Friday, September 2, 2011

A Run-In With the Devil

Earlier this week, I was called to a house for a blessing. The family that asked for the blessing simply told me over the phone "we've had some interesting activity in our house." I agreed to go to the house on Wednesday to do a blessing.

I had read before about priests having weird things happen as the time drew near to deal with something demonic, but had never experienced it myself.

It wasn't like I was sitting around on Wednesday waiting for the blessing, I had a busy day and priests bless houses all the time. However, as the time drew near for me to bless the house, I came down with one of the worst illnesses I've ever had in my life. I don't suffer from migraines, yet I came down with one of the worst migraine headaches, to the point where it hurt to open my eyes. I hadn't had the urge to get sick since I was a child, but that suddenly came over me as well, along with a fever.

I printed a Google map of the residence, but everything was wrong on the map and I couldn't find the house. I had to return to the Church, at this point 10 minutes late. I called the house, and no one answered. I called again, and no one answered. Both times the voice mail said that the message box was full and that I couldn't leave a message.

At this point, I first realized that perhaps I was encountering some resistance. Why wouldn't the family answer their phone? They've been waiting for this house blessing for a long time, surely they were home. Fortunately, the family called my on my cell phone, told me how to get to the house, and I was able to find it.

The family relayed to me some of the stuff that had been happening - the dog behaving as if an intruder were in the house, someone distinctly coming up the steps, someone clearly walking around upstairs, and their 2 year old daughter always afraid of one of the rooms, and sometimes coming in to tell the parents their is someone in the house. One might say that in this era of ghost hunters and so forth on TV that people are looking for stuff like this, but this family was very down to earth, not looking for attention, and VERY matter of fact about what was going on. There was no doubt in my mind that something was going on in the house.

I was able to perform the ritual for the blessing of a home, blessed all of the rooms with holy water, and blessed the family and their dog before departing.

On the way home, amidst the pain, I kind of laughed at the devil - "this is all you can do...harass some little priest? Must be pretty sad for you to know that's as deep as your bag of tricks goes."

I went home, went straight to bed, and almost decided to go downstairs and have Fr. Joe drive me to the hospital. Now I'm not a guy who goes to the hospital, especially for a fever/migraine - I say this to convey that I was in the hurt locker. I finally managed to fall asleep, and what was crazy was that at 2:30 in the morning I woke up absolutely fine, and have felt fine since.

I'm sure the skeptic has an explanation for my illness, the map issue, and I'm sure there is a logical explanation for the answering machine being full, and can probably point to creaky floor boards and a crazy dog as explanations for what was going on in the home - but I don't really care anymore about skeptics. I've realized a skeptic will always be able to be skeptical. I share this story to let those who care to believe that the Devil and his minions are real, but, just as the Church teaches, their sphere of influence is ultimately pretty pathetic.

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us!


  1. "It's nothing. It is only the devil!" St. Jean Marie Vianney.

    Keep up the great work Father!!!

  2. Wow, that's unnerving. I've never understood why many people believe in angels, but not devils.

    May the Lord protect you and the family.

  3. Wow...That is just...Wow.

    You did a good thing for that family and I pray that they (and you) are left alone now that you have done a blessing. This just goes to show that the devil tries to harass the good people of this world to get his kicks.


  4. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn't exist." ('The Usual Suspects', I think)

  5. Father,

    Thank you for sharing this. While we may not have such a direct run-in with the devil and demons, as you did, when we are living our lives that better exemplifies God in our life, the devil will attack us and at the least try to take joy from our lives among all the good that God does.

  6. Wow

    Did the blessing make a difference for the family?

  7. Did the blessing make a difference for the family?

    Seconded! A follow-up if are able please.

  8. The family is going to check back in soon and let me know if we need to get the diocesan exorcist

  9. Father Hollowell,

    Why does there need to be exorcists? Can't a priest just command in the name of our Lord to leave a place immediately? I fail to understand why after a blessing would an evil spirit still be allowed by God to be in that house. Also, if you were attacked physically by the devil before doing that house blessing, why did God allow THAT to happen? I mean, you are consecrated to God and God hates the devil so I guess I just don't understand that either....

  10. There are rites and procedures and prayers that are set aside for such a thing as exorcism, I think precisely so that the priest never starts to think it is HIS OWN power that does the work.

    Incidentally, I just received from the family a note yesterday that said the problems have stopped and there seems to be a lot of peace in the house now.

  11. Fr. Hollowell,

    Just a quick question if you don't mind my asking this; are all cases of strange activity in a house as you mention in your post with this family, directly cause by demons? I ask this because I used to live in an apartment complex which used to be an old TB hospital way back in the day. I would often see figures out of the corners of my eyes and when I went to look, they would disappear instantly. Not only that, but lights would be mysteriously turned on in the middle of the night or my clock would be mysteriously set ahead an hour. I lived there for 3 years before moving into my house and nothing like that happens here. Also, when I am in the basement of our old courthouse(I am a police officer) which houses the county attorney's office, I will see the same shadow figures in the corners of my eyes and when I go to look at them, they disappear. I find it odd that none of the attorneys in that office have seen them, nor the secretary or the victim-witness coordinator has. There have been instances where I was in dispatch(also in the basement of the courthouse) and have personally witnessed the front door to the sheriff's office slam with nobody coming or going; that always happens between the hours of midnight and three o'clock in the morning. I have never been attacked by any of these figures and they don't bother me any. Could they be souls that have refused to "cross over"? Does the church have any official teachings on the existence of "ghosts?" Also, why is it that I am the only one that can see shadow beings moving about in the corner's of my eyes in that basement and nobody else has? The apartment complex and that basement are the only two places I have seen the shadow figures btw.... My eyesight gets checked every year and I always get a clean bill of health there. Sorry that my question was long and turned into several, but if you could shed some light on that one for me, it would be appreciated. Thanks!!

  12. The Church doesn't have anything to say about such instances one way or the other - and I think the fact that the Church doesn't discount them as possible should be telling. It may be that there were demonic activities of some kind done there - just because they don't attack doesn't mean it isn't cause for a blessing.

    It's interesting that about a week ago I watched about 20 minutes of the Blair Witch Project which I hadn't seen since college. (don't watch it - a lot of swearing) but I thought to myself - all they needed was some holy water and maybe a prayer to St. Michael or a Hail Mary!