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In the movie Drag Me to Hell the demon moves from possessing a human to possessing a goat, whereupon the goat says something like "you tricked me...".

How can the goat be talking, even though it is possessed? Plain demon possession doesn't imply physical change of vocal chords etc so what is the scientifically coherent rational explanation that a goat that is possessed by a demon also can talk like a human?

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Suspension of disbelief. You've already accepted that there are demons and that they can possess humans and goats. It doesn't take much to accept that the goat talks. The movie purposefully doesn't go and spell out the details so that there's nothing that you could nitpick and mistrust — the possessed goat can talks, because the author says so, and you're caught up in the story and accept what the author says.

How does the goat talk? Through the demon's vocal cords, perhaps. Or maybe possession has a physical effect on some of the goat's organs. Or maybe the sound is emitted by magic — a wizard demon did it. Demonic possession is well-known to confer all kinds of physical and mental abilities after all.

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    +1 for conferring extra physical and mental abilities. If demonic possession can allow you to twist your head all the way around without severing your spinal cord and shattering your vertebrae, then modifying the perceived sound of an animals vocalizations seems trivial. – gnovice Aug 17 '11 at 18:35
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I would like to add that the main issue with a goat being able to speak English is the hard palate and teeth of the goat's mouth, and not the vocal cords. Goats are very loud, and make bleating, honking sounds like a whiny human children very often (I suspect they can tell it bothers humans so they do it more). In the lore of most demonic stories, demon possession changes the physical laws that normal constrain humans (as described by @Gilles) so I think that the demon could pretty easily force the palate into a shape to form English words.

Two other notes; in Christian lore, Satan is often depicted as taking a goat form, so the goat may have briefly become Satan himself. Additionally, the demon may just be manipulating the experiences of the humans around it, and psychically implanting the idea that the goat spoke in English directly into their minds.

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...so what is the scientifically coherent rational explanation that a goat that is possessed by a demon...

Once you start talking about "possessed by a demon" then "scientifically coherent rational" goes out the window. One is magic, the other one science. If you can suspend disbelief enough to allow for demonic possession, then a talking goat should be no obstacle.

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The demon can communicate psychically(ie. it communicates at other times without taking a body), so it can make you "hear" its voice even if the goat can't make human speech.

  • I also accept this answer – Niklas Aug 17 '11 at 21:56

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