Exorcists Weigh in on Reported Possessions in Mexico (Video)

Two American Exorcists Weigh in on Reported Mexican Possessions

There is one place where not even the most adventurous thrill seeker should tread: into the occult. Every exorcist will attest that even a little curiosity is dangerous because it opens one up to a world that is not always so easy to leave.

According to a report on June 23 from the Daily Mail, three young Americans in a Mexican village ventured into such a world by playing with a Parker Brothers Ouija board.  All three may have been demonically possessed. “Alexandra Huerta, 22, was playing the game with her brother Sergio, 23, and 18-year-old cousin Fernando Cuevas at a house in the village of San Juan Tlacotenco in south-west Mexico. But minutes into it, she apparently started ‘growling’ and thrashing around in a ‘trance-like’ state.”

Sergio and Fernando also showed signs of possession and all three were taken by ambulance to the hospital. The rescue was reported as very complicated due to their erratic movements and trance-like state.  The video of Alexandra (below) shows her growling and struggling fiercely against restraints.  Alexandra’s parents called paramedics after a local Catholic priest refused to perform an exorcism because the three were not regular churchgoers.

Possessed Girl from Avila Institute on Vimeo.

According to two American exorcists, the Mexican priest made the right decision in refusing to do an exorcism.  Fr. Vincent Lampert a Vatican-trained exorcist and a church pastor in the diocese of Indiana said there are a number of reasons for this.

“Exorcism should always be viewed within the wider scope of overall pastoral care,” he said. “Jesus Christ is ultimately the one who will give freedom to people who are possessed.”   He explained that since faith is a key ingredient in exorcisms, there would be no purpose to do an exorcism if the people aren’t acceptable to growing in faith. “Indeed, without faith their situation could become even worse,” he said, referring to Matthew 12:45. “Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Fr. Lampert also pointed out that before performing an exorcism, it has to be determined whether it is a genuine case or perhaps something linked with hysteria or mental illness. He personally has performed two exorcisms, but has assisted with many during his training in Rome. There, he witnessed manifestations such as levitating and speaking languages the possessed person previously did not know.

Before performing an exorcism, an investigation is done to rule out other causes   and the exorcist must receive permission from his bishop before proceeding.  As part of the investigation, Fr. Lampert said it needs to be determined what the point of entry was. “A Ouija board is associated with occult activities, and this can be a way that people open up a doorway to evil in their lives.”

Msgr. John Esseff of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., has been a priest for 61 years and an exorcist in his diocese for 40.  He is currently serving as a director of spiritual formation for seminarians at Creighton University in Omaha.  According to him, the priest in Mexico was not in a position to perform an exorcism.  “Proper screening is essential, because, more often than not, mental illness is the problem,” he said.

“Also if someone does not have a prayer life and a relationship with God, then exorcising him or her could be like a revolving door,” he said. “A person’s behavior is what allows a demon to enter. It’s easy for demons to enter people who open themselves up through the occult,” he said.

“We are living in a very dark world, but we need not fear because prayer drives out evil and protects us,” according to Msgr. Esseff. “There is another power other than God though and that power is Satan.”  He said prayer and a relationship with God protects us from evil.

“Possessions are rare,” he said.  “I’ve only every seen two, but between possession and temptation, the devil can also oppress and obsess. Those are situations where he devil is able to harass people.  But according to Msgr. Esseff, any involvement with the occult such as a Ouija board, which seeks answers from the devil, invites evil in.  We need not fear it, he said, but we should make a point to stay away from it.

“God will be the victor,” Msgr. Esseff said. “Jesus is God, and through the power of Jesus, the devil is vanquished.”  He explained that every priest’s greatest power to overcome evil is through the sacramental power of his priesthood. “A priest can hear confessions and forgive sins,” he said. “One confession is worth 100 exorcisms. The devil wants to destroy the soul, and the soul is healed by confession.  If people want to decrease the work of Satan, they should increase the use of confession.”

About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs. If you have an interest in having Dan come speak at your parish or Catholic event or group, contact us at rcspiritualdirection@gmail.com or call 818-646-7729.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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  • NYCFiredog

    I take strong opposition to the turning down Godly assistance, for a Catholic Priest to REFUSE to give these people the remedies that are needed for their rescue. BECAUSE they were not regular Church goers????? Are you serious? THAT is how you help them BECOME regular Church going devout Catholics.

    Your supposed expert in exorcism says —“Also if someone does not have a prayer life and a relationship with God, then exorcising him or her could be like a revolving door,” he said. “A person’s behavior is what allows a demon to enter. It’s easy for demons to enter people who open themselves up through the occult,” he said.

    This assumes that in the process of GIVING them Pastoral care you can not lead them INTO a life of prayer and relationship with God. I am stunned at this horrible cruel response. Who in the Name of God would not RUN into the arms of God after being caught in the grips of the demonic. Obviously someone went to a Priest for help because he TURNED THEM DOWN.

    And you go to a Priest that has two exorcisms notched on his belt for expertise?? Did HE give an investigation? Did ANY Priest start the process of an investigation?

    I know one such woman that had no prayer life, no church life and had been married to a Satanist that went for help because of assaults of the devils. She was given help by the Priests there that had tremendous experience in such matters, and in deliverance which she received. She was given hours of council which she gratefully received and acted on. She is a devout, daily Communicant now because of DEVOTED Pastoral Care. And she is free of the evil that assailed her.

  • tanyahe

    “one such woman-that went for help because of assaults of the devils”, as you note, the woman herself went for help, and she was helped. I tend to agree with Msgr. Esseff and Fr. Lampert; seek the help of a psychiatrist before embarking on an exorcism. Casting out demons to those who are not willing to ask for help on their own, who have no notion about anything religious, is just a set up for the demons to return with a double dose after the house was cleaned. Maybe the persons involved haven’t been baptized, that would be the start, I’m speculating about that. All the facts about the case haven’t been presented. You cannot just jump in an do an exorcism, and from what I understand, an exorcism takes a series of meetings, it is not just a one time deal. Are those young people willing to be on a long term “treatment”?

  • Kirry

    I don’t think we should be so quick to judge the actions of those not rendering the exorcism. I have just finished reading Fr. Gabrilel Amorth’s book “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and there is more to it than just the quick exorcism as most people think. Its quite complicated actually. I recommend reading his book before making assumptions so as to fully understand the many issues involved in an exorcism.

  • NYCFiredog

    Kirry, I am not saying there should be an immediate exorcism. In the case of the woman I mentioned, no exorcism was needed since deliverance was enough. She is now a very devout Catholic, indeed much more devout than the average person having experienced Evil up front.

    But based on what the “Exorcists” opinions in this piece, and the decisions of the Priest in Mexico, it was the fact that they were not Church members (which is not a prerequisite) and did not have an active prayer life or connection to God. Did it ever occur to them that this battle would LEAD them into a life of Prayer and a connection to God? There wasn’t even an investigation, but an immediate dismissal by the only Church that could give them help.

    So to sum up, no investigation was done and in fact it was NOT the fact that there was a question as to the Possession that would lead to the investigation and request for the Ritual Romano, but the fact that they were not good Church goers. They were shown the door when seeking help. QUOTE—” Alexandra’s parents called paramedics after a local Catholic priest refused to perform an exorcism because the three were not regular churchgoers.”

    Well maybe after RECEIVING help, they well might have BECOME regular Church goers. But this negligent Priest never gave them the chance. In essence, he sent them back to the Devil. Sound harsh? Not near as harsh as what the Priest did.

    This is unconscionable.

  • NYCFiredog

    This Priest dismissed them out of hand without an investigation and NOT because he didn’t think they were possessed, but because they were not regular church goers. Can you show me one case in scripture where an exorcism was refused by Jesus or his Apostles because they didn’t attend the synagogue?

    If a person is traveling in Mexico and has a medical emergency such as a cardiac or neurological issue, the physician does what is necessary to stabilize them at the least, and then refers them to a specialist where they live, but they are GUIDED along the way. These KIDS were shown the door.

    I was involved with a severe case of possession with a pilgrim group from Medjugorje that surfaced while with Fr. Sudac, the Stigmatist Priest in Croatia. I was very involved up close and personal through all the battles. The American Priest didn’t have a clue what to do (later he told me he was never taught demonology in Seminary). A request for an exorcism was made to the Bishop and I was going to assist. It was desperate since the group was supposed to travel back home. The Bishop denied the request out of hand without an explanation or investigation saying she should see a psychiatrist. Fr. Sudac, said this was the most serious case of possession he had ever witnessed and he has seen a lot. I will tell you what Fr. Sudac said. “THIS IS ON THE SOUL OF THE BISHOP!!!” Jesus or the Apostles did not rely on Psychiatrists to decide what they will do when they use their Priestly DISCERNMENT to diagnose the diabolical. One more thing that is little mentioned as to psychiatric health. Mental illness often accompanies possession and does NOT rule out possession. You CAN be schizophrenic or Bi Polar and still be possessed. In fact, deliverance often brings a healing of mental illness that was brought on BY the demonic attacks.

    These people should have been shepherded by the Church and given the pastoral care they needed throughout this crisis and beyond, guiding them into the safety of the Catholic Faith and the Sacramental life once again. And that may mean receiving the Sacrament of Baptism etc. They should Not have been turned away because they were not regular Church goers!

    You may want to watch the videos in question. I’ve worked for several years as a Psychiatric Technician and years as a NYC Fireman. I stayed with the possessed woman on an empty hospital unit while she was in full body restraints while every door on the empty hospital unit was slamming opening and shutting at the same time. I know a little about psychosis and I can tell you, this was not mental illness, and either was the girl in the video.

    I PRAY to God, Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Michael that this woman finds an open door in our Catholic Church.

  • E. Murray

    It is a mortal sin for a priest not to help someone suffering a demonic attack. The new ordination rite of Vatican II is invalid, so a Novus Ordo “priest” would not be able to do much anyway. Since the enemies of Jesus Christ took control of the Church only unbelievers, homosexuals and other enemies of God are admitted to the priesthood, so no wonder they act as wolves and not as shepherds.

  • NYCFiredog

    That is where we part company, E Murray. I am obedient and devoted to the Magisterium of the Church. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against her. Satan was given time to test the Church according to Pope Leo, but he will not succeed. The Immaculate Heart of Our Lady will triumph.

  • tanyahe

    I don’t know who you are cheering for, but your take on the Church is heretical.

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