
  • "Mysteries of the unexplained", Readers Digest, pgs. 104-105

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