Exorcist describes battling evil

Exorcist describes battling evil

URBANA — The Rev. Vincent Lampert says he has literally stared evil in the face.

Lampert, pastor of St. Francis & St. Clare Catholic Church in Greenwood, Ind., is one of about 50 exorcists in the United States.

The priest shared his experiences with exorcisms and confronting the reality of evil during a talk Monday night at Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois campus.

Msgr. Gregory Ketcham, director of St. John's Catholic Newman Center, said Lampert's message is an important one for the young people at the UI to hear.

"As Christians, we have always believed in the theology of personified evil," Ketcham said. "We have also believed more passionately in the power and victory of Jesus and how we are called to a personal friendship with him."

Lampert, 50, who gets about 10 calls or emails a week inquiring about exorcism, said it remains relevant in modern times.

"The goal of an exorcist is to help people see the face of God in their lives," he said.

He said more than half of the people who contact him about getting an exorcism are not Catholic.

Lampert said every bishop is authorized to perform the rite of exorcism and can bestow on priests the authority to perform that rite. He said his archbishop in Indianapolis asked Lampert to text him before performing exorcisms so the archbishop could pray for him and the person receiving the rite.

During the rite of exorcism, Lampert orders the demon to depart from the victim.

Unlike exorcists portrayed in films like "The Exorcist" or "The Rite," Lampert said, he doesn't perform exorcisms on possessed people in abandoned houses at midnight (they often take place in a chapel), and he hasn't seen the heads of possessed persons spinning around or vomiting green substances.

"And demons do not jump from one body to another like you see in films," he said.

When he performs exorcisms, he said, he summons the power of God to call on the evil spirit to leave the body of the possessed person.

But the Vatican-trained exorcist said he has experienced some unusual behavior over the years.

He described performing the rite on a woman with a deep voice said to be possessed by the demon Leviathan who exhibited animalistic behavior, including growling and snarling.

"She lunged at me like a wild dog," he said.

As Lampert completed the exorcism, the woman's voice changed from low to high as she recited the words, "Hail Mary, full of grace."

"The woman changed in front of me faster than I could snap my fingers," he said.

He said he once saw a possessed woman shake violently before she began to levitate about 4 or 5 inches above a chair during an exorcism.

"The devil, the father of all lies, uses trickery or deception," he said.

Lampert said he has also seen people speaking and understanding languages they had not previously known, a possessed person who ripped the stole the priest was wearing off his neck and stomped on it, people exhibiting what Lampert described as "superhuman strength," and a person with what Lampert called elevated perception: knowing information not previously known.

While some people believe that exorcisms are arelic of medieval times, Lampert told his audience that the Catholic Church still believes evil exists. The church's revised rite of exorcism went into effect, he said, in 1999, replacing a text that had been in use since 1614.

"The major theme of the New Testament is the clash between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil," he said.

Lampert added that most of the people who experience a spiritual crisis are not being possessed by a demon.

He said many physical or mental conditions, such as epilepsy, Tourette syndrome and schizophrenia, can mimic the symptoms of demonic possessions.

Lampert said he always requires the victim to have an evaluation with a mental-health professional, and then he confers with the professional on whether he or she found a medical cause or whether something was going on that can't be explained, before he proceeds. He said the overall goal is to give the person the help he or she truly needs.

"Psychology and religion need not be at odds with one another because the overall goal is to provide relief to the person," he said.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on October 29, 2013 at 9:10 am
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I want to know why the N-G isn't reporting last week's alien landing. Part of the cover-up I guess.

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

We live in Illinois.  We know all about battling evil.  It is called Political Corruption.

Lewis_Shepherd wrote on October 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

This is absurd.  You can't simply wish away mental illness. This is nothing more that a form of cheap stage hypnosis, and has the same outcome as faith healing.  It's snake-oil salesmanship.

I'm embarrassed that the University would hold such an event, and I'm equally stunned that this newspaper would report this.  This belongs in the Onion.


Articles like these lower the integrity factor of a media outlet.  I'm afraid I can no longer assume you are a credible source for news.  Not with stories like this getting past your editors.

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

"What happens to the faith healer and the shaman when any poor citizen can see the full effect of drugs or surgeries, administered without ceremonies or mystifications? Roughly the same thing as happens to the rainmaker when the climatologist turns up, or to the diviner from the heavens when schoolteachers get hold of elementary telescopes." ~ Christopher Hitchens [God Is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything]


Molly1 wrote on October 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

It truly bothers me when people who don't attend the program or who can't even bother to read the whole article decide to bad mouth something.

The article at the end descibes that the exorcist always has a complete medical and psycholgical examination completed before beginning any exorcism.

Science and Religion must not necessarily compete and be exclusive.  An intelligent person can see that both can live in harmony together.

There are still too many things that science has not been able to explain. Yes, science is getting better, perhaps one day we can explain a lot more things. Right now we can't explain deja vu, ESP, premonitions, cancer, global environmental cycles, heck even what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

Some say that they don't believe in God because they can not see Him, but you can not see wind either. Yes we know wind exists, and we can see the effects of wind, but we can not actually SEE the wind.

If you choose not to believe, fine.  Some would say that the lack of faith is your loss.

I choose to believe in a greater being, that influenced Evolution, and made man what we are today. I am religious, but also value science to explain what we can today.

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm


If you want to suspend reason to participate in credulity and give even an ounce of credence to this point from the article...

"He said he once saw a possessed woman shake violently before she began to levitate about 4 or 5 inches above a chair during an exorcism"

Then this cartoon is for you...



Molly1 wrote on October 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

You are sort of confirming my point here, Bulldog.

Science can not explain how a person could truly levitate.

I mean sure magicians have done illusions from a distance with nearly invisible 'ropes' or 'lines', but nothing that would pass the test of being close enough to touch someone.  And of course NASA can get bodies to float in space, or on their special zero-g aircraft, but not here on Earth.

Here's your chance to impress the heck out of the Champaign-Urbana community.

You respond with all steps required to levitate on Earth, so that not even someone who is less than two feet away, and touching you, couldn't recognize it as a gimic.


ROB McCOLLEY wrote on October 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm
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Um ... I think what s/he's saying ... um ... is that it maybe didn't actually happen, maybe.


But of course, a priest wouldn't lie, so I guess that's a crazy supposition.

Molly1 wrote on October 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Okay, so you don't believe that levitation happened... maybe not, I didn't witness it, but plenty of others have as I understand it.

What about deja vu? Have you never experienced it? Have you never heard someone talk about experiencing it.  Had a premonition?

Science hasn't explained those everyday things yet either.

Explain to me how either of those happens then...

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on October 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm
Molly1 wrote on October 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Actually, as shocked as I am, I like the Daily Illini story better:




Bulldogmojo wrote on October 30, 2013 at 11:10 am

Since you seem a little thin on the details of science itself I suggest you read,

"Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions" ~By Harvard physicist Lisa Randall

(you'll learn about mass and gravity and a bunch of things already measured and proven)

“No longer at the mercy of the reptile brain, we can change ourselves. Think of the possibilities.” ~ Carl Sagan


wayward wrote on October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Any possibility that the subjects of the exorcisms have some mental health issues and are highly suggestible?

narciblog wrote on October 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

There are still too many things that science has not been able to explain.

Ah yes, the old "science was wrong before" canard. Look, just because we don't know everything, doesn't mean that all possible explanations are equally likely. We don't know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. It's possible that his history with organized crime brought him into contact with some unsavory people that did away with him. It's also possible that his body was disassembled by time traveling nanobots from the 27th century. One of these explanations is reasonable. One is not.

Danno wrote on October 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Umm...my unsolicited thoughts on the matter range from Alchemy to Zoology; that in fact, many people are more 'conscious' while 'asleep', than 'awake' and, walking about. Perhaps, 'Deja Vu' occurs similarly as with 'Dreams'. A person recalls the percept/recept/concept in a 'forward' time frame, though, they are 'recorded in the reverse time frame', in a 'moment' of time. Maybe, it's Just My Imagination.

vanityofvanitys wrote on October 31, 2013 at 6:10 am

I am always amused by these novice "science guys" who think the idea of a devil or a God or spirits is sooo ridiculous.    So they comment by making jokes instead.   You know who is laughing at your jokes?...  the devil himself.    Because you are traipsing through life without thinking, without listening, just worrying about where your next hamburger will come from and if that girl across the room thinks you're cute.  - - - "The fool sayeth in his heart there is no God."   And we can add, "the fool sayeth in his heart there is no devil."      No doubt the skeptics can assure us the Bible is lying when it speaks of demonic manifestations on earth.  No doubt all the exorcists and witnesses were lying too when the child speaks in strange languages or levitates.   No doubt all the statues of Mary weepind tears of blood are clever gimmicks made up by nuns in the basement.   No doubt Padre Pio gouged his hands and feet and let those wounds fester and bleed every day for 50 years, yet in inexplicably gave off the scent of roses.   No doubt the 70,000 people who saw the sun dance and change colors at Fatima Portugal in 1917 were all lying or hallucinating --- even though three young children  had predicted that the Virgin Mary said a great miracle  would happen that very day, 90 days in advance.   Keep on laughing y'all, since science is your god.

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 31, 2013 at 8:10 am

LOL, Uh Oh sounds like someone has an unpublished manuscript in his bottom desk drawer.

Sober up


vanityofvanitys wrote on October 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm

People like you are more likely to make me cry than laugh.    You think so highly of yourself, yet you have no idea who you are or where you are going.    Question:  How many miracles must be demonstrated for you to accept God is real?  I know the answer, it is always one more than you have been shown.  Why is that?   Because you are afraid to admit that there is a God and you are accountable for your own actions and sins.    Grow up friend.   God is real and so is death.   If you are too proud or afraid to acknowledge the presence of the evil one in an exorcism, then go read about Fatima 1917.  It will convince the most stout skeptic that Jesus Christ is God.  And if you want more, go read a Catholic or spiritual account of the life and trial of Joan of Arc.   No one but God could have brought about such courage and wisdom of a young French girl.

Bulldogmojo wrote on November 01, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I went to Sacred Heart Catholic school in Shawano Wisonsin for grades 1-8 I've studied other religions at the college level and I have yet to be convinced by any of it. If you want to sit sround and believe that the laws of physics and nature have been suspended in your favor and only in a way that you approve of then you are in the throws of self reinforcing delusion.

Exceptions to your fate that you share with ALL other primates will not made because you sucked on a wafer or engaged in incantation or ceremony. Make the effort to think for yourself and stop assigning values to campfire storytelling, you'll appreciate the universe and your insignificance in it all the more. The Universe was not designed with you in mind and your arrogance in such a belief is text book narcissim.


lynnfiat wrote on October 31, 2013 at 9:10 am

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary.  For those who doubt, no explanation is possible!  This Priest is healing very ill people, and this country is under the attack of evil.  Do not doubt, but believe!

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 31, 2013 at 11:10 am

"This country is under the attack of evil"?

I guess your god is a big respecter of cartography and voting district lines?

Anders Breivik thought his country was under attack of evil too and look how that turned out.

“Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.” ~ Hitchens


ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 02, 2013 at 11:11 am
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Wait a sec, are you saying "America" is not endorsed in the bible?

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm

All of these comments are making my head spin...............

Happy Halloween.  Make sure you leave a food offerring out tonight for the spirits of the departed philosophers, and theologians. 

Local Yocal wrote on November 01, 2013 at 5:11 am
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"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing mankind he doesn't exist."

Normally I would pile on The News-Gazette, but Tim Mitchell was covering an event at a prestigious university at one of its premiere lecture halls. The article is standard coverage of what a lecturer has to say. At least The N-G didn't manufacture a story or exaggerate an opinion or foist one of its annonymous editorials from on high as "all-you-need-to-know" per usual.

The Catholic Church would know something about the devil, since its leadership has been infested with pedophiles, greed, and violence toward people.

There are about 130 churches in this area, all have a Holy Bible that teach (what percentage of our population?) stuff that's in it. Some of the stories have to do with a character known as lucifer, a fallen angel who deceived a third of the angels to rebel against God, Creator of the universe. Some of the stories recount a Jesus of Nazereth casting out demons from the people He meets on the street. And this thread has been reduced to debating whether that's real or not.

Well, if nothing else, a First Amendment loving country of free men can debate freely yay or nay at it's institutions of higher learning (since the U of I does collect $640 million of our taxes per year) and in its privately-owned commercial newspaper (founded by a Catholic family). I'd say the state of things are healthy enough around here, though The News-Gazette is under no obligation to provide the boxing ring for this discussion.


vanityofvanitys wrote on November 01, 2013 at 11:11 am

your quote:  "The Catholic Church would know something about the devil, since its leadership has been infested with pedophiles, greed, and violence toward people."

Yes, and the devil would know something about the Catholic Church.   Which makes perfect sense why his attacks are primarily directed against that institution which contains the fullest truths.   That institution which Jesus Christ said "the gates of hell shall not prevail against thee."   No doubt they are trying.   No doubt the Church is made up of sinners and some who have fallen terribly.   No doubt the rest of the world delights in it because there is no light being shined upon their darkness.

I can see you have the opinon the Catholic Church is some kind of blight on society?   Is this well thought out on your part or just some agenda you are advancing?    Sinners, yes.  Violent?  How so?    Did you measure the blood of the martyrs, the sacrifice of the millions caring for the most needy over history?   Or do you simply fall in love with secular translations?   No doubt it was the priests who were slaughtering south american natives instead of assisting them in many ways.   And do spare me the gross fabrications about the Inquisition.   Maybe it's time people started thinking about their own mortality and what the Church has been trying to do to assist them to achieve eternal life instead?   


Local Yocal wrote on November 01, 2013 at 9:11 pm
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"I can see you have the opinon the Catholic Church is some kind of blight on society?"

I wouldn't take it that far, but to someone who believes their Church has "the fullest truths," I can see why you would be so enraged by legitimate criticism. We see why so many were burned at the stakes for heresy with zealots like yourself protecting her. My opinion of all the churches of the various denominations and non-demoninations is the same as yours: "No doubt the Church is made up of sinners and some who have fallen terribly."

Because of the Catholic Church's strong tradition of heirarchies and visual spectacle, it has long left any resemblances of the church Jesus left behind in Acts. Hence, it's hoarding of wealth and it's foisting inequality and exploitation onto its congregation. At the same time, there is no doubt that many members of its congregation are sincere practioners of the faith, the ceremony and structure sustains them, and inspires them to acts of charity. But a few guys at the top have given the Catholic Church a deservedly bad reputation. Probably because it's the devil attacking, huh?


ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 02, 2013 at 11:11 am
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The Roman church is the largest organized criminal conspiracy in the history of homo sapiens. Its crimes are well documented, going back to the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc. The sale of "indulgences" should be a giveaway, as should all the ornate clothes and buildings. It's about money.


But please, let's not call it "catholic." There's nothing ecumenical about the "one true church."

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 02, 2013 at 7:11 pm

and the Catholics can spout crimes, and atrocities against the Protestants.....  The Muslims can chant hate against the Jews.  The Jews can hate on all the other religious groups.  The atheists can denounce the Catholics...   It never ends....

There are always haters out there whether they believe in a religion, or not.  Some people hate themselves so much that they have to hate total groups of other people. Others portray an intellectual view in their hate toward groups.  Some of the Nazis were well educated.  They were physicians, professors, and attorneys.  

Peace Be With You. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 03, 2013 at 11:11 pm
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Good misdirection, Sid.  I'm sure no one will notice the serial child rape if you simply keep telling them "it's all relative."

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 04, 2013 at 9:11 am

I do respect your willingness to go public with your anti-Catholic views.  I imagine that many people who know you are either clapping in agreement, or dismayed by your all encompassing condemnation of a faith.  What is your intellectual opinion of the other faiths?  How do you feel about Jews?  What about Moslems?  Is it okay to be an agnostic, or pantheist?  What is acceptable to you?  

I doubt that either of our views toward others religion has any impact on what people believe in.  I am for tolerance; but you are not.  That is about as direct as I can make it.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 04, 2013 at 5:11 pm
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Good questions.


I was raised Episopalian. I know and have known a lot good people who are involved in organized religion because they want to help others.


There are also a lot of deranged people (mentally ill, or unstable) in organized religion. A lot of people use religion to make money.


I don't like it that Islam and the Vatican suppress sexuality. Sexuality is natural, like sleeping and eating. (I suppose those religions both suprress sleeping and eating as well sometimes. At least they're consistent.) You know what sexually suppressed young men do? They fly planes into buildings. They rape young people.

Islam and Roman "catholicism" are the largest religious groups in the world. They try to wield power over other people. Right here in Illinois we have bishops telling legislators (and our governor) how to vote. That should scare the daylights out of people.


I have friends who are Roman church (lapsed and active) congregants. I can socialize with them without yielding my position that their church is the largest, organized criminal conspiracy in the history of homo sapiens. Sometimes I enlighten them on the parts of their church that their church never taught them. (The church tries to obscure its dark past, to change its own history. That's one of the most evil things about it.)

My best friend in high school was Iranian, but I didn't like the ayatollah either.

vanityofvanitys wrote on November 04, 2013 at 8:11 pm

To Rob McColley --- I seriously doubt anyone will change your mind at this stage.  But it must be awful going through life spewing hatred at the Church Jesus Christ established and then not having the slightest clue what may happen to you when you die?   Please don't tell me we are just zapped into oblivion, you have already made yourself a bit of a novelty with your hyperbole on Catholic history.  Note: you don't have any idea what the Inquisition or Crusades were truly about, but keep on reading your Jack Chick pamphlets and feel smart.  

The Catholic Church is made up of sinners, but it is also made up of millions of faithful priests and servants and thousands of glorious saints whose words and miraculous acts validated all of the Church's teachings.   No we cannot ever make up for the harm the abuse and coverups have caused, but neither can we overcome your pride and hatred.   Maybe the day you realize Jesus is real, the Church contains the truth on salvation, and the devil delights in people who ignore him or hate on their neighbore, maybe then we can have a teachable moment with you.    Until then, I suggest you just go read up on the FACTS about Fatima and then tell God it's all lies because you know better.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 05, 2013 at 5:11 pm
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You're scary.

vanityofvanitys wrote on November 05, 2013 at 8:11 pm

...and you worry too much about trying to appear cool to your friends. 

      (or so it seems)

Paul Wood wrote on November 03, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Regardless of one's feelings about Catholic Church, Jesus did not endorse any one relgion. At the time when he went back to heaven, Christianity was a mostly Jewish organization. He never had a word to say about cardinals, popes, ex cathedra statements. He said to pray by yourself, and not be like the hypocrites.

The Protestant Reformation was about attempting to get back to the words of Jesus, and to spread the words to the people in their native tongues..  But it didn't get Jesus' endorsement, either.

Only God knows who has the true faith.

Mr Dreamy wrote on November 03, 2013 at 10:11 am

Getting back to the story, levitation defies physics.

Physics has Laws, religion only has faith based opinions.

God doesn't suspend the Laws of Physics to please some Monsignor; God IS the laws of physics. And it isn't Lucifer, a mere (fallen) angel who doesn't have as much power as God suspending the Laws of Physics. Only fantasy can suspend the belief in physics.

Faith in the physically impossible is fun, but wrong. Believe what you will, but fools have attributed religious explanations to extraordinary, and not so extraordinary events since mankind first became aware of his surroundings. Which was, by the way, a long long time ago.


Sid Saltfork wrote on November 03, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Everything is logical supposedly.  Although, some of us have prayed to whatever you want to call it with our faces in the dirt.  Maybe, it is irrational; but when your mortality is in question, you might do the irrational. 

If it does not hurt me, and helps another; I don't care.   Freedom of religion, and freedom from religion are everyone's rights.   I view zealots of all groups as distasteful as racists.   There are more important matters than the age old, back and forth regarding the existence of God, or which religion has it's attention.