THE DARK SIDE (the underworld, exorcists, etc.)
Before telling you the eye-opening stories of some real-life exorcists as well as real people who had experiences with their houses or bodies being possessed, what does the Church teach about dabbling with the dark side?
For one, avoid astrologers, voodoo, palm reading, and all contact with the dark side. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. -
And what does the Bible record about possession?
In Matthew 10:8, Jesus says “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.”
Luke 10:17: “The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"
“As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel."
Mt. -20; And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move;
; And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him . . . “ (look up the rest. The story is long!)
And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.
Also see: ; , ; ; (link to online Bible)
The Experience of Exorcists
If you spend a few weeks reading nothing but articles and books by exorcists, you will find similar themes arising again and again: possessed people are bothered by religious articles; demons hate holy water (water blessed by a priest); demons hate the image of Jesus; and demons loathe priests. The sprinkling of holy water agitates and arouses the rage of demons during exorcisms, thus helping priests distinguish between true possession cases and those effected by a psychological disorder. Demons have long been disturbed by the crucifix, which reminds them of Christ’s defeat of them on the Cross, and demons hate the Blessed Mother (they detest the fact that a mere human accomplished so much for God). Demons despise the holy name of Jesus and prefer gutter language, often using the “f” word.
Demons are more likely to enter a person’s life via Ouija boards, astrology, palm reading, tarot reading and the other tools listed in our catechism than through other mortal sins. Priests often comment that the things demons do and say are quite mundane, sputtering out unoriginal comments such as “I hate priests.” Hatred and anger oozes out their eyes as they truly desire to kill people and pull their souls down to the underworld.
Fortunately, demonic oppression is more common than full-blown possession. Unfortunately, oppression can involve demons constantly influencing a person towards evil without actually occupying their bodies.
Finally, do you know the difference between ghosts and demons? Demons are the angels who fell into hell following the lead of Lucifer who is the devil. Ghosts, on the other hand, are human beings, and can visit Earth from hell, purgatory or heaven when God permits them. The ones in purgatory tend to show up to beg for prayers to expedite their purification so they can enter heaven. Because God does not always allow them to speak when they appear on Earth, these souls have sometimes left signs such as burning handprints or have conveyed their message by crying or facial expressions denoting pain. Humans visiting from hell may harass or even possess a person but this is not common.
Father Gabriele Amorth: This exorcist in Rome has performed 70,000 exorcisms. He has witnessed many possessed individuals speaking in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and unknown languages. After Pope John Paul II died, Fr. Amorth noticed that calling out to the late pope for help during exorcisms was very effective in eradicating demons. The priest finally decided to ask a demon why this is so. One demon responded, “because he disrupted my plans” and “because he pulled so many young people from my hands.” On one occasion, the exorcist asked Satan why he was so scared of the Blessed Mother. The answer was, “I am more humiliated to be defeated by a human creature than being defeated by Him.” Fr. Amorth turned ninety years old in 2015. More resources:
2) His book
3) “An interview with Father Gabriele Amorth” (by Gyles Brandreth, The Sunday Telegraph), featuring Father Amorth’s quote: "I speak with the Devil every day . . . I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years."
4) EXCERPTS FROM “AN EXORCIST TELLS HIS STORY” (p. 25-36) by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome. Excerpts were originally published by Ignatius Insight
Part One of “The Real Exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth” (Ignatius Insight)
Part Two of “The Real Exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth” (Ignatius Insight)
Father Gary Thomas – This exorcist was the inspiration for a book and a movie. The book is The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. The movie is the The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins. Father Thomas is the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose in California.
In his interview with the Catholic World Reporter, Fr. Thomas said he has only rarely spoken to the demons he has exorcised, except to say, “What’s your name?” and “In the name of Jesus, get out!” One demon identified himself as Satan in the presence of the priest. According to Fr. Thomas, “demons enter through the senses . . . it is as if the eyes of a person look like they have Coke bottle-like contact lenses; there is a presence within the presence. But the demons are very devious, and they want to hide, and so I just continue looking at the eyes . . .”
According to Fr. Thomas, the common ways that demons gain access to human bodies are involvement in pagan rituals, and satanic or occult practices, including Wicca, black magic, white magic, psychics, séances, Tarot cards, earth worship, witchcraft, crystals, and spells. Fr. Thomas took a training course in exorcism at the Regina Apostolorum in Rome.
In this video, Fr. Gary Thomas speaks to hundreds of people at the University of Northern Colorado about his healing ministry as a Vatican-trained exorcist.
Video – Exorcist tells his story Video – America’s Best Known Exorcist About The Rite Father Thomas’ interview with the Catholic World Reporter Father Thomas’ interview with Leticia Velasquez for Catholic Media Review Father Thomas interview with Busted Halo Father Thomas Interview with Patrick Coffin
Father José Antonio Fortea is an exorcist from Spain and the subject of Interview With an Exorcist. He has said that the number of exorcists needed in recent years corresponds to the increase of individuals using magic such as "New Age" practices. He is a Catholic priest from the diocese of Alcalá and was earning the first Ph.D. on the history of exorcisms.
His book explains what happens at an exorcism; the signs of exorcism; the difference between possession and mental disorder; and how a priest can figure out if a demon is hiding his presence in a person. He also shares personal stories. Once he blessed lemonade thinking that any blessed liquid would have the same effect as blessed water on a demon. Although the demon reacted, the lemonade did not have nearly as much power as blessed water. The priest asked the demon why. The demon said holy water had more impact since it symbolizes purity and cleanliness.
In this Catholic Sun article, Father Fortea explains the main four actions taken by demons to harm humans: 1) possession (the strongest and rarest) 2) infestation of a place 3) influence on the person 4) temptation. Whereas possession always requires exorcism, some cases of “influence” or “infestation” require only a family gathered in prayer. Furthermore, “the blessing of a priest can expel demons from infested areas” (Source: Deliverance: Spanish exorcist to visit Diocese of Phoenix, Catholic Sun 5/16/2013).
Interview with Father Fortea (Crossroads). Documentary: The Exorcist in the 21st Century Father Fortea (wiki) Exorcist on Satan not Having the Last Word Exorcism Makes a Believer of a Journalist Book by Spanish exorcist outsells Da Vinci Code in Paraguay Deliverance: Spanish exorcist to visit Diocese of Phoenix Interview with an Exorcist – Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea
In this video, Pope Francis prays over a man who is possessed by four demons. The footage was shot in St. Peter’s Square on May 19, 2013, on Pentecost Sunday. As usual, demons react in pain and anger to a priestly blessing or the presence of holiness. The demons growl, hiss or roar through the victimized man.
After the man was prayed over by the pope, Father Gabriele Amorth – Rome’s top exorcist – conducted a traditional exorcism over the man. The victim’s name is Ángel and he was a 43-year-old married man with children at the time of the papal blessing. He hails from the state of Michoacán in Mexico. The pope did not perform a classical exorcism which would be done with a prayer book and crucifix, but merely said a liberation prayer (which can also be considered an exorcism).
Exorcisms often taken several months before the demon or demons are driven out. Stronger, more powerful demons will resist pressure to leave a human despite the torture and pain they must endure during prayers and exorcisms. Their hatred of God inspires them to rebel and resist.
In this article, Ángel describes the day in 1999 when the demons first entered him as he rode the bus. An evil presence entered the bus, approached him and then “stopped in front of me. Then, suddenly, I noted that something like a stake pierced my chest and, little by little, I had the sensation that it was opening my ribs” (Gerard O’Connell, Vatican Insider).
After the event, the man not only lost his physical health and came near death, but also “began falling into trances, uttering blasphemies and speaking in unknown languages, with doctors who attended him unable to explain what was wrong” Catholic News Agency: Many prayed over by Pope says he suffered from demons”). His poor health forced him to close his advertising business and sell his house (CNA). When a relic of St. Padre Pio was touched to the man’s chest, he felt peace and saw a “special light” surrounding him, but was not cured.
Ángel had received about thirty exorcisms in the previous thirteen years to rid himself of his suffering but continued to be possessed. One night, he had a dream in which he saw Pope Francis saying Mass. When he woke up, he turned on the television, and saw the pope saying Mass exactly as he had seen it in his dream. He instantly got the idea that he should go to Rome (Vatican Insider). In the dream, Ángel saw Pope Francis “dressed in red and praying with an incense burner in his hand and surrounded by bishops and cardinals” and when he turned on the television, he saw “a Mass with the Pope dressed in red and with incense burning in his hand, surrounded by bishops and cardinals” (Catholic News Agency)
As seen on the 2013 Pope Francis video, the priest who accompanied Ángel to Rome from Mexico leans over and explains to the pope in Spanish that the man needs a blessing. He explains that despite many exorcisms, the demons living in him don’t want to leave. That’s when Pope Francis becomes more serious, realizing this is not merely a man with a physical disability.
After the pope prayed over the man, exorcist Father Amorth met with Ángel and conducted a classical exorcism on him. Father Amorth spoke to the demons and asked why they were so resistant, refusing to leave for so long. Speaking in Latin and Italian, the demons responded that it was because of so many abortions in Mexico (note that the possessed man is a Spanish speaker who lacks knowledge of Latin and Italian). About 880,000 abortions are conducted annually in Mexico, according to a 2008 study by the National Population Council, El Colegio de Mexico and the Guttmacher Institute. The demons had previously given exorcists in Mexico the same reasons for the possession.
What the demons said in Mexico
The most intriguing part of Ángel’s story comes from the International Congress of Exorcists of 2012, held in Mexico a year before the victim came to Rome. Ángel, whose case was well-known in Mexico, was brought to this 2012 meeting of exorcists. There, an exorcism was conducted on Ángel. During the exorcism prayers, exorcists demanded and received answers from the demons. The demons’ answers were heard by many witnesses at the meeting.
The demons said the main reason they continued to possess the man had to do with the growing violence of abortions in Mexico. The demons alluded to power they received whenever human sacrifices were offered. They specifically referred to “sangre inocente que nos ofrecen” (“innocent blood that they offer us”) through abortions.
The demons made multiple references to the Blessed Mother, saying she had kicked the demons out of Mexico in 1531 (a reference to Mary’s 1531 apparition to Saint Juan Diego as the Lady of Guadalupe which converted Mexico to Christianity from the former Aztec religion which required many human sacrifices) but that thanks to abortions, the demons had gained entry to the nation again.
“Ella nos sacó,” a demon told the Mexican priests. This means “She kicked us out.”
The demon continued, “… pero ustedes estúpidos con sus leyes … nos han abierto las puertas de nuevo.” This means, “ . . . but you stupid people with your laws . . . you have opened up the doors again.” In 2007, abortions were decriminalized in Mexico City (the nation’s largest city) for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Also, abortion is now legal in thirteen of Mexico's 31 states.
Several times, the demons said they didn’t want to reveal something to the exorcist priests, but that the Virgin Mary was forcing them to. The Virgin Mary made one demon tell the priests that she desired each bishop in Mexico to conduct a general exorcism of their own diocese as reparation for the damage caused by abortions in order to end the violence in Mexico. The Virgin Mary also requested prayers of atonement and forgiveness.
At one point, a demon revealed that he did not want the priests to know that the Virgin Mary “está aquí” (is here) and was “torturing” him “just like many years ago when we were kicked out of this country.”
After the 2012 meeting of the International Congress of Exorcists in Mexico, a document was released which revealed the discussions between the demons and the priests in regard to Ángel’s case. Since I do not have a copy of the document, I had to rely mostly on this hour-long Spanish-language program for information on the Mexico portion of Ángel’s story. The hosts read portions of the document on the air. View the Spanish show here. The show is called “El Pulso de la Fé” and the episode is titled “Endemoniado en el Vaticano por Causa del Aborto en México.” The main guest on the show is José Alberto Villasana, a Catholic theologian and international analyst from México.
According to Villasana, Ángel had offered himself to God as a victim soul to make amends for the offenses against God through abortions, and this was one reason he was suffering from possession. Villasana said Ángel was a spiritual person whose suffering in this manner will lead to his own spiritual growth. The show's host is Roberto O’Farrill. The host and guest both have a copy of the exorcists’ document in their hands.
If anyone has a link to the aforementioned Church document about Ángel or to an English transcript of the television show, please forward.
A nationwide exorcism of Mexico was conducted in May 20, 2015 in the Cathedral of San Luis Potosí. Presiding over the exorcism was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez. Journalist Roberto O'Farrill also attended. Now that bishops have conducted a major exorcism of the country of Mexico, it is hopeful that efforts to eradicate the demons from Ángel and from the nation will be successful soon.
Pope Francis video Vatican Insider: The man whom pope blessed says he’s seeking liberation from demons Catholic News Agency ABC News New York Times Legalized abortion the reason for the possession of man Pope Francis exorcised Bishops perform Great Exorcism on Entire Mexican Nation Nationwide Exorcism of Mexico Great Exorcism on Mexico Spanish video on the exorcism of Mexico National Catholic Register: When an Entire Country Becomes Infested with Demons, Catholics Exorcize Huffington Post: The Extraordinary Exorcism of Mexico
Father Walter Halloran (1921-2006)
This Jesuit priest was 26 years old when he helped out with the exorcism of thirteen-year-old boy who became possessed after his attempts to communicate with the dead using a Ouija board. This exorcism was the basis for the famous 1973 movie, The Exorcist.
More recently, journalist Michael Brown interviewed Father Halloran about the exorcism. Read the interview at this link. Asked to describe some of the more unusual phenomena during the exorcisms, the priest mentioned seeing the boy’s bed going up and down and seeing a water bottle that was sitting on furniture come “flying across the room and just missed me by an inch or two.”
The priest also noted that the child would get extremely agitated whenever the name of Jesus, Mary or Saint Michael was spoken aloud in prayer. The head exorcist in the case was Fr. William S. Bowdern. According to the Washington Post, the boy reported seeing Saint Michael the Archangel casting out the demon during one of the exorcisms.
Links: Interview with the Priest Involved in the Case Behind The Exorcist Obituary of Fr. Walter Halloran (Washington Post) The Ouija Board Brings Demonic Possession as in the Case of the “Exorcist” Movie Priest Frees Mt. Rainier Boy Reported Held in Devil’s Grip (Bill Brinkley, Washington Post, 8/20/1949)
Father Juan José Gallego – In this CNA article, Fr. Gallego from Spain says entry points for possession include reiki and some forms of yoga and that addiction is a type of possession. He also says that pride is the devil's favorite sin. Father Gallego is an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Spain (Source: What’s the devil’s favorite sin? An exorcist responds, CNA, 2015).
In this Spanish-language interview of the exorcist, Fr. Gallego recalls a case in which a possessed 16-year-old boy in Ecuador suddenly spoke perfect Latin and commanded the priest: “I order you never to say the Our Father again.” Asked if the devil ever laughs, Fr. Gallego said yes, but sarcastically and out of pure bitterness.
Links: Exorcist Says that the Devil’s Favorite Sin is Pride (Breitbart, 2015) El demonio es un armagado total (El Mundo)
Watch this video of former Miss Michigan Kelly Nieto – A former atheistic New Age follower, Kelly Nieto was heavily involved in the occult. She even had an Indian Shaman spirit in her basement who would speak with her and get her coveted auditions in show business. On one occasion, a cleaning lady went down to the basement and began screaming loudly because she saw the spirit. She ran upstairs and started shaking Kelly. The lady said, “I walked in this room and the Lord said to me you have opened the doors to hell in this basement.”
Kelly is a married woman with kids who was fiddle player and comedian (she even opened for Garth Brook and David Copperfield). She was 3rd runner up in the Miss America pageant. She eventually met a holy Christian lady who shared her faith. Kelly later had a mystical experience of the Crucifixion in which she witnessed the event, even smelling it and feeling it.
The Demon of Brownsville Road – This book is based on the true events of the Cranmer family house in Pittsburgh. After 10 years of unexplained creepiness, everything intensified in 2003. Finally, exorcists forced the demon to leave. Bob Cranmer wrote a book to help people. News Report on Cranmers.
The Vatican’s Exorcists: Driving Out the Devil in the 21st Century by Tracy Wilkinson The author of this fascinating book was the Rome bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. Wilkinson shares interesting facts such as 1) Italy has 350 exorcists 2) In the third century, there were 52 exorcists, according to Pope Cornelius 3) Msgr. Andrea Gemma (an exorcist and Italian bishop) says that the visiting of magicians and fortune tellers is the most common way the devil attacks victims 4) the devil hates Latin 5) Msgr. Gemma says he has only treated ten true possessions in 13 years 6) A possessed woman named Lucia vomited needles, spoke in languages she did not know, shouted vulgarities, and could not enter a church without feinting or vomiting
International Association of Exorcists: This group was formally recognized by the Vatican in 2014. The group has 250 priest-exorcists in thirty countries. International Association of Exorcists - wiki
Ohio Spiritual Warfare Center: This center helps and educates people about spiritual warfare.
In this interview with an exorcist priest, Father Pedro Barrajon explains that when priest tells a demon to leave a person, the demon often replies, “No, I don’t want to” or “You have no power over me. You are nothing to me.” The priest adds that after a while, though, the demon loses resistance and weakens. Zenit interview with Father Barrajon Sign and Sight interview with Fr. Barrajon
Her interest in tarot cards almost destroyed her – This woman’s story has been told again and again. The details are always different, but the effects of dabbling in the occult invariably lead one down a dangerous path. When the person finally tries to break free of the occult practice of choice, the devil will not be satisfied until he destroys the person either through violence or suicide. Sometimes the demon's goal is to destroy a family through divorce. In this case, the woman thought her mastery of tarot cards and fortune telling would give her a method of helping others solve their problems while also empowering herself. She became enslaved to the cards and felt helpless without them.
On the advice of family and friends, who noticed the cards were changing her, she tried to break free. That’s when Satan waged a battle to destroy her. She felt an evil presence in her room and experienced suicidal thoughts and despair. When she finally resolved to give up the occult in the name of Jesus Christ, Satan upped his battle. She writes, “I saw in my room a hideous figure resembling a werewolf, but incomparably more ghastly and real … I recall the intense hatred in that monster’s eyes – something I had never seen in a living person!” Thanks to prayers and the Sacraments, the woman says she has been free of her ordeal for five years now, healed by Jesus Christ. Link: The Tarot Tells Lies (LOA magazine).
She dreamed of a demon. After seeing a demon in her dream, she woke up and it was still there. This woman says her sister-in-law convinced her to try a New Age meditation in which one empties one’s mind. The woman thought it would bring her closer to God. Instead, that night in a dream, she saw “a demon. It was so black and had a huge build. It was like looking at a very black gorilla but with horns. I was so terrified I woke with a start only to realise the demon was actually in my room at the foot of my bed. Even if the room was in total darkness you could feel and see it. I was so scared …” (Source: scroll to GeneviveD28).
Hateful spirits in bedroom - This young man reports that “nearly every night since I first fell in to lustful sin, there have been two evil presences in my room on either side of my bed. I have yet to talk to a priest about this, but it's incredibly scary. The one to my right is more powerful, I can feel it …” (Source: scroll to JJT).
Regular People: On the online forums of a wonderful minstry called Catholic Answers, people occasionally write in requesting advice on handling some creepy things happening in their homes.
Other people offer advice, with the most common advice being 1) get the home blessed by a priest 2) sprinkle holy water everywhere 3) place a crucifix in each room 4) spend more time in prayer, especially Mass, rosary and the St. Michael prayer 5) call on the name of Jesus during an event. 6) making the sign of the cross 7) reverently saying the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph 8) fasting.
Here is a small sampling of what regular people have reported on those forums:
3) This person was fully awake in bed when the room became distorted as if something was “coming from another dimension….I looked to my right and on my bed was this half black, half transparent small round thing sitting on my bed looking at me.” Link here (scroll to lakotak)
4) Back in college, this guy thought it would be fun to use his roommate’s Ouija board to contact a man who ended his own life. What followed what a horrifying presence of a hateful creature who was hot and miserable. (Source: scroll to “MJCamp”)
5) Invisible hands choked him in bed. An agnostic who lived the party life, this young man saw a “massive black shadow” barrel out of his body after he grabbed a rosary and shouted to Jesus for help. (Source – scroll to “aarontassin”). He tells more of the story at this link, recounting that on Thanksgiving of 2008, he went into convulsions at 3 a.m. and “watched for a good 10 seconds as a black figure stared me down as I left the house.” (Source - scroll to aarontassin).
On holy water
St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “I have learnt from experience of several occasions that there is nothing the devils fly from more promptly, never to return, than from holy water. They fly from the cross also, but return again. So there must be a great virtue in holy water” (Source: The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself, p. 223)
One book recommended by the bishop of Peoria (the Most Rev. Daniel R. Jenky) is Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World by Father Mike Driscoll. The priest’s website is www.peterinchains.com.
Author bio for Fr. Driscoll: “Fr. Mike Driscoll is a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois. He was ordained in 1992, has been pastor of several parishes, and is currently serving as chaplain of St. Elizabeth s Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois. He has a B.A. in economics from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in moral theology from Mount St. Mary s Seminary, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from Regent University.”
LINKS TO ARTICLES
“The Exorcist: Priesthood at the Door of Darkness” (by Geoffrey Mondello, Boston Catholic Journal)
“Good vs. Evil: Spiritual Warfare” (by Marge Fenelon, National Catholic Register)
“The Dark Backward: Demons in the Real World” (by Tom Hoopes)
“On the Current Norms Governing Exorcisms” (signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 9/29/84, unofficial translation by EWTN)
“The Devil is Real: Time to Engage in Spiritual Warfare” by Deacon Keith Fornier
“Pope Francis and the Devil” by Elizabeth Tenety