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Freud and the Haizmann Affair

In 1923 Freud published an essay on the application of psychoanalysis to a case of demonic possession and liberation through exorcism in baroque Austria. For the psychoanalyst working with archival material, it is a matter of rediscovering neurotic ailments under a different rubric. According to Freud, the story of Christoph Haizmann clearly contains a truth which is dear to him, namely, the father conceived as devil. In this polemical text, aimed at Charcot’s heirs, exorcists from the 17th century emerge as unexpected allies of Freud.

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