By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
The Vatican has been inundated with requests for people claiming they are demonically possessed. In order to respond to this demand they are now training more priests than ever before as exorcists.
Benigno Palilla, a trained exorcist told Vatican Radio that demands for priests trained in exorcism has risen dramatically. Added manpower is the only way to deal with 500,000 annual claims of demonic possession in Italy alone.
He warned against the attraction to divination through fortune tellers or tarot cards. He said, “They open the door to the devil and to possession.”
However he did not dismiss the fact that many of the cases have a spiritual or mental health component driving it.
Inexperienced priests present a problem. He said, "A self-taught exorcist certainly meets errors. I will say more: It would also take a period of apprenticeship, as happens for many professionals."
Father Pedro Barrajon Muñoz blamed the increase in request for exorcisms on social media. He said, "They can promote Satanic practices and occult rites though dedicated sites, while in the past it was harder to popularize.”
In 2018, the Vatican held a week long international course on exorcism at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, a Catholic educational establishment in Rome. Over 250 priests from 50 countries attended. In 2019, it opened its doors to non-Catholic clergy and exorcists.
The series of lectures entitled Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation, was first held in 2005, and since then the number of attendees has doubled. The cost is close to $500 and covers the theological, psychological and anthropological background to exorcisms.
Father Palilla said the gathering's goal was "to offer a rich reflection and articulation on a topic that is sometimes unspoken and controversial."
In 2014, the Vatican gave official backing to the International Association of Exorcists, making exorcism a recognized practice under canon law. The association emerged from a group founded by the Vatican’s former chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth (1925-2016), and has around 200 members on six continents.
It took the Catholic Church almost 400 years to update the rules pertaining to exorcism. It was only In 1999, when instructions were modified since 1614, to distinguish between demonic possession and physical or psychological illness.
Though officially recognized, exorcisms can only be conducted after approval from senior priests. The training at the Vatican takes place in the spring of each year.
A Case of Satanic Suicide: Possession or Mental Illness
Lilia Botuseva,23, from Bulgaria was reported missing by her family six months before. Interpol was notified, however the search was called off after she was found by authorities in Erfurt, Germany. She had been studying in Germany prior to this.
On New Year's Eve it was reported the owner of a vacation room in the village of Vlachata on the island of Kefalonia discovered her body along with a German man, 30, a top executive with Germany's Deutsche Bank whose name was withheld. The couple traveled to Greece in a car with a fake plate, which the man had rented in Germany. They had been staying there since December 26.
The coroner Angeliki Tsiola, reported the woman cut herself with a blade in several places which bled profusely. She had multiple, healed scars indicating she had participated in similar rituals before. The man than sat in a water-filled bathtub, cut his veins and then put a knife through his heart. Knives, candles and a satanic pentagram were found at the scene.
According to Greek authorities, the suicide appeared to have taken place during a New Year's Eve satanic ceremony. There is a 24-hour time frame before the first full moon of the which is associated with satanic sacrifices.
A note was found written in the man's handwriting, that read:
Our unsuccessful mission has ended. Bitcoin is now the future. I return to my lord Satan, whom I have failed.
A Case of Virgin Sacrifice
On June 2, 2016, two days after he disappeared, it was reported that the body of Mario "Marito" Agustin Salto, 11, was found in plastic garbage bags 6 kilometers outside of Quimili, in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. He left on May 31, on his bike to go fishing. He had been raped and dismembered, in what was later described as a satanic ritual.
His head was found in a separate bag from his torso and extremities, and was discovered by a dog who had dragged out one of his legs. Forensic examination found he was tortured by strangulation with a metal wire. He was also sodomized. and his legs cut off while he was still alive, causing him to bleed to death. His genitals and fifth vertebra were missing.
K-9 dogs used in the investigation led authorities to the house of a man who lived in the area. DNA was also recovered from the child's remains. The dogs found a notebook with mention of the boy's name and a bloodied underwear that belonged to him. It contained semen. An altar to Santa Muerte was found. This deity is a skeletal folk saint venerated in Paraguay, north-eastern Argentina and southern Brazil.
The K-9 also led to a diagram depicting a seven-headed beast, with the use of the numeration 666. There was a drawing of a child tied, and hung from a branch. Below it was the unbalanced image of the iconic figure of Justice. There was mention in the paper of a "virgin sacrifice". The intent was to obtain his energy and spirit. There was also drawn an eye within a triangle which corresponds to the animated depiction in Disney's Gravity Falls.
The authorities took DNA samples from 3,400 residents of Quimili, and neighboring towns during the lengthy investigation. However, none of the samples matched the DNA belonging to two suspects found on the young victim’s body. They both belonged to the same family and had both raped the boy.
The items belonged to Miguel Angel Jimenez, 51, who ironically had participated in marches asking for justice in the case of Marito Salto, after the discovery of his body. He was a supposed benefactor to the village, however they were whispers that he was called "El Brujo" or "El Terrible".
In his yard a dog had been sacrificed. The desiccated carcass was still hanging from a tree.
Four years later, there were 11 people accused of the murder. They were: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ramón Enrique Ocaranza, Daniel Gastón Ocaranza, Miguel Ángel María Jiménez (son of "El Brujo" (The Warlock) Jimenez), María Eugenia Montes, Gustavo Hernández and Arminda Díaz (girlfriend of "El Brujo" Jiménez) who was director of a school in Quimili, Ramón Eduardo Rodríguez, Rodolfo Adrián Sequeira and Daniel Tomás Sosa.
Written notes were found in Arminda Diaz's drawer reading “I already have his virility, his youth, his strength. Give me what I ask for, and give me your strength, 666.”
The case dragged on for more than five years.
On April 6, 2022, two of the accused, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Rodolfo Sequeira went on trial, accused of being "perpetrators of homicide triply qualified by treachery, cruelty and the premeditated concurrence of two or more people and illegitimate deprivation of liberty" under Argentinian law.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer