I keep hearing about various small churches trying to cast out demons of homosexuality from young men, or various religious leaders trying to pray sin and/or demons out of certain cities, and I reflect on the number of people (pagan and non-pagan) who have tried to convince me that their story about either witnessing possession or being possessed was fact.
Honestly, I doubt if even 1 in 100 of those stories have any truth to them. Not because I'm a skeptic about mystical occurrences, but because I just don't think any evil spiritual entity has anything to gain from possessing a teenager or making more people in San Francisco gay than other places. Probably because I just don't believe in the Christian right's view about demons. Sure, there are some less-than-friendly spiritual entities out there - you can't really get away with believing in the good ones without accepting the bad ones as real too, but you also can't tell me that throwing a glass of ice water in a possessed person's face will end it and not expect me to scoff.
I've seen trance possession as part of my spiritual practice, and if you haven't then there's really no explaining it. But ice water won't end it, honest.
I think a lot of the people who claim someone or someplace is demonically influenced just don't want to admit that reality is what it is, so they have to blame the parts they don't like on some cosmic boogeyman. And as for the people faking being possessed? They're just looking for attention, they're bored, and they feel like that may be the only way they can get away with using really foul language.
So, my magical friends, the next time someone starts pretending to be possessed by demons, here are your tests:
#1 - throw a glass of ice water in their face and see if they snap out of it
#2 - if #1 fails, pour a second glass of ice water down the back of their pants
#3 - if #2 fails, that's when you very quietly try the smudge. Anything beyond this, hopefully you've got something in your BoS to deal with the situation.
I've never seen #1 fail.