Vince Lampert grew up in the Haughville community on Indianapolis' west side. He said he saw a lot of things in his neighborhood as a boy, but nothing like he saw on a trip to Rome for study at the Vatican in 2006.
“Probably the most bizarre thing I witnessed in an exorcism was in Rome when I saw somebody actually levitate who possessed during the prayers of exorcism,” said the catholic priest. “The priest was not amused by anything going on and he just pushed the person back down and he continued to pray. My jaw might’ve hit the floor at that time, like, 'What in the world is going on here?’
In 2005, Father Vince Lampert was approached by Archbishop Daniel Buechlein after the exorcist for the Indianapolis archdiocese passed away.
“The archbishop told me he selected me because he viewed that I was somebody who was well balanced enough, who believed in the reality of evil but would not be too quick to believe that everybody is possessed by evil because the exorcist is trained to be a skeptic.”
Lampert receives dozens of emails and phone calls seeking his guidance every week at SS. Francis & Clare in Greenwood. He said most of those calling him need counseling or psychiatric care or medication. But some need an exorcist.
“I worked with another priest here in Indiana with a person that identified seven demons inside of this person and the demons even named themselves,” said Lampert, “and usually if evil is present, it's sometimes clustered together so it's not just a question of one demon. It’s a question of many.
“In this particular person, the weaker demons, through the ritual, were quick to leave. They departed but it was the one more dominant one that identified itself as the demon Leviathon mentioned in the Book of Revelation that was the last to go.”
Lampert said it is in the Book of Revelation in the Bible that the story of Satan is told.
“And there was a war in heaven,” reads the scripture. “The great dragon was hurled down... His number is 666.”
“The devil wants to be God,” said Lampert, describing how Satan is the original fallen angel. “His own version of his own incarnation, if you will, is to take on human form by possessing a human person.”
The priest described four types of demonic presence: possession; demonic oppression, physical attacks against the host; demonic obsession, mental attacks against the host; and infection, presence in a location or object.
“The person is eyes rolling back in the head, foaming at the mouth, growling, snarling, swearing at me, doing anything to distract me from what it is I am doing,” said Lampert, describing the typical reaction of a host during an exorcism.
“The church says there are certain things you would look for such as aversion to the sacred... crucifix, holy water, Bible, these type of things.
“The ability to speak in languages the person should not be able to know,” he continued. “It could be superhuman strength beyond the normal capacity of the person or just their perception about things that the person shouldn’t otherwise know.
“There can be a drop in room temperature. There can be awful smells and then you see manifestations.”
Father Lampert said commercial films do a fair representation of some of the reactions he’s witnessed during exorcisms.
“Hollywood uses a little bit of license. They really want to scare you and give you the gory details,” he said. “I’ve never seen anybody’s head come spinning around or pea soup come flying out.”
Lampert said locations can’t be infested with evil.
Indiana exorcist fights the devil