Preface to the New Edition:
Possession and Exorcism in America in the 1990s
In the blink of God’s eye since Hostage to the Devil was first
published in 1976, nothing has changed on the one hand. And
everything has changed on the other.
Nothing has changed in the process by which an individual is
Possessed by personal and intelligent evil. Nothing has changed,
either, in the requirements for successful Exorcism of a Possessed
individual. All of that remains as described and summarized in the
chapters and cases that follow.
What have changed are the conditions of the society in which we all
now live. To a far greater degree than most of us could have
imagined fifteen or so years ago, a favorable climate for the
occurrence of demonic Possession has developed as the normal
condition of our lives.
In 1976 Satanism was presented, and was probably regarded by most
Americans, as a box office and a bookstore draw. In fact, Hostage to
the Devil was intended as a clear warning that Possession is not-
nor was it ever-some tale of dark fancy featuring ogres and happy
endings. Possession is real; and real prices are paid.
Now, in America of the 1990s, there is little question of demonic
Possession as. an entertainment. Among families everywhere and at
every level of society, there is instead a justifiable fear. Most of
all, this fear is for children. And in point of fact, there are few
families not already affected in some way by Satanism. Even by
ritualistic Satanism-formal ceremonies and rites organized and
performed by individuals and groups in professed worship of Satan.
For obvious reasons, we don’t know everything about organized
Satanist groups, or covens as they are called, in the United States.
But the ample knowledge we do have justifies the fear among average
families for their children and their way of life in the future.
We know, for example, that throughout all fifty states of the Union,
there are now something over 8,000 Satanist covens. We know that in
any major American city or large town, a Black Mass - almost always
organized by covens - is available on a weekly basis at least, and
at several locations. We know that the average membership of
Satanist covens is drawn from all the professions as well as from
among politicians, clergy, and religious.
We know further that within those covens, a certain amount of
“specialization” has come about. One can choose either a
heterosexual or a homosexual coven, for example. In at least three
major cities, members of the clergy have at their disposal at least
one pedophiliac coven peopled and maintained exclusively by and for
the clergy. Women religious can find a lesbian coven maintained in a
similar way. We know, too, that in many public schools in any major
city, it is a virtual surety that there is at least one group of
teenagers engaged in ritualist Satanism. And though we know very
little -again for obvious reasons - about human sacrifice as an
element in ritualist Satanism, we do know that in certain covens in
which confidentiality is an absolute, life-or-death condition, the
penalty for attempting to quit the coven is ritual death by knife,
with one stab wound inflicted for every year of the offending
Hard admissible evidence concerning human sacrifice as an element in
Satanist rituals is limited by the fact that disposal of human
remains has been developed into one of the dark art forms within
Satanist circles through use of portable incinerators and cremetoria;
and because there are no birth or baptismal records - no records of
existence - of intended Victim infants.
Nevertheless, we have enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence
indicating that some thousands of infants and children are
intentionally conceived and born to serve as Victims in Satanist
sacrificial rites. In the world of Satanist worship, boys are
preferred as gender-replicas of the Christ Child. But girls are by
no means excluded.
In this regard, the emergence of child abuse as a characteristic of
our time must claim particular attention. Not all-perhaps not even
most-child abuse originates in ritualist Satanism per se. Each case
must be weighed on the evidence. But the extent of child abuse in
America today and the concrete evidence of Satanism as a factor in
many such cases, begins to give some idea of the degree to which the
inverted standards that are the prime hallmark of Satanist activity
in any form -and of ritualist Satanism above all-have infiltrated
and influenced all levels of our society.
As horrifying as even that much information is - though it is not
all of the information we have, by any means -still more shocking is
the realization of the fact that in this, the America of the 1990s,
one is never far from a center where such activity is carried out on
a routine basis. No one lives far from some geographical area where
some form of ritualistic Satanism is practiced. Ritualistic Satanism
and its inevitable consequence, demonic Possession, are now part and
parcel of the atmosphere of life in America.
That a more favorable climate exists now than ever before for the
occurrence of demonic Possession among the general population is so
clear, that it is attested to daily by competent social and
psychological experts, who for the most part, appear to have no
Our cultural desolation - a kind of agony of aimlessness coupled
with a dominant self-interest-is documented for us in the
disintegration of our families. In the breakup of our educational
system. In the disappearance of publicly accepted norms of decency
in language, dress and behavior. In the lives of our youth,
everywhere deformed by stunning violence and sudden death; by
teenage pregnancy; by drug and alcohol addiction; by disease; by
suicide; by fear. America is arguably now the most violent of the
so-called developed nations of the world.
Parents do have every reason to be concerned, then. For above all,
changes in the conditions in which we have come to live over the
past twenty years or
so have meant that young people are left as the most defenseless
possibility of Possession. Raised more and more in an atmosphere
criticism is not merely out of fashion, but prohibited, they swim
with little help in a
veritable sea of pornography. Not merely sexual pornography, but the
unmitigated self-interest. Whether spoken or acted
Just as the practical impact of large numbers of faithful clergy
among us was once so great, so now are the practical consequences
for us all-believers and nonbelievers alike -of large numbers of
Among the general population of Catholics and Christians of other
denominations, large numbers of people no longer learn even so basic
a prayer as the Our Father. In churches and parochial schools alike,
the subject of Hell is avoided, as one midwestern priest put it, in
order not to put people “on a guilt trip.” The idea of sin is
likewise avoided, according to the same source, in order not to do
“irreparable damage to what has been taught for the past fifteen
That much alone leaves every Christian at a profound and needless
disadvantage in the confrontation with evil that life brings to each
of us. Deeply felt prohibitions against mixing what is termed the
“rational” with the faith that is necessary for the recognition of
evil is, for many, an insurmountable obstacle. And without the grace
that is born of true faith, Satan does what he does best-he ceases
to exist in the eyes of those who do not see.
Still, the most dramatic and immediate harm by far that results from
such an extensive and pervasive lack of instruction falls upon the
true and valid victims of Possession. The individual victims of
personal evil, in their thousands.
The Church is the only element in society with the authority and the
availing remedy to counteract such manifest evil. If, then, the
officials charged with this basic duty of the Church deny the very
legacy of that Church-if they turn their backs even on Scriptural
descriptions of Christ casting out demons; if they characterize
those accounts as false and as literary license - then actual
victims of true demonic activity are left with no hope.
“If the salt has lost its saltiness,” St. Mark quotes Christ,
“wherewith will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have
peace with one another.” In a nutshell, that is the condition of
some of our clergy; and it is the plight of the Possessed in America
of the 1990s. If the Church Fathers no longer believe, then victims
of demonic Possession have nowhere to turn. They have no place to
seek the help they require and to which they have every right as
To combine known, valid Possession with hopelessness must surely
cause the worst kind of insanity, if not death. It is a terrible
condemnation. But at least as terrible is that those very men whose
vocation is to believe and carry out all that the Church has held
since its beginning, have abandoned those they still profess to
serve in the name of Christ.
The circle of helplessness and suffering caused by such unfaith
among churchmen does not stop with ordinary Christians and with the
Possessed, however. It widens much further.
Because of the nature of the outrages that occur in the course of
ritualistic Satanism - some extreme cases of child abuse and serial
killings are but two ready examples - officers of the law frequently
enter the picture. Faced with undeniable evidence of a Satanist
context-evidence such as Pentagrams, broken crucifixes, Satanist
graffiti, and other such paraphernalia-law officers were once able
to call on the help of clergymen expert in dealing with demonic
Such help is rarely available today. Rather, ignorance, disinterest,
disbelief, even adamant unwillingness on the part of many Church
officials to so much as discuss demonic Possession and Exorcism, is
literally the order of the day.
In point of fact, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Order of the
Exorcist-part of every priest’s ordination since time immemorial -
has been omitted from the new rite of priestly ordination, as drawn
up by innovators after 1964 in the wake of the Second Vatican
Because both demonic Possession and its remedy, the Rite of
Exorcism, are thus seen by many officials and their advisors to be
irrelevant-to be as negligible as, say, training in the use of a
medieval astrolabe - many Catholic dioceses, large and small, in the
United States have no official Exorcist.
In some of the more fortunate dioceses, where priests bring in ad
hoc Exorcists from
out of town, the bishops of those dioceses know nothing and want to
know less. But if
they are not exactly benign, at least they turn a blind eye. And as
permission of the
bishop is required for Exorcism to proceed, that blind eye can be,
and is, taken as “tacit permission.”
In other dioceses, however, bishops are expressly opposed to the
rite of Exorcism.
Even in such situations, there are priests who still bring Exorcists
from out of town.
Their canonical justification even here is that the bishop has given
permission.” That is, if
the bishop believed what he should believe as bishop, and further,
if he knew about and recognized as valid a particular case of
demonic Possession, then it can be presumed he would authorize the
Such theological reasoning and canonical shenanigans are not only
tortuous. They present a scenario that comes right out of the
catacombs. For the result is what can only be called an Exorcism
underground. A group of priests in one diocese networks in great and
guarded secrecy with those of other dioceses, in order to fulfill
their obligations to the faithful in need.
Ecclesiastically, this situation gives rise to irregularities, to be
sure. It also leads in some cases to unjustly imposed canonical
sanctions by irate and unbelieving bishops who maintain that their
authority is thus being flouted.
Even in such difficult circumstances, however, the incidence of
Exorcism has been on a steady rise. There has been a 750 percent
increase in the number of Exorcisms performed between the early
1960s and the mid-1970s. Over the same period, there has been an
alarming increase in the number of requested Possessions - that is,
cases in which the Possessed formally request Satan to possess them
-in comparison to the cases of incurred Possessions, which result
from other sorts of activities of the Possessed that facilitate
Each year, some 800 to 1,300 major Exorcisms, and some thousands of
minor Exorcisms are performed. For experts in the field, this is a
sobering barometer of the increase in known cases of Possession. But
it is still more sobering to realize how many more cases of
Possession cannot be addressed at all. The thousands of letters I
receive from people who are desperate for help - Catholic,
Protestant, Evangelical, and unchurched -are eloquent, anguished,
and a steadily mounting testimony to the crisis.
Law officers, meanwhile, are increasingly confronted on every side
by the incontrovertible signs of crimes committed in the course of
ritualistic Satanism or as a grisly result of an individual’s
participation in such rituals. They are very often left out of the
shrunken loop of expert advice and assistance. Advice and assistance
that was once routinely to be found.
To those who are active in the field of Exorcism, and who therefore
acquire a greater than usual ability to uncover and recognize the
marks of ritualistic Satanism for what they are, it is clear that in
many police precincts the Satanist character of a crime is either
relegated to the background or not mentioned at all - at least in
By and large, the police have no other choice. They have neither
competence nor authority in the rarefied, and dangerous field of
Satanist behavior. Beyond the fact that a meaningless recounting of
Satanist details often inspires imitation, any attempt by an
officer-or by anyone, including a trained and authorized Exorcist,
as the five cases recounted in Hostage to the Devil make clear-to
free an individual from a possessing demon places the aspiring
rescuer in great danger of demonic attack.
A similar lack of help is faced as well by therapists,
social workers, and others who, like police, must deal with aberrant
within the present context of life in America, the probability of
occurred in overtly sadistic or otherwise violent, antisocial
individuals is impressively high.
To the problem faced by law officers and others who must deal with
the afflictions of Satanism, the most effective answer would be the
development of a close and balanced collaboration with those who are
knowledgeable and experienced in the confidential, personal, and
dangerous field of Possession and Exorcism.
To develop such a grid of cooperation in the present era, however,
may be next to impossible -given all the circumstances outlined
above, and others besides. Like the Possessed with whom they
regularly come in contact, such professionals are left to deal with
the problem as best they can, using the ultimately inadequate tools
provided in secular codes of law and common behavior.
As usual, however, it is the men and women of the general public who
pay the greatest price. For, even though most of us pass all our
years without coming directly across any Satanist coven as such, and
without being approached with a view to joining a coven, the absence
of any such interdisciplinary grid of cooperation among experts and
professionals has consequences that affect every one of us.
Concrete evidence in a substantial number of crimes - in certain
cases of child abuse again, for example; and in the rising national
plague of seemingly motiveless or unprovoked teen-age murders,
suicides, and rapes - lead some secular investigators to the correct
idea that one ring of child abusers, say, may be organizationally
linked to other such groups.
Yet, as things stand at the moment, there is no lawfully admissible
evidence that a national organization of Satanist groups, or covens,
exists. Or that coven members in the United States and Canada are
consciously and deliberately engaged in a nationwide and
cross-border conspiracy. Indeed, in the United States covens can
claim the constitutional protection of law for their rites and
ceremonies, provided no infraction of that law can be attributed to
them during their professional activities as coven members.
Although the Satanist element in such groups may not be a direct and
official concern of secular law- may, indeed, be officially off
limits to the law-laws are nevertheless broken in the pursuit of
Satanist worship. Understanding that such groups exist in large
numbers from coast to coast, that some of those groups may be linked
with other groups, and that their activities frequently and expertly
turn secular law on its head, would doubtless go some distance in
enlarging the circle of legal competence to deal with some part of
the problem, at least on one level.
If to disbelieve is to be disarmed, the reverse is equally true.
Given the general conditions that surround us in our present
society, it becomes all the more important to realize that even in
the worst conditions, no person can be Possessed without some degree
of cooperation on his or her part. It is extremely important to be
aware of at least some of the factors that are likely to facilitate
collaboration between a possessing demon and the Possessed.
The effective cause of Possession is the voluntary collaboration of
an individual, through his faculties of mind and will, with one or
more of those bodiless, genderless creatures called demons.
While there are no causes of demonic Possession that can be
physically dissected or otherwise reduced to our currently shrunken,
laboratory standards of “objectivity,” it is and always has been
both possible and necessary to speak of those causes with
Demonic Possession is not a static condition, an unchanging state.
Nor does one become Possessed suddenly, the way one might break an
arm or catch the measles.
Rather, Possession is an ongoing process. A process that affects the
two faculties of the soul: the mind, by which an individual receives
and internalizes knowledge. And the will, by which an individual
chooses to act upon that knowledge.
Ample experience with the Possessed has clearly demonstrated that
there are certain identifiable factors that dispose an individual to
collaborate, in mind and will, with a Possessing demon. Disposing
The presence of such disposing factors in a person’s life does not
in itself portend that the person will surely one day be numbered
among the Possessed. At the same time, and with only rare exceptions
in my experience, one or several of these disposing factors are
operational in genuine cases of Possession.
Some of the most common disposing factors have been with us for a
long time, while others are of more recent vintage. Some are in the
nature of “instruments” outside the individual -the Ouija Board, for
example, and the Spiritual Seance. Others are in the nature of
“attitudes,” whether taught or self-learned, that are interiorized
by the [ person-Transcendental Meditation and the Enneagram Method
are two of the most prominent in this category.
In the context of Possession, all disposing factors produce within a
person a condition of those two faculties of soul - mind and will -
that is most aptly described as an aspiring vacuum. Vacuum, because
there is created an absence of clearly defined and humanly
acceptable concepts for the mind. Aspiring, because there is a
corresponding absence of clearly defined and humanly acceptable
goals for the will.
In the case of the Ouija Board, or that of the Seance or TM or the
Enneagram Method, the participants must dispose themselves precisely
with a view to being opened up; to becoming desirous and accepting
of whatever happens along.
The very term, Ouija, for example, is a display of this opening up
for the term is composed of the French and German words - Oui and Ja
- for Yes. The attitude of the participant in Ouija is literally
“Yes, yes.” The mind is to be made receptive to whatever suggestions
or concepts are presented. If participants also dispose their wills
to accept those concepts and act on them, then the predisposing
circuit is complete. The aspiring vacuum is operative and is
powerful enough to flood the mind with appropriate concepts that can
make a l>id for the will’s assent.
Often enough, the mind and the will are opened up in precisely I his
fashion in view of Possession.
Among the vast array of disposing factors likely to lead to
Possession, the Enneagram Method is nowadays far and away the most
common and pernicious. Given the general state of religion, it is
not surprising that the Method’s popularity is enormously enhanced
by its having been enthusiastically adopted and propagated by
Catholic theologians and teachers from the major religious
Orders-Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan -and by some of the
official organs used by the bishops of the United States and Canada
charged with teaching religious doctrine to young and adult
Moreover, because the Enneagram Method is currently presented as an
authorized teaching of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate
-the body that supplies to the parishes and dioceses of the United
States and Canada precisely those materials intended to bring
communities and individuals to maturity of faith - the Method
penetrates the full fabric of religious belief and participation,
literally from cradle to grave.
So effective has the Enneagram Method become in strangling genuine
Catholic faith, that it is now considered by some as the most lethal
threat to date in the campaign being waged to liquidate orthodox
Catholic belief among the faithful.
True to its name - enneagram means “nine points,” or “marks”- the
Enneagram is a nine-pointed mandala-type figure within a circle. The
mandala character of the Enneagram is meant to represent the lotus
and, as described by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, is “a symbol
depicting the endeavor to reunite the self.”
The Enneagram came to the West from a now dead Asianic spiritual
master, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff claimed in turn that
it originated with the Sufi Masters of Islam. It reached the United
States via “spiritual teachers” in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru and in
the early 1970s was first broadcast here from the Esalen Institute
in Big Sur, California, and Loyola University in Chicago. There is
now abundant literature on the subject.
According to Enneagram teaching, there are exactly nine types of
human personality, each of which is represented by one of the nine
points of the Enneagram figure. Each human being is inalterably
confined to one, and only one, of those personality types. But
within his or her type, each person is infinitely self-perfectible.
Two characteristics of the Enneagram Method comprise moral teachings
that are irreconcilable with the basic moral teachings of Catholics
in particular and Christians in general.
The basic presumption presented to the mind by the Enneagram Method
is that each individual is self-perfectible, morally speaking,
within that individual’s personality type.
This presumption is in reality a late revival of an ancient heresy
known as Pelagianism. It is at odds with the basic Christian
teaching that we absolutely depend on the action of divine grace for
all moral perfection. Of ourselves, we are helpless. Not only are we
not infinitely self-perfectible; we will never of ourselves even
escape the grip of our sinful nature. Only supernatural grace
enables us to do that. And that grace is simply gratuitous on God’s
The teaching of the Enneagram Method cuts both God and his grace out
of the loop. In fact, there is no longer any loop at all. The
individual is cut off from effective knowledge of his or her
dependence on God and his supernatural grace for ultimate
perfection. He or she is confined to an inalterable personality
type, which has been laid out by Enneagram Masters.
The second faulty moral characteristic of the Enneagram Method
completes the damage caused by the first. Having fatalistically
accepted one’s own category, the participant is dependent for
perfection on the Enneagramatic exercises suitable for one’s
personality type. In other words, the soul of the Enneagram disciple
is opened out and made docile, with the goal of receiving the
promised self-knowledge congruent with his or her type. The soul
becomes an apt and classic receptor-an aspiring vacuum -ready for
the approach of an intending Possessor.
In such a setting, the intending Possessor may come as what St. Paul
described with dramatic precision as an Angel of Light. But the
danger is all the more insidious for that. For in such a situation,
the condition commonly called “perfect Possession” may be the
As the term implies, a victim of perfect Possession is absolutely
controlled by evil and gives no outward indication, no hint
whatsoever, of the demonic residing within. He or she will not
cringe, as others who are Possessed will, at the sight of such
religious symbols as a crucifix or a Rosary. The perfectly Possessed
will not bridle at the touch of Holy Water, nor hesitate to discuss
religious topics with equanimity.
If convicted of crimes against the law, such a victim will
“guilt,” and even the moral “badness” of the acts committed. More
often than not,
such a person will petition that his physical life be forfeited;
that he be executed for
his crimes. Thus, in his own way, he voices the insistent Satanist
preference for death over life, and the fixated desire to join the
Prince in his kingdom.
Because there is no will left to call the victim’s own -and because
some part of the victim’s will is necessary for any hope of
successful Exorcism - remedy is unlikely to succeed even in the
event the Possession should somehow be uncovered and verified as the
In a very real sense, all of us - the Possessed, the professionals
who must so frequently deal with them; the parents who fear for
their children; everyone who lives in a society degraded by
happenings that were only recently unimaginable to us -all are in
the same boat.
Even such a sober-sided and rationally minded publication as The New
York Times sees fit from time to time to print the most somber
laments and predictions. Take, for example, the March 15,1992,
article by Robert Stone in which he says flatly that “our nation
signifies the virtual apotheosis of the interested self.” And in
which he goes on to point out that “human nature rejects [self
interest] as an end, requiring something higher and finer.” Then,
speaking pointedly of the younger generations among us, Stone raises
a bleak warning: “If we cannot furnish them with a cause beyond the
realization of their individual desires, all [of America’s] past
successes may be rendered meaningless.”
That is but one warning parents all across this land might well see
fit to tack on the door of every recalcitrant bishop, every
They might justifiably tack on those doors as well a reminder of St.
Paul’s admonition to the sorcerer Elymas. On the pretext of
instructing Sergius Paulus, “a prudent man,” Elymas attempted
instead to corrupt him. Never one to suffer such duplicity or to
mince words, always prepared to bare his own soul, Paul, we are
told, “filled with the Holy Ghost,” rounded against the pretender.
“Oh, full of all guile and of all deceit”- Paul said that day-“son
of the devil, enemy of all justice, you do not cease to pervert the
right ways of the Lord.”
Yet, surely the most important reminder to our churchmen is also the
simplest and the most direct. A reminder of the admonition of Christ
himself to his Apostles as they were beset in their little boat by
the fury of a storm on Lake Gennesaret: “How is it that you have no
Of the five Exorcees whose cases are recounted in Hostage to the
Devil, none was perfectly Possessed. Hence, they were all apt
subjects for the Rite of Exorcism. Their fortunes and lives have
varied considerably since their individual Exorcisms. None fell back
Marianne K. took training as a dental technician, married, and lived
for nearly seventeen years. She died of cancer in the early 1980s.
Jonathan Yves is retired from the active priesthood. He entered the
field of computers for a time, but has since abandoned that work and
now lives with relatives. He never married.
Richard O. led a very active life as a counselor and therapist for a
number of years in the United States before he migrated to Europe,
where he died at the end of the last decade.
Jamsie Z. pursued his career in radio and is now semi-retired as the
president of a company he founded.
Carl V. tested his religious vocation in more than one monastery
before he decided to
live almost as a hermit in a remote part of the United States. More
than the other four Exorcises described in Hostage to the Devil, Carl attained what more
than one of his
acquaintances readily call holiness. In the last two or three years
of his life, he was
graced with a special insight into the spiritual anguish of men and
women who sought him out for counsel. Many of them speak of the
radiance in his look and the power he had to bring peace to troubled
Of the Exorcists who presented themselves as hostages to Satan for
the liberation of his victims, Father Peter, Father David M., and
Father Gerald are dead. Father Mark A. is living in a home for
retired priests. Father Hartney F. may be the only one to reach the
age of one hundred. Still living and retired to a nursing home,
Father Hartney is afflicted with severe arthritis and is able to say
Mass only with intense difficulty.
All five of these Exorcists trained several other men and included
in their instruction the wisdom and the selflessness needed for
anyone who would voluntarily give himself as hostage in order to
liberate another from the bondage of Possession.
The epitaph on the tombstone of the gentle Father Gerald is
testimony to the vocation of all these men, and it is witness to the
source of their strength. For that epitaph is from the mouth of the
loving Lord in whose glory Gerald now rests: “Greater love than this
no man hath, than that a man lay down his life for his friend.”
Malachi Martin New York April 1992
How are you fallen from Heaven,
Lucifer! Son of the Dawn!
Cut down to the ground!
And once you dominated the peoples!
Didn’t you say to yourself: •
I will be as high as Heaven!
I will be more exalted than the stars of God!
I will, indeed, be the supreme leader!
In the privileged places!
I will be higher than the Skies!
I will be the same as the Most High God!
But you shall be brought down to Hell, to the bottom of its pit.
all who see you, will despise you. . . .
• Isaiah 14:12-19
. . . “Lord! In your name, even evil spirits are under our control!”
And He said to them: “I saw Satan falling like
lightning from Heaven.
You know: I gave you power . . .
over all the strength of Satan. . . .
Nevertheless, don’t take pride in the fact
that spirits are subject to your control,
but, rather, because you belong to God . . .
The Father has given Me all power. . . .”
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