The exorcism I witnessed in 1992 was not of a person, but of a property. The house sat on a wooded lot. Though brand new, and built of costly materials, it was falling apart. Multiple building inspections found no cause for it. When the widow who lived there alone exhausted every rational explanation, and grew tired of objects mysteriously moving around her house, she contacted the exorcist, the Rev. Mario Termini.

When I interviewed her after the ritual, she said that she never imagined reaching out to a priest under these circumstances – but sheer desperation drove her to it. Nothing else worked – but this, as it turned out, did. She had no problems at the house after the exorcism.

Father Termini, who has since died, told me this was a familiar story. I asked him how he convinced people he ministered to that demons were real, and that God provided means to deliver people from their malevolent influence?

“By the time people find me,” the old priest said, “they don’t need to be convinced.”

Rod Dreher can be reached at