Casting out demons

Louis Melgoza believes in evil spir­its, not because he’s read or heard about them, but because he’s heard them, seen them, felt them.

He’s fought them.

They are real, he says, and they’re all around us.

In my All Hallows Eve col­umn, “Talking with the Dead,” I men­tioned that a demo­nolo­gist had told me ghosts were some­times real, but usu­al­ly what peo­ple believe are ghosts are actu­al­ly evil spir­its in disguise.

Melgoza was some­one I knew in Bardstown as a guy who helped run a food pantry that deliv­ered meals to hun­gry and home­bound peo­ple through a part­ner­ship of church­es and organizations.

I learned that, as a reli­gious demo­nolo­gist, he also did con­sult­ing, gave lec­tures, and had a radio pro­gram on how to pro­tect against evil.

Melgoza is not an exor­cist, because one must be a priest to be an exor­cist. But, he told me, he has worked with exor­cists to per­form exor­cisms and, with the church’s per­mis­sion, he may “reme­di­ate anom­alous phe­nom­e­na” with­out a priest being present.

When I inter­viewed him in 2019 for The Kentucky Standard, the news­pa­per I was work­ing for at the time, he said he had done about 50 of those.

Melgoza made mon­ey in real estate and busi­ness con­sult­ing, but he’s also among a small num­ber of peo­ple in the United States who have been trained and cer­ti­fied by the Catholic Church in exor­cism — free­ing peo­ple and places from pos­ses­sion by evil spirits.

There isn’t always a nat­ur­al expla­na­tion for our trou­bles, he told me. Sometimes the prob­lem is supernatural.

“We all face spir­i­tu­al war­fare in our lives of some type, and we kind of need to under­stand what battle’s tak­ing place,” he said.

Doorways to darkness

Melgoza, who is about 60, became inter­est­ed in the demon­ic because of sto­ries he heard grow­ing up in Los Angeles. His par­ents, who were old­er than most when he was born, were from Mexico and were influ­enced by the Cristo Wars of the 1920s. That was a reign of ter­ror when the country’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ment out­lawed the Catholic Church.

“They killed hun­dreds of priests, and they turned church­es into sta­bles and broth­els,” he said.

Afterward, there were many sto­ries about the appear­ances of peo­ple who had died in the reli­gious persecution.

Melgoza said ghosts are real, and some­times they are allowed to return from pur­ga­to­ry to deliv­er mes­sages or ask for prayers. But usu­al­ly, when peo­ple encounter spir­its, they are not ghosts, but demons.

He said he has seen them on mul­ti­ple occasions.

Once, he said, a ten­ant of his in Louisville called to ask him, “What’s wrong with this house?”

Her chil­dren couldn’t sleep upstairs, he said, because they kept see­ing some­one there.

Melgoza went there, and as soon as he entered the room where the chil­dren slept, the door closed behind him, and he felt some­thing strange. So he left the house, went to a near­by Catholic Church, got a bot­tle of holy water, and ripped a page from a book­let with the Prayer of St. Michael for pro­tec­tion against the Enemy.

When he returned, he said, he saw a “shad­ow per­son” mov­ing in the room, and he sprin­kled the holy water, recit­ed the prayer, and “it vanished.”

He then con­front­ed the tenant’s moth­er, who admit­ted she had been involved in witchcraft.

Witchcraft and the occult, he said, are gate­ways through which evil spir­its can enter. So are oth­er prac­tices, such as illic­it sex and use of mind-alter­ing drugs, he said.

Exorcism in Rome

When he was tak­ing a course in Rome, Melgoza said, he took part in an exor­cism in which the vic­tim was trem­bling, sweat­ing, speak­ing in a gut­tur­al voice, and react­ing vio­lent­ly — and six peo­ple were unable to hold her down.

That was until a priest prayed the Litany of St. Michael and the Holy Angels and asked angels to “bind her.” Then the woman’s arms and legs crossed and she became still and couldn’t move.

Melgoza said exor­cists and demo­nolo­gists must be skep­ti­cal about sto­ries of demon pos­ses­sion. Before they will inter­vene, he said, the per­son who is believed to be pos­sessed must under­go a med­ical and psy­cho­log­i­cal eval­u­a­tion to rule out oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties. They must also ques­tion the alleged victim’s fam­i­ly or the indi­vid­ual to find to what the per­son might have done to invite the spir­it in and per­suade them to close those portals.

Fallen angels

What are demons? Melgoza says that, accord­ing to the Bible and Catholic teach­ing, Lucifer and demons were once heav­en­ly crea­tures who rebelled against God.

“They’re fall­en angels. That’s what demons are, and there’s a lot of them,” he said.

Sometimes in a rit­u­al to expel an evil spir­it, the priest can com­pel the dev­il to “speak the truth.” In one exor­cism, he said, the dev­il was asked how many of them there were, and he answered: “If you could see us, we would blot out the sun.”

There is, how­ev­er, a way to pro­tect one­self against them, Melgoza said, and that is through “Jesus Christ and the sacra­ments and stay­ing out of mor­tal sin.”

“If you’re in a state of grace, the dev­il can harass you, but he can’t harm you,” he said.

This sto­ry was adapt­ed from a col­umn Randy wrote for The Kentucky Standard in 2019.

— Sponsored content —

You might also enjoy...