‘Paranormal’ spikes interest in spiritual world

John St. Thomas, Staff Writer

    Boom! The sound of a roaring supernatural demonic creature left Paranormal Activity movie-goers like Senior Blair Buckley screaming in their seats during the must-see movie packing cinemas this fall.   So, what is it about ghosts, demons and other paranormal creatures that attract people to these types of movies?

     Maybe it’s their real existence, according to Theology teacher Tom Mar and Campus Minister Father Michael Goodyear, who both either directly or indirectly have been involved with the paranormal.

   “It is a statistical fact that demonic possessions and activity are on the rise, probably because our world is less and less religious and more and more secular,” Father Goodyear said. “Then people begin to dabble in the supernatural and evil and walk right into trouble.” 

     Mr. Mar and Father Goodyear collaborated to present a LifeTeen meeting on Oct. 27 to explain angels and demons and dispel the false beliefs surrounding “paranormal activity.” Students along with Mr. Mar, Father Goodyear and guest speaker Audra Motiejunas, discussed how demons, angels, and spirits came to be and how sometimes their presence can be misinterpreted.

      Mr. Mar said, “It was very informative with strong content. Students seemed very interested in the new information.”

   According to the Catholic Church, the split between angels and demons began with an original group of spirits created by God who were viewed as angels. One third of the spirits rejected God’s pure and everlasting love, which dispelled them from God and made them demons. Lucifer, originally one of the most powerful angels, turned away from God, making him an extremely mighty and forceful demon.

   Exorcisms are not just an occurrence in the movies, it occurs in everyday life. Father Goodyear said the seminary that he attended in Rome added a course on exorcisms about five years ago. The course wasn’t required amongst Seminarians but it was given as an elective to those interested in the study. As a matter of fact, more exorcists are needed due to the statistically proven fact that paranormal activity is on the rise.

      “It is very possible for people who are possessed to speak in different languages that usually are foreign to them, for people to become physically stronger than humanly possible, and for them to just blank out and not remember what previously happened to them,” Father Goodyear said.

   “This stuff is real and out there,” Father Goodyear said, recalling a young man he met several years ago who wanted to become a priest. 

   “He was a sturdy kid, athletic, and very intelligent.  He explained to me that he had consecrated his intelligence to the devil.  Then, backtracking, he had been exorcised and, when this happened, blood came out of his nose, mouth, ears and eyes.  He now goes to daily Mass, or at least that was the case when I met him,” he said.

  Father Goodyear’s good friend Father Daniel was asked to assist in an exorcism on a Spanish man whom he had never met and who spoke very little English.

    The next day when Father Daniel and the exorcist went to the man’s house, the man was already standing outside on his front porch. The exorcist got out of the car and spoke to him before going inside to prepare for the exorcism. About a minute later Father Daniel got out of the car and began to gather his things. He noticed that the Spanish man had walked down from the porch and was coming toward him. Once the man got close enough, he said in perfect English, “Father Daniel, I have been waiting to meet you.”

   Prior to this meeting, the exorcist had not told the man that he was going to bring Father Daniel. After the Spanish man addressed Father Daniel, he turned around and walked back up to the porch.

    Mr. Mar, who has degrees in theology and physics from Stanford University and attended seminary, said he has been involved with people who claim to be possessed.

    When Mr. Mar was training to become a priest, he worked on the 14th and 15th floors of a psychiatric hospital. While he was there, a woman living on the 14th floor approached him and claimed that she was being possessed, saying she often woke up in the middle of the night and was occasionally thrown from one wall of her room to the other.  He told her that when this happens she should shout, “In the name of Jesus Christ be gone!” in a demanding voice.

   About a month later, the woman came back to Mr. Mar and informed him that nothing had happened to her since their last meeting.

    Mr. Mar said “Things such as Ouija boards and other devices or religions such as voodoo are very real.”

   “When using an Ouija board, people must be very careful because essentially you are just inviting whatever spirit or presence is there into your life,” he said.

       The movie Paranormal Activity follows a girl, Katie, as she deals with a demonic presence that has been periodically haunting her since she was a child.

   “I like creepy movies because they’re entertaining and they give me a chill,” said Freshman Justin Webber.

Reporter Caitlin Collins contributed to this report.