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Med Sci Law. 1992 Jul; 32(3): 237-46.

Besieged by devils--thoughts on possession and possession states.

Prins H.

Midlands Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, Loughborough University.

Aspects of possession are reviewed in historical, cultural and clinical contexts. Consideration is given to differential diagnosis and management. It is suggested that a multi-disciplinary approach is required for a condition that stands at the boundaries of psychiatry. Two quotations from Elizabethan playwrights are relevant to the theme of this paper: 'Beware you do not conjure up a spirit you cannot lay' Ben Johnson, The New Inn (Act III, Scene ii) 'Farewell the tranquil mind: farewell content.' Shakespeare, Othello (Act III, Scene iii).

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