Years ago, someone in our house received a Ouija Board as a gift. It scared the bajeezus out of my little sister. The mere sight of the game in its box, still wrapped in the plastic seal from the factory where it was produced, would send her into fits of honest and legitimate fear. She had heard rumors about the game, how it was played and, what might happen while one used it for its intended purpose. I think she really thought the Devil was in that box.
Flash forward thirty-plus years to my mother’s house. Having moved several times since our childhood home was sold, the game had travelled with her. When my sister discovered that it was still around, she was once again petrified by the prospect of evil spirits infiltrating our lives.
Priests in Europe may soon be working extra hours to rid the world of such evil. The Catholic Diocese of Milan has created a special Exorcism Hotline and has doubled the number of exorcism-practicing priests. In an interview published on a Church-affiliated news website, it was reported that the number of specially trained priests had been increased from six to twelve, the names and cell phone number of the trained priests had been published and the hotline would be operations for a few hours each day in order to meet the rising demand for exorcisms.
A special switchboard has been set up where people can call, Monday through Friday between 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., for all their exorcism needs.
"From the number of calls we receive, the need has doubled. We get [calls from] young and old, men and women, people with different levels of education, from school-leavers to graduates … But really diabolical phenomena are, at least in my experience, very rare. … People in need can call and will be able to find a priest in the same area who doesn’t have to travel too far." - Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the diocese's chief exorcist since 1995.
The diocese is said to be receiving up to four calls each day. Is there something TRUE BLOOD going on in Milan? Are the priests trying to drum up business? It’s been suggested that the rise in requests for exorcisms has something to do with the number of parents having discipline problems with their children.
“Usually the parents call, concerned about a child who won’t go to school or who’s taking drugs or rebelling. In reality, it’s not a demon, but when they’re 18 years old, young people don’t want to be told what to do.” – Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni
Most believe that there’s no real diabolical phenomenon at work but that mental and psychiatric disorders can explain the unusual behaviors. However, Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist for twenty-five years, claims to have been involved with as many as 70,000 demonic possession cases. (Amorth also states that practicing yoga is Satanic and leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter books.)
There might be problems with demonic possession in Milan, but there are none at my mother’s house. She finally brought that old Ouija Board to the curb on garbage day. And, just to be safe (and, possibly, at my sister's request), she separated the pieces from the board and disposed of them in different cans. Turns out the Ouija Board may have been replaced by a telephone number.
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