Fr. Marius Roque, parish priest of Sto. Nino in San Fernando and official exorcist of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, said in an interview here that such beings even have characteristic smells.
“The tiyanak emits the smell of a cockroach refuse, the dwende has the smell of cat’s poo, while the kapre gives the foul smell of tobacco,” said Roque who is known to have performed scores of exorcisms on persons possessed by evil spirts, as well as haunted places.
The devil is known to manifest physically according to a country’s folklore, he noted.
Roque, however, expressed doubts that the white lady, who is a favorite character in ghost stories even in other countries, also come from Hell. “The white lady exudes the smell of the dama de noche, or some fragrant flowers used during wakes for the dead,” he noted.
He said that as exorcist, he has a “spotter” or a person gifted with the so-called third eye that detects evil spirits. He said his spotter is a mechanic whom he did not name.
“Some spotters smell evil spirits, some feel them, some actually see them,” he noted.
Roque also urged Filipinos to refrain from asking permission to pass areas believed to be haunted, such as an anthill based on the belief that such objects host the so-called “nuno sa punso” or some kind of dwende.
“It’s a way of showing subservience to evil spirits and creating for them an opening to your being. Instead, just say a bit of prayer for God’s protection,” he advised.
Roque also noted that most of possessed people brought to him by relatives for exorcism are teenaged girls who are physically beautiful. “One of them even looked like the statue of the Virgen de los Remedios (patron saint of Pampanga,” he said.
It normally takes three exorcism sessions before evil spirits are driven out of the possessed person, although one case required 11 such sessions.
“I know that an evil spirit leaves when the possessed person finally vomits. The vomit has no smell and always has the appearance of ‘taho’ no matter what had been eaten by the victim,” he said. Taho refers to a soya curd. The number of vomiting indicates the number of evil spirits leaving the body,” he added.
But Roque said that not all extraordinary manifestations are evil, stressing that the souls of dead relatives are sometimes allowed by God to manifest themselves in various ways to the living. Sometimes they just want to say goodbye, sometimes they want prayers for deliverance, he added.
“On All Saints’ Day, go to the cemeteries and pray for them,” he urged.
“Ghostly apparitions are universal spiritual phenomena over the ages,” he stressed, but warned that “the devil can also appear as an angel of light.”
Roque warned that the devil “wants to bring the worse in us. That is why we should know our weaknesses.”
“Family problems create openings (for diabolical influence),” he said, as he urged people to stay away from sin, and Catholics to frequent Masses and the reception of the Sacraments, particularly Confession and the Eucharist. He also stressed that occult practices frequently lead to various forms of diabolical problems.
He noted that evil spirits are powerful and could control even modern machines. “On my way to exorcisms, sometimes my car would mysteriously fail to start. In one case, a camera trying to capture an exorcism in progress would fail to function mysteriously,” he recalled.
The late official exorcist of the Vatican, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who died only last September after having performed some 70,000 exorcisms in his lifetime, had once told Catholic News Service that “The world must know that Satan exists.”
“The devil and demons are many and they have two powers, the ordinary and the extraordinary. The so-called ordinary power is that of tempting man to distance himself from God and take him to Hell. This action is exercised against all men and women of all places and religions,” he explained.
Amorth said the extraordinary power is “how the devil acts when he focuses his attention more specifically on a person.”
He categorized such attention into four types: “diabolical possession; diabolical vexation like in the case of Padre Pio, who was beaten by the devil; obsessions which are able to lead a person to desperation and; infestation when the evil occupies a space, an animal or even an object.”
Amorth said such extraordinary occurrences are rare but on the rise. He expressed concern over the number of young people being affected by Satan through sects, séances and drugs.