How the Archangel Michael intervened in the case behind 'The Exorcist'

          Although the famous movie and the popular media didn't describe it, the famous case behind The Exorcist was finally won when a statue of the Archangel Michael was placed next to the bed of the possessed boy (in real life it was a male named Rob) and pleas were made for the great angel to take the case before the throne of God.

         While in the movie evil seems to win, terrorizing an exorcist, in real life the priests were plenty awed but stuck it out and with the intervention of Michael -- the great nemesis of Satan (Revelation 12:7) -- freed the boy from the horrid grip of full-blown satanic possession.

         This was not a standard demonic infestation. It was the highest order of possession and was traced back to the boy's aunt, a spiritualist who had introduced him to the Ouija board, the "game" in which people try to communicate with the dead (but in actuality are often talking to demons.)

         Whatever was at the root, it began during the winter of 1949 in a Washington, D.C. suburb called Cottage City when strange noises, including a scratching in the wall, joined a shaking of the wall behind a picture of Jesus. Soon the boy's bed was shaking and there were other strange furniture movements, eerie cold spots, and the inexplicable tossing about of objects.  

         At the first the boy's family took the matter to a minister at St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Washington, but when the minister sensed an actual diabolical presence he recommended that the parents seek help in the Catholic Church, which had formal procedures for exorcism. 

         After initial attempts at delivering the boy at Georgetown University Hospital (where, indeed, the case seemed too much for a young priest), the matter shifted to St. Louis, where a priest named William S. Bowdern from St. Francis Xavier Church headed a team that watched aghast as bloody red marks materialized on the boy -- marks that spelled words like "hell" -- and a vial of holy water flew and hit a dresser. 

         At one point a crucifix with relics moved from under the boy's pillow to the foot of the bed and a relic of Saint Margaret Mary, the mystic who saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus, vanished.

         There was spitting. There was "fiendish" laughter. There was a guttural voice that spoke with great hate from the beleaguered 13-year-old boy. 

         After weeks attempting to free him, the priests decided to baptize the boy, and on the way Rob struggled madly to take control of the steering wheel and crash the car.

         It was a clear indication of how the sacraments were hated by forces of evil. Finally Rob was baptized, but the next day, when the priests tried to give him holy Communion, the boy refused it, spitting it out for two hours -- until a Rosary was said.

         The exorcism took six weeks to accomplish, and the climax came at the Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis. There on Holy Thursday a small statue of Michael was placed on a bed stand next to the boy, and the following Monday -- Easter Monday -- as the priest prayed for the angel's intervention -- as prayer intensified, with near desperation -- the boy's voice suddenly changed into a clear, commanding, and dignified voice from heaven. "Satan, I am St. Michael," said the voice that now came from the boy, "and I command you Satan to leave the body in the name of Dominus [the Lord]. Now. Now. Now!"

         At that precise moment what sounded like a loud gunshot was heard throughout the hospital. The boy sat up, had a vision of the archangel, and announced with near befuddlement but certainly terrific relief that the evil force was "gone."

         At the same time, priests at St. Francis Xavier Church saw a light illuminate the sanctuary from the dome high over the altar and in the light a vision of Michael.

         (This entire series of events is documented by the video, In the Grip of Evil, that we are making available, although we always recommend prayer, Bible reading, and for Catholics the use of holy water before reviewing any material that involves evil spirits).

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