18 Years Possessed? The Seven Devils of George Lukins

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18 Years Possessed? The Seven Devils of George Lukins

The concept of the existence of paranormal activity is an intriguing thought for many people. With so many unnatural incidents being reported which ar

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The concept of the existence of paranormal activity is an intriguing thought for many people. With so many unnatural incidents being reported which are directly associated with demonic possession, it is important to uncover the truth. 

One such case of demonic possession, marked in the annals of history as a particularly confusing episode, is the demonic possession of George Lukins. As a matter of fact, the case of George Lukins was well known at the time, garnering infamous popularity in  England in 1778. Let us dive deeper into the mysterious case of George Lukins to find out what exactly transpired, in one of the strangest cases of demonic possession on record. 

Where It All Started

Reverend Joseph Easterbrook was an Anglican vicar at the Temple Church in  Bristol, England, when he came across one of the most controversial cases in his clerical career. On May 31, 1778, a member of his parish came to him with quite an unnatural request. Sarah Baber, his parishioner, had recently paid a visit to the nearby town of Yatton, in Somerset, and witnessed a man inflicted with an unexplained condition.  

Temple Church, Bristol (NotFromUtrecht /  CC BY-SA 3.0 )

She stated that the man was a tailor in his forties and went by the name of George Lukins. According to her account, Lukins experienced fits daily, which were characterized by certain events. One of the foremost features of his fits was that he  sang and screamed loudly in different sounds. 

Some of the sounds he made during the state of trace did not resemble any type of modulation of the human voice. Apparently, George Lukins also hurled expletives and the vilest of abuses in an aggressive manner. Most important of all, Lukins also said that  doctors could not help him when he was in this state of trance.  

Sarah Baber had been living in Yatton many years before the incident and had formed a different impression of George Lukins. She affirmed that Lukins was a religious man who went to the church regularly and was perceived as a good man in society. However, all of this goodness in George Lukins was apparently put to the test when his fits started almost 18 years ago. 

Quite a long time under demonic possession, isn’t it? The mere thought of demonic possession can send shivers down the spine, and here was a man, apparently suffering from evil spirits in his body for almost two decades. What was going on? 

The Slap of Doom

There are many conflicting accounts regarding the reasons for the demonic possession of George Lukins. His family had taken him to several doctors, only to meet with disappointment when they could not figure out the reason behind his erratic behavior, despite their best efforts. 

It was even recommended that Lukins be observed over an 18-month long stay at St. George’s Hospital, London. However, the fits did not go away, and gossip in his local community soon branded him as cursed,  bewitched, or possessed by a demon.  

Just like everyone else, George Lukins himself was completely dumbfounded about the reasons for his fits. According to the testimony of Lukins, the possession started when he was performing a part in a mummer’s play one  Christmas. At that time a young George Lukins was making his way through the streets when he experienced someone slapping him so hard that he fell unconscious on the road. 

The slap, as many also referred to as “the divine slap”, has also been attributed to him consuming alcohol at that time, according to people who knew him. Shortly after the incident of the slap, Lukins started showing abnormal behavior such as seizures with strange barking sounds. The most distinctive highlight of Lukins’ behavior was the unexplainable and vigorous twitching of his right hand.  

It wasn’t long before George Lukins started to share the belief of the local community that he was cursed. George Lukins himself went on to claim that as many as seven  demons had possessed him. Lukins had also claimed that seven clergymen would be required for removing the seven demons. Based on all these events, Sarah Baber approached Reverend Easterbrook, who immediately made arrangements for bringing George to Bristol. 

The Exorcism of George Lukins

Reverent Easterbrook examined George Lukins directly on his arrival at Bristol. Easterbrook, along with his colleagues who had gathered to examine Lukins, were surprised at the things they saw. The sounds and expressions exhibited by Lukins, along with the unexplainable convulsions and aggression, led Reverend Easterbrook and some of his colleagues to believe that it was a real case of  demonic possession . However, other colleagues of Reverend Easterbrook were more skeptical about George being possessed by some demonic entity. 

Reverend Easterbrook sought the assistance of Methodist ministers in the area to pray for Lukins and help him perform an exorcism, such as Reverend John Valton and Reverend John Wesley. Reverend Easterbrook also published an account of the exorcism in the Bristol Gazette, a local  newspaper, in an attempt to silence all rumors about the event. The accounts state that George Lukins claimed he was the devil and exhibited violent tantrums while singing an inverted version of Te Deum. 

An Exorcism (Francisco Goya / Public Domain)

An Exorcism (Francisco Goya /  Public Domain )

Methodist exorcisms resembled  Catholic exorcisms in many ways, with rituals including commands and adjurations for the demon to leave. Prayers and hymns had to accompany the commands, and the process concluded with the casting out of demons by using the Trinitarian formula (the spoken phrase “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”).  

George Lukins after the Exorcism

After the clergymen commanded the demon to leave George’s body and return to hell, he appeared to return to normalcy. The accounts of Reverend Easterbrook state that he exclaimed praise for the  Lord Jesus  and recited the Lord’s Prayer. He further expressed his gratitude to the clergymen for their efforts. 

What’s more interesting about the case is that this recounting offered by Reverend Easterbrook appears to be of a successful exorcism. He stated that people in his modern era would find it hard to believe that the exorcism of George Lukins was indeed true. 

Because of the apparent success, he asserted that scriptures also bear the weight of authentic history in ancient as well as modern times. How much of that is true, and how much of Easterbrook’s testimony can be believed, is a matter for personal judgement.

Top Image: Reverend Easterbrook’s account is of a successful exorcism. Source:  Yupachingping / Adobe Stock.

By Bipin Dimri

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