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Director of ‘The Exorcist’, William Friedkin, on his new documentary ‘The Devil and Father Amorth’

Director of 'The Exorcist', William Friedkin, on his new documentary 'The Devil and Father Amorth' 86


Ted Johnson
Variety

© The Orchard

William Friedkin returned to Washington last week to talk about his latest project – The Devil and Father Amorth, a documentary project that explores real-life exorcisms.

In it, Friedkin witnesses and films an exorcism in Italy in 2016, of a young Italian woman named Christina who believed that she was possessed. The experience was different from what was portrayed in Friedkin’s 1973 classic, The Exorcist, but he says that it was still very chilling.

“I had to consider whether or not I wanted to show this, but I ultimately felt that I had seen it and people should see it,” Friedkin tells Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM.

Several years ago, Friedkin was in Italy and met with Father Gabriele Amorth, then regarded as the foremost Catholic authority on exorcisms, and Amorth agreed to let him witness one and to shoot it, on the condition that it only be with a small camera and no lighting.

“I doubt that there’s one percent of people on Earth who have seen an exorcism – a real Roman Catholic exorcism. Most of the priests had never seen it,” Friedkin says.

In the documentary, Friedkin shows his footage to a number of university medical professionals, including psychiatrists, and “they have never seen anything like this, and they all said they wouldn’t know what to do with this woman. They couldn’t operate on her.”

The Exorcist featured levitation and head-spinning, and it was a work of fiction. The documentary isn’t as physically dramatic, but Christina’s behavior is unexplained. She goes into a trance-like state, and as Amorth performs a battery of prayers, she starts becoming agitated, and then has to be restrained as her voice changes to a guttural tone. She yells at him as if they are the words of Satan, as several men restrain her.

One of the doctors Friedkin interviewed has been involved in a brain mapping program. He “said that he had no idea what this was, but said that just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Friedkin says. “That is how I come down on possession and exorcisms. I can’t say that I understand it. There are no experts. Not even in the priesthood, or at the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

The Exorcist was shot in Georgetown in 1972, and the film crew stayed across the Potomac at the Key Bridge Marriott, the same summer that Bob Woodward was “interviewing Deep Throat in the garage,” Friedkin says. George McGovern, then running for president, would come by the home at Prospect and 36th, where scenes were shot, and watched the filming.

In The Devil and Father Amorth, Friedkin goes back to some of the locations, including the famous steps that are now a tourist landmark.

“Not much has changed,” Friedkin says of Washington then and now. “It is as politically precipitous today, in a different way, as it was then. Political problems, suspicion of the president of this or that, investigations all over town. Watergate was in the papers every day.”

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Paranormal

Spirited Away Nation: Magic in Indonesia is everywhere

Spirited Away Nation: Magic in Indonesia is everywhere 91

Indonesia is not one of those countries that fascinates at first sight. Too much poverty and disorder. One Indonesian pantun, an edifying quatrain, says: just as a worm from a stream falls into a river, so love sinks into the heart from the eyes, that is, it depends on external attractiveness. However, appearance, surface, visibility are not a priority for the Indonesians. You need to feel this country with your heart.

Perhaps this is the influence of difficult climatic conditions: it is rather difficult to think in a permanent sauna. American government structures even impose restrictions on access to posts of a certain level for persons who have spent more than three years in tropical Asia. It is believed that cognitive abilities undergo irreversible changes in such conditions.

The principles of formal logic cease to operate in this corner of the planet, which is literally between the worlds: underwater – a constantly approaching ocean, air – in the form of hurricanes, and fiery – a chain of active volcanoes encircles the country in a ring.

During the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali in 2017, Indonesians were looking for an explanation for what happened not in the information of geological exploration and the history of climate observations. They thought the eruption was caused by the spiritual fall of the Balinese. 

“Why is this happening now? It depends on the sincerity of the Indonesian people. Balinese people need to reconsider their spiritual aspirations and mentality, “- quoted the local socio-political publication of the Governor of Bali, Mangku Pastika.

Yet the atmosphere in Indonesia is so dense that it seems more real than real objects. Noises, sounds, colors – everything is refracted in this thickened air. Without exception, all Indonesians with whom I am familiar have personal experience of meeting, communicating and other contacts with various spirits and ghosts, according to beliefs, inhabiting these islands. 

Talking about ghosts is not shameful; this is a completely understandable and socially accepted explanation of events. The concentration of events, which is not easy to explain by the laws of physics, is for some reason really increased here.

There is a big list of spirits inhabiting Indonesia. The most famous of these is, of course, Kuntilanak, the ghost of a pregnant woman. It can be detected by the smell of plumeria – flowers common in Indonesia that resemble jasmine, but with denser petals of a noble white and delicate yellow. 

These flowers grow there like weeds everywhere. They line the roads, bloom on the trees planted around the beaches, garlands of these flowers are worn around the necks of the newlyweds. In general, almost everything and always smells there with plumeria, which means that the demon is always nearby.

Kuntilanak appears as a beautiful dark-haired woman with red eyes. In addition, a spirit can be identified by a hole in the neck, a hole in the back, and bleeding. She marks her presence with a high-pitched female laugh. It is believed that she is attracted by the smell of drying clothes, which is why many Indonesians and Malaysians are afraid to leave their clothes outside. 

The spirit is especially cruel to men, one of whom, apparently, became the cause of the posthumous wanderings of a ghostly woman. The ghost kills the victim with nails, eats the intestines, and sucks the eyes directly from the sockets.

Sometimes Kuntilanak is identified with another spirit – Sundel Bolong, personifying a woman of easy virtue. Like Kuntilanak, Sundel Bolong died carrying a child conceived out of wedlock. For this reason, the spirit takes revenge on men and steals babies to replace their unborn baby. However, sometimes both infernal entities can harm young women out of envy. In this case, they turn into a bird, cause the woman to bleed and drink her blood.

Besides Kuntilanak, Indonesia is believed to be inhabited by countless other demons. One of the first texts in my Indonesian textbook was a clipping from the local press in the 1960s, which reported how an entire class in a small rural school turned into a “kerasukan”, that is, the children were possessed by spirits and robbed of their will. In addition to Kuntilanak, who deprives people of their will, does all sorts of horrors with them and is loved for this by the authors of numerous Indonesian horror films, many local ghosts do not harm a person.

A nation that massively believes in ghosts lives in a special atmosphere on the verge of dream and reality. In addition, sometimes it is not so important what really exists, how important is what your interlocutors and partners believe in, especially if there are many of them: collective beliefs and the irrational behavior dictated by them is the social reality in which you have to live.

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Paranormal

People of the shadow: what do the mysterious shadow creatures want from us

People of the shadow: what do the mysterious shadow creatures want from us 92

Shadow creatures are neither ghosts nor people, and we know these creatures as shadow people. It seems that the “shadow” know about our location and want us to feel fear or even panic in their presence.

People-shadows or shadow people are paranormal dark barely visible silhouettes known to mystics for a long time. They look like dark humanoid creatures or barely noticeable ghosts, often seen only with peripheral vision. Witnesses claim that shadow people only catch a few seconds, eyewitnesses also say that they looked into the eyes of shadow people and their eyes shone with a red light, like demons.

Shadow people can take different shapes and sizes: look like full-fledged people or even like animals. But most often these are thin tall strange figures. Be that as it may, they appear only for a moment, quickly evaporating into the air. Unfortunately, they can harm humans, which was proven in 2013.

The video posted on the web had confirmation of the existence of a shadow man who was visible for over a minute! An unknown silhouette knocks down a man walking down the corridor and drags him across the floor for several seconds. After some time, it also suddenly disappears, releasing the person. As it became known, the building where the striking phenomenon was filmed has complaints from tenants who more than once meet paranormal events in their home.

There are very few known cases though of adverse events caused by shadow people. In most cases, they appear or disappear as soon as they are found.

Shadow creatures can be spotted out of the corner of your eye. Some people who saw them or knew about their presence say that they are alien creatures, slipping in and out of our field of vision. In the eyewitness accounts, the observation of the recurrence of shadow manifestations is especially often mentioned.

People of the shadow: what do the mysterious shadow creatures want from us

Whether they are an elusive race that has always coexisted with us is an interesting theory suggesting that these creatures are frequent guests in our lives.

Paranormal researchers consider shadow people to be malevolent supernatural entities. Perhaps shadow people will not cause physical pain, but they can affect you emotionally, for example, cause fear – this gives them energy.

Skeptics and scientists believe that shadow people are optical illusions or hallucinations that appear under the influence of drugs or physiological changes in the body. When the left temporo-parietal brain is stimulated, these strange images are created.

Often the appearance of these shadows is inextricably linked with sleep paralysis, when a person is, as it were, between sleep and reality. Scientifically, this is called hypnogogy. Hypnogogia is called “the phenomenon of the face in the dark” for such hallucinations.

All eyewitnesses, regardless of where they live, talk about the same sensations in the presence of shadow creatures. Fear is a cold feeling that overcomes a person at this moment.

People of the shadow: what do the mysterious shadow creatures want from us

Some people say they even saw the eerie red eyes of these dark personalities that momentarily appear anywhere and demonstrate the ability to walk on the walls of enclosed spaces, which defies the general laws of physics.

Whoever they are, they feed on human energy, emit bad vibrations and give negative emotions. We do not know how they got into our dimension, about the purpose of their mission and how they affect the human essence. The main thing is to stop feeling fear in their presence and not to “feed” anyone with your precious energy.

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Paranormal

Ghost hunter told how to summon spirits

Ghost hunter told how to summon spirits 93

A ghost hunter explained how to summon ghosts and when is the best time to do it according to The Daily Star.

Jade Capasso explores hotels, inns, historical places to allegedly reveal the spirits and ghosts that are present in them. She shares her discoveries on the YouTube channel Ghost Club Paranormal. The girl is sure that you can also talk with spirits.

The 28-year-old ghost hunter is confident that you can talk to ghosts and spirits using a voice recorder. A particularly good time for this, according to her, is the eve of All Saints’ Day – Halloween.

 “I think there is more activity during Halloween. More people believe in the other world, ”she said.

She recalled that Halloween pumpkin is an invariable attribute and symbol of the holiday. People decorate their home with funny, scary, and sometimes even terrifying faces.

 “I’m sure there will be more sessions and many will use Ouija boards,” she says.

To connect with the “other world”, you can go to a famous haunted place, says Kapassa. She also recommends checking your home for ghosts.

To hear a ghost, the girl recommends using special equipment. 

After all, ghosts, she said, emit sounds at ultra-low frequencies that are not perceived by the human ear. You can hear them, as she notes, only on audio recordings.

The girl says that you need to leave the digital voice recorder in a room where paranormal activity is observed all night, or ask questions and wait for an answer.

“Ask questions, and who knows, you might hear a disembodied voice answering you,” says Jade.

According to her, there is no need to rush, because the spirits must be given enough time to respond.

“You probably won’t hear them in real time. But if you listen to the recording, you might hear someone from the underworld, ”she said.

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