High resolution scan of engraving by Gustave Doré illustrating Canto XXXIV of Divine Comedy, Inferno, by Dante Alighieri. Caption: Lucifer, King of HellLike so many other media outlets, the folks at WTIC-TV in Hartford seem to have run out of material to fill their nightly news, to the point that they ran a story on exorcisms in my home state of Connecticut. I’ll grant the Nutmeg State has some history in that regard. It’s home to the famous ghost-hunters, the Warrens (Lorraine and her late husband Ed). The famous “demon murder trial” took place here in the 1980s. It was the setting of the 2009 movie The Haunting in Connecticut. Famously haunted places in Connecticut include the abandoned hamlet of Dudleytown, the defunct Norwich State Hospital, Union Cemetery in Easton, and Pettibone’s Tavern (now Abigail’s Grill) … just to name a few.

In their effort to pursue the “hauntings as news” motif I’ve blogged about so many times already, the folks at WTIC-TV ran this story on a paranormal-investigation group and one of their recent cases (WebCite cached version). Unfortunately this is a video report only, and there doesn’t seem to be any way for me to embed it here … so you’ll have to click on the link in order to see it.

They report — uncritically — that a “spiritual battle” is underway, and that “in recent years, it has intensified.” The group they follow is called Connecticut Spirit Investigators, and the reporter cites its claimed 40-year history as a way to grant the group credibility. The group’s high-tech equipment is also on display. What is never explained, is precisely how the group “knows” that a stray magnetic field or a cold spot in a room can only be caused by a ghost, spook, spirit, demon or devil, and can’t possibly have any mundane explanation. They also seem to think weird noises coming from their so-called “ghost box” are proof that supernatural entities lurk at a place; I think it’s proof only that these folks have deluded themselves.

The reporter also claims the group’s “investigation” (if one could call what they do “investigating”) led to an exorcism being performed by a “Bishop McKenna” who’d also exorcised demons in the famous Amityille Horror case. The reporter may have considered this impressive, but I don’t. The famous Amityville, NY haunting turned out to have been a hoax (cached)! Also, the “bishop” in question would have to be Robert McKenna, whose consecration as bishop is suspect, and who in any event is a schismatic (he claims the popes after Pius XII have all been illegitimate); it’s extremely unlikely that McKenna has ever received official approval to perform any exorcisms.

The reporter also brings in another evangelist for ghost-hunting, Fr Bob Bailey from Rhode Island (who’s also appeared on the show Paranormal State). Fr Bailey pontificates on the eternal “cosmic struggle” mentioned at the beginning of the piece, as though he’s an authority on the subject, and not a paid hack who makes money making such claims.

The reporter ends the piece by stating that none of the region’s diocesan offices would discuss the matter, and referred the station directly to the Vatican. That also didn’t go anywhere, apparently. And that’s no surprise … the Catholic Church doesn’t really talk about exorcism — at least, not officially.

At no time during this piece was there even the slightest hint that the interviewees’ claims were anything less than 100% true. At no time does the reporter point out that there is not one iota of objective evidence of the existence of ghosts, demons, poltergeists, devils, souls, Satan, haunted houses, possessions, or the slightest veracity for any of the “paranormal investigators’” antics. At no time does the viewer hear that there’s no objective evidence that any “spiritual battle” is going on at all, much less any evidence offered that it has “intensified in recent years.” At no time did the reporter ask any probing questions, such as “How does any of your equipment prove there’s a ghost or demon here?” There’s nothing about this story that suggests it’s anything other than a puff-piece on CT Spirit Investigators.

I guess this is what passes for 21st century journalism. Unfortunately.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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6 Responses to “So, Exorcisms In Connecticut Are News?”
  1. Sean says:

    I have to say that I agreed with most of the article, however I noticed that it had a few errors. First of all, Bishop McKenna was not involved in the Amityville case. He did perform an exorcism in the Smurls Case, but not in Amityville. Also, there was never any smoking gun evidence that proved the Amityville case to be a hoax. Many people believe it to be a hoax and arguments could be made against the validity of the case, but it has never been absolutely proven to be a hoax.

    • PsiCop says:

      Hello there. To be clear, I have no idea what "Bishop" McKenna has or has not done. I stated that this was reported within the piece. Personally, I don't care who did or did not perform an exorcism in Amityville … or anywhere else. What I was getting at is, the reporter clearly thought that McKenna's claimed Amityville experience granted him some sort of credential. As I said, I found this unimpressive to say the least.

      I'd suggest you let the good folks at Channel 61 know they made a false claim about McKenna in their report. They should correct it, if they have any journalistic integrity.

      As for the Amityville haunting being a hoax, the ABC News report I linked to explains how this is so. I didn't make it up myself; I did not present that statement on my own authority, and did not present it without the ABC News story as evidence. If you disagree with them, then I must again instruct you to take it up with them and ask them to publish a retraction. Until they do so, my assertion that Amityville was a hoax, will have to stand.

      • mediachecker says:

        For someone who claims they're agnostic you spend a lot of time involved in religion. Why don't you relax in your belief system and let others do the same? Anyway I found what I was looking for…the name of the Warrens. Thanks.

        • PsiCop says:

          Allow me to break some news to you, that no doubt will surprise you.

          First, the world is overwhelmingly filled with religion. Non-believers are confronted with it daily, whether we wish to or not. I can no more choose not to be "involved in religion," than I can refuse to breathe. And why is that? Because you believers ram your beliefs down everyone's throats … constantly.

          Second, the US is a free country, with freedom of speech. I'm able to say whatever I want about anything I want. If I think religion is idiotic, I can say so if I wish. If I think that religion infantilizes people, I can say that too. If that offends you, too bad. Go ahead and stop me, if you think I'm not supposed to do so.

          Third, if you object to non-believers talking about religion, then stop forcing us to have to deal with it. Stop trying to make the laws of the land fit your metaphysics. Stop claiming non-believers are all amoral and evil because we don't accept your beliefs. It's entirely within your power to ensure that religion is something I never need to talk about. So get to work.

  2. Jim says:

    WHOEVER WROTE THIS ARTICLE IS AN IDIOT ! I myself expierienced paranormal activity at my own home, which led to an investigation by a local " ghost hunting" group to which out of trying to figure out what was going on in my home- I joined the group.
    MAKE NO MISTAKE .. Satan was cast out of heaven and is " in charge of the earth till JESUS returns and takes that authority back. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN whom hasn't expierienced anything paranormal would agree with the author of this article.
    When you encounter a DEMON as I did … You will know it!!! and if you know what's good for you, you better cry out to JESUS and REBUKE IT In JESUS name and believe it and it will flee. Ghost hunters often become " the hunted" , it was CURIOSITY that killed the cat after all. I contacted world renowned LAY DEMONOLOGIST from Connecticut that studied under bishop Robert McKenna and was the warrens chief investigator for over 14 years, his name is David Considine. I love that man and his team! They counseled us for 2 years as we simmered down the spiritual warfare that was waged against my home and family, then they drove from Connecticut for free, it only cost me gas and lodging for them to come rid my home of 4 evil entities. SO WHOEVER WROTE THIS article you don't know sh-t! AND OBVIOSLY U DO T BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE IF YOU DID U WOULD K OW THAT THE ENEMY DOES ALSO EXIST. GOOD LUCK ON JUDGEMENT DAY!!! Ill pray for you, seems Jesus answers mine often , especially when I used to awake to an 8' demon standing over me in my bed. Peace! God bless ! Praise JESUS ! You're all running outta time!!

    • PsiCop says:

      Re: WHOEVER WROTE THIS ARTICLE IS AN IDIOT !

      Hi there, I am that "idiot." Not that being called an "idiot" by the likes of you is any insult. (And yes, you were trying to insult me. I know it, and you know it.)

      Re: I myself expierienced paranormal activity at my own home, which led to an investigation by a local " ghost hunting" group to which out of trying to figure out what was going on in my home- I joined the group.

      Bully for you! Now, can you demonstrate … using objective, verifiable evidence … that what you "experienced" can only be explained by "paranormal" forces? My guess is, you can't.

      Re: MAKE NO MISTAKE .. Satan was cast out of heaven and is " in charge of the earth till JESUS returns and takes that authority back.

      Can you demonstrate the veracity of this claim, using objective, verifiable evidence? If so, please produce it. Oh, and I must warn you ahead of time not to quote from Isaiah 14. That chapter is not about the character of "Satan" at all. According to Is 14:3-4, it is, instead, about the king of Babylon who conquered Judea:

      And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say …

      Re: When you encounter a DEMON as I did … You will know it!!!

      Great! When that happens, you'll be the first to know about it. But until it does, or you offer objective, verifiable evidence of demons' existence, I'll have to assume this will never come to pass.

      Re: and if you know what's good for you, you better cry out to JESUS and REBUKE IT In JESUS name and believe it and it will flee.

      So now, after opening your comment with a personal insult, you're ordering me around? Just how much credibility do you think you have, with me?

      Re: Ghost hunters often become " the hunted" , it was CURIOSITY that killed the cat after all.

      Believe it or not, I actually know some "ghost hunters," and they've told me the same thing. Not that I ever saw any of it happening, nor have any of them been able to demonstrate it. But they've said it.

      Re: I contacted world renowned LAY DEMONOLOGIST from Connecticut that studied under bishop Robert McKenna and was the warrens chief investigator for over 14 years, his name is David Considine. I love that man and his team!

      Bully for you! But what does that mean, for me? Can any of those guys offer any objective, verifiable evidence of any of their bilge?

      Re: They counseled us for 2 years as we simmered down the spiritual warfare that was waged against my home and family, then they drove from Connecticut for free, it only cost me gas and lodging for them to come rid my home of 4 evil entities.

      It took these God-empowered men a full two years to help you fight off your demon? Some God you guys have. He sure takes his time, no?

      Re: SO WHOEVER WROTE THIS article you don't know sh-t!

      How do you know this? You don't know me at all. You have no idea what knowledge I have. As I explained just now, I do happen to know some "ghost hunters" and know, for a fact, that what they do is B.S. They believe it in all sincerity, but their sincerity doesn't grant them any veracity.

      Re: AND OBVIOSLY U DO T BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE IF YOU DID U WOULD K OW THAT THE ENEMY DOES ALSO EXIST. GOOD LUCK ON JUDGEMENT DAY!!!

      Aha! You're left resorting to the whiney, juvenile tactic of typing ALL IN CAPS, coupled with a threat of eternal damnation. You do realize that, once you've had to employ threats against me, that shows you have nothing substantive to offer?

      Re: Ill pray for you, seems Jesus answers mine often , especially when I used to awake to an 8' demon standing over me in my bed.

      Those demons could have been taken care of by regular doses of thorazine or Haldol, you know. Oh, and … your offer to pray for me is another intended insult on your part, so I will take it as such.

      Re: Peace! God bless ! Praise JESUS ! You're all running outta time!!

      What a wonderful class act you are, Jim! Come back when you can act like a grown up, and are able to discuss this rationally and in mature fashion.

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