Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Possessed" Teen Stabs Mother

Ghosts have apparently been out for vengeance lately, this time in England. At her trial Lorraine Mbulawa, who stabbed her mother five times while in some sort of trance, claimed that she acted under the influence of her grandmother's ghost.

Mbulawa, who was 18 at the time, was cleared of attempted murder at her trial at Leicester Crown Court earlier this year but convicted of unlawful wounding. Psychiatrists said she was not mad and the jury agreed that she knew what she was doing. However, the A-level student, who was born in Zimbabwe, escaped with a 12-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Passing sentence on Monday, Mr Justice Keith said he accepted the defendant had strong beliefs in witchcraft and thought she was possessed by the spirit of her dead grandmother at the time of the attack in May 2009. He told Leeds Crown Court: ‘She believed spirits can enter the body and make you do things that otherwise you would not have done.’

The ghost reportedly told the girl that her mother was responsible for the death of her father, which prompted the attack.

Mrs Mbulawa said her husband collapsed and died suddenly in 2000 and she moved to the UK with her daughter two years later.

In her evidence Mbulawa told the court: ‘My grandmother said my mother was responsible for the death of my father and I had to do the honourable thing to my father by killing my mother.’ A policewoman who arrived at the house said Mbulawa was sitting on the stairs in a trance-like state, crying, shaking and hyper-ventilating, while her mother, who was bleeding heavily, was trying to comfort her.

There are some people who can get up and walk around while dreaming, and I think that's more likely in this case than anything paranormal. The article also doesn't mention whether or not Mbulawa was taking any of the new sleeping pills that can sometimes trigger such incidents at the time of the attack. Maybe the easiest way to prevent anything like this from happening again would be to put away the Ambien rather than calling in an exorcist.

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Anonymous said...

I think you're right about the sleeping pills. Often, when I explain what can happen if a skilled spirit or mage attacks a person, folks start thinking everything is due to that, when mundane causes are more likely.

I think it's because humans are bad at considering the base rate of a phenomena when weighing new evidence. This article has some interesting research on it:

Ananael Qaa said...

The training in statistics that I got as part of my psych degree has served me very well as a magician. When it comes to weighing probabilities, common sense is generally neither common nor sensible.

Another possibility in this case might be a command hallucination. That would mean the teen in question is schizophrenic, but about one person in 50 suffers from that particular mental illness. What percentage of people are haunted? My guess is it's a lot lower.

Pallas Renatus said...

Someone once called me and woke me up on one of the rare occasions I've ever taken an Ambien. Every time I blinked, I was completely convinced for several seconds that I was a Transformer on my way down the interstate. I have no problem at all believing that one drug or another, or even overly realistic nightmares, may be at play here.