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 member’s life.

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 “religious bias.”

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, the greatest 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 against the possibility of Possession. Raised more and more in an atmosphere where moral 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 pornography of 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 unfaithful churchmen.

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 years.”

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 afflicted Christians.

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 Possession.

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 Council.

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 “presumed 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 Exorcism.

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 Possession.

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 public reports.

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, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and others who, like police, must deal with aberrant individuals. For, within the present context of life in America, the probability of Possession having 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 theological accuracy.

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 factors, therefore.

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 Catholics.

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 part.

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 result.

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 frequently acknowledge “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 problem.

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 unbelieving churchman.

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 faith?”

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 into Possession.

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 minds.

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.

And 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. . . .”

-Luke 10:17-22

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