Father Thomas Garrity is a Catholic priest who unexpectedly comes face to face with a horrific demon. Through fate or demonic manipulation, he winds up substituting for a prison chaplain who mysteriously committed suicide and was counseling a serial killer condemned on death row. Garrity meets with the convict, who at first is mute, and then becomes all too talkative, claiming to be a demon. A naïve Father Garrity assumes he is dealing with a schizophrenic. Truly possessed by the demon Furfur, the inmate begins his attack on Father Garrity. As all Catholic priests, Garrity is uneducated and unskilled at confronting the supernatural, much less a demon. This demon is intent on destroying Garity's faith in God through any means possible. The one problem is that this "inmate" will be executed in a week, so time is of the essence. At first Garrity thinks that he must only survive until the execution, but then finds he will become hunted afterward by a demon that will transfer to a whole new body. Furfur, a documented fallen angel taken from demonology, initially attempts to overwhelm Garrity with his knowledge and history. Failing, he escalates his efforts to violence, and eventually murders. Father Garrity, as all common parish priests, is inexperienced, but is desperate to defeat this demon, even though his path is crammed with obstacles. He is surrounded by non-believers and a Catholic organization that has created an impossible bureaucracy which frowns on the very mention of exorcism.
The demon Furfur intends to deliver the soul of this convict to hell and then transfer himself to another person and continue to torment the priest. Father Garrity finds that Furfur, in documented demonology, ranks high in the hierarchy of hell and has 150,000 demons at his command. Although in prison, Furfur can torture the priest through hurting those close to him simply by using his legions. Father Garrity reaches out to the Vatican and eventually enlists the help of the official head Exorcist. He is also aided by an unofficial American exorcist. Their realization that the limited time until the execution is nowhere near adequate for an exorcism, makes for an unsolvable dilemma.
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BanishedA Demon, an Exorcist and A Battle of Faith
By Edwin F. Becker
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Edwin F. Becker
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMrs. Polski walked along busy Ashland Ave. carrying her old cloth shopping bag, as she has done for decades. She paused for a moment to rest, and the cold air, combined with the harsh Chicago wind, made her eyes water a bit. She glanced upward, and thought she glimpsed a gargoyle cornerstone on the side of the building where she stood. Except, unlike stone, it seemed to actually move.
'Impossible ...' she thought, as she was at the corner of Saint Martin's school. She wiped her eyes and gazed up the four story building and gasped, as now she could clearly see the figure of a priest who was seemingly defying gravity and leaning forward from the edge of the roof. Although four stories up, she recognized him to be Father Garro, a parish priest! She rifled through her purse and quickly grabbed her cell phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher asked "911, how can I help you?"
Mrs. Polski was speechless as she heard the priest loudly plead "God forgive me!" She watched in horror as he began his fatal decent.
As the dispatcher repeated her question, Mrs. Polski remained silent as she looked away; she could not bear to see Father Garro collide with the concrete pavement. When she caught her breath, she managed to say "Please send an ambulance!" and gave her location. She covered her face and began to weep hysterically. Within a few minutes, police and paramedics were on the scene and the body was quickly covered.
Only a block away, the phone rang at Saint Martin's rectory and Father Garrity answered. "Father, this is detective Simon. Father Garro has died. It appears he fell or jumped from the school roof. That is all we know at this time."
"Oh my God!" Garrity responded in shock.
"I'm sorry Father. I'll have your brother inform you further as soon as possible."
"Thank you detective ..." Garrity hung up the phone and ran to the window. He could see the flashing lights down the block. "Margaret!" He yelled behind him.
Margaret entered, and realized by his body language that the priest had received bad news. "Yes, Father?"
"Did Father Garro have anything scheduled on his calendar this evening?"
"Yes, he was to be at Menard Prison. He is committed to counseling a convict to be executed. He is to be there at 7 P.M."
Father Garrity shook his head as if shaking off a punch. "I'll be covering for him tonight." He replied quietly.
He checked his watch and began gathering his things. He had never visited the prison, but felt it no different than counseling any other parishioner. He was completely unaware that he was about to open a door he could not close.
* * *
They sat on opposite sides of the room just staring at each other, the priest and a serial killer. The serial killer remained silent while watching the clock, draped in chains and shackles, while the priest attempted awkwardly to make pleasant conversation.
"Can I get you anything?" Father Garrity asked, with no response. "Would you like to pray for forgiveness?" Once again, there was no response or change in expression by the convict; just a fixed expression of boredom.
The priest was apologetic. "I'm sorry, my son, as I have never done this before. I'm not sure if you know this, but Father Garro passed away tonight. I became responsible to take his place. I realize we only have a week until your execution, but a week is more than enough time to regain God's grace. My parish is actually close by, so although I'm only committed to being here for one hour each day, if you call for me I will try to be here whenever you need me."
The serial killer just stared straight ahead without showing emotion or even acknowledging the priest's presence. To the priest, the convict looked more pathetic than dangerous. He appeared slight of build, clean shaven, and weighed down with chains that looked completely unnecessary. Father Garrity did not discount the fact that he was face to face with a serial killer, but took into account he killed only women and children and did not look much of a threat to a grown man.
"Do you wish me to leave?" Father asked.
Again, there was no response, just a vacant stare.
Father Garrity lacked the skills of being in the position of counseling such a hard core criminal, so his only weapon was his sense of humor.
"Cat got your tongue?" Garrity joked. "Okay, I get it. You don't wish to talk. I get it, I get it." Father Garrity gave up of any hope of interaction on this first visit. "Since we won't be talking on this visit, I will just read from the bible. I know from reviewing your history that you were Christened Catholic, so do you have a favorite chapter or verse?" The priest asked.
He knew asking was merely a formality, and had expected no response. As he opened his bible, the warden looked in. He was a huge man with a shock of red hair that you could see coming a block away. Warden Donald Thorton never minced words, and knew Father Garrity, as they had attended high school together. Father Garrity knew him as "Buddy", as they had both played varsity football and that had been his knick-name. The warden knew Father Thomas Garrity as Tommy, and always referred to him informally as such.
"Tommy, I give you credit for wasting your time on this piece of shit." Buddy stated bluntly.
Father Garrity smiled. "Hey, you need a priest-I came. With our little parish, I really had no major rescheduling to do."
The warden looked down. "I'm really sorry about Father Garro. Phil was just a great priest. As you know, Father Garro had been doing this for years. He really had compassion for each convict he worked with, and mistakenly thought he could save each and every one of them. When they called me, I could hardly believe it. I would have never guessed him as being suicidal. I mean, Tommy ... suicide? It doesn't make sense. He committed a mortal sin as his final act, for God's sake!"
"Buddy, I don't have the answer. I knew Father Garro fairly well and certainly never saw it coming. In fact, I have not yet heard the exact details of his death, but I will tonight when my brother Bobby stops by." Garrity replied.
Warden Thorton looked toward the serial killer, and thought he detected a slight grin.
"Something strike you funny, you bag of garbage? You can play tough all you want. I have seen many of your kind. In the end, they all fall apart. You can sit there and ignore Father Garrity if you like, but we all know that sometime in the next week, you'll be praying like a monk on crack and crying for your mama! You should know, Father, that Mister Richard Gindle is so tough that he only killed helpless women and children. Tell the good Father how you killed at least twenty-one innocent people. You have fun Father, but this one is going to hell and you can't save him. There is a special place in hell for you, Richard. If I were you, I would pay attention to Father Thomas Garrity, because he is the only one who gives a shit."
"Warden Thorton, thank you." The priest replied.
"This is a long way from the varsity football beer blasts, eh Tommy? Would you have thought you would someday volunteer to sit in a damned prison?" The warden asked.
"Not a chance in hell. How is the family, Buddy?" Garrity asked.
"Doing great, Tommy." The Warden replied.
"Not to put you on the spot, but I have not seen you in church for quite a while." Garrity probed.
"Sorry Tommy, but we're out in the suburbs these days. I thought it would be better for the kids, but I found that with my sixteen year old son, he can find trouble anywhere." The warden complained.
"Buddy, just let him spend a few days with his dad down here and that just might give him a whole new perspective. Let him see up close how all these hard asses wind up." Garrity suggested.
"I just might do that, Father. Tommy, I have to go, but we'll talk." The warden replied.
The warden gave a look of distain toward the convict, as if he could not tolerate the very sight of him. He then went his way.
After reading from the gospel of Mark aloud, the priest saw his time was up.
"Well, I guess I'll be on my way. This is it for tonight." He stated to no response. "Can I bring you anything tomorrow? I sure hope eventually you will trust in me and we can talk." The serial killer just stared straight forward, making no eye contact.
Garrity picked up his bible and called for the guard. He was soon on his way home, which was but a few miles away at Saint Martin's rectory, adjacent to the church and school. Saint Martin's was built in a proud, old style of a cathedral, and was a huge parish in its day. But with migration to the suburbs, the body of worshipper's dwindled to sparsely attended masses made up of a melting pot of nationalities. Based on collections and school tuitions, the parish was barely staying afloat financially. Father Garrity knew his parish was evaluated on a yearly basis. It was one of the things that Father Garrity had a problem with, as the Catholics viewed each parish almost as a separate franchise-and his was not doing very well.
Father Thomas Garrity was a very disillusioned priest. He was more 'old school' than one might expect because of his strict Catholic upbringing. He loved his God and had deep faith, but had begun to resent the Catholic institution that he worked for. Nothing brought him more joy than presiding over weddings, baptisms, home blessings and even offering comfort at requiem masses and funerals. He was what one might call a 'minister of the people'. His parish was a reflection of the economic times and the deteriorating neighborhood. Regardless how many times the church demanded he pass the collection baskets, he knew the poor people could only split the same dollar into so many pieces.
Thomas Michael Garrity was a big man at six foot three and two hundred fifty pounds. He was an all-state tight end, and likely would have played college football. Instead, he chose the seminary and answered his calling to God. Now, at age forty, his visions of what could be accomplished had been dashed, as he clearly saw he was working for a profit-oriented institution; not much different than a fortune five hundred company. He had his history of disagreements with the Catholic hierarchy, which was why he failed recommendations of being promoted beyond an assistant pastor.
He left the rectory to meet up with his brother Bobby, a Chicago detective, who was called-in to investigate the death of Father Phillip Garro. They met at one of Chicago's many Italian eateries-and one of their favorites. Wearing his collar, he was greeted warmly as he entered the restaurant in the primarily Catholic neighborhood. As he made himself comfortable, his brother entered. Robert "Bobby" John Garrity was only a year younger and shared the same looks as his brother. He had thick brown hair and boyish good looks, but his job was taking its toll on his emotions and he now appeared to be the older brother, due to the bags under his eyes, deep creases created by frown lines, and an increasing graying at the temples.
Bobby started by joking. "So, I hear you're dating a serial killer?" He laughed.
Tommy shed his priestly image and for this moment in time, he was merely Bobby's big brother once again.
"Yeah, have you ever talked to a brick wall? That's how my evening went. The man never said a word. It was like he was on another planet." He answered and then asked "Tell me about Phil Garro?"
Bobby swallowed hard. "Tommy, this is a first. We have one good witness; Mrs. Polski, who was coming home from work and had done some shopping for groceries at a local store. As she walked toward her home on Ashland Avenue and passed the school, she set her bags down to take brief rest, when she looked up and saw father Garro standing on the edge of the school roof. He was wearing his smock, which she stated was blowing in the wind. She said she knew something was terribly wrong and immediately dialed 911 on her cell phone. Before the dispatcher could even answer, he cried out 'God Forgive Me.' After which, he did a swan dive four stories down onto the pavement. He left no note, and no one who dealt with him had an indicator. It's just plain weird."
Tommy folded his hands. "I knew Phil well. He was a good priest. I can't imagine why he would commit a mortal sin and go out that way. How is Mrs. Polski?"
"She is obviously traumatized by the whole event. Her initial statement was that she looked up and thought she saw one of those Gargoyle corner stones. It was only after taking a second glance that she realized it was Father Garro. I know she don't drink, but Tommy, she had to know there was no Gargoyle on a school for Christ sake! I think she will be having nightmares for a long time, poor old lady."
"Well, Buddy Thorton allowed me to fill in for Phil, who was administering to death row inmates at Menard Prison and was in the midst of one that is scheduled to be executed in a week. No way could I let Buddy down." Tommy explained.
"Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, it's that Gindle guy. I would pay to pull the handle on that bastard myself!" Bobby responded. "My job is getting to me Tommy. I lock them up, and the courts plea bargain them back on the streets. It's like I'm on a legal merry-go-round."
Tommy laughed. "You? Look at me. I listen to them give me their confessions, some of which are very disturbing. I offer them forgiveness, only to hear the exact same confessions the very next week! Talk about a revolving door. I think if the Catholic Church thought it would bring in more revenue, we would have drive-through windows on the confessionals. Bobby, there are some good people out there who really believe they need forgiveness for the most venial infractions. They give me some amount of hope ... but there are others that are sick and need to be taken off the streets and all I can do is offer them forgiveness with a penalty of saying the rosary! I've got one guy that beats his wife on a weekly basis. I have another who has killed rival gang members in drive-by shootings and thinks he is wiping his slate clean with a confession each week. He finishes his confession and reloads his gun!"
"Funny how we both thought we were going to make this world a better place, each in our own way. Man, were we naïve or just fucking dumb?" Bobby lamented.
"I really don't want to get biblical on you, but it just seems evil has spiraled out of control. It's everywhere we look. People can't escape it. Whether it's movies or TV, video games, computers, billboards, etc.. I have no doubt that the devil is in control and we are losing this one, Bobby. If we were in the boxing ring, we would be far behind on points. The problem is, we have no idea what round it is?" Tommy stated.
"Well, maybe it's time we changed the rules. I watch the news. What I see on the streets are drunks and drugs. Drunks beating on their wives and kids. Drunks smashing their cars. Dopers committing assaults, robberies, rapes and more. You know how many families I have had to notify that their college-age child was dead in the ER from a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning? Too Many! Yet we celebrate spring break like it's a good thing. Take substance out the equation and half our crime problem is solved-but no! They have me arresting a guy for smoking in a public building, while we debate whether to make marijuana legal. What the fuck is that? We need to shit-can the entire government and start over." Bobby shook his head and smiled at his brother. "Oh, I'm going off on you and I know you already have a headache. By the way, get prepared for the press snooping around. The media's first take on Father Garro was that his suicide was motivated by pedophilia of some nature. We have to confiscate his computer and search his quarters. Sorry Tommy."
"Pedophilia? That's what we have become? The media has made priests and pedophiles synonymous. Bobby, I can't even give one of these poor neglected kids a well needed hug, without people looking at me cross eyed. Why our church does not fight back is a mystery to me. Poor Father Garro. You know he was a good priest, but they will imply some filth that will always remain a question when they are done dragging his name through the muck. See you later Bobby. Remember, wear that damned vest!"
"Fight the good fight brother, and stop and see mom and pop sometime. I'll call you."
Excerpted from Banished by Edwin F. Becker Copyright © 2011 by Edwin F. Becker. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although this is a Novel, Banished by Edwin F Becker will help you understand the reality that all of us are engaged in some forms of Spiritual Warfare. The book helps the reader to have a good understanding of the much needed ministry of Exorcism. In the end, one will find in this book a good presentation of the themes like Possession, Temptation, the Devil, Sin, the Path to Deliverance, etc. This would make an excellent movie or series!
I'm a big fan of the author, so when I saw he had a new book published and out, I pounced and got the ebook from his publishing site. Banished is a story about a catholic priest who is struggling not with his faith in God, but with his faith in the church politics. Through the hands of fate, (or the workings of a demon), he ends up taking over for a late-priest's job, visiting local inmates on death row, counseling them before execution. But this inmate is like none other--this one is a true demon, in the flesh. The book progresses into a tale of the Priest and his supporting characters--other priests and confidants, his brother, the prison psychologist, etc--as they attempt to keep their own sanity and lives, while attempting to find out how to banish the demon back to where he originated from. The book is chalked full of bible history and facts. The author has a knack for putting in pertinent and authentic information without it seeming like you are reading a history or a boring non-fiction novel. I was surprised to find that the information he used pertaining to his demon, is true to demonology. The ending was climatic and quick, with an interesting twist. I think this is my favorite book of his thus far. I recently saw "The Rite", and couldn't help but think that if the writers had read this book first, it would have made for a much more entertaining movie! If you have an interest in demonology, enjoy this theme, or just like a good suspenseful read, you'll love it. I've already ordered a hard cover for my shelves, but the eBook is so competitively priced that it was worth me buying both to have it on my Kindle. For the rest of you, it's worth the risk in an investment on a (relatively) new author, as the eBook was only $2.99. I have since bought it on hardcover to add to my collection of books I like to re-read and share.
Writer grabs you from the first page and does not let go! Great unpredicable emding. Obvious, that this was written with a solid knowledge of the Catholic faith, Exorcism and Demonology. This would make a great movie!
This is an outstanding written story about demonic possession in a prisoner who is on death row and has one week to live. One pastor who was assigned this prisoner leaps or is pushed from a high rise to his death. The new pastor takes over and experiences a battle of wits among one of the highest demons of all called Furfur who has legions of followers. The pastor has one hour a day for one week until the execution and at first tries to witness to the prisoner. The prisoner is possessed by Furfur and the pastor fights for his life. There are many well written characters in this story that keeps the reading very interesting and exciting! It's like a roller coaster ride! I finished in three days but had to read the ending again because it really caught me by surprise! I'm not going to spoil it so don't skip to the ending and expect the unexpected! If you like this you'll love True Haunting by Edwin Becker. This is a true store that happened in 1971. It's the scariest true story I've ever read!
This will grab you from the first page. It builds to an ending one will never guess. It caught me by surprise. I was sorry it ended. Books written by experts don't read this well. This author did his homework! Bravo! I have to say it also made me think about my faith.
This will grab you from the first page! Frightening! You will never guess the ending and it will leave you cheering. I love the strong subtext using real examples of demonic behavior easily related to. The use of the demon Furfur taken from ancient demonology tells me the author did research, which is evident in his understanding of the Catholic faith and organization. Was he once in the clergy? You will cringe at the evil and cheer for the priest! I promise you you will stop and begin to see our society a bit more dangerous. Sequel....I hope?
I will say that the author kept my attention throughout the entire book. I had trouble putting it down as I wanted to get to the end of the book to find out just what happens. I had all these possible endings going through my head and I had no idea what was about to occur! I was not at all dissappointed in how this one ended. It was a complete surprise to me! Job well done by this writer and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Before I start, just a quick guestion for the agnostic regarding their review. Why is an agnostic even interested in reading a book about demons? Isn't that like a vegan reading a book about grilling meat? Anyway, this book will make you think about your own beliefs, and isn't that what all books should do, make you think? If you are offened if your own beliefs are questioned or your world view is upset, then this book is not for you. I personally found parts of this book uncomfortable because they didn't agree with my truths, but if we don't ever read dissenting views how do we ever grow? I found the book entertaining in its action and storyline. The characters had the same flaws as all humans do which made them easy to relate to and the story was thought provoking. There were some editing problems and I did some additional research to better understand some of the issues that were brought up in the story. If you enjoy a horror story that's both scary and thought provoking, I'd recommend this book.
I wish this were a movie. The writer did his homework and the ending is unanticipated. The demon was frightening, the scenario realistic, and a social subtext that makes one think. This will grab you from first page. Sequel Please?????
If you want to read about the ¿evils¿ of birth control, psychiatric drugs and all of the other 'evils' of our society then this book if for you. Otherwise stay away. The dialog is cheap and poorly written, characters are too gullible and as a matter of fact it is so exasperating that it leave you cheering for the demon as he seem the only intelligent character in the book. Tedious moments and constant preaching make this book a disaster. I love reading about exorcism and mind you I am an agnostic. This book leaves a lot to be desired.