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Thread: Exorcism

  1. #1
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    Exorcism

    We have a few semi-related threads to this topic but just for argument's sake, let's start one dedicated to the topic with this here news story. Hopefully something a little more qigong appropriate will emerge soon. I know a few Wudang people who are Daoist exorcists.

    Exorcism with Chinese characteristics now being used to 'cure' ****sexuality

    [IMG]http://shanghaiist.com/attachments/alexlinder/exorcise_****sexuality.jpg[/IMG]

    A recent Chinese media report has been published exposing underground doctors in China who offer to exorcise the ****sexuality out of their patients.

    Just last week, we saw a documentary featuring a group of brave gay rights activists who go undercover to expose dangerous electric shock therapies and drug treatments used by Chinese clinics to "treat" patients' ****sexuality, but apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The Beijing News report follows a man named Chen Wei who says that he has been bothered by his attraction to fellow men for a long time. He searched online and finally decided to visit a Beijing clinic to have his ****sexuality "cured."

    At the clinic, a doctor told Chen that his sexual preference was actually caused by a "meridan obstruction," a traditional Chinese medicine term used to describe those times when your yin just won't flow. The doctor suggested a treatment of harmless collagen injections that would leave him totally cured and heterosexual in just three days.

    However, these shots cost 10,000 yuan, so Chen and his family decided to browse around a bit first and discovered another clinic offering an alternative therapy for less money.

    [IMG]http://shanghaiist.com/attachments/alexlinder/exorcise_****sexuality2.jpg[/IMG]

    The treatment was essentially exorcism, but with Chinese characteristics. Director Zhong revealed to Chen that his ****sexuality was in fact the result of a dead pet parrot that had been haunting him for all these year and making him like other dudes.

    "I can see this parrot and it has come back for revenge," Zhong said.

    To drive this evil parrot from his body, Zhong murmured some spells and smacked Chen on his head, back and shoulders. He then wrote out a charm on yellow paper, wrapped it in red paper and asked Chen to carry it with him always. In case all that hadn't worked, Zhong also prescribed some ginger, jujube and other traditional Chinese medicines.

    [IMG]http://shanghaiist.com/attachments/alexlinder/exorcise_****sexuality4.jpg[/IMG]

    Still none of this has worked and Chen says that his ****sexuality hasn't gone away. All that he is left with from the treatments is the emotional trauma. This would all be way more funny if it wasn't so sad.

    [IMG]http://shanghaiist.com/attachments/alexlinder/exorcise_****sexuality3.jpg[/IMG]

    Electric shock "gay conversion treatments" were ruled against in a landmark case in Beijing last year in the nation's first ever "gay conversion" suit. No idea if "exorcism treatments" is covered in that ruling.

    That case was brought against a Chongqing counseling center by an ex-client who said the electroshock therapy he was subjected to left him traumatized. Chinese search behemoth Baidu, which accepted online ads promoting "cures for ****sexuality" by the counseling center and other similar clinics, was also named as a defendant in the case.

    The activist, Yangzi Peng, later opened up about his controversial lawsuit against Baidu and the gay conversion clinic in an Al Jazeera documentary.

    [Images via Sina]
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  2. #2
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    This one is dated...

    ...and perhaps it should go in Busted-Qigong-Masters, but I just stumbled on it and just have to post it here now.

    ‘Ghostbuster’ arrested after ‘***** exorcism’ in China
    Metro News Reporter for Metro.co.ukWednesday 21 Aug 2013 1:10 pm


    A ‘ghostbuster’ has been arrested after performing a ‘***** exorcism’ (Picture: Alamy / File)

    A self-proclaimed ‘ghostbuster’ has been arrested after he charged a young woman for him to perform a ‘***** exorcism’ in China.

    Huang Jianjun was held by police after he asked the woman for 20,000 yuan (£2,000) to ‘rid her vagina of ghosts’, Chinese tabloid the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

    The woman contacted Huang for help after she developed a crush on her boss at work and later met him at a hotel room.

    Huang asked her to strip naked on the bed for an examination and claimed she must have sex with him to make her problems go away.

    Huang explained the ghosts in her vagina were stopping her from developing a relationship with her boss and said they could only be caught with his *****.

    The ‘ghostbuster’ was arrested after the alleged victim called the police and he is currently awaiting trial.

    He told authorities he had lost the ability to have an erection due to diabetes, and also claimed he had sacrificed his virginity for the exorcism.

    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    You crazy Daoists !
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  4. #4
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    Who you calling Daoist s_r?!

    ...then again, I'm marginally impressed that a Daoist has the balls to even attempt such an exorcism. Yea, pun intended. It's Monday morning and I'm getting off to a slow start...

    Matt Gibson
    Writer, photographer, award-winning outdoors adventure blogger, and About.com Snowboarding Guide.

    My Girlfriend Was Exorcised by a Traditional Chinese Healer
    Posted: 10/26/2010 6:01 pm EDT Updated: 05/25/2011 5:45 pm EDT


    Roots on display in a herbal Chinese remedy shop.

    Several times in my life I've seen things that I couldn't explain. Most of them occurred when I was young. I can't remember exactly what they were, but I remember feeling scared. There was an uncomfortable shift in my understanding of the world, like a jarring of my mental tectonic plates, followed by a feeling of calmness and certainty. Like the setting a broken bone, it hurt for a minute, but in the end it felt like something had been made right.

    Most of those occurrences were probably the result of a boy learning the workings of a world that is not as simple as Saturday morning cartoons would have us believe. The story I'm about to tell you, however, is much more recent. It happened when I was thirty-years-old, an age at which my grasp of reality, one would hope, was more akin to the Origin of Species than Tom and Jerry.

    My girlfriend Christine and I were walking down the street in Tainan, Taiwan, when a Taiwanese man shouted at us from the liquor store next door. "Lai, Lai (come here, come here)." He implored. We went inside.

    "A ghost is following your girlfriend." He said.

    "How do you know?"

    "I saw it." He pointed at her foot, which was wrapped in thick white bandages. "An accident?"

    A week earlier Christine had been riding her scooter when she was cut off and forced into the scooter next to her. Her little toe, which had been hanging off the edge of the scooter, had gotten caught on the other scooter so that when they veered away from each other it was pulled partly away from her foot. Doctors had fixed it in place with metal pins. It was extremely swollen.

    "Yes."

    "It happened because of the ghost." He told me.

    The vast majority of Taiwanese, especially the older generation, believe in ghosts. Most Taiwanese people will tell you that they have seen a ghost before.

    The man told me that he wanted to help Christine. He was a traditional Chinese healer. He assured me that he didn't want any money.

    I told Christine his offer.

    "Do you think it would it be strange?"

    "Extremely."

    "Should do it?"

    "Definitely."

    She agreed and he motioned for her to sit on a stool.

    He began moving his hands through the air in fluid motions like the Karate Kid's wax-on wax-off exercise. The circles movements became wilder and wilder and began making strange noises.

    "Ooh, wacka wacka wacka. Ooh, woogy woogy woogy."

    It was quite entertaining.

    Through all his hand waving, the man didn't touch Christine until the end when he placed one hand behind her head and then, with the same form that you would expect to see a martial artist punch through a board, he thrust is open palm forcefully into her forehead and held it there, hand quivering, and shouted, "Ooha!" He repeated this action three times and announced that he was finished. He told me that he had adjusted her chi, which had been blocked. He said the treatment would help her foot over the short term, but that she would have to return two more times before the end of Ghost Month (the month when the fabric separating our world from the ghosts' is most permeable) in order to rid herself of the troublesome spirit.

    We thanked the man for his kind help and left. On the scooter we laughed about the performance. I waved my hands in the air.

    "Wacka wacka wacka," I said.

    "Ha ha ha. Oh Matt. Don't be mean."

    "Woogy woogy woogy."

    "Ho ho ho."

    A couple of hours later as we watched TV at home Christine suddenly grabbed my arm.
    "Oh my God Matt. Look!"

    She had just unwrapped her foot. When we went out that night it had been so swollen that it looked like a big pink potato with toes. But now it was back to its normal size. The swelling had gone down so fast that her skin was wrinkled like she had just gotten out of a long bath.

    Here is a picture that I snapped with my iPhone.



    I have no explanation for what happened. Over the following days I became accustomed the idea that our limited senses and short time on this planet allow us to understand the universe about as much as a pygmy could understand a David Lynch movie by watching its filming through the keyhole of a door on the set.

    There are many things we will never understand. I used to dislike the idea, but I'm growing to like it more and more. It makes the world strange and mysterious. On a good day it's almost bizarre and profound as a David Lynch movie.

    Read more of Matt Gibson's writing in his column on Transitions Abroad or his blog and portfolio at Matt-Gibson.org.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    It's not just Daoists

    12:00 pm ET Oct 27, 2015 TV
    This Halloween, Watch a Live Exorcism on TV
    By MICHAEL CALIA


    Archbishop James Long and the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, both set to appear in ‘Exorcism: Live!’ Destination America

    What an excellent week for an exorcism.

    The night before Halloween is usually the perfect time for a costume party or a horror-movie marathon. This week, though, people who like to partake in the ghoulish festivities of this time of year will have a chance to try something different: watching a live exorcism.

    “Exorcism: Live!” which is due to air from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET Friday on Discovery Communications’ Destination America, will give viewers a chance to see an actual exorcism ritual in action. Don’t expect spinning heads or torrents of pea soup, though. This rite will be performed on a house — but not just any house.

    The abode, which is nestled in a St. Louis suburb, was purportedly the site of an exorcism performed in the 1940s on a teenaged boy known as “Roland Doe.” The boy’s alleged possession – which was addressed by several Jesuit priests in Maryland and Missouri — made the news of the day and helped inspire a Georgetown University student named William Peter Blatty to eventually write the 1971 novel “The Exorcist.” The rest is horror history.


    Khalif Topping promotes ‘Exorcism: Live!’ at New York Comic Con earlier in October. Michael Rapoport

    The boy’s story has been re-told and challenged by skeptics over the past 66 years. Thomas B. Allen — who says he isn’t interested in “Exorcism: Live!” — wrote about it in his 1993 nonfiction book, “Possessed,” which was adapted into a 2000 Showtime movie starring Timothy Dalton and Christopher Plummer. Christopher Saint Booth’s 2010 documentary “The Haunted Boy” also dug into the story. Booth, meanwhile, has investigated the house for paranormal activity and is involved in “Exorcism: Live!”

    Destination America sees the events as the “quintessential American horror story of our time,” according to cable-industry veteran Henry S. Schleiff, group president of Destination America and two other Discovery channels. The producers behind “Exorcism: Live!” said they are treating the story and the house with respect. “It’s not a spoof,” says Sara Helman, an executive at the channel and one of the overseers of the special.

    Jodi Tovay, who developed the show, says she has a personal connection to demonic activity. At age 16, Tovay claims, she witnessed a chaperone on a church mission trip to Mexico exhibit signs of possession, i.e., acting strangely, using profanity and contorting his body. The other adults on the trip said the chaperone was possessed, and Tovay says her youth pastor performed an exorcism on the man. “It was weird to see somebody act like that,” she says.

    That doesn’t mean Tovay and her other Destination America cohorts aren’t having a little fun with “Exorcism: Live!” “It’s a marketer’s dream,” says Laura Giacalone, vice president of marketing. The channel has sought to build word of mouth for the special with campaigns at festivals and conventions, first teasing it at San Diego Comic Con this summer. Earlier this month at New York Comic Con, the channel held a panel discussion about exorcism, while people dressed as priests and nuns promoted the show on the convention floor.

    The special itself will break down like this, if the plan works out: The first hour will focus on the context and the history of the house and the alleged original exorcism. There will also be a “ghost hunt” conducted by the Tennessee Wraith Chasers, who star in “Ghost Asylum,” which also airs on Destination America. There will be several cameras placed throughout the house which will live stream online, and the audience will be able to engage with the production through social media.

    “Trying to convince people this house is still haunted is the most important part,” Tovay says. People still live at the house, producers say, although the residents aren’t going to be home when the action goes down.


    The St. Louis-area home at the center of ‘Exorcism: Live!’ Destination America

    Psychic, medium and author Chip Coffey will anchor a séance in the second hour leading up to the grand finale: a live exorcism of the house. In charge of the ritual will be James Long, archbishop of the United States Old Catholic Church, which isn’t affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Long has appeared on several paranormal programs and has, according to Destination America, performed hundreds of exorcisms on buildings or homes thought to be plagued by demons.

    All signs point to unruly spirits still hanging around the so-called “Exorcist” house, according to the Destination America team. “It’s definitely a hot place, still,” Tovay says. It had better be if they don’t want to end up with the paranormal equivalent of Al Capone’s vault.

    Even if “Exorcism: Live!” turns out to be a bust, however, Destination America isn’t shying away from spooky reality-based programming. It currently airs 45 paranormal-themed shows, which focus on an array of creepy entities, from ghosts to aliens. Schleiff says the channel’s goal is to become a leader in exploring American myths, legends and folklore.

    And it won’t be long before the channel features another program about demons. “The Demon Files,” which focuses on demonologist and former New York cop Ralph Sarchie (the subject of the 2014 Eric Bana movie “Deliver Us From Evil”), premieres the night after Halloween. The show will run for three weeks.

    How long will viewers have to wait to see a televised exorcism performed on an actual person, though? It might only be a matter of time, but the producers and developers at Destination America want to see how the business with the house goes, although they consider it a good first step in that direction.

    Watch a clip on the history of the house which will be featured in “Exorcism: Live!”

    The Tennessee Wraith Chasers sounds like our TN Tiger Claw office drinking team.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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    Slightly OT

    As I recently visited Spain, Catholicism has been on my mind.

    Exorcist films should teach how God always conquers evil, exorcist says
    By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service
    1.12.2016 10:59 AM ET


    CNS photo/Warner Bros.
    Anthony Hopkins stars in a scene from the 2010 movie "The Rite." Writing in a Vatican newspaper, a leading exorcist said movies depicting exorcisms could be an important medium for showing how God always triumphs over evil, but instead they misrepresent the faith and exaggerate human and satanic powers over God. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.) See EXORCISM-MOVIES-TEACHING Jan. 12, 2016.

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Movies depicting exorcisms could be an important medium for showing how God always triumphs over evil, but instead, they misrepresent the faith and exaggerate human and satanic powers over God, a leading exorcist wrote in the Vatican newspaper.
    Television and cinema have accustomed people to recognizing "the presence and extraordinary acts of demons in people's lives and the battle that the church faces against them," wrote Father Francesco Bamonte, president of the International Association of Exorcists, headquartered in Rome.
    Portraying exorcisms in the world of fiction "could promote greater awareness" about the Catholic faith, however, "the way in which evil, demonic possession, the prayer of exorcism and liberation are presented is disappointing and unacceptable," he wrote in L'Osservatore Romano Jan. 8.
    While priests are entrusted by the church to help protect or liberate people from the power of the devil, most movies hide or ignore "the marvelous, stupendous presence and work of God" and the role of Mary in the battle against evil, wrote the priest, who is a member of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    As exorcists witness through their own experience, the reality is that "the demon, even if he doesn't want to, is forced against his will to affirm the truth of our Catholic faith," he said. For example, he said, when holy water or a holy relic is used in an exorcism, demons react -- often violently -- as they are forced to submit to the power of God every single time.
    "When listening to a prayer to the Virgin, (the demon) shows all of his hatred and fear toward her, he is forced to confirm that Mary is the mother of God and that she intercedes for humanity," Father Bamonte wrote.
    While there are many inaccuracies about the faith in films, their most serious error is presenting life as a battle between two equal principles or divinities: light and darkness, good and evil, the priest said.
    "Satan is not the god of evil against the God of the good, rather he is a being who God created as good and who, with some angels -- also created good by God -- became evil because they refused God and his kingdom with their free and final choice."
    "Satan and the spirits at his service, therefore, are not omnipotent beings, they cannot perform miracles, they are not omnipresent, they cannot know our thoughts or know the future."
    Nor is it true, as some movies make it seem, that salvation comes from people who have access to secret or superior knowledge, he said. Such portrayals not only help drive people away from the church, they set the foundation for "a class of superior beings."
    People "who live with trusting abandon in God's arms are stronger than the devil and all of his minions -- these truths do not emerge in the movies," he said.
    "What could have provided a good service to the church and the faith becomes the usual and subtle attack of Satan against the foundations of the Catholic Church," the priest concluded.
    Father Bamonte's article appeared in the Vatican newspaper together with a film critic's look at how the exorcism genre was the most "prolific" in the evolution of "B movie" horror flicks.
    William Friedkin's 1973 movie "The Exorcist" is still today "one of the most terrifying horror films ever created," according to Emilio Ranzato, author and frequent movie critic for L'Osservatore Romano.
    Linda Blair, the young actress who plays the 12-year-old possessed girl in the film, "ends up being a kind of Shirley Temple debased by the era of Vietnam and Watergate," he wrote.
    While "no film in recent years has come close to reaching the same level" achieved by Friedkin's masterpiece, "fine commercial productions" include "The Last Exorcism" by Daniel Stamm in 2010; "The Conjuring" by James Wan in 2013 and "Deliver Us From Evil" by Scott Derrickson in 2014, Ranzato wrote.
    "In order to find good films on the subject of demonic possession," he wrote, it's better to skip more commercial productions and instead look at "art-house" films which are more at liberty to go beyond simplistic storylines and "the generic battle of good against evil."
    The film critic's thumbs-up list includes: Brunello Rondi's "The Demon" (1963); Lucio Fulci's "Don't Torture a Duckling" (1972); Waris Hussein's "The Possession of Joel Delaney" (1972); "Requiem" directed by Hans-Christian Schmid (2006); Derrickson's "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (2005); and Andrzej Zulawski's "Possession" (1981), which is "a surrealist masterpiece, replete with cryptic but exciting details, laden with meaning."
    Okay now, has anyone here seen Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)? That title really makes me want to see it. Fulci is notorious.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    The Exorcist still freaks me out.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

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    Lucio Fulci's The House by the Cemetery is atmospheric and fairly creepy. The English dubbing actually adds to the creep factor.

    I watched a part of Fulci's The Beyond, but started feeling weird and uncomfortable while watching it, so I turned it off after maybe 30 minutes or so. Only one other movie has ever had a similar effect on me: Demons, directed by Lamberto Bava. In that case, it was mostly the earlier half of the movie. Although I did watch that one from start to finish. It's hard to explain or figure out why those two movies in particular affected me like that, considering all the horror movies I've seen over the decades. I didn't find either movie particularly scary. And I almost never get creeped out by movies, although I appreciate good, creepy atmospherics. I feel...and this is only my feeling...that certain movies can carry or attract a particularly negative vibe or energy (or whatever you might choose to call it).

    I've never really felt The Exorcist was overly scary *as a movie*. If it were really happening, of course it would be different. However, I think it's a great movie.

    Anyway, I apologize for going a bit OT.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 01-21-2016 at 02:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    Steamed to death

    I love saunas for their purgative qualities, but this is madness.

    Woman is STEAMED to death by witch doctors in an attempt to ‘dispel ghosts’

    The woman from Guangyuan, Sichuan province died on February 27
    Two witch doctors were hired to rid her of an undisclosed illness
    Villagers found the woman being 'steamed' in a large wooden barrel
    They freed her and sought medical help but she died shortly after

    By SOPHIE WILLIAMS FOR MAILONLINE

    PUBLISHED: 06:11 EST, 1 March 2016 | UPDATED: 06:36 EST, 1 March 2016

    A woman in south west China's Sichuan province has died after taking part in an exorcism on February 27.

    Her family had hired two 'witch doctors' to help rid her of an undisclosed illness, the People's Daily Online reports.

    Police are now investigating the details behind the woman's death.


    Evil spirits: A woman in Sichuan province was steamed to death during an exorcism in Sichuan province

    According to a villager surnamed Liu, the woman had suffered from an unidentified illness for years and had often been heard crying out in pain.

    Liu says on February 27, he heard people crying and went to discover what was going on.

    He claims that he found two witch doctors who had been hired by the woman's family at the scene.

    The woman was sealed into a large barrel, which was then being heated by the vat of boiling water underneath.

    When the local villagers told them to stop, the two 'doctors' replied that the screams were not in fact coming from the woman, they were from the devil.

    Steamed to death: Two witch doctors were hired by the woman's family to rid her of evil spirits

    They said they needed to continue to drive the ghost away.

    Villagers took no notice and helped to free the woman.

    When they managed to release her from the barrel, they discovered that her face had turned black and she was unable to stand.

    People immediately went looking for medical help while others helped take her into the house.

    However shortly after the rescue attempt, the woman died.

    The witch doctors have now been detained by the local police, pending further investigation.
    Gene Ching
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    Slightly OT

    I originally intended this thread to be focused on Chinese (Daoist) exorcism as that does bleed over into the martial arts, especially if you're in the Wudang lineage. But it is going its own way, as threads often do...

    Return of the Devil: Exorcism's Comeback in the Catholic Church
    by Chris Roberts
    March 09, 2016




    Natasha Dangond
    Immaculate Conception Chapel in Bernal Heights.

    Every Thursday evening, a few dozen people file into Immaculate Conception Chapel, a small Catholic church on the steep slope of Folsom Street on Bernal Hill's north face, carrying bottles of water, tubs of protein powder, small bottles of booze, watches, rosaries, and cell phones.

    They place these items on small tables and on the rails at the front of the church, below the altar and the figure of Christ nailed to the cross set deep into the chapel's far wall. Then they find a spot in one of the 13 rows of pews, to sit or kneel as they pray in silence. For a long while, the only noise comes from the wheeze of the 67-Bernal Heights bus as it chugs up the hill or the whir of the church's HVAC sys flitem.

    The people stir a few minutes past 7 p.m. when a tiny man wearing white robes — a long rectangle of cloth with Vegas-worthy golden sparkles hanging around his neck — appears from a door to the left of the altar. A few weeks shy of his 89th birthday, Father Guglielmo Lauriola walks slowly across the raised altar area to a waiting chair. Here he sits, facing away from his congregation in the style of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, to read from laminated card prayers and songs devoted to the Virgin Mary. Aside from Jesus on the cross, she is the principal figure of veneration here at the 104-year-old church.

    When this is finished, in about half an hour, the two middle-aged Filipinas who serve as Lauriola's lectors and attendants, towering over his five-foot-ish frame, help him into different robes. Then the Franciscan priest — the pastor of this church for over 40 years — starts a second Mass, this one facing his parishioners.

    Everything follows the liturgy, the script that would be recognizable to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics even if Lauriola were speaking in Klingon. He reads from the Bible. He delivers a short sermon, talking about the time he welcomed some Muslims in the neighborhood into the church. (Their god is not so different from his God, he says.) He gets up, the smell of incense thick in the room, to fling water from a small wand onto the personal items arrayed on the table, granting them all — water, booze, phones — a blessing. The parishioners line up to receive Communion, the small wafers of bread that Catholics believe becomes the physical body of Jesus Christ.

    Then come — for fidgety schoolchildren or for the rote Catholics eager to get on with their day and go home — the magic words. "The Mass is ended," Lauriola says, his accent like a thick layer of lacquer over a well-worn pew. "Go in peace."

    Nobody moves. This is when the show really starts.

    Two men step forward approach Lauriola, who has shuffled to the center of the altar area, in the same spot where he offered Communion. They stay on the church's main floor, two steps below, flanking him on either side. The people line up in the same way they did when receiving Communion, but instead of a piece of consecrated bread, this time they're waiting their turn to hold Lauriola's hands for about 20 to 30 seconds as he offers each of them a special prayer. As Lauriola murmurs his blessing, the two men hold their hands up behind the person receiving it, their palms held out and a few inches away from the person's back, as if preparing for a trust fall at a work retreat.

    It's a necessary move. After Lauriola releases his grip, some of the people stagger away as if stricken, caught by the waiting hands. Some need to be helped to the altar, where they kneel to pray. Every once in awhile, the blessed person will fall to the floor as if they fainted. Sometimes they may remain there for as long as 10 or 15 minutes while the rest of the congregation files around them to receive their own blessings, with their own reactions.

    When this is all over, the two men come forward again. This time, they help Lauriola down the two steps from the raised altar area. The blessed parishioners, by now back in their pews, rise again, forming a circle around the elf-sized priest as he approaches them. They hold their hands over him, as if receiving his energy. And they pray.

    This is not an ordinary Catholic Mass — it's a healing Mass. The prayers here are for sick people, for deliverance. Some of the prayers are to be rid of evil, of the influence of the devil in their lives — to be free of the hold Satan has on their bodies and souls.

    This is exactly the right place for that kind of prayer. This is the house of an exorcist.


    Chris Roberts
    Father Guglielmo Lauriola, after giving out miniature exorcisms.

    Lauriola is one of two Catholic exorcists — priests whose official duty it is to perform the Solemn Rite of Exorcism, the formal casting-out of the devil or a demon from a Catholic's body and soul — living and working in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which includes Marin and San Mateo counties as well as the city. (The blessing that Lauriola gave, he explains to me later, is a minor exorcism, one large step below the formal rite.)

    In the 21st century, even as Pope Francis embraces progressive ideas like climate change and urges world leaders to do something about income inequality, the rite of exorcism is enjoying a renaissance in the Catholic Church.

    "I believe in exorcism," says Angela Alioto, a former President of the Board of Supervisors and the daughter of Mayor Joe Alioto, who presided over the city in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "I believe people are possessed. I believe what our Lord did in the Gospels. I absolutely believe in that."

    "I think people were hiding [exorcism] more before," says Alioto, a fervent Catholic and practicing attorney in North Beach. "I think they were still doing it, they just kept it quiet. Now they're not being as quiet as they used to be."

    Following an official decree from Pope John Paul II in 2004, every diocese (the term for an area of hierarchal control, like a state or a county) in the church has appointed an official exorcist. It's not clear how many exorcists there are in America — not every diocese is public about it — but there are 185 dioceses in the country. And in California, every diocese but one has an official exorcist.

    Lauriola sees as many as eight people a month seeking healing for afflictions modern medicine cannot cure; a counterpart of his in San Jose, Father Gary Thomas, is just as busy.

    While some Catholic theologians disagree — and the Archdiocese of San Francisco does not provide official figures, if it has any — a fair number of priests, religious scholars, and faithful agree: Exorcism is back. This seemingly medieval practice — which fell by the wayside as the Church attempted to modernize in the last 50 years, and which took a further hit in 1973, when a young German woman, Anneliese Michel, died after undergoing repeated exorcisms — is creeping into the Catholic mainstream once again. This assertion is repeated in headlines in the Telegraph, U.K. Guardian and other news publications that talk of an "exorcism boom."

    "Almost all exorcists are unanimous in their belief that more people are becoming possessed today than in the recent past," writes journalist Matt Baglio in The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, a tome inspired by (and centered on) Thomas's training in exorcism, undertaken in Rome in 2005.

    Skeptics would point out that such a statement is akin to umbrella salesmen agreeing that it's about to rain. And there are many skeptics. Michael Cueno, a professor at the Catholic Church-affiliated Fordhan University in New York City, attended 50 exorcisms while researching his book American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty. And "never once did I walk away convinced that the person being exorcised was really demonized," he said in an interview with Evangelical Today.

    And not every Catholic theologian agrees with the anecdotes from exorcism practitioners. "There's no empirical evidence to support that statement," says Father Jim Bretzke, a former professor at the University of San Francisco who now teaches theology at Boston College. Interest in exorcism "tends to ebb and flow whenever there's something in the news cycle to provoke it — a book or a movie — but I cannot say that the demonic is on the rise."

    But given the papal decree, it is true that there are more exorcists in the U.S. than before. (Thomas says he has a "confidential list" of at least 90 American exorcists, and occasionally learns of others he did not know practiced the rite.) And anecdotes suggest that there is growing number of people — possibly including the Catholics occupying positions of power in Congress and in City Hall — for whom Satan is not a metaphor or a bogeyman. He's real — and thanks to a populace less interested in the church and more occupied with New Age philosophy, he's busier than ever.
    continued next post
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  11. #11
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    Continued from previous post


    Natasha Dangood
    Soon to be 89, Lauriola has been performing exorcisms since the 1950s.

    "Satan" is a relatively new arrival to the world. While the name is a Hebrew word meaning "adversary," Biblical scholars note that the word and the concept are nearly absent from the Old Testament, the part of the Bible Christians share in common with Jews.

    As for demons — the word comes from the Greek daimon — the ancient Greeks, upon whose scholarship the intellectual foundation for many of our institutions is based, believed daimons were akin to spiritual forces which could be beneficial. (During his trial, before his fellow Athenians put him to death, Socrates claimed his inspiration came from a daimon he supposedly praised as a "favor of the gods" and "a marvelous gift.")

    But Satan and his minions are alive, well, and kicking evil in the New Testament. One of Jesus' first miracles was casting out an evil spirit from a man and into a herd of swine. In three of the four Gospels, the Biblical chapters that deal with the life and works of Christ, Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days, where Satan offers a series of temptations, all of which Christ resists. (A final temptation, when Satan offers to take Jesus off of the cross instead of dying there to save the world, inspired a Martin Scorcese film).

    The concept caught hold with the early Christians, all of whom — unless they were Jewish converts — were former pagans, worshipping gods Socrates would have recognized from the Hellenic Pantheon or following a Celtic tradition. When winning converts from among their former fellow true believers, early Christian priests denounced the spirits worshipped or feared by pagans as "demons... hostile spirits contending against the One True God," as Elaine Pagels writes in The Origin of Satan.

    Whether through Satan or a lesser demon, the Catholic Church holds that evil works on the individual in one of two ways. The devil will offer temptation, enticing a person to give into pleasures of the flesh rather than of the spirit. He will whisper in your ear some misdirection, seeking to drive you to loneliness, isolation or despair. (Not every temptation comes from the devil, it should be noted; people are plenty wont to give in to "corruption of the flesh" all by themselves.)

    That's "ordinary" demonic activity. "Extraordinary" demonic activity is closer to what most Americans know from Hollywood horror movies. There's "infestation," when your house or something you own is cursed, causing you any number of ills. There's "oppression," when you discover scratches on your body, signs of a physical attack. There's "obsession," when your mind is plagued with intrusive thoughts meant to drive you to suicide or despair. In the rarest of cases, he entirely takes you over — "possession," possibly as a result of a curse put on you by a friend or a family member, or from the participation of you, a family member, or even an ancestor of yours in a "satanic ritual." (Among Catholic authorities, the "satanic panic" that gripped mainstream America in the early 1990s lives on.)

    Church doctrine teaches that the devil is a creation of God, who put Satan on earth to tempt mankind — not to torture us, but to show us the difference between good and evil. Whatever his reason for being in someone's life, driving the devil out could take a few minutes of prayer, or it could take decades. But it requires a priest, who reminds the devil, a being with "preternatural" power limited by God's rules, of his his lesser status in an attempt to weaken him long enough to release his hold on the mortal soul.

    For centuries, the devil held fast to the hearts and minds of European Christians. But for some reason, he seemed to reach new levels of power as Europe exited the Dark Ages and stepped towards the intellectual revolution of the Enlightenment.

    "During the 16th and 17th centuries," writes historian Brian P. Levack in The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the European West, "the reading public in Europe was treated to a steady diet of stories describing the extraordinary behaviour of people who were said to have been possessed by demons." Demons caused people to speak fluently in languages they'd never heard before, to shriek and hiss and spit and blaspheme, to recoil at the sight of a priest. There were reports of possessions that engulfed entire families, entire convents, sometimes entire towns — a "phenomenon [which] approached... epidemic proportions," Levack writes.

    (Even before the Protestant Reformation and the new brand of fervent, Satan-fearing Puritanism current movie-goers may see in The Witch, the Satanic script also followed gender roles: Most posssed people, and all witches, were women. And all priests — the only people with the ability to remedy a witch — were men.)

    But while the 17th century could be called the "golden age of the demoniac," Levack argues that there are two periods of time that are in competition for that title: the early Christians and today.



    Courtesy of Catholic San Francisco
    Father Gary Thomas, seen here in 2009, became the Diocese of San Jose’s official exorcist in 2005.

    As many as 15 percent of the people on earth have had at least one exorcism in their lives. There are over 1.2 billion Catholics. Every Catholic is baptized, and the rite of baptism — in which Catholics witnessing the ceremony must swear to "reject Satan and all of his works" — is a miniature exorcism, according to church doctrine.

    And the United States is as Catholic as ever: According to Gallup, while the number of Americans who say they are atheists has increased from 1 percent in the 1950s to 17 percent today, the percentage of Americans who say they are Catholic has remained relatively stable (23 percent today, 23 percent in 1961).

    This is partially thanks to the influx of immigrants from heavily Catholic Latin America. "[A]ll Latin Americans have this sensibility," said Father Cesare Truqui, a Mexican priest who is trained as an exorcist, in an interview with Catholic Online. "For them, the existence of the Devil is part of their faith." (Pope Francis is from Argentina, the first Latin American pontiff.)

    But for the church, the spiritual home for exorcism is closer to home: It's in Italy, where as many as 500,000 people a year seek healing via an exorcism for afflictions ranging from anxiety and depression to uncontrollable urges.

    Church leaders see this as no accident, as Europe is also the modern home of the occult. Research published in 2012 by Sabine Doering-Manteuffel, an ethnologist at the University of Augsburg in Germany, suggests adherence to New Age philosophies — including transcendental meditation, astral traveling, and Wicca — are indeed on the rise in Europe, and have created "strong counter-movements" to Enlightenment philosophies.

    Hard data is scant, but church leaders have embraced tidbits of information like this as new cause for purpose. Priest assembled for the International Association of Exorcists' annual meeting in 2014 stated that occult activity is on the rise, according to the Catholic News Agency. (Italy is also the home of the church's most-famous exorcist, 90-year old Father Gabriele Amorth, who in an interview with a Catholic news agency last year called both yoga and Harry Potter "satanic.") Ouija boards, tarot decks, the belief that crystals hold power, or going to the oak grove that serves as the Druidic circle in Golden Gate Park — the Church regards all of these as possible entry points for demonic activity.
    Continued next post
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  12. #12
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    Continued from previous post


    DAVE TENNENBAUM
    Pope John Paul II, seen here visiting San Francisco, ordered all bishops to appoint an official exorcist.

    Despite never having encountered a demon face-to-face for the first 22 years of his time as a priest, Father Gary Thomas believes all this. Thomas, a soft-spoken and kind-eyed man in his early 60s, is America's most famous exorcist. He plies his trade about a half an hour south of Sand Hill Road, the famous avenue of venture capitalists, in the heart of Silicon Valley, at Sacred Heart parish in Saratoga, where his parishioners have included founders of Adobe and executives at Apple.

    On a recent warm Wednesday afternoon in February, Thomas greets a visitor from San Francisco at the door of his residence, a spacious two-story building he shares with one other priest. In a dining room right off of the house's garden patio, Thomas discusses over sandwiches — turkey for his guest, tuna for him — about how he first encountered Satan and, in 2005, when his bishop asked him to become the local exorcist in order to fulfill the Vatican's directive, how he became Silicon Valley's go-to guy for casting out evil.

    Prior to heading to Rome for his formal training for the church's official course for exorcists, Thomas had never seen a person he believed to be possessed — and had mentioned Satan from the pulpit no more than a couple times (He recalls two instances in the span of two years: once after the Columbine High School massacre, and another after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, two events he now says "were absolutely diabolical.")

    In Rome, Thomas attended classes and traveled by bus to a monastery on the outskirts of town, where he was apprenticed to a friar named Father Carmine De Filippis. While Thomas watched, De Filippis would see "patients," women and men of all ages and walks of life who professed to be possessed. At first, he was not impressed.

    "I used to think, 'Is this for real? Is this a placebo effect? Are they acting out because they think they're supposed to?'" he says. But one visitor to De Filippis in particular won him over. One day, the experienced exorcist told Thomas to come over on a Saturday for a "special case." When Thomas arrived, three other priests were there to see a woman in her 30s, who was a "stocky" five-foot-four. Not huge, and not strong — but as De Filippis prayed over her for three hours, she thrashed so much that "it took four of us to hold her down," he says. "She was hissing and ****ing and blaspheming and screaming. That was the first one I ever saw."

    On his return to the States, Thomas began performing his own exorcisms. (He says he's currently seeing eight troubled souls; since the publication of Baglio's book in 2009, he now fields "at least" one call from someone new seeking treatment every day.) While in Italy priests operate solo, Thomas has a team of medical and mental health professionals: a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, and a clinical psychologist, all of whom are practicing Catholics, a rarity in the mental health field. "Most mental health professionals are atheists or agnostic," he says. "[Exorcism] isn't even on their radar." (He declined to identify all but one of the members of his team by name. The psychiatrist, a San Jose-area man with a Silicon Valley practice, did not consent to being interviewed and Thomas asked that SF Weekly not print his name, for fear of professional ostracism.)

    Anyone coming to Thomas alleging to be possessed is given a thorough questioning — about their mental health history, about a history of trauma or sexual abuse, drug habits, sexual partners — all things that a shrink at Kaiser Permanente might ask anyone.

    And only after all medical avenues are exhausted — after the doctors on his team conclude that the affliction in question does not have a medical, psychological, or psychiatric source — does he begin administering the solemn rite.

    "The exorcist is the ultimate skeptic," he says. "The more emphatic someone is that they're possessed, the more I'm probably convinced that they don't have anything."

    Common sources of possession, Thomas says, include trauma like sexual abuse. (Eighty percent of the people who seek exorcism from him are abuse victims, he says.) Drug use, particularly cocaine and methamphetamine, can lead to the demonic. (Cannabis users can rest easy; "you really have to be addicted" to marijuana to see demons as a result of pot, Thomas says.) It can also include sexual promiscuity, as devils can be transferred via intercourse. They can also travel via electronic currents, meaning the Internet and smartphones are possible sources of demonic activity.

    The rite itself is a long prayer, with reported exhortations to the devil that God is the boss. During the process, the exorcist will try and learn the name of the demon afflicting the subject; doing so is considered a major victory that weakens the baddie's power.

    However, the rite itself isn't always recited. An "exorcism" could be as simple as a 20-minute prayer session, at the end of which nothing might happen. The subject might foam at the mouth or dry-heave — both "good things," he says, as "that's the devil being expelled." And unlike the dramatic denouements in the movies, where demons exit with a roar, a bang, and some projectile vomit, most modern-day exorcisms require multiple sessions, sometimes over a period of years. Thomas has been seeing one man in Silicon Valley for almost a decade; his old mentor, De Filippis, reported exorcising one nun repeatedly over a period of 40 years.

    "Demons are always looking for people with broken relationships," says Thomas, who says that "not once" has he been afraid while going toe-to-toe with the devil, though he notes he's been attacked. While in Rome, he found himself beset by sexual urges of the kind he hadn't had since his 30s — a surefire "demonic attack," he says. At home in the States, after performing an exorcism on a Friday evening, he felt ill and out of sorts the following day, when he had to perform a few weddings. After receiving communion at one of the wedding Masses, he passed out. When he came to, he went to the hospital, where he suffered through "Montezuma's revenge all night," he says. He consulted his doctor, who agreed that it was unlikely he could have fallen so ill so quickly. Then he remembered: During the exorcism, he'd blown into the face of the person he was trying to exorcise. The person blew back. Except it wasn't the person blowing.

    "It was a demonic attack," he says.


    A exorcism is performed in Saint Francis Borgia at the Deathbed of an Impenitent, by Goya.

    San Francisco is not necessarily proud of its status as a sort of hub for exorcism. While Thomas's fame is nationwide and Immaculate Conception's Lauriola is open about practicing exorcism, the Archdiocese of San Francisco declined to identify the other trained exorcist in the archdiocese, and at which church he is practicing. Mike Brown, a spokesman for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, also declined to comment on a rumor that Cordileone himself performed an exorcism at one of his own churches within the past two years. (Both Thomas and Lauriola also politely declined SF Weekly's request to see an exorcism in action — my lapsed Catholic nonbelief being the main reason. "It's very dangerous" to have a nonbeliever in the room, Thomas says, noting it creates an opportunity for the devil and a risk to the exorcist.)

    While alive and well in the Church, modern medicine isn't quite sure what to do about exorcism, whose subjects almost always seem to suffer from an affliction in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (in which there's also an entry for "treatment-resistant psychosis," the medical diagnosis most in line with "demonic possession.")

    The American Psychiatry Association "has no official position" on the rite, according to a spokeswoman, who declined to speak further. Representatives from two respected California schools of professional psychology declined to speak on the record with SF Weekly, and no expert at either school would agree to an interview. Some clinicians have training in this area, "but believe speaking about publicly could jeopardize their reputation," said one representative from an accredited institution, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The mix of religious belief with scientific training causes a conflict for some."

    And Angela Alioto is a rarity among prominent local Catholics willing to speak about their beliefs in exorcism.

    Through a spokesman, the most prominent Catholic in San Francisco city government, District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell — who has publicly declared himself a "proud" and "practicing Catholic" — declined to comment for this story.

    Representatives for Nancy Pelosi — the Democratic Minority leader and a staunch Catholic who appears in Congress on Ash Wednesday with the black markings still on her forehead — did not respond to a request for comment.

    (Gov. Jerry Brown is nominally Catholic — as a young man, he studied to become a Catholic priest before dropping out of the seminary — but has recently angered the Church for signing legislation allowing doctor-assisted suicide.)
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  13. #13
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    Continued from previous post


    Pope Francis, center, regularly refers to the devil in sermons and speeches.

    Whether they believe in him or not, Americans are certainly fascinated with the devil and the occult. In Wisconsin, a pair of pre-teen girls were arrested in 2014 for the attempted murder of their friend, who they tried to sacrifice, they told police, to win favor from The Slender Man, a bogeyman created on the Internet in 2009. (One of the girls has been declared incompetent to stand trial following a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a common affliction suffered by exorcism-seekers.) Satanic possession is the subject of an upcoming documentary produced by Zak Bagans, the muscular, bro-like host of the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures. "The devil looks bad in this," said Father Michael Maginot, the Catholic priest who participated in the documentary and served as exorcist, in an interview earlier this year with the National Catholic Register. "He loses a lot of mystique." (Bagans, himself a Catholic, says that he came down with a "mysterious illness" following filming, according to Register writer Patti Armstrong.)

    Americans in general are becoming less rational in their views. Seventy-eight percent of Americans believe in angels, and 70 percent believe in the devil, according to Gallup polls conducted a decade ago, up from 56 and 54 percent, respectively, in previous decades. If the devil is real, why wouldn't he be active?

    This credulity also helps the church, which, despite a constant numer of Americans who say they are Catholic, has suffered through the twin crises of declining church attendance — 41 percent of "Catholics" no longer adhere to the faith, a Pew poll released last shows — and the lingering effects of the Church's sex abuse scandal.

    For the church, which first saw attendance begin to drop following the "modernizing" reforms (allowing lay people greater roles in the church, saying Mass in English rather than Latin) instituted after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, exorcism is a self-supporting feedback loop.

    The more people who exit the church and pursue New Age philosophies — what hard-core priests like Father Amorth would call the occult — means more demonic activity. That requires exorcists — and the best way for someone who has recovered from demonic activity, and to ensure Satan does not return, is to pray, attend Church, and receive Communion. In other words, to be a faithful and devout Catholic — which could mean that those Catholics who are left are becoming more extreme in their views.

    When Pope Francis talks about the devil working in the world, he is speaking literally. And when Amorth, the 90-year old "dean of the exorcists," says that yoga and Harry Potter are satanic, he is not speaking metaphorically. When church leaders speak, people still listen. If the church says exorcism is real, for now, people will seek it out.


    Christ exorcises a mute, by Gustave Doré

    Not every Thursday night healing Mass at Immaculate Conception goes smoothly. A few weeks ago, one of the Mass's attendees, upon receiving Father Lauriola's blessing, fell to the floor and went comatose. She was possessed — possibly. After a few minutes went by and she could not be revived, an ambulance had to be called. She was taken to UCSF Medical Center, where she awoke and started talking normally. She denied medical treatment, and walked away. (She still attends Mass from time to time.)

    "Some people come here for different reasons," Lauriola says in an interview, his voice soft, a live-and-let-live smile on his round, friendly face. These days, Lauriola no longer drives, so if someone can't visit him, he'll hear them out or pray with them via Skype.

    "People's faith is disappearing."

    When asked where he sees the devil most at work in the world, he does not blame pop culture or pornography. Instead, he gives an answer most San Francisco progressive activists would agree with: money. "It creates so many divisions — it splits apart families," he says, his smile fading.

    Believing in exorcism requires faith on multiple levels: belief in God and in the devil, belief that a priest can help you. For doubters, there's ample external reinforcement in the power of suggestion, which is strongest when felt in a group setting like the church.

    The night before I met with Lauriola in his office, I attended my third healing Mass in a row. (I was raised Catholic but haven't been to Mass with any regularity for 15 years.) During the prayer circle at the end of the ceremony, Lauriola noticed me hovering at the outskirts. "Did you receive the blessing?" he asked. I tried to remind him of our meeting the next day, but he seemed not to notice. He beckoned me forward — and, urged on by the 20 or so people around me, I couldn't refuse.

    I stepped forward, and reached for Lauriola's hands, clasped in front of his head, which barely reached to my chest. Whether it was out of childhood habit or deference to the people watching me, I closed my eyes as he gripped my hands in his. I was marveling on how strong they were — when something happened. In my hands where his fingers gripped my palms, I felt a buzz, similar to a small electric shock. As he prayed, my mouth went dry, and I tasted something metallic, like old pennies. Before I could ascertain what was happening, it was over. "May Jesus watch over you and guard you," he said. "Amen."

    I opened my eyes. He smiled at me for a second, then turned to talk to another parishioner. I walked away, lightheaded, embarrassed, and thoroughly confused, with an enormous grin on my face.

    It could have been the furious bike ride up Folsom to get to Mass in time to see the blessings, it could have been the communal support. Whatever it was, I felt good. I was sure I felt good. For that moment, that was all that mattered.
    Nice piece of long form journalism.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #14
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    Trending?

    I post a lot of stuff off the newsfeed every working day, and sometimes when I start a new thread, I can feel that it's beginning to trend. This was NOT one of those times.

    Exorcism is making a comeback... and it’s big news worldwide


    Since 2004 each Catholic diocese is instructed to have a resident exorcist Getty Images

    By ALISON MALONEY 06:34, 1 Apr 2016

    YOU might think it’s a ancient rite that belongs in the dark ages, but exorcism is making a big comeback.

    A wave of recent incidents has seen a presidential candidate publicly ‘exorcised’, a murderer begging to be cleansed of the devil and a woman who was “possessed by a snake” going through a ritual at a church.

    Earlier this month, a satanic murder in Mexico, with the killers claiming they wanted the victim to “resurrect as a vampire” has ignited calls for an exorcism.


    A priest attempts to banish demons in a scene from the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist Getty Images

    And in December, in a German hotel, a 41-year-old mother was tied to the bed and beaten to death by five members of her South Korean family, including a 15-year-old, who claimed she was possessed and they were “driving out the devil”.

    South African murderer Aljar Swartz, convicted this month of beheading a teenager and selling his body parts, claimed he was suffering from “demonic forces” and asked the judge to include an exorcism as part of this sentence.

    While the judge refused to co-operate the defence lawyer insisted he would arrange the ritual and film it for the sentencing hearing.

    Earlier this year Baptist presidential candidate Ted Cruz was confronted by self-proclaimed exorcists carrying a wooden cross and a mirror in a bid to free him of power-hungry “evil spirits.”


    Exorcisms among church communities are on the rise Getty Images

    Exorcism had been lying low since 1976 when a scandal over the death of a young German woman, Anneliese Michel, who died after 10 months of intensive exorcism rituals performed at the request of her parents.

    But, bizarrely, an edict from Pope John II in 2004 dictated that every Catholic diocese should appoint an exorcist

    Ten years later the Catholic International Association of Exorcists –there is such a thing – claimed that occult activities were on the up and they were just the people to stop them.

    The list of dangerous practices includes believing in the power of crystals, t’ai chi, fortune tellers and YOGA.

    Italian priest Gabriele Amorth, who runs the organisation, claims to have personally cast out 160,000 demons.

    To help him out, a Catholic institute in Rome is now teaching annual one-week courses in exorcism, and how to spot “demonic influences” among the congregations.

    Pope Francis is reported to be a fan of exorcism.

    The Catholic News Agency in the US recently published a guide on how to recognise the “demon-possessed,” although it concedes most cases are actually mental illness.

    The article reads: “Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church.

    “Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.”

    The priest interviewed in the article, Father de Meo says prayer is the way to tell the difference.

    He said: “A possessed person has various general attitudes towards an exorcist, who is seen by the Adversary as an enemy ready to fight him.

    “There’s no lack of frightening facial expressions, threatening words or gestures and other things, but especially blasphemies against God and Our Lady.”

    So is exorcism actually on the rise?

    A police report last year claimed that the number of accusations of witchcraft and exorcisms were soaring in the UK and a special unit, Project Violet, was set up to tackle the problem

    Detective Sergeant Terry Sharpe said: “You'll get the actual physical abuse and injuries taking place, and in the worst-case scenario we've had some homicides as well.”

    He pointed to a case when a nine-year-old was thrown out of his house, barefoot and with no possessions, after his parents called him a “devil child” and a mother who bit her young son's face because she believed he was a “witch possessed by evil spirits.”

    In 2000, Victoria Climbie died after repeated beatings from her aunt and her boyfriend, who accused her of being a witch.

    Five years ago 15-year-old Kristy Bamu was savagely beaten by his sister’s partner, Eric Bikubi, who claimed Kristy was possessed by “evil spirits,”

    Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, has claimed there is often a financial motivation behind claims.

    "The pastor says there's a witch in this church today, looks around and points to a child - that means public humiliation for the family,” she said.

    "The next step is exorcism which is not done for free. It's a money-making scam."
    Gene Ching
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  15. #15
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    Those people need some buddhist philosophy.

    As for the severely mentally ill, that's another situation.

    But, regard all illusion as such and remember, all is mind!

    Now, I'm off for a beer to get my demon drunk! he deserves it!
    Kung Fu is good for you.

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