Friday, May 31, 2013

Demonology: #2 on Our Top 10 Demons List: Asmodeus


Described as “the king of demons,” Asmodeus appears in many ancient books and writings. He is one of the chief demons involved in a cases of possession. Throughout history, he has been regarded as one of the most evil of Satan’s infernal demons. He is usually portrayed as having three heads: those of an ogre, a ram, and a bull—all sexually licentious creatures; he is also portrayed as having the feet of a cock, another sexually aggressive creature; having the wings and tail of a serpent; he rides on a dragon and breathes fire.

                Asmodeus has roots in ancient Persia. The name Asmodeus is derived from Aeshma, one of the seven archangels, or amarahspands, of Persian mythology. The Hebrews absorbed him into their mythology, where he attained the highest status and most power of all his legends. Prior to his fall from heaven, he was part of the seraphim—the highest order of angels [but this a contradiction—how could he be a seraph when he was the also said to be the offspring of a demon and a human?].

                In other Hebrew legends, he is either associated with or the husband of Lilith, the demon queen of lust. Sometimes he is said to be the offspring of Lilith and Adam.

In the Book of Tobit  [also sometimes known as the Book of Tobias], the demon Asmodeus fell in love with the beautiful human female Sarah, daughter of Raguel. Asmodeus wanted Sarah for himself, and he refused to allow her to be married to any human male. So, every time Sarah was married, the demon came to the marriage bed and took the life of her new husband. Seven men fell to the predations of this jealous demon, until Tobias received a visit from the angel Raphael, who instructed him on how to handle Asmodeus (by burning the gall of a certain fish). Tobias subsequently married Sarah and drove the demon away with the technique Raphael had told him. Asmodeus reportedly fled to the furthest reaches of Egypt, where he was then tracked down and bound by the angel Raphael.

In the pseudepigraphical Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus lives in the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and is called up by King Solomon. Asmodeus is taken into the presence of the King by Beelzebub, and King Solomon demands to know his names and functions. Sullen, arrogant and defiant, he tells the king he was born of a human mother and an angel father. He also says that Solomon will have only a temporary hold over the demons; his kingdom will eventually be divided, and demons will go out again among men and will be worshipped as gods because humans will not know the names of the angels who thwart the demons. He admits that he is afraid of water. He is said to be in charge of “the destruction of fidelity (faithfulness in marriage), either by separating man and wife through calamities or by causing husbands to be led astray. One of his main objectives is to prevent intercourse between spouses, wreck new marriages, and entice husbands to commit adultery.  He is also said to commit murders and to attack the beauty of virgins, causing them to waste away. He has knowledge of the future. In one passage from the Testament, which is similar to the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus admits that the angel Raphael holds power over him.

                Further in the Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus claims to have been “born an angel’s seed by a daughter of man,” which connects him firmly with the tradition of the Watcher Angels of Genesis  chapter six in the story of Noah, and also the First Book of Enoch as well as the Second Book of Enoch.

                This statement about Asmodeus being the offspring of a fallen watcher Angel and a human female is also reflected in the portion of the Jewish Haggadah  concerned with the life of Noah. Here, he is said to have been born of the union between the fallen angel Shamdon and the lustful maiden Naamah. He was reputedly bound by King Solomon with iron, a metal that was often presented as an anathema to demons.

[Strictly speaking, this would make Asmodeus an Evil Spirit, and not a demon – if one defines a demon as strictly a fallen angel. This is the subject of debate and discussion among even Christian demonologists—whether there is such a thing as evil spirits as being the spirits of the now dead offspring of demons (fallen angels) with human females (one explanation of the identity of the Nephilim of Genesis 6).]

                The Grimoire of Armadel  mentions Asmodeus in conjunction with leviathan, claiming that the two demons can teach about the malice of other devils. This same text cautions against summoning them, citing the fact that they lie.

                Francis Barret’s The Magus  depicts an image of Asmodeus, associating him with the sin of wrath.

                In Arthur Edward Waite’s 1910 Book of Black Magic and Pacts,  he is listed as the superintendent of hell’s casinos. This demonic hierarchy stems from the writings of the nineteenth century demonologist Charles Berbiguier.        

                In Mather’s translation of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, he is called Asmodee, and is identified as one of eight sub-princes ruling over all the other demons. In this text, he has the power to produce food—typically in the form of huge banquets; he can know the secrets of any person; has the power to transmute metals and transmogrify (to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect) people and animals, changing their shapes at will.

                In the Goetia,  he appears as the thirty-second demon under the name Asmoday.

                Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s encyclopedia lists him as a demon of lust (the third of the seven deadly sins), and of jealousy (which is born out in his jealousy of Tobias.)

                Asmodeus was absorbed into Christian lore, becoming one of the Devil’s leading agents of provocation. Witches were said to worship him, and magicians and sorcerers attempted to conjure him to strike out at enemies. Grimoires of magical instruction sternly admonish anyone seeking an audience with Asmodeus to summon him bareheaded out of respect. Johann Weyer said Asmodeus rules gambling houses.

                According to the Lemegton, a major grimoire, Asmodeus is the “first and chiefest” under Amaymon and goes before all other demons. He gives the ring of virtues and teaches arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and all handicrafts. When properly summoned, he gives full and true answers to all questions. He can make a person invisible and will reveal all treasures under the guard of Amaymon. He was also one of the infernal agents blamed for the obscene sexual possession of the Louviers nuns in 17th century France.

Variations of his name include: Asmodeus, Asmodius, Hasmoday, Sydonay, Asmoday, Aeshma, Ashmedai, Asmodee, and Asmodai.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learning Prayers in Latin

by Mike Chapman, M.M.

Today I learned something that validated a practice that I began almost two years ago. I knew at the time...somehow...that it was for a purpose, and had real meaning and power behind it. The practice? Learning prayers in the original Latin language.

Father Chad Ripperger, in one of his homilies, advised that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI once urged all Catholics around the world to learn the most common Catholic prayers in the Latin language. The reason he cited, was that learning these prayers in Latin, as well as one’s own language, would help the Christian faithful of different languages to be able to pray together, especially when we gather in special circumstances.

However, Father Ripperger adds another reason why Catholics should learn these prayers in Latin, and I agree with him completely: “It (Latin) is also more efficacious than any profane language because of the fact that it is a sacred language. And by virtue of it being sacred, it is in the eyes of God, more precious and therefore more meritorious. Therefore, Catholics should know the more common prayers—for instance, all of those prayers that go into making up the Rosary. They should know the prayers for those. I would suggest that you do this so that your prayers are more efficacious.”

Efficacious means “having the power to produce a desired effect.” So, he is saying that Latin can help bring about what it is you are praying for, more so than prayers in your local language. The language itself is more powerful and compelling, because Latin is a sacred language. Think about it. There is a reason why the Church uses Latin. It is not just an “accident.” (By the way, I also believe this would be true for Greek in the Christian East. I have had two years of Koine Greek in seminary.)

About two years ago, I was moved in my own spirit to begin memorizing and learning the most common prayers—especially those associated with the Rosary. So, I diligently learned the Latin Signum Crucis, the Our Father (Pater Noster), the Hail Mary (Ave Maria) and the Glory Be. I also learned the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in Latin, because he is my patron saint.

Additionally, I began to study ecclesial Latin, mainly focusing on vocabulary rather than grammar rules. I have practiced reading longer prayers and texts in Latin, and have listened to online lessons in pronunciation and so forth. As someone who also prays minor prayers of exorcism in homes and on paranormal cases, I somehow instinctively knew in my spirit that these prayers in Latin were simply more powerful than those in the vernacular. Now I know why. I have friends in Georgia and Connecticut who do exactly the same practice.

Latin has been used so long by the Church that the evil powers fear it. I know that Father Gary Thomas, mandated exorcist in the Diocese of San Jose, even told me that he does NOT use the old 1614 Rite of Exorcism in English because he was told by the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments that the English translation of that older Rite has not been officially approved. Instead, he prays the new 1998 Rite in Latin because it is of course, official. He further advised me that the U.S. Conference of Bishops is supposed to be working on an official, Vatican approved translation of the Rite in English. I say all of this to point out how important the Latin is, in maintaining the authority and veracity (efficaciousness) of the prayers and Rites. Even the Mass in America, though now said in English, has been translated carefully from the Latin and has been submitted to and approved by the Vatican for use. The same is true around the world.

Knowing the above and now armed with the information from (now) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Father Ripperger, I am going to additionally learn the Latin: Nicene Creed, the Gloria, the Fatima Prayer, and the ending prayers of the Rosary; as well as the Sanctus and a few others. I will also redouble my overall Latin studies.

I encourage you to do the same, at least one.

The Ave Maria is very short, and is in the top left corner of this blog post. There are plenty of online places you can go for the correct pronunciation.

See this YouTube video for all the prayers of the Rosary in the Latin Language:

See Father Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P., at his website:
I recommend this website, and its teachings wholeheartedly.

By the way, since you need to be learning Latin, “Sensus Traditionis” – the name of Father’s website, translates as: “The Sense of Tradition” – conveying the idea that traditional Catholic orthodoxy makes the most rational and reasonable sense. I agree.

From the About page of the site:
”This website is dedicated to the defense of the orthodox Catholic faith as well as a promotion of serious academic thought in the areas of Catholic theology and philosophy. One of the tragedies of modern Catholic thought is that it lacks the depth given by previous generations of the same issues. It is for this reason that this website was started, i.e. to aid the Church in recapturing the intellectual rigor it once had. The heresy of modernism has begun affecting the members of the Church by making them content with a superficial approach to and an explanation of their religion. One of the ways to combat this problem in the Church is to promote studies that draw the students into the depth and richness which Catholic thought can provide. However, none of that is possible without a deep sense of our indebtedness to tradition as well as a strong developed sense of the value of those traditions.” 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review of Manual of Minor Exorcisms by Bishop Porteous

This is a review of the small but extremely useful and helpful Manual of Minor Exorcisms, compiled by Bishop Julian Porteous, published by the Catholic Truth Society, Publishers to the Holy See, June 2010. Bishop Porteous is the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.

Review by Mike Chapman

As someone who is a practicing and active Roman Catholic, and is involved in leading a team that regularly is called in to homes to help individuals and families deal with demonic influence - either real or perceived - this Manual of Minor Exorcisms has been sorely needed. Thank you, Bishop Julian Porteous, for compiling these prayers. I am not a part of the Charismatic Renewal; I simply have been called by God into a ministry of helping people with these problems. This is likely due to my life experiences and education.

As one reviewer said, this manual was compiled "For the use of priests" - as it says on the front cover. This is true. However, the Bishop does include an entire range of prayers toward the back of the Manual, starting with the Prayer of St. Basil on page 55, that laity can use with complete confidence that one is not violating canon or liturgical law. As someone who strictly adheres to the Code of Canon Law (c.1172), the Praenotanda (norms) of the new 1998 Rite of Exorcism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as documents and letters put out by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship that regulates such matters, this Manual by Bishop Porteous is very much appreciated. He covers all of these issues sufficiently in this little manual. He makes it very clear what is allowed by laity and what is not. He is also very up-to-date with what is going on with the liturgical rite of exorcism and deliverance prayer issues. That is reflected in the Manual.

I have no doubt that this Manual will become a very useful tool in the hands of the faithful who wish to pray and intercede on behalf of those suffering and in need, yet who definitely desire to stay humble and true to their rightful role that God has placed them in, and not usurp the role of others and go beyond what they authoritatively should do. So many ordinary people are embarrassed or would never go to their priest or pastor, but they do phone and contact people such as myself and my team. Laity such as ourselves (and perhaps you too) are a non-intimidating facet of the Church, and have an important role to play in presenting the gospel and reaching a world lost in darkness. However, this must be done wisely, correctly and in accordance with ecclesial law. This Manual aids us tremendously in that desire and effort. I think this is extremely important, because if we as faithful laity submit to our rightful role, our prayers are all the more efficacious because of our humility and faithfulness to follow the Magisterium of the Church. I recommend this Manual whole-heartedly.
One can purchase it for around $20 plus shipping.

Here is a link to Amazon's page for the Manual:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New NAPS Description On Our Main Website

Our recently revamped description - placed on our Main website's homepage:

Do you think you are experiencing a "haunting" or you are having strange, unexplainable things go on that leave you anxious, fearful or extremely unsettled? We conduct investigations into paranormal activity from a scientific, yet Christian perspective (Roman Catholic). No, the two are NOT mutually exclusive! We specialize in negative hauntings, especially demonic cases or cases suspected of being caused by malevolent spirits (most are not). When necessary, we help arrange blessings and prayers for those who need it. We follow the Code of Canon Law (c. 1172) and the Norms promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in ALL of our cases. No, you do not need to be Roman Catholic to receive our help.

We also work with "psychic children" and cases where children are seeing spirits and are sometimes very troubled and frightened by it. We also are very experienced in helping other paranormal team members who have developed an attachment, for one reason or another.

We offer the best scientific approaches and technology available and look for natural causes first. At the same time, we provide spiritual direction and catechesis (teaching) that helps people to understand the realities of the world we live in. We are a non-profit corporation, and we do not charge for our services if we accept your case. We can help! We have come alongside individuals and families right here in our home towns of Natchez, Mississippi & Vidalia, Louisiana...regionally all over Mississippi and as far away as Indiana, New York, California, and even overseas countries such as England and Finland. Click on our Testimonials Link for what our clients and colleagues are saying about our team and our work.

NOTE: We reach a conclusion or diagnosis in a case only after a careful, diligent, thorough investigation and processing our guidelines and protocol methodologies. We approach all cases that have the potential to possibly be diabolic in nature by strictly following the Code of Cannon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. MOST cases are NOT diabolical to begin with, and even if so, only rise to a level of infestation, harassment, oppression or obsession. Possession is extremely rare. The Vatican estimates that only 1 out of every 5,000 cases they investigate turns out to be a genuine case of possession. Most of the time the cases we investigate are caused by, are a result of, or a combination of: an over-active imagination; fraud or deception; suggestion or auto-suggestion; embellishment or exaggeration; psychological issues or disorders; or a human spirit lingering. Occasionally however, cases do turn out to be serious and of an evil nature. We are a team of older, mature professionals who take this work seriously and with caring for those we help foremost in our minds.

Main Roman Catholic Law, Rites & Documents We Faithfully Adhere To:

Code of Canon Law - 1983, especially c. 1172 (the most relevant to our work)

Inde Ab Aliquot Annis, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Sep 29, 1984

1998 Rite of Exorcism, De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam (editio typica 1999) Especially the 38 Introductory Praenotanda of the Rite (The Praenotanda specifically prohibit laity (us) to perform solemn, we do not perform exorcisms! That's the whole point of adhering to these guidelines...that is only for a Priest or Bishop to do.)

Instructions on Prayers for Healing, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Sep 14, 2000

Christian Faith and Demonology; Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, June 26, 1975

Sacrosanctum concilium, The Constitution on the Divine Liturgy, Vatican II, Dec 4, 1963

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 15, 1989

Catechesis of the Catholic Church: Second Edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Study Edition, National Conference of Catholic Bishops

Our team includes Law Enforcement; Catechists, and an R.N. (Registered Medical Nurse)...we also have access to a Medical Doctor and a Psychologist to help us with diagnosis in difficult cases.

Other Publications Regularly Consulted:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IV Edition, American Psychiatric Association

Natchez has a long tradition of haunted sites and paranormal activity. This, our main website, has been specifically designed for those who are experiencing strange activity and think that their home or business may be haunted. Be sure to visit our other satellite sites such as Our Blog site, our Historical Research site, and our Demonology site (links above) for other information. By clicking on the page buttons on the left side of the screen of this site, you can find information about who we are, what we do, how we go about conducting our investigations, and a whole lot more. There are even pages on the equipment we use, and the people who are on the investigative team.