2 April 2013: Rural Greene County Missouri.
The fact that the beautiful weather we had enjoyed just two days previously, on the day we observed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—Easter Sunday—had turned cold, wet and nasty; should have been a recognizable omen warning us of what we should expect during our visit to the home of a Ozark’s family, a family terrified out of their minds by forces not of this world.
Although our Ministry often does home blessings, before we perform any sacramental rite that is more involved, we prefer that the residence or “locale” be thoroughly checked out by a competent and reputable paranormal research team before we even make any extensive contact with the family by phone or e-mail, this eliminates any possibility that the phenomena reported by the family is not routine everyday—explainable—phenomena, but rather something not so easily categorized, quantified or even identifiable by rational means. The latter and not the former was the case at this residence just Northwest of Springfield Missouri.
According to their case log, the team at 417PRS entered the home with prejudice, a healthy skeptical attitude determined to find evidence of rational causes for the paranormal phenomenon the family insisted was happening around them. The notes prepared by 417PRS analysts after the investigation pointed out various aspects of the structure that might possibly cause the events, but as the night of their investigation wore on, according to 417PRS transcripts; the strange and the bizarre became the norm. Actually by the time that we entered the scene on 2 April, 417PRS had visited the home twice, with the family reporting that the events had tapered off after the first visit, but then suddenly and rapidly ramping up and necessitating the repeat investigation and a subsequent visit by our ministry a couple of weeks later.
During the first visit, the 417PRS team gathered enough evidence through observation and recordings to indicate that there was indeed a presence in the residence; something was definitely there that defied logical explanation. Sound recordings were made upon which a voice could be heard, a voice not from a human, at least not one currently living and breathing. During the second visit similar recordings were made and another voice was apparent, one that was dissimilar from the first. Also during this visit the entity made itself known by physically assaulted members of the 417PRS team.
Based upon all the evidence, both real and empirical, we were asked to make a visit to the home, and based upon that evidence, we had already determined that the best course of action was to perform the ancient sacramental rite of the church, the Rite of Exorcism of a Locale.
After arriving at a residence, our SOP or standard operating procedure is to briefly explain who and what we are, as most people in this region seldom, if ever, see a Priest clad in a black clericals with a white collar, much less a married one with his wife also wearing the collar. We are a ministry team, both Ann and I are ordained ministers, and as we are not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, out of professional courtesy to that venerable institution and its clergy, we point out that there are many Catholic or more properly, many orthodox or liturgical/sacramental churches with equally valid claims to the historic lines of apostolic succession, which is the ecclesiastical authority passed down from generation to generation by the laying on of hands going back through time to the original apostles who were given the authority to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons; by the risen Jesus Christ himself.
After initial introductions and overview of the process, we begin an interview, one we normally record for our internal use, a procedure that far surpasses the traditional process of “taking notes.” But on this evening we were to immediately experience the same frustrations that 417PRS had experienced while inside of this residence. In their case logs from both of their investigations they had noted the curious paranormal phenomena in the house of electronic devices inexplicably failing such as video cameras mysteriously turning off without the assistance of human hands. Before I had left home I had set up my laptop, microphone and peripheral equipment I use to record the interviews, everything had worked flawlessly during the test or dry run; everything was then broke down and placed in the cases for transport to the residence. But after setting everything up it simply would not work, the laptop and other equipment seemed to function normally but it simply would not capture any sound. So we did the interview the old fashioned way, we scribbled notes on legal pads.
By this point in time the interview was simply a formality, as through conversation the family had already told us of almost all of the phenomena that the survey is designed to discover. Simply put the interview is a question and answer process in which we ask; “Has any member of the house hold experienced XYZ phenomena, XYZ being a specific type of occurrence?” At this point I have to point out that I agree with skeptics, this is not a fool proof way to determine the existence of paranormal activity, the supposed victim can find these same criteria in most any book on the subject or upon any one of a thousand web sites, including my own. But I would also point out to any skeptic—especially one who hasn’t been there or ministered to this frightened family—you were not there. 417PRS and apparently other groups have investigated this case, all impartial but none the less agreeing that that his family has suffered from something that is neither explainable nor a hallucination. Reverend Ann and I personally saw and felt the sincerity and the underlying emotional scars that these people have dealt with and will now carry as memories for an indeterminable period of time, an event that has deeply touched the internal empathy that we have for those in need.
Although the interview was not taken under the Seal Of The Confessional, there were things said in the interview, and things not said, but none the less communicated through body language, as well as the eyes—the very windows to the soul—things that as a Priest, I will never reveal, especially on this forum.
At the end of the interview, Reverend Ann assisted me as I vested, donning the ancient symbol of innocence, a white alb and the sign of office, a purple stole; the same sign of office worn by countless other priests throughout history as they performed the Rituale Romanum.
Rather than beginning with the part of the Rite designed to drive out demons from a specific locale, we ad-libed, starting with a short selection from the rite for expulsion of demons from a human victim; a reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter eleven, verses fourteen through 22. As you may recall this recounts the story of Christ casting out demons and the Pharisees accusing him of casting out said entities in the name of Beelzebul, and not that of God. Christ points out that expelling Beelzebul’s demons in Beelzebul’s name would be a division and asks his accusers how can a house become divided and stand? Through his logic and superior reasoning ability Christ demonstrates that the Kingdom of God has arrived and the forces of Beelzebul cannot stand against that kingdom. This lesson is said to be included in the Rituale Romanum as a reminder to any demons that they cannot resist the authority given by Christ to the exorcist as he or she demands them to leave.
After a short prayer I anointed each member of the family with Holy Oil, a combination of Frankincense and Myrrh suspended in virgin Olive oil, this particular blend having been imported from the Holy land where it was said to have been blessed by a Rabbi then blessed by a total of four Bishops of Christ’s holy and apostolic church after its arrival in the Ozarks. After drawing the sign of the cross with my thumb dipped in the oil on each of their foreheads, and saying a prayer over them while holding the end of my stole against their head, and not witnessing any adverse reactions to the classic test, I was satisfied that no demon had taken possession of any of these wonderful people.
After the preliminaries were completed, we went from room to room, Reverend Ann carrying in her left hand the book containing the rite and in her right, a walnut cross with metal corpus. I carried a bowl of Holy water and a brush we use as an Asperger, and in each room I said the rite and sprinkled Holy Water making the sign of the cross.
Although we said the rite in each room of the house, we paid particular attention to the bedroom closet used by the young girl, who had been seen by her mother and grandmother talking to an unseen entity while setting cross legged in front of the door.
After leaving the bedroom of the child, all of us felt a definite chill, as if there was a sudden drop in temperature or perhaps a sudden increase in electromagnetic energy causing the hair on our arms and necks to stand up along with the accompanying goose bumps.
The lower level of the house features a walk out basement type of affair and near the rec room area as we were sprinkling Holy Water a very noticeable dark shadow like entity moved across the room into a nook area where there was a sofa. We addressed this thing commanding it to leave in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
In the utility room, the family showed us an open passage that allows access to the crawl space that is under part of the house. We found and photographed stains on the concrete wall under the access portal that appeared to be similar to food prints of a wild animal. The family insisted that these marks had suddenly appeared inexplicably. I applied Holy Water to the frame around the access portal simply due to the apparent “creepy” factor. This is so wrong for so many reasons, for example not only is it just plain creepy, but the open portal can allow fumes and gasses that occur naturally to enter into the utility room and then be moved throughout the house by the central air unit. We advise that the access portal be boarded over and to have a competent AC technician make sure that the portal was not left open so as to provide make up air for the combustion process of the furnace. If so an alternative source of make up air, fresh air not air from under the house should be provided.
As there is just the two of us in this ministry locally, at this time, and since we are married, our post event debriefing and discussion began as soon as we were back in our pickup and headed away from the residence. Excitedly, Reverend Ann asked me if I noticed her having a problem keeping her hand raised with the crucifix held out in the traditional manner. I replied that yes, I had noticed, and I started to apologize for taking so long in saying the rite as I know that Ann has muscular-skeletal issues that would make it difficult for her to keep her hand raised for extended periods. I had noticed as we were saying the rite and going from room to room her dropping her right hand, I just assumed it was from fatigue. However she replied that no, it was not her becoming fatigued and pain causing her to drop her arm, it was an unseen hand pushing her hand and the crucifix down…
She testifies that in every room, she felt an unseen hand clawing at hers and pushing the crucifix downward as if it couldn’t stand to see the primary symbol of the Christian faith held in it’s face. Concerned—on many different levels—upon arriving back at the chapel, I had Ann say the lavobo prayer (Psalm 26:6-12) and wash her hand with Holy Water. Now; the Holy Water we use is predominately just plain water, drawn from a deep well, and has had a pinch of sea salt added per quart of water. This mixture is then blessed by a Bishop as per tradition. After washing her hand that the entity in the home had touched, I looked at the water that had come in contact with that hand. Ann swears that she did not apply any skin lotion or other chemical that evening to her hands, so I have to assume that there was no logical reason for what I saw; the previously clear holy water that I personally poured on her hands as she said the prayer, had suddenly become a murky white color,
Although we always hope for the best, these events are never like they are in a Hollywood movie. You know the ones where the Priest shows up at the door, dark and mysterious clad head to toe in black trench coat and matching fedora hat. The tall dark stranger walks into the house and takes his coat off to reveal the bright white collar around his neck, and suddenly he has become like the cavalry there to save the day, and in 90 minutes or however the movie is designed to run, he has called the demon out and vanquished it casting back into the fiery pits from whence it came. As much as we would like this to be the rule, its usually the exception. In cases like this where disinterested parties such as 417PRS and others have investigated and found that there is indeed a presence, one presumed to have evil intent as it has physically attacked humans, then the likelihood that it can be resolved in one visit is not great.
In cases such as this, Complete Resolution requires a diligent effort by the family and possibly subsequent counseling by qualified ministers, and in extreme cases, counseling by mental health professionals.
During the interview we ask if any religious articles or Icons have been disturbed by the entity. This family responded that they did not have any religiously themed decorative accessories; however they did report that they had a family bible, but it had gone missing shortly after moving into the residence. We suggested that they at least consider obtaining another bible, and get some decorative items that reflect a faith based theme. NOTE: a week after the event, we received communication from the family through 417PRS that indicated the family had apparently obtained a crucifix, and they reported that the crucifix had been moved along with finding what appeared to be ashes smeared near the crucifix. As if something that had walked near the brimstone of hell had touched venerable Christian symbol trying to remove it from the home.
The family also reported during the interview process that they had tried to talk to it, (1) apparently the child can communicate with the thing and (2) a friend brought an Ouija board into the house in an attempt to find out what it wanted. The family members state that they have even screamed at the thing demanding that it go away and leave them alone. Without mentioning specifics, this thing has done to these poor folks, many of the things we see in the movies leaving them absolutely terrified. Of course we advised no more Ouija boards. Simply put if you do use the things to contact “the other side” how do you know for sure that it is your dead Auntie Lucille giving you messages and not some demon from hell lying to you. You must remember that there is nothing that Aunt Lucille and you might have privately known, something that only she might have known might be an identifying marker, there is nothing like this that the demons do not also know! So never assume that you are for sure communicating with your Auntie.
We also advised that the family refrain from talking to it or communicating with it in any form. Never show fear—if at all possible—when confronted by one of these things. They are like an unwanted stray mongrel dog, they smell fear, and they like it. They feed on fear, anger, and hate, so don’t feed them. When you home has become infested by one of these abominations, make every effort to refrain from allowing fear, anger, and hate to manifest in your home.
As an immediate tool to use in this battle, we gave the family a laminated prayer card with the prayer of St Michael, but in reality, although the St Michael prayer is good, any time you feel a dark presence threatening you, just pray, asking God to keep you safe through the night.
The orthodox position is that there is no such thing as ghosts, but rather any paranormal entity is a demon from hell, dispatched here to this plain of existence in order to terrify, tempt, possibly either influence humans to do something totally stupid and destructive, or even to enter into and possess the individual. As a Bishop of Christ’s Holy Church, I am expected to maintain this position. However, it might be possible that there are several entities present in this home. During the first investigation 417PRS found that the entity might be a native American (see their report) and I am willing to entertain the thought that 417PRS may have been right and the presence we encountered during our visit entered sometime later prior to the second investigation by 417PRS. What the child has communicated seems to indicate that there are multiple entities, both through what she has said and how she acts when the various entities are present.
Should we be asked to provide counseling, we would probably establish a two fold regimen for this family group.  Through talk therapy explore any possible past infractions they might have committed. Google the phase “demonic legal right” and you will find a plethora of websites that explain that certain sinful acts give these things the “legal right” to harass. Resolution includes, but is not limited to exploring past actions and seeking absolution/forgiveness through Christ.  The second phrase includes instructing the family to find a spiritual home, a church family where they can find solace and peace, as well as developing a personal spiritual regimen. You know most of us in this postmodern world devote time every day to a physical fitness workout or other daily routine regimen, why do we neglect our spiritual health?
In some cases, neglecting spiritual “hygiene” can be as dangerous as (for example) neglecting our physical health by eating decidedly unhealthy foods until our cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels cause us to stroke out or have a heart attack. Just like the hidden dangers of high cholesterol and blood pressure, demonic infestation and attack can creep into our lives and suddenly without warning cause immense hardship. Some skeptics may laugh at this analogy, but for those like the family in Rural Greene County Missouri, it simply isn’t funny, but a very real and frightening experience.