It was the autumn of 1983. The best I can remember, it was September. I don’t know the precise date. It would be neat if it had been this date, the 29th. I didn’t keep a diary. But I didn’t need one to recall the details.
At the time, I was living the “fast track,” the high life, of New York. Although born in Niagara Falls, I had gone to Fordham, a Jesuit university in The Bronx, and had moved to Manhattan’s Upper East Side after a brief stint as a newspaper reporter, during which I had been involved in the discovery of a famous toxic waste dump named Love Canal.
This had propelled my career as a writer, and at the time I was working on a book about the Mafia. I wrote about an experience from this the other day (see “A spiritual brush with a mob hitman”). It was one of many such experiences, some of which I will be sharing in days ahead. As I said, it was the fast track, and in addition to my research on organized crime, I had also written books on toxic-waste scandals, and (stupidly enough) on psychic phenomena and haunted houses. In fact I had just “investigated” a supposedly “haunted” house (in reality it was demon-infested) in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.
Anyway, I was a 31-year-old writer doing what he had always aspired to doing: writing, appearing on national TV, lecturing at colleges for excessive fees, making enough money to live in a luxury high rise and eat in the ritzy cafes every night of the week. I was what you might call a “swinging bachelor.” I admired people like Hugh Hefner. I’m not proud of it. I wasn’t an evil person, but I certainly wasn’t good, and one Friday night that September after coming home earlier than usual I feel asleep and awoke because of an amazing dream.
In the dream I was on a bed that was like a hospital gurney, and it was in my foyer facing the door of my 12th-floor apartment. Around me were three or four spirits with their hands over me, two on each side, as if they were praying. I wasn’t allowed to look straight at them, but I had the impression they were thin pencil-like figures of light who could appear in any form they wanted. They were uttering what seemed like an ancient language. “Who are you?” I asked the one on my left, who seemed to be in charge.
“My name is Michael,” said this entity (for lack of a better term). “Now look!” He indicated toward the door, and on that door I saw the most frightening thing of my life: the face of the devil or at least a major demon, etched and yet alive, living, sneering, full of a hatred I had never before seen and could not hope to adequately describe.
I woke up in a sweat. I paced a while, probably had a cigarette back then. Looked out the window. Below, the last of the stragglers were leaving the cafes along Third Avenue. It was probably between three and four a.m.
Finally I got back to sleep, but immediately lapsed into the same dream. It didn’t seem like a dream, but more a vision. It continued where it had left off. “I told you, look,” said the one who had called himself Michael. “Now say, `Vanish!'”
I could never imitate the power behind those words. Instantly his words had made that awful evil face on the door, the hollowed cheeks, the pointy goatee, disappear.
I didn’t have the courage or faith to do what he said. Instead I woke up and this time was the most terrified of my life. It was far scarier than anything the Mafia or haunted houses could dish up. I was probably up close to an hour, smoking, wanting to call someone, pacing. But who was I to call? At the time two of my closer friends were reporters for The New York Times, which for all practical purposes meant they were atheists.
Finally I forced myself back to sleep and the dream again continued where it had left off.
The one who said he was Michael told me again to say, “Vanish!” Somehow, I came up with the faith. I came up with the courage! When the awful face materialized, I raised my right hand and shouted “VANISH!”
Suddenly and to my amazement the face disappeared and so did the angels and I got up from the “gurney” and walked to the door. As I did I could see that where the face had been was now a set of keys. When I took them and looked at them a tag indicated the address of that haunted house in Chelsea.
I had been brushing up against evil in many ways, and now the devil was at my door.
It was part of my coming back to Christ. I hadn’t been to church regularly since junior high school, but now went back. Did I! Around this time I became a daily communicant. It was almost instant. There were other experiences. I came back through both Catholicism (a church on 90th Street called Our Lady of Good Counsel), and also through a non-denominational group of pentecostals, evangelicals, and charismatics on the Lower East Side. And I came back in a big way. Although I know there are those who would question the entire experience, there was a reality to it and it wasn’t evil. I believe they were angels — because right after that I learned that my mother had been invoking Michael and had bought me a statue of him (which to this day is next to the bed).
As I said, this helped lead me back to Christ, and to a journey away from secular journalism and to writing spiritual books. Eventually, it also lead to this website, Spirit Daily. We have been up and running since May 13; on September 29, 2000, we officially dedicated the website and in that time it has been amazing. We have had many thousands of “hits.” We saw a peak on June 26 when by God’s grace we were allowed to get a jump on releasing the third secret of Fatima (there is still a bit of newsman in me).
Today, the feast of the Archangel Michael, we are beginning official operation, and dedicating the site to the greatest of all angels, the one who saved me as he had also helped Daniel (Daniel 10:13), the one for whom I had been named, the one who battles Lucifer tirelessly, the one who will cast him down forever in the end (Revelation 12:7) — the one who has no fear as we too must have no fear at a time when we must confront the face of the devil and make him vanish from our culture with the same question, the same insistence, that Michael once spoke, with the same courage and strength as when, casting out Satan, who pretended to the Throne, the angel shouted with a voice I think I also heard, with a voice of overwhelming power, with one that should now — must now — resonate around the world: “Who is like unto God?”
— Michael H. Brown
Archangel Michael’s Presence Is Still Felt At Mysterious, Potent Cave In Italy
I have been to a number of holy places — spots where there is an especially powerful presence, the actual feeling of something supernatural. On this list would be the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem; the Cathedral of the Holy Shroud; the chapel of the apparitions at Fatima; the Lourdes grotto; and where I am right now, apparition hill in Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
These are all powerful places and in their midst I would also rank the Cave of the Archangel Michael — in fact, it is right there are the top. This is a grotto in eastern Italy, and believe me, there is a presence here. There is the real feeling of St. Michael. When I visited the cave in 1990, a man sitting before the statue of Michael was going through a spontaneous deliverance as a demon that had obviously inhabited him screeched and yelled as the Holy Spirit sought to cast it out.
I have a stone from the cave that I treasure as one of my most powerful relics.
And a picture of the archangel that I bought at the cave — yes, a cave, not a church — is so potent that we have adopted it as an official devotional for this website.
I have heard from others who have told me about encountering angels on the way to the cave or of simply experiencing the kind of feeling that is rare outside of the most famous sites of apparition.
But that’s what happens at Monte Gargano (where the cave is located): there is a feeling that can only be compared to spots like Mount Krizevac or the Church of the nativity, and it only makes sense when we take a look at the history — the long history — of this place.
Located in stony hillsides not far from San Giovanni Rotundo (where St. Pio lived), the cave is reached by walking 86 steps subdivided into five flights and interrupted by four landings. It is a mysterious place, the galleries supported by big Gothic arches and ogival vaults, the side walls are illuminated by small windows.
But most mysterious is the history: in 404 A.D. a wealthy man, frustrated when one of his cattle refused to move from the entrance of the cave, took up his bow and sent an arrow toward the animal — an arrow that then whirled like a boomerang and came back to wound the archer!
So frightened was the man that he went to see the bishop of Siponto, who in praying for an answer experienced the apparition of Michael. the archangel identified himself as the angel “who ever stands before the Lord” and who was “keeping this place under my special protection.”
Although there is a basilica in the cave, it has never been consecrated by the Church because the Church considers it the only basilica consecrated already by an actual angel!
In another instance when Neopolitans decided to wage war on Siponto, Michael appeared again to the bishop assuring him of victory. As soon as the attack began, all of Monte Gargano was enveloped by a dark cloud that shot forth lightning of such strength as to chase away the enemy.
No wonder the power is still felt. Let us take a lesson from it on the archangel’s tremendous intervention. Michael! He is the angelic prince of Israel, guardian of Jacob, known in Islamic writing as Mika’il. Some say he’s the author of Psalm 85. in Jewish lore it’s even believed that the fire Moses saw in the burning bush had Michael’s appearance. Christians invoke him as the angel of deliverance. This is a mighty intercessor who can help you in many distressing situations. Invoke him. Do his novena. Ask for his help. He is stronger than anything bad. “Who is like unto God?” was Michael’s war cry against the fallen angels.
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