Here in the Twenty-First Century, in the age of nano-technology, space exploration and cloning, who on earth takes seriously the ideas of demonic infestation and exorcisms? They sound downright medieval or, at best, subject matter for a horror movie. Well, paranormal researcher John Zaffis takes them very seriously. And after reading his new book, Shadows of the Dark, you too might consider the possibility of their reality.
Those who seriously conduct ghost hunts and other forms of paranormal research are often contacted by people who are experiencing footsteps in the night, electronics that go on and off by themselves, possibly some poltergeist activity or even an apparition. These researchers go into the haunted house, investigate, take pictures, try to get some EVPs and advise the homeowner on how to handle the situation. To them it's pretty routine stuff.
Every once in a while, however, they come across a case that goes beyond a ghost or haunting. The presence involved seems more dangerous. Perhaps the homeowners have been physically assaulted or someone in the household undergoes a radical personality change in conjunction with the activity. In those cases, most ghost hunters back off... and they call someone like John Zaffis.
Demonologist is a title some people apply to Zaffis. Although that title is used reluctantly these days, it still might best describe what Zaffis does. He deals with entities that are not human spirits or hauntings in the traditional sense, he believes, but rather are spirit beings that never were human the malevolent low-level spirits that are often referred to as demons.
Zaffis has been at this thankless task for many years and says that he has personally witnessed and assisted in more than 85 exorcisms. (He does not perform the exorcisms himself, but relies on trained clergy.) Several of his most fascinating and scary cases are detailed in this book.
The book begins with a question-and-answer section that co-author Brian McIntyre conducted with Zaffis. Here he explains his background, why he does what he does, the differences between hauntings and demonic activity and other explanations that will help the reader understand the case studies related in the chapters that follow.
The cases take you into the homes of the people who experienced these activities, just as John was invited in to investigate. And there are some harrowing things taking place: telekinetic activity, unexplained foul odors, levitations, an eerie black crow and, most unnerving, people on the brink of or in the actual clutches of possession. They sound like elements of a Hollywood movie, but Zaffis assures us they are quite real.
Are these stories to be believed? It's certainly easy (and more comfortable) to be skeptical about this subject matter; it's so far removed from our everyday lives. I'm sure many people wouldn't believe this stuff unless it happened to them or experienced it first-hand. John Zaffis has experienced it first-hand. He's seen things most of us never will.