Category: Mysteries

What Do You See? A Michigan Man Says He Caught The Image Of An Angel On His Home Security Camera, Others Doubt it! 

What Do You See? A Michigan Man Says He Caught The Image Of An Angel On His Home Security Camera, Others Doubt it! 

WHAT DO YOU SEE? A Michigan man says he caught the image of an angel on his home security camera, but others think it just looks like a moth.

Do you believe in miracles?

A group of people in East Jordan believe they have come across one.

“I said ‘That’s an angel!’ And I was just blown away,” said Glen Thorman, whose security camera captured the image. “I couldn’t wait to send it to my wife and send it to Deneille. And I said ‘I got an angel, and my camera took a picture of an angel.’”

The camera is only activated by a motion sensor.

On Wednesday, I emailed him a picture that shows what he says looks like an angel hovering over his truck, then moving out of the frame.

One of the first things he did was send the picture to the pastor of his church, Deneille Moes.

“It was really clear to me the minute I looked at the photo, I just kind of freaked out a bit,” Moes said. “I went like ‘Whoa! That’s an angel!’ And I texted him back, ‘That’s an angel.’ There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we were looking at something supernatural.”

Moes posted the photos on the church’s Facebook page where it has gotten hundreds of shares.

“There’s no altering, no editing on the photo,” Moes said. “It’s the real thing.”

We took the photos to Glass Lakes Photography in Petoskey to look at them with studio owner, Joe Clark.

Clark says it’s difficult to say for sure what the figure in the photos is, but it’s possible an insect set off that motion sensor.

“It is definitely moth-shaped in the first photo,” Clark said. “You can kind of clearly see what looks, or could be interpreted as, wings and a head, but at the same time since it’s not clearly in focus and since it is what it is, there may be room for interpretation.”

Whether the image was a sign from heaven or an optical illusion, the people who found it say they feel like their prayers have been answered.

Texas ‘Pastor’ Jailed For 99 Years For Starving Toddler To Death During Exorcism 

Texas ‘Pastor’ Jailed For 99 Years For Starving Toddler To Death During Exorcism 

Aracely Meza cradles the limp body of a 2-year-old boy, praying for God to bring the starved toddler back to life. 

The saddening moment was captured on videos that a Dallas County jury watched in March before finding the Balch Springs pastor guilty Friday of felony injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. 

The 52-year-old will serve 99 years in prison for Benjamin Aparicio’s starvation death, one month before his third birthday. Jurors also ordered Meza to pay a $10,000 fine.

Videos captured the hours-long resurrection ceremony Meza led after Benjamin died on March 22, 2015. In the video, the boy is frail, nothing but skin and bones. His clothes hang from his lifeless body. 

Weeks before his death, Meza had ordered that food be withheld from Benjamin for 21 days because she believed he was possessed by the “demon of manipulation.”

The 52-year-old woman’s trial offered a glimpse into the control she had over congregants of her church, Iglesia Internacional Jesus es el Rey. 

Her Balch Springs home, where the boy lived with his parents, served as a commune. 


Mesa separated parents from their children, including Benjamin while he was still being breastfed. Though his mother and father lived in the same home, they weren’t allowed to hold their child.

Many turned to the pastor of the evangelical nondenominational church because she claimed to be a prophet. She performed exorcisms and ordered people to fast.

Nazareth Zurita described feeling like she was in a “trance” when she lived in Meza’s house. She admitted she didn’t intervene while Benjamin was being starved.

Anytime someone questioned Meza, the pastor would say, “The devil is speaking through you. You’re the devil,” Zurita testified. Those who questioned Meza were questioning God. 

Zurita said she now realizes that Meza would use “distorted Scripture” to control the members of her church. Zurita called it “brainwashing.” 

Jurors watched videos of a starving Benjamin being held up and prayed over by Meza. They were also shown the video showing Meza trying to revive the dead child. 

A video shot the day he died shows Meza propping up the child, who had fallen on the kitchen floor. She then puts him over her knee, pulls down his pants and spanks him over and over. The boy cries.

Each video shows Benjamin unable to hold up his head. His collarbones jut out. His cheeks are sunken. His ears look too big for his head. His eyes dart around but never look directly at anyone or anything.

A photo of a healthy Benjamin shows the baby had chubby cheeks and a cute grin. 

Meza testified that God showed her what he wanted her to do, including who should fast. 

“It’s like inside yourself,” she explained through a translator. 

She said God told her Benjamin should start eating again. He was taken off his fast Feb. 13, 2015. 

“The spirit was telling me that Benjamin should start eating,” she said. 

But Meza would still keep food from the toddler. When he didn’t say “amen” after a prayer or didn’t use the restroom properly, she would take his food away. 

Dr. Suzanne Daikil, a child abuse pediatrician, analyzed the videos showing Benjamin, a “severely emaciated child.” 

“The child’s limp, like a rag doll,” she said. “I need him in my hospital.”Daikil said that if Benjamin had been taken to a doctor, he could’ve been saved.

A handwritten note on the refrigerator designated which days each person was expected to abstain from food. 

But Benjamin was the only one kept from food for so long. Prosecutor Rachel Burris asked Meza why she focused solely on Benjamin.

Meza just mumbled and looked down. She said that she realized after he died that she should’ve helped him. 

“I thought that God would wake him up,” she said, adding that she was “praying, thinking God would make a miracle.”

Zurita testified that Benjamin’s parents were afraid to report what was happening to their son or that he had died because they were unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

Liliana and Zenon Aparicio are believed to still be living in Mexico and have not been arrested, though they face charges. The Aparicios and Meza took Benjamin’s body to Mexico to be buried.

Zurita, 38, was also charged with felony injury to a child. She has reached an agreement with prosecutors for a reduced charge. A guilty plea has not been finalized. 

“The state of Texas made a deal with a demon to get a bigger one,” Burris told jurors. Meza “allowed him to suffer, to waste away and die.” 

Defense attorney Charles Humphreys called Meza “a prisoner of her faith.” But prosecutor Patrick Capetillo argued that Benjamin’s death was not about faith. “This case is not about religion. This case is about control,” he said. 

Evil Mother Beats Child To Death With Whip And Bible During Exorcism

Evil Mother Beats Child To Death With Whip And Bible During Exorcism

A 7-month-old baby has painfully died after being beaten with a whip and a Bible for two days by her own mother in an exorcism attempt, a South African court has heard.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Kgositsile Taolo told the court that the attempted exorcism took place after co-accused Emmanuel Welcome told Evelyn Jacobs her child was possessed by demons, as reported by Punch.

“According to the testimony of a witness who wishes to remain anonymous, on October 12, 2016, the accused (Jacobs) and a friend, Veronica, went to Welcome shanty on October 12 last year. Jacobs had her seven-month-old baby with her at the time,” Detective Taolo said during a bail hearing for Jacobs.

“When they arrived at the shack, Welcome said the child was possessed by evil spirits. The mother concurred and the two accused then beat the child with open hands across her body and head. Welcome also took a Bible and started hitting the child with the Bible on her stomach. Later that night, the child could not sleep as she was in pain,” he continued.

The detective said that the beating continued the next day and the unnamed witness tried to stop Welcome and Jacobs from hurting the child. The witness then claims to have tried to take the child away several times, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

At one point, the witness claims the mother used a leather whip on the child, prompting the witness to leave the shanty in tears. Detective Taolo alleged Jacobs then followed the witness and told her not to worry because the infant was “not human but a snake.”

During the exorcism, Welcome and Jacobs allegedly poured a salt water mixture onto the child’s face, causing the infant to kick, which the mother then interpreted as a sign of evil spirits.  The following day the child died after reportedly being placed in a bucket of water mixed with salt and cleaning agents.

“When [the mother] took the baby from the bucket, the child’s body was stiff and foam was coming from her mouth. The police and an ambulance were then called,” said Detective Taolo.

He told the court that he opposed the granting of bail to Jacobs, even though she had no previous record or pending cases.

Jacobs’ bail application was denied by Magistrate Cornelia Voster, while the case was postponed to March, pending a decision from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether the matter will be transferred to a higher Court.

A Man Of Science Encounters Demonic Possession 

A Man Of Science Encounters Demonic Possession 

One June evening, a small group of nuns and priests met the woman in the chapel of a house Though it was warm outside, a palpable chill settled over the room.

As the priests began to pray, the woman slipped into a trance — and then snapped to life. She spoke in multiple voices: One was deep, guttural and masculine; another was high-pitched; a third spouted only Latin. When someone secretly sprinkled ordinary water on her, she didn’t react. But when holy water was used, she screamed in pain.

“Leave her alone, you f***ing priests,” the guttural voice shouted. “Stop, you whores. … You’ll be sorry.”

You’ve probably seen this before: a soul corrupted by Satan, a priest waving a crucifix at a snarling woman. Movies and books have mimicked exorcisms so often, they’ve become clichés.

The 1973 film "The Exorcist" shaped how many see demonic possession.

The 1973 film “The Exorcist” shaped how many see demonic possession.

But this was an actual exorcism — and included a character not normally seen in the traditional drive-out-the-devil script.

Dr. Richard Gallagher is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified psychiatrist who teaches at Columbia University and New York Medical College. He was part of the team that tried to help the woman.

Fighting Satan’s minions wasn’t part of Gallagher’s career plan while he was studying medicine at Yale. He knew about biblical accounts of demonic possession but thought they were an ancient culture’s attempt to grapple with mental disorders like epilepsy. He proudly calls himself a “man of science.”

Yet today, Gallagher has become something else: the go-to guy for a sprawling network of exorcists in the United States. He says demonic possession is real. He’s seen the evidence: victims suddenly speaking perfect Latin; sacred objects flying off shelves; people displaying “hidden knowledge” or secrets about people that they could not have possibly have known.

“There was one woman who was like 90 pounds soaking wet. She threw a Lutheran deacon who was about 200 pounds across the room,” he says. “That’s not psychiatry. That’s beyond psychiatry.”

Gallagher calls himself a “consultant” on demonic possessions. For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls “the real thing.” He estimates that he’s seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

“Whenever I need help, I call on him,” says the Rev. Fr. Gary Thomas, one of the most famous exorcists in the United States. The movie “The Rite” was based on Thomas’ work.

“He’s so respected in the field,” Thomas says. “He’s not like most therapists, who are either atheists or agnostics.”

Gallagher is a big man — 6-foot-5 — who once played semipro basketball in Europe. He has a gruff, no-nonsense demeanor. When he talks about possession, it sounds as if he’s describing the growth of algae; his tone is dry, clinical, matter-of-fact.

Possession, he says, is rare — but real.

“I spend more time convincing people that they’re not possessed than they are,” he wrote in an essay for The Washington Post.

Some critics, though, say Gallagher has become possessed by his own delusions. They say all he’s witnessed are cheap parlor tricks by people who might need therapy but certainly not exorcism. And, they argue, there’s no empirical evidence that proves possession is real.

Still, one of the biggest mysteries about Gallagher’s work isn’t what he’s seen. It’s how he’s evolved.

How does a “man of science” get pulled into the world of demonic possession?

His short answer: He met a queen of Satan.

A ‘creepy’ encounter with evil

She was a middle-aged woman who wore flowing dark clothes and black eye shadow. She could be charming and engaging. She was also part of a satanic cult.

She called herself the queen of the cult, but Gallagher would refer to her as “Julia,” the pseudonym he gave her.

The woman had approached her local priest, convinced she was being attacked by a demon. The priest referred her to an exorcist, who reached out to Gallagher for a mental health evaluation.

Why, though, would a devil worshipper want to be free of the devil?

She was conflicted,” Gallagher says. “There was a part of her that wanted to be relieved of the possession.”

She ended up relieving Gallagher of his doubts. It was one of the first cases he took, and it changed him. Gallagher helped assemble an exorcism team that met Julia in the chapel of a house.

Objects would fly off shelves around her. She somehow knew personal details about Gallagher’s life: how his mother had died of ovarian cancer; the fact that two cats in his house went berserk fighting each other the night before one of her sessions.

Julia found a way to reach him even when she wasn’t with him, he says.

He was talking on the phone with Julia’s priest one night, he says, when both men heard one of the demonic voices that came from Julia during her trances — even though she was nowhere near a phone and thousands of miles away.

He says he was never afraid.

“It’s creepy,” he says. “But I believe I’m on the winning side.”

How a scientist believes in demons

He also insists that he’s on the side of science.

He says he’s a stickler for the scientific method, that it teaches people to follow the facts wherever they may lead.

Growing up in a large Irish Catholic family in Long Island, he didn’t think much about stories of possession. But when he kept seeing cases like Julia’s as a professional, he says, his views had to evolve.

Some priests say those who dabble in the occult are opening doorways to the demonic.

Some priests say those who dabble in the occult are opening doorways to the demonic.

“I don’t believe in this stuff because I’m Catholic,” he says. “I try to follow the evidence.”

Being Catholic, though, may help.

Gallagher grew up in a home where faith was taken seriously. His younger brother, Mark, says Gallagher was an academic prodigy with a photographic memory who wanted to use his faith to help people.

“We had a sensational childhood,” Mark Gallagher says. “My mother and father were great about always helping neighbors or relatives out.” Their mother was a homemaker, and their father was a lawyer who’d fought in World War II. “My father used to walk us proudly into church. He taught us to give back.”

Gallagher’s two ways of giving back — helping the mentally ill as well as the possessed — may seem at odds. But not necessarily for those in the Catholic Church.

Contemporary Catholicism doesn’t see faith and science as contradictory. Its leaders insist that possession, miracles and angels exist. But global warming is real, so is evolution, and miracles must be documented with scientific rigor.

One of Gallagher’s favorite sources of inspiration is Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio” (“On Faith and Reason”). The Pope writes that “there can never be a true divergence between faith and reason, since the same God who reveals the mysteries and bestows the gift of faith has also placed in the human spirit the light of reason.”

The church’s emphasis on faith and reason can even be seen in the birth of its exorcism ritual.

The Rite of Exorcism was first published in 1614 by Pope Paul V to quell a trend of laypeople and priests hastily performing exorcisms on people they presumed were possessed, such as victims of the bubonic plague, says the Rev. Fr. Mike Driscoll, author of “Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World.”

“A line (in the rite) said that the exorcist should be careful to distinguish between demon possession and melancholy, which was a catchall for mental illness,” Driscoll says. “The church knew back then that there were mental problems. It said the exorcist should not have anything to do with medicine. Leave that to the doctors.”

Doctors, perhaps, like Gallagher.

Gallagher says the concept of possession by spirit isn’t limited to Catholicism. Muslim, Jewish and other Christian traditions regard possession by spirits — holy or benign — as possible.

This is not quite as esoteric as some people make it out to be,” Gallagher says. I know quite a few psychiatrists and mental health professionals who believe in this stuff.”

Dr. Mark Albanese is among them. A friend of Gallagher’s, Albanese studied medicine at Cornell and has been practicing psychiatry for decades. In a letter to the New Oxford Review, a Catholic magazine, he defended Gallagher’s belief in possession.

He also says there is a growing belief among health professionals that a patient’s spiritual dimension should be accounted for in treatment, whether their provider agrees with those beliefs or not. Some psychiatrists have even talked of adding a “trance and possession disorder” diagnosis to the DSM, the premier diagnostic manual of disorders used by mental health professionals in the US.

There’s still so much about the human mind that psychiatrists don’t know, Albanese says. Doctors used to be widely skeptical of people who claimed to suffer from multiple personalities, but now it’s a legitimate disorder (dissociative identity disorder). Many are still dumbfounded by the power of placebos, a harmless pill or medical procedure that produces healing in some cases.

There’s a certain openness to experiences that are happening that are beyond what we can explain by MRI scans, neurobiology or even psychological theories,” Albanese says.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia, arrived at a similar conclusion after he had an unnerving experience with a patient.

Lieberman was asked to examine the videotape of an exorcism that he subsequently dismissed as unconvincing.

Then he met a woman who, he said, “freaked me out.”

Lieberman, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, says he and a family therapist were asked to examine a young woman who some thought was possessed. He and his colleague tried to treat the woman for several months but gave up because they had no success.

The film "The Rite" is based on the life of the Rev. Gary Thomas, one of the leading exorcists in the US.

The film “The Rite” is based on the life of the Rev. Gary Thomas, one of the leading exorcists in the US.

Something happened during the treatment, though, that he still can’t explain. After sessions with the woman, he says, he’d go home in the evenings, and the lights in his house would go off by themselves, photographs and artwork would fall or slide off shelves, and he’d experience a piercing headache.

When he mentioned this to his colleague one day, her response stunned him: She’d been having the exact same experiences.

“I had to sort of admit that I didn’t really know what was going on,” Lieberman says. “Because of the bizarre things that occurred, I wouldn’t say that (demonic possession) is impossible or categorically rule it out … although I have very limited empirical evidence to verify its existence.”

The tragic case of the real ‘Emily Rose’

If you want to know why so many scientists and doctors like Lieberman are cautious about legitimizing demonic possession, consider one name: Anneliese Michel.

Michel was a victim in one of the most notorious cases of contemporary exorcism. If you have the stomach for it, go online and listen to audiotapes and watch videos of her exorcisms. The images and sounds will burn themselves into your brain. It sounds like somebody dropped a microphone into hell.

Michel was a German Catholic woman who died of starvation in 1976 after 67 exorcisms over a period of nine months. She was diagnosed with epilepsy but believed she was possessed. So did her devout Roman Catholic parents. She reportedly displayed some of the classic signs of possession: abnormal strength, aversion to sacred objects, speaking different languages.

But authorities later determined that it was Michel’s parents and two priests who were responsible for her death. German authorities put them on trial for murder, and they were found guilty of negligent homicide. The 2005 film “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on Michel’s ordeal and the subsequent trial.

One of the leading skeptics of exorcism — and one of Gallagher’s chief critics — is Steven Novella, a neurologist and professor at Yale School of Medicine.

He wrote a lengthy blog post dissecting Gallagher’s experience with Julia, the satanic priestess. It could be read as a takedown of exorcisms everywhere.

He says Julia probably performed a “cold reading” on Gallagher. It’s an old trick of fortune tellers and mediums in which they use vague, probing statements to make canny guesses about someone. (Fortune teller: “I see a recent tragedy in your family.” Client: “You mean my sister who got hurt in a car accident? How did you know?”)

Or take the case of a person speaking an unfamiliar language like Latin during a possession.

A patient might memorize Latin phrases to throw out during one of their possessions,” Novella wrote. “Were they having a conversation in Latin? Did they understand Latin spoken to them? Or did they just speak Latin?”

Novella says it’s noteworthy that no one has filmed any paranormal event such as levitation or sacred objects flying across the room during an exorcism. He’s seen exorcism tapes posted online and in documentaries and says they’re not scary.

“They’re boring,” he says. “Nothing exciting happens. The most you get is some really bad play-acting by the person who is being exorcised.”

In an interview, Novella went further and criticized any therapist who believes his patient’s delusions.

“The worst thing you can do to a patient who is delusional is to confirm their delusions,” says Novella, who founded the New England Skeptical Society.

“The primary goal of therapy is to reorient them to reality. Telling a patient who is struggling that maybe they’re possessed by a demon is the worst thing you can do. It’s only distracting them from addressing what the real problem is.”

The 2005 horror film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was loosely based on the death of Anneliese Michel.

The 2005 horror film “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was loosely based on the death of Anneliese Michel.

Driscoll, the Catholic priest who wrote a book about possession, is not a skeptic like Novella. Still, he says, it’s not unusual for people on drugs or during psychotic episodes to display abnormal strength.

“I have seen it take four grown guys to hold one small woman down,” says Driscoll, a chaplain at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois. “When a person has no fear and is not in their right mind and they don’t care about hurting themselves or hurting others, you can see heartbreaking things.”

That doesn’t mean he thinks possession isn’t real. He says the New Testament is full of accounts of Jesus confronting demons.

“Do I still believe it happens? Yes, I do,” he says. “It happened then. I don’t know why it would be totally eradicated now.”

Gallagher agrees and has answers for skeptics like Novella.

He says demons won’t submit to lab studies or allow themselves to be easily recorded by video equipment. They want to sow doubt, not confirm their existence, he says. Nor will the church compromise the privacy of a person suffering from possession just to provide film to skeptics.

Gallagher says he sees his work with the possessed as an extension of his responsibilities as a doctor.

In a passage from a book he is working on about demonic possession in America, he says that it is the duty of a physician to help people in great distress “without concern whether they have debatable or controversial conditions.”

Gallagher isn’t the first psychiatrist to feel such duty. Dr. M. Scott Peck, the late author of “The Road Less Traveled,” conducted two exorcisms himself — something Gallagher considers unwise and dangerous for any psychiatrist.

“I didn’t go volunteering for this,” he says. “I went into this because different people over the last few decades realized that I was open to this sort of thing. The referrals are almost invariably from priests. It’s not like someone is walking into my office and I say, ‘You must be possessed.’ “

What happened to Satan’s queen

He may not have asked to join the “hidden” world of exorcism, but he is an integral part of that community today. He’s been featured in stories and documentaries about exorcism and is on the governing board of the Rome-based International Association of Exorcists.

“It’s deepened my faith,” he says of the exorcisms he’s witnessed. “It didn’t radically change it, but it validated my faith.”

He says he’s received thanks from many people he’s helped over the years. Some wept, grateful to him for not dismissing them as delusional. As for letting a journalist talk to any of these people, Gallagher says he zealously guards their privacy.

Belief in possession exists in many religious traditions. Here, a man enters a state of possession during an African voodoo ceremony.

Belief in possession exists in many religious traditions. Here, a man enters a state of possession during an African voodoo ceremony.

Julia, though, gave him permission to tell her story. But it didn’t have a happy ending.

He and a team of exorcists continued to see her, but eventually, she called a halt to the sessions. She was too ambivalent. She relished some of the abilities she displayed during her trances. She was “playing both sides.”

“Exorcism is not some kind of magical incantation,” Gallagher says. “Normally, a person has to make their own sincere spiritual efforts, too.”

About a year after she dropped out, Gallagher says, he heard Julia’s voice on the phone again. This time, she had called to tell him she was dying of cancer.

Gallagher says he offered to try to help her with a team of priests while she was still physically able, but her response was terse:

“Well, I’ll give it some thought.”

He says he never heard from her again.

Inevitably, there will be others. His phone will ring. A priest will tell him a story. A team of clergy and nuns will be summoned. And the man of science will enter the hidden world of exorcism again.

The critics, the souls that aren’t saved, the creepy encounters — they don’t seem to deter him.

Truly informed exorcists don’t tend to get discouraged,” he says, “because they know it is our Lord who delivers the person, not themselves.”

Is Gallagher doing God’s work, or does he need deliverance from his own delusions?

Perhaps only God — and Satan — knows for sure.

Source:

CNN 

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