Religion and Philosphy faculty members speak out on Halloween panel


Philosophy and religion professors speak at halloween panel on Oct. 25 at Anspach Hall. 

A discussion about aliens, demons, and possession took place at the fifth annual Halloween panel Oct. 25 in Anspach Hall. 

The event was sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion and panelists comprised philosophy and religion faculty members. 

The first panelist to present was David Smith, with “Aliens: We Are Not Alone!” Smith discussed different movies with aliens and how they portray communication unconsciously. He elaborated by explaining how religion works through the unconscious. 

 “Aliens can be beneficial because they give people moral direction," Smith said. “They are potential friends because it opens up the possibility for communication to humans.”

Smith added how inner experiences connect us to a deeper and wider reality. 

Pamela Jones spoke about “The Divine Horsemen: Transcending Worlds.” She explained how Africans transitioned into the new world, and how humans are spirits. 

“It’s important to create a bridge to understand Africans brought traditions with them, which restores energy between humans and spirits,” Jones said. 

She talked about the religious practice of Vodoun, and the expression of spirituality by showing movement between worlds. 

Kelly Murphy focused on demons and the different meanings during her presentation called “My Name is Legion: Demons in the New Testament." She discussed how the term "demons" is commonly heard throughout the New Testament, and how it reflects human culture. 

Murphy spoke of “daimonia” and how spirits become evil and take over a person’s body, not for bad reasons, but rather causing physical or mental ailments. 

“The world of the New Testament writers had been destroyed by the Romans, but they wanted the borders redefined and to control the land again," Murphy said. 

Laurel Zwissler was the last panelist to speak. Her presentation was called “Houseguests from Hell: Possession in Popular Culture”, where she spoke about transcendence and how God is distant and communicates with people through priests or texts such as the Bible.

Bad Axe senior Hannah Sawdon attended because one of her professors was speaking on the panel. 

 “I came here because I like to support the department," Sawdon said. "I enjoyed how they related all of their topics to the classes they are going to be teaching.” 

Zwissler also discussed how people are actually speaking to demons, not God, and it’s a form of possession. She explained women are mostly targets of possession. 

“The human soul is passive in relationship to God and other beings, which brings this idea that God and the devil are fighting in these possessed bodies," Zwissler said.

Students in attendance asked questions after the panelists presented, providing more discussion about these topics. 

Alpena junior Mariah Purol said she wasn't sure what to expect because she came with a friend. 

“I liked the different points they made and the different perspectives interested me,”  Purol said.