“There is no word for it.”
“Is there a thought for it?”
“Yes.” Hearty, his concentration failing momentarily, caught up in
his interrogation, does not see the trap opening in front of him. He
“What is that thought?”
And immediately he and the assistants notice the change in Carl. The
crushed and lifeless look is instantaneously gone. His body relaxes
beneath the hands of the assistants. He draws in a long, deep breath
and stretches himself like a man coming pleasantly out of a deep
sleep. His eyes start to open. He moves his head gently from side to
side. The color is back in his cheeks, his lips are smiling, and his
eyes are quizzical with good humor.
It all happens so unexpectedly that everyone is taken by surprise.
The assistants who have been holding him in grim determination and
fear up to this moment now feel embarrassed. Carl is not even
offended. He seems to be amused but tolerant. “Hey, guys, can I sit
up? It’s okay. It’s okay.” The voice is Carl’s. His behavior is
Hearty is the only one who realizes what has happened. But too
late! He is trapped. He is getting the “thought.” Before he feels
full force of that invasion in his mind, he sees the four assistants
their feet looking at him for some explanation or instruction. Carl
sat up on the couch, one leg thrown easily over the side. He also is
looking at Hearty. All five wear the same quizzical expression: they
seem to be surprised at Hearty’s behavior.
The assistant priest also has turned around to look at Hearty. He,
too, has a questioning look. The look is an appeal to Hearty, but
Hearty is helpless at that moment.
His chief feeling is one of horror: horror at what he sees
happening, horror at his own imprisonment in his mind. The “thought”
is now clear to him in a way he never dreamed: he sees it concretely
in his four assistants and in Carl. They are completely at ease,
their only emotion is wonder that Hearty is not at ease. He wants to
scream at them, to shout: “Watch out! Watch out! They have played on
your desire for normal behavior. They are making it all normal for
you.” But he cannot open his mouth or produce a sound.
As his helplessness grows, he sees more and more clearly what is
happening. No one wants to believe in evil, really, above all, not
in an evil being, an evil spirit. Everyone wants to abolish the
idea. To admit the existence of evil means a responsibility, and no
one wants that responsibility. That is the opening through which
Tortoise crawls, stilling all suspicions, making everything seem
normal and natural. This is the “thought,” the unwariness of the
ordinary human being which amounts to a disinclination to believe in
evil. And, if you do not believe in evil, how can you believe in or
ever know what good is?
Inside in his mind, this realization begins to inflate like a rubber
balloon, widening and swelling in its intensity, increasing his
helplessness side by side with his new understanding.
Now all looking at him are smiling, Carl included. All they see is
Hearty’s long, bony face, his lips split in what they take as a
grimace of embarrassment. And the more effort he makes, the more he
seems to grimace.
Hearty’s torture is at its peak, and his endurance almost ended,
when the assistant priest notices one thing’: Hearty is pressing the
crucifix to the side of his head. The younger priest stops:
something must be wrong. Something must be wrong. Otherwise, Hearty
is striking a comic pose using the crucifix, and Hearty would never
do that during an exorcism or at any other time. What can be wrong?
Then, turning to the others, the assistant priest says: “Something’s
wrong with Hearty.
It is Carl who answers, evenly and in apparent good humor. “Look
yourself, Father. He’s trying to crucify himself. A bald-headed
Christ with spectacles.” And he bursts into a peal of laughter.
The effect is like a gunshot. Everyone suddenly stops. An eerie note
has been struck.
Five heads turn around and five pairs of eyes stare at Carl
The assistant priest takes over. “In the name of the Church and of
Jesus who founded it . . .”
But he is interrupted. Carl begins to protest, apparently in good
humor still. “Father, look!”
“Hold him down!” the priest orders the four assistants. Then to
Carl: “In the name of Jesus, I command you to desist.”
This delay is all Hearty needs. The pressure relents; the “thought”
deflates inside his mind. He is free again. He almost lost, but he
has learned two things. He knows the ruse of normalcy that this
spirit has used to work in Carl for his acceptance, step by step,
year by year. He knows the “thought.” And, second, he knows for
certain now that Carl’s psychic powers, and his own, will be used as
a weapon against him at the slightest opening. His careful
preparation may at least be some defense.
Carl is lying down again, wide awake, under the control of the
assistants once more, his eyes narrowed to slits, his face a sheet
of white anger.
As Hearty gazes at Carl, his mind races back: somewhere he has
touched a raw nerve. Somehow he has almost found the central
weakness of the spirit that calls itself Tortoise. He has to pursue
this line. His next question is peremptory.
“Where were you leading Carl?”
“To knowledge of the universe.” The words come out from between
Carl’s tightly clenched teeth.
There is no answer at first. Then slowly and grudgingly the words
come. “The knowledge that humans are just a part of the universe.”
“How do you mean a ‘part’ merely?”
“That they are parts of a greater physical being.”
“The universe of matter?”
“And of psychic forces?”
“And that this was creator of humans?”
“A personal creator?”
“A physical creator?”
“A psychophysical creator?”
“Yes. Indeed, yes.”
“Why did you lead Carl in this way?”
“Because he would lead others.”
“Why lead others in this way?”
“Because then they belong to the Kingdom.”
“Why belong to the Kingdom?”
Those looking at Carl begin to feel that he is about to explode in
some way. The words are coming out of him with greater harshness. He
draws a breath for almost every word, so that each word comes out on
a blast of breath. His arms, legs, and torso are writhing more and
more. The assistants hold him down, but cannot hold him still. Now
with that last question, all see the explosion coming. It starts
building with Carl’s response to Hearty’s last question.
“Why, Priest? Why? You stand there with your bald head, your
scorched testicles, your smelly clothes, your yellowing teeth, your
stinking guts, and you ask us why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” The word
comes out on the crest of ever-louder shouts.
“WHY?” he finally shouts at the top of his voice, his head raised to
stare at Hearty. “Why? Because we hate the Latter. We hate. Hate.
Hate. We hate those stained with his blood. We hate and despise
those that follow him. We want to divert all from him and we want
all in the Kingdom where he cannot reach them. Where they cannot go
with him. And we want you, Priest! Because we have Carl. He is ours.
And no power can undo our hold on him. No power. No power!”
Carl falls back, his eyes bulging, sweat pouring down his face and
Hearty all this time remains utterly still. He yet has to maneuver
the spirit into a direct clash.
He now plays his trump card; he addresses himself to Carl.
“Carl, in the name of Jesus who saved you and who will save you, I
command you, listen to me.”
Carl’s body begins to go cold. The assistants tell that to Hearty.
He shakes his head and goes on.
“Carl! We know you are prisoner. We know that. But a part of you is
free and has never been touched. Speak to us. Communicate with us.
Hearty is gambling on the same telepathic power in Carl that had
called to him for help, to reach out now in some crucial sign of
cooperation with good, a sign of his deepest will turned against
“Carl, I never told you all the years of my student days. I never
told you. I am a receiver. I can receive. You can communicate with
me now. Please. We need your cooperation. Just one clear effort and
the whole thing is over. Please, Carl! Please!”
Carl’s body is now quite calm, his head thrown back on the couch,
his arms and legs limp, his body soaked with perspiration. Hearty
looks at him, waiting, voiding his own mind, hoping and waiting.
Then the message starts to come. It wisps across Hearty’s “screen,”
at first in vague waves, then in clearer outline. It is an
experience of emotions and emotional ideas each entwined with the
other. It invades Hearty’s psyche, stealing into all the nooks and
corners of his conscious being. It is unlike any message he could
have imagined. He is undergoing the feelings and desolation of ideas
that beset someone exiled to a baleful land, no warmth, no love, no
togetherness, no home, no smile, only the automatic gyrating of
controlled beings. Animals frozen by blinding light or tumbling into
a private abyss where their free-fall scream never meets its own
echo and from which their desires never escape to fulfillment.
It is Carl’s message, his picture of what his bondage is like. He is
faced with the suicide of those who die denying they want to live
on, or were ever made to live by love. It is an instantaneous tale
of sadness in living and utter misery in dying.
Carl has done the trick. Translated into words he is saying to
Hearty: “See! This is my exile from love, my slavery to a degrading
psychism, and my final tumbling into the aloneness of Hell forever.”
“Jesus can save you, Carl,” Hearty begins. “Jesus . . .”
He gets no further. The “message” stops abruptly. Hearty shakes his
head. A warning word from his assistant priest makes him focus his
vision on Carl. Carl has opened his eyes and speaks in a gentle
whisper to the two assistants holding him by the arms. Apparently he
asks them in a normal voice to let him sit up and “watch the
Father.” The two release his arms. “It sounded so normal,” one of
the assistants said regretfully later.
Carl fixes his eyes on Hearty, a slow grin of delight comes over his
face. Hearty is no longer “opaque” to him. For the first time, he is
looking into Hearty’s mind.
In retrospect, it now seems to Hearty that Carl’s minimal freedom
from constraint and his telepathic communication with Hearty, while
he was not yet free of possession, provided an ideal avenue for a
direct attack on Hearty.
Carl is now to be used as a medium for the final Clash. Against
Tortoise, Hearty now has no ally. He sees the purpose in Carl’s
life. He knows. He braces himself.
Hearty’s first, frightening realization is that his “censor” bond is
gone: he cannot block at will, as always before this, any message
from the outside or any perception by an outsider into his mind and
inner condition. Now, for the first time in his life, he is an
unwilling “receiver.” This he has not foreseen. He has thought that
as long as his will was free his censor bond would be at his
disposal. But his protection is gone. He is naked. And each part of
his inner man is successively invaded, seized, and polluted. A
malevolent intelligence is scanning the innards of his very self.
That attack finally wells up and pours over him. Hearty is filled
with a disgust and loathing he cannot control. He starts to retch.
In the Clash of his will with the evil spirit, he is whipped with a
ferocity he could never have imagined. Hearty’s torture comes from
himself: he seems to be an onlooker watching his own punishment.
According to the tape and the accounts of his assistants, this
crisis of Hearty’s lasts from three to five minutes. To Hearty it is
an age. As he looks into Carl’s eyes, he no longer sees their color,
shape, or expression. Carl is in every sense the medium of evil.
Hearty becomes a passive one, the “viewed.” He “stops seeing” for
that time and “is only seen.”
The keynote of that Clash is an “either/or.” From the beginning it
is conveyed to Hearty subtly that, if he submits, if he renounces
his opposition to the evil spirit, all will be well; the attack will
cease. If not, he will be destroyed.
Now, in one hurting glare of exposure, he sees his weaknesses laid
bare: the tawdry logic he received in his philosophy training, the
self-confident and ignorantly treated facts of theology, the
self-indulgence and onetime hypocrisies of his piety, the useless
pride in his priesthood-all is so much drivel and dross, a dump of
human trash that withers under the fire of that gaze looking in at
him and probing every darkest cranny of his weakness.
“For as long as it lasted,” Hearty relates, “it was a brutal partial
possession of me. All that remained finally free was my will. And
even that . . .” Hearty always leaves this thought unfinished.
The searching gaze continues like a filthy and malicious hand pawing
each of his
faculties contemptuously. Even his will is fingered and stripped of
the motives he had
always relied upon. His will is the last bastion. It holds. But now
he sees all its apparent strength torn from it like so many
cardboard coverings from an inner treasure: his sensuous enthusiasm
for beautiful ceremony, his esteem of good people, his compassion
for the sick and the helpless, his pride in being a priest and a
man, his satisfaction in his Welsh culture, his reliance on the
approval of parents, teachers, superiors, his bishop, the Pope, the
consolation of prayer and submission to law. All are torn brutally
aside. And only his willing self holds at last. His soul as a
willing being stands naked of all the supports and reasons of a
lifetime, scrutinized by the unwavering gaze of high, unlovely, and
“But this was all by the way,” Hearty explains in the offhand way
survivors of terrible sufferings speak of certain indescribable
moments. “The aim was to make my free choice impossible.”
The only external sign of his experience is seen by his assistants
in the way Hearty holds his crucifix between him and Carl: his two
arms straight out in front of him, his eyes level with the crossbar
of the crucifix, so that he is looking past the head and over the
arms of the crucified. In the beginning of Hearty’s agony, the
crucifix faces Carl. After about two minutes or so, Hearty turns the
crucifix around so that the crucified faces Hearty himself. We can
only guess that then his real crisis starts. It lasts only a moment,
a never-ending moment in which he knows no time, and suffering seems
For the onlookers, meanwhile, Carl never seems to change. He sits
upon the couch, his eyes fixed on Hearty’s, his body immobile. “His
eyes were like hollow blanks,” said one assistant. And several of
them are reminded of ancient statues in which soulless eyes of
antiquity turn upon the banality of life with a barren gaze.
Hearty is reduced by that gaze to an effort of sheer survival,
holding on fiercely to his will and resolve. The worst is just
beginning. His mind, imagination, and memory are now out of his
control. He thinks, he remembers, he imagines what the “others” want
him to think, remember, and imagine. He is now treated to himself in
a humiliating way. He sees his world as a globe dotted with lands
and oceans, with cities and houses and people, covered with
vegetation and sand and animals, the whole hanging in an atmosphere;
and “above” it, somehow or other, “God” or “Jesus” or “Heaven,” with
little tenuous lines running down to each human being. It is all now
so laughable, so childish, so contemptible, so superstitious-this is
conveyed to him like a cosmic joke turned on him with a cackle of
And in that sound he feels all meaning to his life is flowing away
into derisive nothingness. What he had ambitioned to be, what he had
become, the values he had lived by-all now seems an ugly, useless
comedy of illusions. “I never meant anything, never came to
anything, never was anything.” Hearty’s mind drummed with the words.
And what now seems the core of that childish view is the way he
always saw Earth as a collection of things, of separate and
disparate little objects, men, animals, plants, stones. “Wrong!
Wrong! Wrong!” are the echoes in his mind. “Wrong and childish from
the beginning.” The sadness and chagrin at his weakness and
childishness are about as great as he can bear, when that vision is
swept away and a new series of images is presented to him in an aura
not of ridicule, but of approbation and applause. The aura of
It is the globe again, together with all the objects in it-men,
women, animals, plants, cities, oceans. But now all exist in an
organized system. Everything is interconnected.
There is really no difference between one thing and anything else.
mitochondria in cells that convert oxygen into energy up to the
largest land masses,
the most complicated systems of living societies. He is shown it
all. And all, land, oceans, animals, humans, plants are one living
organism clad in the shell of breathable atmosphere. Psychic forces
bind it all together, like ethereal blood running in the veins of
some unimagined giant. It is a self-creating, self-protecting,
self-developing thing. A unique being. Earth as mother, as womb, as
god, as tomb, as a whole unity protected by its own shell and its
own strength, as all there is.
Now and again that globe’s outlines swirl into the form of a snail
or a tortoise clad in its own protective hard and furrowed shell.
This sight swamps Hearty’s mind with intellectual satisfaction and
clothes his imagination with images of harmony, freedom, truth.
His memory is in abeyance. He is only in the present moment, and he
can anticipate no future. It is irresistible for all his
powers-except his embattled will. Naked and, as it were, standing
alone in the shadow of its own unfulfilled desire, his willing self
remains aloof-brooding, wavering, doubtful-but aloof, not yet
Only one element in that vision of human life keeps him from
embracing it. It is its loveless character. Something inside him
keeps crying out, “I need love. I won’t take less.” At the last
central pinpoint of his free being Hearty stands and holds,
rejecting the ultimatum, the “either/or” thrown at him.
But immediately some physical strength starts giving way in him
under a series of shooting pains that jab at the muscles in his arms
and legs. The strain is unbearable. His fingers are loosening their
grip on the crucifix. He ceases to hold it rigidly upright with the
crucified facing him. It wavers and swings a little to the left, a
little to the right. The light glances off the metal head of the
crucified and off the small notice over it which carries the letters
“INRI” (“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”).
In Hearty’s world at that moment there is no such thing as an
accident. The apparently accidental shining of the metal sparks a
deep instinct in him. He begins to say, at first internally, then
audibly: “Jesus . . . Jesus . . . Jesus . . . Jesus . . . Jesus . .
When his words become audible, he is already over the worst. A new
force sweeps across his mind and imagination, blowing to nothingness
the entire fabric of loveless belief thrust at him as his guarantee
of peace. Hearty feels for an instant some crushing pain within him:
in his success he has had to sacrifice something-he does not yet
know what-some intimate joy of being human, some one personal desire
or inclination, some indulgence in the comeliness of human beauty
and symmetry, some happiness he otherwise would be able to have
legitimately in his human living. Some deeply personal fiber of his
will has been seared.
The switch of Hearty’s concentration from himself to Carl is
instantaneous and “murderous”-his own word-in its intent. He now
wants to murder that which holds Carl. The assistants see his head
lift and his eyes burn with some fire of anger and willfulness. “I
honestly thought for an instant that he had gone mad,” the assistant
priest relates frankly.
Hearty’s first words after the Clash still sound vicious today on
“Murderer! Be murdered now! In your turn!”
Carl falls back on the couch. The assistants hold him, but Carl’s
struggle is not physical now. In a weak and pathetic voice he says
only: “Opaque . . . opaque . . . opaque . . .”
“Evil Spirit,” Hearty continues, “you will go away from this
creature, Carl. You will cease to possess his soul and body. In the
name of Jesus you will cease. Now.”
Then he turns to Carl in his remarks. “Carl, you have to pay the
price. But Jesus is with you. Insofar as you are not under the
control of evil, you will renounce step by step each of your former
consents. Each one of them.”
Carl shakes with terror. He has begun to perspire. He says nothing.
“The vision, Carl! You will see it again. You will see it.”
Carl’s eyes are fixed now on Hearty’s own. They bulge with fear and
“You will see it. You will reject it!”
“N-n-n-n-n-n-n-no!” Carl suddenly stutters. “No. Please! No . . .”
The words on the tape trail away incoherently.
“Renounce it, Carl,” Hearty says sharply, “even though you cannot
say so in words.”
Carl begins to babble and moan, then stops. Foam seeps out of his
Hearty goes on mercilessly.
“Carl! Your psychic powers! Carl! Renounce them, insofar as they are
products of the Evil One. In the name of Jesus, Carl! Renounce
Carl is no longer looking at Hearty. He has turned his head to one
side and keeps looking at the wall to his far left.
“Turn his head around.” Hearty’s command is curt. The assistants do
so. Carl’s head is boiling hot and bathed in sweat.
“Now, Carl! For the final renunciation. Look at Tortoise, Carl!” The
assistants feel from now on that they are listening to a verbal
description of an invisible scene. Only Hearty and Carl seem to be
in view of it; both are looking over toward the wall of the room.
“Look at that Evil One, Carl! The Tortoise, your all, your friend,
your master, your devil, your death, that Evil One is about to be
destroyed for you by Jesus.”
Hearty stops. The others see him turn his head aside, as if
listening to some instructions; they see a wave of new light shine
in his eyes. Then he looks steadily at Carl again.
“You will see that Evil Spirit for what it is, Carl!”
Hearty pauses abruptly as if he has been interrupted. Then: “No! Not
in anybody’s name, anybody who merely lives and dies.” Another
pause. Then: “Only one who lives and dies and lives again. Only in
his name, Carl.”
Carl’s eyes are now full of some scene which only he sees. He is not
focusing on Hearty. And even though Hearty is looking straight at
Carl, he is obviously watching something more than Carl. The
assistants can only guess at its identity, but they are as sure as
people watching a theater audience that Carl and Hearty are watching
something they cannot see.
At a certain point Hearty draws near the couch. Hearty speaks in a
low, confident tone. He is praying:
“Lord Jesus Christ, who said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ act now to
purify your servant, Carl, and save him from the Pit and all those
who fall into it in everlasting death.”
Carl’s attitude has changed. He is relaxing. The tension is being
wiped off his face. A faint smile of recognition creeps over his
mouth and eyes.
Hearty bends low over Carl and whispers in his ear: “Carl! Carl!
Look at me, if you can.”
There is a small wait. Then Carl turns his head and looks at Hearty.
His eyes are warm. And even though they are bloodshot and tired,
behind them Hearty can read Carl’s look, his personal regard.
“Carl, repeat these words after me. As much, as quick as you can.
Put your heart into them. It’s the last help before your final
Carl is looking at him steadily. Hearty says quickly, pausing after
each phrase so that Carl can repeat it:
“Lord Jesus, if I must die, let me die. If I live, it will be your
will. As long as I remain in life, let me abide in your presence, so
completely that, despite my sins and my enemy, when I die, I merely
go from your presence to your presence. Amen.”
Carl repeats every word. But at the “Amen,” his eyes are glazing
over. His face is hardening. His head jerks back on the couch.
“Hold his head,” Hearty tells the assistants.
He stands up and takes his place at the foot of the couch, holding
the crucifix up in front of him. This is the last stage of the
Hearty today is loath to go into details of what Carl and he saw at
that moment. Clearly from the tapes, it was some vision of Tortoise,
but not as in the Aquileia mosaic medallion, and not simply as the
animal whose name Tortoise took as his own. Hearty gave the nearest
measure I could get of the character of what they both saw when he
commented that only because something of human joy had been seared
in him was he able to see Tortoise, and, to use his words, “not have
a brainstorm or a heart attack or go into permanent shock.”
It was apparently some view of Tortoise as a mass of suffering and
punishment illuminated and glowing with a hatred and vicious
contempt. It was Tortoise as an angel who had been damned to eternal
pain by love itself and who only increased in hatred of love
according as his pain increased with the infinity of eternity.
“Damnation unrelieved in any way,” Hearty commented in one of our
Hearty viewed Tortoise as a threatening enemy, but Carl was now
seeing Tortoise, his master, who held him in his actual condition of
After a little waiting, Hearty speaks with evident urgency.
“This is Tortoise, Carl, your friend and master. This is the world
our enemy would have us accept.” He stops and waits.
Carl never takes his eyes off Hearty now.
“Enclosed and shut up within its hard shell, Carl. Imprisoned in
Hell. It’s the same. Only-“ Carl interrupts with a choking sound.
Hearty goes on: “Only multiplying its own shape in endless
succession, soul-killing succession, banal as graves in a row,
Carl is beginning to shake again. Hearty assures the assistants with
a look, then he continues:
“This is our enemy, Carl. The one who possesses you and has
fascinated you and wills you to die the death of the Pit.”
If Carl is listening and taking it all in, he is far from uneasy or
fearful. His eyes are full of the old fire. There is a look on his
face that reminds Hearty of the “twist” or askewness that Carl used
to acquire during his trances in his heyday as a psychic.
Hearty’s voice gets a special edge to it. “It is all deception,
Carl. And it is all about to be destroyed.”
Hearty is interrupted by a sound that shakes him severely. Carl has
started to cry in sobs. For that moment, Hearty recalls, “I felt
like the most uncouth and cruel person that ever existed. I was
hurting a baby, it seemed to me.”
He forced himself to go on.
“It must be destroyed, Carl. And your Non-Self aura, your
non-thingness, your voices, your visions, all will go into the Pit
of Oblivion with that Tortoise.”
Carl is beginning to struggle against the restraining hands of the
Hearty grits his teeth for the last effort. He has been on his feet
now for over 21 hours.
His legs are tired. He has shooting pains across his back. His chest
is stiff. His arms
and fingers ache from holding the
crucifix. His voice is hoarse. The migraine is splitting across his
forehead still. Within him, the strange, deep wound in his soul
bleeds. All his physical pain is only a dull accompaniment in the
background of that inner agony so sharp and present and intimate to
him. He will not recover from that wound for a long time.
Carl is trying to get up, to stretch out his arms.
“Nothing can save you, Evil Spirit. And nothing can hold you against
the power of Jesus. As you took the form of Tortoise for this
creature of God, so as Tortoise depart and fall back where you
belong, with your Non-Self aura, with your deceptions, with your
lies, with your death.”
Hearty makes the sign of the cross over Carl slowly and very
deliberately three times.
“Sink into the primeval slime of your punishment where God thrust
you after your own rebellion. Be dissolved in the mud and waters and
air and fire of that Hell from which Jesus saved Carl and all human
beings. Depart!” Hearty pauses. Then in a loud shout: “Depart!
Unclean Spirit! In the name of Jesus, depart! Go!”
“DON’T GO!” Carl screams. “Don’t leave-me now. I cannot live without
you. Don’t go! Please! My friend! Master!”
Hearty’s voice breaks in sharply.
“Look at it, Carl! Look at this chair!”
Carl swivels around, twisting his head. Then he starts to groan: the
chair, he sees, has no aura. The Non-Self glow is gone. The chair is
there. That is all. Simply there. In all its isness. Just a thing.
Just a chair. Frantically he looks around the room. As he sees it
now, all the lights are out. Things. Things. Things. Things. Among
more things. Yellowed ceiling. Faded rose-colored wallpaper. Oaken
door and windowsill, parquet flooring. The table with candles and
crucifix. The bodies of the assistants and of Hearty. Six brutish
lumps. Clods of flesh standing in a darkened world of crass things.
Carl screams and screams until darkness and unconsciousness smother
When he forced Carl to look at the objects around him-chairs,
windows, flooring, people-Hearty already knew he had vanquished
Tortoise. As with any crisis that has carried with it the threat of
death, there had been at its ending an abrupt sense of a “lifting
off” of stifling oppression; it was the same sudden relief that
Father Gerald and his assistants described when Girl-Fixer was
beaten and Richard/Rita was freed. It was something akin to the
feeling so often recalled by those who were in London the morning
everyone expected the final wave of Hitler’s blitz that would crush
London altogether. In previous weeks, the whining rain of bombs had
brought unending destruction, death, mutilation, and growing
helplessness. But on that morning of expected horror the eastern sky
was empty, tranquil. There was a lifting off of dread. There was the
sound of silence. It was over. They had defended and persevered and
survived. They knew.
And when he forced Carl to see it too, the rest of Hearty’s fears
for Carl were in large measure justified again. When Carl screamed
as Hearty showed him all the things in the room, Hearty knew that,
along with Tortoise, the more spectacular elements that had gilded
Carl’s real psychic abilities had left him. The “Non-Self” aura was
gone, as Hearty knew it would be.
With it, Hearty was sure, had gone all those elements that
Tortoise-under Hearty’s relentless prodding during the
Confrontation-had admitted to producing: astral travel, bilocation,
and all the rest. Remaining were only those more modest talents Carl
had possessed since his early childhood and which he still possesses
So desperate was Carl’s fear to let go of those privileges and of
all his life structure
built around them that he cried in pain at the departure even of
purest evil. He
screamed in horror as all that he had been convinced was “normal”
left him forever. He saw again only what everyone sees. Carl in that
moment knew with his heart and soul that every warning Hearty had
given him was accurate. He had listened to Hearty’s warnings before
the exorcism only with a cool and detached mind, because with his
will he had chosen to follow the fascinating secrets Tortoise
offered to share with him.
Now, with Tortoise expelled and the truth of Tortoise’s identity
crystal clear and admitted by him, a frightful disillusionment ran
through Carl with the speed of an electric shock, searing and
twisting all his thinking and remembering. This was the shock Hearty
had tried to warn Carl of, the shock he was not sure Carl would
survive with his sanity, perhaps not even with his life.
The doctor who had assisted at the exorcism continued with Carl’s
case. Carl remained unconscious for several hours. When he came to,
he was unable to converse. He barely reacted to any stimulus and was
seemingly alienated from his surroundings.
He seemed to recognize no one. But there was no trace of violence.
Carl was transferred to a private clinic, where he remained for just
over 11 months. At first, he was not able to care for himself at
all. He remained in bed all the time, motionless and apparently
caring about nothing. Little by little, he regained awareness of his
surroundings. But, even with returning awareness, it was quickly
evident that, if he had not lost his memory, it was blurred and
During the first few months of his convalescence, Hearty spent hours
sitting by Carl’s bedside. Sometimes he read excerpts from the daily
newspaper, or a chapter from some book about current events, or
prayers from the ritual book. At other times, Hearty talked to Carl,
for all the world as if the sick man were listening and
understanding every word, even though for quite a while there never
was the slightest sign or response from Carl.
All this while, as he read or talked by Carl’s bedside, Hearty was
probing psychically for some stirring in Carl, some little break in
the congealed immobility that now enveloped Carl’s spirit, some
motion out of that deadening passivity he “felt” held Carl captive
now that he was free of Tortoise. Each time he left Carl, Hearty
carried away with him to haunt his waking hours the memory of that
still, drawn face and Carl’s staring eyes.
One afternoon at the end of a short visit, as he opened the bedroom
door to leave, Hearty turned back to wave goodbye to the man he left
each day lying inert, impassive on his bed. But what he saw now held
him rooted in the doorway. Carl had turned his head. He was
returning Hearty’s look. His eyes shone with meaning and recognition
Hearty remained still for some silent seconds, receiving the first
weak but unmistakable indication that Carl would mend. He said Mass
in Carl’s room every two or three days after that. Speech and
movement came back slowly to Carl. It was some weeks before he could
receive Holy Communion. And it was still longer before he would
venture out into the sunlight.
Today Carl is well, but so changed in appearance and so frail that
no one who had seen him on that sunny road to Aquileia would easily
recognize him now as the same man.
“I want to tell you the truth as I now see it,” Carl wrote” later to
• Here, this letter is condensed from its original version. Omitted
are some of the long, technical discussions with his students and
colleagues, as well as personal references that concern former
students and colleagues. “I was wrong in my personal instructions to
each one of you about your lives.
“All through my childhood and youth, I had an affinity with God.
Especially after my first vision.
“I’m certain God was there. Somewhere. But then came Princeton.
Stanford. Tubingen. Cambridge. London. After that, my guruship and
the efflorescence of the gifts I had. I became confused. Somehow I
lost God. At the same time, I wanted to help. Really to help. To be
of service. All around me, I could see floating neon images of pain,
of putrefaction, of illness, of corruption and decay. I saw strange
people who did not give a damn. Give a damn, please, I said. They
took God’s name in vain. As I did. They were bright and cold and
hard as storage ice. They liked gratuitous evil and upholstered
“I signed a moral contract to change all that. I was young,
eager-beaver. I was determined to succeed. All up-tight, you might
say. I was going to be a good psychologist, an honest and
conscientious and understanding servant of mankind.
Servant. Not slave. And then I was going to be a good
parapsychologist. And then a
“I groped, even prayed, searched, never took no for an answer. And
I found that lyrical liar, the Devil.
“I knew with whom I had to deal, of course. But, first of all, the
Devil was not the Devil preached by the Churches. There was no room
in my universe for a principle of Evil. Not at that time of my life.
And, I thought, the bond and contract would be, could be temporary.
Of course, it could not be. But when pride gets hold of your mind
and heart, you cannot see clearly.
“Solemnly and of my own free will, I wish to acknowledge that
knowingly and freely I entered into possession by an evil spirit.
And, although that spirit came to me under the guise of saving me,
perfecting me, helping me to help others, I knew all along it was
“After my conversations with Father F. [Hearty], I put everything
into perspective intellectually. And I must ascribe my liberation,
or, to speak correctly, my desire to want to be free (because I was
not allowed any simple desire to be free) I must ascribe all this to
what Father F. calls the grace of God and the salvation of Jesus.
“I never enjoyed astral body-travel, only the illusion of it. I
never achieved the privilege of a double-if that be a privilege.
Bilocation never succeeded, never was a fact for me. Of myself, I
could not see things happening hundreds of miles away, read the
future, see the past, peer with minute detail into people’s minds. I
could give the illusion of these only by being prompted by someone
who could see from a great distance, could read the future, had a
detailed knowledge of the past, could peer into people’s minds. Any
idea of reincarnation I championed was an attempt to trick. I was
not a shaman. Just a sham.
“I never willed to be rid of possession until the day that Father F.
explained my basic error about consciousness and spirit.
“My central error, which was both intellectual and moral in
character, concerned the nature of ordinary human consciousness.
Like many before me and many others nowadays, I found that with
rigid and expert training I could attain a fascinating state of
consciousness: a complete absence of any particular object (in my
awareness). I found I could attain a permanency on this plane of
consciousness. It finally became a constant environment within me,
during my waking hours, no matter what I was doing. It seemed to be
pure and therefore sinless, undifferentiated and therefore
universal, simple and therefore without parts-and therefore
incorruptible and unchangeable, and therefore eternal.
“My error started when I took this psycho-biological condition -of
life as the life of spirit. Consciousness basically means awareness,
being alert. And such awareness can be measured by certain
physiological data. It can be phenomenally described, because it is
“If it were not for one further mistake, that initial error would, I
believe, have been corrected as time went on-simply because finally
the scientific imperative would have taken over and forced us to
look at the facts in the face.
“With the passage of time, I began to experience a further state of
consciousness. It is difficult to put it into words. Before that, I
was in a sort of state of suspension about my aware state. I was
aware that I was in awareness. One day, I realized through a faculty
which I have not been able to identify, that there was some other
activity taking place which was so refined and subtle that, while I
was dimly aware of it, I knew absolutely nothing about it-what it
was, where it was, what it accomplished, whether it began and ended,
or whether it had always existed, did then exist continuously, and
would go on existing- whether I was aware of it or not.
“It lay beyond all my developed capacity to reach. It was utterly
transcendent. Indeed, this was its mark; and this is how I realized
its differentiation from my other levels of consciousness. They, no
matter how subtle, were subject finally to my senses-at least to
representation in images drawn from my sense-life. This further
state of consciousness was not so subject.
“But this was sufficient indication for me, I thought. I took this
as the absolutely spiritual state of my being. I took it for granted
that religiously speaking I was out beyond that Dark Night of the
Soul described by John of the Cross and well into something the
Eastern mystics had called by various names like satori and samadhi.
The fact that, at least in afterthought and reflection, I could
measure and quantify this state of consciousness never struck a
warning note. And that was crass enough on my part. What confirmed
me in my error was that I refused to take into account the fact that
this state was in complete disjunction from all historical
religion-and without any chance of linking up with historical
religion. It was, in other words, pure subjectivism. And from then
on, the door was open to any influence and any distortion. What
crawled through that door was Evil Spirit. Tortoise.
“I did arrive at part of the truth about spirit-the nether part, the
negative part. But in the flux of spirit life, that was the only
part it uncovered. And it necessarily attacked the human in me. For
it is not that I am part animal, part human. I am not a human
animal. I am a human spirit. We are of the spirit in its fluid,
non-static, non-quantifiable existence. And, in matters of spirit,
nether and upper, bad and good, these are terms that refer to its
approximation to or distance from the source and sum of all spirit.
“I have been the subject of the cleverest of illusions: that spirit
was a static quantum of more or less determinable dimensions; that
Christian authorities had obscured the truth about the spirit; and
that only by parapsychology and preternatural gifts could one arrive
at the truth.
“The truth is that all along, despite my triumphal career until
Aquileia, since the advent of possession I had a sorrow I could not
shake. Such a deep sodden sadness. I looked for joy everywhere and
lived beneath a winter moon that made a carcass of all my days.
“My advice for all who engage in the study and pursuit of the
simple but vitally important: do not confound effects with causes,
or systems with
what maintains the systems. Do not take it that a photograph of
Kirlian dots or auras
is a photograph of spirit. Do not accept the feats of seance mediums
as results of spirit
from God. But do not, on the other hand, tamper with or treat of
parapsychological phenomena as if you could do this without
ultimately impinging upon spirit. You cannot. And that fact will,
depending upon what you do, be to your detriment or to your
Good, Evil, and the Modern Mind
The surest effect of possession in an individual-the most obvious
and striking effect common to all possessed persons, whether
observed in or apart from Exorcism-is the great loss in human
quality, in humanness.
Curiously enough, the difficulty in talking nowadays about
possession and in describing its progress and effects in those
attacked does not come from the weird, bizarre, or “unimaginable”
happenings that may accompany possession.
The difficulty comes, instead, from the insistence of latter-day
opinion makers that the religious view of good and evil is outdated;
that the personality of each man, woman, and child exists only as a
cross section of single traits and attributes best revealed in
scores we achieve in psychological tests; that the truest and purest
models for our behavior come from “lower animals” and from “natural
man”-a mythical invention that has never existed and that we cannot
The difficulty is increased by additional factors. There is an
ongoing insistence that religion and any form of worship and all
ideals based openly on .Christian morality should be banished from
public, tax-supported institutions-and that this is “objective” and
“democratic.” In our mass entertainment-motion pictures, television,
novels, theater-there are no hero figures and no concept of right
and wrong, of good and evil. We are shown human life as alternating
between a bleak despair and a desperate struggle with banal forces
against which our only allies are ourselves and our own resources.
But the Christian viewpoint is still the viewpoint of the majority.
It still guarantees that we are, each of us, whole persons, not
bundles of separate reactions to be studied in cross sections and
pushed to the outer limits of our endurance in a topsy-turvy world.
The core of the Christian view of individual men and women is that
our humanness-our essence and value as separate and whole people-is
treasured and protected by the spirit of Jesus. It is, in fact, to
reestablish that humanness and its integrity that an exorcist
presents himself freely in the name and with the power of Jesus. He
makes himself a hostage-as Jesus presented himself as hostage for
each one of us-in a battle for one person’s humanness. He will win
that battle only by the strength of his faith in Jesus and with the
fiber of his individual will attached to Jesus’ salvation.
In common sense and in the popular mind, a distinction is always
made between human being and humanness. We find a universal
agreement about the general appearance and the functional capacity
that indicate human being. A certain physical form derived from
another human being with the same general form. Certain normal
functions: eating, sleeping, walking, talking, laughing, thinking,
willing, dying. Certain capacities: learning, growing, inventing,
planning, sympathizing, and so on. One or more of these may be
lacking or in a reduced state. But a certain number of them enable
us to describe their possessor as human.
As is clear from some of the cases reported in this book and from
many others known, possessed people can and do, at least for a time,
function reasonably efficiently as human beings, in their jobs and
in society in general. Actually, the more perfect the possession,
the less likely any disturbance in one’s functioning on the level of
human being. Jay Beedem, whom Father Mark seemed to uncover as one
perfectly possessed, was a model of cool efficiency.
But between that condition of human being and what, for want of a
more accurate name, we call humanness, we always make a distinction.
In humanness we include qualities that adhere to the inner self and
are interconnected with an appreciable outer way of living and
doing. These qualities, taken together, confer a commonly recognized
aura, a decor, a configuration of winsomeness and worth on the whole
person.’ The quality of humanness reaches a striking degree of
fullness in some of us; when it does, it seems to give a shimmering
tonal halo to our communication with those around us, and others
feel in such a person a temperament that eagerly responds to fragile
but intimately precious values.
Humanness is a grace, not necessarily graceful but never ugly; not
necessarily holy-in the religionists’ sense of that word-but never
obscene; not necessarily sophisticated by “higher culture,” but
always with its own refinement; not necessarily dominant or
predominant or dominating, but in itself indomitable. It makes its
possessor a connected human being, lovable to some, alive to all
others, yet with a personal regnancy; he loves himself but no
genuinely vile egotism blinds him to others; he loves others, but no
hatred of self makes him a pawn or a plaything for them.
We always see humanness as a variable quality. Sometimes we think
not all have it. Some seem to have little of it. All who possess it,
have varying degrees of it, are never constant in it, and from time
to time fail in it completely. And, in ourselves, even when we have
done “as well as we can” and console ourselves by saying that “under
the circumstances we could not have done better,” we are sensible of
how much better, how much more perfectible we are, how more
perfectly we could have acted.
For Christianity, the source of humanness in all individuals, past,
present, and future, is Jesus of Nazareth. All forms of possession,
from the partial to the perfect, are clearly seen as an attack
simultaneously on the souce of humanness, Jesus, and on the
humanness of an individual man or woman. The process of possession
in any individual consists of an erosion of the humanness Jesus
To explain how possession develops, therefore, one must answer
several questions. What is Evil Spirit in relation to Jesus and in
relation to us all? What is the humanness of Jesus? How is Jesus the
source of humanness for all individuals? How do we explain this in
relation to all men and women who lived historically before him and
after him? Concretely, how do ordinary men and women attain or miss
the humanness of Jesus? And finally, how is this humanness of Jesus
eroded-what, in other words, is the process of diabolic possession?
Some of the greatest minds in our history have asked and pondered
these questions. Some of those minds have gone a good deal of the
way toward answering them-as far, it is fair to say, as minds in
science have gone in answering questions proper to their domain.
Even though our coverage of these questions concerning Jesus and
Lucifer must be brief due to limitations of space, we are not merely
indulging in a comforting cliche when we make one observation: the
best that latter-day prophets and modern doom sayers seem able to do
with these matters is to ignore them and tell us to do the same.
They cannot prove them false, but only increase their efforts to
persuade us so. And for all their mighty efforts, they cannot repair
the damage they do in this way to our humanness.
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