Adam Blai is an expert in exorcism. Not only does he say exorcism is very real BUT that those of us who explore the occult put ourselves in eternal danger. He shares his opinions on this provocative edition of The Paranormal Podcast.
You can find his books at Amazon.com: Adam Blai’s Author Page
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Please note we do not guarantee 100% transcript accuracy. The below reflects a best effort. Thank you for your understanding.
JIM HAROLD: Are you a paranormal investigator, a fan of the occult? Well, you might not like what you hear tonight. Our guest says that perhaps these things are the door that opens us up to possession. A provocative interview next on the Paranormal Podcast.
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: We’re going to talk about a fascinating subject today. It is that of exorcism. We have a fascinating guest to talk about that subject. I’m talking about Adam Blai. He has master’s degree in psychology and is a peritus of religious demonology and exorcism for the Pittsburgh Diocese. He’s an auxiliary member of the International Association of Exorcists in Rome. He trains exorcists nationally, participates in deliverance ministry, and was a member of an investigative panel for paranormal research.
Adam has also written multiple books, including The Catholic Guide to Miracles and Hauntings, Possessions, and Exorcisms, and he has a new one coming out in September, I believe – The Exorcism Files: True Stories of Demonic Possession. Adam Blai, welcome to the program today.
ADAM BLAI: Sure, Jim. Thanks for having me here.
JIM HAROLD: Many times when we see the topic of exorcism in movies, television, books, those kinds of things, I think a lot of people think, “Oh, that’s just a really neat scary story.” You think of something like The Exorcist. I think you would come at it from a different tack. I guess settle once and for all: Is exorcism real? Is it something much more than what we see in movies and TV?
ADAM BLAI: The problem of possession by spirits and the idea of exorcism has been a universal human experience for basically all of recorded history. It’s not something that’s limited to just Christians or Catholic Christians. It’s something that was present before the time of Jesus. There were already Jewish exorcists at the time. It’s been present ever since. It’s actively practiced within Islam, within some parts of Judaism, within Native American tribes, within Hinduism. It’s basically a universal human problem, these troublesome spirits.
Over the centuries, the Church has been very careful to discriminate between medical and psychological problems and genuine spirit possession. It is a rare phenomenon, but it is not explainable by say Tourette’s or epilepsy or schizophrenia. That doesn’t actually account for it.
JIM HAROLD: And honestly I think that’s really an important delineation to make here. There could be people who have, for example, some type of mental illness or something and maybe they act out in a very demonstrative, violent kind of way. You always worry when you talk about this that you don’t get on the slippery slope of misattributing those kinds of things to some kind of evil spirit.
ADAM BLAI: Yeah, sure. That’s why the Church, since at least 1642, has required an outside evaluation by a qualified medical professional, oftentimes both psychiatric and regular medical, to be sure that the problem isn’t captured or understood by a diagnosis that’s known.
And then beyond that, the Church requires that you document certain signs that cannot be explained through mental illness – for instance, knowing all languages. Schizophrenia doesn’t make you suddenly fluent in ancient languages. Being able to detect holy things 100% of the time versus things that aren’t blessed. Epilepsy doesn’t make you able to do that. Knowing people’s secret sins or secrets from their life – again, psychiatric conditions don’t make you suddenly know secret things.
So these are some of the signs that the Church requires that you document to prove there’s a possession. It’s not enough to say, “They’re acting strange and the doctor can’t explain it.” That actually doesn’t meet the bar.
JIM HAROLD: I want to back up a minute and talk to you about your background. How did you get involved with this? Because you’re obviously a very serious person. You have an advanced degree. Some people might consider this topic like, “Wow, that’s kind of out there.” How in the world did you get involved in all this?
ADAM BLAI: It started in brainwave research as part of a PhD program in psychology. I had done my master’s degree and my master’s paper on hypnosis and changes in the way the brain organizes and moves information inferred through signal processing of EEG. I’d seen a lot of evidence that even in a healthy brain, somebody who has no mental illness, no medical problems, you can induce hallucinations through hypnosis if they’re hypnotizable.
This was back in the days when the paranormal craze was just starting. It wasn’t normal or popular or all over TV yet. So there was this little bit of interest going on in the country, and I was curious whether all that was just misunderstanding or mental illness, because I was trained as a clinician; I was part of the clinical psych program. So I wanted to go see for myself and meet these people, because is suspected it was all just misunderstanding of sleep disorders and things like that.
But I stumbled across a possessed person and realized it didn’t look anything like what I had seen clinically, and the techniques that I would normally use had no impact. What did have an impact was prayer. And then as I went down that road and saw more and more, eventually over the years I had to come to the conclusion, having seen enough evidence, that it’s completely real.
JIM HAROLD: In your bio, it mentions that you train exorcists nationally. What do you teach them? What do you train them on?
ADAM BLAI: Well, I’ve been helping at national conferences for about 12 years or so, and then training for different bishops across the country in terms of helping to train their priests. What we train them on is how to diagnose possession, how to do an exorcism, the different tricks and games the demons play, and how to counter those. Kind of passing on that experience. How to do this safely and ethically as possible. How to work with their doctors or their psychiatrists, because there’s often other people helping to treat other aspects of the person’s life. How to build a team around you. That often includes medical doctors, and in some cases lawyers are sometimes on the teams for exorcists.
So there’s a whole ministry there. It’s not as simple as what you think in the movies, like you just walk in a room and say these prayers and it’s over. There’s a whole ministry and a whole pastoral caring for a person in that journey to getting free.
JIM HAROLD: So you actually yourself have done or actively continue to do exorcisms?
ADAM BLAI: No, I cannot because I’m a layperson. Only a priest with permission from their bishop can do an exorcism. I came along at a time in the United States when there were very few exorcists active in the whole country, and I met a number of the key people that were involved at the time and got to go over to Rome and learn from some of the very experienced people there.
I seem to have a knack for teaching, and for some reason God kept opening those doors, and then I was asked to teach at conferences and that went well. The snowball just kept rolling, and I’ve been at, at this point, quite a few hundred exorcisms over these 15 or 16 years now, to where I have enough experience, I kind of coach and train the priests through it.
JIM HAROLD: Are there different kinds of possessions?
ADAM BLAI: Not really. If you’re talking about full demonic possession, what people think of when they see that portrayed (and by the way, pretty incorrectly) in the movies – if you’re thinking of that, it’s basically the same end road but there’s different ways to get there. There’s different types of cases that lead to it, but in the end you have the same problem. It’s just the demon will use different tactics to seduce different people depending on their weaknesses and their perspective on life.
JIM HAROLD: So the demon will actually somehow get into a person’s thoughts and say, “You’ve done this thing wrong, you’ve done this thing wrong” to attack back at those who are trying to deliver this person?
ADAM BLAI: They won’t get in your thoughts. I’m talking about at an exorcism, when they’re in a body and they can talk, they can swing at you, they can bite you. They’re animating a person’s body, so they can just speak to you like we’re speaking now.
JIM HAROLD: Do they exhibit almost inhuman strength, anything like that? Being able to do physical things that no normal person would be able to do?
ADAM BLAI: Yeah, they do. Fortunately, in a proper exorcism with the proper authority, the exorcist is able to order them to sit still and stop attacking people. Now, you may have to repeat that many times, but generally you can keep them under control. However, in some cases God allows quite a bit of struggling, and the strength can be impressive. The thing about it is if you think of an adrenaline rush, the old story of the mother who lifts the car off her child in a burst of energy –
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, I was thinking of that.
ADAM BLAI: That does happen, because biologically we only use about 15% of our muscle fibers at any one time. So if we recruit 100%, we can have a burst there, but it won’t last. We see that in psychiatric settings. I worked for years in the state prisons as a psychological services specialist, and I’ve seen inpatient psychiatric and the criminally insane. So you can get a burst of strength, but the difference here is they never get tired. Two or three hours later, they’re still going 100%; everybody else is exhausted and your muscles are shaking.
The other thing is, in some cases they just have overwhelming strength. I’ve seen cases where five men are trying to keep the person on the floor to keep everybody safe, and they’re still lifting five people off the floor. We’ve had a case in the Southwest where a woman grabbed a man – he was a large man from Oklahoma – makes me look short, and I’m 6’2” and over 200 pounds; he made me feel tiny – but grabbed him with one hand and threw him across the room so hard he was airborne. So every now and then you do see some pretty crazy things with the strength.
Luckily, it’s not all the time. But when you do see it, it’s pretty amazing in the sense that – I’ve wrestled around, I trained in martial arts for a lot of years earlier in life. I know what a human being generally can produce. And when you’re interacting, trying to as gently as possible keep somebody safe and keep them from striking you or themselves during these prayers, and to see the amount of strength that, for instance, a small, slight woman that’s not an athlete or maybe is a little bit older and yet seems to have the strength of a large male athlete that’s in his prime – things like that make an impression. But it’s really not that bad.
JIM HAROLD: How does evil manifest itself if it comes to specific symptoms, physical objects, whatever it may be? How can evil manifest itself?
ADAM BLAI: Are you talking about in possession or in other ways?
JIM HAROLD: Well, we could talk about both, actually. Yes, give us a little bit of both, if you would.
ADAM BLAI: There’s three levels of these extraordinary demonic problems, meaning beyond temptation.
There’s infestation, when they’re active in a place or around an object, and that’s the typical black shadows that have no explanation moving through the house, terrible odors that come and go that can’t be explained or find a source for them, maybe growling or talking coming from the walls, the sound of heavy footfalls when there’s nobody else in the house, the sound of furniture falling over when nothing is disturbed, being tormented when you’re trying to sleep, perhaps being scratched or bit. These kinds of things, harassing the person and trying to scare them, that’s what you see in infestation in a place.
Then you have oppression, where they are attacking a person. Somebody in some way has opened the door to them through perhaps spirit communication or trying to divine the future or dabbling in black magic of some form. But if you open the door to them, then they can latch onto you and they start tormenting you personally, and that problem travels with you wherever you go. They try to wear you down and make your life miserable. They’ll start trying to incite you to kill yourself pretty early on in that process, unfortunately. And then they’ll try to wear you down to where you’re so beat down and exhausted that you want it to end so badly, and then they’ll encourage you to either kill yourself or to give in to them and give in to possession in order to end the suffering. Of course, it’s a lie. The suffering doesn’t end if you give in to possession.
And then that final stage, you give them the permission to take over your body entirely, and your life becomes just an awful situation.
Now, it’s important, Jim, also to remember or to be aware of other routes to possession. The demon doesn’t so much torture the person if the person is serving them and doing what the demon wants. So if a person stops going to church, stops praying, doesn’t do anything oriented to God, and in fact promotes things that lead to people getting ensnared by the demon elsewhere – so promoting, I don’t know, mediumship or promoting black magic – then the demon’s not so much going to torture them because the person is serving them and encouraging other people to fall in the same way.
What we see there is they typically turn on them late in life, when the demon sees they’re done with them, they have no more use for them, and then they’ll turn on them. Those people will sometimes come to us and say, “I thought this thing was my friend all these years. Now that it’s done with me, it’s destroying me. Please help me.”
JIM HAROLD: We want to get your perspective on that and get your thoughts on things like paranormal investigation, the occult, and so forth, and we’ll do that right after this break. We’ll be back on the Paranormal Podcast.
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JIM HAROLD: Welcome back to the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest today is Adam Blai, and he is an expert in the field of demonology and exorcism. Adam, right before the break you touched on some things that you say open us up to either possession or some kind of ensnarement by evil forces. Just talk about that a little bit more. I think you touched on the field of paranormal investigation, the field of the occult. Give us your thoughts. That’s why we have you on the show.
ADAM BLAI: Well, Jim, part of this whole journey for me started with the paranormal at the very beginning because I was just curious whether any of this was real, and those seemed to be the only people – initially, before I learned that there were still exorcists in the world, the paranormal people were at least trying to explore these ideas. I met a lot of the paranormal celebrities, and I’ve known a number down through the years, some of the people that you see on the TV shows and all that. And I’ve been at a number of paranormal events and conferences and given talks on this stuff.
But what I’ve come to understand over the years, Jim, is that spirit communication, unfortunately, what you’re going to get when you walk in a room and say, “Give us a sign of your presence” or “Talk into this EVP recorder,” you’re opening the door to relationship. You’re inviting a relationship with a random spirit that you have no idea what’s there.
What I’ve come to understand through years of experience is that the only thing that’s going to take you up on that offer is a demon, and the reason is this: A saint, a person who’s made it to heaven, is not going to come down and help you break the First Commandment and turn to the spirit and say to God, “I don’t trust you. I’m going to get my comfort and information about the afterlife from this other spirit.” A saint is not going to do that. A soul in purgatory on their way to heaven is not going to do that.
And of course, holy angels are not going to do that. They’re not going to help you break something that’s so forbidden in the Bible. If you’re Christian, you have to understand that necromancy, calling up the dead to talk to them, is strictly forbidden for any Christian. So a holy angel is not going to do that, at least from a Christian perspective. All you have left is demons and damned souls.
And I’m not just saying this like in a preachy way, like, “Oh, I think I have the answers and it’s in the Bible so you shouldn’t do it.” About a fifth, and in the early years maybe a quarter, of all the cases we dealt with were paranormal investigators that had gotten into trouble doing this and had gotten some level of attachment or harassment at home or attachment to themselves, depending on what they were doing. And unfortunately, a number of the paranormal celebrities have had serious problems in their lives that are not put on the TV shows because that doesn’t attract viewers. Hollywood keeps that under wraps for the most part, and people don’t promote the negative side of paranormal investigating.
So what I’m saying, I’m not just being preachy, “I think I have the right answer,” but I’m trying to share based on 15 years of experience.
JIM HAROLD: Frankly, we asked you on the show for your opinion, not for somebody else’s, so you’re welcome to share it.
Let me ask you this. I will talk to paranormal investigators – I’m not a paranormal investigator myself, just because I keep a distance from it, but I have many paranormal investigators on the show, and I’m sure I’ll have many more in the future. But a lot of them will say, “We say a prayer before and after,” and I’m assuming you’re saying that doesn’t cut it?
ADAM BLAI: Right, because at least from a Christian perspective, the First Commandment – people may not know it, but it’s basically “Love God with your whole being. Put God first, love God before everything with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul.” The idea there is that your relationship with your Creator is first and central, and that’s why it’s the First Commandment.
When you turn to these spirits, you’re breaking that commandment. You’re turning to another spirit. And think about what paranormal investigating is about, Jim. It’s either about “I’m scared of my own death, I’ve got fear about mortality and I want to know if there’s an afterlife,” “Somebody I love died, so I want to get in touch with them or have some sense that somehow they’re still around, or maybe I can have closure with them,” or “I’m seeking some kind of power, so if I can hook up with these spirits, maybe they can do favors for me.” That’s kind of the witchcraft and black magic approach, the occult approach, usually: looking for some power or favor from them.
And then the final version, which is a very modern one, is “I can get attention, I can be famous.” I’m sure you’ve seen it a thousand times; the paranormal group says, “We’re here to help people,” and they come in and do their recordings that they do for themselves and then say, “Yep, it’s haunted. Bye!” Because there’s not actually any help in their toolkit. It’s just “We helped you by confirming this,” but in reality it’s usually a selfish endeavor to get something cool to put on your YouTube channel. It’s kind of a sad, selfish endeavor. From a Christian perspective, it’s problematic.
JIM HAROLD: When it comes to these evil entities, you categorized some of them earlier. You mentioned some of them. Can you go over that again? When somebody’s encountering something evil, it could be a demon, it could be a fallen spirit? What were the categories you gave for that?
ADAM BLAI: Right. Basically, when you’re playing around with spirit communication, you’re generally getting a demon that’s going to pretend to be something that isn’t scary. I don’t know, if a criminal wanted to rob you and con you out of stuff, and you’re out in public, they’re not probably going to walk up to you and put a gun in your face and try to rob you at noon in front of everybody that’s having lunch in the city there, in the square. They’re going to schmooze with you. They’re going to run a con on you. They’re going to run a game on you and try to get you in a vulnerable position, maybe weasel their way into your life a little bit and get some leverage on you, and then they’re going to try to take advantage of you.
These demons aren’t stupid. If they came at you like a monster, you would just run screaming probably into a church or to your religious leader and be looking for help. So they’re going to come at you as a con game of some type in the beginning until you lower your guard. Once you lower your guard and you enter into that friendship, that relationship with them, then later it becomes controlling.
So what they are is fallen angels. They’re not bad people that died. Hitler didn’t become a demon. These are fallen angels from the beginning of creation. They made a one-time choice whether to serve God or not, and these are the third of them that chose not to. They were cast down to Earth to roam here until the final judgment, and they know then they run smack into a brick wall and they’re done.
They know the score, and the score is they’ve rejected God, they said no to obedience, and we have a shot to get to the place they gave up. They gave up their spot in heaven; they can’t get back to it. We mortals have a shot to attain those places that they vacated, so they’re very angry about the whole situation, and they’re particularly angry at us because God showed so much love for us. That’s what seems to motivate them to try to deceive us so much.
So when you’re playing around with ghost hunting or a number of other practices – black magic, etc. – what you’re getting is these demons. They may or may not act like a monster in the beginning, but they’re fallen angels, and they’re very different than dead people.
JIM HAROLD: One thing that I’ve often felt is that people have a disbelief in the devil. I go back to that old song, “The greatest trick the devil ever played to mankind is that he didn’t exist.” Why do you think that people tend to say they believe the devil doesn’t exist?
ADAM BLAI: Well, I think it’s a little deeper than just not wanting to believe in the devil. I think the implication – if you open the door to the idea that the devil actually exists as a personality, as a real creature, that means that God exists. And if God exists, that means I’m accountable to somebody. That means there’s going to be a reckoning for what I do.
As human beings, we don’t like the idea of being held accountable. We like to say, “Well, I think I’m a good person, and so therefore I’m sure I’m good to go.” We self-judge and we’re very kind to ourselves as a rule. We all do that. We all rationalize our behavior and convince ourselves that we’re basically a good person.
And if the devil’s real, that means God’s real, that means I’m accountable, and now that means, “Wow, I may have to change my life. I may have to get myself in order because I don’t want to end up being the property of the devil for all eternity” is part of it. The better way to look at it is “I’d like to please God, my Creator,” but a lot of people start at the point of “I don’t want to be the devil’s chew toy for all eternity.” I think that’s the deeper part of it.
And maybe some people just superficially don’t like the idea of a scary invisible thing because they don’t understand the rules of the spiritual world, so it’s a scary idea that there’s this mean invisible monster out there that I can’t control and I don’t understand how he operates, and is he going to whack me over the head? If you don’t know how it all works, it’s probably a scary idea.
JIM HAROLD: If I’m correct, you believe that the devil most intently attacks priests, religious people who have a religious vocation and so forth. If so, why is that? Why do you think they’re attacked at the greatest level?
ADAM BLAI: Well, I don’t know if that’s really true. He’s interested in any soul that he can keep from getting back to God. Now, if he has an opportunity, he will try to stop somebody from following a religious vocation that God has given them, a call that they feel in their heart, because that one person could impact thousands of other souls. So strategically, if you think of it like a war, there’s a strategic value to somebody who could impact thousands of other people versus perhaps one person that may impact their family, they may impact a few others. You have this podcast; you may impact a certain number of people. So there’s different strategic value. But he’s interested in everybody.
We do see people that don’t have any particular religious background. Most people that end up possessed or in trouble with the devil don’t have a particular religious background. But a number of them say that when they were children, they felt strongly that they had a vocation to religious life, and that became derailed. He doesn’t know the future, but there’s some evidence that he can see that grace there and that he particularly tries to derail those vocations before they happen.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. How does one diagnose – maybe the layperson shouldn’t diagnose, but a normal person who isn’t steeped in all this, they suspect somebody may be possessed somehow; how would they be able to tell? What should they do? Where would we go if we think “That person might be possessed”? Not from a judgmental or mean way, but from a good way, actually, in saying “I’m concerned for this person, I’m afraid they may be possessed.” How do you know that?
ADAM BLAI: You’re not going to be able to reach what we call moral certainty, meaning real certainty about that, unless you have a lot of knowledge and you have the spiritual authority to test that situation. The average person doesn’t have either.
The other complication, Jim – and I get these calls at least once a month, sometimes a few times a month where somebody thinks somebody in their family or a friend of theirs is possessed, and they want us to go do something about it. If you think about it, you’re an adult, right? What if somebody you knew, without your knowledge, called your diocese and said, “Jim’s been having some really weird guests on lately. I really don’t like where his head’s been going. I think he’s possessed. You guys need to go to his house and hold him down and exorcise him.” You wouldn’t appreciate that very much, right?
JIM HAROLD: Not really, no.
ADAM BLAI: Right. So we have to respect people’s free will. We have to respect their privacy. We have to respect the confidentiality. When somebody’s thinking that, it really depends on your relationship with that person, but the best you can do is encourage them gently to go to their spiritual leader, whatever faith system they’re in – hopefully they’re in one. If they’re Catholic, go to their Catholic diocese that they live in. They have to go to the diocese they live in.
And by the way, generally exorcists will work with anybody. You don’t have to be Catholic. You don’t have to be Christian. We’ve done exorcisms for atheists, people that weren’t baptized. It doesn’t matter. Anybody that’s suffering, we try to help them. We don’t require them to consider being Catholic or any of that. There’s no proselytizing or anything.
But basically, gently encourage them to contact their diocese and ask if they have somebody appointed to look into this, and they would then work with them from there. Because there’s a long process. We don’t just say, “Oh, you think you’re possessed? Okay, come in here and sit in this chair and now we’re going to start.” Like we mentioned earlier, there has to be outside medical evaluation. There has to be a psychiatric evaluation. And then we have to do tests to be sure that there’s a possession there. It’s not enough to say the doctors can’t find anything.
So there’s a whole process. The other thing, Jim – and I think this happens in the paranormal community on the fringe that likes to play around with this whole thing – people without much experience and maybe without a professional background just like the excitement and the attention of it, and they may say, “I’m a demonologist” or “I’m an exorcist” and encourage people to believe that it’s a spiritual problem, that they’re possessed, without ever properly discerning the case and figuring it out.
You could actually do great harm. If somebody’s schizophrenic and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I think you’re possessed. This is demonic and I’m going to put it on my YouTube channel,” and that person says, “Oh, this person said I’m possessed. I’m going to stop taking my medication because clearly it’s a demon. It’s not schizophrenia,” and then they go off their meds and let’s say a tragedy happens and there’s a loss of life – this is a very serious matter when you’re getting involved in people’s lives and talking about something as heavy as this.
So you have to be really wise and careful about it. This is not something for just an amateur to play with.
JIM HAROLD: We have some questions from our audience, and we’ll start out and let you reflect on them. Let’s go to our first caller.
KIM: Hello. My name is Kim. I’m calling in from Arizona, and my question was I was wondering if he ever had to do a repeat exorcism, if the spirits came back or something like that happened and he needed to do another one on the same person. Thanks, Jim.
JIM HAROLD: Now, I understand you’re not an exorcist, so I’ll take the question and morph it a little and say, have you been around a repeat exorcism? Is that necessary sometimes?
ADAM BLAI: This is based on assuming that the movies are portraying how it works, or the TV shows. The movies make it out to be that you lead up to this dramatic prayer and 10 minutes later, it’s over. And that’s very far from the truth. In reality, these are generally weekly, or more often than weekly, prayers for six months to two years. That’s the average before somebody is freed. And there are many cases that go for multiple years after that. There’s a number of reasons for that.
It’s never just one prayer session. It’s never just one demon. It’s an entire colony of them that are in there, and it’s a long process to get all of them out. So “repeat” in the sense of weeks, months, years of many prayer sessions, of course. And then sometimes the person backslides in between sessions, and the same demon that was cast out last time or three weeks ago will be back because the person has given back in to that particular spirit. So we do see that sometimes. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often, but that does happen.
JIM HAROLD: Next question.
SANDY: Hi, this is Sandy from California, and my question is: Many faiths have their own rituals and relationship to beliefs about the demonic world and how it collides with our realm. Have you ever witnessed another exorcism outside of the Christian concept of possession, such as Buddhism or Judaism? Thank you.
ADAM BLAI: As we mentioned at the very beginning of our talk, Jim, this is a universal human experience. This isn’t something that only happens to Catholics or Christians. There are Buddhist exorcists. There are, in some sects of Judaism, rabbis that do exorcism, and in Islam there’s exorcists, and also in the various many different types of religions in India within Hinduism, there’s different versions of exorcism.
I have seen footage of many of them – of Buddhist exorcism, of Islamic exorcism, which has two types – one where they read scriptures from the Quran and another where they summon other jinn to push out the jinn that’s in the person, which is a different approach. I’ve seen footage of these, but I’ve not attended them. Within Judaism, they’re very quiet about this, so there’s not, as far as I know, footage around or available with the Jewish exorcisms.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. If you can talk to us a little bit – as I understand from your bio, you’ve worked and work with the Pittsburgh Diocese. How does that work out? Is that just you’re on call and the diocese says, “Hey, we’ve got an interesting case here; we need you”? Or is this something that’s ongoing? How does that work?
ADAM BLAI: It’s ongoing. I work full-time for the bishop here. I do all of the intake interviews with any odd call that comes into the diocese. I talk with the person and try to figure out what’s going on. I go to all the exorcisms that we do. We do them every Friday, multiple exorcisms every Friday. I also help with some deliverance work, with house cases, and then in addition to that I’m in canon law school, which is a Church law specialized degree, and I do some administrative tasks when I don’t have any case work to do. It’s really a full-time profession for me.
JIM HAROLD: It’s certainly unique. When you said this is rare, but then there are weekly exorcisms – how rare are we talking, or how common are we talking?
ADAM BLAI: Remember, it’s usually a few years of prayer before a person is totally free, so if you add a new case, you’re going to be seeing that case for typically six months to two years. Generally – this is very general – but maybe three or four, maybe five cases in a diocese will come up every year that are full-blown possession. You’ll have dozens of house cases and a few dozen oppression cases, but full-blown possession you’re going to see four or five a year. But then they’re going to take six months to two years each, so those are going to stack up pretty quickly to where you’re doing many per week.
JIM HAROLD: You would think that someone like yourself might look at a show called the Paranormal Podcast and say, “That’s the last place I’d like to be, with all those sinners!” But I suspect that the reason you’re here and you probably do other similar shows is just for that reason: to speak to people who are interested in these topics about what you perceive as the dangers.
Can you speak on that a little bit? Because I appreciate you being here and wanted to treat your work with respect and really get your message out here. That’s what we do on these shows – people that we agree with, people that we somewhat agree with, and people that we don’t agree with at all. Talk to us about why you think it’s important to be on shows like this one.
ADAM BLAI: Yeah, Jim, I appreciate you having me here. This isn’t like a preachy, judgmental position of like “I’ve got it right and you’re doing it wrong or you’re sinning” and to shun people. It’s just the opposite. I started having a lot of friends in the paranormal and going to these big events with Jane Grant and then other people I met through the years. Mark and Debby Constantino were good friends of mine. Their story ended in a tragedy that was related to the EVPs they were doing, and I know that because – if you want we can get into that, but I knew Mark and I talked with him right before it happened.
It’s important to share our experience. I was interested in this question of whether these spirits were real; I got involved, I saw that it was real, and then I got involved in the exorcism end of things, and then I saw that a fifth to a quarter of our cases were paranormal investigators. So I think it’s important to at least share the perspective. I know for sure that there’s people involved in the paranormal that have gotten into trouble and are concerned and wondering why they got into trouble and what they can do to get out of trouble.
I’m also hoping to educate people so that if they stumble across something or somebody’s doing something that’s really spiritually dangerous, maybe they make a more informed decision about whether they want to participate.
JIM HAROLD: Well, I know that in addition to your work with the diocese, you do a lot of books. You’ve written quite a few books, and you have a new one coming up this September, right?
ADAM BLAI: Yeah. It’s a collection of stories designed to teach lessons. You know, in the end, Jim, everybody wants to hear the cool stories, right? And I’m the same way. I like to see interviews with exorcists because I want to see what their life experience is. But you want to share stories that have value, kind of like the fables we used to tell kids. The stories maybe have a scary component, but they’re designed to teach some lesson.
So this is a book of stories that really illustrate how people got in trouble, and that way, instead of just saying “Hey, you shouldn’t do this,” it’s like, “Let me tell you about a person that did that and what happened.” Of course, you change all the details so you can’t identify the person, but the story is what really went on. So that’s the goal with that book.
JIM HAROLD: Along that line, I would ask you maybe to share a story – I’d rather not do the Mark and Debby story because there’s people who know those people, and they were interviewed on our shows. So I’d rather not get into their case because it could be very personal to some people listening. But give us the broad strokes of a story – it could be in this book, it could be another story – that you think is very demonstrative and could be useful for our audience.
ADAM BLAI: Well, there was somebody that I met a number of years ago, actually in a different diocese, that had gotten involved in Ouija boards, but in a very methodic way back in the ’60s. Methodic meaning they approached it scientifically. They were in med school at the time, and they were curious more from a scientific perspective. They got involved in it; back then there was a lot of exploration and things were even trendy back then, and they kind of fell in love with it. They got a lot of direct communication that surprised them, and they thought it was some very legitimate ascended master or some kind of higher power.
So when it told them that God’s mission for them was to move to this other obscure country and give up what they were doing, the position that they had attained after they had finished med school, and to go over here and just trust that heaven was sending them there and it would work out after they arrived – they gave up the security of their position and moved. And then they would consult these spirits after a while when things weren’t working out, and the answer was, “Actually, now that it’s been six months, you need to go over here now.”
Sadly, essentially what happened is he’s been led around the nose by the spirits communicating to him through Ouija boards and other divination that he’s using. This same thing saying it’s the same spirit, saying that it’s his friend, has led him through a lifetime of dissipation. He’s never had security. He’s not had a family. Any wealth or money that he’d built up was lost because he was constantly moving and didn’t have any time to build up anything in life.
When I met him, he was still traveling. He was heading across the country because he was being obedient and still following this thing, even though it had basically ruined his life. Nothing ever came of his work, in a sense. He certainly did some medical work along the way, but in terms of building up a solid body of work for your lifetime, sadly it was derailed.
That’s one example. That’s perhaps a little less of a trope than the typical Satanist or getting involved in witchcraft, which of course we see that all the time.
JIM HAROLD: That’s interesting. So this particular demon just basically wanted to wreck this gentleman’s life, and this was one way to do it, to lead him by the nose around the world looking for the next big rainbow, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
ADAM BLAI: Never came. Yep.
JIM HAROLD: Well, a cautionary tale, and we’ve really appreciated our time with Adam Blai today. Maybe a little bit different perspective on some of the topics we cover on the show. Adam, where can people find more information about you, your work, and your books?
ADAM BLAI: There’s a bunch of free information on religiousdemonology.com. I’ve had that site up for years, and that covers a lot of what we talked about. Really all the basics are there, but if people are interested in the books – I’m not just trying to sell books; I’m writing them because when I die, they’ll still be here. But you can find those on Amazon. Just put my name in, Adam Blai, and the three are there, and then we’ve got another one coming up in September. There’ll be one a year from here on out, God willing. That’s about it.
JIM HAROLD: It’s been a fascinating discussion. One of the things we want to do on this show is make people think, and I think we’ve certainly done that today. Adam, thank you for joining us.
ADAM BLAI: Thank you, Jim. God bless you and your listeners.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you so much for joining us today on the Paranormal Podcast .a very provocative interview indeed, but we like to make you think on this show. Agree or disagree, I think if you listened to this and paid attention, you’ll think. That’s one thing that’s for certain.
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