The Possession of Christian Shaw

Donna Leishman

Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw

The landscape of Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw is presented in a visual and almost entirely non-textual way, although the piece has a textual basis and its narrative and defamiliarizing aspects can easily be seen. The piece's effect arises from how it cuts off possibilities, putting the reader at the mercy of her exploration history. An interface offers tiny "active" portals, which may or may not carry the story forward; a world changes scale, and unnerving events take some effort to figure out.

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Author description: Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw is an animated interactive graphic based on the historical story of Christian Shaw and her demonic possession. Set in 1696 amongst the witch trials, this project explores new ways of experiencing a story — harnessing the allure of mystery and uneasy tensions and plucking the participant's sense of social responsibility.

Instructions: To hear the sound, turn on the computer's speakers or plug in headphones. Move the mouse over and click active areas to interact with the environment.

Previous publication: Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw was published by Leishman on her site,, in September of 2004.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

This Flash work has been preserved with Ruffle by the Electronic Literature Lab in February 2021. When it launches, a play button may appear that you will need to click; after launching it, the work may take time to appear.