By Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
The teenage boy had not eaten for days yet four grown men and his own mother could hardly subdue him as he reacted violently to the presence of Fr. Armand Tangi of the Society of St. Paul.
"He had menacing eyes, was screaming words I could not understand, and it seemed that he would spew vomit on me anytime. I was just waiting for it to happen," the priest said, recalling a familiar scene in the movie "The Exorcist."
The boy and his family live in a bucolic Central Luzon community, in a compound with a ladies' accessories factory and residences of its owner and his workers. A clear brook runs through the leafy estate.
It was an idyllic place until strange sightings of a "white lady" were reported, the boy exhibited a bizarre behavior and the factory owner's niece suddenly fell ill and became practically paralyzed.
The strange happenings, manifestations of so-called "elementals," or nature spirits, gravitating in rivers and trees, prompted the businessman to call a psychic, who said the area used to be a Japanese garrison where beheadings occurred during World War II.
"I was told by the businessman that the psychic heard constant screams of terror. And that he also felt that there was also a lot of tension and chaos," Tangi said.
Admitting he could not deal with the spirits, the psychic advised the businessman to call an exorcist-priest.
It was midmorning when the Makati-based Tangi arrived at the compound in early September. He was immediately taken to a kiosk to see the boy.
"He looked like a normal boy, of medium built and about 5'8" in height. But he looked at me in a very intimidating way. I was actually scared of him," Tangi said.
The priest was convinced it was a case of demonic possession and decided to say Mass at the kiosk.
Every now and then, the boy would mutter something incomprehensible but was generally subdued. But when Tangi raised the host during the Consecration, the boy went bananas, threw off those holding him, screamed at the priest, and spewed vomit.
"It gives me goose bumps just to remember what happened," Tangi said.
After the Mass, the priest approached the boy and recited deliverance prayers, especially those addressed to St. Michael, the archangel who defeated Lucifer, and St. Gabriel, the Prince of the Heavenly Army tasked with leading angels in the final battle against evil spirits.
Tangi could not perform an exorcism because it requires permission from the bishop. Also, an exorcist priest and his prayer warriors, or assistants, would have to fast and recite special prayers for protection before they can face the possessed.
After Tangi and the locals prayed over the boy, the priest sprinkled holy water on him and anointed the boy with blessed oil.
"At that time, I felt it was not a really strong demon. After the anointing, the boy already smiled and began eating. I just hope that he would not have a relapse because when that happens, the retaliating demon usually becomes stronger," Tangi noted.
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