It seems that exorcisms have been on the rise in the Church . It’s no surprise since the media has made playing with Ouija boards and participating in seances appear as something “cool” to do with friends, gaining the attention of teens who view these practices as harmless fun. In reality, they’re much more serious.
Exorcists have definitely seen an increase in demonic possession in the U.S. The exorcist for the Archdiocese of New York reports that, “Ten years ago I had no cases and now I have 300.” Father John Hampsch, a psychologist, has said that, “A large amount do not require formal exorcism — they are not cases of possession. They are cases of demonic oppression, obsession, depression infestation … very painful and very distressing.”
Many people possessed are those who have dabbled with Ouija boards and so on, not realizing the catastrophic consequences it can do their soul and body. A 50-year-old father of two from England is one of many who has experienced the calamities of dealing with something that can conjure up bad spirits. He told Register he first started playing with the Ouija board with others for laughs, but over time started to deal with great difficulties that resulted in his needing four priests to hold him down as he screamed and struggled against them. While teens and adults alike find seances and Ouija boards exciting and interestingly spooky, the risks outweigh the curiosity of the situation. “And because of our flawed nature, oftentimes we’re drawn to things that, down the road, can do more harm than good,” says Fr. Gary Thomas, certified exorcist from California.
While in most cases it can be a problem of mental illness instead of demonic possession, the Church must always make sure it is not the latter, and has its ways of knowing the difference. The best way for everyone to avoid having to be tangled in a torturing and difficult situation with the devil and his demons is to stay away from unapproved practices and objects that the Church has condemned.