Jesus performing an exorcism. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The Controversy in Demonic Possessions and Paranormal Activity

Servants possessed by the devil in 1576.

In the photo presented at the right, Jesuit professor Dr. Malachi Martin, in “Hostage to the Devil,” outlines the stages of possession: The actual entry point, when the evil spirit first enters the victim; a stage of erroneous judgements by the possessed in vital matters, perhaps including the making of unethical choices; the voluntary yielding of control by the possessed person to the invading spirit, even though he knows the spirit is alien to his personality; and finally, perfect possession.”

Halloween puts us in the mood for stories of possession. There have been several stories in the past related to people suddenly becoming possessed by demonic forces of nature or experiencing paranormal activities in places where several disturbing events have occurred. Tell us. Has anyone out there ever had a personal episode of witnessing an exorcism or silhouettes/floating objects invading a house? Can it possibly all be from one’s own imagination or psychotic disorder?

According to the National Institutes of Health, during a period of psychosis, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disturbed and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not. Dr. Erika Eichhorn Bourguignon explains, the belief that spiritual forces or entities may have an impact on the well-being and personality of individuals is one that is present in cultures around the globe. Movies such as “The Exorcist,” “Amityville Horror,” and the most recently released movie “The Conjuring,” were all based on real, actual events.

Editor Glen Barber from the Denver Post explains, In 1973, the movie “The Exorcist” became a sensation in the United States; when adjusted for inflation it is the ninth highest grossing film in American history. Yet few realize that the movie, and Peter Blatty’s novel of the same, are based on a true story: a months-long exorcism by Jesuit priests of a 14-year-old Maryland boy, who priests assigned the pseudonym Roland Doe, in 1949.

According to Tamar Lapin from the New York Post, “Amityville Horror” was located in a three-story colonial, its original address was 112 Ocean Ave., but was changed to 108 to deter tourists. The story revolved around Ronald DeFeo Jr, then 23, gunned down his parents and four siblings there on November 13, 1974.

In December 1975, a month after DeFeo was convicted of the murders, George and Kathy Lutz and their three young kids moved into the house, which they had reportedly snatched for $80,000. The day they moved, the couple had a priest bless the house. But George claimed the holy man felt an unseen hand slap him in the sewing room and heard a voice say, “Get out.”

Soon after, the couple said they began noticing odd things around the house, such as doors being ripped from hinges, cabinets slamming shut and slime oozing from the ceilings. “There were odors in the house that came and went,” George told ABC News in 2006. “There were sounds. The front door would slam shut in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t get warm in the house for many days.”

According to editors Emily Tannenbaum, Mehera Bonner, and Adrianna Freedman, “The Conjuring” is one of the scariest movies of all time. It is set in 1971 and focuses on the Perrons, a family of seven that moves into a clearly haunted farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were probably the most famous paranormal experts of the U.S. were called to rid the house of its demonic presence, especially Bathsheba, an accused witch who checks notes sacrificed her child to the devil and cursed future occupants of her home before killing herself.

Moving into the 14-room home in 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron, along with their five daughters, lived in the Old Arnold Estate for a decade. Andrea, the oldest of the five Perron daughters, claimed that many spirits resided in the farmhouse as well, including Bathsheba. “Whoever the spirit was, she perceived herself to be mistress of the house and she resented the competition my mother posed for that position,” she told USA Today in 2013.

Dan Bell, a middle aged YouTube personality from Baltimore explores abandoned factories and buildings noticing strange appearances that apparently make his skin crawl. There is a YouTube video presented in September of 2015 of a children’s asylum showing what is thought to be the shadow of another person wandering the asylum.

The asylum was founded in 1875 to provide refuge for orphaned and abandoned babies. History explains that some of the girls were sexually abused, including one neglected woman whose pregnancy (and delivery) went unnoticed by the matron. The housewife only found out when she discovered the patient’s newborn in a cupboard. Jane Jones explains, for a 1937 report on the scandal, a social worker tracked down 102 of the 166 cases on record.

Eleven of these girls, who had been perfectly healthy when they left the institution, died of disease or neglect and 17 more were sick with infectious diseases; 29 were prostitutes; eight had been re-institutionalized in other mental hospitals; and six were in prison. The asylum finally closed on June 30, 2009 and has recently been torn down after catching fire. Were the ghosts attempting to seek revenge when Dan Bell was filming for the public?

After all, in order to believe it we have to see it, right? Dr. Richard Gallagher, an academic psychiatrist states, “I think there are certain people, both psychiatric patients and the rare cases of people who suffer, who should understand this. There are people with mental problems who think they’re possessed and the reverse. I did think it could enlighten a certain population. I also thought it would be of public interest.”

To this day, there are many people who want to explore and investigate haunted places in the world to determine if demonic forces really exist.

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