Michael Taylor (Ossett)
Michael Taylor, an individual from the British town of Ossett, Yorkshire, is notable for his alleged demonic possession. Christine Taylor, the wife of Michael Taylor, expressed to the Christian Fellowship Group, of which Michael was a part, that his relationship with the lay leader of the group, Marie Robinson, was more carnal than it at first seemed. Michael Taylor admitted that he felt evil within him and eventually attacked Robinson verbally, who screamed back at him. During the next meeting, Michael Taylor received an absolution, but nevertheless, his behaviour continued to become more erratic. As a result, the local vicar called in other ministers experienced in deliverance in preparation to cast out the demons residing within the man. The exorcism, which occurred on 5–6 October 1974 at St. Thames Church in Barnsley, was headed by Father Peter Vincent, an Anglican priest of St. Thomas's in Gawber and was aided by a Methodist clergyman, Rev. Raymond Smith.
In an all-night ceremony, the group invoked and cast out at least forty demons, including those of incest, bestiality, blasphemy, and lewdness. At the end, exhausted, they allowed Taylor to go home, although they felt that at least three demons--insanity, murder, and violence--were still left in him.
The exorcism rite, which lasted until 6 a.m., exhausted the priests, who allowed the man to return home. Nevertheless, they cautioned that although they had cast out forty spirits from Michael Taylor, a few remained, including the demon of murder.
While at home Michael Taylor brutally murdered his wife, Christine, and strangled their poodle. He was found by a policeman, naked in the street, covered with blood. At his trial in March, he was acquitted on the grounds of insanity. This case became highly popularised as the "Ossett murder case of 1974."
In popular culture
Taylor's case makes a prominent appearance in David Peace's novel Nineteen Seventy-Seven, the second of Peace's Red Riding Quartet. Taylor, renamed Michael Williams, is exorcised by Father Martin Laws, the series' main villain, and afterward kills his wife Carol by driving a nail into her skull. Jack Whitehead, one of the two protagonists, witnesses the exorcism of Williams and the murder of Carol Williams, his ex-wife, which as in real life takes place in Ossett.
- The devil within. W. H. Allen. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "A few years ago a young Englishman by the name of Michael Taylor was being treated for what was taken to be demoniacal possession."
- Raising the devil: Satanism, new religions, and the media. The University Press of Kentucky. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "Within days, Robinson was able to get Taylor to speak in tongues at meetings, but events began to go wrong when his wife, Christine Taylor, expressed suspicions at one meeting that his relationship with Robinson was more carnal than at first seemed. Suddenly, Taylor later explained, it appeared that he and Robinson were both naked. "I felt evil within me," he said. "I fought it - but it overcame me. I had sought knowledge of myself and my being on this earth and she tried to give it to me but this is not the way." The result was a series of violent encounters. Taylor first physically attacked Robinson in a kind of Charismatic rage. "I did not know what to say," she recalled. "I started speaking in a tongue...Mike also screamed at me in a tongue. We just screamed at each other." Physically restrained, Taylor was calmed down, and he received absolution at the next meeting of the group. However, his behavior became more and more erratic until the local vicar called in other ministers with experience in deliverance. In an all-night ceremony, the group invoked and cast out at least forty demons, including those of incest, bestiality, blasphemy, and lewdness. At the end, exhausted, they allowed Taylor to go home, although they felt that at least three demons-insanity, murder, and violence-were still left in him."
- Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "In 1975, 31-year old Michael Taylor was exorcised at St. Thames Church, Barnsley, England, but went home 'possessed with the devil' and brutally murdered his wife. He was found guilty but insane."
- "Casting out the Devil!". Retrieved 2010-04-04. "Such was the case with Michael Taylor of Ossett, Yorkshire. On 6 October 1974, Taylor murdered his wife ripping her face off with his bare hands. Taylor happily married, had undergone an all-night exorcism. Father Peter Vincent, of St. Thomas's Gawber, near Barnsley, conducted the exorcism, helped by a Methodist minister and his wife. They exorcised Taylor of 40 demons except one - murder."
- The real exorcists. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "This exorcism lasted all night until 6 am. Mrs. Smith, Reverend Raymond Smith's wife, said that at least forty demons had been cast out and left Michael Taylor."
- Lure of the sinister: the unnatural history of Satanism. The University Press of Kentucky. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "The exorcists subsequently explained that although they had driven forty spirits out of Taylor, a few remained, including the demon of murder."
- Confession: studies in deviance and religion. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "Michael Taylor murdered his wife by taring out her eyes and tongue in October 1974 after an all-night exorcism conducted by two Yorkshire clergymen."
- Lure of the sinister: the unnatural history of Satanism. New York University. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "He then went home and murdered his wife, strangled the family poodle, and was found in the street by a policeman, naked and covered in blood."
- The freethinker, Volumes 97-98. G.W. Foote. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "Readers may recall the case of Michael Taylor, in 1975, who killed his wife shortly after an all night exorcism."
- The annual register, Volume 217. Longmans. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "The ancient practice of exorcizing demons aroused interest at a trial in March when Michael Taylor, of Ossett, Yorkshire, was found to have been insane when killing his wife after an exorcism."
- Confession: studies in deviance and religion. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. Retrieved 2010-04-04. "This fear of the bizarre dimensions of confession was particularly marked in the press coverage of the Ossett murder case of 1974."
- St. Petersburg Times: Exorcism approval rocks Anglicans