Thursday, September 13, 2007

Absurd Autism Treatment # 4: Exorcism

Chelation therapy is not the only "alternative" treatment to have killed an autistic child. Back in 2003, an 8-year-old autistic boy, Terrance Cottrell, was killed during an exorcism intended to cure him.

“We were asking God to take this spirit that was tormenting this little boy to death,” Hemphill said. “We were praying that hard, but not to kill.”

The pastor involved was later convicted to, get this, 2.5 years behind bars, plus 7.5 years under supervision.

He told police on the night of August 22, 2003 that he had been holding a series of special prayer services, described by some as "exorcisms", during the previous three weeks to remove "evil spirits" of autism from the boy. Hemphill described how he would sit or lay on "Junior's" chest for up to two hours at a time, whispering into his ear for the "demons" to leave his body.

Three women -- including the child's mother, Patricia Cooper -- described to police how they sat on the boy's arms and legs while Hemphill sat on his chest. One woman said she pushed down on Junior's diaphragm several times during the service.

At some point during the service, he stopped struggling and breathing.

An autopsy later determined that Cottrell suffocated.
(source) (Emphasis mine)

There have been other incidents, such as the one involving a 14-year-old in Indiana.

What's more disturbing is that doctor/parents who are looked up to in certain circles (specifically, the biomed camp) have endorsed it as a treatment that "works". Kev has documented the views of Jeff Bradstreet and Joe Pike (of the NAA) on the matter.

This is not surprising. People who believe in one form of woo seem to be prone to buy most forms of woo. For example, it's not uncommon to find someone who believes in Astrology and also buys Intelligent Design. An HIV/AIDS denialist might also be a global warming denialist. Patients of Dr. Roy Kerry, unsurprisingly, believe Homeopathy really works.


  1. I certainly hope the accomplices to this premeditated manslaughter were also charged and convicted.

    If not then this is one more case showing that there is little justice when the victim of a Crime is a person with a difference.

  2. Well, the minister who killed Terrance Cottrell may have thought he was carrying out an exorcism, but what he was actually doing was Burking (also known as "compressive asphyxia").

    I think that 2.5 years in prison is light punishment for torturing and killing a child. Laying on the child's chest "...for up to two hours at a time..." as the boy slowly suffocated. The suffering of Terrance Cottrell before he died is unimaginable.


  3. I haven't found indications that anyone other than Hemphill was charged. Certainly, I think that the women who were sitting on the child's extremities were complicit in the murder and should have been charged.

  4. If you ND's weren't misinforming the public about chelation, this child may have been cured with it instead of being killed by stupity. Ergo, it's your fault the dumb bastard who killed him was not aware of the truth. Chock up another murder for Neuroinsanity.

  5. Like your son is cured and the children of all major promoters of chelation are cured, right John?

    Let's face it. Parents who don't accept their children are more prone to kill them. You yourself said you'd rejoice if your son died, John. Karen McCarron was involved in biomed quackery.

    I see no indications that believing in the biomed model of autism prevents murders. I see the opposite.

  6. I think I remember at least one other case where an autistic boy died while being 'restrained' at school.

    It's not easy to breathe with people sitting on you but panic makes matters considerably worse.

  7. Its so sad, why cant the world just accept everyone is different, and we should celebrate.
    I dont want my son cured, there is nothing to cure!!

  8. Idiots like these make it rather embarrassing to be a Christian.

  9. lol. that particular minister and fore sam....

  10. Christians don't become frauds who harm children by obfuscating the FACTS about autism. Autism is not caused at age 14 by taking LSD 4 or 5 times a day.

  11. This is the sad result, of when people really attach themselves to the childish black and white thinking of religion.

    Nobody would seriously belive a child, if they said an imaginary friend was harming them. Yet here we have an example of adults claiming that.

    Religion doesn't have a place in a modern world where we know things aren't caused by spirits. To assume that seriously, and to involve a child in that erroneous belief is one of the bad aspects of religion. Today, "The spirits are hurting my child!" doesn't work anymore. These are parents who never grew up past age 3. God = imaginary friend to them.

    This is less about Christanity, and more about the people of that religion who prey upon those vunerable enough to so belive in it truely, like a small child. That they allow for something like this to happen. If it wasn't Christianity for these parents, I'm sure it'd be some other flight of fancy. Someone who belives in natural cures, or another snake oil cure.

    Makes one wonder, who really is "retarded". The child who doesn't have the ability to speak. Or the parents who do, and yet live life based on the logic of 3 year olds.

  12. Yoshi,
    God is not a spirit. It's not my problem if you think you're smarter than God. Let me know when you figure out how to turn a monkey into a human. David Andrews doesn't count.

  13. foresam

    I'm glad to know lsd doesnt cause autism- wow i had no idea.

    -real Christians also dont spew hateful garbage about groups of people/individuals
    what about loving your neighbor as youself?
    what about loving your "enemies"?
    by their fruits you shall know them...
    you smell rotten.

  14. Amanda,
    Have you checked with the doctor who diagnosed you to see if he's heard of LSD psychosis? You do want an accurate diagnosis, don't you.
    Real Christians expose scams so they don't harm more children. Real autistics don't stim ALL the time. You might remember that so you don't overact in your next video.

  15. John: I don't believe that's the Amanda you're looking for. Anyway, your bringing up LSD again and again is childish and impertinent.

    FYI, autism can't be diagnosed if it's a condition that first appears in adolescense or adulthood.

    BTW, did you know that LSD used to be thought of as an autism treatment?

  16. Joe,
    If autism can't be diagnosed that late, will most of the people from neurodiversity stop claiming they are autistic, including Amanda?
    If Amanda acknowledged the fact that she was normal before she used LSD, I'd stop bringing it up. Frauds should be exposed at every opportunity.

  17. This should be easy to understand, John, although with you it's hard to tell. Autistics can be diagnosed at any age. In fact, there are autistics who are first diagnosed at the age of 70. Rett's can be diagnosed that late, believe it or not. What the requirement says is that symptoms had to have been present before the age of 3 or so. See the difference or should I explain it again?

  18. Joe,
    We know that Amanda could talk and toilet herself when she went away to college. She also didn't stim 24 hours a day, if at all. So what symptoms did she have by 3. Did they disappear and reappear? Was she delusional by age 3; did she think she was an elf then?

  19. John: This is the last thing I'll say on this topic. Amanda has posted information on her blog explaining herself, precisely because there are people like you who are upset because she did not develop exactly the way you think she should have.


    Official papers and such

    Disclaimer on assumptions

  20. Joe,
    How did the autistics who were diagnosed at age 70 relate the symptoms they had by age 3? Did they ask 110 year old pediatricians to confirm the symptoms?
    Amanda was diagnosed with schizophrenia after she damaged her brain with LSD. I don't have any faith in what she has to say now with her diagnosis of the year. What diagnosis will she find for herself when she gets sick of calling herself autistic?

  21. Damaged the brain with LSD?

    I have to take the founder effects stand on this. Christianity is not a whore. It is not a religion of whores and it does not support whores or homosexuality, etc. Nor does it overflowing biobfuscate with life out of any crevasse and grotto. Wear a cross around your neck or your religion on your sleeve but don't come up this hill retarded or otherwise. It is the law of Moses that do not understand, not the science.

  22. christopher cole11/15/2007 7:31 AM

    Please consider the novel "The Closer's Song", published in 2000as reference into your research into the efficacy of LSD in Autistic persons.

    I have always suspected the efficacy of LSD as a remedy for autism and other developmental abnormalities.
    Sometime ago I wrote a novel entitled "The Closer's Song" about an autistic child who grew up in Sleepy Hollow NY. It is a the story of an abused child with learning disabilities, who is introduced to LSD as an adolescent. The book chronicles the life-altering effects of this occurence, and his transformation into adulthood as of all things, an outstanding and successful automobile salesman. This book is largely autobiographical and based on firsthand knowledge. I have long suspected that the life changing, reality-altering properties of LSD have the potential of moving an autistic person off the spectrum toward a higher psychological development. I in no way encourage or endorse the use of LSD without a legal, controlled and medical supervision, as the complications and dangers are apparent.

    Please feel free to contact me at

    Christopher Cole

    Author of

    "The Closer's Song"

    copyright 2000

    Library of Congress # 00-193381

    ISBN # 978-1-4257-7042-6 (hardcover)

    ISBN # 978-0-7388-5117-4 (softcover)

    also as a EBook through

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  24. @ fore sam

    It is a basic misconception that Darwin said we evolved from monkeys. in fact, both Chimps and Humans (another form of ape) evolved from a common ancestor. our larger brain sizes and long distance running ability allowed us to become more successful.