PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- After centuries of silence, the Catholic Church is revealing secrets about the sacramental rite exorcism to help combat dramatically increasing numbers of demonic manifestations and full-blown possessions; especially in the U.S., where numbers have quadrupled.
"It’s a serious thing," said Adam Blai, Peritus of Demonology and Exorcism for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. "You have thousands of people modeling what they see on TV ... we’re trying to counter bad information."
Blai, who has a master's degree in psychology, is a former skeptic who now trains priests nationally and travels internationally participating in more than 100 solemn exorcisms; which is highly unusual for a layman, but Adam has shown a knack for recognizing and dealing with demons.
"These creatures, they’re not human," said Adam. "I was warned when I first started: no wife, no kids, and no pets because they will take revenge on anything close to you that you love."
It was a foreboding warning that came to fruition one fateful night when his father was lifted off the ground and thrown down a flight of stairs, breaking his neck.
Adam says, fortunately his dad survived and recovered with new-found faith in God.
"The church figured out there are four concrete signs of possession," said Blai.
Four Signs of Possession:
- Supernatural strength: Unearthly strength where the demoniac never tires
- Detecting the Holy: The demoniac automatically knows without being told or shown, if relics of saints and/or blessed water has been brought into the room
- Knowledge of Hidden Things: The demoniac knows and expresses all of innermost secrets and actions of those in the room including the exorcist
- Knowledge of All Languages: The demoniac is able to speak fluently in all languages
"A real case in Pennsylvania," said Adam. "There was a woman raised on farm with high school education who was interrogated in English, French, Latin, Lithuanian and German, and properly responded to all the languages."
But documenting the signs of possession is just part of the process which can take anywhere from six months to several years to complete.
The person or "demoniac" must also undergo extensive physical and mental evaluations by licensed physicians.
"It’s so far beyond a serial killer or murderer," said Adam. "They’re 100% evil, and they’re trying to get their hands on you or bite you."
However, beyond the threats and tricks, Adam says the process is actually very legalistic with certain dos and don’ts established by “Gods word.”
For example, he says they are only allowed to ask the demon "it’s name, by what rights it has possessed the person and what it will be leaving."
The weekly sessions last several hours, rotating between three steps: agitating the demon with prayer and interrogating the demon and compelling the demon to leave in the name of Jesus Christ.
“It’s never just one,” says Adam. “It’s rites to a person like hell having a lease on the apartment and the apartment is your body.”
Currently, he says, paranormal investigators make up nearly one-quarter of the cases.
"Because you’re telling God, 'I don’t trust you for my information about the spiritual world,'" said Adam.
Spirit communications devices like phone apps, EVP devices and Ouji boards are especially dangerous, according to Adam, because they involve physical contact and act like an open invitation into your physical body.
“Souls in heaven are not going to talk to you like that, so what do you have left? Damned souls and demons,” said Adam. “Will they pretend to be your grandmother? Sure. Do they know your nickname? Sure. Because it’s their job to tempt us our whole lives.”
Requests come in from every religion for exorcisms including former satanists and atheists. All are helped and treated equally.
And no matter their country of origin or spiritual beliefs, Adam says, they all report seeing Jesus’s mother Mary once they are finally freed.
“They burst into tears of joy and all suffering stops,” says Adam.
However, not everyone is saved.
Sometimes people die before they can be freed; unfortunate souls, says Adam, who never thought it could happen to them.
“These demons don’t care what our philosophies are, and they don’t care if you’re an atheist, so it behooves you to learn Gods rules .”