Man attempts to cut off his penis after exorcism ritual
A badly mutilated Akulivik man is being treated in a Montreal hospital after an attempt by the local Anglican church committee to exorcise evil spirits from his future sister-in-law.
QUARTAQ — Word of an exorcism gone dreadfully wrong has spread out from Akulivik, overcoming a tiny Hudson Bay community’s reluctance to discuss an incident that left one resident emotionally devastated and another grievously mutilated.
Sources in the community, who agreed to speak to the Nunatsiaq News, confirmed that not long after a visit from two southern evangelists, the local Anglican church committee singled out one local woman as “possessed.”
One participant in the Akulivik exorcism, the woman’s future brother-in-law, had reportedly told several others they should “repent their sins.”
Then, in a gruesome turn of events, the man later attempted to cut off his penis.
He is now making a good recovery in Montreal from self-inflicted wounds. The man has reportedly offered several differing explanations as to why he wanted to amputate his penis.
Church committee organized exorcism
Eli Aullaluk, who describes himself as a municipal counselor and “a Christian,” said that this woman’s family first noticed that she was disturbed on February 19.
“She was not being normal,” he said. “Her mother asked her, ‘who are you?’ and her answer was, ‘I’m a bad spider, a devil, a demon.’ She knew right away that she wasn’t well.”
The woman, aged 30, was brought to the Anglican Church where the church committee spoke with her.
“They decided she was possessed,” said Aullaluk. “She was very disturbed. Naturally we would know that she was evilly possessed. We believe in this.”
A rite of exorcism followed. It was held in a room usually occupied by the community’s social services, on the suggestion of the social worker, also a member of the church committee.
The woman occasionally had to be restrained during the proceedings.
“They had to hold down her arms and legs or tie her arms to her wrists sometimes to prevent her from hurting herself,” said Aullaluk, who saw the woman on several occasions during her ordeal.
Woman removed by hospital staff
The exorcism came to an end when the woman injured her hands while trying to grab at a window blind, according to Aullaluk. She was taken for medical treatment and then transferred to another location.
The medical personnel wanted to remove the woman from Akulivik for medical treatment, against the wishes of her family and a well-respected healer from Puvirnituq, Eli Qinuayuaq, who had come to assist in her healing.
“The reason why we wanted to deal with it is that she wasn’t medically sick, but she was spiritually sick. There were people who were capable of working with her,” said Aullaluk. “It was definitely a spiritual problem.”
According to Andrew Koornstra, another evangelist from Ontario visiting in Quartaq, an exorcism or “deliverance from demonic stronghold,” is generally a calm affair where fasting and prayer play an important role.
Exorcisms more common
Koornstra said that he has witnessed other exorcisms during his visits to Nunavik. Although the presence of an ordained pastor is not necessary, Koornstra said that those conducting a “deliverance” should be strong believers.
Generally, these have occurred in the context of larger revivals. Another such gathering, the Eastern Arctic Bible Conference, is planned for Kuujjuaq in early April.
The Kativik Regional Police also expects no criminal charges to be laid in the two incidents.
“On February 25, we received a call in Akulivik that there was a woman who needed help from the police,” said KRPF chief Luc Harvey.
The police found the woman, who was subsequently transferred to the Inuulitsivik Hospital Centre in Puvirnituq.
“To date, she’s not in a psychological state to speak to us,” said Harvey.
No charges will be laid
The Sûreté du Québec investigators came to Akulivik to look into the circumstances around the two incidents, but the file has been closed.
“The investigators couldn’t determine whether she’s been held against her will or not,” said the SQ’s spokesman, Ronald McInnis.
According to Aullaluk, many people in his community were hoping that criminal charges would be laid. Then, their side of the story could come out in court.
“We would have seen which side was right,” he said. “The people here in the community, especially the people who were involved, are very unhappy with the decision taken by the authorities, like the police and the health services. They were wrong. She would be better now if they hadn’t taken her.”
Aullaluk said that such spiritual possession is not a regular situation, but one that other Inuit communities have seen recently and also a long time ago.
“This community here strongly believes that it is very possible to believe that people can be possessed by evil spirits,” he said.