Here’s a good book by Father Cliff Ermatinger, of Milwaukee, a priest surveying the occult landscape as an exorcist.
Yes, there are intellectual passages. There is theology.
But much of it involves the fascinating personal experience of folks who have been burned by their brush with darkness.
Take a young mother who, the priest recounts, “came into my rectory told me she had been raised in a family situation that is becoming less atypical in Mexico: her parents left the Catholic Church while she was still a teenager. Having followed her parents’ ambivalence with regard to religious practice, she was not willing to follow her parents into their newfound Pentecostal group.”
Instead — one day, after high-school classes — she went to a card reader.
And she marveled at how the reader seemed able to describe precise details of her life.
So great was the woman’s impression of what transpired that she became hooked on it — card reading — like a drug.
And soon, she found that she too could “read” them.
When she and her husband moved to the U.S., says Father Ermatinger, she hung out a sign for her little card-reading enterprise, which helped make ends meet.
And also called a world — or netherworld — of problems.
The problem came at night — “sporadic nocturnal attacks which began to become regular,” writes the priest (long a friend of this website).
“It began with horrible nightmares in which demons tortured her in hell.” Then came physical attacks on her body, causing her to “wake up covered in bruises, cuts, and scratches.”
That was around the time when she went to see the priest.
The last straw was when the experiences began happening during daylight hours, causing her to “disassociate”: in effect, go into a demonic trance.
At one point during an episode, she picked up a knife to attack her husband and daughter as they watched television. “She finally reached liberation, but only after much suffering and a deep conversion that involved an intense sacramental life and the discovery of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role in her life.”
Many exorcists attest to the power of Mary in exorcism.
Are there “curses”?
You better believe it, says the priest. Virtually all exorcists — Father Ermatinger no exception — attest to this. It’s not pleasant stuff. He has seen strange objects coughed up or vomited by those being exorcised. And says some of the most powerful curses are levied by occultists who steal bones from cemeteries, grind them into powder, and use them in rituals or even sneak them into a person’s food or drink. Such was the case with an aspiring young witch who cursed her seven-year-old brother, putting cursed sage in the boy’s salad and causing him to become possessed.
During exorcism, the demon recounted the exact time and date of his entry sixteen years before!
“One time during an exorcism, I interrogated the demon and asked him how he entered the man I was exorcising,” says the priest. “He laughed and told me it was very easy. ‘My witch gave him a cursed can of Coca-Cola twenty-one years ago, and I’ve been here ever since’ [the demon said]. I commanded the demon to expel the cursed object and immediately a dark brown liquid poured out of the man’s mouth.”
As warned, not very pleasant.
How many others have been cursed?
How often do witches afflict those active in ministry?
Yet there is the victory of Jesus and the purity of Mary in stark opposition and contrast. No demon can stand up to the Lord and His Blessed Mother — or even come close.
But they have to be invoked with active, prayed-up faith.
Take the fellow who was possessed by a spirit that identified itself as Spiritus Luxuriae — “spirit of lust. It entered when the man became addicted to pornography. Imagine how many in our day are likewise afflicted!
Said the demon, “I know I have to leave soon, but I’ll be back again and again and again.”
A hollow threat.
For, as Father Ermatinger recounts, “At that point, [the man’s] face changed drastically, and he looked with horror, saying: ‘The Great Lady!’ and left with a scream.
“We all fell to our knees and welcomed the Blessed Mother (whose official birthday is this week) with a Rosary.”
[Footnote: It is the occult — powers that are separate from God’s — that was the “apple” on the tree in the Garden, notes Father Ermatinger, who quotes Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as saying: “The temptation that Satan presents to our first parents is not a blatant denial of the existence of God or an outright call to idolatry, but rather the temptation to acquire some of the attributes of God, namely knowledge and power through external means. This, in the long term, results in mentality of a recourse to magic in our first parents’ progeny.”
A fascinating concept: that the occult, the psychic, New Age stuff, witchy and wizardry abilities, constitute that bite of the apple — “an attempt to acquire powers beyond his own.”
Finally, an explanation of that original sin?]