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DURING FAMOUS EXORCISM, DEMON REPORTEDLY SPOKE TO PRIEST ABOUT A REPUTED APPARITION OF THE VIRGIN

Here's a strange angle, and an eerie one:

Can a demon -- an evil spirit, one speaking -- authenticate something?

Can a spirit being cast out of a person provide useful information?

Could such a spirit indicate an authentic site of apparition involving the Virgin Mary?

We'd be awfully careful about that.

During exorcisms, priests are sometimes known to engage in a degree of conversation with spirits -- commanding them, in the Name of Jesus, to reveal certain matters; Jesus Himself had brief dialogue with such spirits; maybe it's okay for a priest wearing a stole.

But we remain wary of any interaction (whatsoever) with spirits of deception -- who can deceive in ways we can't imagine.

We're reminded of this in reading the transcript of the famed exorcism of Annaliese Michel, a young German woman who was possessed, went through extensive exorcisms, and eventually died from her evil affliction. Her story was the basis for The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

At one point during the exorcisms, according to a transcript of audio tapes compiled by one of the priests involved, Father Arnold Renz, the demon spoke about a reputed site of apparition and pilgrimage in that same country -- at Heroldsbach, Germany -- two decades before, inferring that evil forces caused the diocese to negate the apparition: rule negatively.

When commanded by the priest to speak about a pilgrimage site to which the demon had alluded, the spirit allegedly replied: "The Church has not acknowledged it."

"Heroldsbach?" probed the exorcist, figuring it was . "When will it be acknowledged?"

"It won't be at all," the demon supposedly responded. "We, namely, have seen to that."

At this point the spirit than unleashed a tirade of vulgarities. It also referred, supposedly, to two apparitions in Italy that the Church had rejected.

Notes a site devoted to the apparition: "The numerous apparitions and visions of the seven seer girls of Heroldsbach (35 kilometers north of Nuremberg) began on October 9, 1949, with the green lucent sign 'JSH' of Trinity above the birches. 'J' meant 'Jahwe,' H 'Hyos' (Greek: son) and 'S' 'Spiritus Sanctus.'

"After this the Holy Virgin Mary appeared above the birches praying with folded hands.

"She wore white clothes, had red roses on her feet and a black rosary. From the third apparition day on, the Mother of God carried the Jesus Child on her left arm. Until October 31, 1952, the Holy Virgin Mary appeared mainly with a blue dress and a golden crown. She insistently wished prayers, penitence and expiation. From January 13, 1950 on, the Mother of God left her place above the birches and came regularly to the seer children. They were allowed to touch her body and hands. They could note her real presence combined with a fluent force. Furthermore they touched and carried the Jesus Child who later came also as boy, adult savior, sacred heart, good shepherd and redeemer on the cross. Many angels and saints appeared as well, first of them St. Joseph. Special importance was transmitted through the seven saints with own missions: Pope Pius X (Eucharist), brother Claus and Therese of Lisieux (humbleness), Maria Goretti and Aloysius (chastity), Antonius and Kreszentia Höß (against demonical affliction)."

"Heroldsbach was officially recognized as a pilgrimage site by the Bamberg Archdiocese in 1998 after a first reported sighting of Maria and Baby Jesus as well as angels and saints in 1949 and further reported sightings for three consecutive years by young children of the neighborhood," notes a website about the supposed apparition. "It is dedicated to the veneration and adoration of Mary, Mother of God, and a place for quiet prayers and worship. But the atmosphere of sanctity and heavenly peace does not always remain undisturbed: In 2001, the eyes of a figurine of Baby Jesus in a crèche began to water. Pater Stockhausen, the parish pastor, locked the figurine in his bedroom, and the tears ceased flowing. When Pater Stockhausen found used pipettes in a garbage can in the vicinity of the crèche, the miracle worshipers explained, 'We were using them to collect the tears!'"

It is listed by another website monitoring diocesan actions as "no decision."

Yet another says it was officially deemed as "non-supernatural" (which is not a condemnation but is a rejection). The demon was saying that evil forces caused that dismissal.

But can we believe a word of it?

With demons: wouldn't it be like a spirit of deception to pretend a demonic apparition was the real thing and had been persecuted?

Or: the opposite?

Caution; red flags.

Discernment.

That comes with fasting.

So does spiritual protection.

It is all for our pondering at this time when we hear conflicting reports on various such apparitions.

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