~The views and opinions expressed here are of the blog author and not necessarily of CCAPSG as a whole~

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bizarre In The News - A scientific explanation for ghosts

gather.com and Paranormal.about.com

There may be an explanation for things like ghosts and hauntings. And it’s not your mind simply playing tricks on you.
Are you hearing weird sounds, briefly seeing ghostly images, feel a presence in the room with you, or an inexplicable and sudden sense of overwhelming fear?
It just might be infrasound.
Infrasound is an extremely low frequency between between .1 -20Hz. It is so low, that humans cannot hear it. But we can feel it. A good portion of the population is also thought to be hypersensitive to these low frequencies. Infrasound can cause bizarre effects, including nausea, extreme fear or awe, anxiety and chills. Researchers also believe it affects vision by causing vibrations of the eyeball. These vibrations can cause you to ‘see’ ghosts.
Read more here

Bizarre In The News - 'Ghost' caught on camera in Flinders Mall, QLD

Couriermail and Paranormal.about.com

THERE'S something spooky going on in one of Townsville's oldest inner-city buildings.
Video footage of paranormal activity in an old CBD building has surfaced on internet site YouTube, and it has already captured the imagination of the online world, sceptics and ghost-hunters alike.
The man behind the camera, who doesn't want to reveal his identity or the location of the haunted site, has posted 12 short films from his iPhone and a hand-held camera and insists something sinister lurks in the building's basement.
The amateur ghostbuster told the Townsville Bulletin strange things had been happening at the site for a couple of months before he finally mustered the courage to try and record it on his phone.
Read more here

Real Life Story - The Lazarus Effect: When Real Healings Happen

This is going to sound so out there but it's true, there are six witnesses.
What happened has me questioning so many things about healing but let me explain further....
For around eight weeks I have had swollen glands, general malaise and all the symptoms of glandular fever.
During that time I have prayed for healing over and over. But the symptoms worsened. It was one afternoon when I was sitting in my backyard that I cried out to God and said "Why won't you heal me"? And the answer was so simple. "Because you need to change". And what a month it has been since then. My diet has completely changed. Bad habits and thought patterns, fears and anxieties that were strongholds in my life have been broken. My personal intimacy with God has returned to a level I never thought possible. Worship music and the reading of the Bible are to my soul what chocolate is to my tongue. But prior to this I was in a dull fog. Fasting and prayer were the conduit for the process of healing which is still continuing as I am still changing and seeing what needs to change. This is known as repentance and my friend Mark Colys who was a successful business man and spearfishing champion until suffering a massive brain injury in a boating accident also attributes the process of repentance to his ongoing healing. He should never have lived let alone spoken, read or walked again. But he says with absolute conviction that the losses he suffered brought a greater gain through his experience of God.
And then there's the rabbit Millie!!
We have many pet rabbits and when they stray out of the yard they often come back sick and die within 24 hours. We think this is due to consuming snail baits or toxic plants next door. But rabbits being rabbits are hard to contain, they get out any way they can.
So when Millie came back and we she was struggling to walk we knew what was next. And over the course of the day she became ill to the point where there was no hope. She was limp in my childrens hands and they were crying.
I held her in the cup of my hand, and felt like we should pray. I made the sign of the cross over her body, and seven times I said "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth be healed". That was not done out of ritual, it was just what I felt to do.
She remained limp, motionless, eyes open, glazed. I put her in a chicken cage on some straw and vowed to bury her in the morning.
The next day I went down stairs to get the body. It was gone, so I assumed the kids had buried her before I got up as I had heard them crying and fighting, a sure sign something is going on with the animals.
I went about my daily business and my wife and I went to run an errand. When we returned I saw something running around playing in the front yard. A baby rabbit.
"How did the other baby get out, I put it away myself" I said.
My wife screamed. "That's Millie".
"It can't be...." I looked closer. The other baby was all white. This one had black around it's eyes and a black patch on its back. It was Millie.
And she has been fine ever since. If she turns out to be a boy (hard to tell at this age) then I'm renaming her Lazarus.
This is the second complete healing of an animal we have experienced at our house after prayer. It appears that God cares for His creation infinately more than we understand and it also proves that signs, wonders and miracles still go where believers in Christ go. I have experienced healing which saw me off crutches in a second, yet experienced great suffering at other times with no healing. Is it a lack of faith? Is it because God allows suffering to build patience? It is difficult to fathom at times how God works in this area. The same man from Kenya who prayed for my ankle has seen people healed of AIDS in his Church. Yet I have prayed for people in hospital and who are dying, and the miracle they had was to recieve Christ as Lord and Saviour before death, one claiming to have seen demons in her room waiting for her to die up until that point.
I believe we need to live in that faith zone all the time and see what God does with it. Put on the full armour of God to stand firm against the enemy (satan) who wishes to destroy your faith and seduce you away from God.
God bless you - Pastor Baz,

Fr. Gabriele Amorth - The Catholic Church's Leading Exorcist Part 2

Fr. Gabriele Amorth is the Chief Exorcist of Rome. 

He has performed hundreds of exorcisms over many years. He is the author of the best-selling book, An Exorcist Tells His Story. He is also the author of 
An Exorcist: More Stories. This excerpt, "
The Power of Satan," is taken from An Exorcist Tells His Story (pages 25-36).

Because of the subject that I have decided to address in this book, I cannot pursue other very interesting theological questions. I will merely touch upon certain points that come up as a result of exorcisms. An exorcist with a solid theological and scriptural background, such as Father Candido, who spoke with demons for thirty-six years, is well qualified to make some assumptions on subjects such as the sin of the rebellious angels-that theologians have dismissed in the past with a "we do not know". 

Everything that God created follows a harmonious design; therefore, the smallest atom influences everything, and every shadow casts some darkness on everything. Theology will be unfinished and incomprehensible until it focuses on the world of the angels. A Christology that ignores Satan is crippled and will never understand the magnitude of redemption.

We will now continue with Christ, the center of the universe. Everything was created for him and in view of his Coming, in the heavens (angels) and on earth (the tangible world, man first of all). It would be wonderful to speak only of Christ, but it would not be according to his every teaching and action, and we would never be able to understand him. Scripture talks to us about the kingdom of God but also of the kingdom of Satan. It tells us about the power of God, the Creator and Lord of the universe, but also of the power of darkness. It speaks of the sons of God and of the sons of Satan. It is impossible to understand the salvific action of Christ if we ignore the destructive action of Satan.

Satan was the most perfect being created by the hands of God. His God-given authority and superiority over the other angels are recognized by all, so he thought that he had the same authority over everything that God was creating. Satan tried to understand all of creation but could not, because all the plan of creation was oriented toward Christ. Until Christ came into the world, God's plan could not be revealed in its entirety. Hence Satan's rebellion. He wanted to continue to be the absolute first, the center of creation, even if it meant opposing God's design. 

This is why Satan continually tries to dominate the world ("the whole world is in the power of the evil one", I Jn 5: 19). Beginning with our forefathers, he seeks to enslave men by making them obey himself and disobey God. He was successful with our forefathers, Adam and Eve, and he hoped to continue with all men with the help of "a third of the angels", who, according to the book of Revelation, followed him in rebellion against God.

God never rejects his creatures. Therefore, even though they broke with God, Satan and his angels maintain their power and rank (thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and so on) even if they use them for evil purposes. Saint Augustine does not exaggerate when he claims that, if God gave Satan a free hand, "no man would be left alive." Since Satan cannot kill us, he tries to "make us into his followers in opposition to God, just as he is in opposition to God".

The truth of salvation is this: Jesus came "to destroy the works of the devil" (I Jn 3:8), to free man from Satan's slavery, and to establish the kingdom of God after destroying the reign of Satan. However, between the first coming of Christ and the Parousia (the second, triumphal coming of Christ as judge), the devil tries to entice as many people as possible to his side. It is a battle he wages with the desperation of one who knows he is already defeated, knowing "that his time is short" (Rev 12:12). Therefore, Paul tells us in all honesty that "we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12).

Scripture tells us that angels and demons (I want particularly to mention Satan) are spiritual creatures but also that they are individuals gifted with intelligence, will, freedom, and initiative. Those modern theologians who identify Satan with the abstract idea of evil are completely mistaken. Theirs is true heresy; that is, it is openly in contrast with the Bible, the Fathers, and the Magisterium of the Church. The truth about Satan was never doubted in the past; therefore, there are no dogmatic definitions in this respect with the exception of the following statement of the Fourth Lateran Council: "The devil [that is, Satan] and the other demons were created good by God; but they became evil through their own fault." Whoever denies Satan also denies sin and no longer understands the actions of Christ.

Let us be clear about this: Jesus defeated Satan through his sacrifice. However, Jesus also defeated Satan before his death, through his teachings: "If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Lk 11:20). Jesus is the strongest one, who tied up Satan (Mk 3:27), despoiled him, and pillaged his kingdom, which is at an end (Mk 3:26). 

Jesus first gave the power to cast out demons to his apostles; then he extended the power to the seventy-two disciples, and in the end he granted it to all those who would believe in him.

The Acts of the Apostles tell us that after the descent of the Holy Spirit the apostles continued to expel demons, and all Christians have done so after them. Already, the earliest Fathers of the Church, such as Justin and Irenaeus, clearly express Christian thought about the devil and about the power to cast him out. Other Fathers, in particular Tertullian and Origen, concur. These four authors alone can refute many modern theologians, who, for all purposes, either do not believe in the devil or completely ignore him.

The Second Vatican Council powerfully reminded us of this abiding teaching of the Church: "For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world" (Gaudium et Spes, no. 37). "Although he was made by God in a state of holiness, from the very dawn of history man abused his liberty, at the urging of personified Evil. Man set himself against God and sought to find fulfillment apart from God. Although he knew God, he did not glorify Him as God, but his senseless mind was darkened and he served the creature rather than the Creator" (no. 13). "For He sent His Son, clothed in our flesh, in order that through this Son He might snatch men from the power of darkness and of Satan" (Ad Gentes, no. 3). How can those who deny the existence and the many activities of Satan understand the achievements of Christ? How can they understand the value of the redemptive death of Christ? On the basis of Sacred Scripture, the Second Vatican Council affirms that "[Christ], by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 6). And "[Christ] was crucified and rose again to break the stranglehold of personified Evil" (Gaudium et Spes, no. 2).

Satan, defeated by Christ, fights against his followers. The battle against the evil spirits "was joined from the very origins of the world, and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested" (no. 37). During this time, every man is on battle alert because life on earth is a trial of faithfulness to God. 

"We strive therefore to please the Lord in all things (cf 2 Cor 5:9). We put on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and resist on the evil day.... For before we reign with the glorious Christ, all of us will be made manifest 'before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil' (2 Cor 5: 10)" (Lumen Gentium, no. 48).

Even if this battle against Satan concerns all men and all times, there is no doubt that Satan's power is felt more keenly in periods of history when the sinfulness of the community is more evident. For example, when I view the decadence of the Roman Empire, I can see the moral disintegration of that period in history. Now we are at the same level of decadence, partly as a result of the misuse of the mass media (which are not evil in themselves) and partly because of Western consumerism and materialism, which have poisoned our society.

I believe that 
Pope Leo XIII, in a vision that will be detailed in the appendix of this chapter [pages 37-39] received a prophetic warning concerning this demonic attack on our times. How does the devil oppose God and our Savior? By claiming for himself the adoration due to God and by mimicking Christian institutions. Therefore, he is anti-Christ and anti-Church. 

Satan uses the idolatry of sex, which reduces the human body to an instrument of sin, against the Incarnation of the Word who redeemed man by becoming man. Satan uses his churches, his cult, his devotees (often consecrated through a pact of blood), his adorers, the followers of his promises, to mimic the worship due to God. just as Christ gave his apostles and their followers specific powers for the good of body and soul, so Satan gives specific powers to his followers for the destruction of body and soul. We will examine these specific powers in our explanation of witchcraft.

I will mention one more item on this subject. Just as it would be wrong to deny the existence of Satan, it is also wrong to accept the prevalent opinion that there are spiritual beings that are not mentioned in the Bible. These are the invention of spiritists, of followers of the occult, of those who espouse reincarnation, or of those who believe in "wandering souls". 

There are no good spirits other than angels; there are no evil spirits other than demons. Two Councils of the Church (Lyons and Florence) tell us that the souls of those who die go immediately to heaven or to hell or to purgatory. The souls of the dead who are present during seances or the souls of the dead who are present in living bodies to torture them are none other than demons. 

God allows a soul to return to earth only in very rare, exceptional cases, but we recognize that this subject is still full of unknowns. Father La Grua attempts to explain some of his own experiences with souls who are possessed by the devil, but I must reiterate that this is a matter that requires further research, and I will address it in a different book.

Some people marvel at the ability of demons to tempt man and even to own the body (but they can never take the soul unless man freely gives it to them) through possession and oppression. 

We should remember what is written in Revelation (12:7, etc.): "Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.... And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman", who was "dressed like the sun", from whom Jesus was born (
it is very clear that we are also talking about the Most Holy Virgin Mary

When the dragon realized that his efforts had failed, "he went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus."

During a May 24, 1987, visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, John Paul II said, "
The battle against the devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel, is still being fought today, because the devil is still alive and active in the world. The evil that surrounds us today, the disorders that plague our society, man's inconsistency and brokenness, are not only the results of original sin, but also the result of Satan's pervasive and dark action

The last sentence is a clear reference to God's condemnation of the serpent, in Genesis (3:15): "
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel

Is Satan already in hell? 

When did the battle between angels and devils take place? 

We cannot answer these questions unless we keep in mind that hell is more a state of mind than a place. Place and time are different concepts for spirits.
Revelation tells us that demons were hurled down to earth; therefore their final damnation has yet to happen, even if it is irrevocable. This means that they still have the power that God had given them, even if only "for a brief time". That is why they ask Jesus, "Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Mt 8:29). Christ is the only judge; he will gather to himself his Mystical Body. This, then, is how we should interpret Paul's statement to the Corinthians, "since we are to judge angels" (I Cor 6:3). When the "legion" of demons who possessed the man from Gerasa pleaded with Christ "not to command them to depart into the abyss" (Lk 8:31-32), they were seeking to hold on to their power. To a demon, leaving the body of a person and sinking into hell is an irrevocable death sentence; that is why the demon fights it to the last. However, his eternal pain will increase proportionately to the suffering he caused on earth. It is Saint Peter who tells us that the demons have not yet been definitively sentenced: "When angels sinned, God did not spare them; he sent them down to the underworld and consigned them to the dark underground caves to be held there till the day of judgment" (2 Pet 2:4). The glory of the angels, too, will be increased according to their good deeds; therefore, it is very useful to invoke their help.

What harm can the devil cause to the living? There are few books on the subject and a lack of common language. I will now attempt to define the words that I will use in this book.

Ordinary activity
. This is "temptation", which is the most common activity of the demons, and it is directed against all men. When Jesus allowed Satan to tempt him, he accepted our human condition. I will not talk about this common diabolical endeavor, because the purpose of this book is to highlight Satan's "extraordinary activity", which can take place only if God so allows.

This second category can take six different forms:

1. External physical pain caused by Satan. We know of this from many lives of the saints. We know that Saint Paul of the Cross, the Curé of Ars, Padre Pio, and many others were beaten, flogged, and pummeled by demons. This external form of persecution does riot affect the soul; therefore with this type there has never been the need for an exorcism, only for prayers. Here I will dwell only on the other types of actions that directly affect exorcists.

2. Demonic possession. This occurs when Satan takes full possession of the body (not the soul); he speaks and acts without the knowledge or consent of the victim, who therefore is morally blameless. It is the gravest and most spectacular form of demonic afflictions, and it attracts the attention of producers of movies such as The Exorcist. According to the Ritual for exorcisms, some of the signs of possession include: speaking in tongues, extraordinary strength, and revealing the unknown. The man of Gerasa is a clear Gospel example of possession. To fix a set "model" for demonic possession would be a serious mistake; the affliction runs the gamut of symptoms and severity. For instance, I have exercised two totally possessed persons who remained perfectly still and silent during the exorcism. I could cite many other examples and as many different symptoms.

3. Diabolical oppression. Symptoms vary from a very serious to a mild illness. There is no possession, loss of consciousness, or involuntary action and word. The Bible gives us many examples of oppression; one of them is job, He was not possessed, but he lost his children, his goods, and his health. The bent woman and the deaf and dumb man who were cured by Jesus were not subject to total possession, but there was a demonic presence that caused physical discomfort. Saint Paul was most certainly not possessed by a demon, but he had a demonic oppression that caused an evil affliction: "And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me" (2 Cor 12:7). There is no doubting the evil origin of the affliction.

While possessions are still relatively rare today, we exorcists run into a great number of people who have been struck by the devil in their health, jobs, or relationships. We must make it clear that to diagnose and heal an oppression-related illness is not any easier than to diagnose and cure a person afflicted by full possession. The degree of gravity may be different, but the difficulty of the diagnosis and the amount of time involved in healing are the same.

4. Diabolic obsession. Symptoms include sudden attacks, at times ongoing, of obsessive thoughts, sometimes even rationally absurd, but of such nature that the victim is unable to free himself Therefore the obsessed person lives in a perpetual state of prostration, desperation, and attempts at suicide. Almost always obsession influences dreams. Some people will say that this is evidence of mental illness, requiring the services of a psychiatrist or a psychologist. The same could be said of all other forms of demonic phenomena. Some symptoms, however, are so inconsistent with known illnesses that they point with certainty to their evil origins. Only an expert and well-trained eye can identify the crucial differences.

5. Diabolic infestation. Infestations affect houses, things, or animals. This book will only mention the topic. I merely want to state that I will never use this term when I refer to persons. I will always talk about possession, oppression, and obsession.

6. Diabolical subjugation, or dependence. People fall into this form of evil when they voluntarily submit to Satan. The two most common forms of dependence are the blood pact with the devil and the consecration to Satan.

How can we defend ourselves from all these evils? A strict interpretation of the Ritual confines the use of exorcisms only to instances of true possession. However, as I stated before, the current Ritual fails to address many occasions in which an exorcist diagnoses an evil influence. In all cases when there is no possession, the usual means to obtain grace should be sufficient. These means are prayer; the sacraments; almsgiving; leading a Christian life; pardoning offenses; and soliciting the aid of our Lord, Mary, the saints, and the angels. I will now say a few words about the angels. I gladly end this chapter on the devil, Christ's adversary, by speaking about the angels. They are our great allies. We owe them a great debt, and it is a mistake to mention them as rarely as we do. Every one of us has a guardian angel, most faithful of friends twenty-four hours a day, from conception to death. He unceasingly protects us, body and soul, while we, for the most part, never think about him. We also know that each nation has its particular guardian angel and, probably, every community and family, although we are not certain on the two last points. We know, however, that the angels are a multitude, and their desire to help us is much greater than Satan's desire to destroy us.

Sacred Scripture often tells us about the missions that God entrusted to his angels. We know the name of the prince of the angels, Saint Michael. There is a hierarchy among the angels based on love, which is guided by the divine intellect "in whose Will we find our peace", as Dante says. We also know the names of two other archangels:

Gabriel and Raphael. The Apocrypha add a fourth name, Uriel. Sacred Scripture divides the angels into nine choirs: dominions, powers, thrones, principalities, virtues, angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim. The believer who lives in the presence of the Trinity and is certain of its life within himself knows that he also has a mother, God's own Mother, who ceaselessly helps him. He knows that he can always count on the help of the angels and of the saints; therefore, how can he feel alone, abandoned, or oppressed by evil? In the life of the believer there is pain, because it is the way of the Cross that saves us, but there is no room for sadness. He who believes is always ready to give witness, to those who ask him, about the hope that sustains him (see I Pet 3: 15).

It is also clear that the believer must be faithful to God and must fear sin. This is the basis of our strength, as Saint John tells us: "We know that any one born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him"(I Jn 5:18). If sometimes our weakness leads us to fall, we must immediately pick ourselves up with that great gift of God's mercy: repentance and confession.


For around six months now Nick Redfern has been my favourite secular author on the Paranormal. He and I do not share the same worldview or religious beliefs but that does not mean that he is not encountering what I personally believe are many realities in his research. I like the fact that he does his research in a very hands on manner - dangerously so at times (Such as in '3 Men Seeking Monsters' and 'There's Something In The Woods') when he is involved in invoking the beings of old to get them to manifest – but this method seems to grant him access to glimpses of the ‘other realm invading ours’ which support the biblical view of dark forces operating behind the scenes in our world. He speaks about the 'psychic backlash' that follows these invocations, which I would describe as 'demonic oppression or attack'.
 Unlike ‘3 Men Seeking Monsters’  which is a rollicking ride across England with two mates encountering all sorts of creatures, witches and strange experiences and 'Memoirs of a Monster Hunte'r which was a slower and more stilted American version of ‘..Seeking Monsters’ Final Events comes across as a brilliant piece of research. The fact that Redfern allows his subjects to speak openly on a subject without constantly adding his personal interpretation apart from unpacking the facts and links he is discovering shows he is a masterful interviewer and professional in the way he conducts research. This is made more apparent when he was labelled as a ‘Christian Fundamentalist on a blog and ended up defending himself as an ‘athiest’. That was the degree of his neutrality in his fact finding, even when the ending (spoiler alert) ends up as a warning about certain aspects of Christianity.
 The summary of the book is that a semi secret group called the Collins Elite were formed as a paramilitary investigative group around the time of the first major UFO flaps after world war 2 to investigate the possibility that Non Human Entities are not only not benevolent aliens from another world but actually demonic forces that will push earth to the brink of Armageddon – but not before they lead the world into a lie that will ensure most humans go to hell. The book looks at the possibility that Aleister Crowley and a number of his disciples deliberately opened the door to another world that allowed the 20th Century UFO/Alien phenomenon to become part of modern folklore. He looks closely at alien abductions, Psy-ops, the rise of American fundamentalism and discloses that project blue beam, if it exists may not be what it is portrayed as but something far worse than we ever imagined.
 Men in black, government and NHE’s working together, Faux organisms like the Golum of Hebrew mythology, projected thoughts of Armageddon into the minds of abductee’s and the ushering in of the antichrist by the very people who claim to want to save Christianity by force – it’s a disturbing read on many levels but utterly fascinating.
 Pure conspiracy theory or an uncovering of the facts as we may have never known it? You’ll never watch Close Encounters or ET the same way again as the idea of an ET being benevolent dissolves with each page you turn and a demonic reality driven by satan becomes clear.. Redfern’s book is highly accessible and rather than a regurgitation of others writings is a coal face collection of interviews and tales that weave together into macabre web.
 My suggestion – buy it, read it and post your own review.
 Pastor Baz.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bizarre In the News - Cemetery ghost

Originally aired on Fox 8

My personal feeling is that it is a real and living child that is running around and doing what children do. Not a ghost. But this video has raised much discussion in the community.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A look at the views and experiences of Fr. Gabriele Amorth: Head exorcist in the Catholic Church.

Taken from the Boston Catholic Journal

A look at the views and experiences of Fr. Gabriele Amorth who is the head exorcist in the Catholic Church.

An Interview With Fr. Gabriele Amorth - The Church's Leading Exorcist

by Gyles Brandreth, August 2001
On the bumpy flight to Rome I read The Bible all the way. The passenger on my left - a wiry businesswoman from Wisconsin - found this disconcerting. As the turbulence worsened and I moved from Jude to Revelation, she hissed at me, "Do you have to?" "It's only background reading," I murmured. She grimaced. "What for?" I turned to her and whispered: "I'm going to meet the exorcist." "Oh Christ," she gasped, as the plane lurched and hot coffee spilled over us.

Father Gabriele Amorth is indeed the exorcist, the most senior and respected member of his calling. A priest for 50 years, he is the undisputed leader of the city's six exorcists (appointed by the cardinal to whom the Pope delegates the office of Vicar of Rome) and honorary president-for-life of the International Association of Exorcists. He is 75, small, spry, humorous, and wonderfully direct.

"I speak with the Devil every day," he says, grinning like a benevolent gargoyle. "I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years."

On cue (God is not worried by clichés) a shaft of October sunlight falls across Father Amorth's pale, round face. We are sitting at a table by the window in a small high-ceilinged meeting room at his Rome headquarters, the offices of the Society of St Paul. Father Amorth has come to exorcism late in life, but with impressive credentials. Born in 1925 in Modena, northern Italy, the son and grandson of lawyers (his brother is a judge), Gabriele Amorth, in his late teens, joined the Italian resistance.

Immediately after the war, he became a member of the fledgling Christian Democratic Party. Giulo Andreotti was president of the Young Christian Democrats, Amorth was his deputy. Andreotti went into politics and was seven times prime minister. Amorth, having studied law at university, went into the Church.

"From the age of 15," be says, "I knew it was my true vocation. My speciality was the Madonna. For many years I edited the magazineMadre di Deo (Mother of God). When I hear people say, 'You Catholics honour Mary too much,' I reply, 'We are never able to honour her enough.'

"I knew nothing of exorcism - I had given it no thought - until June 6, 1986 when Cardinal Poletti, the then Vicar of Rome, asked to see me. There was a famous exorcist in Rome then, the only one, Father Candido, but he was not well, and Cardinal Poletti told me I was to be his assistant. I learnt everything from Father Candido. He was my great master. Quickly I realised how much work there was to be done and how few exorcists there were to do it. From that day, I dropped everything and dedicated myself entirely to exorcism."

Father Amorth smiles continually as he tells his story. His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious and engaging. "Jesus performed exorcisms... He cast out demons. He freed souls from demonic possession and from Him the Church has received the power and office of exorcism. A simple exorcism is performed at every baptism, but major exorcism can be performed only by a priest licensed by the bishop. I have performed over 50,000 exorcisms. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes many hours. It is hard work multo duro."

How does he recognise someone possessed by evil spirits? "It is not easy. There are many grades of possession. The Devil does not like to be seen, so there are people who are possessed who manage to conceal it. There are other cases where the person possessed is in acute physical pain, such agony that they cannot move.
"It is essential not to confuse demonic possession with ordinary illness. The symptoms of possession often include violent headaches and stomach cramps, but you must always go to the doctor before you go to the exorcist. I have people come to me who are not possessed at all. They are suffering from epilepsy or schizophrenia or other mental problems. Of the thousands of patients I have seen, only a hundred or so have been truly possessed."

"How can you tell?"

"By their aversion to the sacrament and all things sacred. If blessed they become furious. If confronted with the crucifix, they are subdued." "But couldn't an hysteric imitate the symptoms?"

"We can sort out the phoney ones. We look into their eyes. As part of the exorcism, at specific times during the prayers, holding two fingers on the patient's eyes we raise the eyelids. Almost always, in cases of evil presence, the eyes look completely white. Even with the help of both hands, we can barely discern whether the pupils are towards the top or the bottom of the eye. If the pupils are looking up, the demons in possession are scorpions. If looking down, they are serpents."

As I report this now, it sounds absurd. As Father Amorth told it to me, it felt entirely credible.

I had gone to Rome expecting - hoping, even - for a chilling encounter, but instead of a sinister bug-eyed obsessive lurking in the shadows of a Hammer Horror film set, here I was sitting in an airy room facing a kindly old man with an uncanny knack for making the truly bizarre seem wholly rational. He has God on his side and customers at his door. The demand for exorcism is growing as never before. Fifteen years ago there were 20 church-appointed exorcists in Italy. Now there are 300.

I ask Father Amorph to describe the ritual of exorcism.

"Ideally, the exorcist needs another priest to help him and a group nearby who will assist through prayer. The ritual does not specify the stance of the exorcist. Some stand, some sit. The ritual says only that, beginning with the words Ecce crucem Domini ('Behold the Cross of the Lord') the priest should touch the neck of the possessed one with the hem of his stole and hold his hand on his head. The demons will want to hide. Our task is to expose them, and then expel them. There are many ways to goad them into showing themselves. Although the ritual does not mention this, experience has taught us that using oil and holy water and salt can be very effective.

"Demons are wary of talking and must be forced to speak. When demons are voluntarily chatty it's a trick to distract the exorcist. We must never ask useless questions out of curiosity. We but must interrogate with care. We always begin by asking for the demon's name."

"And does he answer?" I ask. Father Amorth nods. "Yes, through the patient, but in a strange, unnatural voice. If it is the Devil himself, he says 'I am Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. We ask if he is alone or if there are others with him. Usually there are two or five, 20 or 30. We must quantify the number. We ask when and how they entered that particular body. We find out whether their presence is due to a spell and the specifics of that spell.

"During the exorcism the evil may emerge in slow stages or with sudden explosions. He does not want show himself. He will be angry and he is strong. During one exorcism I saw a child of 11 held down by four strong men. The child threw the men aside with ease. I was there when a boy of 10 lifted a huge, heavy table.

"Afterwards I felt the muscles in the boy's arms. He could not have done it on his own. He had the strength of the Devil inside him.

"No two cases are the same. Some patients have to be tied down on a bed. They spit. They vomit. At first the demon will try to demoralise the exorcist, then he will try to terrify him, saying, 'Tonight I'm going to put a serpent between your sheets. Tomorrow I'm going to eat your heart'."

I lean towards Father Amorth. "And are you sometimes frightened?" I ask. He looks incredulous. "Never. I have faith. I laugh at the demon and say to him, 'I've got the Madonna on my side. I am called Gabriel. Go fight the Archangel Gabriel if you will.' That usually shuts them up."

Now he leans towards me and taps my hand confidentially. "The secret is to find your demon's weak spot. Some demons cannot bear to have the Sign of the Cross traced with a stole on an aching part of the body; some cannot stand a puff of breath on the face; others resist with all their strength against blessing with holy water.

"Relief for the patient is always possible, but to completely rid a person of his demons can take many exorcisms over many years. For a demon to leave a body and go back to hell means to die forever and to lose any ability to molest people in the future. He expresses his desperation saying: 'I am dying, I am dying. You are killing me; you have won. All priests are murderers'."

How do people come to be possessed by demons in the first place? "I believe God sometimes singles out certain souls for a special test of spiritual endurance, but more often people lay themselves open to possession by dabbling with black magic. Some are entrapped by a satanic cult. Others are the victims of a curse."

I interrupt. "You mean like Yasser Arafat saying to Ehud Barak, 'Go to Hell' and meaning it?"

"No." Father Amorth gives me a withering look. "That is merely a sudden imprecation. It is very difficult to perform a curse. You need to be a priest of Satan to do it properly. Of course, just as you can hire a killer if you need one, you can hire a male witch to utter a curse on your behalf. Most witches are frauds, but I am afraid some authentic ones do exist."

Father Amorth shakes his head and sighs at the wickedness of the world. At the outset be has told me he is confident he will have an answer to all my questions, but he has a difficulty with the next one. "Why do many more women seem to become possessed than men?"

"Ah, that we do not know. They may be more vulnerable because, as a rule, more women than men are interested in the occult. Or it may be the Devil's way of getting at men, just as he got to Adam through Eve. What we do know is that the problem is getting worse. The Devil is gaining ground. We are living in an age when faith is diminishing. If you abandon God, the Devil will take his place.

"All faiths, all cultures, have exorcists, but only Christianity has the true force to exorcise through Christ's example and authority. We need many more exorcists, but the bishops won't appoint them. In many countries - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain there are no Catholic exorcists. It is a scandal. In England there are more Anglican exorcists than Catholic ones."

Although the post of exorcist is an official diocesan appointment (there are about 300 attached to the various bishops throughout Italy) and Father Amorth is undisputably the best known in his field, there is some tension between Amorth and the modernising tendencies in the Church hierarchy.

Devil-hunting is not fashionable in senior church circles. The Catholic establishment is happier talking about "the spirit of evil" than evil spirits. The Vatican recently issued a new rite of exorcism which has not met with Father Amorth's approval. "They say we cannot perform an exorcism unless we know for certain that the Evil One is present. That is ridiculous. It is only through exorcism that the demons reveal themselves. An unnecessary exorcism never hurt anybody."

What does the Pope make of all this? "The Holy Father knows that the Devil is still alive and active in the world. He has performed exorcism. In 1982, he performed a solemn exorcism on a girl from Spoletto. She screamed and rolled on the floor. Those who saw it were very frightened. The Pope brought her temporary freedom.
"The other day, on September 6, at his weekly audience at St Peter's, a young woman from a village near Monza started to shriek as the Pope was about to bless her. She shouted obscenities at him in a strange voice. The Pope blessed her and brought her relief, but the Devil is still in her. She is exorcised each week in Milan and she is now coming to me once a month. It may take a long time to help her, but we must try. The work of the exorcists is to relieve suffering, to free souls from torment, to bring us closer to God."

Father Amorth has laughed and smiled a good deal during our three-hour discussion. He has pulled sundry rude faces to indicate his contempt for the pusillanimous bishops who have a monopoly on exorcism and refuse to license more practitioners. In his mouth it does not seem like mumbo-jumbo or hocus-pocus. He produces detailed case histories. He quotes scriptural chapter and verse to justify his actions. And he has a large following. His book, An Exorcist Tells his Story, has been reprinted in Italy 17 times.

Given his shining faith and scholarly approach, I hardly dare ask him whether he has seen the notorious 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. It turns out to be his favourite film. "Of course, the special effects are exaggerated. but it is a good film, and substantially exact, based on a respectable novel which mirrored a true story."

The film is held to be so disturbing it has never been shown [until recently] on British terrestrial television and until last year could not even be rented from video shops. None the less, Father Amorth recommends it. "People need to know what we do."

And what about hallowe'en? The American tradition has made no inroads in Italy. "Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.''

It is time to go to the chapel where our photographer is waiting. Father Atnorth, used to the ways of the press, raises an eyebrow at us indulgently as he realises the photograph is designed to heighten the drama of his calling. Pictures taken, he potters off to find me of one ot his books.

"What do make of him?'' asks the photographer. "Is he mad?"

"I don't think so,'' I say. The award-winning Daily and Sunday Telegraph Rome correspondent, who has acted as interpreter br the interview, and is both a lapsed Catholic and a hardened hack, is more empathic: "There's not a trace of the charlatan about him. He is quite sane and utterly convincing."

Surprised at myself I add: "He seems to me to be a power for good in the world." With a smirk, the photographer loads his gear into the back of the taxi. ''So he's Peter Cushing then, not Christopher Lee," he says.

Father Amorth reappears with his book and smiles. "Remember, when we jeer at the Devil and tell ourselves that he does not exist, that is when he is happiest."

And from Wikipedia
The two books An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories include references to official Roman Catholic teachings onDemonology,[4] however the main emphasis is on Amorth's experience as an exorcist[5]. Both include references to the diagnosis and treatment of spiritual problems. The books briefly cover the topics of demonic contraction and curses.[6] On curses he states that, "A curse can originate from such things as maledictions by close relatives, a habit of blaspheming, membership in Freemasonry, spiritic or magic practices, and so on."[7]
In October, 2000, he said he had performed over 50,000 exorcisms (which ranged from "a few minutes" to "several hours" in length[8]) meaning he averaged close to ten exorcisms per day during his career up to the year 2000. In March 2010, he claimed that number had increased to 70,000.[9] He has also been quoted as saying that the senior officials of the Nazi Party were actively involved with Satanismand that both Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed.[10] He attributes the number of exorcisms performed to his opinion that "People have lost the Faith, and superstition, magic, Satanism, or Ouija boards have taken its place, which then open all the doors to the presence of demons."[11]
It was in an interview with the London Sunday Telegraph that Father Gabriele Amorth stressed that "People need to know what we do."[8]Father Amorth was also one of the voices that made public warnings to parents about J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, noting that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction "does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil." [12]
He said that the new rite of exorcism is "a farce. An incredible obstacle that is likely to prevent us from acting against the demon." He observes that the new exorcism rite forbids exorcisms on people who have been reportedly subjected to evil spells. Father Amorth exclaimed, "Absurd! Evil spells are by far the most frequent causes of possessions and evil procured through the demon: at least 90% of cases. It is as good as telling exorcists they can no longer perform exorcisms." He also noted that it also "Solemnly declares that one should not carry out exorcisms if one is not certain of the presence of the devil. He considers the new rite, "A blunt weapon.... Efficacious prayers, prayers that had been in existence for twelve centuries, were suppressed and replaced by new ineffective prayers."[13]
A recent announcement attributed to Gabriele Amorth to the online Catholic news service Petrus hailed the formation of adjuristine-exorcism squads by Pope Benedict XVI. The report, which was picked up by the UK newspaper the Daily Mail[14] on December 29, 2007, originally appeared on Petrus and claimed the squads were being dispatched worldwide to "tackle the rise of Satanism". Vatican officials immediately dismissed the reports but it was an unusual instance where the existence of adjurist and adjuristine activity was acknowledged in the press.
Amorth's favorite film is The Exorcist. He thinks that it is substantially exact and based on a true story, although the special effects are exaggerated. He thinks that people should see it so that they would "know what we do".[15].


Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", according to the Holy See's chief exorcist.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon".

He added: "When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia."

He claimed that another example of satanic behaviour was the Vatican "cover-up" over the deaths in 1998 of Alois Estermann, the then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard, who were all found shot dead. "They covered up everything immediately," he said. "Here one sees the rot".

A remarkably swift Vatican investigation concluded that Corporal Tornay had shot the commander and his wife and then turned his gun on himself after being passed over for a medal. However Tornay's relatives have challenged this. There have been unconfirmed reports of a homosexual background to the tragedy and the involvement of a fourth person who was never identfied.

Father Amorth, who has just published Memoirs of an Exorcist, a series of interviews with the Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, said that the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 had been the work of the Devil, as had an incident last Christmas when a mentally disturbed woman threw herself at Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Midnight Mass, pulling him to the ground.

Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a Rome-based exorcist, said that Father Amorth had "gone well beyond the evidence" in claiming that Satan had infiltrated the Vatican corridors.

"Cardinals might be better or worse, but all have upright intentions and seek the glory of God," he said. Some Vatican officials were more pious than others, "but from there to affirm that some cardinals are members of satanic sects is an unacceptable distance."

Father Amorth told La Repubblica that the devil was "pure spirit, invisible. But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable. At times he makes fun of me."

He said it sometimes took six or seven of his assistants to to hold down a possessed person. Those possessed often yelled and screamed and spat out nails or pieces of glass, which he kept in a bag. "Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals..."

He said that hoped every diocese would eventually have a resident exorcist. Under Church Canon Law any priest can perform exorcisms, but in practice they are carried out by a chosen few trained in the rites.

Father Amorth was ordained in 1954 and became an official exorcist in 1986. In the past he has suggested that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed by the Devil. He was among Vatican officials who warned that J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels made a "false distinction between black and white magic".

He approves, however, of the 1973 film The Exorcist, which although "exaggerated" offered a "substantially exact" picture of possession.

In 2001 he objected to the introduction of a new version of the exorcism rite, complaining that it dropped centuries-old prayers and was "a blunt sword" about which exorcists themselves had not been consulted. The Vatican said later that he and other exorcists could continue to use the old ritual.

He is the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists.

Bizarre in the news - Ghost caught on camera on tunnel tour?

paranormal.about.com and manchester confidential

"'Have you seen this?” said Confidential reader Aine Dowling.
She’d just been on our tunnel tour under the Great Northern Goods Warehouse. She’d taken a picture and found a ghost.
Or at least something very, very odd.
People who are open to the supernatural see ghosts everywhere. For instance a speck of dust as it moves on an air current and caught in a camera flash becomes an ‘orb’: a ball of otherworldly energy left by the souls of the departed.
Really? Orbs we reckon are a bit rubbish.
Aine’s picture shows much more than this.
It shows an arm, a back, the nape of a neck. It could be a coincidence of dust, a flash from some other snapper on the tour affecting the image caught here."

To read the rest click here

From Bry: Definitely an interesting shot. Droplets of water or spider web first popped to mind. its interesting how it takes a human form though? And of course this could have been done on a computer. Still, interested to hear your views.
What are your thoughts? Real or fake?

Bizarre in the news - Ghost video - Real or Fake?

From the site "Phantoms and Monsters"


What are your thoughts?
Fake? Real?