The answer is yes… and no.
I never thought much about exorcisms until I met demonologist John Zaffis. I’m simply not interested in the subject of demons.
However, after a short, informal conversation with Mr. Zaffis, I was a believer. He had photos with red figures in them, eerily similar to some from my most baffling case, and he’s had lengthy experience with exorcists.
Since then, here’s what I’ve observed about exorcisms and exorcists.
Exorcisms rarely work the first time.
From what I’ve seen and heard, the initial exorcism may only provide brief relief, if any help at all. Results improve with subsequent exorcisms (usually by the same exorcist), and it’s not unusual to require a dozen exorcisms to see lasting benefits.
It’s best not to start down this path unless you’re willing to see it through. You cannot simply walk away from an irate, vindictive, defensive demon, or a client who is dealing with one.
Exorcisms are exhausting for everyone involved.
Exorcisms often involve spirits (or Satan, satans or demons) that can drain or at least draw energy from the victim, the witnesses and the exorcist. Physical health issues can be a concern, and it can be wise to involve a medical doctor or a professional healer in the process.
Mental and spiritual health are always issues for all participants in the exorcism. Without exception, if you’re involved in an exorcism, even as a silent witness, it’s vital to take precautions.
Exorcisms rely on personal and spiritual power more than experience, per se.
The innate power of the exorcist can be vital. A person with numerous weaknesses or untested spirituality can become vulnerable during the exorcism. This is one reason why full-time religious professionals and profoundly spiritual people are usually the best exorcists.
Whether the exorcist’s skill has been acquired through training, experience or a natural/spiritual gift, the exorcist should be someone who does not falter, even for a split-second, during the process.
The ideal exorcist is a trained professional with extensive experience and a nearly blemish-free character. In lieu of that, from what we’ve heard, choose a trained professional with less experience but a sterling character.
The most unfortunate results seem to occur when the exorcist — despite training and experience — has been worn down by his or her work, and let character flaws develop.
That said, we wouldn’t risk an exorcism with an unsupervised apprentice exorcist, no matter how superior his or her knowledge and personal character.
Looking for an exorcist? Consult a professional.
We routinely refer people to two experts in this field: John Zaffis and Pete Haviland. Even if they can’t help you, follow whatever advice they give you.
John Zaffis, JohnZaffis.com
Pete Haviland, Lone Star Spirits, LSSPI.org
I also like both of the Johnson brothers, associated with NEAR
(If you’re a professional ghost hunter and have had positive experience with other exorcists, use our Contact form — linked at the top of this page — to recommend them.)
… Also, thanks to Hollow Hill reader, Chris, for asking this helpful question.
If you have a question about ghost hunting, use the Contact form linked at the top of this webpage. I’ll answer the most popular and interesting questions in future articles.