Nine-year-old Amelia, daughter of Greater Manchester-resident Nikki Ashcroft's, is a normal, happy little girl one moment, but the next moment she behaves like she is possessed. But there's hardly any supernatural power at play here. Amelia suffers from a rare condition known as exorcist syndrome.
Exorcist syndrome, which is also known as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAs), is a rare condition that manifests itself when a streptococcal infection such as tonsillitis triggers a wrong immune response and causes inflammation in the brain of the child suffering from it.
The condition causes symptoms like changes in personality, OCD, anxiety, and tics.
According to a Daily Mail report, Amelia's mother Nikki is 33-year-old, single and became utterly perplexed when she first saw her daughter with the syndrome.
Nikki, who also has an older son, Brooke, 11, said: "The day before Bonfire night in 2016, we were in Asda and Amelia just started randomly screaming and shouting."
She added: "I had to restrain her and hold her arms at the side of her. I was mortified and just thought, 'What has got into her?'"
Nikki recalled that she had never seen her daughter in such a way and continued: "Amelia was never easy. She had lots of attitude and liked to have her own way, but these outbursts were out of character and I had no idea what had happened. I was so shocked she was behaving like this."
She took a video of Amelia during an outburst and posted it on Facebook's disability forums, hoping to get some help.
Luckily, a woman messaged her about PANDAs, or "exorcist syndrome." She had no idea what it was and started searching on the internet about it. She soon realized that Amelia's symptoms were similar to the condition.
Amelia's weird behavior reached its peak at a meeting of her mum's local slimming club. Nikki said: "All of a sudden she leaped up onto the chair and hugged her knees and laughed hysterically. I didn't really know how to react."
She added: "I tried to talk to her and calm her down but she was sort of in a daze. 'We went out for dinner same day and she sat in the corner and laughed hysterically there, too. I was so shocked and again I just tried to calm her down. It was very very odd."
Amelia's tonsils were removed in September 2017 to control her response to infection. She was officially diagnosed with PANDAs in November by doctors at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wigan. However, she still has infections, leading to increasingly worrying tics.
Nikki said: "In the last few weeks, Amelia has started to settle down and she hasn't had as many tics, but we are always aware that they could change at any point. When everything settles down, it's great. because I get my little girl back, but I know she could go at any point and act as if she's possessed."