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Episode Recap: The Exorcist
Subject Names: Father Vince Lampert, Father Carmine De Filippis
Subject Location: Indiana and The Vatican
Paranormal Experience: An American exorcist’s training and first case
Father Vince Lampert was a young priest when he first visited the old farmhouse. As it was his first time working in the role of exorcist, he was understandably nervous. He kept reminding himself that it was just a meeting.
The lady of the house invited him in, and they sat with her husband to discuss the situation. She said she had spells of waking in the middle of the night, and she would speak in a different language. It had all started 15 years before, when the woman had tried to help a friend. She had said to her friend, "What's ever in you, I invite to come into me." She had felt an immediate change. Her life had fallen apart. They had seen neurologists, psychologists, and all kinds of doctors with no luck. Father Lampert was their last resort. Father Lampert suggested a prayer for her, to ask God to give her the strength to deal with the situation. No sooner did he finish an invocation of the Holy Trinity than the woman lunged at him, obviously possessed. Father Lampert was facing a real-life possession.
A year earlier, at Father John Ryan's funeral, Father Lampert was approached by the bishop and asked to take over as the exorcist for Indianapolis. It had been Father Ryan's role, and it was now going to be Father Lampert's role. He hadn't wanted the job at first, but the decision was made.
Six months after the funeral, Father Lampert was off to Vatican City to train with an experienced exorcist. When he reached his destination, it wasn't clear that the building was even in use. Father Lampert was met by Father Carmine De Filippis, a robust, imposing man who seemed like just the type of person someone would want facing off against a demon. Father Carmine took him to the room where he performed the exorcisms, sitting him in a corner so he could watch and learn. He gave Father Lampert a copy of the Roman Rites, then escorted a woman into the room. The woman didn't seem possessed. Still, Father Carmine had his rituals. The instant Holy Water touched the woman, it burned. Her eyes rolled back into her head. She began speaking Latin in a voice that was too deep to be hers. Father Lampert knew he was seeing the paranormal. The demon mocked Father Carmine as he spoke the prayers of exorcism. The woman began foaming at the mouth. Nothing frightened Father Lampert more than when the telephone rang, and Father Carmine stepped away from the demon-possessed woman to answer it. He ran over what he might do if she turned violent. How was he supposed to defend himself against a demon? When Father Carmine finally returned, it was not a moment too soon. Father Lampert's world had been rattled by the experience. Father Carmine continued the exorcism, and went on to perform more that day.
This went on for weeks while Father Lampert learned. He saw each person on a regular basis until the demons were cast out. Father Lampert read up on demonology every morning before he went to see Father Carmine. If he could learn the names of the demons, and get them to reveal their names, then Father Lampert would have more control over the demons. The weeks passed, and Father Lampert watched exorcism after exorcism. Finally, there was a woman who'd found herself involved in the occult. As the exorcism progressed, the woman spoke in tongues, wrenched her body in nearly impossible positions, and foamed at the mouth. Eventually, the woman levitated, floating in midair. Father Carmine told Father Lampert that the paranormal manifestations were just parlor tricks, designed to keep an exorcist from doing what they were supposed to do.
After three months of training, Father Lampert returned to the United States. Waiting for him was a parcel from Father Ryan's office. Inside was the prayer book and stole that he had used when performing exorcisms. The torch was being passed to him. Father Lampert tried on the stole, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Was he really going to be able to do this?
Then the call came from the couple in the old farmhouse. The woman was truly possessed. Father Lampert prayed for help, and he could hear Father Carmine's voice in his head reminding him to always perform exorcisms on holy ground. He managed to restrain the demon with Father Carmine's old forehead trick, but he knew it was only restrained.
Father Lampert found a disused convent, which had a chapel. They arranged that the exorcism would take place there. Father Lampert brought a young priest in training as an assistant. The convent was empty, save for the group there for the exorcism. Father Lampert put on the old stole and took out the old prayer book. He felt protected. And then, using what he'd learned from Father Carmine, the exorcism began. The demon mocked him, but he continued. Eventually, the temperature in the room dropped. Father Lampert tried to put all of the distractions behind him and continued praying. Finally, the demon mentioned the word "we". Father Lampert realized that the woman wasn't just possessed by one demon, she was possessed by multiple demons. He began commanding the demons to name themselves. Eventually, they did. They left with each naming. Father Lampert learned the hard way, however, that pride goeth before a fall. It wasn't his strength that was going against the fallen angels. It was God's. He continued to pray. He continued to demand the demon's name. The demon eluded him, until finally, Leviathan revealed its name, insisting it had a right to be there. Out of options, he took the end of the stole and pressed it to the woman's forehead. It burned her. She jumped up and ran out of the room. Father Lampert and the younger priest ran out after her. Finally, she appeared, and they chased her until she was cornered. After spraying her with Holy Water, the demon began to recoil. Father Lampert commanded the demon to repeat after him if it was going to leave. It repeated the words, but in the wrong order. It mocked him. Father Lampert briefly questioned himself, but found the courage to insist upon the right order for the words. The demon finally complied, and left the woman. Her fifteen year battle was finally over.
For Father Lampert, he knew he was an exorcist. He knew life would never be the same.