The sisters called it an exorcism. Police call it assault and kidnapping.
South Carolina sisters Brittany Jones, 28, and Tiara Jones, 26, are facing charges for allegedly assaulting a neighbor with a cross in what police called an "exorcism attempt."
The incident happened March 19, when the sisters held the 56-year-old neighbor against her will for an "extended period of time," according to a police report cited by The State in Columbia. The sisters allegedly hit the woman on the upper and lower parts of her body with a cross, believing she was "possessed."
The woman escaped and got help from a neighbor. Officers arrived at her residence and found her home in "disarray," according to The Post And Courier in Charleston.
The woman told police she hadn't eaten since the day before because she couldn't make herself any food. She was treated at a local hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Brittany Jones was arrested last week and is in jail on a $100,000 bond. Her sister is still at large. Both face charges for first-degree assault and kidnapping.
Exorcisms of any kind remain rare and mostly the stuff of horror movies, although there are still some religious groups that study and practice them. Priests in Rome can take an annual exorcism course that addresses whether there is a demonic influence in vices such as porn, drug addiction and pedophilia, the Catholic News Agency reported.
There have been several instances of an exorcism leading to the grisly death of a supposedly possessed person.
A 6-year-old Georgia girl was stabbed, beaten and strangled in 2004 by her father and his wife as they tried to "undemonize" her. In 1995, Pentecostal ministers in San Francisco fatally beat a woman to rid her of her demons. In 1978, two West German priests and the parents of a woman who suffered from epilepsy were convicted in her death, after they starved her in an exorcism attempt that lasted 11 months. The woman, Anneliese Michel, was only 68 pounds when she died. In the United Kingdom, government studies linked about 1,500 abuse cases to parents who were under the impression their children were possessed by evil forces.
[Photo: Columbia Police]