STORIA DELLA STREGONERIA

Esorcismo di Marha Brossier

Fino alla metà del XVI secolo secondo la Chiesa streghe e demoni erano entità reali che potevano impossessarsi dei corpi e delle menti dei comuni mortali, specialmente se di sesso femminile (come si tentò di dimostrare con il Malleus Maleficarum).

La storia di Martha Brossier si sviluppa proprio in questo contesto infarcito di superstizione e rientra nella categoria delle possessioni demoniache.

Figlia di un tessitore di Romorantin, nata nel 1556 e morta in data ignota, Martha raggiunse la massima notorietà intorno ai ventidue anni per l’ ipotetica possessione demoniaca che dominava la sua esistenza.

La storia della presunta possessione di Martha Brossier inizia quando, a vent’anni, la giovane diventa apparentemente la vittima di Anne Chevreau, una donna di mezza età che viveva in solitudine e con la reputazione di essere una strega.

Martha fu considerata fin da piccola un soggetto anomalo. Usciva di notte sola, vestita in abiti maschili, e con l’avanzare dell’età non aveva mai mostrato alcun interesse per il matrimonio.

Con il manifestarsi di comportamenti ancora più bizzarri, come le strane voci gutturali che provenivano dalla sua bocca chiusa, gli abitanti di Romorantin giunsero alla conclusione che si trattasse di stregoneria.

Una sorta di incantesimo oscuro scagliato dalla Chevreau sulla povera Martha.

L’accusa di stregoneria nei confronti della Chevreau terminò con la sua incarcerazione, ma gli strani comportamenti di Martha ebbero un seguito del tutto differente. I suoi genitori videro nella presunta possessione della figlia un’opportunità per facili guadagni. Girando di villaggio in villaggio, iniziarono ad esporla al pubblico durante gli “attacchi demoniaci” di cui era preda quasi quotidianamente.

Secondo i resoconti dell’epoca, Martha soffriva di un’inspiegabile difficoltà respiratoria ed era dotata dell’abilità di estendere la lingua fuori dalla bocca oltre al limite considerato umanamente possibile. I suoi “attacchi demoniaci” si manifestavano con movimenti convulsi della bocca, una faccia deformata dallo sforzo e dal dolore, occhi che ruotavano all’indietro e arti contorti in posizioni innaturali.

Usava spesso parole violente pronunciate con voce profonda (talvolta in inglese o in greco). Era in grado di compiere balzi da sdraiata, come se qualcuno stesse cercando di trascinarla violentemente, sollevandola e gettandola ripetutamente a terra.

Nel giro di poco tempo Martha divenne una piccola celebrità in Francia. Il vescovo di Parigi, Hendri de Gondi, fece esaminare la ragazza da cinque membri della sua facoltà di teologia accompagnati da Michel Marescot, medico personale del Re di Francia.

Anche se tre dei cinque membri della facoltà giunsero alla conclusione che si trattasse di una finta possessione, probabilmente dovuta a qualche malattia mentale, il vescovo decise comunque di procedere con un esorcismo della ragazza, convinto che la possessione demoniaca fosse genuina.

Michel Marescot si accorse quasi immediatamente che c’era qualcosa di strano nelle manifestazioni demoniache di Martha e decise di sottoporla ad un test.

Durante l’esorcismo condotto dal vescovo, Martha si dimostrò irriverente e violenta, come previsto da una persona posseduta da uno spirito maligno. Non appena gli assistenti del prelato riuscirono a bloccarla, posizionarono un frammento della “vera croce di Cristo” nella sua bocca, causandole ciò che vennero interpretati come atroci tormenti.

Ciò che il vescovo, i suoi assistenti e la stessa Martha non sapevano era che Marescot aveva sostituito la reliquia con un semplice pezzo di legno.

Dopo la spiegazione di Marescot, il vescovo di Parigi non sembrò tuttavia convinto che la possessione fosse fasulla. Ma il medico reale non era tipo da darsi per vinto di fronte a questo genere di difficoltà. Trovò come alleato l’arcivescovo di Lione, Charles Miron, e insieme a lui elaborò due ulteriori test per verificare l’autenticità della possessione.

Nel primo fece bere alla ragazza semplice acqua di fonte spacciandola per acqua santa. Nel secondo, ordinò un esorcismo (condotto dall’arcivescovo) con tanto di frammento proveniente dalla “vera croce di Cristo”. In realtà, la reliquia non era altro che una comune chiave avvolta da seta rossa. Le parole in latino recitate da Miron erano versi dell’ Eneide di Virgilio.

Martha reagì al finto esorcismo come se si trattasse di un autentico rituale di espulsione dei demoni, convincendo Marescot e Miron che la ragazza non fosse affatto posseduta. La reazione alla finta acqua santa fu pressoché identica, consolidando ulteriormente l’idea della finta possessione demoniaca.

Successivamente, sul caso di Martha intervenne addirittura il parlamento francese, nominando undici medici che dichiararono unanimamente l’assenza di qualunque fenomeno riconducibile a possessione demoniaca.

Scoprirono inoltre che le voci che sembravano scaturire dalla sua bocca chiusa erano frutto di un abile utilizzo dell’arte del ventriloquio.

Nonostante questo, la Bossier continuò i suoi tour per la Francia fino alla morte, sostenuta da centinaia di spettatori che ritenevano genuine le sue manifestazioni di possessione demoniaca.

The Mysterious Exorcism of Martha Brossier

Tratto dal sito VitAntica
a cura di Daniele Bagnoli

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