NEFARIOUS: When Fiction Intersects With Reality


[Watch this on YouTube…]

[Listen on Spotify or continue reading below.]

On the day of his scheduled execution, a convicted serial killer gets a last minute court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. The killer surprises the psychiatrist with his claim that instead of trying to avoid his fate, he is in fact a demon who wants the execution to go forward… and further claims that before their brief time together is over, the doctor will commit three murders of his own.

If—at the time of this essay—you were looking for a movie to see at a theater near you, the preceding synopsis was prominently displayed following the motion picture titled: Nefarious.

This most recent project of filmmakers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, takes on a very different tone and tenor than their previous efforts which have brought some of the most popular and inspirational faith-based movies to the marketplace.

The executive producer of Nefarious, Steve Deace, is also the author of the best selling novel that the production is based upon. In Deace’s fictional work, convicted killer Edward Wayne Brady must undergo a final psychiatric evaluation before the State of Oklahoma can carry out the death warrant. If Brady can be found to be suffering from a severe mental condition, then he will be found ineligible for execution even though he was found guilty, by a jury of his peers, after a trial in which the prosecution produced incontrovertible evidence along with a confession.

A highly accredited psychiatrist—a Doctor James Martin—is retained to perform an impartial review, but his preconceived understanding of the situation and his secular worldview prevents him from engaging with the true nature of the reality presented before him, the condemned man is possessed by a demon named Nefarious.

A shocking dialogue unfolds between the two men in the room—the psychiatrist and the demonically possessed inmate—that exposes evil and spiritual truth. This interaction between two characters makes the dominant theme of the production apparent—evil is all around us, in both the often unnoticed ignorance of modern banality and in glaringly obvious manifestations.

Nefarious explains to Doctor Martin that the process of demonic possession begins with the intended victim being confronted with a series of moral dilemmas. By accepting as right—that which should obviously be wrong—the victim gradually acclimates himself to the normalization of evil. Nefarious states that “We offer up a series of temptations, gradually increasing in terms of duration and intensity, and degree of moral inequity.”

The implication of this process—as explained by the fictional demon Nefarious—is that seemingly

small moral infractions like petty theft and religious ambivalence pave the way for greater misdeeds by numbing our hearts and senses to the damaging effects of evil. This concept is further driven home when Nefarious tells Doctor Martin that the psychiatrist will have committed three murders before Brady—the murderer—is executed. Under the impression that he was just living life like any other Millennial in the twenty-first century, Martin was oblivious to the fact that he had already committed two of the three murders. He believed he was simply granting his dying mother “death with dignity” by authorizing her euthanasia and because he wasn’t “ready to be a father” Martin had pressured his girlfriend into getting an abortion, both of these are tacit acts of killing, albeit products of the casual cruelty contemporary society extols as virtues.

Cary Solomon—in an interview conducted by Billy Hallowell for—said;

Nefarious is a movie that speaks of important and eternal truths and addresses an obsession with the occult overtaking portions of society. We believe every single word of what we said in it. I believe it’s a contemporary problem in our society. The occult is everywhere. [Young people] don’t understand that they’re playing with fire.”

Hallowell also wrote that Chuck Konzelman hopes the themes in “Nefarious” help bring people “who would never go near a church” to stop and consider the true battle raging between good and evil.

Most media outlets have published reviews on Nefarious, some of which offer glowing testimony, such as the one at Breitbart written by Paul Bois after his exclusive interview with co-directors Konzelman and Solomon. The duo, also credited with the highly successful films God’s Not Dead and Unplanned, described their most recent work as a more mature version of C.S. Lewis’ satirical work, The Screwtape Letters. While the demon Nefarious is lecturing the Psychiatrist as to the workings of possession, Lewis’ demon Screwtape, mentors his nephew Wormwood in how to effect the same.

The Breitbart corespondent quoted Solomon and Konzelman as stating “The world is definitely ensconced in evil. Doing this movie, we wanted to reveal that. There is evil, there is good, there is the devil, and there is God. What we perceive as a cultural battle is actually a spiritual battle, and the film is actually about pulling the veil away from that fact,”

Leah MarieAnn Klett, an Assistant Editor at The Christian Post reported on the spiritual battle that unfolded during the filming of Nefarious. She writes: “When “Nefarious” directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman first conceived of bringing the spiritual thriller to the big screen, they knew they would face unseen opposition. But the duo didn’t know just how much, in their words, ‘the devil didn’t want this movie to be made.’ ”

Ms Klett’s review describes bizarre events ranging from a possessed squirrel breaking into their Airbnb only to ravage a Nativity set—which when you think about it, that does seem a bit unusual—to more serious events such as the cast and crew being afflicted with strange ailments throughout the making of the film.

Konzelman told the Christian Post writer that the first day of filming Steve Deace—the executive producer and author of the novel—visited the set, he got very sick with a cyst under his arm. Then just as suddenly the cyst disappeared, only to return with a vengeance the morning before the theatrical premiere. By nightfall, he’s in the emergency room, near death, with a severe, nearly fatal, staph infection in his bloodstream that required emergency surgery.

Other occurrences included a Catholic Priest—hired to be on the set for his expertise in exorcisms—nearly died from a burst appendix, while during the first eleven days of shooting, eight members of the crew were all involved in severe auto accidents.

After the film opened, events begin to occur across the nation such as fire alarms inexplicably going

off, computer errors caused people to be unable to purchase tickets when the systems showed certain theaters as being sold out when in fact there were seats available.

Finally—according to Koxelman in his interview with the Christian Post—there were numerous reports of people growling and vomiting in the theaters during the showing and not being aware of the events when they woke up.

Solomon told Ms. Klett, “We had a friend tell us a long time ago, ‘For those people that don’t believe in the devil, declare war against him and see what happens.”

According to the Christian Post, despite the continuing paranormal opposition, the film received a 97% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes—the American review-aggregation website for film and television—and grossed $1.3 million in its opening weekend while competing for an audience with two other horror films.

Other authors offering the general public reviews of Nefarious, approached the subject from other angles; Sonika Kamble—for example—asked rhetorically, Is Nefarious Based On a True Story, well at least that was the title of her article appearing on The web site. Kamble compared the plot line of Nefarious to the case of Peter William Sutcliffe, who brutally murdered 13 women and whose heinous acts inspired the series titled The Yorkshire Ripper. In both—the real life cases of Sutcliffe as well as that of the fictional Nefarious, we find that the killer claims to have been influenced by supernatural powers.

Here at Saint Michael’s Journal—after reading that Nefarious was said to be similar to real life possessions—we once again opened up old files to review those cases we have been tracking here in the midwest in which the perpetrator claimed paranormal influences.

As the title of this essay implies, we found an intersectional relationship between fictional works such as Nefarious and real life crime drama.

In 2016 Jason Brian Dalton a Uber driver in Kalamazoo Michigan was arrested and confessed to his crimes but blamed his actions on his Uber mobile app. Dalton claimed that its symbol resembled that of the Order of the Eastern Star, and that it took over his body during the events after he pressed the button of a new app resembling the Devil when it abruptly popped up.

On recordings made of Dalton’s statements during questioning, he can be heard telling officers that “The minute that I logged on, to be honest with you, I don’t know what happened. I know you guys are going to have a hard time believing this, but it literally took over (my) mind and body. I just tapped it and then there was like a devil head that popped up. It was some sort of like horned, horned head like a cow head or something. … I pressed that button and that’s where all the problems went after that.”

Local Police reported that Dalton had no known prior criminal history or mental health record, before he went on a shooting spree murdering six people and wounding two others as he drove through the community.

After numerous delays and psychiatric evaluations, Dalton’s case was set to go to trial on 7 January 2019, but he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

In 2017, Saint Michael’s Journal reported on the bizarre case of Rachel Hilyard, who had asked a friend where she could get an Exorcism. This inquiry led to the Exorcism of a Locale being performed by Reverend Terry Fox who was ironically, a Baptist minister, and not a Catholic Priest such as those that most people believe are the only ministers to perform exorcisms.

Writing for, Oliver Morrison reported how Reverend Fox and his assistants had performed a spiritual house cleansing and blessing, a similar procedure to the Rite of Exorcism of a locale that banishes demons from a home or place. Fox related to Morison how that he and his team were attempting to evaluate Hilyard in order to determine if her condition was mental or demonically related when just days after visiting her home to rid it of demons, he heard the news while traveling, that Hilyard had been arrested for the decapitation of her ex-mother in law.

Following her arrest, a detective asked Hilyard about the incident and reported;

Rachael spontaneously stated it ‘seemed like she was coming at me with a picture frame’ and this has happened before like deja vu. ‘God was telling me to do it.’

Weeks later in a jailhouse interview Hilyard was quoted as saying;”I’m just saying, nobody cares about God anymore, I think this is very sad, and God is really sad with the Earth.”

Hilyard was declared unfit to stand trial in January 2018. That summer, forensic evaluators deemed her competent following treatment at a state psychiatric facility.

When her case finally went to trial, she characterized the killing of her former boyfriend’s mother as an overreaction, prosecutors said.

But on other occasions, she supposedly claimed she needed to decapitate Davis to free her soul so it could reach heaven.

Rachael Hilyard wrote a series of long-winded cryptic letters to the judge overseeing her case claiming an exorcism was responsible for Davis’ beheading.

“It’s a fact that 3 days prior to the murder, 2 individuals were in my home conducting what I had been told was an exorcism!” Halyard wrote to Chief Judge Jeffrey Goering in a 2017 jailhouse letter. “This was actually the 2nd time they had been to the house. I’m not sure which entity deals with negligent, illegal exorcisms but I can assure you, one was conducted.”

Using all capital letters, Hilyard also referenced haunted houses, aliens, methamphetamines, and claimed she had been put under a trance-like spell. She even doodled crucifixes and spiritual ideas in the letter.

“I just wanted to send this out before they throw me in the psych ward and over-medicate me,” she also scribbled. “I’m not going to stand for this. I feel like I may have been a victim of covert conversational hypnosis.”

At one point during her case’s proceedings, she dismissed her attorney Jason Smartt, accusing the public defender of belittling her and siding with the prosecution.

Apparently sometime later Hilyard’s private criminal defense attorney was quoted as saying; “You have somebody without doubt is insane and yet has to go to trial because we have antiquated and archaic laws. This case should have never gone to trial.”

Eventually Hilyard was convicted of murder, her sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Kansas, that of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years.

Heinous acts such as that committed by Rachel Hilyard always bring with them the question, was this woman so evil that she attempted to convince investigators and a jury of her peers that she was under the influence of drugs?

Or was she insane as her attorney suggested?

Or was she in fact, actually possessed by the devil?

What led Hilyard to commit the grizzly murder of Micki Davis, is a question we may never have the answer to.

Another seemingly senseless crime Saint Michael’s Journal was following at that time—a crime whose only similarity to the Rachel Hilyard case was that of the perpetrator claiming God told him to murder, just as Rachel claimed—was the case of Adam Housley, the 35 year old semi truck driver who insisted it was God who told him to drive his truck into the rear of another vehicle stopped at a traffic light.

Tisha Briggs, 48, and Leo Walker, 47, were west bound on US 60 and stopped at one of the only two stop lights in Seymour Missouri, a once prosperous agricultural community that has evolved into one of the so called bedroom communities such as those encircling any modern city.

The only hint these days of Seymour’s past claims to agriculture is the sprawling Amish community to the North and West of town.

Those passing through the stop light at highway 60 and west Clinton avenue—when not preoccupied by watching the Amish people going about their quaint way of life, driving their horses and buggies on the shoulder of the road—might have noticed the black scar on the pavement resulting from a burning vehicle. You see Briggs and Walker perished on that spot—that burn scar on highway 60—when Housley ran his eighteen wheeler into the stopped pick-up truck the pair were riding in.

According to a probable cause statement, a witness told investigators Housley never hit the brakes before crashing into the back of a pickup truck that was sitting at a red light on U.S. 60, east of West Clinton Avenue, just after 3 p.m. Troopers say the pickup truck was pushed into the back of another semitrailer that was sitting in front of it. Briggs and Walker were pronounced dead at the scene.

The statement says Housley was combative with Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers when they arrested him after the crash. Once troopers wrangled Housley to the ground, he allegedly said “God told me to do it” and “It’s my destiny.”

Housley was initially charged with murder but Prosecutor Ben Berkstresser eventually recommended to the Webster County court that Housley be charged with involuntary manslaughter after two experts, one working for the defense and one for the state, determined that Housley was having a psychotic episode when he made the statements about God telling him to cause the crash, and this episode had possibly started before the crash.

Berkstresser said that this diagnosis would make it impossible to prove intent so he recommended to the court that Housley be placed on probation. On Wednesday May 15th 2019, the Judge agreed with the prosecutors recommendation and sentenced Housley to time served—the two years in the county jail waiting trial—and five years probation with several severe restrictions during the probationary period including the prohibition of driving a semi-truck.

In our 2017 report at Saint Michael’s Journal we attempted to demonstrate that it was not God that commanded these people to murder innocents but other contributing factors. In that piece I wrote:

More years ago than I care to remember, I was a volunteer with local fire and rescue agencies and occasionally assisted a private ambulance company which was owned by a friend.  This was years before the wide spread use of Emergency Medical Technicians or Paramedics in this area.

One of the law enforcement agencies called my friend’s ambulance service that night and asked that he dispatch a crew to the scene of an accident north of town, I was asked to ride along to assist.  Upon arrival we found that a young man had somehow stepped in front of a tractor trailer unit and had received multiple compound fractures on both his legs—from the thighs to the ankles—the width of the wounds being about the same as the width of the dual tires commonly found on those type trucks.  We

applied dressings necessary to address the bleeding and splinted the legs to prevent further injury from movement—as was common practice at the time—and the operator drove the ambulance as fast as possible to the hospital.

During transport, the other attendant and I noted how the patient apparently felt little or no pain and was seemingly coherent, at least enough to carry on a basic conversation.  We both felt at the time that the probability was very great that this patient was under the effect of illicit drugs.  This opinion was also shared by the staff at the hospital.  In fact the attending nurse had the following conversation with this unfortunate soul;

The Nurse asked; “What made you want to walk out in front of a diesel truck?”

The Patient replied; “Why, the Lord told me to walk out in front of that big diesel truck!”

She said: “No, honey, I don’t think it was the Lord, I think it was those drugs you’re on.”

“What!” he replied, “You mean I done all this for nothing!!!

I personally witnessed this verbal exchange first hand, you see in those days few ambulance attendants used disposable rubber gloves as they do today and I was standing at the sink next to the trauma room bed the victim was laying on, washing the man’s blood from my hands, as I contemplated on what, I later realized was to be my first encounter with someone who was possessed, not by drugs, but something far more sinister.

So we ask rhetorically, what is the root of this phenomena, that of people committing horrible acts and then claiming that they were instructed to do so by God?  Is it simply the effects of drug induced delusion, or mental illness?

Far too many times we read transcripts of interviews conducted by law enforcement investigators with the perpetrators of these crimes and in the words of the suspect we find, “I don’t know what came over me…”  Or, “I Don’t know why I did that..”  Or in some rare cases they claim to have no knowledge or memories of the event what so ever.

Why is that?

In regards to these cases in which the suspect honestly has no knowledge of why he or she committed the act, or those who heard a voice telling them to murder; there are no rational people, that truly believe it was indeed God who compelled the accused to take someone’s life.

No, we who have worked in this field know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the real life murderer was in a similar situation as the condemned man in the movie, a man possessed by a demon known as Nefarious.


New Movie ‘Nefarious’ Tackles The Horrors Of Modern Secularism, by Samuel Mangold-Lenett

Something ‘Dark’ Is Going on in America: ‘Spiritual Battle,’ Demonic Themes Confronted in ‘Nefarious’ by Billy Hallowell

Demonic Possession Thriller ‘Nefarious’ Aims to Be an Adult Version of ‘The Screwtape Letters, by by PAUL BOIS,

‘God told me to do it.’ semi driver said after fatal crash in Seymour, documents say.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.