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The fact that there are Demonic Possessions of people is a well known fact. This article is one of the better on the subject and indicate the superior strength of Catholic Sacraments and Sacramentals, especially as applied during exorcism.

Nice article and St. Michael's discription and his actions that are discribed at the end of the article, brought tears to my eyes. How beautiful!


It's as fascinating as it is tough to take: exorcism. It exists. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Extraordinary it is, how little it is spoken about from the pulpit. It demonstrates, as did a recent case that made headlines from Indiana, the reality of evil. But more than that -- as in Indiana -- it demonstrates the power of the Church, its priesthood, and the sacraments.

Especially interesting is how non-Catholics suddenly summon priests -- so often ridiculed outside of the Church -- when they come up against actual forces of darkness.

This was the case in Indiana (you can read the original report, which we carried a week ago, here) or in the famous case behind The Exorcist.

It's that stole, it's that book of rites, it's that sacrifice that effects deliverance in the most powerful, dangerous cases.

This was on display in the industrial town of Gary, Indiana (near Chicago) in the now widely publicized case whereby objects flew through the air, a youngster was thrown across a room, another levitated off a bed, and even doctors, paramedics, social workers, a psychiatrist, and nurses witnessed such extraordinary phenomena or sensations that they refused to return to a boy's bedside. Three children and their mother were afflicted. The local newspaper -- no great believer in the supernatural -- logged powerful testimony from credible professional witnesses who said at one point the boy even walked backwards up a wall, glided above head level, and did a back flip to land perfectly on the floor. There was a mysterious ooze, as in the Amityville Horror. There were flies. At first skeptical, police later called it "a portal to hell." Finally a priest, Father Mike Maginot from St. Stephen Martyr Church in Merrillville, was summoned and armed with St. Benedict crosses, Holy Water, plus blessed salt,  brought the attack to an end with prayers of exorcism in English and Latin.

The lesson is less the existence of demons than the power of the sacraments -- as was also demonstrated in the famous 1949 case of a Maryland boy known (to protect his privacy) as "Roland Doe," whose case was the basis for the 1973 Exorcist blockbuster (which for artistic purposes changed his gender to that of a girl).

An official Church case study we have reviewed indicates a series of incidents at least as terrifying and probably more powerful than those in the recent Indiana case -- and likewise demonstrated the potency of what the Church offers us.

According to that study, holy objects, furniture, combs, hangers, and the boy were moved or tossed about in a preternatural fashion -- with the several priests involved in the case witnessing many of the phenomena for themselves (at least nine Jesuits were called in). The boy was constantly afflicted by deep scratches that spelled out words on his body.

The attacks often corresponded to the presence of holy objects -- which clearly upset the force or forces of evil.

More often than not, however, sacramentals calmed the disturbances, as when one of the priests, a Jesuit named Father William S. Bowdern, of St. Francis Xavier Church in St. Louis, read the novena prayer of Saint Francis Xavier or Holy Water was used. There were incidents in which the Margaret Mary relic was thrown across a room (in the Indiana case, it was a holiday ornament of the Holy Family).

Prayers to Our Lady of Fatima were used to good effect in the famous Exorcist case.

This was a set of phenomena that included a mattress shaking for as long as two hours and the boy being violently tossed around in one case for more than two hours. The scratch or burn marks covered from hip to feet in one event.

The demon or demons seemed particularly upset when a prayer called the Praecipio (prayer of exorcism) was repeated: in one instance, the word "hell" was imprinted on the boy's chest.

There was mention of both a main devil and smaller ones -- multiple spirits, as in Indiana.

The boy bit at Father Bowdern's hand during blessings.

As in Indiana, vaporous forms and shadows were seen.

There was one night when the Blessed Sacrament had no noticeable effect.

But by and large, the sacraments proved decisive, as did prayers invoking the Archangel Michael.

The deliverance was effected in large part at a hospital run by the Alexian Brothers in Saint Louis.

Years ago, another priest involved in the case, Father Walter Halloran, now deceased, told us [see interview] it was when Michael was brought into the picture and prayers were prayed that the demon or demons -- after six weeks of solid warfare -- finally left. The boy said he saw Michael.

Priests reciting their Office in a college chapel heard a loud boom and the chapel lit up at the exact same moment.

Here too prayers in Latin seemed to cause special reactions. It is noteworthy that the boy's deliverance followed his Baptism into the Catholic faith and First Communion, conducted quickly for this specific emergency circumstance.

On the way to that first Communion. Father Halloran was attacked.

There was also the turmoil before the boy's Baptism (a conditional one, for the boy had been baptized an Evangelical Lutheran).

Says the case study, "[Roland] went into one of his spells. He began by saying, 'So you are going to baptize me! Ha ha! And you think you will drive me out with Holy Communion! Ha! Ha!' Roland then grabbed the steering wheel of the automobile and his uncle was forced to pull up to the curb in order to subdue the violence. An interesting sidelight is that the radio in the car would not operate while Roland was in a spell, although it worked before and after."

The boy went into a seizure at the mere mention of "Communion." The devil even stated that it would not allow the boy to be brought to Mass, causing more seizures.

This shows us, again, the power of the Church against any force of evil.

The same electrical phenomena -- with lights and police radios -- were reported in the now-famous Gary, Indiana, case (where police radios and a car were notably affected).

The demons panic.

Nonetheless, in the famous Saint Louis/Maryland case, Baptism and First Communion were completed.

"The sacraments had stirred up Satan more than any other priestly administration," notes the case study -- even more than the Rite of Exorcism.

"Whenever the Blessed Mother's name would be invoked or mentioned, the child would get very, very agitated and when Our Lord's name -- Christ, Our Lord, or Jesus --when that was said, and the same thing with Michael the Archangel. And then he'd become very, very agitated with Holy Water. With some of the prayers you sprinkle the person with Holy Water and he'd become wild, physically wild, flying around and that sort of thing. There was one time he asked us to stop and took his pajama top off and he was covered with these marks, scratches, and he said they hurt. It was Holy Thursday and I was telling him about Holy Thursday and he started writhing around in pain and he said, Look, I can't stand this. He seemed more affected when I said things like 'the Blessed Sacrament' or mentioned the ordination of priests and things like that."

This -- the role of the sacraments -- was left out of the movie, to the priests' disappointment when they saw it later. In Indiana, blessed salt was used to close what appeared to be a "portal" in the basement, where what seemed like ritual objects were unearthed. In the Exorcist case, spiritualism may have been involved.

File:Mikharkhangel.jpgMonday, April 18, was a pivotal day in the famous 1949 occurrences. A statue of the archangel Michael was placed bedside.

"At 10:45 p.m. the most striking event of the evening occurred," notes the Church document. "Roland was in a seizure but lay calm. In clear commanding tones, and with dignity, a voice broke into the prayers. The following is an accurate quotation: 'Satan! Satan! I am Saint Michael, and I command you, Satan, and the other evil spirits to leave the body in the Name of Dominus, immediately -- Now! NOW! N O W!'"

There were then the most violent contortions of the entire episode. But after seven or eight minutes, "Roland" was back to normal and feeling fine.

The devil had been cast out -- along with the others (who had identified themselves as "Legion").

"Roland explained what he saw," says the official Church record. "He said there was a brilliant white light and in that light stood a very beautiful man, with flowing, wavy hair that blew in the breeze. He wore a white robe that fitted close to his body. The material gave the impression of scales. Only the upper half of the body of this man was visible to Roland. In his right hand he held up a wavy and fiery sword in front of him. With his left hand he pointed down to a pit or cave. Roland said he saw the devil standing in the cave. Roland felt the heat from the cave and saw the flames. First the devil fought, resisting the angel and laughing diabolically. Then the angel smiled at Roland and spoke, but Roland heard only the word, 'Dominus.'

"As the angel spoke, the devil and about ten of his helpers ran back into the fire of the cave or pit. After the devil disappeared the letters 'Spite' appeared on the bars of the cave. As the devils disappeared into the pit Roland felt a pulling or tugging in the region of his stomach. As the devils disappeared, he felt a snapping, and then felt relaxed completely." The time was 11 p.m., the same hour as the manifestations had begun months before.

There was no more difficulty receiving Communion, and no indications henceforth of an evil presence.

His mother and father also became Catholic, receiving their First Holy Communion on Christmas Day, 1950.

-- Michael H. Brown
I was very encouraged that Bishop Dale Melzeck 75 (soon to be retired) of the Diocese of Gary. Indiana took this seriously and authorized an exorcism.
All this is nothing new. Here is something from the Notre Dame Archives;

1812 Apr. 16

(Flaget), B(enedict) J(oseph), Bishop of
B(ardstown, Kentucky)

to Father (Simon Gabriel Bruté) Brutey
Baltimore, Maryland

(Flaget) is very grateful for Bruté's letters which are like gazettes. His poor country is so buried in the woods that his messages are very much appreciated. He begs Bruté to continue to send them news of the church. (Flaget) tells of attending a sick child which suffered from convulsions which had been cured by spitting up worms while he was there. Three other children experienced the same illness which was attributed to witchcraft. The father said that only a priest could cure the children because a negress was the cause of the illness. There were indications in her case of possession especially blasphemy and cursing of women. The mother, a Catholic, sprinkled holy water on the person and she became quiet. Protestants hearing this thought that all water would have the same effect with the salt in it, but their water did not have the effect. In another case the use of the scapular and singing Catholic hymns had the effect of stopping the sicknesses. (Flaget) has heard of this from Father (Charles) Nerinckx who heard it from the father. (Flaget) has eye witnesses. (Flaget) is going to take another very sick child and have her examined by doctors and see if the sickness can be explained by natural things. If not he will assemble the clergy and proceed with an exorcism. A great good will result if this sickness can be cured by this exorcism. There is great publicity to the case and last Sunday 400 persons came to see the child. (Flaget) prays for the good health of Father (William) DuBourg so that he can continue his excellent conferences. He is to tell Sinnott that his father is well and has made his Easter Communion. He asks to be remembered to Irishmen Hayes and McGowan.
Here is more;

The little girls whom they thought possessed are in the hands of Bardstown doctors. The doctors think they have been poisoned. If the doctors give up the Bishop will make his exorcisms.
Bruté's letter of July 8 found him confessing, preaching, confirming, etc. The holy services consume nearly all his time. Bruté's prodigies from Maryland edify him but intrigue him also. It is good to strive to imitate the best but to realize that such is unattainable. Up to the present he gives Confirmation only on Sunday and to those who are well instructed and have made their First Communion. He is usually accompanied by two or three ecclesiastics. The people are from every profession but the spirit of piety is very deep. The ceremony lasts three hours, with First Communion besides the Confirmation to which Father (Charles) Nerinckx has added a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. When the Bishop objected Nerinckx would not listen to his remonstrances because he had not driven away the demons from the neighborhood. Nerinckx arranged three of these services, the latest 10 or 12 miles away. The people, although poor have purchased 400 acres for a church and have built a little chapel, sending him the title to both. At the ceremony they carried branches of trees instead of candles with four large ones serving for a canopy. Father Nerinckx managed the ceremonies and the chant. The Trappists have a pretty establishment there but Father Urbain (Guillet) has gone to Louisiana where he suffers from the heat. The Bishop says his functions are always the same and he fears his letters are also. On his way one day, and speaking to a Catholic he asked a Protestant lady if the child she held was baptized. Learning that it was not he asked to baptize it and eight others. This in turn led to the baptism of the lady. He has given to these children sponsors of his own choice so that they still learn their prayers. He pleads with Bruté to send his priests for the work. (Part crossed out.) He has a letter of exchange for Father Ladavière but since Ladavière has not come he has asked to use the money. the draft is for 30 days and he wants approval to use the money since Archbishop (John Carroll) said that Ladavière would not come to America to be a Jesuit. In the next room Father (Jean) David is making students decline the pronouns. Morety [Moretti] does not do so well in Latin. Father (Guy Ignatius) Chabrat is a great source of consolation. Flaget sends his respects to Father (Francis) Nagot, and a thousand thanks to Father John Tessier and his other confreres. He holds Bruté responsible for the life of Gather (William) Dubourg. He sends attentions to Madame Amiote and the ladies of the laundry. He salutes all the professors and students of the seminary and college. The good Madame Leroy has not written him although he wrote her. He does not know if Moral the nephew of Adame Lacombe has received the letter he sent him the first of the year as he has received no answer. He will start for Baltimore at the commencement of September and will visit many congregations on the way.
P.S. He greets various ladies and Mr. Costel. He owes an answer to Harent and many other things. He blesses the family with its holy patriarch.