Wife and Mother of Four Describes Experience of Possession, Exorcism| National Catholic Register

Teresa Piccola’s harrowing experience of possession and liberation through the solemn rite of exorcism is a cautionary tale that ends with great hope.

Source: Wife and Mother of Four Describes Experience of Possession, Exorcism| National Catholic Register

Writing for the National Catholic Register, Bree Dail goes on to report:

Terese Piccola suffered under so many secrets.
“On the outside, I was the perfect mother, the perfect wife,” she said. “Inside, however, I was broken — and what is worse, I thought I deserved it.”

Speaking exclusively with the Register over the last three months, Piccola related details of her life growing up in an Italian-American home in the suburbs of New York, her marriage and motherhood raising four children, and her activism in the pro-life movement and in her parish — all while quietly enduring years of psychological and emotional torture and unexplained physical ailments.

Her world was turned upside down when extraordinary diabolical phenomena began to manifest themselves as attacks not directly on her, but initially on her children. Her plight ended only after an excruciating year and a half-long battle under the guidance of a clinical psychologist — an expert in possession cases — and through the solemn rite of exorcism.

According to Dail, Ms. Piccola relates how she was sexually abused at a young age, then repeatedly raped when she was thirteen.  Apparently–like too many victims report- Continue reading

The Exorcist: The true story behind the movie…

In what is perhaps one of the most remarkable experiences of its kind in recent religious history, a 14-year-old Mount Rainier boy has been freed by a Catholic priest of possession by the devil, Catholic sources reported yesterday.
Only after between 20 and 30 performances of the ancient ritual of exorcism, here and in St. Louis, was the devil finally cast out of the boy, it was said.

In all except the last of these, the boy broke into a violent tantrum of screaming, cursing and voicing of Latin phrases-a language he had never studied-whenever the priest reached the climactic point of the ritual, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, I cast thee (the devil) out.”

In complete devotion to his task, the priest stayed with the boy over a period of two months, during which he said he personally witnessed such manifestations as the bed in which the boy was sleeping suddenly moving across the room.

A Washington Protestant minister had previously reported personally witnessing similar manifestations, including one in which the pallet on which the sleeping boy lay slid slowly across the floor until the boy’s head bumped against a bed, awakening him.

In another instance, reported by the Protestant minister, a heavy armchair in which the boy was sitting with his knees drawn under his chin tilted slowly to one side and fell over, throwing the boy on the floor.

The final rite of exorcism in which the devil was cast from the boy took place in May, it was reported …

A priest here voiced the belief that it was probably the first casting out of the devil through the ritual in at least a century of Catholic activities here and perhaps in the entire history of the church in this area. …[1]

The preceding is an excerpt from a 1949 article published in the Washington Post.  It is said that  William Peter Blatty, who was attending Georgetown University learned of this event and of course we know that years later Blatty wrote the novel that was adapted to be one of the most famous horror films of all time, one that remains today a cult classic.

“The Exorcist” — both the movie and the 1971 novel it’s based on — was written by William Peter Blatty, who first heard about the demonic possession of a 14-year-old boy around 1949, while he was a senior at Georgetown University. Eugene Gallagher, one of his professors and a priest at the Jesuit college, told Blatty, a New York native, about the extraordinary story of the boy who was believed to be in the throes of demonic possession, but had been saved through a series of exorcisms.[2]

Over the years the true identity of the boy has been a highly guarded secret, designed to protect his privacy.  Countless news articles and historical treatises have been written using the pseudonym  Roland or in some cases Robbie Doe.

Photo of someone using Ouija

Hunkeler’s mother thought the strange occurrences were related to the death of an aunt who taught the boy how to use a Ouija board to communicate with spirits. USA Today Network/Sipa USA

It seems that “Robbie” survived the exorcism and grew up to become an engineer and worked at NASA for forty years.  While at NASA he patented a special technology to make space shuttle panels resistant to extreme heat, helping the Apollo missions of the 1960s that put US astronauts on the moon in 1969. [2]

Researchers and would be sleuths managed to track down those with some degree of knowledge about the case and deduced “Robbie’s” true identity.

While exploring the story  for his podcast, The Devil in the Details–JD Sword explains in an article published in the Skeptical Enquirer [3] — found that folks such as investigative journalist Mark Opsasnick, blogger Mike Madonna, and Dr. Sergio A. Rueda had already thoroughly researched the case and cast doubt on many of its claims, as well as having deduced the real identity of Roland Doe.

Sword tell us that Opsasnick spoke to Mt. Rainier resident Dean Landolt, who stated he was “very good friends with Father Hughes, the priest involved in the case. … Father Hughes told me two things: one was that the boy lived in Cottage City, and the other is that he went on to graduate from Gonzaga High and turned out fine.

Opsasnick was able to obtain a list of names of male students that graduated on that year from Gonzaga then he narrowed the list down to only one student who lived in Cottage City and had been born on June 1, 1935: Ronald E. Hunkeler

In his 1999 Strange magazine article, Opsasnick chose not to reveal Ronald’s identity, “for a number of legal reasons” as he explained to me. However, knowing the address made it possible to deduce Ronald’s identity. As author Kyle T. Cobb explained to me, “TW Scott confirmed the address without naming the boy. The address confirmed the last name and parents. The school annuals and interviews with classmates verified the timeline and identity.” In addition, since the publication of the article in Strange, more than just the full twenty-nine-page diary of Father Bishop had become public knowledge. In his book Diabolical Possession and the Case behind the Exorcist, Sergio Rueda interviewed Rev. Schulze on July 25, 1990, and asked him, “Was the name of the family, the Hunkeler family?” to which Schulze replied, “Yes” (Rueda 2018).[3]

Finally we read in the NY Post:

Hunkeler’s female companion confirmed to The Post that he died last year, a month shy of his 86th birthday, after suffering a stroke at his home in Marriottsville, Md., a suburb northwest of Baltimore. He was cremated, she said.

Blatty’s book “The Exorcist” sold more than 13 million copies in the US alone, and the film earned him an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1974. It was the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

Universal Studios recently announced that it is planning a rebooted trilogy of the film, with Ellen Burstyn reprising her original role as the mother of the possessed teen, beginning in 2023.[2]

As in many of these cases, those who were not eye witnesses to paranormal events and who want to believe that possession and the Devil himself are naught but figments of our imagination, go out of their way to dismiss and discredit the stories told by those who personally were present and observed phenomena that they could not offer a rational explanation for.  Even I have seen things that I try to find a rational explanation that fit for that which I have experienced.  We would all–even those of us in the ministry–love to say that the devil is just a myth, but that would put us in the position of being culpable, aiding and abetting  in Satan’s grand deception.

May the Peace of the Lord be with Mr. Hunkeler.

 

[1]Priest Frees Mt. Rainier Boy Reported Held in Devil’s Grip By Bill Brinkley Post Reporter Friday, Aug. 20, 1949, Washington Post Archives;https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/features/dcmovies/exorcism1949.htm

[2] https://nypost.com/2021/12/20/is-the-exorcist-a-true-story-what-happened-to-ronald-hunkeler/

[3]Demoniac: Who Is Roland Doe, the Boy Who Inspired The Exorcist?
by JD Sword From: Volume 45, No. 6 November/December 2021 https://skepticalinquirer.org/2021/10/demoniac-who-is-roland-doe-the-boy-who-inspired-the-exorcist/

Interesting Development

Perhaps those of you that have signed up to receive notification of new posts so as to  follow this blog, have been wondering why the number of posts have decreased in recent months.  Actually there are three reasons, [1] of course there is my time to spend working on this blog; as a Bishop I do have other ministerial obligations and [2] as an Independent Bishop who is in essence a volunteer I do have other responsibilities and duties more secular and domestic.  The third reason is that while Google search tools may turn up a dozen “hits” every day using search criteria such as Exorcism, Demonic, Possession, etcetera, most of these “leads” have little to do with the subject of this blog.

Keep in mind that Exorcism is considered a very integral part of the Christian religion; one part of The Great Commission given by Christ in some of the versions of the synoptic Gospels.  In the various churches that practice Catholicism, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and the Independent churches often characterized as Old Catholic but seldom in communion with the Old Catholic Bishops of Utrecht; Exorcism is a sacramental rite performed only by a Priest authorized by a Bishop, a prayer ritual casting the entity out of the victim by the authority of Christ.  In Protestant churches that observe this part of the Great Commission is is a prayer service that can be performed by any born again Christian.

In Christianity the victim is never to be restrained involuntarily by the minister or assistants, nor is he or she to be physically abused in any manner; this is something–physical abuse–we do see in other religious belief systems.  While I will not name this other systems here, I have read news reports of victims of possession being abused by the person conducting the exorcism attempting to violently beat the demon out of the victim, washing the demon out, starving the demon, etcetera; all of these extreme measures often resulting in death by concussion, drowning, starvation, or other cause of death.  Admittedly some uninformed or unexperienced Christians historically have made these same mistakes, but the news media is full or reports each day of someone killing a person known to them while attempting to exorcise a demon from a hapless victim.

I choose not to report these events as most are not portrayal of real exorcism, but most are usually reports of someone suffering from psychological or medical conditions, or just an otherwise innocent person victimized by another human.

Other search engine findings usually involve novels, screen plays, video games, sports teams even late model automobiles that include Demon in their names or subject matter.  Which in any of THESE events, the reports are not material or subject matter relevant to the discussions of this blog.

I have been bloging about the media reports surrounding the life of the late Father Gabriele Amorth, the Roman Catholic Priest that reportedly performed thousands of Exorcisms during his career.  While a recently released documentary about Fr. Amorth filmed by William Friedkin–the director of The Exorcist–is said to amaze skeptics and scientists alike, Screen Gems apparently has acquired the rights to the bulk of the journals and records of Amorth’s career.

 

Screen Gems has acquired the exclusive life rights of legendary Italian priest Father Gabriele Amorth.

Source: Screen Gems Plans Exorcism Franchise – Dark Horizons

Screen Gems has acquired the exclusive life rights of legendary Italian priest Father Gabriele Amorth. Amorth, who died in 2016, performed thousands of exorcisms for the Vatican and left behind a trove of detailed accounts of his exploits.

The deal also includes rights to his two international bestselling memoirs “An Exorcist Tells His Stor”y and “An Exorcist: More Stories”. The plan is to use the material to create a franchise, similar to the way the Ed & Lorraine Warren’s accounts of their work became “The Conjuring” film series.

Michael Patrick Kaczmarek will produce while Jeff Katz is writing the script based on his treatment. Amorth was recently the subject of a documentary by filmmaker William Friedkin.

Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen of course.  It is hard for me to believe that the material will not be greatly enhanced for dramatic effect, possibly making the seriousness of Fr. Amorths work look less than admirable.

The Exorcist’s William Friedkin to Release Exorcism Documentary in April 

The director of The Exorcist, William Friedkin, has made a doc about the Vatican’s most famed exorcist with The Devil & Father Amorth.

Source: The Exorcist’s William Friedkin to Release Exorcism Documentary in April by David Crow 1-18-2018


William Friedkin holds the distinction of directing the first major—and by far the still scariest—exorcism movie ever made. Continue reading

All of society is subject to a demonic deception


London exorcist: “All of society is subject to a demonic deception”

Combating the devil isn’t a practice reserved for exceptional cases, says exorcist Father Jeremy Davies. It’s an on-going struggle in which every soul is engaged.

October 31, 2017 K. V. Turley | Excerpted from Catholic World Report


Father Jeremy Davies has been an exorcist for many decades. At one time he was London’s only exorcist. In 1987, Cardinal Basil Hume, then archbishop of Westminster, asked Father Davies to become the diocesan exorcist. Father Davies accepted, although he admitted that he had only limited knowledge of the work previously. No doubt he was helped in Continue reading

Is The Exorcist based on a true story? Real-life tale of Roland Doe’s possession that’s more terrifying than the film and TV show

by Jo-Anne Rowney 21 October 2017 | Excerpted from The Mirror UK

As The Exorcist returns to the small screen we look at the terrifying true tale behind the story and how close it is to the movie


The cult film The Exorcist terrified the world more than 40 years ago, but the 1973 movie about the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl, held more truth than we realised.

It is a story that has gone on to inspire films and TV shows alike – the latest being Syfy’s The Exorcist, where two priests attempt to purge another girl of her demons 40 years after the events of the movie.

We have William Peter Blatty to thank for bringing the tale to the masses. In 1949, the author sat reading the Washington Post when he saw an article about a Maryland boy, named as Roland Doe to protect his identity.

The story grabbed his attention, so much so that he went on to write his novel, which in turn became the cult movie we all know and love.

But what actually happened to Roland Doe?

It all began with a 13-year-old boy, Continue reading

Witnessing Father Amorth: “The Vatican Exorcist” at Work and the Pathology Otherwise Known as Possession

by WILLIAM FRIEDKIN for Vanity Fair
Sunday morning, May 1 of this year, was Father Amorth’s 91st birthday, but he had no plans to celebrate. He awoke just after dawn, said his usual morning prayers and one to Joseph of Cupertino, a 17th-century saint, and another to the late Father Candido Amantini, his mentor. Clutching a walking aid, he shuffled from his cell-like room to the dining room on the third floor of the Paulist Fathers residence, south of Rome’s historic center.

After his usual breakfast of caffè latte and biscotti, Father Amorth returned to his room, which had Continue reading

Exorcist director William Friedkin says ‘I will never be the same’ after the Vatican allowed him to film a real exorcism this month

By SARA MALM FOR MAILONLINE and AFP
PUBLISHED: 09:57 EST, 19 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:35 EST, 19 May 2016

The director of the horror classic ‘The Exorcist’, William Friedkin, has revealed that he has become the first person in the world to film a real exorcism at the Vatican.
The 80-year-old American filmmaker told a masterclass at the Cannes film festival late Thursday that he was invited by the chief exorcist in Rome to Continue reading

The Devil came down to Georgia

The Devil came down to Georgia…and traveled the United States this year: Exorcism’s reappearance in the Catholic Church

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK) 3/10/2016
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – “It is a big phenomenon,” J. Gordon Melton, a Methodist minister said of exorcisms in the United States. “There is a lot of exorcism going on.”

Sociologist Michael Cuneo, author of newly published “American Exorcism,” believes “Exorcism is more readily available today in the United States than perhaps ever before.”
In his book, Cuneo wrote, “By conservative estimates, there are at least five or six hundred evangelical exorcism ministries in operation today, and quite possibly two or three times this many.”

The Roman Catholic Church keeps at least Continue reading

Why the Exorcist Endures

From The University Bookman at The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
by MARK JUDGE

They’re still there almost every day. At the corner of 36th and Prospect Streets in Georgetown. More than forty years later, tourists and even locals arrive at the stairs where the film The Exorcist was shot in the early 1970s. They take pictures, talk about the movie. They giggle and shiver.

Why does The Exorcist endure? The most obvious reason it does is that the demonic is real, and the idea that supernatural forces beyond our control can affect us, even taking over our very bodies, is frightening. But a lot of films have depicted the occult and not had the seismic and enduring impact of The Exorcist. The film endures because the atmosphere it depicts has become our own. The point of the demonic in The Exorcist is not to levitate bodies, vomit on priests, and telepathically toss furniture around the room. The point—often lost even four decades later—is to convince human beings that we are animalistic and not worthy of God’s love.

To convince us of this, the demon in the film most frequently attacks… Read more at The University Bookman