A Day in the Life of a Modern American Exorcist
There is a war that is being waged between good and evil. Faith in God will lead us in one direction, the lack of faith will lead us in another. I have seen many manifestations of evil. Exorcism is the only cure for one who is truly demonically possessed. The Catholic Church knows that most of these claims are baloney. They cling to this because they’re afraid to give up that last vestige of the supernatural. If there’s no demons, maybe there’s no devil . And if there is no devil, maybe there’s no God. I am Father Vincent Lampert. I’ve been a Catholic priest for the past 25 years. I was appointed by my archbishop to be the exorcist for Indianapolis. It was not a position that I sought. But in 2005, the archbishop selected me for the role. He told me that he wanted a priest who believed in the reality of evil, but not one who would be so gullible as to believe that everybody who came to him was actually up against the forces of evil. When I was appointed, I became 1 of only 12 officially appointed exorcists in the United States That number has now grown to around 50. Some people will dabble in things of the occult. Believing that perhaps they’re just fun and entertaining But what they may not fully realize, is that they’re dabbling with evil. and they could be opening up an entry point for evil into their lives Take this, all of you, and eat of it For this is my body, which will be given up for you I’m the pastor here at St. Malachi parish in Brownsburg, Indiana The parish has approximately 2500 families just around 9000 parishioners. There are many people who laugh at the notion of demonic possession. or even the reality itself. But the Catholic Church does teach that evil is a reality and it is personified in the person of the Devil. Over the years, exorcism has undergone many different transformations. Exorcism goes back even before the time of Christ. But exorcisms became truly efficacious, or real, with the coming of Christ. The oldest formalized version of the rite of excorcism would date back to 1614. It was revised in 1999. Some of the manifestations I’ve witnessed over the years seem kind of incredible, incredulous. I think that the manifestations that one sees in movies such as The Exorcist – all that truly is possible. Eyes rolling in the back of the head, foaming at the mouth, growling and snarling like a wild animal, strong stenches, the temperature in the room will drop, bodily contortions. I remember a person who began to levitate during an exorcism. Now these manifestations are meant to distract the exorcist. I learned quickly that the exorcist should not focus on the manifestations of evil, but focus on the power of God that is at work. There’s an international association of exorcists. Which received official Vatican approval about 2 years ago. I am a member of that organization. And there’s a gathering in Rome every other year. Demonic possession is extremely rare. 1 out of every 5000 people who contact me is a genuine case of demonic possession. FATHER: Hello Mary. How are you? Obviously this is a ministry that I cannot do alone, so there is a lady that works with me. I jokingly like to refer to her as my exorcis-tant. She’s really the first line of defense. The majority of people that she talks to just need a listening ear. I can help answer any questions that you have. MARY: Well I got a revolving list right now of some people that are local because they would be in our diocese. I have that one guy from southern Indiana that keeps calling. I dont think he remembers all the times that we’ve talked because he always acts like no one has ever talked to me or ever tried to help me. FATHER: And that’s what gives credence to the fact that this is truly something of a mental health issue as opposed to something that’s demonic. MARY: Of course it doesn’t help too because I also was talking to another priest. He was telling me that he doesn’t believe any of this. FATHER: Some people will accept what the church believes and teaches about the reality of evil. Some people won’t. I am Dr. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, and the head of the 55000 member strong Skeptic Society. I have two graduate degrees one in Experimental Psychology and the other in the History of Science. My speciality really is understanding belief systems how the mind works related to why we believe anything that we believe in. The investigation of exorcisms has been popular since we started the magazine really because it kinda comes and goes depending on what’s hot in popular culture. You know the research says 1 in 10. Americans claim that they’ve seen an exorcism. I suspect most of those are people that have seen The Exorcist or watched a documentary on TV or something like that. If you go on YouTube and just type in demon possession there’s thousands of videos. You could spend an hour and be an expert on what they’re supposed to look like. The church has a list of criteria for what would constitute a possession. Speaking in tongues, glossolalia, is one of them. Spouting off this sort of sequence of syllables It sounds nonsensical and then somebody interprets it. Now we know because we’ve had linguists analyze recordings of what is being said and they say this is not a language. It’s just babble. It’s lliterally a psycho-drama The music, the chanting, the dancing, the singing. It gets you caught up into it. It’s like a rave. You feel the emotions. You feel the brain chemistry changing. The hormones pumping through your body. Contorted body postures and the writhing on the ground, the utterances. It’s just imitation. I’ve actually gone up to one of these. I could almost feel like, “Okay, here I go.” I could almost feel it coming on. I wasn’t even a believer. This is imitation. It’s roleplaying. In addition to these exorcisms being nonsensical, from a scientific perspective. They’re also dangerous. There have been people killed. Suffocated. Tortured. It’s not a harmless exercise in entertainment. It’s potentially very dangerous. Once you start to believe something, the confirmation bias kicks in. In which you look for confirming evidence that it’s true, and you ignore the disconfirming evidence. Everybody does it. Unfortunately, this leads to great distortions of belief. There’s no such thing as the paranormal or the supernatural. There’s just the normal, the natural, and the things we haven’t explained yet FATHER: This is where I performed my most intense case of exorcism. It took place 5 years ago here in this convent. The items I use for exorcism. In addition in my bag, I also have the holy water that I would use. We came into the space. The spouse who was very strong and confident in his belief The woman who was afflicted sat down here. You could smell in the air the sense of perspiration just the anxiety of what was about to take place. No sooner did the drops of water hit the head of the lady, then the manifestations began immediately. She exhibited vocal outbursts. Speaking in languages that she didn’t otherwise know, exhibiting strength beyond the normal capacity of a person, and also an aversion to things of a sacred nature. All this was going on while I was praying *PRAYING IN LATIN* I commanded the demon leviathan to depart immediately. Then the demon that had been speaking in this very strong, authoritative voice began to speak like a little baby. Then looked at me and said “Hail Mary, full of grace.” and there was a shriek and all the manifestations of evil ended. because the presence of evil was now completely gone. FATHER: People will believe what they will. It’s not really my task to try to convince people of something. Because if you are a person of faith, you began with the premise that believing is seeing. People that may come from more of a scientific background may begin with the premise that I have to see in order to believe.