I drove the demons away. Last Thursday evening. By chance.
Yes, I performed an exorcism on the evening of November 1 (all-souls day as celebrated in the Philippines). And you might think that I’m an expert in this shooing-away-the-demon thing. That was my first – my very first time indeed. It was dead scary but I had to stay composed, and do it, whatever that means.
I had seen how exorcism was done in the movie “The Exorcist” and how the character played by Linda Blair struggled, spat, convulsed, rolled her eyes, frothed in the mouth, as she spluttered demonic words, and challenged the exorcist like he couldn’t prevail. I was creepily entertained, but knowing it was a horror movie, I understood that the scenes had to be exaggerated a little. Every movie would set out to attain the objective for which it was made.
But, NO. The events on November 1 turned out to be much the same, except that in reel-life the exorcist is made to triumph after the chilling climax, while in real-life, with the ‘exorcist’ (who was me), being utterly inexperienced, it was a different story entirely. I was in the thick of the greatest (or scariest?) challenge of my life!
This was how it all happened.
I went with a group of relatives and friends who would celebrate all-souls day in a nearby town some two hours away by road. We were a convoy of five vehicles. Half of the passengers were adults, half of them teenagers, with a few children. When we arrived at the place (a private cemetery with about ten tombs) I saw that some of those already there was busy preparing our meal for that night. It was an all-fish menu which suited me fine.
Suddenly we heard a baby crying in his crib and a 17-year old girl volunteered to calm the baby down. However, she began to cradle the baby in her arms so wildly that an old woman chided her for it.
I moved on to another group – this time with mostly teenagers around. There were just three adults in this group: my wife, the mother of a 17-year old girl and myself. The mother of this 17-year old girl was vaunting about being unperturbed by ghosts, evil spirits and demons. She was telling how she could go out by herself at night to shops to run errands on foot for as far as one kilometer away. Everybody’s attention was focused on her then, oblivious to her 17-year old daughter who was at that time on the brink of being possessed.
Before Yanny (not her real name) was totally possessed, she had managed to tell her sister she needed someone to pray over her as she could feel a multitude of smaller beings trying to pull her to a darker place — what (she would tell us afterwards) looked like black body of water.
Before we knew it, though, she stood up and screamed, “NO, I can’t go with you. Mommy, please help me; I don’t want to go with them; I don’t like them, huhuhu.”
I was seated across from Yanny at the table, while Yanny’s mother and my wife were struggling to hold her down. I did not know what to think, wondering if this girl might be on the verge of an epileptic attack or a spoiled brat going wild. It was not until my wife yelled at me to pray over Yanny was I kicked out of my stupor.
I stood up in front of her, held her right hand (which felt eerily cold) with my left while I placed my right hand on her forehead and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. Because Yanny is Muslim, they thought I was the best person to come to their aid, given that I used to do Friday sermons (in Mosques) and act as Imam (prayer leader in a Muslim congregation).
For almost an hour, I was just repeating these verses from the Holy Quran: “He alone is Allah, the only One. The self-sufficient Master whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him” (Holy Quran 112:1-4).
Occasionally, Yanny would attempt to free herself. Then she would calm down, and with a demonic stare, spat at those around (but surprisingly not on me).
The demon(s) would occasionally play tricks on us by saying (through Yanny): “Oh you see, this is already me. Please set me free; you are hurting me”.
Then Yanny’s mother and my wife, would ask her, “If you were yourself now, can you tell us her name?”
“That’s my secret, I won’t say your name but I know you”.
When pressed repeatedly to identify the name, the demon finally obliged but only to show off afterwards and poke threats to us (or me) like “You are nothing compared to us; you can’t drive us away; we are too strong for you; we are too many for you. Bwaahahaha!!”.
To which I would retort, “You are nothing compared to God Almighty. He who created you can also destroy you as He wishes. No demon, evil spirit or anything like you can stand in the way of God. This creature (referring to Yanny) is God’s masterpiece and she is not for you to destroy. Only God Almighty can give life and take it back as He wishes. Not you, evil creatures!”
It was such a long and hard struggle playing tricks, pitting wits and breaking nerves with the demons and using the holy verses to scare them away. I could not tell whether there was any progress in terms of scaring the demon or driving it away. Or the signs could be there but as an inexperience exorcist I did not have an iota of feeling or reading them.
Yanny, by this time (almost two hours), was already bathed in her own sweat and so were her mother and my wife. I felt that at this point it was all a battle of will. I was already entertaining the idea that maybe the first to blink on this thing gets enslaved and would have no choice except to obey the master. It was just a tight and hard tug of war with the demons but I felt quite fortunate for one thing: the more I got apprehensive the more strong-willed I became.
In my mind I was praying hard: “Oh God, the Mighty One; place this girl in your hands so she will be free from harm and evil influences. No creature that You had placed in Your Hands ever perished.”
While praying so profoundly like I felt I was sort of detached from what I was doing and oblivious to what Yanny or the demons were doing, Yanny had appeared silent and motionless for about five minutes or so. She was sitting erect and appeared lifeless that I was already beginning to entertain the thought that I might have lost her now to the demon; that her soul might have already departed from her body. We were engulfed in a deafening silence while I was imagining that everyone looking on was making a guess as to what could be the real score between me and the demon. Finally, Yanny was the first to break the silence. She was saying something in a very soft voice. Then I just felt like someone had told me Yanny was finally dispossessed.
She asked for water and after she had drunk I thought it will help me confirm, that if I wash her face with the water and she would not complain of anything, she probably was already dispossessed. She had told us that she would go somewhere to urinate, but ME – the inexperienced exorcist, would not give trust that easy. I asked her mother and my wife to go with her to the toilet and asked some of the men around to stay as close to them as possible to be ready for any eventuality.
When they came out of the toilet, Yanny was already smiling her normal sweet smile. And we were all convinced that she was dispossessed, at last.
I realized only then that in an exorcism process, it would help to read the signs as accurately as possible. But, for an inexperienced exorcist, what else could I have done?
In the end, nevertheless, I am more convinced than ever about the power of good over evil, the triumph of light over darkness and the supremacy of Faith over incredulity.
(Please hang on for Part 2: In the Shoes of the Possessed – or what Yanny would tell us of her experiences, as far as she can recall while in her normal self. That was the third time that she got possessed).
With credits to Vera (https://todadwithlove.wordpress.com/) for editing this piece.