Lore Report: “Under the Skin” (Episode 185)

Exorcism Cleric Doing a Spell (1878)


So let’s take a trip together: a journey into the past, where possession stories were rarely taken for granted. And where real lives were impacted by real superstitions, where the devil himself showed up and lives were destroyed in the process. But hold on to something solid, lock the door, and maybe turn on a light or two, because this one is bound to get under your skin.

Episode 185 of the Lore podcast gets positively devilish, dealing with the subject of Satanic/demonic possession. Host Aaron Mahnke begins with an overview of evil figures in various faiths, from ancient Zoroastrianism to modern Catholicism (which absorbed/repurposed many features from other cultures’ devils, such as ancient Greece’s sinister satyr Pan). The bulk of the episode is devoted to the story of a turn-of-the-20th-Century teenager who apparently was possessed by Satan while living in a South African mission. Her manifestations of infernal takeover were chilling, including bouts of levitation that could only be counteracted by dousing with holy water. Mahnke is careful to address the pop cultural aspect of possession narratives, and throughout the episode makes interesting reference to The Exorcist. Brief but fiendishly good, “Under the Skin” is apt to raise goosebumps atop yours.


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