From Talking Points Memo:
Bobby Jindal, the 36-year old governor of Louisiana, is being taken seriously by the national press as a candidate on the shortlist to be John McCain’s Vice President. No one doubts that he’s a political prodigy — his impressive resume includes stints as president of the state university system, a Congressman and now governor.
But one of Jindal’s job titles hasn’t gotten much attention — and it just might prompt a few questions if his Veep candidacy gains steam: Exorcist.
[...] an essay Jindal wrote in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, a serious right-wing Catholic journal, Jindal narrated a bizarre story of a personal encounter with a demon, in which he participated in an exorcism with a group of college friends. And not only did they cast out the supernatural spirit that had possessed his friend, Jindal wrote that he believes that their ritual may well have cured her cancer.
Reading the article leaves no doubt that Jindal — who graduated from Brown University in 1991, was a Rhodes Scholar, and had been accepted at Yale Law School and Harvard Medical School when he wrote the essay — was completely serious about the encounter. He even said the experience “reaffirmed” his faith.
In the essay (purchase required), Jindal describes an emotional friendship with a classmate, “Susan,” recently diagnosed with skin cancer and reeling after the suicide of a close friend. Susan’s behavior becomes stranger, and she is surrounded by “sulfuric” smells.
There are no known photographs, so here is an artist’s rendition of the event (Bobby is on the left, “Susan” on the right):
Here are a few snippets from Bobby’s essay:
The students, led by Susan’s sister and Louise, a member of a charismatic church, engaged in loud and desperate prayers while holding Susan with one hand. Kneeling on the ground, my friends were chanting, “Satan, I command you to leave this woman.” Others exhorted all “demons to leave in the name of Christ.” It is no exaggeration to note the tears and sweat among those assembled. Susan lashed out at the assembled students with verbal assaults.
Another artist’s rendition of the scene:
Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me. It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe. . . Though I could find no cause for my chest pains, I was very scared of what was happening to me and Susan. I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.
Don’t worry, kids. Everything ended well…
Almost taunting the evil spirit that had almost beaten us minutes before, the students dared Susan to read biblical passages. She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence “Jesus is Lord.” Over and over, she repeated “Jesus is L..L..LL,” often ending in profanities. In between her futile attempts, Susan pleaded with us to continue trying and often smiled between the grimaces that accompanied her readings of Scripture. Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed “Jesus is Lord.”
With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, “Has something happened?” She did not remember any of the past few hours and was startled to find her friends breaking out in cheers and laughter, overwhelmed by sudden joy and relief.
Jindal writes proudly about the experiment’s conclusion: “When the operation occurred, the surgeons found no traces of cancerous cells. Susan claimed she had felt healed after the group prayer and can remember the sensation of being ‘purified.’”