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In the medieval world, the diving line between an illness and spiritual state, demonic possession, was not always evident and many of the symptoms were similar. Both of them could be seen as outer forces attacking a victim. In some canonization processes an undisputable proof was required to categorize the disorder as supernatural, while in other hearings such a categorization seem to have been accepted quite willingly by the inquisitorial committee. A third group was constituted by those processes, where the diving line was not clear and apparently not important. Deliveries from malign spirits were never the most numerous manifestations of saintly powers. The societal changes during the late Middle Ages, like medicalization, reformation and clerical attempts to control the miraculous had their effect on the categorizations, but demonic possession was not one uncomplicated category -- to discern lived realities and personal experiences, to fully understand the phenomenon, one has to be sensitive to the nuances of various cases and contexts.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections
The boundaries between mental, social and physical order and various states of disorder – unexpected mood swings, fury, melancholy, stress, insomnia, and demonic influence – form the core of this compilation. For medieval men and women, religious rituals, magic, herbs, dietary requirements as well as to scholastic medicine were a way to cope with the vagaries of mental wellbeing; the focus of the articles is on the interaction and osmosis between lay and elite cultures as well as medical, theological and political theories and practical experiences of daily life.
Time span of the volume is the later Middle Ages, c. 1300-1500. Geographically it covers Western Europe and the comparison between Mediterranean world and Northern Europe is an important constituent.
Contributors are Jussi Hanska, Gerhard Jaritz, Timo Joutsivuo, Kirsi Kanerva, Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Marko Lamberg, Iona McCleery, Susanna Niiranen, Sophie Oosterwijk, and Catherine Rider.

The standard procedures for making official proclamations of sainthood – as well as the agents who actively participated in the events – are well known. The pope opened the process and nominated commissioners to lead the hearing, while local proctors helped to manage the practical tasks and official notaries recorded the depositions of sworn witnesses. The way in which all these pieces were actually put into practice, however, took various forms. This chapter analyses, with examples, the many ways in which canonization interrogations were carried out. It argues that it is essential to know not just the actual methods of implementation but also the context – that is, the process as a whole – to avoid making far-reaching, and false, conclusions based on one case or a single set of depositions.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections
In: Mental (Dis)Order in Later Medieval Europe
In: Mental (Dis)Order in Later Medieval Europe