There are four principal signs through which the possessed one is recognized. First, no known remedy relieves him; second, he speaks of incidents and facts beyond his natural reach, and which nobody has revealed to him; third, he foretells events and speaks several languages unknown to him before his affliction; fourth, in the presence of a priest and at sacred ceremonies he trembles, suffers pain, writhes and blasphemes.
The Catholic priests and especially the Dominicans have, from away back, practiced exorcism. According to the canons the exorcist belongs to one of the minor orders which precede the priesthood. He must be humble of heart in his ministry, and, if he operated with any thought of display, he risks for himself the contagion of the evil spirits that still remain to be cast out.
Ordinarily the ceremony takes place in the church in the presence of the faithful assembled at prayer, particularly at the feasts of the Nativity, of the Resurrection, of the Ascension, of Pentecost, of the Virgin Mary, and of the Apostles. After the morning mass, to which the possessed one assists, the exorcist puts on the surplice and assists the priest who puts on the violet colored cape, the symbol of the pains of Purgatory. The patient who has confessed then approaches. A stole is passed around his neck to tie the devils that have become the masters of his body. Then the sign of the cross is made upon him and he is sprinkled with the holy water. In Latin, the devil is commanded to tell his name, to say whether or not he is alone, and why he is there. Finally, he is ordered to depart. The conjuration in any other language, and especially in Hebrew, is useless. Hebrew is reserved for Satan himself.
The Flagelllum demonum contains the most complete formulas of exorcism, consisting of well-known prayers mingled with the most ancient and strangest appelations of God, such as Oh, Adonal Tetragrammaton, and others, which come in part from Chaldea, from Phoenicia, and from Greece. The words are supposed to possess in themselves a certain power of evocation of celestial virtues which terrify the infernal legions. The words of Christ, according to Saint Matthew, 1, 2, 3, are the most in use to drive out evil spirits.
If the demon does not retire immediately , the exorcist takes a painted image representing him and throws it into the consecrated fire along with incense [?] and sulphur with strong mystic odor, intending to prove by this act that he will send the evil back into his natural element, hell. This done, he places upon the head of the possessed one the Book, the Relles, the Crucifix, and sometimes even the Host, the last and invincible remedy. According to the authority of certain demonographs, the devil then comes out through the nose of the patient.
In the ancient monasteries they made the exorcist carry upon his person certain amulets containing protective formulas. Sometimes these formulas, written upon pieces of parchment, were swallowed. In the process of digestion the exorcism was accomplished without fatigue
In our days exorcism has taken refuge in La Trappa. The clergy are somewhat averse to it, while at the same time they do not refuse to admit it. The man who breaks the spells is very old. But the devils cast out by the good monks are reduced to the tormenting of animals. Pigs are their favorites. Then the old spell smasher whips them with beads and sprinkles them with holy water, and the pigs recover and become happy, because the devils go away.
J.K. Huysmans has been able to speak of the power of demons and the efficacity of exorcisms. Morever, the emiment writer was well acquainted with one of the most learned demongraphers of his time, the Abbe Bonlian, who ran through hell in his bare feet, and holding the Host in his hands.
Either the Church of Sancipt or the Church of Senneville I received this curious document from M. Gilbert Augustin Thieery, the author of [?] The cure of Petites Dalles, in curing the possessed, says a special mass, called the “red mass” or “mass of the martyrs.” Red flowers are placed upon the altar, and the priest wear a tredle. The church is draped in purple.
But, stranger still, a few years ago the wife of the editor of a leading Catholic journal in Paris, being troubled by evil spirits, witnessed the death of the Dominican priest who was endeavoring to exorcise her, and who was unable to guard himself against the forces with which he was contending. –Paris Figaro
NOTE: I'm fascinated by these early accounts of the supernatural and religion...especially the way it is described in the news. Though I'm not affiliated with a religious denomination, I am very spiritual. I have a keen interest in early religions, practices and dogma...in particular the Middle Ages. I was raised a Christian and subjected to various denominations through my family members (Amish Mennonites, Lutheranism, German Dunkards, Church of the Brethren). As a result, I feel my perspective on the subject is somewhat heterogeneous...Lon