Exorcist Father Gary Thomas Talks About His Fight Against Evil
The book, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, follows Father Thomas through his apprenticeship as an exorcist, and also shows his faith life before and after his formation as an exorcist. In the movie version, which stars Anthony Hopkins, some liberties are taken with the story. Father Thomas was a consultant on the film project.
The character of Father Gary Thomas (called Michael Kovak in the film, and portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue) is depicted as someone struggling with his faith. He doubts he has a calling to the Catholic priesthood at all, and is planning to abdicate his vows.
“That’s Hollywood,” said the real-life Father Thomas to The Los Gatos Patch. “In real life, you would never have a seminarian who basically gave up his faith being sent to Rome to see if he can get his faith back. You just wouldn’t do that.”
Sheila Sanchez of The Los Gatos Patch spoke with Father Thomas in his office at Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga. From that conversation:
In 2005, after spending 15 years at Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Los Altos, Father Thomas took a sabbatical to train to become an exorcist. He went to Father Carmine DeFilippis, the provincial of the Capuchin Order in Rome. He worked with the master Italian exorcist during three-hour sessions, three days a week, for three and a half months.
He is now teaching others what he has practiced for he last seven years. He’s mentoring three priests in the Diocese. “The best way to learn is by observation and participation,” he said. “All the theological training in the world won’t do you any good if you’ve never sat and discerned with an exorcist on how to do it.”
Father Thomas officially became an exorcist at Bishop Patrick J. McGrath’s request in 2005. In the Roman Catholic Church, only a bishop, by right of his ordination, can perform an exorcism, or he can ask a priest to fulfill the role. However, a priest, by right of his ordination, does not have the power to perform the ritual, Father Thomas explained.
Today, Father Thomas is among about 50 Catholic exorcists in the United States.
The course he took, which is shown in the movie, was practical and academic, he said. Several speakers came in to talk to the students about the ritual. In 10 sessions, they addressed issues such as the relationship between electronics and the computer age and “the culture of isolation, which is an invitation to the occult.”
“The occult is all about power and the technological world, in which we live, makes it very easy for us to be dependent on nobody,” Father Thomas said. - datelinezero
Interview With an Exorcist
Paranormal incidents leave woman at wit's end
"Yes, for listening to my stories and being my only confidante, I give you permission to write about these things with TOTAL ANONYMITY -- PLEASE!"
With those words, a reader allowed me to relate to you the well-documented incidents that have left her at wit's end. Her story is a combination of natural, technological and paranormal anomalies that have tested her nerves and her beliefs.
"My cat, while on my lap, watches something come down the stairs and go up to the ceiling," she said, noting that whatever the pet was watching seemed to be semi-solid beings.
She reported many unexplainable incidents in her house, including lights turning themselves on and off, footsteps, crashing sounds and a new coffee-bean grinder that turned on and ground a whole bagful of beans while absolutely no one was in the kitchen.
Her latest email detailed a harrowing encounter with what could only be described as a ghost.
"Last week," she continued, "I saw another being. She stood in front of me, was blonde and pretty with a smile on her face. These beings have only lasted two or three seconds, but I can describe most of them, even down to what they wore."
She recalled her first sightings, several years ago.
"It was an old man with an animal skin over a shoulder sack. I did not see his face," she said. "The second one was a middle-aged man with black hair and black mustache in a sweater vest. He, too, did not know I saw him.
"The third man was very young. As I was lounging, sleepily, in my comfy chair, I suddenly saw him beside the stairs in the foyer, which was dark. I thought it was my husband and asked him if something was wrong. The nice-looking young man smiled and raised his arm in a 'Hi' gesture, then disappeared."
She could describe them in fair detail, which made her wonder: "All of these people are in clothing. Is it what they wore while dying?"
Her request to remain anonymous (and my decision to omit even a vague reference to the location of the haunting) is borne of her deep belief in God.
"I am a Christian," she wrote, "and would place my hand on the Bible that what I have told you is true. You are the only one to whom I have told any of this. I have not confided this to our son, friends, no one. It took years for me to trust before emailing you originally. I am not crazy!
"I always believed that with death, one goes directly to heaven. Does God allow us a period of time to visit Earth, or have these people chosen not to go there -- or can't? I have never been interested in any of this until it happened to me." - Charles J. Adams III - YDR
Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories (Big Book of Ghost Stories)
Celebrities who have seen ghosts - a few examples:
Nicholas Cage - This Oscar-winning actor (Leaving Las Vegas) refused to stay in uncle Francis Ford Coppola's home after seeing a ghost in the attic. (Cage was also cast as Superman in director Tim Burton's film project, which was never made.)
Keanu Reeves - The star of The Matrix films and Devil's Advocate was just a kid in New Jersey when he saw a ghost that took the form of a white double-breasted suit come into his room one night. He wasn't imagining it; his nanny saw the phantom, too.
Neve Campbell - She's been in more than her share of paranormal-themed movies (The Craft, Scream), but she's had real-life encounters as well. A woman was murdered in the house she now lives in, and friends have seen her ghost walking around.
Matthew McConaughey - This popular actor (Contact) says he freaked out the first time he saw the ghost of an old woman, whom he calls "Madame Blue," floating around his house.
Tim Robbins - Robbins, who was nominated for an Oscar in Mystic River, didn't see ghosts, but strongly felt their presence when he moved into an apartment in 1984. Following his instinct, he moved out the next day.
Hugh Grant - British romantic comedy lead Hugh Grant (Love Actually) says he and friends have heard the wailing and screaming of some tormented spirit in his Los Angeles home. He even speculates it might be the ghost of a former resident - Bette Davis.
Dan Aykroyd - The Ghostbusters star (and Oscar-nominated for Driving Miss Daisy) has long had a fascination with the paranormal. He believes his home, once owned by Cass Elliot of The Mamas and The Papas, is haunted. "A ghost certainly haunts my house," he said. "It once even crawled into bed with me. The ghost also turns on the Stairmaster and moves jewelry across the dresser. I'm sure it's Mama Cass because you get the feeling it's a big ghost."
Sting - Rock star Sting (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and his wife Trudie have seen ghosts in their home. "I was absolutely terrified," he said. "I now believe those things are out there, but I have no explanation for them."
Jean Claude Van Damme - The Belgian action star (Timecop), also known as "Muscles from Brussels," swears he saw a ghost in his bathroom mirror while he was brushing his teeth.
Richard Dreyfuss - He won an Oscar for The Goodbye Girl, but at one time had a cocaine problem. Visions of a ghost, he said, helped him kick the habit. "I had a car crash in the late 1970s," Dreyfuss said, "when I was really screwed up, and I started seeing these ghostly visions of a little girl every night. I couldn't shake this image. Every day it became clearer and I didn't know who the hell she was. Then I realized that kid was either the child I didn't kill the night I smashed up my car, or it was the daughter that I didn't have yet. I immediately sobered up."
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman - This Hollywood couple was forced to flee their "dream home" in Sneden's Landing, N.Y. when it became all too apparent that it was haunted. They still are reluctant to talk about their frightening encounters.
Belinda Carlisle - This pop singer and founding member of The Go-Gos, who appeared in Swing Shift and She's Having a Baby, says she saw a "misty shape" hovering over her as she lay in bed one night. She also says that when she was 17, while nodding off to sleep in a chair in her parents' home, she levitated and had an out-of-body experience.
Elke Sommers - This German-born actress, who appeared in the 1966 film The Oscar, claims to have seen the ghost of a middle-aged man in a white shirt in her home in North Beverly Hills. Guests in her home have also seen the specter. So much paranormal activity was reported in the house that the American Society for Psychical Research was brought in, and which verified the unexplained events. The severely haunted house was bought and sold more than 17 times since Sommers vacated it, and many have reported ghostly phenomena.
Paul McCartney - Ex-Beatle and Oscar-nominated songwriter ("Live and Let Die") says that he, George Harrison and Ringo Starr sensed the playful spirit of John Lennon when they were recording Lennon's song, "Free As A Bird" in 1995. "There were a lot of strange goings-on in the studio - noises that shouldn't have been there and equipment doing all manner of weird things. There was just an overall feeling that John was around." - paranormal.about
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