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The Dark Backward: Demons in the Real World
crisis magazine ^ | November 4, 2003 | Tom Hoopes

Posted on 01/08/2004 9:34:45 AM PST by johnb2004

When I agreed to do a story about demonic activity, possession, and exorcism for Crisis, I thought it would be fun—a spooky thrill. I’d write the article, warn about being too preoccupied with the subject matter, and be done. Instead, I got sleepless nights, horrifying conversations with those who have been involved in exorcisms, and a new point of view on the demonic world.

(Excerpt) Read more at crisismagazine.com ...


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; History; Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Orthodox Christian; Other Christian; Other non-Christian; Religion & Culture; Religion & Science; Skeptics/Seekers; Theology
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The lunatic is on the grass. The lunatic is on the grass.”

It was an hour before midnight. Ten-year-old James was in his bedroom, alone, when he was suddenly gripped by terror. A Pink Floyd song rang out through the empty room. The radio turned on by itself.

“The lunatic is on the grass. The lunatic is in the hall.”

James lay paralyzed, locked in that helpless state that is itself as terrifying as whatever causes it. He wanted to move or cry out but couldn’t. So he just listened.

“The lunatic is in my head. There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”

This was James’s first direct experience with evil, but it wouldn’t be his last. “That would become something that would be common,” he remembers. “I’d have a feeling of something scary being present. Then something weird would happen.”

First the presence, then the strange thing. It would recur that way throughout his life.

This is the first phase of demonic activity, the devil’s first tentative steps into a life. For all the victims of demonic activity I spoke with, this sort of thing is common. And like James, they all wished to remain anonymous.

One victim felt the evil presence as a physical weight; another saw a grotesque person. One saw nothing—literally—in one part of a room, “like a pitch-black sheet had been pulled down.”

Another victim—a well-known Catholic leader respected for his pragmatism—said, “My most frequent encounters involve black shadows and figures that I see out of the corner of my eye…. I’ll see something in my peripheral vision. It’s almost always in motion. When I turn my head, the figure will melt quickly into a fluid-like shadow and then flow away through the edges of the room or along the ceiling. I see these things frequently, almost every day.” His encounters are cinematically frightening, involving infestations of crows, carpets of spiders, cats gathering to stare at him from his front porch, objects flying through rooms in his house, and inhuman figures standing in darkened hallways.

The evil presence manifests itself through senses other than sight, as well. “I occasionally hear things, voices sounding far away and choppy,” one victim said. “I sometimes get overwhelmed with a sulfury smell,” described another.

A friend of one of the victims listed these manifestations: “He’d get an oppressive feeling. Sometimes he’d see a grotesque, impish figure, a short, really nasty-looking demon. When he described it to Rome’s exorcist, Father Gabriel Amorth, he said, ‘Oh, that guy.’ Other times, he’d just hear screaming. Deafening noise. I don’t know what you’d want to call it. The wailing of the damned.”

But there was one phenomenon that all the victims have experienced: “I could feel something there, looking at me.”

James felt that presence again on a visit home from college. He was awakened at 1:30 a.m. with the feeling that someone was approaching the front door. He went downstairs, and soon one of his sisters walked in, drunk. He talked to her in the living room, warning her about drinking too much.

That’s when the presence came. Then the strange thing.

The phone rang, and he picked it up. A female voice said, “Don’t even try to talk to her. Just leave her alone.”

He hung up and talked to his sister anyway. But, before long, the presence returned.

“I knew the phone was going to ring,” he said. He reached for it. “Then it rang.”

It was the same voice, but distorted, “like she had marbles in her mouth.” Emphatically, the voice commanded, “I told you not to talk to her!”

He cut his lecture short.

James’s parents consulted the Jesuit Rev. John Hardon about his case.

“He told me that there are three orders of reality,” said James, whose family confirms the account (Father Hardon died three years ago). “There is the divine existence. Just below that is the preternatural world, the world of spirits, angels good or bad. Then there’s the natural world, where we live. But human beings also participate in the preternatural.”

Father Hardon told him that some people are more attuned to the preternatural world. “They kind of sense things better,” James said. “Things like what I just explained to you.”

Things like demons.

He Wants to Be With You Forever When I agreed to do a story about demonic activity, possession, and exorcism for Crisis, I thought it would be fun—a spooky thrill. I’d write the article, warn about being too preoccupied with the subject matter, and be done. Instead, I got sleepless nights, horrifying conversations with those who have been involved in exorcisms, and a new point of view on the demonic world.

Skeptics have fought a losing battle against belief in the devil for years. “What are the Church’s greatest needs at the present time?” Pope Paul VI asked in November 1972. “Don’t be surprised at Our answer and don’t write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: One of the Church’s greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil.”

There’s an age-old battle between philosophers and poets about the nature of evil. The pope sided with the poets. “Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others. It is a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening.”

The Vatican has issued updated norms of exorcism as recently as 1999.

Demons are an inescapable part of the Old Testament. They are named there: Lucifer in Isaiah, Asmodeus in Tobit, Satan in Job. And the New Testament can almost sound like the story of Christ the Exorcist, come to earth to end the reign of that strongman, Beelzebub. In St. John’s words, “The reason the son of man appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Some manner of belief in demons is part of every religion in every age, and the diabolical world haunts moderns with no religion, too. Most horror movies work by suggesting that there’s another layer to the world—one we don’t often see—that is filled with darkness. Puncture it a little, and chaos pours out.

Some of the stories I’ll tell involve contorted bodies, glowing eyes, levitation, and other Hollywood aspects of demonic activity. But I decided to focus on James’s story, which is terrifying in a more typical way. It’s filled with ambiguity, punctuated occasionally by bursts of darkness. And it has left him spiritually weary. Because the truth is, the victims of demonic activity don’t live in carnival haunted houses. They exist at the edges of a malaise. They’re anxious or depressed, disoriented in their spiritual lives or slowly losing their minds—always wondering if the thoughts filling their heads are really their own.

“I don’t experience them as clever ‘fallen’ angels,” said one of the victims I spoke with. “I’m not sure I sense a great deal of intelligence there, at all. It’s like they’re working on some kind of animal instinct.”

Catholic writer Mark Shea has pointed out that the devil, in rejecting the ultimate good that is God, rejected secondary goods, like intelligence, as well. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t clever—the late exorcist Malachi Martin once said that the one thing an exorcist must never do is try to reason with the devil. But as a conversationalist, he’s probably not like the demons in the Screwtape Letters. He’s more like the captured alien in Independence Day: a highly developed insect who answers the president’s careful negotiations by saying, simply, “Die.”

So why dwell on the diabolical world at all? Paul VI explained, “This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today.”

In three different ways, I found that to be true.

First, the stories I collected add up to a giant neon sign saying “Stay away from witchcraft” and other occult practices. When I asked exorcists if witchcraft is a gateway to more serious demonic activity, they were incredulous. Gateway? It’s directly dealing with the demonic! Nearly everyone they treat has been exposed in some way to Ouija boards, spells, hexes, “white magic,” or tarot cards—the stuff your local chain bookstore fills its shelves with because it sells so well.

Second, even if you’re never tempted by witchcraft, recalling the nature of the demonic world can be a moral “Scared Straight” lesson. Try this: The next time you face a temptation, remind yourself that you’re cooperating with the malevolent will of a highly developed insect that hates you yet wants to be with you forever. You’ll find your old reliable sins lose a little of their allure.

And third, I found that these aren’t simply horror stories. Horror stories work by attacking hope. But we aren’t helpless when we face the devil. “The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature.”

Modern-day saints like Blessed Mother Teresa fought the devil and won. The devil tried to possess Mother Teresa when she was sick in the hospital, Father Amorth told the National Catholic Register. An Indian exorcist kept him at bay.

We can take comfort in the fact that God never allows more for a soul than it can handle and that it’s only after we invite demons in that they cause us serious problems.

Or when we leave ourselves wide open to them by spending time with witches, like James did.

Because if the first phase of demonic activity—the presence of evil—comes at the devil’s initiative, the second phase comes at our own.

There are two common ways the devil enters a person, one exorcist told me. “The basic one is through sin. The person turns away from God and commits sin frequently. The devil finds a willing victim. He finds a friend. Conversely, there’s the person who is good, and the devil goes after him. The devil tries to wear the person down.”

‘He’s Ready to Meet You Now’ “This is not a pleasant story,” James began.

He was 20, at home near St. Louis on winter break from college, when he had a frustrating experience at a meeting of a Catholic community (in charity, we’ll keep its name out of it; it’s not a well-known group). He felt out of place and unfulfilled at the meeting, so he left early to go to his friend Vanessa Jabali’s house and take her out to a movie. But when James arrived, he found her mother had other plans.

James had known Vanessa since the fifth grade. The Jabalis were an all-female household—Mrs. Jabali and three daughters—who seemed wealthy even though the father was absent. If you asked their religion, the Jabalis would tell you that they study their ancestry and then would refer to the “Yahwist” accounts in the Old Testament, the stories of animal sacrifice and scapegoats.

Mrs. Jabali told James to wait while she made cookies. Vanessa’s sister, Isabel, joined them. “She spent 20 minutes preparing them, but they were not warm,” James said. He ate them, though no one else did.

“She started talking to me about Moses and how he was a woman, and how Moses had horns like in the sculpture, and all kinds of really weird stuff,” James said. At one point, Mrs. Jabali put both of her hands in front of her face, palms out, not touching, and said, “All of the sudden you open your eyes and you see what’s going on.” She waved them apart.

“I was sort of entranced,” James said. To this day he doesn’t know if the cookies were drugged. “She keeps talking this stuff, and I’m getting confused and disoriented.”

Vanessa planned to drive James to the movie. But they did not go to the movie.

“We went to a house,” James said. As he sat in the strange building with Vanessa, he felt a strong presence of evil. Soon Mrs. Jabali and Isabel arrived, and James was in the same company he had been in before, only ten miles away, in an unfamiliar house.

Mrs. Jabali turned to James and said, “He’s ready to meet you downstairs if you want.”

She didn’t explain who “he” was. James tried to pray, but couldn’t. His mind was distracted. But he said there was no way he was going downstairs.

They sat longer, making small talk. Mrs. Jabali looked at ease. But she would occasionally repeat her invitation, more insistently.

“He’s ready to meet you downstairs if you want, James.”

“Finally, after about five more invitations to go downstairs and meet ‘him,’ we left that place and went to a movie,” James said. But he doesn’t remember the movie at all… except for one part, “where they cut a goat’s neck and started dancing around it.”

At the end, he stumbled into the car. “Did you like the part about the goat?” asked Vanessa, laughing. Then she said, “We’re going back to that house.”

That was too much for James. “I had an inspiration to order her, not ask her, but tell her, ‘Vanessa, take me home.’”

“No,” she said.

“Vanessa, take me home,” James repeated.

Vanessa turned to her sister and, as if James wasn’t even there, asked, “Well, what do I do now?”

“You have to do whatever he says,” Isabel said.

“Well, what do you do when this happens with Joel?” Vanessa asked, refer-ring to her sister’s husband.

“I just beat him with a bat,” Isabel said. They sounded utterly serious, as if they were trying to scare James.

Vanessa took him home. But the strangest part of the night was still ahead for James.

‘Forget God’ As soon as James got home, he decided he would drive back to the religious community where he had started out, on the other side of St. Louis. “It was late at night,” his sister, Caroline, told me. “He said goodbye, and it was the sort of goodbye that seemed to mean, ‘Goodbye forever.’”

James was barely in a condition to drive. “I don’t know if I was drugged or cursed,” he said. “Cars were whizzing by me. I was just trying to drive straight. By the time I got there, I was really scared.”

He woke the priest and laypeople who lived at the community and told them, “I think God wants me to live here.” The priest explained that people don’t receive vocations out of fear and left to get some clothes for James to change into: He had wet his pants.

James sat staring at a crucifix on the wall, getting more and more agitated. Finally, he shouted, “Forget God!,” and ran out into the hall. He pushed past three men and headed toward the chapel.

There, several men of the religious house witnessed James stand on a pew and do a back-flip. They called for others to help them. And they called the police.

James made a dash toward the sanctuary, breaking the chapel’s Epiphany statues on the way. The men intervened.

“I went after the tabernacle,” James told me. “I wanted inside it. I just wanted to get to Jesus in the Eucharist.”

He never did. Six men held him down. He broke free from them. They held him again. Soon, a police van arrived. James was put in a straitjacket and thrown into the darkness of the vehicle.

“In the paddy wagon, I was certain I had died and gone to hell. That was the deepest, worst psychological thing I’d ever experienced. It was so heinous and evil,” he said.

“But I could still hope. And I could pray.” His Catholic education told him that would be impossible if he were really in hell.

The next thing he remembers is the psychiatric ward, sitting in front of a blue light. “They put some drug in me and said I’d be asleep within ten seconds. I spent that night in a rubber room. I didn’t sleep at all.” Usually in such a case, a patient will spend months in the hospital. But a Catholic doctor interviewed him and gave him a clean bill of mental health—a diagnosis that Father Hardon would soon affirm. James was in the hospital for only a week.

Possession I shared these and other details of James’s case with Rev. Herman Jayachandra.

Father Jayachandra, 59, is pastor of St. Martin de Porres parish in Boulder, Colorado. A priest and exorcist from India, Father Jayachandra is quick to point out that he is not the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of Denver, but that he only helps victims of diabolic activity with the knowledge of the archdiocese or at its request. The archdiocese vouched for him as a priest in good standing.

Diabolic activity generally falls into one of four categories, he told me. The mildest forms are infestation (as in haunted houses) and obsession (when a person is harassed by the devil either by intense temptations or in a particular area of a person’s life). Oppression—an external attack by evil spirits on a person—is worse. “The spirit could cause discouragement or weariness,” said Father Jayachandra, “or it can put up external shows to frighten the person, such as shaking a person’s bed during his sleep at night.”

The rarest and most serious form is possession. “Partial possession means in a certain part of the body,” he said. “Full possession means the devil takes control over the consciousness of the person. It uses the mouth of the person to speak. It uses the hands and legs of the person to do violence. It uses the mouth of the person to abuse and blaspheme.”

There are three kinds of exorcisms. First, there’s the liturgical exorcism that is incorporated in every baptismal ceremony. Second, there is so-called private exorcism, or simple exorcism. It can be performed by any of the faithful and can be as simple as the words, “Be gone, Satan.”

The third kind of exorcism is the solemn, “public,” or formal exorcism. This ritual is only carried out with the specific authorization of a bishop. It’s a serious matter, but it’s a sacramental, not a sacrament. That means its effect is not infallible, and it may have to be repeated more than once.

One internationally known exorcist spoke with me but asked that his name not be used. His is a scary line of work. He told me he does a lot of research before suggesting a formal exorcism. “If the psychiatrists and the medical doctor have all said the same thing and given the person a clean bill of health,” the priest said, “I will do what’s called a provocation. I’ll provoke the devil into manifesting himself, if he’s there.”

He has a few chosen methods of provocation.

“Most commonly, I’ll put the Blessed Sacrament in a pix,” he said. “When I go into the room to see the person, unbeknownst to them, I will carry the Blessed Sacrament. If the person is possessed, they know right away that I have it. They’ll say, ‘No, no! Go away! I can’t go near you! He won’t let me! He won’t let me!’ Or, with a prayer, we’ll sprinkle holy water. The person will react and say, ‘Stop that! Stop that! It burns! It burns! Don’t do that! Don’t do that!’”

James was never possessed. After all, he went toward the tabernacle, not away from it. He was probably oppressed by a demon, Father Jayachandra said, and it was likely caused by witchcraft. James’s case reminded him of one exorcism he performed on an intermittently possessed person.

“It became very violent at a certain point. The possessed person jumped into the sanctuary and pushed down the statue of the Blessed Mother,” he said. “I ended up putting iron grills around all the other statues.”

James was exorcised, too. Many years after the incident with the Jabalis, and after other episodes, James’s brother brought him to a priest who performed a simple exorcism on him. Without ever mentioning the devil, or using the word “exorcism,” the priest asked James questions, gave him some tests, and then, almost as if it were an afterthought, said some prayers over him, including prayers in Latin. Father Amorth pointed out that since an exorcist doesn’t want to encourage dark thoughts in a subject, he’ll often perform his work in an almost casual way that won’t alarm the victim.

I also talked to Andrew Walther, who has brought two different people for treatment to Father Amorth, author of An Exorcist Tells His Story. He told me about one of them, whom we’ll call Leonard. Father Amorth thought Leonard’s case was brought on by a witch’s hex, too.

Walther knew Leonard as one of the many college students abroad that he was working with. But Leonard started reporting strange incidents.

“He told me he was having a nightmare, and when he awoke he was completely unable to move, because there was a demon sitting on top of him, with glowing eyes.”

Leonard prayed, and the demon went away. But eventually, it returned. Leonard called it “an aggressive, depressing presence.”

Walther brought him to Father Amorth, and with Walther present, the exorcist performed a solemn exorcism.

“Father Amorth removed a bottle of holy water, a St. Benedict cross, a vessel of oil, and a stole from his briefcase, then, touching Leonard with the stole, he began to pray in Latin.”

The prayers included the litany of the saints. At one point, the exorcist demanded that the demon reveal itself. The rite lasted about ten minutes, and Leonard felt greatly relieved afterwards.

“Father Amorth told Leonard he wasn’t possessed, but that he might be afflicted by a weak hex and that he should come back the next month,” Walther said. “He wanted to know if there was witchcraft in the family. He said not to be distracted by the devil’s harassment, but to pray before the Holy Eucharist—especially if he could find it exposed—to pray the rosary, and to go to Mass and confession often.”

According to exorcists, possession often happens through some form of witchcraft.

In India, Father Jayachandra said, “I had many cases of witches casting spells and hexes over people. People became obsessed, and some became possessed.”

He was eager to point out that witches have no real power over the devil, though.

“The devil, after using a witch to the best interest of both, eventually will kill her indirectly,” he said, driving her mad so she’ll die quickly in an accident or slowly from not being able to care for herself.

Rev. Charles Carpenter, 58, a priest in Alamos, Mexico, told me he used to be very skeptical about claims of demonic activity. But 25 years in Mexico changed his mind.

“People frequently consult what are called ‘adivinos,’ and ‘brujos.’ At first, I gave very little credence to the power of these persons,” he said. “But then, over the years, I saw the effects in certain persons who consulted them.”

‘Am I Crazy?’ Shaking beds, shrieks from the underworld, glowing eyes. Exorcists have seen it all. But they haven’t seen it often.

Usually, they encounter patients like James. Harassment and oppression are the most common form of demonic activity and, in a way, the most frightening. The devil doesn’t enter at some definitive point in time and then make a clean departure.

He hangs around, untiringly, for months—or years.

After James’s back-flip incident, his sister, Caroline, was working as a dispatcher for a security company, sitting up late by a phone that never rang…except when James was talking to her on one line. Then, she got interrupted frequently by calls on the security line, strange calls—adults laughing like children, nonsense words in weird voices, or ominous noises that are hard to describe.

Father Jayachandra told me of victims he treated who answered the telephone to hear, “I am with you.” Or, in a deep, odd voice: “I’m going to help you.”

“Perhaps the devil uses a human person under its control” to make the calls, he said.

Demons hound the victim, never letting him rest. Never letting him forget.

James (and a witness I spoke with) described how, months after his incident, a grotesque person, a homeless woman with blank eyes, approached him.

“I have a message for you,” she said ominously, then relieved herself, making a puddle under her dress.

James took it as his tormenter reminding him of what he did that horrifying night.

James’s life is filled with such stories. They are frightening but nonetheless leave a doubt: They could be explained without any reference to the demonic world. Is he hexed, or is he paranoid? Is he being harassed by demons, or is he losing his mind?

He’s not sure. That’s the kind of triumph the devil usually claims: not destruction, but the misery of self-doubt.

Mental illness is not diabolical activity. Yet there is a relationship between the two, Father Jayachandra said.

“Smaller psychological problems, if not taken care of, can cause mental illness,” he said. “But in my experience, demons could aggravate somebody’s psychological problems to cause mental illness.” And vice versa. “Mental illness, in my experience, leaves someone more likely to be oppressed, though not necessarily possessed.”

Each of the victims I spoke with said the same thing: “I thought I was crazy.” And in each of the cases—I admit—I wondered the same thing, too.

All the same, one exorcist told me, “I’ve never found a person who needed an exorcism in a psychiatric hospital.”

James’s sister Caroline wanted to be sure I pointed out that most people who know James see nothing at all wrong with him. But James suffers greatly, she told me. “There are times when he’s very angry at God for letting this sort of thing happen to him,” she said. “He’s wanted to be a priest but figures there’s no way.”

James’s case shows the devil’s true nature. The devil is an oppressive, energy-draining weight on the spirits of those afflicted by him. He isn’t into artful repartee, he doesn’t play the fiddle, and he can’t make you a rock star. He won’t keep his promises. And he hates you beyond imagination.

How to defend against him? “Grace is the decisive defense,” Paul VI said.

Perhaps the best approach is the one James’s brother Glen takes. He allowed James to take shelter one night at his house. All the doors were locked, then appeared to unlock on their own. Didn’t that scare you?, I asked him.

“I never had any fear,” Glen told me. “I know that, basically, as long as you’re in a state of grace, God’s going to give you anything you need to get by.”

AN EXORCISM IN INDIA (Sidebar)

The following is a transcript account of an exorcism Rev. Herman Jayachandra performed on a twelve-year-old girl at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Kolvel, India, in 1984.

1. There were about seven men and women assisting me. We all fasted for a day and a half. We wanted to fast for two full days, but we couldn’t do that kind of severe fast.

2. We all went to confession to another priest. One day before the exorcism we spent time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer: one hour in the morning, more than two hours in the evening. We got ready with crucifix, rosary, Bible, and the relic of St. Anthony.

3. I said Mass before the exorcism with my helpers present. I put on a surplice and a purple stole. The evil presence in the room was oppressive. I stood in front of the possessed and asked the helpers to tie down her legs and hands. Then I invoked protection on the possessed and my assistants, making the sign of the cross and sprinkling Holy Water. Then we knelt down and recited the Litany of the Saints.

4. Many prayers followed that. Then I summoned the spirits to come out. I asked the names of the Evil Spirits. They said their names were Kali, MallankarunKali, and Patrakali. I asked why they came to her. They said they were sent by a magician to disturb her and possess her so that the girl would never get married. They were sent by the enemies of this family. At a certain point the girl levitated toward the statue of the Blessed Mother. We pushed her down. Eight people could not match the strength these three demons had.

5. Then we had many Scripture readings and sang powerful songs of praise and worship. Then we laid hands on the possessed. Once, it got hold of the crucifix, using the girl, and was about to break it into pieces. One of the rules of exorcism is to take care that no holy article is desecrated by the devil. I commanded in Jesus’ name to give it back to me. It gave it back. There followed the Profession of Faith, then prayers enjoining and commanding the evil spirits, then reading some psalms, prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, then rosaries and then singing.

6. We repeated the same process twice a month. Then the spirits got weakened gradually. Even then it took six months for all three to leave. They shouted and yelled before they left. They hopped in front of the tabernacle and made promises they wouldn’t come back again in front of the tabernacle. All three demons did the same thing. You remember Our Lord said this kind of spirit will not go without great fasting and prayer. This was the same type.

Tom Hoopes is the executive editor of the National Catholic Register and, with his wife, April, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine.

1 posted on 01/08/2004 9:34:45 AM PST by johnb2004
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To: All
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Thanks for donating to Free Republic!

Move your locale up the leaderboard!

2 posted on 01/08/2004 9:37:32 AM PST by Support Free Republic (If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened!)
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To: johnb2004
Excellent article. Bookmarked!

I remember sitting down with each of my children and watching a video about the occult, Satanism, etc. and then sitting with them afterwards and talking about it in detail.

Something every parent should do in my opinion. The evil is out there tempting the children!!!!
4 posted on 01/08/2004 9:52:19 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sandyeggo
I read this Crisis Mag article last week and I didn't get the "heebie-jeebies" - it wasn't scary at all.

However.... Fr. Gabriel Arnorth's books have remained largely unread for two years... sitting on a shelf in a bookcase. "Beware the Night" by Ralph Sarchie - I got to about page 13, turned it face down and hid it from myself in a drawer. That one scared me a lot.

For some reason Malachi Martin's "Hostage to the Devil" didn't scare me at all - maybe it was more clinical?

I'm with you... when I am scared I dwell on what scares me and if I am going to dwell on something I'd rather it be prayer or something written by a holy person on the beauty of God, etc.

I admit it... I am a baby when it comes to the supernatural bad stuff. I cower!

5 posted on 01/08/2004 9:53:41 AM PST by american colleen
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To: Salvation; NYer
I did do that with the movie "The Exorcist" and told my daughter the real story behind the movie. We also have a good and trustworthy friend who had a Ouiji board bad experience as a kid much like NYer had (who also is a good and trustworthy friend!) - I showed my daughter NYer's written story (she's posted it before on FR) and since our other friend is the mother of my daughter's friend, my daughter knows that story.

Recently my daughter was at a sleepover and the hostess girlfriend wanted to take out her Ouiji board - the rest of the kids there immediately vetoed the suggestion and they ended up watching a movie instead. :-)

LOTR taken in the Catholic light is also a good explanation of Good and Evil.

6 posted on 01/08/2004 10:01:34 AM PST by american colleen
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To: sandyeggo
You're not the only one. I hesitated, but read it, and I wish I hadn't.
7 posted on 01/08/2004 10:10:22 AM PST by alnick
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To: sandyeggo
I have the same reaction.

Not having to deal with it is one more reason for thanksgiving.
8 posted on 01/08/2004 10:18:44 AM PST by siunevada
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To: johnb2004
'So why dwell on the diabolical world at all? Paul VI explained, “This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today.”'

There should be more sermons about issues like this rather than the vapid ones I so often hear. Our society does not believe in hell or demons. Too often deeds are assigned to the domain of psychiatry or psychology and true evil is never given a thought.

9 posted on 01/08/2004 10:26:18 AM PST by johnb2004
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo
Yes and the medical field always rationalizes for neurosis, psychosis and other mental problems. They never put the finger on the person living in sin.

I'm not worried about the demons involved in exocisim. I do worry about the demons who come as angels of the night. Those are the ones who tempt you into damnation.

As our Lord said, "Pray that you not be tempted". And I say pray every free moment you have not to be tempted or damned. Prayer will not let the demons enter your world.
12 posted on 01/08/2004 11:29:35 AM PST by franky (Pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Pray for our own souls to recieve the grace of a happy)
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To: johnb2004
I keep hearing from priests and other religious educators that there is a hell but we just don't know if anyone is there. What is with this nonsense? If no one is there then why take the doctrine of hell seriously?
13 posted on 01/08/2004 12:32:23 PM PST by k omalley
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To: k omalley
I hear you. My understanding is that the Church can only say that fallen angels are in hell for certain. We do not know who else is there. we know canonized saints are in heaven. Everyone else we pray for.

Private revelations often have mentioned hell. In Fatima did not our Lady say she saw souls falling to hell like leaves off a tree?
14 posted on 01/08/2004 1:17:54 PM PST by johnb2004
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To: sandyeggo
Regarding your book that you hid in a drawer...

Can't even look at the danged cover without cowering!

15 posted on 01/08/2004 1:38:32 PM PST by american colleen
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To: k omalley
I think something is lost sometimes in the nuances of exactly who is in hell. We just don't know the extent of the Lord's mercy, the state of the soul of the person or the repentance they have as they die and we don't have the ability to judge (thank God) exactly who is there.

We hope no one is in Hell, but who knows?

16 posted on 01/08/2004 1:41:03 PM PST by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Well, we do know there are angels in Hell.

Politicians?

Lawyers?

Term Life Insurance salesmen?

Mimes?

Used Car salesmen?

National Football League Officials ...

who, clearly with evil intent, ruled that Rob Lytle didn't fumble before scoring against the Raiders in that playoff game in Denver; the NFL officials who ruled Brady didn't fumble when he was sacked by St. Charles Woodson during the "snowjob" in Foxboro; the NFL officials who ruled Franco Harris' "catch" was legitimate and which faux "catch" meant St. Kenny Stabler's touchdown run in Pittsburgh would never be remembered.

Note that ALL of these calls came on the road. Imagine the abruptly shortened lives of those NFL Officials had they the insane temerity to make those calls in the Black Hole in Oaktown, Baby. (Not that I hold grudges or anything).

One can't say all those named are definitely in Hell, or will be shortly,but, come on....Fair is Fair.

17 posted on 01/08/2004 3:42:24 PM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: nickcarraway
But there was one phenomenon that all the victims have experienced: “I could feel something there, looking at me.”

Ping

18 posted on 01/08/2004 5:21:05 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: sandyeggo
I read this one and have read others but I pray through the whole thing. It does scare me a bit.
19 posted on 01/08/2004 5:40:16 PM PST by tiki
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To: Catholicguy
Shoot! Ya got me not thinking clearly again.
20 posted on 01/08/2004 5:51:07 PM PST by american colleen
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To: johnb2004
Thank you for posting this article. I've taken a greater interest in this as of late.

The Vatican has issued updated norms of exorcism as recently as 1999.

The new exorcism rite doesn't work. The exorcists themselves say so. What is troubling is that those who insisted on the revision refuse to acknowledge it. Thankfully, there are enough copies of the old rite floating around which can be found, and the exorcists are allowed to use it, I think.

I’m not sure I sense a great deal of intelligence there, at all. It’s like they’re working on some kind of animal instinct.”

I partially agree. Demons can be very intelligent. They know you better than you know yourself. They search out weaknesses in an individual and attack there.

Symptoms are as varied as the individual. Attacks can be classified in three ways: temptation, obsession and possession. We all experience temptation. The other two are far more serious, with actual possession being a rare thing. Obsessions are more common than people realize. An obsession is basically an harassment of sorts. Unlike possession where a demon can control and literally take over a person's will, a person experiencing an obsession retains control of their will but suffers through terrible assaults and terrors. It can be hell on earth. The assaults can be physical, mental and spiritual. Many saints throughout history have been subjected to obsessions.

Paul VI explained, “This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today.”

Many bishops and priests today do not believe in the Devil and/or his ability to control humans. It is beyond sad. What was the last estimate on the number of exorcists in the US today? Every diocese is supposed to have one. I think there may be 4 to 8 in the entire country. I strongly doubt California has one. Maybe in Sacramento. If you need help you are out of luck. If they do believe most priests are afraid.

and that it’s only after we invite demons in that they cause us serious problems.

I strongly disagree. Did the saints invite Satan in? Padre Pio was physically beaten with chains by the devil. While in many possessions the victim was involved with demonic invocations, there are many other cases where the individual was the victim of curses or black magic.

All the same, one exorcist told me, “I’ve never found a person who needed an exorcism in a psychiatric hospital.”

Yet another contradiction. James was in a psych hospital. I've worked in a psych hospital and I truly believe some of those people had obsessions/possessions. There was a priest in England who was also a psychiatrist. At some point he started performing exorcisms on patients who did not respond to conventional treatment. Many of those people were instantly cured and walked out of the psych hospital perfectly normal.

James suffers greatly...........“He’s wanted to be a priest but figures there’s no way.”

That's exactly what the devil wants. If James can persevere and throw this off, he will have invaluable experience he can use to help others.

21 posted on 01/08/2004 6:54:02 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: sandyeggo
"Am I the only one out here who is afraid to read about exorcisms and demons?"

No and with good reason.
The only part of this I could read were the words of Fr. John Hardon...and I will say the St. Michael the Archangel prayer after posting this.
22 posted on 01/08/2004 7:04:59 PM PST by Domestic Church (AMDG...)
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To: sandyeggo
It always gives me the creeps to read stories like this too, especially right before bedtime (like right now!).

It's serious business though. I've heard more than one priest affirm from the pulpit his experiences with supernatural evil, mostly in exorcising homes and other locations that had been experiencing some kind of evil oppression. I know a few lay people as well with stories to tell: good, sober, holy people who tell their stories plainly and hesitantly and without sensationalism.

After my reversion to the Catholic Faith, at a time when my faith was particularly strong about 15 years ago, I had my own experience. I won't go into details right now (it's very late and my eyes are starting to glass over) but suffice to say it was brief, terrifying and very real. What brought it to an immediate stop was my saying the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner"). I've had no such experience before or since and, please God, I won't again.
23 posted on 01/08/2004 11:28:28 PM PST by fidelis (fidelis)
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To: Domestic Church; sandyeggo; american colleen; Salvation; NYer
For years I veered wildly between pooh-poohing the existence of the devil and being convinced that I had a poltergeist in the house.Lots of stories,perhaps at another time.

To make it short I am certain that the devil walks among us,I no longer will allow anyone to even read my horoscope to me.

The only reason I am responding on this thread is that I think,and have thought from the very beginning of the "scandal" that it may have involved the devil;possession,obsession,temptation and then,maybe even exorcism. At times I wonder if that may have been the cause of the silence of some good Bishops.

Is it posssible that in the 60' and 70's,when I believe the devil was running rampant,that quite a few priests were possessed and exorcized and then moved. Some of them,who have had no complaints for twenty or thirty years may very well have been successfully exorcized and I can see why a Bishop might be averse to discussing it.

Sometimes,you know how you read,hear or see something that has that compelling ring of truth? I read an article about 8 years ago in a conservative monthly publication. It was written by mothers,one had a child who haad been sexually abused. After getting the run around from some of the diocesan functonaries,she finally had an appointment to see the Bishop.

After explaining what had happened and to whom she had appealed,he nodded and said "Do you think there is any devil worship or Satanism involved?". She and her friend were indignant and left his office abruptly,in anger. I immediately felt sorry for the Bishop and believed his question was genuine and that he indeed was in their corner.I could understand how two women who lacked knowledge about Satan,might have thought it was an attempt to waylay or forestall honest discussion,but I believe he was sincere. Any thoughts?

24 posted on 01/09/2004 12:00:46 AM PST by saradippity
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To: american colleen; Servus Suus
wow. I've read all the books you mention.
"Beware the Night" was the scariest for me.

I believe this stuff is true and have spoken to my kids about it. My daughter assures me that many of her peers are into Satanism, paganism, oija boards, etc. The kids think it's a big joke but she knows to stay far away from it.

I can tell you that my family thought I was a little weird when I obtained Blessed St. Benedict medals, Blessed Salt, and Holy Water. The medals are taped over every doorway and I occassionally sprinkle Salt & Holy water throughout the house. I've been known to throw both on the kids while sleeping. Although, we sometimes joke about it they know that I'm serious in believing it gives us extra protection from those things we come into contact with out in the world.

My husband takes his role as protector very seriously. I tell him he's in charge of physical security and I'll work on the spritual :)
25 posted on 01/09/2004 9:33:22 AM PST by MudPuppy (Life has many choices. Eternity has two.)
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To: american colleen
"Beware the Night" by Ralph Sarchie - I got to about page 13, turned it face down and hid it from myself in a drawer. That one scared me a lot.

Don't read that one in the middle of the New Mexico desert around midnight. I did, and when a coyote started to howl I almost started running for truck.

Good book, but needs to be read in daylight.

26 posted on 01/09/2004 9:37:14 AM PST by redgolum
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To: redgolum
ping
27 posted on 01/09/2004 2:02:50 PM PST by fidelis (fidelis)
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To: johnb2004
I was listening to a really faithful evangalist and he said that at one point in his life he had become really aware of demons, etc. and had started casting them out of this, that, and the other, every day; so much so that he spent more time on the demons than he did worshipping God. And the more time he spent occupied with demons, the more they entered his life. At one point, he even said that he was attacked physically during the night.

He finally realized that xince Jesus had defeated satan at the Cross, his main focus should be on our Lord. When troubled by any evil spirits after that, he'd just start praising God. Praising God has a wonderful immediate effect on the defeated enemy.

28 posted on 01/09/2004 2:29:46 PM PST by xJones
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: k omalley; american colleen
Eastern Orthodox literature on life after death is very interesting reading. A book that I recommend highly is The Soul After Death by Seraphim Rose. It would answer a lot of your questions. One of the things that Orthodox Christians do yearly is have their homes Blessed by their Priest and trust me I have heard a few wild stories. Occasionally you will hear stories, from houses that were not blessed, about demons showing up in pictures, haunted houses etc what happens next is the priest gets a call comes over and Blesses the house and the problem goes away, Also the book that I recommended, assuming that you are Roman Catholic will have plenty of Saints that you will recognize.
30 posted on 01/09/2004 7:39:47 PM PST by peter the great
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To: xJones
I know exactly what you mean. It is very easy to develop an unhealthy fascination with the supernatural in general and the devil in particular. I don't like reading accounts of true experinces of this kind of thing as it doesn't just spook me, like a good ghost story, but it actually sets off a tiny sense of panic which I have to treat like a temptation: pray and then think about holy things. The most we really need to know, I think, is:

1. Satan and his angels are real and they hate us.
2. God is in control and Christ has already won.
3. My job as a Christian soldier is not to get to know the enemy, but to fight where I am sent. I am in the Infantry, not Intelligence.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in our day of battle...
31 posted on 01/09/2004 8:06:00 PM PST by fidelis (fidelis)
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To: peter the great
Thanks for the suggested reading. I am interested in Eastern Orthodox spirituality and believe that it has a lot to teach, even to us RCs.:-)
32 posted on 01/10/2004 12:11:38 PM PST by k omalley
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To: fidelis
We agree. Paul loved the Church at Philippi so much, he had less complaints to them than any other church he wrote to.

And he instructed them: Phil:4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things..

I guess that means among other things to not give way to the evil one in your thoughts.

33 posted on 01/10/2004 12:35:07 PM PST by xJones
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To: xJones
Very true. Remember that greater is He who is within you, than he (Satan) who is without. Plus all the disciples had to say was "The Lord rebuke you".
34 posted on 01/10/2004 1:29:58 PM PST by Markofhumanfeet (I am Patrick Henry's reason to live)
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To: sandyeggo
"Am I the only one out here who is afraid to read about exorcisms and demons?"

You kidding? My hair is standing on end and waving around.

Wish I could go to Mass or pray in front of the Eucharist right now.
35 posted on 01/11/2004 8:58:55 AM PST by dsc
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To: k omalley; american colleen
This past Sunday I was in Church and was thinking about you two. Anyway during Holy Week, Holy Saturday to be exact, The Orthodox Church has a service to commemorate Christs descent into Hades where he retrieved Adam and Eve. That right there may answer your questions about Hell. Anyway I still recommend the book.
36 posted on 01/12/2004 4:13:39 PM PST by peter the great
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
Bump!
37 posted on 01/13/2004 1:56:35 PM PST by Pyro7480 ("We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid" - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: peter the great
Hey,

I've been reading a lot lately.. and one of the books is "He Came To Set The Captives Free". By Rebecca Brown, MD - have you read it? I'm about through it.. and I have to say it has really had me thinking.. I've put in the devo today .. some of the thought provoking scriptures I thought you might be interested in.. When you get a chance read through it all.. because there seems to be something for everyone to think on.

Ok.. well it depicts what happened in the life of someone who opened themselves up to the inflow of satanic power and demon infestation. Pretty heavy stuff actually.. People have and are still actually opening their lives up satan's power. These doorways give satan legal ground, according to God's word, to exert satans power in their lives. Christian's are not protected because when they open these doorways it involves their conscious participation in sin and/or ignorance.

It talks about this in Romans 6:15-16..

"What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Hosea 4:6 too.. says it this way.. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."

That's telling me that not only does a person need to be aware of these areas of influence for themselves but also for others in which one might be wanting to share the gospel with.

2 Cor 4:3-4 "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Any dealings with the occult, no matter how lightly or briefly, is a doorway. So things like horoscope, fortune teller, tea leaf reader, palm reader, etc. are all areas/doorways the enemy can get in. I know this because of what it says in..

Deut 18:10-12 "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you."

Just one visit to a seance out of curiosity is enough to affect the rest of your life. So is studying books on the occult arts, playing with an ouiji board, trying out ESP, psychic experiences, astral projection, meditation of any kind that involves blanking out or "clearing" the mind, water witching, or divining for oil or minerals by using a dowsing rod or pendulum. Same goes for magic arts like levitation, i.e. movement of objects without touching that object physically, consulting a medium or spiritist ini an attempt to locate some missing object, and obviously witchcraft through spells or incantation, etc. And of this will open a doorway to the inflow of satanic power and demons. Street drugs and drunkenness are also doorways. Child abuse almost always results in demonic infestation. Sexual intercourse is another big doorway.

To me it makes more sense to not be caught unaware.

satan likes it when we're uninformed.. and scared.

In Christ alone,
><> cp <><
38 posted on 02/12/2004 4:11:52 PM PST by testifyhisgrace
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To: johnb2004
Hey,

I've been reading a lot lately.. and one of the books is "He Came To Set The Captives Free". By Rebecca Brown, MD - have you read it? I'm about through it.. and I have to say it has really had me thinking.. I've put in the devo today .. some of the thought provoking scriptures I thought you might be interested in.. When you get a chance read through it all.. because there seem sto be something for everyone to think on.

Ok.. well it depicts what happened in the life of someone who opened themselves up to the inflow of satanic power and demon infestation. Pretty heavy stuff actually.. People have and are still actually opening their lives up satan's power. These doorways give satan legal ground, according to God's word, to exert satans power in their lives. Christian's are not protected because when they open these doorways it involves their conscious participation in sin and/or ignorance.

It talks about this in Romans 6:15-16..

"What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Hosea 4:6 too.. says it this way.. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."

That's telling me that not only does a person need to be aware of these areas of influence for themselves but also for others in which one might be wanting to share the gospel with.

2 Cor 4:3-4 "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Any dealings with the occult, no matter how lightly or briefly, is a doorway. So things like horoscope, fortune teller, tea leaf reader, palm reader, etc. are all areas/doorways the enemy can get in. I know this because of what it says in..

Deut 18:10-12 "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you."

Just one visit to a seance out of curiosity is enough to affect the rest of your life. So is studying books on the occult arts, playing with an ouiji board, trying out ESP, psychic experiences, astral projection, meditation of any kind that involves blanking out or "clearing" the mind, water witching, or divining for oil or minerals by using a dowsing rod or pendulum. Same goes for magic arts like levitation, i.e. movement of objects without touching that object physically, consulting a medium or spiritist ini an attempt to locate some missing object, and obviously witchcraft through spells or incantation, etc. And of this will open a doorway to the inflow of satanic power and demons. Street drugs and drunkenness are also doorways. Child abuse almost always results in demonic infestation. Sexual intercourse is another big doorway.

People perish due to a lack of knowledge..

><> Cp <><
39 posted on 02/12/2004 4:14:16 PM PST by testifyhisgrace
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