“I was bewitched”: testimony and expert opinion

2018, Charlotte, 31, begins to feel great anxiety and to be the victim of unexplained discomfort. After numerous and vain attempts at diagnosis and care, she meets an exorcist who disenchants her. His whole existence is transformed.

At that point in my life, everything was fine. After an attack at my home which had scared me, I had left the big city three years ago and the rather difficult high school in which I had started my career as a teacher, leaving everything behind me, including a colleague particularly toxic. Very committed to my profession as a teacher, I had just finished my doctoral thesis and I was putting down roots in a smaller and quieter town. But at the beginning of the winter of 2017-2018, everything went wrong little by little: I suffered more and more often from unexplained gynecological hemorrhages, vagal discomfort, and the painful feeling of being constantly watched. I was beginning to wonder if I was going crazy when I suffered a violent panic attack one day in February. Choking sensation, maddening tachycardia; I ended up in the emergency room. It was the beginning of eighteen hellish months, during which I wandered from doctors to shrinks, from anxiolytics to therapies, without finding either the diagnosis that could explain my condition, or the treatment that could relieve me.

I had all the symptoms of burnout; I thought it was post-traumatic stress due to my aggression, but I was also struggling with spectacular “jinx”. Things were falling on my head, my car had been vandalized, I couldn’t stand the pretty key to paradise tattooed between my shoulder blades anymore… I had the feeling of living under a bell without managing to catch my breath, and that I was constantly pressed on the chest. And when I stared at myself in the mirror, I struggled to recognize my own gaze, as if it were parasitized. I had the impression of dying out little by little, and that something was devastating me, emptying me of my life. Day after day, everything came undone: my companion left, and then I lost my job, my colleagues, my friends, my position… I ended up at my parents’ house, locked in my room and in my suffering, terrified at the thought of wanting to kill myself. I was dying little by little, and no one saw it.

“I thought I was dying”

I don’t quite know how, in September 2019, I landed with my mother in a tea room run by a kind of medium she had vaguely heard of. I am an academic, a rational researcher. I was totally hermetic to any notion of esotericism or black magic, and very little concerned with spirituality. But when the boss came to me to tell me that she sensed a powerful negative energy, and that she could fix it for me, I was disturbed. And even quite tempted: I had come to the end of my resistance, I think… She left us her number, and the night that followed was hell. I thought I was dying.

In the morning, I called her, terrified, to receive me urgently. My mother accompanied me. For a thousand euros, we were treated to a real witch staging, like in the movies. I could see that she was making a fuss of it, but I also felt that she could help me. I lay down on her massage table, as terrified of what was about to happen as I was of it not working. She fussed around my body, told me that a woman in love with me but whom I had rejected wanted to kill me, and I immediately understood that it was the toxic colleague that I had fled years earlier. And then an atrocious, appalling force stuck me to the table before extracting itself from my rib cage with extreme violence. I felt I was dying, and then I was coming back. I knew it was real, even though I had never considered it to exist. And I knew it was over: it was finally out of me. In extremis. My mother told me that at that precise moment, I was absolutely dead…

“It took me a long time to admit that all this exists, that it happened to me, and not only to me”

In the night that followed, in the midst of a sort of delirium, I thought of Sébastien, a Buddhist lama whom I had met a few months earlier during a meditation course where I had gone to seek respite. without success. He had told his near-death experience, and it was very much like what I had just experienced on the disenchantment table. I called him the next day to talk to him about it. We started a conversation that has never stopped since: we fell in love almost immediately and decided very quickly to live together. With him, I felt more and more secure, and I was able to piece together little by little the pieces of my puzzle from previous years. I spent the months and confinements that followed going back in time, overwhelmed with harrowing flashbacks. The always very Cartesian part of my brain still has a little trouble getting used to it, but the rest of my being must have had to face the facts: this awful colleague, who had deployed so much energy to take me in its nets, from which I had to extract myself by fleeing very far, had undoubtedly cast a spell on me. She had also warned me of it in a certain way, by harassing me by email after my departure, to the point of uttering death threats. I didn’t take it into account and thought I got rid of it by changing region, phone, and disappearing from the networks…

A work of “soul retrieval”

If the disenchanter was able to free me from this spell, no doubt cast by a witch as venal as her, as there are more and more of them everywhere, it was with Sébastien and with him that I was able to m Engage in a work of cleansing of all the harmful energies that revolved around me, then of healing, then of reconstruction. Of “soul retrieval” even, it is said in certain shamanic traditions. I felt so stupid, with all my years of university studies, not to have been able to consider anything other than what we are taught! I gradually reconnected with the very intuitive and even strangely clairvoyant little girl that I was, whose singular sensitivity I had let the adults curb so that she fell into line, becoming rational and reasonable. Like everyone.

As a good academic, I documented myself a lot. It took me a while to admit that all of this exists, that it happened to me, and not just to me. Plenty of time too to feel really safe and strong. Totally transformed even, or rather totally “found”. I still haven’t gone back to teaching, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to it, but it doesn’t matter so much anymore. I opened my life to spirituality, and started to study shamanism, reiki, magnetism. I am more and more convinced that the experience of this terrible crossing, in which I could have lost myself and which almost ended so badly, was given to me to wake me up and bring me back to who I really am. This is what I strive to discover and deploy now. Alongside Sébastien, with whom I had the pleasure of getting married last spring. »

For the sake of discretion, the first names have been changed.

3 questions to Claire Marie, psychologist and sleep explorer

What is a bewitchment? How to distinguish it from a mental pathology? These questions are as vast and dizzying as the existential questions to which humans have been seeking answers since the dawn of time. The view of a clinical psychologist, who is also a shaman.

For further


Psychologist, explorer of the spiritual, she is the author of How I became a shaman (The Pocket Book, 2017).

How to define a bewitchment?

Claire Marie: I am one of those who consider that everyone is at the center of a multitude of energy exchanges with their environment, especially other humans. And rather convinced, like the Bön religion, precursor of Buddhism in Tibet, that any thought can have an influence, beneficial or harmful, both on the person who emits it and on the one for whom it is intended. In this energy exchange between humans, the bewitchment would be an imbalance of energies; a spirit, an intention that clings to the psyche and invades it. In everyday language, the term is not necessarily negative: one can be bewitched by beauty, for example, or by a mutual feeling of love…

The problem is when some practitioners use bewitchment for purposes defined by humans. We can then call it witchcraft.

Shamanism, witchcraft, magic, how to navigate?

CM: To be an expert in the invisible is to be an expert in something you don’t master…

When it comes to handling invisible forces, two questions should be asked: what is the intention of the person acting? And what does it relate to in order to work? It is the intention that directs the work. And even if it is seemingly benevolent, it can bring about an imbalance whose consequences are unknown. For an intention to remain pure, clear, at the service of greater than us, the wisest thing is to rely on the Source – some call it God. I believe that we can speak of witchcraft when we manipulate very powerful energies without necessarily connecting to the Source. It is potentially very dangerous.

Are you aware that all this seems very strange, even inaudible, for mental health specialists?

CM: Not for everyone! Transcultural psychology, ethnopsychiatry explore all these questions, and show the importance of thinking about the symptom and the disease in a given cultural context.

I work in the hospital, in a pain management service, on “unexplained medical symptoms”; the team is open to the idea that our skills can meet and complement each other.

Over the years, I learned that I could be a shaman without my drum or my feathers: during our multidisciplinary evaluations, I sometimes discreetly slip in the concepts of soul loss and soul retrieval. The professionals then question me, they are moved, sometimes touched. We still have a lot to explore in terms of the unexplained.

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“I was bewitched”: testimony and expert opinion