Listers, we return to Fr. Gabriele Amorth’s memoir style work An Exorcist Tells His Story. Our first post explored the variations of demonic possession. In this post, we will listen to his wisdom regarding different types of curses.
Fr. Amorth in his own words:
Curse is a generic word. It is commonly defined as “harming others through demonic intervention.” This is an exact definition, but it does not explain the cause of the harm, hence the beginning of confusion. For instance, some believe that curse is synonymous with spell or witchcraft. In my opinion, spells and witchcraft are two different types of curses. I do not claim to give a comprehensive explanation, and I rely solely on my own experience when I defend the following forms of curses.
1. Black Magic - Witchcraft - Satanic Rites that Culminate with Black Masses
Fr. Amorth address these practices as a group because they are analogous and they share the “common characteristic” of obtaining “a curse against a specific person through magic formulas or rituals - at times very complex - by invoking the demon, but without the use of particular objects.”
Whoever devotes himself to these practices becomes a servant of Satan through his own fault.
Scriptural passages prohibiting analogous practices: Dt18:10-12, Lev 19:31, Lev 20:27, Lev 19:26-31, Ex 22:18
Curses invoke evil, and the origin of all evil is demonic. When curses are spoken with true perfidy, especially if there is a blood relationship between the one who casts them and the accursed, the outcome can be terrible.
Fr. Amorth stresses the fact that there are incredibly strong bonds between family members, and that curses that operate within these familial bonds or on a “special occasion,” e.g., a wedding, can have terrible consequences.
He gives several examples of cases he worked: a young man cursed by his own father at birth, parents cursing their daughter-in-law at their wedding, and man whose grandmother cursed a photograph of him, resulting in ill legs and multiple surgeries.
3. The Evil Eye
This consists in a spell cast by looking at someone. It does not come about, as many think, by believing that some individual cause bad luck by just looking at you; this is nonsense. The evil eye is a true spell; in other words, it presupposes the will to harm a predetermined person with the intervention of demons.
What is important is that the victim should not suspect everyone he meets, but forgive wholeheartedly whoever caused him evil, no matter who. I want to stress that, while i believe that the evil eye is possible, I cannot be positive that I have encountered it in my experience as an exorcist.
4. The Spell (aka Malefice or Hex)
A “spell” is the “most commonly used means to achieve evil.” In Latin, it is the male factus - meaning “Evil work.” It is generally accomplished by making some type of “evil” artifact.
The object has an almost symbolic value: it is a tangible sign of the will to harm, and it is offered to Satan to be imprinted with his evil powers. It is often said that Satan apes God; in this case we can use the sacraments as an analogy. The sacraments use tangible matter (for instance the water of baptism) as an instrument of grace. In the malefice matter is used as an instrument of harm.
Application of the Malefice:
Direct Way: “Consists of mixing the object that is used for the spell into the victims’s food or drink. As already mentioned, this is manufactured with the most diverse materials; it can be menstrual blood; bones of dead people; various burned powders, mostly black; animal parts - the heart seems to be the favorite; peculiar herbs, and so on.”
Indirect Way: “This consists in hexing objects that belong to the target (photographs, clothes, or other belongings) or figures that represent the accuresed: dolls, puppets, animals, even real people of the same age and sex. This is called “transfer” material, and it is struck with the same ills that are inteded for the victim.”
Binding Malefice: The transfer object is bound with various ribbons or animal hairs to produce a “binding” effect. Fr. Amorth recounts an event where a doll was bound to an umbilical cord with horse hair in an attempt to strike a pregnant woman’s child.
Hex Objects: Often times transfer objects for a hex appear inside pillows or mattresses.
I have found just about everything, from colored and tied ribbons to chunks of hair tightly knotted… animals - especially mice - or geometric shapes; and blood clots. I have seen chunks of wood or iron, twisted wire, and dolls full of piercing and marks and have witnessed the sudden appearance of very thick braids of children or women’s hair.
Miraculously, sometimes these objects are not even visible until holy water is sprinkled upon the opened pillow.1
As a reminder, Fr. Amorth stresses that the best defense against all such demonic attacks - ordinary, extraordinary, curses, etc. - is faithfully living the Catholic life, especially frequent participation in the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist. ↩︎