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An Exorcism Story

A few recent articles have gone too far and have revealed the identity of the possessed boy. There will be nothing of that here. Indeed, I wrote one so-called investigative journalist and pleaded with him to remove the name from his article reprinted to the World Wide Web. If this man wanted to be known, he himself would have told his story. Past journalists and authors had the information at hand, but they were true gentlemen and respected the rights of personal privacy. The Church has also kept the record secret. The Jesuits spoke and the journal kept has come to light. This rendition is based upon that journal and the recollections of the server involved with the Washington exorcism effort.

The News Breaks

The Washington Post article in 1949 proclaims, “Priest Frees 14-Year-Old Boy Reported Held in Devil’s Grip.” Almost immediately the story was picked up by the other news services and magazines. Who would think that such a thing could still happen, and in all places, modern-day America? The story has been told and retold.

Unable to get access to archdiocesan records, William Peter Blatty produced his fictionalized account that resulted in a blockbuster movie of 1974. One priest lamented at the time, “It is tragic that the devil should prove so popular with people when they seem so disinterested in God.” The conclusion of the film was most lamentable in that the young priest exchanges his body for that of the child as a host to the demon and then throws himself from the window. If the story had been true, one could logically contend that the devil was really after the priest the entire time. In other words, the devil actually won and the rituals and intercession of the Catholic Church were proven impotent. Fortunately, such portrayals are restricted to the movies and the real story shows that the power of Christ and of his Church can still vanquish the demonic.

How It Really Started

Unlike the movie, the story surrounded a young boy who was born June 1, 1935. He and his parents lived just outside Washington, D.C. in Cottage City, not far from Mount Rainier, Maryland. (Some sources claim a popular Mount Ranier location as the site of the boy’s home. The house at this location has been torn down and a dance studio is now on the site. The diary gives the Cottage City location, instead. I do not feel it appropriate to give the full address. However, since Catholics in the past identified themselves by their parishes, we might still regard this as the Mount Ranier Case. The boy converted to the Catholic faith and claimed St. James Parish as his own in Mount Ranier.) The first signs of trouble started on January 15, 1949. He was thirteen years old. While his parents were out that evening, he and his grandmother heard a dripping sound in the house. It only lasted for a brief period and then a picture of Jesus on the wall began to shake as if something had bumped into it. When his parents had returned home, a definite scratching noise could be heard under the floorboards next to his grandmother’s bed. This sound of scratching was repeated each night from about 7:00 PM until midnight. Logically, the family figured that there must be a rodent problem. An exterminator was called. However, despite taking up the floorboards and wall panels to spread poison, the sound did not cease. Indeed, the disturbing noises became worse.

Some ten days afterwards the noises ceased and all believed the rodent to be dead. Nevertheless, the boy was under the impression that he could still hear the scratching noises. Three days later the sound became audible to the rest of the family again.

The exorcist writes:

“When the sound became audible again, it was no longer in the upstairs bedroom but had moved downstairs to the boy’s bedroom. It was heard as the sound of squeaking shoes along the bed and was heard only at night when the boy went to bed. The squeaking sound continued for six nights, on the sixth night scratching again was audible.”

It appears that the invitation for this spiritual invasion was inadvertently initiated through a favorite aunt of the boy. She had died in St. Louis two weeks prior to the first registered phenomena.

“It developed that the aunt of the boy and his parents had used a Ouija board, and this probably gave the devil his first entrance.”

Many religious authorities are convinced that such a so-called toy actually offers an invitation to evil spirits. Aunt Tillie had been an enthusiast of spiritualism. Suspecting something supernatural in the sound of marching feet, the boy’s mother asked (according to the exorcist’s journal):

“‘Is that you Aunt Tillie?’ She obtained no verbal reply and continued: (evidently aware of the methods employed by spiritualists) ‘If this is you, knock three times.’ There were waves of air striking the grandmother, mother and boy, and three distinct knocks were heard on the floor. The mother asked again: ‘If you are Tillie, tell me positively by knocking four times.’ Four distinct knocks were heard.”

As time went by, it became evident that strange occurrences and sounds seemed to follow the boy.

“An orange and a pear flew across the entire room where he was standing.”

“The kitchen table was upset without any movement on the boy’s part.”

“Milk and food were thrown off the table and stove.”

“The breadboard was thrown onto the floor.”

“Outside the kitchen a coat on its hanger flew across the room.”

“A Bible was thrown directly at the foot of the boy but did not injure him in any way.”

“His desk at school moved about on the floor similar to the planchette on an Ouija board.” (This latter evidence of telekinesis forced the boy to quit school because of embarrassment.)

Things became increasingly worse at home.

“On one occasion the coverlet of the bed was pulled out from under the mattress and the edges stood up above the surface of the bed in a curled form as though held up with starch. When the bystanders touched the bedspread, the sides fell back to normal position.”

It was also stated that “At first everybody, including the boy, took it as a kind of joke, but it became more than a joke.” Soon thereafter, “the word LOUIS was written in deep red on the boy’s ribs,” seeming to indicate that some invisible force desired that the boy travel to St. Louis where his favorite aunt lived.

The Lutheran Minister

His mother called a minister of her faith, a local Lutheran pastor. He was dubious about the whole matter. Although suspicious of the chest message, written upside down as if self-inflicted, he requested that the family come to his home. What happened next struck him as defying any natural explanation. His offer to keep the boy over at his home was accepted. It was the 17th of February in 1949. At about 10:00 PM, they decided to go to bed. The room contained twin beds. After about ten minutes, the boy’s bed began to vibrate. The headboard was banging against the frame.

The minister reported:

“It made a lot of racket. I thought he was shaking it but he was making no visible movement.”

Seeking a practical remedy to the situation, he placed the boy in a large overstuffed chair and sat beside him. Slowly the chair began to tilt upon its side and the minister had to grab it before it fell over. The good pastor insisted that there was no way the boy could be pushing the chair over since his legs were thoroughly tucked beneath him. He then placed the boy on a scatter rug upon the floor. Certainly, this would resolve the matter for the night. But no, the rug “moved slowly until it got to the wall and then it stopped.” The poor clergyman was utterly befuddled.

“I remember thinking he must be doing it himself but I realized later that would have been impossible. There was no movement of his body.”

The boy was delivered home the next day. Because of his Protestant theology, the minister sought a natural explanation. Unable to come up with one, he categorized the whole incident under unknown forces.

From Shrink to Witchdoctor to Priest

A psychiatrist from Georgetown University was called in but refusing to believe in the phenomena he simply reported that the boy was normal but “somewhat high-strung.” The family complicated matters further by calling a spiritualist. However, his incantations for dispelling spirits failed. Indeed, the situation became graver.

Having a relative married to a Catholic, the boy’s mother described the situation to him. His response was “If what you say is true, then you should consult a priest.” The family called the nearby parish, St. James Catholic Church. The boy’s father made an appointment to talk to one of the priests. The clergyman gave him various sacramentals: holy water, blessed candles, and some recommended prayers.

“Once when the mother had sprinkled the holy water around the room, she placed the bottle on a dresser and it was picked up by the spirit and smashed. When one of the candles was lighted, the flame shot up to the ceiling, and the candle was extinguished for fear that the house might be set on fire.”

The suggested prayers seemed to make the phenomena worse. Deciding to call back the priest, the clergyman heard a great crashing sound. The mother of the boy told him that the telephone table she was using had broken into a hundred pieces.

This anxious situation refused to end and matters grew tenser. The priest, Fr. E. Albert Hughes, went to the chancellor of the archdiocese. He was warned to move slowly and not to leap to rash judgments. The young priest explained that he had done as much. After a meeting with the archbishop, Most Reverend Patrick A. O’Boyle, he was authorized to initiate the exorcisms. Fr. Hughes resisted, hoping that an older and more experienced man might be chosen instead.

He “understood that this should be done by a very holy man because the devil is wont to expose the sins of the priest; so the Father went to Baltimore and made a general confession. But the devil is the father of lies, and there is a theological opinion that he is unable to reveal sins that have been forgiven.”

The archbishop insisted, the young priest had to offer the ritual. It would prove a terrible miscalculation. Between February 27 and March 4, the boy was moved to Georgetown University Hospital. A young man and altar server (George Chapman) who was known for his abilities in high school football was drafted by the priest to assist him. This young man grew up and became a leader in the local Knights of Columbus. A good friend, he passed away on January 9, 2009. He told me that he had a terrible struggle to hold the possessed boy down. The boy could spit across the room with deadly accuracy. George said the saliva was like acid and he saw it literally dissolve the priest’s book. At one point George lost his patience and even lightly slugged the other boy to keep him under control. He saw himself as the popular priest’s body guard. The priest made him go to confession and pledged him not to tell his mother and friends the details of the encounters. They tied the hands and feet of the boy to the bedposts. He reacted violently to the ritual. Loose items in the room crashed to the floor. The bed shook uncontrollably. Strenuously the large server sought to hold the bed down. The victim was a small boy and yet he possessed incredible strength. The priest warned his young assistant not to enter into dialogue with the boy, only to give the required responses to the ritual words of the priest. Strange words came forth from the restrained boy, supposedly Aramaic, a form of ancient Hebrew. Previously the boy had taunted the priest in Latin. Objects were thrown around the room. The boy growled like an inhuman animal. Then it happened. Somehow the boy had gotten a hand free of the restraints. He secretly tore through the heavy mattress and ripped out a metal spring. The server responded to the words uttered by Fr. Hughes in the ritual. At the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, the boy attacked the priest and tore a gash into the cleric’s arm from his shoulder to his wrist. Blood exploded over everything! The ritual prayer book was caked in the priest’s blood! He screamed out! The exorcism had ended in failure. The priest’s life was saved by the doctors and his arm had a long track of a hundred plus stitches. He would have lingering problems with the arm and it would visibly drag at the consecration during Masses.

As an interesting aside, the young server in this episode was struck in the eye by the afflicted boy. He would develop a black eye and it was joked that maybe the priest had socked him. When the priest mysteriously left the parish, only he knew the true reason. The good priest would need to recuperate from his terrible encounter and injury. After this event, colleagues of the priest say that Fr. Hughes was never quite the same. He became quieter. He was intensely reserved about what had happened. One remarked that it was as if he was a haunted man. He died in 1980.

The sources are clear about this next point.

“Up to this time everything had been obsession, that is, exterior to the boy, but as soon as the exorcisms began, real possession began.”

They Go to Saint Louis

The boy expressed a desire to go to St. Louis, and since they had relatives they could visit there, the family left with the hope of leaving their troubles behind them. Unfortunately, the problem with the boy did not improve.

“Different displays were witnessed by two aunts of the boy, four uncles and four cousins. The printing ‘No School’ was seen by four people. The swaying of the mattress, the upsetting of bedroom furniture and the scratching on the mattress were observed by the entire group . . . Phenomena indicated that the spirit was not the devil but the soul of deceased Tillie. The spirit confirmed again to all present that she was Tillie by moving a heavy bed two or three feet with not one of the bystanders near the bed.”

Again a priest was consulted from the closest Catholic parish. Fr. Raymond J. Bishop, S.J., a teacher at the university came to the house on March 9.

He “blessed the entire house, and used a special blessing in the boy’s room and on his bed. A second-class relic of St. Margaret Mary was safety-pinned to the extreme border of the pillow. Shortly after the boy retired, the mattress on his bed began to move back and forth in the direction of the bed uprights. The boy lay perfectly still, and did not exert any physical effort. The movement in one direction did not exceed more than three inches; the action was intermittent and completely subsided after a period of approximately fifteen minutes.”

The next day, similar things happened. The relic was thrown to the floor.

“The safety pin was open but no human hand had touched the relic. The boy started up in fright when the relic was thrown down.”

Exorcism & Baptism

The next day, Friday, March 11, the priest who would perform the exorcisms visited the family. Fr. Bishop had in turn contacted Fr. William S. Bowdern, S.J. from St. Francis Xavier Church. He was shaken by what he observed. He brought additional relics and a crucifix.

“Shortly after the boy had retired at 11:00 PM, he called downstairs that he had been frightened by a strong force that had thrown some object against the mirror in his bedroom. With safety pin opened, the relic of St. Margaret Mary had been thrown against the mirror and the sound was like a pellet striking the glass. Another occurrence was a cross mark scratched on the boy’s left, outer forearm. The pain was similar to that produced by a scratch of a thorn. The cross remained evident for approximately forty-five minutes.”

The family telephoned the priest in Washington, and after a few days, the priest in St. Louis brought the case to his archbishop (Archbishop Ritter) and was authorized to continue with the exorcisms.

Artist’s Conception of Devil as the Beast

The symptoms of possession seemed to get worse and not better with the new exorcism attempts beginning on March 16.

“The seizures took place in the evening when the boy went to bed and would last from 8:00 to 12 Midnight or 1:00 AM, intermittently, and then the boy would go off into a perfectly normal sleep for nine or ten hours.”

It was decided a few days later to recite the prayers earlier so that everyone could get more sleep. Nevertheless, the seizures were unabated and started about 9:00 at night and lasted until 2:00 or 3:00 AM.

Sometimes as many as ten people were required to hold the boy during seizures. He would tear the sheets and pillows to shreds, as well as the shirts and undershirts of those who restrained him. He was utterly wild, hitting and kicking. He even broke the nose of one of the assisting Jesuit students. One incident had him scratching the exorcist’s arm so badly that he could not lift it for a number of days.

“Coming out of a seizure he would complain of feeling very hot and would ask for a glass of water. After one of the seizures in the beginning, he said that the evil spirit seems to carry him down into a pit about two hundred feet deep where there were intense heat and vile evil spirits. In the beginning also he seemed to be in a long, dark cave with a tiny bit of light at the far end; as the exorcism progressed, the lighted end seemed to grow larger and larger, in one of the exorcisms, the spirit, in the body of the boy, pointed to one of the priests who were assisting and said: ‘What is the use of you being here; you will be with me in hell in 1957.’”

A few days passed. The boy asked to be baptized. It should be noted that his father had been baptized a Catholic and that some of his cousins in St. Louis were Catholics. Once consulted, the parents were agreeable. The boy was instructed and preparations were made to baptize him in church.

“On the appointed morning he rose, took a shower, ate his usual breakfast and set out for the church in a car driven by his uncle. Just before reaching the church the boy grabbed his uncle by the neck and said: ‘You S.O.B., you think I am going to be baptized, but you are going to be fooled.’ The uncle was just able to seize the emergency brake and avert a collision by an inch. It was realized that to baptize the boy in the church would create a scene, so he was taken to the third floor of the rectory, which stands in back of the church but faces Lindell Boulevard. Every time he was asked: ‘Do you renounce Satan and all his works?’ he would go into a rage. Only after several hours of repetition was the boy able to reply: ‘I do renounce Satan and all his works.’ Then it required several more hours to get the water poured on the boy’s head.”

After the rite of initiation, things became calm and quiet for a couple days. However, then the demonic business started up again and worse than before. Some of the phenomenon was quite peculiar.

“One was the amount of spittle that the boy could discharge: there would be half-a-pint at one time. At times he would ask for a glass of water and it would be given to him, although it was known what would happen. It would be spat back on the bystanders. While the priest read the exorcisms, two others would hold a towel in front of his face to protect his glasses, but it was useless; the spittle would go under the towel, over the towel or around the towel and strike directly on the priest’s glasses, and the boy’s eyes would be closed the whole time. Another phenomenon was excessive urination. During the seizures the boy would utter the vilest obscenities, curses, blasphemies and ribald songs, all in a high falsetto voice that was off key.”

It is noted that at one stage, the exorcist had to protect himself with a pillow, for the boy’s head moved like a cobra, aiming non-stop with spittle for his face.

First Communion

The exorcist and the family returned to the Washington, D.C. area. The boy’s parents were at wits end and were suffering from sleep deprivation. Fr. Hughes tried to get the boy committed to a sanatorium or hospital in the Washington-Baltimore area, but none would take him. It was decided to take him to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis. He was given instructions in preparation for his first communion. The hope was that receiving the Eucharist might bring the possession to an end.

“When the time came, it was impossible to get the Host near his tongue, but finally, after several hours, they succeeded in placing it on his tongue and three times he spat it out. Eventually success was achieved. This was on April 2, the first Saturday of the month, a day dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. The title was explained to the boy and he showed great interest. But the seizures continued.”

“What is Your NAME?”

During the exorcism, the priest asked for the first time its name.

“What is your name and when will you depart?” The response was simply “Shut up, shut up.” Later, “in answer to the question of his name, the words, ‘Hell, Spirit,’ appeared in red letters on the boy’s chest. In reply to the question of departure, red numbers: 4, 8, 10, 16, some Roman numerals appeared on the boy’s body. He said: ‘I will not go until a certain word is pronounced and this boy will never say it.’ There also appeared a red arrow extending from the boy’s throat to the bottom of his abdomen, and it was thought that the spirit might go out by the way of urine, as has happened in some cases.”

An appendage to the diary tells us that “the boy would greet the priests with filthy, foul obscenities, fluently answer the exorcist’s questions in Latin, a language he had never studied.” One day the boy was sitting in bed reading about Our Lady of Fatima with the book on his knees when he was thrown into a seizure. He threw the book across the room. On another occasion, he was given a glass of milk and threw that across the room. On one of the final days, a Jesuit scholastic gave the boy a plate of chipped beef. He grabbed the plate, jumped to one side of the room, and threatened to brain anyone approaching him. While one assistant approached him from one side, the scholastic crawled under the bed to seize him. The boy threw and smashed the dish of food against the wall.

Liberation at Last

Despite hope that the possession would end during Holy Week, it continued through Easter Sunday with particularly violent seizures. The worst day of all was April 18, Easter Monday. The exorcist and his assistants were becoming completely discouraged.

“Suddenly, at 11:00 PM, a new voice was heard from the boy; a beautiful, rich, deep bass voice exclaimed: ‘Satan, Satan, go, now, now, now to the pit where you belong, in the name of DOMINUS (the Lord).’ That was the word and at that moment the boy felt a tearing sensation in his stomach, relaxed and lay perfectly quiet. He described what has happened. He saw a brilliant figure, visible from the waist up, clothed in a close-fitting white garment which had the appearance of scales; the hair was long and flowing in a wind; the right hand held something like a flaming sword or light pointing downward. It was St. Michael the Archangel. When he spoke, the evil spirit rebelled against going until the word ‘Dominus’ was spoken and at this moment the boy felt the tearing sensation in his stomach. Then at some distance down he saw some evil spirits standing at the mouth of a cave from which flames issued. Then the spirits reluctantly withdrew into the cave, the opening closed and across it appeared the word: ‘Spite.’ Thus the possession was ended.”

Closing Remarks

The diary tells us that the exorcist and his assistants “observed some severe fasting, mindful of the admonition of Christ that some devils can be driven out only by prayer and fasting.” There had been at least twenty exorcisms performed. One Jesuit involved remarked: “Only by examining the record after possession was ended, was it possible to see the meaning of the replies (the red marks on the boy’s body). The numbers may have been the days on which certain spirits departed from the boy, if there were actually more than one in his body.”

The Jesuit priest, Fr. Bowdern, passed away in 1983 and his assistant and then scholastic, Fr. Walter Halloran died from cancer March 1, 2005. The young server who tried to help Fr. Hughes desired to remain anonymous while he was alive. An interesting side note, George (the server) told me that when the boy returned to Washington, he could not remember the active possession episodes. The possessed man is still living and there has been no trouble since. He married and had a nice family. Life went on.


An aunt of the boy said in a New York Times article from August 1972:

(Upon the boy’s visit to her home) “All of a sudden the mattress starts going, just raised up in the air, and down, up and down, and my sister hollered for me, . . . oh I tell you that mattress just raised both of us right up in the air . . . . I happened to have a table against the wall with a vase of flowers on it and I got out but as my nephew tried to leave, that table actually flew in front of the door and would not let him out . . . .” In the same article it quotes what a Jesuit priest confided to him, “I assure you, Gene — I saw this with my own eyes — the boy did not tear the Ritual book, he dissolved it! The book vaporized into confetti and fell in small pieces to the floor!”

The staff writer Jeremiah O’Leary reported in The Evening Star that the boy spoke an unknown language that sounded similar to Hebrew.

“A professor of Oriental languages from Catholic University was called in and he was shocked to discover the words coming from the boy’s mouth were in Aramaic, the language spoken in Palestine in Jesus’ day.”


Allen, Thomas B. POSSESSED. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Exploitation & Where Do We Really Find Evil?

After reading the sensational article “Possessed,” by Thomas B. Allen in June 1993’s edition of Washingtonian Magazine, many people were eager to buy the book of the same title released in July of that year. Having read the book, it must be admitted that there are elements to the tale that seem to validate Christian faith in God and in his mercy; however, at the same time I fear that it’s telling will surrender true religion to mockery and to superstition. No suggestion is made in the article and none in the book until the very end, that there might still be more to the story than the supernatural. However, even if it should be the case, books and films tend to give more emphasis to the demonic than to the divine. Producers and writers work ever harder to shock their patrons, an audience made increasingly insensitive to violence and to “things that go bump in the night.” We want to be entertained and producers of horror films and writers know all too well how to excite the masses with fear and gross happenings. Even the 1973 film, The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty’s book, opted to highlight vulgar language, Eucharistic desecration, obscene gestures, fanciful special effects, and finally the death and failure of the two priests. I would suspect that the battle between good and evil is more frequently invisible to the movie camera and ignored by novelists seeking to sell books. Indeed, just as the case here began as one of demonic obsession and only later became possession when the exorcisms were attempted; might a heightened concentration upon this issue similarly endanger people? Such worries me in my own retelling, although I offer the corrective that Christ is really the one with all the power. Satan is pathetic by comparison to our Lord. The end of the story, the real story, is what makes a big difference. God’s grace is victorious over sin. Evil is repulsed. Having said this, while it is true that the devil should not become a scapegoat for all human ills, it is almost impossible to believe that he is not involved with the atrocities at home and abroad. In language, popular music, drug experiences, new cult religions, escalating crime, immoral lifestyles, terrorism, wars and genocide, abortion, euthanasia, etc., Satan is exerting an obsessive influence, numbing consciences and helping to distort values.

“Okay, maybe this story should not have been told?”

Sometimes the devil is incredibly subtle; at other times he shocks us by his audacity and malice. If people want to be frightened, then here is the real thing of which to be afraid; but, only if we separate ourselves by sin from Christ and the sacraments. Most of us, probably all of us after the age of reason, are no longer bystanders to the devil’s malevolence, but in every sin, large and small, accomplices. God’s grace can turn this around, if we really want Satan exorcised from our society and world.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Recommended Books

An Exorcist Tells His Story by Gabriele Amorth. (Ignatius Press, 1999).

An Exorcist: More Stories by Gabriele Amorth. (Ignatius Press, 2002).

Angels and Demons by Peter J. Kreeft. (Ignatius Press, 1995).

Ghosts and Poltergeists by Herbert Thurston, S.J. (H. Regnery Company, 1954).

148 Responses

  1. I need deliverance from demons in side me big time,,,,I was feeling ill in town mancheaster….somethink inside me was telling to fall on the ground in side of me….as I got out the taxi some reason my legs give way and I did fall on the ground…I have being having atttacks at night time while going to sleep were I feel am on fire from the inside of me,,I know whats inside of me and so does God and wants it out,,,,but cant seem to find anyone who believe me in this area,,,I seen somethink on tv which I would not mormally watch,,,,about haunted houses or people who have demons inside them,,,,it just like what I have seeing spiritual and dark forces inside my flat all the time it crazy…..i do stand on the word and tell them to get out….but the main battle his whats inside me..am fighting the ones to get out my flat,,then am sturr up the ones insdie me it a war zone..I do know about spiritual warfare but I need deliverance form the out side…its so sad here manchester england no ones believe in this kind of stuff.

    FATHER JOE: See a local Catholic priest. Ask first for a referral for psychiatric counseling and evaluation. You cannot do this alone. You need both spiritual intervention from the Church and other professional care.

  2. FATHER JOE: You already made this comment. Hence the duplication was deleted.

  3. its paul from england,,,The Lord Jesus Christ Has delivered me from hearing all the voices.and some of ther control of the spirit…but one last doorway which I cant find anyone to help me…they think your mad here..even if you tell them you have being into spiritualism.and satans kingdom..but now am in christ kingdom .but am fighting to get the rest of the demons out of me…but Jesus is saying I need someone there to help me with this strong one….the demons or devils I have being involved in are jezebel devil….anitchrist devi…death and hell devils…the sevpent devil…the flase prophet devil…the beast devil and little horn,,,,devil….do you think I can cast these out on my own..I do know one of them in me…I have close all tie with them in satans kingdom,,renouce them,,,just people dont believe in what devils or demons I tell them I was involved in is the problem,,,,the person about the boy who had problems were it was like fire..I get the same problems but main our like fire works going out in side of me..

    FATHER JOE: See a local Catholic priest. Ask first for a referral for psychiatric counseling and evaluation. You cannot do this alone. You need both spiritual intervention from the Church and other professional care.

  4. Dear Fr. Joe,

    How can one connect with you? Please advise


    FATHER JOE: Connect? You mean like email or Facebook? The ABOUT page has my email:


  5. Father Joe, we from the the Bronx in NYC need help. I can’t get into too much here because it is just to much. Can I please call you? You can e-mail me the number to [deleted] please. Father this young girl needs help. She is 17years old. Her name is [deleted]. She was playing with the Ouija Board 2 to 3 months ago. We have been praying over her. We are members of different groups in our parish but its very strong. Father, the young girl does not have mental illness. She has not slept for 3 days now. She is not eating, just drinking water. PLEASE FATHER HELP US!


    [I spoke with him over the phone. Below is a portion of an email I sent as follow up.]

    Dear [Deleted],

    In addition to the Ouija Board, doors to the demonic can also be opened by the people with whom we associate. It is for that reason that we are warned about the danger of bad companions and the influence they can have upon us.

    [Deleted] claims a Facebook marriage to [Deleted]. His own site contains foul language and lewd pictures. He is heavily tattooed. Indeed, upon his upper chest are the words: “Pain is Pleasure.” Such a slogan is associated with masochistic sex and with satanic ritual where opposites are exploited. Indeed, he even has a picture on his Facebook page where the tattoo is imaged through a mirror…backwards. Satanism turns everything around: darkness is light, bad is good, slavery is freedom, craziness is sanity and pain is pleasure. His posts exalt alcohol and drug usage, not to mention hedonism. One cannot grow in holiness and subscribe to such things. They open doors to the demonic and close doors to Christ.

    The NY Exorcist I was thinking of was Father James J. LeBar; however, I find that he died in 2008. You would have to contact the Archdiocese to see who could investigate the matter.

    Over the years I have shared bits and pieces but matters of confidentiality keep me from naming names or giving details that could readily point back to people suffering maladies as you reported. Not every priest can handle this work and those who have experienced such cases are changed, maybe even haunted.

    The procedures follow a pattern. Medical and psychological possibilities are explored first. If they fail to fully answer the emerging questions, then we move to Deliverance Prayer, Home Blessings, Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Litany of the Saints and at last resort, Exorcism (requiring episcopal approbation).

    The opening to such malicious spirits can come from outside the targeted person, due to witchcraft or a curse from a neighbor, classmate or work associate. Sometimes weakness due to emotional stress, sickness or an injury might open a crack where the oppression which surrounds us tries to invade and a character change becomes apparent. The accident might have been a convenient “blind” so that no one would notice the spiritual intrusion. Nevertheless, the give-away is that the negativity is so strong that it literally drains energy from those in close proximity.

    The new Pope is very aware of this and has not shied away from speaking about what many regard as a taboo topic that might discredit the Church in the eyes of certain rationalists.

    Did you know that demoniacs also torment priests on the telephone, yes in addition to mentally disturbed people? They feel safe because of the distance. Devils are cowards. I had not been at Holy Family for six months when a call came from a young woman asking for advice and help with an intimate issue. The conversation seemed normal enough. The dialogue lasted about thirty minutes. Then she thanked me for listening and hanged up. Almost immediately, the phone rang again. The girl had called back and said, “Father, [pause], and then in a gruff voice shouted out gross obscenities and ended with a multi-voice high-pitched cackle. The number was blocked. Later I met a girl in the parish about whom I am fairly convinced was the source of this call. People have remarked that she seems to have an intelligence way beyond her years and goes from courteous to mean-spirited with little or no transition. I continue to pray for her and her family. It is hard to help those who do not want help.

    I have had one incident where I was called out to the [Deleted] Health Center and found the staff in panic about a young boy who came in for stomach pain and then started speaking out in a strange language and voice. He claimed to be possessed and they called me. The mother initially seemed neutral about it but she gave herself away by her smiling (when she thought I was not looking). The boy was not the only one infected.

    Another case happened the year we got that terrible hail storm. A mother and daughter saw me in the rectory. They had come up from Waldorf to see me. The mother insisted that her adult daughter was possessed. Her daughter was a professional who said she came to humor her mother so that she would give up making these crazy allegations. I listened to them both but secretly said (mentally) the Rosary and prayers for deliverance. Such is like bug spray, it forces the spiritual roaches out from the cracks. The daughter gave a long narrative of an abusive situation that she had put behind her during her vacation. She also spoke about her work and lifestyle. She was a modern woman. She seemed to think she had me convinced and that her mother was the one with issues. I simply asked, “With whom am I talking?” She responded, “What?” I asked again, “What is your name and how many of you are there?” She then gave me the most wicked smile you could ever imagine. “How did you know?” she said in a voice that was in the wrong pitch and different from her normal speech. “When you were talking,” I said, “you slipped and said “WE” instead if “I” while talking about yourself.” I prayed over them both and offered a prayer of deliverance. I recommended that they say this prayer at home and contact their pastor for a home blessing. The woman was hesitant to have the Archdiocese notified but I encouraged them to allow intervention and to discuss the issue with their parish priest in Waldorf.

    If God is on our side, whom should we fear? I will indeed remember her in my prayers. And as the Pope has suggested, let us keep the Church and the World in our prayers because we battle powers and principalities.

    Deliverance Prayer

    In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of his cross, his blood and his resurrection, I bind you Satan, the spirits, powers and forces of darkness, the nether world, and the evil forces of nature.

    I take authority over all curses, hexes, demonic activity, and spells directed against me, my relationships, home and the work of my hands; and I break them by the power and authority of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. I bind all demonic interaction, interplay, and communications between spirits sent against me, and send them directly to Jesus Christ for him to deal with as he wills.

    I ask forgiveness for, and denounce all negative inner vows that I have made with the enemy, and ask that Jesus Christ release me from these vows and from any bondage they may have held in me. I claim the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, over every aspect of my life for my protection. I pray all these things in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Anima Christi

    Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
    Body of Christ, save me;
    Blood of Christ, inebriate me;
    Water from the side of Christ, wash me;
    Passion of Christ, strengthen me;
    O good Jesus, hear me;
    within Your wounds, hide me;
    let me never be separated from You;
    from the evil one, protect me;
    at the hour of my death, call me;
    and bid me come to You;
    that with Your saints, I may praise You forever and ever.

    God bless!

  6. I have had to deal with seeing and feeling the presence of demonic forces and doing battle with them both physically and mentally to cast them out with the spiritual help of Christ Jesus working through me and the aid of the Holy Ghost and his heavenly angels to protect and help me.

    I have experienced this since a very young age and would like any suggestions as to why the Lord has chosen this path for me.

    Also I can feel the Lord pulling me in an unknown direction that I do not yet understand and would like any advice that anyone may be able to give me to help me prepare for whatever path the Lord has chosen for me.


    God would not directly intend for a person to be plagued by evil, either natural or spiritual. He might permit such to preserve freedom and to subsequently show his glory; but we should not confuse the demonic with any legitimate divine agency. If you are truly dealing with darkness then I suspect that God would have you turn to the Catholic Church. Seek out the priests, receive all the sacraments, and live a holy life. I suspect that this is the “mysterious” path to which you are called.

  7. I am writing a research paper on the Mount Rainier exorcism and came across your blog but wondered if you could tell me where you acquired some of the facts and information used in your article, so i could correctly reference and cite the information I am using.

    FATHER JOE: Tom Allen’s book (mentioned in the post) would reflect much of the material. You may be at odds to find the priest’s journal to which I made frequent reference. I do not believe it was ever published. He changes certain facts, like the aunt’s name who passed away early in the story.

  8. May God Bless you father Joe and give you strength for the good work you do , Satan is a LIAR, MANUPILATIVE and HATES the human race and out to destroy and lead souls to hell. I am a firm believer in the Catholic faith; I love God and adore the Holy Virgin Mary. For anyone who has tried to experiment with witchcraft and occultism, God is always ready to accept you just sincerely repent for he is truly Love and only Love. God bless!

  9. Father Joe,

    There is a similar ritual within wicca that has been used in the past and while not put into practice as much today is taught to those who have the physical/mental stamina and are above the rank of Priestess. These rituals for exorcism are dangerous for both the practitioner and the victim.

    Vade cum Deo

    Bheannaigh Bí

  10. Dear Father Joe,

    God bless you in your ministry. Thank you for sharing. Your posts convince me more than ever to continually pray for my children to come to Christ. Please pray for my son and daughter and my husband too. My heart longs for them to know and love God.

    Thank you for your time.

  11. Hi, I have a real problem here in England with demonic powers and need delivernce. Is there anyone with true discernment of spirits? The problem is killing me and distroying me.

    FATHER JOE: Say your prayers and call the local Catholic priest.

  12. Great post and answers; thanks and God Bless you Fr. Joe.

  13. I have problems and now getting very deadly…Satan and the demons are trying their best now to control and now to take me out the way…is there anyone in England that can help me drive them out with the word of God? I am stuck with getting help or people believing what’s going on. Even thought of signing myself into hospital…have done before to show them what was going on while sleeping well while going to sleep. The attacks would stop. Even told me to stop reading the bible if it made you worse. The bible the word of God it is love not evil. Satan and the demons in me hate the word. I get so far but back down because I end up on the floor with real bad pains or real bad like panic attacks like darkness overtaking me with blackness. With am fighting for control over my soul. I do stand on the word and pray and believe that Jesus Christ have done every think on the cross to defect Satan powers and demons. But it is finding someone who can help me. I have closed all known doorways by confession and by the blood of Jesus Christ. I am not Catholic. I only believe by putting my faith in Christ alone. That is the only way, not in holy water, not in objects, only through Christ but need that help for someone to stand with me in prayer and fasting to drive this kind out?…the attacks are crazy and now…even more crazy as they know I want them out and it is a real struggle and battle. It is hitting my while going to sleep more and it is like am l bowing up on fire. Soon am going to a sleep clinic. Really am fightening what they’re going to see and if it does manifest how are they going to cope or how to deal with it in a earthly way. Joe lad can you put me in the right direction with someone to stand with me. Yours faithfully in Christ, Paul I hope.

    FATHER JOE: I am a priest in the United States. Not knowing the UK clergy, I would generally recommend that you talk to your local Catholic priest. However, you are not Catholic and have spurned sacramentals like holy water. You want the mediation of the Church and yet in the next breath argue that Jesus alone can help you. You have to decide what you really want before anyone can help you. An evaluation has to be made. Are you merely a poor sick soul or is there a real demonic infestation?

    You might say this prayer ad get friends to pray over you:

    “I call upon Jesus Christ and by his saving name I command any and all unclean spirits not to inhibit this prayer. I bind you by the power of Christ and his atoning blood. I bind you from manipulating my will, my mind, my imagination, my emotions, my memories and my body. I sever you by the sword of the Holy Spirit from causing me any tribulation and fear. I command you in Christ’s name to be silent and to depart never to harass me in the future. Amen.”

  14. Father Joe, did any of the priests die in 1957 as was threatened?


  15. Hi Father Joe, I once was told by a very educated priest from an exotic country (he had several PhD’s), that the unexplainable that I experienced while living in the Far East and Middle East for 12 years should not be explored in an attempt to figure them out. They are things that need no explanation. He said that not every kind of person has been found by God yet. He told me that I have already been found and my efforts should be applied to maintaining my relationship with Him.

    FATHER JOE: Maybe the issue is English. I think you mean to write that not everyone has found God, not the other way around.

    He explained that nothing happens in this life that God does not want and everything he wants is obtained by His power. He has his methods of communication and teaching which all take place at His speed. These people that are not found by God are granted many different things like “certain powers” which is between them AND GOD, NOT ME!

    FATHER JOE: God knows precisely where we are. We cannot hide from God. As for people with “certain powers,” I am not certain what you mean. Do you mean paranormal, the occult or sorcery? While the door is open to possible mental abilities which are latent in human beings; often the “certain powers” that people claim to have are hoaxes. Worse yet, they may be of a demonic origin.

    Therefore what am I doing there? GET OUT! Let God do his work! Some of my experiences would turn your back into an apricot!!! May the Lord bless this priest for his advice. I offer it here for everyone to think about.

    FATHER JOE: Turning me into an apricot would be a fine but rather silly magic trick. We should certainly embrace humility toward divine providence. However, we should not be passive or cooperate with the demonic.

  16. This story was touching and left tears of HORROR IN MY EYES.

    FATHER JOE: Have you? I am not sure what you mean by “horror” in your eyes.


    BIG IF HUGH. Ya. save it father. fake. Thats what i hear. Tell your lies to a quack. I will find someone that truely believes. Every word you spit is hipocracy.


    Anyone in the Catholic Church is required to approach these questions with skepticism and faith. I did not wrong you, but your attitude shows a personal hostility that is neither healthy nor of God. I am afraid you have closed yourself of any real help. I hope I am wrong.

    Let me repeat what I wrote in my last post:

    “If you are a Catholic, I would suggest that you have your home blessed by a priest and that the family pray the Litany of the Saints and the Consecration Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you are a Protestant, seek out a minister who might pray with you in the home and maybe offer a deliverance prayer. You should not show fear to your child. Spiritual or not, we are discussing external phenomenon. Claim your home and keep it holy by your words, values and way of life. Trust in the Lord. He is your great defender. Jesus is Lord and Savior. If God is with us, we have nothing of which to be afraid. Do you have religious pictures in the home? The picture of the Guardian Angel is quite nice for a child’s room. I used to keep a small font with holy water so that I could cross myself before saying my bedtime prayers. Pray with your daughter by kneeling at her bedside and using the bed as an altar or prie-dieu. Do not fret if the problem seems to get worse for a short time. If it were the devil, he will eventually get the point. He tends not to stay where he is not wanted and where grace abounds.”

    If you do not believe in the efficacy of intercessory prayer and the power of Christ, then any spiritual problem will probably continue to plague you. A priest might bless a home but the discipleship of those who live there is what keeps it holy. Often when people complain that the intervention of one of the Church’s ministers has failed, the real fault is the faithlessness and the mortal sins of the residents which invite the demonic back into their lives and homes. Children suffer because of the sins of parents.

  18. HELP! Dear Father Joe, me and my dog Honey Mae and the house are having a bad haunting for almost the past three years now. My pastor from the United Methodist Church has come three times already, blessing the apartment and the grounds in front of it. We had Ghost Busters out here but they didn’t help much. My friends came over and got a picture of a young girl [dressed as] in the early 20th century. But, they are really possessing my dog… off and on. And they are biting me on my left arm all the time and or scratching. I’ve been blessed also. We need more help. Thanks, Sherry, Jefferson City, TN. Thanks.

    FATHER JOE: I am sorry Sherry, but given the distance, there is not much I can do. You have talked to your minister. What was his evaluation of the situation? You could seek out a priest, but you do not share the faith and that would limit his effectiveness. Have you seen a doctor to make sure there is no degree of delusion? The mind can play tricks on us. Are you sure that the bites and scratches are not inflicted by your dog or another animal? I am skeptical about your dog being periodically possessed. Might the animal be sick? I will keep you in prayer.

  19. Father Joe,

    Please this is no [deleted] joke. I e-mailed you once before and the message was erased and never answered. I am really scared. About 7 years ago I started to hear scratching under my bed. I heard it on and off. I had a roommate at one point who slept in the same bed as I did. She heard it as well. Once she moved out, she never heard it again; but I have moved many times and have had many different beds. I still hear it. I have never spoken to anyone about this before.

    My daughter is now 6 years old and she is saying that she hears scratching on her bed like I did when she lays down; but I had never spoken to anyone about this. I just ignored it. What could this be? Not rodents or bugs. I have checked; besides that, I have moved many times and still hear it were ever I go. I am sooo scared and need to know what to do. I think something is after me or my daughter or both of us. Please Father, just answer me. Let me know what this could be.

    Please help me. I am unsure what to do, and my daughter is everything to me. Since now it is happening to her as well, I am going crazy.


    FATHER JOE: I have not deleted anything. Posts are moderated and disappear unless approved. I am a busy priest and it takes me awhile to check on posted comments. As for email, I get hundreds daily. Not knowing you and not having access, I cannot say for sure what is happening. One could not rule out some natural cause for the disturbances or imagination. Popping or unraveling springs in a mattress can make a scratching sound. Hopefully there is no mouse living in it, either. All that aside, what would I recommend? If you are a Catholic, I would suggest that you have your home blessed by a priest and that the family pray the Litany of the Saints and the Consecration Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you are a Protestant, seek out a minister who might pray with you in the home and maybe offer a deliverance prayer. You should not show fear to your child. Spiritual or not, we are discussing external phenomenon. Claim your home and keep it holy by your words, values and way of life. Trust in the Lord. He is your great defender. Jesus is Lord and Savior. If God is with us, we have nothing of which to be afraid. Do you have religious pictures in the home? The picture of the Guardian Angel is quite nice for a child’s room. I used to keep a small font with holy water so that I could cross myself before saying my bedtime prayers. Pray with your daughter by kneeling at her bedside and using the bed as an altar or prie-dieu. Do not fret if the problem seems to get worse for a short time. If it were the devil, and that is a BIG IF, he will eventually get the point. He tends not to stay where he is not wanted and where grace abounds.

  20. Hi Father, I have a problem in my hostel room. My friend has lost his mental balance as people say a girl had suicide in this room 2 years ago. What should I do? Should I leave that room?

    FATHER JOE: Why did your friend lose his mental balance? What happened in the room is unfortunate, but why should that have an effect on you?

  21. I believe my uncle is possessed and we are looking for a priest or someone to do an exorcism?

    FATHER JOE: I take it you are joking. If not, call the bishop’s office.

  22. Hey Father Joe,

    Does holding God in your heart deter the demons?

    FATHER JOE: The devil loves a vacuum. The more that God’s grace fills us, the less the demonic wants to stick around.

    …and does the will of the possessed play a part in their dispelling?

    FATHER JOE: Just as superstition, an immoral lifestyle and the occult can invite evil into your life; our desire for holiness, virtue and unity with God can help dispell the demonic. Take for instance, house blessings; immediately after a priest blesses a home and consecrates the family to the Sacred Heart, there may come a sense of peace. However, this may not long last if the occupants corrupt their home with profane or vulgar entertainments and fail to give their hearts to the Lord in regular prayer, worship, and service. We need to cooperate with the Lord and his Church. This might not absolutely protect us from spiritual invasion; but, it definitely gives us the ammunition of faith to confront it.

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