DEMONOLOGY: A STUDY IN EVIL, A SERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY DELIVER US FROM EVIL
When you look at Ralph Sarchie, you definitely know this guy is from New York. His thick accent gives it away. When you find out Ralph Sarchie is a retired cop, this makes sense as well. He's a rather big guy, tattooed on both arms with a buzzcut. He has an authoritarian presence. However, when you further discover that Ralph Sarchie is a demonologist you get taken aback. Mainly because, what the hell is a demonologist? But also, how did a Bronx cop get into this?
I met Ralph Sarchie at the press junket for the upcoming horror film, Deliver Us From Evil. This film, starring Eric Bana, is based on Sarchie's life as a cop turned demonologist. Not everyone who gets a movie made about their life also gets to boast that it's a scary as fuck horror film. Bana takes on the role of Sarchie, and in the film encounters an unknown force which he learns to be demonic. First skeptical, but then approaching the matter a way a cop would. Through investigations, and questioning. This is the way Sarchie dealt with it, and the more his research validated his belief in demonic possessions, the more he agreed to aid in exorcisms. He never once charged for this work.
I sat with a few reporters around a small table. Sarchie came in with the director of the film, Scott Derrickson. When one reporter asked Sarchie if he is still performing exorcisms around New York, he responded that he is recently back in it. “I've been out of the work for a number of years. After my divorce, I retired. I sort of lived a life I shouldn't have lived. Being that I came back into the work I sort of came back refreshed and looking at things from a different angle, which I believe is the way God wants it to be.”
At this point, more questions were directed to Derrickson about the making of the film. Frankly, I didn't care as much learning about set design, or what it's like to work with Eric Bana. I wanted to know more about the man in the room who claims to fight demons. When we finally came back to Ralph, he was asked about the state of demonic possession today. “I'm seeing more of a shift in the way evil is going to effect us in the future. I don't think we're quite there yet, but I believe we are traveling at a high speed towards that.”
After hearing what he had to say, I wanted to have some one-on-one time with Sarchie. We were finally able to speak for a few minutes near the end of the day.
VICE: Describe demonology for me.
Ralph Sarchie: Well, it's the study of demons. A lot of people have a misconception about it. They hear you're a demonologist, they think right away you're a satanist and you worship the devil. A lot of times I use the term “religious demonologist”. It seems to soften that misconception.
VICE: More like you're battling them? How do you battle a demon?
Sarchie: The only way to battle a demon is through religion. You can't do it any other way. You can't grab them and throw them down. You can't beat them up and get rid of them.
VICE: How do you protect yourself when you're in these situations?
Sarchie: Confession. Receiving communion. The sacraments we use. The holy water. Blessed incense. All of these things are very, very powerful against demonic power. I have a relic of the true cross—a sliver of the cross Jesus was crucified on. A very, very powerful weapon against the demonic. Also, prayers. You can not get involved in this field without having religion.
VICE: What kind of person is susceptible to being possessed? Is it anyone?
Sarchie: There's no pattern. There's no one character trait, no one personality trait. It's random and it just happens.
VICE: Well what would you say to people who want to protect themselves from this happening to them?
Sarchie: Go to mass.
VICE: What if they're not Christian or Catholic?
Sarchie: If they're Jewish, go to the temple. If they're Hindu, they should go to their temple.
VICE: So being spiritual in some way?
Sarchie: Yes, connect with God. You really do need to have a relationship with God.
VICE: How many demons really are there? Are there hundreds of thousands or are there just a few?
Sarchie: I don't know if you know who St. Pio is. He was an exorcist, and during one of his exorcisms he had questioned a demon. He asked the demon, “How many demons are there on this earth?” The response was, “If every demon took a physical form, it would blot out the sun.” They're all around us. Don't think that you can go to your house, lock the door and be safe. They're all around us. They might not be interacting with us, because you have to understand--demons can not do anything unless God gives them the authority to do so.
VICE: Well my last question might be a dumb question, but is there such a thing as a good demon?
You can learn more about the real Sarchie and what he does by watching this documentary.