DEMONOLOGY: A STUDY IN EVIL, A SERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY DELIVER US FROM EVIL
This summer’s crime-horror movie, Deliver Us From Evil, was inspired by the true paranormal stories shared by real-life NYPD Sergeant Ralph Sarchie in Beware The Night. The frightening book, which was written in tandem with Lisa Collier Cool, was released in 2001. Sarchie worked on the force for 16 years, but it wasn’t the crimes committed by people he writes about, it’s the accounts of the paranormal. Sarchie is a demonologist, and he has performed exorcisms and led investigations into the demonic during his off-hours, a position he referred to as “the Work.”
“I am a cop, and I would rather kick down doors and arrest ten armed robbers with my bare hands than take on the demonic. Plain and simple, the Devil frightens me much more than anything I’d ever seen on street patrol—and in all my years on the force, I’ve seen just about every horror one person can inflict on another…” said Ralph, who views his work with demonology as a calling.
To give viewers some insight into the scary stories from the book that inspired the film Deliver Us From Evil, we rounded up four of Ralph’s scariest stories.
1. One of the frightening experiences Ralph recalls began on Halloween in 1991, when he received a call from a priest he frequently worked with. Ralph and his partner Joe Forrester went to investigate a house that was believed to be haunted that belonged to the Villanova family in Westchester, New York. Working without their typical team of investigators, the duo went to interview the family who had experienced paranormal phenomena such as furniture moving on its own, mysterious body harm and levitation.
After Sarchie and Forrester experienced the demons attacks on the family first-hand, they decided to perform an exorcism themselves. As they exorcised the home, a powerful demon possessed, Gabby Villanova, the mother of the family, something they had never seen happen in the midst of their ritual. When they realized the power of the demon they were up against, the partners realized they would have to return when they were more prepared and had backup. When they finally came back, the group of exorcists and investigators performed an exorcism on each room of the house, finally forcing the demon to leave.
2. Another case of supernatural activity took place in Washington, D.C. where Sarchie assisted well-known demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren on a case involving the McKenzie family. Sarchie initially saw the family’s frightening experiences on the television series, Sightings and was immediately interested in the case. He later found out that a Satanist, who attracted the evil spirits to the residence through his rituals, previously owned the family’s home. The McKenzie’s had terrifying encounters with the devil, including hearing their late-father’s voice on the phone, a baby crying and physical attacks. After hearing of the terrors the family endured for six years, Sarchie had to perform a full exorcism on the home. A year later, the family was finally at peace.
3. In 1992, in the presence in of his own home, Sarchie’s wife experienced a large black shape in the doorway of their child’s room. Sarchie believed that his new work had now made him and his family susceptible to demons. The fear of the demon disturbing his daughter forced him to perform an exorcism with holy water and prayers on his residence. The ritual hadn’t kept the demon away; he spotted it again a month later. Three years later, his older daughter spotted the demon again near their baby. In order to protect his family while Sarchie carries out his duty as a demonologist, he has safeguarded his home from evil spirits with crucifixes and holy water, but expects that they may return.
4. One of the most frightening stories in Beware The Night is about a man named Michael. This old man had been through two previously harsh and enduring exorcisms involving Sarchie’s partner, JoeForrester. They believed an ancient type of black magic was responsible for possessing Michael. The demon would allow Michael to take communion, which typically would repel the evil spirit. He would also have fits of speaking in Portuguese and Spanish, languages Michael never learned. Other priests attempted multiple exorcisms, but they also proved to be unsuccessful.
It was believed by those involved, that the evil spirit would plague anyone who tried to help Michael. Joe believed his involvement in the case had caused him to get hit by a truck. “I knew I had just gotten a visit from the demonic. Yes, it was a minor thing, and I thank God for that, but in retrospect, it was also the first sing of the harm and suffering this exorcism would bring me—and everyone else involved,” Sarchie said . After a lot of preparation and a three-day exorcism, Michael was still plagued by the devil. Now, every anniversary of this ritual, Sarchie experiences a serious difficulty in his life.
With over twenty years of demonology behind him, Sarchie has countless anecdotes of performing exorcisms and battling the paranormal. To see more of his chilling stories that inspired the film, check out Deliver Us From Evil, in theaters July 2nd.