Ian was joined by Matt Baglio, author of the book-turned-movie The Rite, for a discussion on demonic possession, exorcism, and the people who train to perform this ritual. Baglio began by briefly covering the Catholic Church's position on Satan and demons, noting that they are 'pure' created spirits who sinned against God and were cast out of heaven for it. These fallen angels are filled with animosity toward mankind and can attack in several ways, including temptation, infestation (possession of place or object), oppression (physical attack), obsession (attack on the mind), and possession (control of victim's body), Baglio explained.
Victims of possession usually have opened their inner selves to something evil, he continued. Evil spirits do not live inside of the possessed person, Baglio added. "These entities are connected to people like a pipe and they're able to send inputs into these people... driving [them] away from God into a state of desperation," he said. According to Baglio, exorcism actually brings the attached demon into the victim's body, where over time the ritual causes it to suffer, weaken, and eventually detach. As the influence of the evil spirit wanes, a victim gains more control and must return to God to remain liberated, he pointed out.
During the ritual, exorcists pray for God's help, command demons to depart, and use anointing oil, holy water, and other religious accoutrement. Since every evil spirit is different, exorcists must probe the demon to find the tool that gets the biggest reaction, Baglio remarked. While the majority of exorcisms are mild, some can be particularly difficult, with the possessed becoming violent, exhibiting unnatural facial contortions, and crying out with inhuman guttural sounds, he said. One exorcist claimed to have witnessed a possessed woman levitate, Baglio added. Even with such cases, exorcisms do ultimately work, he said.
In the first hour, sports conspiracist Brian Tuohy revealed what he discovered in the FBI's sports bribery files. The 400 or so cases span 25 years and cover every sport, he said. One file from the late 1960s deals with a group of New England Patriot players and a third party in Las Vegas who agreed to place bets for them to lose a game, Tuohy explained. A case from 1983 investigated the NBA for paying out large sums of money to keep the criminal acts of their teams' players quiet, he added. Tuohy also suggested some of this season's NFL playoff games were manipulated, and promised to post "inside information" about the possible outcome of Super Bowl XLV at his website before the game starts.
Astrophotographer Chris Kotsiopoulos produced this spectacular panoramic image from numerous photos taken over the course of a single day in Athens, Greece. More at The Atlantic.
Bumper music from Saturday February 05, 2011