Appendix D A Pastoral Approach to Infested Homes
(For exorcising locations from demonic infestations)
Ancient Christian tradition held that places, objects and even animals were exorcised and blessed. Exorcism would be done first to drive away any evil entity that was attached to the object or place and then the blessing follows. The victory therefore that was gained by Christ over evil was made effective and applied to a particular locale.
Today, the tendency is to focus solely on the blessing aspect. Although this is usually effective to drive away any evil influence, for example in the blessing of a new home, when one is dealing with more powerful and tenacious fallen angels that have attached themselves to the place, blessings do not suffice to drive them away. We therefore see that some “haunted” houses remain infested even after repeated blessings. Especially difficult are houses that were used for occult and satanic activities or places where a lot of violence and sin occurred.
Consequently, they also never reserved any place in their houses where spirits could dwell in. There was no such thing as “mutual co-existence,” a term we Filipinos may hear a lot when dealing with infestations. Hence, the reason Christians throughout the centuries have always prayed exorcism prayers over their homes is the very obvious fact that they have known how evil spirits operate, deceive and do everything possible to gain entry into the home. Today, more than ever, with all the sin and violence around us, we need to realize the importance of living lives pleasing to the Lord, where family prayer and holiness is a priority and the use of sacramentals within the home is an ordinary custom.
To conclude, here is an account from the life of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the greatest mystical visionary in the Church regarding “haunted” locales. Here, she speaks about a house being “haunted” due to its being built over pagan graves. She begins by mentioning that pagan graves emit an evil influence within the vicinity. She relates that once when she came close to such a burial place, she “saw a black, ugly-looking vapor, like the smoke of smoldering rags, creeping over the ground.” She continued, “A strange obscurity hung over the spot, and somber figures, enveloped in darkness, moved here and there and, at last, disappeared underground.” She tells us that “when houses are built over such places, a curse issues from the pagan bones resting beneath them, if their occupants do not lead lives sanctified by the benediction of the Church and so counteract its baneful effects.” Another important point that she made is “if (the occupants of the home) should happen to make use of superstitious means condemned by the Church to rid themselves of the curse, they enter, though without knowing it perhaps, into communication with the powers of darkness, which then acquire fresh strength.”
1. 1. When moving into a new house that had already been resided in, it may be wise to check who the previous occupants were.
2. If there is some reservation regarding the atmosphere of the new house, ask the priest to use the prayers of deliverance first before the actual blessing. It is not standard procedure for a Catholic priest to pray deliverance prayers in a house blessing hence you would need to request it from him.
3. The new house must be blessed as soon as possible, followed by the consecration of the entire family to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
4. It is recommended to have the priest bless extra holy water and exorcised salt for the family use. Sprinkle holy water regularly around the house (once a week) and make use of it before retiring for the night. Make the sign of the cross on the forehead with it.
5. Make sure that the home has a number of blessed objects like crucifixes on the door of every room and the image of the Sacred Heart of jesus/Immaculate Heart of Mary at the front part of the house. This manifests that the home belongs to God.
6. Daily family prayers are essential to bring about an atmosphere of peace and blessing in the home. The family rosary is strongly recommended.
7. In an old house, where there are positive signs of malevolent and harmful paranormal occurrences,’°5 a house exorcism or deliverance is sought. But if the paranormal manifestations are not harmful, proper procedures106 for identifying the entities involved should be done, since one may be dealing with souls.
8. It would be appropriate for the priest not only to exorcise the house but also to pray over the persons residing there in order to remove any preternatural attachments that may be the cause of the infestation or may have ensued because of it.
9. If the resident spirits are particularly obstinate,
repeated house deliverances in the home may be needed to dislodge these spirits. But one must remember that when delivering places which are not immediately set free, one can be sure that because of the prayers, the area of demonic influence has gotten smaller.
10. If one would be staying in a strange new place like an overnight in a beach resort, a small vial of holy water is good to take around with you especially if you are psychic and therefore more open to manifestations that can sometimes be evil. Francis MacNutt said, “People afflicted by evil spirits seem to leave something behind in places they have visited.”07
Detecting Infesting Spirits
1. When dealing with obstinate infesting spirits, it would help to establish where their precise location is within a house (like a particular room, corner, furniture, etc.). This is so that prayers of deliverance may be directed to the exact spot of their infestation. This would also aid in the placing of the appropriate sacramentals within the vicinity.
2. To assist the priest in locating particular areas of infestation in the home, the family should prepare beforehand a list of the precise spot(s) where the paranormal manifestations(s) occurred.
3. In the more difficult home infestations, it would help the priest to bring along a person who is “sensitive” through the charismatic gifts.
4. One must remember that the interaction of a spiritual entity in the visible world may produce some form of electromagnetic disturbance which affects the nearby vicinity. The spirit in a sense uses the surrounding environment to manifest itself. There may therefore be denser air pressure in the location where the spirit is, as well as a drop in temperature. These phenomena can be detected by other means
such as with animals and scientific gadgets used by parapsychologists. With regard to the use of animals, Fr. Amorth said, “Animals are sensitive. They usually fix their eyes on one point, they stay there and then they run off. They are afraid of whatever they are looking at or feeling. Animals are very interesting regarding their behavior. I get a lot from them.”°8
5. On the other hand, with regard to the parapsychological equipment that can detect changes in the atmosphere, the two more common ones used are the Electromagnetic Field Meter and the Thermal Scanner.
6. Know the preferences of evil entities within the home. It is recommended that exorcised salt is sprinkled around the corners of these places; exorcised salt lasts longer in the area than holy water.
a. They prefer areas which are smelly and dirty like toilets, garbage areas, and the like.
b. They prefer darkly lit rooms and corners.
c. They have a preference for damp and unoccupied areas of the house such as bodegas, unoccupied rooms and basements.
d. They prefer rooms that have no blessed objects around.
e. They prefer rooms where there are innocent children. They also choose rooms where the adults have some form of spiritual “opening.”
7. Infesting spirits have a certain expertise in things that are electrical. According to Fr. Heron, OSB, “quite often there will be inexplicable interference with electrical equipment.” Examples are: they may cause computers to malfunction or cause lighting in the house to act up. They also have a penchant for causing drainage systems in the house to become blocked. When these occur, use deliverance prayers on the said objects.
Banishing Infesting Spirits
1. It is important that all the probable causes that may have Contributed to the infestation are properly dealt with. For example, all occult paraphernalia like Ouija boards must be disposed of; all habitual grave sin stopped; if there are signs of curses against the home, they must be cut; etc.
2. Begin the rite with prayers to the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength.
3. Call upon the assistance of Mama Mary, the saints and the angels.
4. Say the Prayer for Protection with conviction.
5. Prayers of deliverance and exorcism are prayed in each of the rooms of the house.
6. While prayers are being said, sprinkle the surroundings with holy water.
7. The rite for each room concludes by calling upon the Holy Spirit and the warrior angels to reside and protect the newly delivered location.
8. Before leaving, place exorcised salt on all the corners, windowsills and doorway of the room.
9. The use of blessed incense is optional. It is used after the exorcised salt has been sprinkled.
10. After all the rooms have been cleansed, the blessing of the house follows.
11. End the blessing with a thanksgiving prayer to God.
12. Consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary then concludes the rite.
13. For houses with major infestation, a Mass may be celebrated in the location after the Consecration to Jesus and Mary. It is offered for any restless souls in the home needing prayers as well as for the cleansing of the house from demonic infestation. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a very effective means to drive away evil entities within a location.
14. For houses with major infestation, it is also recommended that the family place a mixture of holy water, exorcised salt and oil every evening on the windowsills and door thresholds while praying the Our Father.
1. One must never accept objects from any occult practitioners. According to Fr. Adolf Rodewyk, S.J., “magical devices do not have integral power; they are effective only because they have, in a manner of speaking, been dedicated to the Devil, giving him the opportunity to link his own powers with this condition.”°
2. Dealing with infested objects: They must be sprinkled with holy water, and then burned while the Our Father is being prayed. Afterwards, the ashes are thrown in outdoor running water like in a sewage system. (Never dispose of the ashes in your home. They would tend to clog drainage).
3. If the curse is mild, one may simply sprinkle the object with holy water to remove the curse.
4. Do not forget to wash one’s hands with holy water after handling such objects.
Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult
Fr. Jose Francisco C. Syquia – Director, Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism