by Arthur Policarpio
“Did you strangle our son last night?”
This was the unusual question of my wife upon waking up on February 17, 2011. Strange marks had appeared in the neck of Juan Lorenzo (Juanlo), our three-year-old boy. They were reddish-purple, with no bumps or scratches common among external wounds - it looked as if the marks were caused by internal bleeding.
My wife was anxious that the marks might be a symptom for leukemia. The pediatrician couldn’t conclusively explain the marks. To give us peace of mind, he had Juanlo take a blood test.
The fateful day of the test results came. The doctor said that there was an abnormality in the results, and he could not yet completely eliminate the possibility of Leukemia. We had to take another test after two long agonizing weeks. We were absolutely crushed. The possibility that our son may have Leukemia simply shook us and turned our lives upside down.
The trials for our family came like a powerful torrent - it rained, it poured, and it almost overwhelmed us.
The week before we first noticed the unusual marks in our son’s neck, my wife had a most harrowing experience while inside a big mall in Manila. Without warning, our little boy all of a sudden started having a seizure - his entire body was shaking, his mouth was frothing with saliva, his lips turning purple. For the next 5 minutes, the Sunday crowd in the mall was witness to a hysterical mother - crying out her “Hail Mary’s”, carrying her child in her arms, running towards the opposite end of the huge mall to bring her convulsing and shaking child to the clinic.
We found out eventually that our child had a condition called “Febrile Seizure” - a condition where a sudden increase in body temperature could cause a major seizure in the child. Happily, the condition was not fatal - nonetheless, the experience left a major scar in our lives.
My wife was devastated. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This was the frequent question of my wife to me the week after the seizure. For an entire week, it seemed as if my wife had lost her Faith.
Saturday came, and as usual, our whole family went to the 6pm anticipated Mass to sing for the choir. My wife, still nurturing the pain of the previous week’s harrowing experience, entered the church - rather mechanically, out of obligation. Upon entering, she was simply overwhelmed with emotion - grief, pain, anxiety, but now mixed with the hope and the feeling of being home. All the questions of the previous week were answered - she felt God seemingly saying to her, “Why did you even think that I left you? I never left you, I was always there for you.”
She felt like Eve - guilty Eve - in front of her God. And the tears flowed, all throughout the Mass. The questions were answered, the Faith restored and strengthened for the much bigger trials ahead.
The moment came. After two weeks of waiting, it was time for the second round of tests. Did our child have Leukemia?
The results came. It was negative! The abnormal test results were caused by a viral infection. Our child was safe. The journey was seemingly over. Little did we know that the bigger battle lay ahead. The real spiritual journey of our family was about to start.
There was one question that remained unanswered, though: how did our son get the marks in his neck in the first place? At first, we thought the marks were due to internal bleeding. But then, mysteriously, after three days, the marks peeled off. If they were caused by internal bleeding, they won’t peel off, right? They were not external wounds either - there were no scratches or marks left. Both the dermatologist and pediatrician could not figure out the neck marks.
On the night of February 16 (my birthday), the night before the bruise marks appeared in my son’s neck, my wife had a most unusual experience. Everyone in the family was already asleep. While she was passing time away on her laptop computer, suddenly she heard some rustling, some movement inside the bedroom. At the same time, she smelled a strong, foul odor. In a split second, she saw out of the corner of her eye - a dark shape hovering inside the room! The shape was animal-like - it looked like a fox. All the hair on her body stood up on end. She closed her eyes and said to herself: “Stop scaring yourself!”
The next day, the marks (which looked like strangle marks) all of a sudden appeared in my son’s neck. Much later, we asked ourselves: could it be possible that the marks were caused by the fox-like shape, which we assumed was a diabolical spirit? We were initially skeptical. This was the first time ever in her entire life that my wife experienced such an out-of-this world phenomenon.
A few days after the appearance of the marks on Juanlo’s neck, my wife went to Confession and asked the priest: “Father, do you believe in diabolical experiences?”
The priest said “yes” and my wife then told him about the unusual marks on my son’s neck, and her seemingly supernatural experience the night before - her encounter with the dark animal-like shape. After her story, the priest, sounding alarmed especially after finding out that our son was just a three-year-old boy, strongly insisted: “Go see Fr. Jocis Syquia immediately!”
Fr. Syquia is the Chief Exorcist of the Archdiocese of Manila and is the author of a book entitled “Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult”. He is the country’s foremost expert when it comes to demonic experiences. We had read a couple of his books.
We were dumbfounded! Why did we need to see an exorcist-priest? Other than that brief encounter with the “fox-like” shape, we really did not detect anything out of the ordinary. But since the advice was given inside the confessional box by a priest, we felt impelled to obey.
The objective of the first meeting with Fr. Syquia was to determine if our case was indeed a case of demonic attack. Or were we simply hallucinating or exaggerating things?
Fr. Syquia’s conclusion was that based on his experience and on his analysis of the case, ours was a case of either demonic infestation (a “haunted house”), or demonic oppression (not full possession, but demons “attached” to people).
Fr. Syquia instructed us to meet with Fr. Aga Tarog, the Exorcist of the Diocese of Paranaque so that he could exorcise all the members of our household and our house. In the meantime, as preparation, he instructed us to bless the house and the children with holy water and blessed rock salt, and also gave us a manual of deliverance prayers that we could pray to ward off evil spirits.
The meeting with Fr. Syquia emboldened our household staff to reveal their various “experiences” in our house. There were tales of a woman who roamed the house. Our family driver shared several instances of feeling and actually seeing a “presence” hover on top of him while lying down.
The nanny of our little girl, who is very sensitive to the spirit world, narrated how one time, while she was carrying our baby, she looked at the mirror - but instead of seeing herself and the baby, she saw a black shape in the mirror. At another time, she saw a hand under our bed.
The nanny of our little boy also shared with us that Juanlo actually had an “imaginary friend”. We knew, based on our meeting with Fr. Syquia, that such “imaginary friends” were possibly demons who disguised themselves as “friends” or playmates, in an effort to deceive and ensnare children. Juanlo said the name of his imaginary friend was “Golok”.
We would often hear him blurt out “Golok” on numerous occasions, but couldn’t really understand then what it meant. One day, we witnessed for ourselves how real this “Golok” was in our son’s life. As we were about to leave our house, Juanlo said to his friend matter-of-factly: “Bye, Golok!”
We were alarmed, but just kept to Fr. Syquia’s advice, which was to bless the house, the children, and pray regularly.
One day, our son’s nanny, intending to give our little boy a bath, took off his scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Suddenly, Juanlo pointed to somebody behind her back and asked: “Yaya, sino yan?” (“Nanny, who is that?”) Since there was nobody else in the bathroom, this caused the poor nanny to scream. Strangely, our little boy then bit her hair.
A few minutes later, while Juanlo was riding his bike inside the house, he again started talking to his friend, “Golok”. Later, inside his playroom, he suddenly hit his head, face first, on a small table. He narrowly missed his eyeballs, but his eyelids bled profusely as a result. He was crying silent tears, but never said a word.
Later, while watching television, all of a sudden, Juanlo cried out, holding his right side and saying that it was painful. My wife told Juanlo: “ Pray to Jesus so He will make the pain go away. Say ‘I love you, Jesus!’ ” Juanlo, still wailing, refused several times, saying emphatically: “I don’t like! I don’t like to say ‘I love you Jesus!’ ”
Finally, after continued prodding, he said, still crying the whole time, “I love you, Jesus!” And just like that, after saying “I love you, Jesus”, he immediately stopped crying! He said that it wasn’t painful anymore. He then went about playing, as if nothing happened.
Another time, Juanlo woke up in a very bad mood. His mother brought him to his playroom. He was holding his rosary at the time. My wife turned around to pick up something, and upon returning her gaze to Juanlo, alas! The rosary - a strong, sturdy rosary - was broken! The beads were scattered all over the floor. Juanlo broke the rosary, apparently.
My wife told him: “It’s okay, Juanlo, let’s just go to Mama Mary and say ‘I’m sorry’ to her for breaking her rosary.” To her surprise, Juanlo replied, while sobbing: “I don’t like to say ‘I’m sorry’. I don’t like Mama Mary!” After much prodding, he eventually calmed down and said “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to the life-size statue of Mary Help of Christians in our family room.
We simply couldn’t take it anymore. Our scheduled exorcism session with Fr. Aga was still a week away - but with all that was happening, we pleaded with him, my wife texting: “Please Father, we can’t take it anymore”. The good Father relented and re-scheduled the day of our deliverance to an earlier date, March 21 - the day before my wife’s birthday.
The night before our scheduled meeting with Fr. Aga, we were a little uneasy. If indeed there were evil spirits in our house, would they do anything out of the ordinary to attack us on that night before the deliverance day?
The time for our nightly routine with our son came. My wife said: “Juanlo, it’s time to sleep now. I love you! ” He immediately replied in his sweet, innocent voice: “I love you, Mommy! I love you, Daddy!”
“Who else?” asked my wife, prodding him to say “I love you” to his baby sister Ave Maria (Ava). Instead, Juanlo replied: “I love you, Golok!”
We were extremely shocked! Could it be that his “imaginary friend” kept us company inside our bedroom? I immediately stood up and sprinkled as much holy water as I could to Juanlo and the entire room.
We tried to settle down again, this time proceeding to our nightly prayer routine. “Juanlo, it’s time to pray now. Ask Jesus to bless us.” Juanlo replied: “I love you Jesus! Bless Juanlo, bless Mommy, bless Daddy, bless Ava...” He paused for a while, then continued: “Bless Golok!”
Again, another round of holy water all over the room! The kids eventually fell sound asleep, but my wife and I could barely sleep. It was the first time that we were actually overjoyed with the sound of our alarm clock at 5:45 a.m. - we made it through the night!
Finally! It was the long-awaited day of our deliverance. At 9 a.m., we were all in our living room, waiting. Juanlo was riding his small bike, playing. All of a sudden, he stopped biking and looked up. Then, he made the “thumbs up” sign, and said in a clear voice: “Golok! Good luck!"
We were surprised and amused. Could it be that this “Golok” was complaining to our little boy: “I’ve got a big struggle coming up with Fr. Aga. Wish me luck!”
The reader should note that we never told Juanlo that Fr. Aga would come, and that he would drive away “Golok” and all other evil spirits.
Fr. Aga finally arrived together with two other lay companions who were gifted with the ability to perceive spirits. Fr. Aga settled down with us in the living room to interview us, while his two companions, without talking to us other than a brief introduction, immediately proceeded to go around the house to “feel” it.
Fr. Aga asked Juanlo: “Where’s your friend?” Without hesitation, Juanlo answered: “There!”, pointing to one side of the dining area.
The two lay companions then went back to report their findings. Without their knowledge of the intensity of the attacks on Juanlo, they told us that the highest concentration of spirits was in the playroom. This was where Juanlo spent most of his waking hours.
It was time to start Holy Mass in the living room. We called our little boy, “Juanlo, it’s time for the Mass.” To our surprise, Juanlo suddenly threw a big tantrum. He wailed and cried, “I don’t like! I want to go to my playroom!” Remember that we were just told that supposedly, the highest concentration of spirits was in his playroom!
Juanlo’s tantrum was not an ordinary one. I had to forcibly carry him. There was only one thing that worked. Referring to the little bell used by altar boys during Mass, I told him, “Juanlo, look there’s a little bell. Do you want to be the one to ring the bell during the Mass?” After that he calmed down. This ringing of the bell was something he liked to “practice” after the Saturday 6pm Mass when his Lola Lulu would tell him he should be an altar boy one day.
The whole household was in attendance during the Mass. Then we proceeded to the exorcism ritual. We went around the house, praying, while Fr. Aga recited the exorcism prayers, used incense, and sprinkled holy water and rock salt. The words of the rite were simply overpowering. In his booming voice, in every part of the house, Fr. Aga commanded: “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I command all spirits not of the Holy Spirit to depart from this house and go immediately to the foot of the Cross, never to return!”
After blessing the entire house thus, Fr. Aga proceeded to say deliverance prayers over all members of the household.
With the blessing done, we believed with all our hearts that the exorcism rite was successful - that all the spirits have indeed been driven out, both from the house and from ourselves. During the ritual, our baby girl was coughing sporadically - Fr. Aga said that this was a common sign of “departure” of the spirits. Little did we know that God would later give us a strong confirmation of the success of the exorcism ritual.
After the exorcism ritual, without our prodding, one of our household helpers asked our little boy: “Juanlo, where’s your friend?” Referring, of course, to his imaginary friend “Golok”. Usually Juanlo would say “there” but this time he said, “No more!” Our household helper continued : “Where did he go?” Juanlo answered, “Far away.”
Could a three-year-old child simply make this all up? Take note that we never explained to Juanlo what was happening, especially the exorcism ritual.
As a final confirmation, several hours after the deliverance session, Juanlo asked his nanny: “Where is Golok? Is he coming back?” Her nanny answered, “No, he’s not coming back anymore!”
Researching the meaning of the name “Golok”, we found out that “Golok” is a dagger used by a certain tribe in the Philippines for decapitation and chopping off of body parts. We read that the evil spirits have different characteristics. It seems that “Golok” typifies violence. Can this possibly explain the marks on Juanlo’s neck which looked like he was strangled?
This whole experience has been one big blessing from the Lord. The events started on my birthday (February 16), when we first discovered the marks on our son’s neck, and ended the day just before my wife’s birthday (March 22), with Fr. Aga’s exorcism ritual in our house. We are apt to believe that there are no “coincidences” with God.
I guess the most important proof is the “fruits” - the effects on our family. This entire experience has truly changed our lives as a family. We can honestly say, with all modesty and humility, that we have become a better family because of this.
I was first hesitant to write this article. How would I convince a skeptical world of the truth of our tale? Nowadays, it is not fashionable anymore to write or talk about the devil. There are even priests who downplay talk about the devil. But then, I realized that it is precisely because of this tendency to dismiss talk about the devil that I have to write about it - with force and conviction, strengthened by the testimony of a real personal experience. One of the devil’s biggest lies is that he does not exist - that he does not matter, that he is not a real, pervasive influence that causes ruin to our lives.
The devil exists! He is very real - he influences our thoughts, our actions. He is so real, that he even took on a name - “Golok” - and introduced himself to our little boy as his “playmate”.
We were witness to a great battle, a battle between Angels and Demons. With God’s grace, we have emerged victorious - at least with this particular round. We realize that the battle will never end in this mortal life. The enemy is like a roaring lion, prowling at the gates, waiting for us to give it an opening to enter and devour all of us. But as lay workers in the Lord’s vineyard, if we are called to fight battles and show a heroic faith – then so be it, for God’s greater glory! Our comfort is the realization that the devil is no match for Almighty God and the Queen of Heaven, with the heavenly court of angels and saints.
We sing our thanksgiving to God with those memorable lines from the Bible (Letter of Paul to the Philippians, 2: 10-11):
…at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord. To the glory of God the Father.
The Second Coming of Christ will take place in your lifetime.
According to this book which contains a series of incredible messages and prophecies to an Irish seer, our present generation will witness the Second Coming of Christ.
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