If you believe in the existence of the devil in any way, then you might want to avoid this episode as Alex and Dr. Strand lift the veil on the Church's most disturbing exorcism, and discover not only dark voices from below, but a familiar voice from Strand's past.
Researching Demonic Possession Edit
Alex notes that while Dr. Strand is in Seattle, she plans on monopolizing his time as much as possible to dive more deeply into the Black Tapes. But she’s not thrilled about their latest research topic: demonic possession. She says she refuses to watch the Exorcist to this day, and growing up she was exposed to enough religious iconography to know who Satan is. She goes on to say that apparently she’s not alone in her belief that Satan and demons could be real: according to a recent poll, 67% of people believe in demonic possession, and the Catholic church has reported a 450% increase in cases of possession in the last fifteen years.
Alex interviews Father James Kelly , a priest and religious studies teacher at the Church of St. Thomas in Bellevue. He claims that every major religion addresses the ability of a devil or evil spirit to enter and partly or entirely possess an earthly host, although Alex points out it's Christianity specifically that's built an industry around exorcisms, both church-sanctioned and private. Father Kelly says that as people turn away from the church and toward the occult, Satan uses these as entrances into peoples' lives, and this was especially true in the 1970s when paganism experienced a resurgence; however, as psychology was also gaining legitimacy as a science, people who would have been seen as possessed by an evil spirit were mistakenly sent to asylums.
Alex interviews Dr. Brad Gilbert , a family psychologist in Seattle who argues that people claiming to be possessed are mentally ill, suffering from cases of monomania or demonomania. He claims that exorcisms only acts as a placebo, while the recipients having not gotten treatment for their underlying psychological conditions. Father Kelly claims that people who receive exorcisms are first required to undergo medical testing and can only receive an exorcism after being cleared by a doctor. However, Alex comments that neither she nor Nic could find any psychiatrists that conduct these kinds of tests on behalf of the church.
Alex next interviews a man named Derek (last name withheld) who believes he was possessed by a demon a few years ago just after he turned fourteen. Someone had brought a Ouija board to his friend's house and they used it to speak with a spirit, until the planchette seemed to move of its own accord and go flying into Derek's lap. From that point on he describes being angry and that a dark cloud seemed to hang over him, until a Father Johnson performed an exorcism. He reports feeling happy after the event. Alex questions whether or not he may have been experiencing depression, but he tells her that he has never been depressed.
Weekly Black TapeEdit
Dr. Strand plays the next Black Tape for Alex, this one involving the exorcism of 12-year-old Jessica Wheldon . Alex describes what's happening in the video: four large men are holding Jessica down on a bed while a priest prays in Latin and another priest prays while holding a cross. Despite their large size, it looks as though the men can barely hold Jessica down as she thrashes and bites.
Alex describes a howling, inhuman sound coming from Jessica as she lifted the men off their feet, until something shatters and one of the priests proclaims Jessica is finally safe. Alex remarks that the sounds could have easily been done in post-production, but Strand insists the sounds were actually coming from the girl...because he was recording the event. He still insists that it was an elaborate staging put on by the family.
The priest who performed the exorcism, Father Peter Vincent , is currently in a mental hospital run by the church. Strand says the Archdiocese of Seattle demanded he hand over the tape but he refused, feeling that they just wanted the tape to be leaked to lend credibility to the event. It was the priest's fourth exorcism, and despite his current status, Strand says Vincent doesn't mind talking about the event.
Alex and Strand visit the priest, and she describes him as energetic, even happy. Vincent warns Alex about Strand--saying he's a bad influence--and goes on to describe the exorcism. He says this was the first time he faced the Grigori, and that the "elemental" is a cruel presence that waits and watches to make its existence known, as in Jessica's case.
Alex and Strand leave the hospital, but on returning the next day to ask if he knew of any copies of the tape, they were told he had relocated to a more "supportive" environment.
Coralee Mystery ContinuesEdit
When Alex asks Strand about Brayden Court , Strand tells her he's crazy, and that Coralee was never his girlfriend, though he does allude to the two of them having had an affair. Alex asks Strand why he disappeared for five days after Coralee's disappearance, and he tells her he was trying to find her.
Alex recaps what we know of Coralee's mysterious disappearance, the suspicions surrounding Strand and his disappearance, and how Coralee's parents believe Strand is responsible. Alex meets with Nic, who tells her he's created some Google alerts for key terms related to the Strands, as well as a thesis that Coralee developed in her first year of grad school but never finished. The results generated by Nic's algorithm pointed to an episode of Pacific Northwest Stories in 2012 where listeners sent in "found audio". A girl sent in a cassette her father, Carl Harrison , found by the roadside in 1997, which happened to contain audio of Coralee talking about love, her first book, Watchwards, and Apocryphenia, the published collection of Coralee's papers. She talks about bee hive relocation, and how bees will try to find their home hive within a three mile radius if moved. She wonders if a metaphorical "move" outside of a marriage would be beneficial to restart it if it's failing. The tape cuts off when Coralee calls to a man named Warren.
Recording on Alex's PhoneEdit
When Nic agrees to accompany her, Alex finally meets the person who she believes recorded the mysterious message on her phone in Episode 104. Brayden Court meets with Alex in a cafe, where he reveals that he was once engaged to Coralee Strand. He tells Alex that she shouldn't trust Dr. Strand because he murdered Coralee, but could not offer any proof for his claim. When Alex asks him how he left the message on her phone, Court denies knowledge of any such message.
Main Characters Edit
Recurring Characters Edit
Guest Characters Edit
- Father James Kelly
- Dr. Brad Gilbert
- Jessica Wheldon
- Brayden Court
- Father Peter Vincent
- Carl Harrison
- Christina Rains