Religious experts say exorcisms are on the rise

GARY, IN (KTRK) -- Whether you're a believer or not, religious experts say exorcisms are happening more and more.

Pope Francis often speaks about the devil in his morning homilies, and he did so again today ahead of the All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

"This generation, and many others, have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him," the pope told faithful gathered for Mass at St Martha's guesthouse where he resides.

This year, the Vatican dedicated a group of 250 priests from around the world to perform the ancient rite of casting out demons. The Vatican's chief exorcist told a Vatican newspaper that he has casted out as many as 70,000 demons.

Catholics describe exorcism as the eternal battle between good and evil and a fight for souls on earth. To them, it is a spiritual war where demons possess the living, giving them dark powers.

"Demons are fallen angels, evil spirits," said Sister Madeline Grace. "The devil is using their physical powers in ways they never had before."

Exorcism is a topic that many Catholic priests will not talk about, but one in Gary, Indiana spoke to Eyewitness News.

Priest Mike Maginot is at the center of one of the most documented cases of demon possession and exorcism in recent history.

In April 2012, Maginot got a frantic call about a 9-year-old boy. His two siblings and his mother were tormented by demon spirits coming from their basement.

"This was different. It all started when they moved into that house," Maginot said.

He says behind the stairs was a portal to hell.

"Occasionally they would hear growing. They were waking up with bloody noses. All of a sudden one of the boys got thrown into the freezer," said Maginot.

The boy's grandmother is seen in a rare police interview describing the incident.

"His head is doing this his eyes are rolling around. He's talking in a crazy voice," grandmother Rosa Campbell said. "He said on my stomach, stomach was doing this. His face was stretching going back-and-forth."

Indiana's Department of Child Services eventually removed the kids from the home, but the problems followed.

"Usually the devil doesn't show off before professional people," Maginot said.

But he said this time the devil did. Eyewitness News obtained official records from the Department of Child Services. There are accounts that during an observation in the presence of a doctor, a case worker, and a psychologist, one of the children walked up the wall and did a flip over his grandmother.

In another instance in the doctor's office, the boy was lifted and thrown into the wall, while records say nobody touched him.

The boy's mother, Latoya Ammons, faced her own demons, and Maginot and his parish bishop decided it was time for the exorcism of Ammons.

"I decided to test her with my crucifix," Maginot said. "Every time I put the crucifix on her she would convulse, but it would be a steady convulsion."

Tonight 6:00pm., Eyewitness News will show details about that ceremony from police eyewitness accounts. We'll also uncover how the Ammons children were finally freed from the demons. There will also be a rare look inside the basement that sources describe as the portal to hell.




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