On Aug. 22, 2003, an autistic 8-year-old boy in Milwaukee was bound in sheets and held down by church members during a prayer service held to exorcize the evil spirits they blamed for his condition. An autopsy found extensive bruising on the back of the child's neck and concluded that he died of asphyxiation.
An exorcism in 2005 at a Romanian convent resulted in the death of Maricica Irina Cornici, a 23-year-old nun who said she heard the devil telling her she was sinful. With assistance from four nuns, priest Daniel Corogeanu bound Cornici to a cross, gagged her mouth with a towel, and left her for three days without food or water. Cornici, who had a history of schizophrenia, died of suffocation and dehydration.
The Vatican accepts only a small percentage of demonic possessions as "authentic," which of course suggests that there are many unauthentic cases of possession. The Vatican issued official guidelines on exorcism in 1614 and revised them in 1999.
In addition to Catholic Church-sanctioned exorcists such as those in The International Association of Exorcists, there are countless exorcists with little or no official church affiliation.