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Spirit possession in various cultures

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Spirit possession is a term for the belief that animas, demons, extraterrestrials, gods, or spirits can take control of a human body. The concept of spirit possession exists in many religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Haitian Vodou, Wicca, Hinduism, Islam and Southeast Asian and African traditions. Depending on the cultural context in which it is found, possession may be considered voluntary or involuntary and may be considered to have beneficial or detrimental effects to host. Within possession cults, the belief that one is possessed by spirits is more common among women than men.

Ancient Egyptians
According to Augustin Calmet:
The Egyptians believed that when the spirit of an animal is separated from its body by violence, it does not go to a distance, but remains near it. It is the same with the soul of a man who has died a violent death; it remains near the body—nothing can make it go away; it is retained there by sympathy; several have been seen sighing near their bodies which were interred. The magicians abuse their power over such in their incantations; they force them to obey, when they are masters of the dead body, or even part of it. Frequent experience taught them that there is a secret virtue in the body, which draws towards it the spirit which has once inhabited it; wherefore those who wish to receive or become the receptacles of the spirits of such animals as know the future, eat the principle parts of them, as the hearts of crows, moles, or hawks. The spirit of these creatures enters into them at the moment they eat this food, and makes them give out oracles like divinities. Porphyry, when consulted by Anebo, an Egyptian priest, if those who foretell the future and perform prodigies have more powerful souls, or whether they receive power from some strange spirit, replies that, according to appearance, all these things are done by means of certain evil spirits that are naturally knavish, and take all sorts of shapes, and do everything that one sees happen, whether good or evil; but that in the end they never lead men to what is truly good. - Treatise on the Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires or Revenants

African traditions
Zār cult
In Sudan and certain East African cultures the Zār cult conducts ethnomedical healing ceremonies involving possession, typically of Muslim women by a Zār spirit. This is also found in North Africa as well.

Central Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo
See also: Zebola

Horn of Africa
See also: Zār

Gurage people
Among the Gurage people of Ethiopia, spirit possession is a common belief. Wiliam A. Shack postulated that it is caused by Gurage cultural attitudes about food and hunger, while they have a plentiful food supply, cultural pressures that force the Gurage to either share it to meet social obligations, or hoard it and eat it secretly cause feelings of anxiety. Distinctions are drawn between spirits that strictly possess men, spirits that possess women, and spirits that possess victims of either sex. A ritual illness that only affects men is believed to be caused by a spirit called awre. This affliction presents itself by loss of appetite, nausea, and attacks from severe stomach pains. If it persists the victim may enter a trancelike stupor, in which he sometimes regains consciousness long enough to take food and water. Breathing is often labored. Seizures and trembling overcome the patient, and in extreme cases, partial paralysis of the extremities.
If the victim does not recover naturally, a traditional healer, or sagwara, is summoned. Once the sagwara has determined the spirit's name through the use of divination, he prescribes a routine formula to exorcise the spirit. This is not a permanent cure, however, it is believed to allow the victim to form a relationship with the spirit. Nevertheless, the victim is subject to chronic repossession, which is treated by repeating the formula. This formula involves the preparation and consumption of a dish of ensete, butter, and red pepper. During this ritual, the victim's head is covered with a drape, and he eats the ensente ravenously while other ritual participants participate by chanting. The ritual ends when the possessing spirit announces that it is satisfied. Shack notes that the victims are overwhelmingly poor men, and that women are not as food-deprived as men are due to ritual activities that involve food redistribution and consumption. Shack postulates that the awre serves to bring the possessed man to the center of social attention, and to relieve his anxieties over his inability to gain prestige from redistributing food, which is the primary way in which Gurage men gain status in their society.

Sidama people
The belief in spirit possession is part of their native culture of the Sidama people of southwest Ethiopia. Anthropologists Irene and John Hamer postulated that it is a form of compensation for being deprived within Sidama society, although they do not draw from I.M Lewis (see Cultural anthropology section under Scientific views). The majority of the possessed are women whose spirits demand luxury goods to alleviate their condition, but men can be possessed as well. Possessed individuals of both sexes can become healers due to their condition. Hamer and Hamer suggest that this is a form of compensation among deprived men in the deeply competitive society of the Sidama, for if a man cannot gain prestige as an orator, warrior, or farmer, he may still gain prestige as a spirit healer. Women are sometimes accused of faking possession, but men never are.

East Africa
Digo people
The Digo people of Kenya refer to the spirits that supposedly possess them as shaitani. These shaitani typically demand luxury items to make the patient well again. Despite the fact that men sometimes accuse women of faking the possessions in order to get luxury items, attention, and sympathy, they do generally regard spirit possession as a genuine condition, and view victims of it as being ill through no fault of their own. However, men sometimes suspect women of actively colluding with spirits in order to be possessed.

Giriama people
The Giriama people of coastal Kenya believe in spirit possession.

In Mayotte, approximately 25% of the adult population, and five times as many women as men, enter trance states in which they are supposedly possessed by certain identifiable spirits who maintain stable and coherent identities from one possession to the next.

In Mozambique, a new belief in spirit possession appeared after the Mozambican Civil War. These spirits, called gamba, are said to be identified as dead soldiers, and allegedly overwhelmingly possess women. Prior to the war, spirit possession was limited to certain families and was less common.

In Uganda, a woman named Alice Auma was reportedly possessed by the spirit of a male Italian soldier named Lakwena, meaning messenger. She had ultimately led a failed insurrection against governmental forces.

Southern Africa
South Africa
A belief in spirit possession appears among the Xesibe, a Xhosa speaking people from Transkei, South Africa. The majority of the supposedly possessed are married women. The condition of spirit possession among them is called inwatso. Those who develop the condition of inwatso are regarded as having a special calling to divine the future. They are first treated with sympathy, and then with respect as they allegedly develop their abilities to foretell the future.

The Sukuma people of Tanzania believe in spirit possession.

A now extinct spirit possession cult existed among the Hadimu women of Zanzibar, revering a spirit called kitimiri. This cult described in an 1869 account by a French missionary. The cult faded by the 1920s and was virtually unknown by the 1960s.

West Africa
See Hausa animism

African diasporic traditions
Haitian Vodou
In Haitian Vodou and related African diaspora traditions, one way that those who participate or practice can have a spiritual experience is by being possessed by the Loa (or lwa). When the loa descends upon a practitioner, the practitioner's body is being used by the spirit, according to the tradition. Some spirits are believed to be able to give prophecies of upcoming events or situations pertaining to the possessed one, also called Chwal or the "Horse of the Spirit." Practitioners describe this as a beautiful but very tiring experience. Most people who are possessed by the spirit describe the onset as a feeling of blackness or energy flowing through their body as if they were being electrocuted. According to Vodou believers, when this occurs, it is a sign that a possession is about to take place.
According to tradition, the practitioner has no recollection of the possession and in fact when the possessing spirit leaves the body, the possessed one is tired and wonders what has happened during the possession. It is also believed that there are those who feign possessions because they want attention or a feeling of importance, because those who are possessed carry a high importance in ceremony. Often, a chwal will undergo some form of trial or testing to make sure that the possession is allegedly genuine. As an example, someone possessed by one of the Guédé spirits may be offered piment, a liqueur made by steeping twenty-one chili peppers in kleren, a potent alcoholic beverage. If the chwal consumes the piment without showing any evidence of pain or discomfort, the possession is regarded as genuine.

The concept of spirit possession is also found in Umbanda, an Afro-Brazilian folk religion. According to tradition, one such possessing spirit is Pomba Gira, who possesses both women and effeminate males.

Asian traditions

According to the Indian medical literature and Tantric Buddhist scriptures, most of the "seizers," or those that threaten the lives of young children, appear in animal form: cow, lion, fox, monkey, horse, dog, pig, cat, crow, pheasant, owl, and snake. But apart from these "nightmare shapes," it is believed the impersonation or incarnation of animals could in some circumstances also be highly beneficial, according to Michel Strickmann.
Ch'i Chung-fu, a Chinese gynecologist writing early in the thirteenth century, wrote that in addition to five sorts of falling frenzy classified according to their causative factors, there were also four types of other frenzies distinguished by the sounds and movements given off by the victim during his seizure: cow, horse, pig, and dog frenzies.

East-Asian religions
Certain sects of Taoism, Korean shamanism, Shinto, some Japanese new religious movements, and other East-Asian religions feature the idea of spirit possession. Some sects feature shamans who supposedly become possessed, or mediums who allegedly channel beings' supernatural power, or enchanters who it is said imbue or foster spirits within objects, like samurai swords. Hong Kong film Super Normal II (大迷信1993) shows the famous story of a woman in Taiwan who possesses a dead body to live her predeterminated remaining life. She is still working in the Zhen Tian Temple in Yunlin.

Chinese traditions
See Chinese spirit possession, Shi (personator)

Indian traditions
The concept of spirit possession exists in the culture of modern Rajasthan. Some of the spirits allegedly possessing Rajasthanis are seen as good and beneficial, while others are seen as malevolent. The good spirits are said to include murdered royalty, the underworld god Bhaironji, and Muslim saints & fakirs. Bad spirits are believed to include perpetual debtors who die in debt, stillborn infants, deceased widows, and foreign tourists. The supposedly possessed individual is referred to as a ghorala, or "mount". Possession, even if by a benign spirit, is regarded as undesirable, as it is seen to entail loss of self-control, and violent emotional outbursts.

Tamil women in India are said to experience possession by peye spirits. According to tradition, these spirits overwhelmingly possess new brides, are usually identified as the ghosts of young men who died while romantically or sexually frustrated, and are ritually exorcised.
Indonesian traditions

The animist traditions of the island of Bali (Indonesia) include a practice called sanghyang, induction of voluntary possession trance states for specific purposes. Roughly similar to voluntary possession in Vaudon (Voodoo), sanghyang is considered a sacred state in which hyangs (deities) or helpful spirits temporarily inhabit the bodies of participants. The purpose of sanghyang is believed to be to cleanse people and places of evil influences and restore spiritual balance. Thus, it is often referred to as an exorcism ceremony.

The women of the Bonerate people of Sulawesi, Indonesia practice a possession-trance ritual in which they smother glowing embers with their bare feet at the climax.

Japanese traditions
See Misaki

Malaysian traditions
Female workers in Malaysian factories have allegedly become possessed by spirits, and factory owners generally regard it as mass hysteria and an intrusion of irrational and archaic beliefs into a modern setting.
The anthropologist Aihwa Ong noted that spirit possession beliefs in Malaysia were typically held by older, married women, whereas the female factory workers are typically young and unmarried. She connects this to the rapid industrialization and modernization of Malaysia. Ong argued that spirit possession is a traditional way of rebelling against authority without punishment, and suggests that it is a means of protesting the untenable working conditions and sexual harassment that the women were compelled to endure.

Sri Lankan traditions
The Coast Veddas, a social group within the minority group of Sri Lankan Tamil people in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, enter trances during religious festivals in which they are regarded as being possessed by a spirit. Although they speak a dialect of Tamil, during trances they will sometimes use a mixed language that contains words from the Vedda language.

Oceanic traditions

The Urapmin people of the New Guinea Highlands practice a form of group possession known as the "spirit disco" (Tok Pisin: spirit disko). Men and women gather in church buildings, dancing in circles and jumping up and down while women sing Christian songs; this is called "pulling the [Holy] spirit" (Tok Pisin: pulim spirit, Urap: Sinik dagamin). The songs' melodies are borrowed from traditional women's songs sung at drum dances (Urap: wat dalamin), and the lyrics are typically in Telefol or other Mountain Ok languages. If successful, some dancers will "get the spirit" (Tok Pisin: kisim spirit), flailing wildly and careening about the dance floor. After an hour or more, those possessed will collapse, the singing will end, and the spirit disco will end with a prayer and, if there is time, a Bible reading and sermon. The body is believed to normally be "heavy" (Urapmin: ilum) with sin, and possession is the process of the Holy Spirit throwing the sins from one's body, making the person "light" (fong) again. This is a completely new ritual for the Urapmin, who have no indigenous tradition of spirit-possession.

The concept of spirit possession appears in Chuuk State, one of the four states of Federated States of Micronesia. Although Chuuk is an overwhelmingly Christian society, traditional beliefs in spirit possession by the dead still exist, usually held by women, and "events" are usually brought on by family conflicts. The supposed spirits, speaking through the women, typically admonish family members to treat each other better.

Roman Catholic doctrine states that angels are non-corporeal, spiritual beings with intelligence and will. Fallen angels, or demons, are able to "demonically possess" individuals without the victim's knowledge or consent, leaving them morally blameless.

No verses in the Quran clearly support stories of spirit possession. One verse in the Quran describes the behavior of those who earn interest on borrowings, acting as if they were possessed or controlled by a satanic touch. Muslims are told to "seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil" but the meaning of this prayer relates to the fear Muslims should have of the wrath of God, as the purpose of Shaitan is to mislead humans and make them disobey God. It is also stated in the Quran that the devil has no power of influence over those whom God has guided. For example:
   ● ( سورة البقرة , Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #275)
   ● ( سورة إبراهيم , Ibrahim, Chapter #14, Verse #11 and Verse #22)
   ● ( سورة الحجر , Al-Hijr, Chapter #15, Verse #42)
   ● ( سورة النحل , An-Nahl, Chapter #16, Verse #99-100)

Although forbidden in the Hebrew Bible, magic was widely practiced in the late Second Temple Period and well documented in the period following the destruction of the Temple into the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries C.E. In Jewish folklore, a Dybbuk is a disembodied spirit that wanders restlessly until it inhabits the body of a living person. The Baal Shem could expel the harmful dybbuk through exorcism. Jewish magical papyri were inscriptions on amulets, ostraca and incantation bowls used in Jewish magical practices against shedim and other unclean spirits.

Main article: Shamanism

Wiccans believe in voluntary possession by the Goddess, connected with the sacred ceremony of Drawing Down the Moon. The high priestess solicits the Goddess to possess her and speak through her.

Scientific views
Cultural anthropology
The anthropologist I.M. Lewis noted that women are more likely to be involved in spirit possession cults than men are, and postulated that such cults act as a means of compensation for their exclusion from other spheres within their respective cultures.

Physical anthropology
Anthropologists Alice B. Kehoe and Dody H. Giletti argued that the reason that women are more commonly seen in Afro-Eurasian spirit possession cults is because of deficiencies in thiamine, tryptophan-niacin, calcium, and vitamin D. They argued that a combination of poverty and food taboos cause this problem, and that it is exacerbated by the strains of pregnancy and lactation. They postulated that the involuntary symptoms of these deficiencies affecting their nervous systems have been institutionalized as spirit possession.

Spirit possession is not recognized as a psychiatric or medical diagnosis by the DSM-IV or the ICD-10. People alleged to be possessed by spirits sometimes exhibit symptoms similar to those associated with mental illnesses such as psychosis, hysteria, mania, Tourette's syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia, or dissociative identity disorder, including involuntary, uncensored behavior, and an extra-human, extra-social aspect to the individual's actions. In cases of dissociative identity disorder in which the alter personality is questioned as to its identity, 29% are reported to identify themselves as demons. Physicians regard this as a mental disease called demonomania or demonopathy, a monomania in which the patient believes that he or she is possessed by one or more demons.
Demonic possession is the belief that individuals can be possessed by malevolent preternatural beings, commonly referred to as demons or devils. Obsessions and possessions of the devil are placed in the rank of apparitions of the evil spirit among men. It is obsession when the demon acts externally against the person whom it besets, and possession when he acts internally, agitates them, excites their ill humor, makes them utter blasphemy, speak tongues they have never learned, discovers to them unknown secrets, and inspires them with the knowledge of the obscurest things in philosophy or theology. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions (i.e. epileptic seizures or “fits”) and fainting as if one were dying. Other descriptions include access to hidden knowledge (gnosis) and foreign languages (xenoglossy), drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, the sudden appearance of injuries (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength. Unlike in channeling, the subject has no control over the possessing entity and so it will persist until forced to leave the victim, usually through a form of exorcism.
Many cultures and religions contain some concept of demonic possession, but the details vary considerably. The oldest references to demonic possession are from the Sumerians, who believed that all diseases of the body and mind were caused by "sickness demons" called gidim or gid-dim. The priests who practised exorcisms in these nations were called ashipu (sorcerer) as opposed to an asu (physician) who applied bandages and salves. Many cuneiform clay tablets contain prayers to certain gods asking for protection from demons, while others ask the gods to expel the demons that have invaded their bodies.
Shamanic cultures also believe in demon possession and shamans perform exorcisms. In these cultures, diseases are often attributed to the presence of a vengeful spirit (or loosely termed demon) in the body of the patient. These spirits are more often the spectres of animals or people wronged by the bearer, the exorcism rites usually consisting of respectful offerings or sacrificial offerings.
Christianity holds that possession derives from the Devil, i.e. Satan, or one of his lesser demons. In many Christian belief systems, Satan and his demons are actually fallen angels.
The spirit spouse is one of the most widespread elements of shamanism, distributed through all continents and at all cultural levels. Often, these spirit husbands/wives are seen as the primary helping spirits of the shaman, who assist them in their work, and help them gain power in the world of spirit. The relationships shamans have with their spirit spouses may be expressed in romantic, sexual, or purely symbolic ways, and may include gender transformation as a part of correctly pairing with their "spouse". Shamans report engaging with their spirit spouses through dreams, trance, and other ritual elements. In some cultures, gaining a spirit spouse is a necessary and expected part of initiation into becoming a shaman. Evidence of spirit spouses may be seen in non-shamanic cultures as well, including dreams about Christ by nuns, who are considered to be "brides of Christ".
In the cultures of the Horn of Africa and adjacient regions of the Middle East, Zār (Arabic زار , Ethiopic ዛር) is the term for a demon or spirit assumed to possess individuals, mostly women, and to cause discomfort or illness. The so-called zār ritual or zār cult is the practice of exorcising such spirits from the possessed individual.
Zār exorcism has become popular in the contemporary urban culture of Cairo and other major cities of the Islamic world as a form of women-only entertainment. Zār gatherings involve food and musical performances, and they culminate in ecstatic dancing, lasting between three and seven nights. The tanbura, a six-string lyre (6-stringed "bowl-lyre"), is often used in the ritual. Other instruments include the mangour, a leather belt sewn with many goat hooves, and various percussion instruments.
Hausa animism or Bori is an African traditional religion of the Hausa people of West Africa which involves spirit possession.
Misaki are a collective term for spirit-like existences in Japan like gods, demons, and spirits, among other supernatural entities. Their name comes from a kannushi's vanguard, "misaki" (御先).

Misaki are subordinate to the high-ranking divine spirits, and when divine spirits appear in the human realm, and are said to be the small-scale divine spirits that appear as omens or to serve as their familiar spirits.
Misaki can be often seen as animals. The Yatagarasu that appears in Japanese mythology is one type of misaki, and when Yatagarasu guided Emperor Jimmu during Jimmu's eastern journey, this provides one example of the characteristics of misaki. Also, the kitsune within Inari Ōkami household are also one type of misaki, and like these Yatagarasu and kitsune, those that appear as heralding something important and the incarnation of gods are also considered misaki. In Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on January 11, when they first hoe the field, they would say "kamisaki kamisaki" and call for the bird, and there is an event for praying "noutate" for the sake of the year's plentiful harvest.

Spirit possession
In folk religion, especially in western Japan, misaki are connected to the faith in spirit possession, and like yukiaigami and hidarugami among others, the onryō of people who die of unexpected deaths and are not prayed for would frequently possess humans and cause calamities. Like stated previously, these misaki are small-scale spirits, but as small-scale as they are, the method of cursing is quite remarkable. Misaki are generally unable to be seen by the eyes, and are frequently encountered as a type of premonition of sicknesses and other things. When people walk on paths devoid of other people, it is said that sudden coldness or headaches are due to misaki. Since they are frequently said to float in the air, these illness are said to be because one has "come in contact with misaki-wind." In Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, those who faint due to intracranial hemorrhage are also said to have "come in contact with misaki-wind." In the Chūgoku region, it is said that the spirit of humans who die violent deaths become misaki.
As a spirit possession, depending on the place they appear, they are also called "yama-misaki" (山ミサキ, "mountain misaki") (Yamaguchi Prefecture, Shikoku) or "kawa-misaki" (川ミサキ, "river misaki") (Shikoku), and it is said that a kawa-misaki becomes a yama-misaki once it enters a mountain. In the Miyoshi District, Tokushima Prefecture, it is said that when one senses fatigue at a river, it is because one has "become possessed by a kawa-misaki."
In Shikoku, these spirit possession are called hakaze, and it is said that humans and domestic animals who encounter them will become ill, and sometimes even die.
In the Kōchi Prefecture and the Fukuoka Prefecture, they are seen as a type of funayurei, and the spirits of people who die at sea are said to become misaki, and are said to possess fishing boats and inflict harm such as making the boat completely unable to move. This is commonly called "shichinin misaki," and it is said that they would go away when one takes the ashes left over after cooking and drops them off the back of the boat. In the Fukuoka Prefecture, they are also considered a type of funayurei.
Also, in western Japan, in the Tsugaru region, Aomori Prefecture, when one is possessed by a misaki, one's body would shake without stop as if one's whole body was put in cold water, and like in Kōchi, by throwing the ashes from the firewood used in cooking off the ship, the misaki would be exorcised.
Wu (Chinese: 巫; pinyin: wū; Wade–Giles: wu; literally: "shaman") are spirit mediums who have practiced divination, prayer, sacrifice, rainmaking, and healing in Chinese traditions dating back over 3,000 years.
The shi (Chinese: 尸; pinyin: shī; Wade–Giles: sh'ih; literally: "corpse") was a ceremonial "personator" who represented a dead relative during ancient Chinese ancestral sacrifices. In a shi ceremony, the ancestral spirit supposedly would enter the descendant "corpse" personator, who would eat and drink sacrificial offerings and convey messages from the spirit. James Legge (1895 IV:135), an early translator of the Chinese classics, described shi personation ceremonies as "grand family reunions where the dead and the living met, eating and drinking together, where the living worshipped the dead, and the dead blessed the living." In modern terms, this ancient Chinese shi practice would be described as necromancy, mediumship, or spirit possession.
Chinese spirit possession is a practice performed by specialists called jitong (a type of shamans) in Chinese folk religion, involving the "channelling" of Chinese deities who take control of the specialist's body, resulting in noticeable changes in body functions and behaviour. The most famous Chinese spirit possession practitioners took part in the Boxer Rebellion in the 1900s, when boxers claimed to be invulnerable to the cut of a sharp knife, gunshots, and even cannon fire.

The State of Qi had shamans who claimed to be possessed by gods, and they were criticized as heterodox by Confucians. Movements led by shamans practicing spiritual possession often led peasant rebellions against the ruling dynasty during Chinese history. The Boxer Rebellion was one of many peasant movements that had shamans who claimed to be possessed by spirits. For the Boxers during the Boxer Rebellion, spirit possession was used for protective purposes.

Larry Clinton Thompson, in his book "William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion: Heroism, Hubris and the ”Ideal Missionary”, has a description of the spirit possession practiced by Chinese boxers:
... whirling and twirling of swords, violent prostrations, and chanting incantations to Taoist and Buddhist spirits. When the spirit possession had been achieved, the boxers would obtain invulnerability and superhuman skills with swords and lance.

   ● (1) Incantation to invite the coming of spirits.
   ● (2) Incantation to provide protection against spear and fire.
   ● (3) Incantation to provide protection against any outside attack.

Spiritual possession practitioners during the Boxer Rebellion and 20th century warfare claimed that once these incantations were chanted, Chinese deities would descend to offer protection, so that cannon fire or gunshots would not harm the human body.

Claimed abilities
   ● (1) Thunder bolts in the palm (Chinese:五雷掌).
   ● (2) Climbing ladder made of sharp knives (Chinese:上刀山)
   ● (3) Invulnerable to gunshots, cannon fire, and knife attack.
   ● (4) Ability to command divine spirit warriors.
Zebola, also, Jebola, is a women's spirit possession dance ritual practised by certain ethnic groups of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is believed to have therapeutic qualities and has been noted in the West as a traditional form of psychotherapy.
It originated among the Mongo people but is also practised among various ethnic groups in Kinshasa.
A walk-in is a new-age concept of a person whose original soul has departed his or her body and has been replaced with a new soul, either temporarily or permanently.
Believers maintain that it is possible for the original soul of a human to leave a person's body and for another soul to "walk in". Souls are said to "walk-in" usually during an accident or trauma. The individual either regains consciousness as a "walk-in" without memory of the past, depending on the severity of the experience, or may not lose consciousness but feel they have experienced death and rebirth in one lifetime. Individuals who feel they are "walk-ins" might need assistance to relearn walking, reading, writing, and basic daily tasks. This is supposed to give the new soul a chance to develop and integrate through the trauma. Some believers speculate that the original soul leaves when it has fulfilled what it came here to do, and the same body is used again for another soul to fulfill their purpose on earth.
Dissociative fugue, formerly fugue state or psychogenic fugue, is a DSM-5 dissociative disorder. It is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state is usually short-lived (ranging from hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. It is no longer its own classification or diagnosis as it was in the DSM-IV, but is now a facet of dissociative amnesia according to the DSM-5.
After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact. Because of this, there is not normally any treatment necessary for people who have been in fugue states. Additionally, an episode of fugue is not characterized as attributable to a psychiatric disorder if it can be related to the ingestion of psychotropic substances, to physical trauma, to a general medical condition, or to other psychiatric conditions such as dissociative identity disorder, delirium, or dementia. Fugues are usually precipitated by a stressful episode, and upon recovery there may be amnesia for the original stressor (dissociative amnesia).