- Pearce-Higgins, Canon John D.
- Anglican clergyman and spiritualist known for his “depossession” work. Canon John D. Pearce-Higgins was former vice provost of Southwark Cathedral in London, and one of the founders of the Anglican Church’s Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies. He chaired its Psychic Phenomena Committee. He was knowledgeable about psychology and took care to rule out psychiatric disorders in cases that seemed to involve spirit interference. Pearce-Higgins preferred not to use the term EXORCIST. He said his religious service has no relation to the ideas of binding and adjuring present in other Christian exorcisms. He did not damn the entity to eternal hellfire, believing the discarnate needs as much counseling and help as the victim. In Pearce-Higgins’ view, even the most intractable spirits may someday repent.As did DR. CARL A. WICKLAND, Pearce-Higgins persuaded rather than forced possessing entities to leave their living victims and enter the next realm of consciousness. He disagreed with the orthodox Christian notion of evil spirits and possessing DEMONs, stating that if the DEVIL and his minions really tormented the living, then dualism, not monotheism, exists. The concept of Christian demonic EXORCISM—to bind and place the Devil under oath by the power of God, sending it to everlasting damnation— does not take into account the idea that some people die but do not realize it. Pearce-Higgins preferred to think that even the Devil is a FALLEN ANGEL, who, along with human sinners, may be redeemed. In his view, the possessing spirit needs as much help as the victim. Many cases of possession are caused by souls confused by the transition to the afterlife and thus earthbound, he said. He argued for a more serious attitude toward spirit POSSESSION and a gentle guiding of both the possessed and the possessing spirit into better understanding of death and afterlife. He believed that there are more haunted people and haunted places than anyone realizes, because of these earthbound souls.Pearce-Higgins wrote a ritual to release earthbound souls and send them to heaven, or the White Light. He called the process “soothing” rather than exorcising. He “soothed” or depossessed both people and places, using the services of mediums. His ritual, a combination of Anglican liturgy and special prayers, has been distributed worldwide to those in need.
Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 2009.
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