Village of Rome, Italy


The scene starts in the hot region of Lazio, Italy.

My field research in the depth of italian villages in the 1980s revealed to me some classical examples of the liveliness of the works of anima in the forms of spirits and magical exercises. The most impressive thing of all was the phenomenon of spirit possession in the village I stayed in, which I had previously seen only in an introductory etnographyc movie of anthropology for freshmen.

One day my guide, one of the leaders of the Church of the village, noticed that I was interested in the phenomenon of spirit possession and he somewhat reluctantly agreed to let me meet one of the well-known spirit medium in the village. At a glance, the woman, in his mid-forties, looked like a born-tired peasant, baroque, sustained and reticent. My guide asked the sensitive to invite the spirits she was in contact with, and at first she grumbled, a bit reluctant to respond. But after a brief exchange of words between the two, the medium became silent for a moment and then suddenly she explored into laughter, the facial expression changed dramatically from that of a reticent peasant to that of an aggressive and excited person with glaring eyes, a person very hard to ima gine as the same as the one a few minutes before. The guide whispered to me that it was the spirit of Berlusconi who usually possessed the medium, and the guide also told me that his neighbors, mainly middle bourgeois, occasionally asked the possessing spirit for all sorts of advices.

The fact is that the guide, though being a member of the conservative Church of Rome, had a hidden but insuppressible sympathy for the reformist movement, so, basically, he held a negative opinion about this kind of phenomenon. He was embarrassed by witnessing such a dramatic transformation of the personality of the medium, but he appeared to me not to want to admit that such a phenomenon had just occurred in front of him.

Irrespective of the guide’s obvious distaste, spirits are witnessed everywhere in Italy; they are supposed to cause various effects, sometimes attacking people in the form of misfortune or crisis or sometimes giving advice to those young girls who have trouble in their life. These spirits, they say, are to be controlled by the various specialists like magic lawyers, spirit mediums, and so on. The constant need for votes is to soothe them so they do not cause damage to people.

A brief stay in italian villages would easily lead you to a full encounter with and maybe be possessed by such entity.