In The Dark Sacrament, coauthors David M. Kiely and Christina McKenna faithfully recount ten contemporary cases of demon possession, haunted houses, and exorcisms, and profile the work of two living, active exorcists. The authors serve as trustworthy guides on this suspense-filled journey into the bizarre, offering concrete advice on how to avoid falling prey to the dark side.
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About the Author
David M. Kiely's long career as a freelance writer has included biographies, short stories, crime novels, mysteries, and several works of nonfiction. When his spouse and coauthor, Christina McKenna, was eleven, a paranormal "visitor" tormented her home for six weeks. Only through the intervention of an exorcist could the spirit be expelled. The authors live in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.
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The Dark SacramentTrue Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism
By David Kiely
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 David Kiely
All right reserved.
Heather: A Case of Ancestral Evil
"There is a demon in the room," Canon Lendrum announced calmly.
The calmness was a mask. Inwardly, he was dismayed. He had not expected this. The canon had come to rid the house of an earthbound spirit, and to his mind, all had gone according to plan. He had already removed his surplice and was busy stowing the Communion vessels in his case. That was when he heard the low, menacing growl coming from the couch behind him.
He turned. Minutes before, the demure young woman had partaken of the Eucharist. Now she was hideously transformed. Her neck had become impossibly elongated, the facial skin had tightened, and the lips were drawn back into a mocking smirk. The eyes that fixed him with blazing hatred were no longer those of Heather Mitchelson.
It was 1992. Canon William H. Lendrum, then age sixty-eight, had been battling the preternatural for more than two decades. Now, fifteen years later, he remembers that incident with trepidation, for it differed greatly from the work his ministry usually requires. That day, the canon tells us, he came face-to-face with great evil; it was a case of demonicpossession that would require a major exorcism.
The Anglican Church—much like the Catholic Church—has a strict protocol governing exorcism. A minister is obliged to alert his bishop before proceeding. This is largely a matter of courtesy, but in the case of a major exorcism, it is the minister's bounden duty.
That day, however, there was neither time nor opportunity to notify the bishop. For Canon Lendrum, the danger was clear and present in Heather Mitchelson. He would have to act at once.
"There is a demon in the room," he said again.
His two assistants did not share his calm. They occupied chairs to the left and right of Heather. They had followed closely every stage of the Eucharist. Both were experienced participants in the sacred rite of exorcism; both were schooled in the ways of extraphysical entities. For all that, they were shocked, taken unawares. They, too, had imagined it was all over.
Now Heather was lunging at her partner, Joe. He looked terrified. With two quick, curt gestures, Canon Lendrum motioned to him to remove himself from harm's way. Joe retreated to the back of the room.
There was no time for the canon to retrieve his sacred instruments, but he did not truly need them; prayer would be enough. He advanced on Heather.
"You foul and evil spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ—"
"You'll never get rid of me!" The woman slithered off the couch, cackling and taunting. "She's mine, mine, mine, mine."
The voice was that of a very old woman. It seemed to issue, by turns, from the young woman's mouth and from various points in the room. She was writhing on the floor, her body coiling and uncoiling itself, her tongue lolling obscenely.
The exorcist was left in no doubt: these were the words and actions of the demoniac, the possessed. Not too long before this, he had confronted a young man who had likewise hissed and wriggled in much the same manner when he prayed over him. On that occasion, he had been unsuccessful. The demon had won the battle. The canon recalls the chilling words that issued from the young man's mouth, the voice greatly distorted.
"He belongs to me. I am not going." And with that the young man fled from the house.
This time, the canon was determined not to be thwarted. He mustered the words of power, which unclean entities go in dread of.
"In accordance with the authority that he has given to his Church," he intoned, "I bind you, and I forbid you to speak or interfere with this woman."
He placed a hand on Heather Mitchelson's head. She recoiled from his touch. Within moments, she was on her feet, snarling. He backed away. He was no longer calm.
He could not believe that she could summon such energy. She was barely five feet tall and weighed perhaps ninety pounds, but her arms and fists seemed to belong to a strongly built man. She caught him in a body lock. His two assistants sprang to the canon's defense and tried to pull her off, but she shrugged the men away with the ease of a freestyle wrestler, knocking them to the floor.
The exorcist was faltering. Another blow to the jaw nearly felled him. He struggled to retain his balance as the assistants tried again to restrain her.
"In the name of Jesus—stop!" the canon shouted.
His words had an astonishing effect. Heather fell to the floor as if struck by a heavy object. She lay still as a stone, eyes wide and staring, all strength seemingly drained from her. The canon, recovered somewhat but still a little groggy from the blows he had sustained, bent over her.
"In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to release your name!"
On hearing the words "Jesus Christ," Heather went into a violent spasm. The canon's assistants grasped her arms and legs. At that moment, she was as much a danger to herself as to others; she was flailing about, out of control. But by and by the fit subsided. The assistants relaxed their grip and allowed Heather to sit up, very slowly. The canon retrieved his cross and prayer book.
Heather seemed to slump down into herself; her posture became that of an old, decrepit being. The shoulders grew hunched; her chin sank low onto her chest. She began cackling. Joe, still in his position of safety, was aghast. He was recalling other cackling, other incidents. That which he feared was returning.
"She's mine. She's always been mine." It was the voice of the old woman again. "You can't have her. Never, never, never!"
"I command you, in the name of Jesus, give me your name."
"Damn you!" came the curse from Heather's lips.
Excerpted from The Dark Sacrament by David Kiely Copyright © 2007 by David Kiely. Excerpted by permission.
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