Main Session: Stafford Betty, PhD

The Growing Evidence for “Demonic Possession”: What Should Psychiatry’s Response Be?


A new breed of therapist is healing the mentally ill not with talk and drug therapy, but by releasing troublesome or malevolent spirits—most of them human in a former physical life–who have attached themselves to their victims. I am not talking about religious healers like the Christian “deliverance minister” Francis McNutt, but secular healers, a few of them licensed psychiatrists or psychologists, who have discovered, often by accident, that this new therapy works better than what they learned in medical or graduate school. They tell us that too often drug therapy only masks symptoms, and talk therapy reaches only as deep as the patient’s conscious mind. But “spirit release” usually heals, often permanently. Not only does it heal the client; it heals the attached (or “possessing”) spirit. Clinicians, therapists, counselors, and other helping professionals need to jump into the 21st century and add the tools needed to fight all kinds of mental illness. The materialist dogmas that deny the existence of troubled earthbound spirits (deceased human beings) need to be challenged, and psychiatry in particular needs to stop medicating supposedly sick brains while misdiagnosing the real problem.

Presenter Bio

Stafford_BettyStafford Betty earned his Ph.D. from Fordham University, where he specialized in Asian religious thought and Sanskrit. Today he is a professor of world religions at California State University, Bakersfield, and has evolved as one of the world’s most acclaimed experts on the afterlife. In 2011 he published The Afterlife Unveiled, which has emerged as a classic in the field. A more recent publication, Heaven and Hell Unveiled (2014), is an in-depth description of spirit life, with an emphasis on how spirits progress from lower to higher planes. This past June (2016) he published When Did You Ever Become Less by Dying? Evidence of the Afterlife from Philosophy, Religion, and Psychical Research. Betty’s article-length publications include a much longer version of today’s presentation, which averages over ten hits per day on He has traveled to India four times, on one occasion to do research for his latest novel, The Severed Breast (2016), which is set in India. He blogs for The Huffington Post in an attempt to reach non-specialists.

Persons I Especially Admire:
  • Gandhi
  • Mother Teresa
  • Seneca
  • Oliver Lodge
  • George Eliot
  • Tolstoy
  • Huston Smith
  • John Hick
  • William James
  • Mozart
  • Emerson
  • Wordsworth
  • Dostoevsky
  • Rāmānuja
  • Schübert
  • John Henry Newman
Main Academic Interests:
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Asian religion and philosophy
  • Paranormal studies
  • Spirituality and mysticism
  • Religion and philosophy in fiction
  • Mind-body problem
  • Religion and science

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