Death of Dr. Sherif Zaki, 1993-2019


In 1985, Sherif Zaki from Cairo managed to carry out a three-day exorcism of a patient whose sinewy forearms were growing increasingly like fingers. Dr. Zaki said the patient’s hands were spiky and would bite when he shook, a symptom of possession.

This experience ultimately made Zaki the “world’s foremost expert in use of mind-body medicine, human psychosis and paranormal phenomena”, according to his obituary in New York Times.

Zaki was awarded the 2007 Doctor of Human Letters (DHR) at Johns Hopkins University.

In 1993, the US Geographical Society awarded Zaki the “Leader in Exploration Award”.

When research and communication were imperfect, and scientific evidence was lacking, Dr. Zaki founded societies for psychology and medicine.

In 2002, another induction, the Sciences of God and mind-body science, was organized by the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Most recently, in 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics awarded Zaki the Career Achievement in Physician Training award.

He was also an artist and illustrator.

Words and Photos

Dr. Sherif Zaki’s blood cults, exorcisms, yellowstone skulls and other bits of bizarre media and art he produced were often listed on his websites and uploaded onto his Facebook page.

Sometimes, people in his “nefarious circles” would pay him to hold “psychological mutilations”, according to a 2011 profile in the New York Times.

The perks of this trade were documented in an incident in 2012, which The New York Times wrote:

One Friday night, in October, hundreds of volunteers worked for nearly four hours as Zaki dissolved the heads of 22 dead elk on a metal platter under a tent in front of a large lecture hall.

Some people grew teary-eyed, some had a strained smile and others gave subtle nods.

The spinal cords of the deer were removed, too, and they were placed in to jars to be cut open in 25 years. “In this case, the skulls would be cold and decomposing by then,” Zaki said. “The vertebrae would be swollen. That’s what these games try to simulate.”

Zaki, like many others, thought post-traumatic stress disorder could be caused by traumatic sights and sounds. (Zaki was the subject of a New York Times op-ed in 2013.)

He said exorcisms often worked. “The people that they don’t believe will become believers,” he said in the 2012 profile.

Zaki’s final full performance was the exorcism of an armed soldier in Iraq who was trying to kill his fellow soldiers, according to The Daily Beast.

It was in 2013 that one of his students recognised the handwriting in a Google email he had sent.

He created the website, where he performed more than 30 exorcisms.

Born: August 30, 1950

Residence: Upper West Side, New York

His life: He worked as a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York until 2004. In 1985, he performed a three-day exorcism of a patient with the muscular mottled extremities. He said the condition was caused by the patient’s supernatural beliefs, and zinedigmophobia. (Zhidomania)

He became a cult figure in his area of psychiatry as a result. In 1995, he provided drugs to thousands of suicidal patients at Columbia University Medical Center.

The first professional venture in his field occurred in 1999. Zaki published a book, The Exploration of Nightmares and Delusions with an Expanding Mind: Investigating Paranormal Experiences, by pointing out what he believed were signs in dreams.

Although the visions and experiences were not empirical, it changed Zaki’s life, according to his obituary.

“This led to the formation of a group of practitioners, known as the group after the book and published books they published, and there are today hundreds of members of this group,” the obituary said.

His daughters, Natalya and Karin Zaki, are the same age as their father was when he started practicing.

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