Friday, August 27, 2010

Dylan's Mozambique & Thoughts of Ko Samui

Lyrics | Bob Dylan lyrics - Mozambique lyrics

When Dylan sings about this scene,it reminds me of Ko Samui when me and the missus visited in 1996.We were staying at the "Munchies" in Chaweng Beach.I remember the waves and sipping martinis (something like that) and thai massages on the beach with a dog in tow (resident dog).Life's a beach....

Cheers for now

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bob Dylan's Desire & One More Cup of Coffee Before I Go

I saw Bob Dylan in Singapore during his gig here specifically on the 24th Feb 1994.The missus was not with me this time.Seemed like ages ago but his music still dwells in my mind's eye especially when listening to the Desire album.As I write, "One more Cup of Coffee Before I Go" plays in the background.The haunting melody with Bob's grainy voice coupled with Emmylou Harris vocals as the invisible gypsy girl so lyricised here hovers on my back like the proverbial monkey.

From the start,Rob Stoner's reflective bass line introduces the song as Scarlet Rivera's crying violins wail in the background(here are the lyrics...)

Your breath is sweet
Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky.
Your back is straight, your hair is smooth
On the pillow where you lie.
But I don't sense affection
No gratitude or love
Your loyalty is not to me
But to the stars above.

One more cup of coffee for the road,
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the valley below.

Your daddy he's an outlaw
And a wanderer by trade
He'll teach you how to pick and choose
And how to throw the blade.
He oversees his kingdom
So no stranger does intrude
His voice it trembles as he calls out
For another plate of food.

One more cup of coffee for the road,
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the valley below.

Your sister sees the future
Like your mama and yourself.
You've never learned to read or write
There's no books upon your shelf.
And your pleasure knows no limits
Your voice is like a meadowlark
But your heart is like an ocean
Mysterious and dark.

One more cup of coffee for the road,
One more cup of coffee 'fore I go
To the valley below.


Bob swirls into the ocean deep with this song of a gypsy girl who in my opinion could have been a girl he met whilst on his travels along "diamonds in the sky" laced highways right through to the edges of his mind.

It gets rivetting after a while especially as "your pleasure knows no limits" provides lucid thoughts to one;s imagination.Images of a gypsy girl in wanton oblivion grasps one but provides a mystery...the "future" as an omniscience of an uncertainty foretold and perhaps reinforced by the impending trip to the "valley below".The answer lies by the response from Bob perhaps...just have "one cup of coffee" -an anticlimax to the whole scene.Nice irony! Touche to the Bard.Just suits me fime..I too like coffee – time is right for one now.Just a final touch below.

Here’ Bob’s foray into his thoughts from the album cover.

Where do I begin...on the heels of Rimbaud moving like a dancing bullet thru the secret streets of a hot New Jersey night filled with venom and wonder. Meeting the Queen Angel in the reeds of Babylon and then to the fountain of sorrow to drift away in the hot mass of the deluge... To sing praise to the King of those dead streets, to grasp and let go in a heavenly way -- streaming into the lost belly of civilization at a standstill. Romance is taking over. Tolstoy was right. These notes are being written in a bathtub in Maine under ideal conditions, in every Curio Lounge from Brooklyn to Guam, from Lowell to Durango oh sister, when I fall into your spacy arms, can not ya feel the weight of oblivion and the songs of redemption on your backside we surface alongside miles standish and take the rock. We have relations in Mozambique. I have a brother or two and a whole lot of karma to burn... Isis and the moon shine on me. When Rubin gets out of jail, we celebrate in the historical parking lot in sunburned California...

©1975 Ram's Horn Music

Album notes

Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Vincent Bell (bouzouki); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Dom Cortese (accordion); Rob Stoner (bass, background vocals); Howard Wyeth (drums); Luther (congas); Emmylou Harris, Ronee Blakley, Steve Soles (background vocals).

DESIRE was the studio realization of the Rolling Thunder revue's sound. The musicians involved in this mid-'70s Dylan project were more than a backup band; they forged a distinctive musical vision, loose and swirling, the perfect aural equivalent of the traveling gypsy/carnival image they affected onstage. Drummer Howie Wyeth, who possessed an uncannily sympathetic ear for accompanying singer-songwriters, and violinist Scarlet Rivera, built their careers on the foundation of the Rolling Thunder band.

Many critics balked at Dylan's lyrical collaborations with Jacques Levy on this album, but their reservations were just glorified xenophobia. Levy's flowing, colloquial style suited Dylan's music and delivery perfectly, and the two produced several gems. "Isis" is an exotic tale of intrigue that turns out to be a unique love story. "Hurricane" breathlessly tells the true story of Ruben Carter, a boxer framed for murder and acquitted years after DESIRE's release. It still stands as one of Dylan's most exciting, emotional tunes.

Wow! Great feel.Greg signing off...

Thought for the Day

After a long hiatus, i thought it would be appropriate to start with a quote. Here goes.

Procrastination is something best put off until tomorrow. ~Gerald Vaughan

So let's rock & roll!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Invitation to the Istana Garden Party 2010

Great time!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Teaching as Jesus taught

The Catholic News - SEPTEMBER 27 2009, Vol 59, No 20

Patricia Lim (CHIJ Primary) and Gregory Francis (Swiss Cottage) chat after Mass during the Teacher’s Day celebrations. Photo provided by ACCS

Catholic teachers celebrate Teacher’s Day; archbishop reminds them of their responsibilities

SINGAPORE – More than 300 Catholic educators celebrated Teachers’ Day on Sep 5. The annual event, held at St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS) to honour Catholic educators.

This year’s theme, “Teaching as Jesus Taught”, was chosen to remind teachers why they teach and that teaching and discipleship are one and the same.

At a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, students from Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Primary formed the choir, and students from CHIJ St. Nicholas, CHIJ St. Theresa’s and SJI International took on the responsibilities of wardens.

In his homily, Archbishop Chia advised the teachers, “Jesus is the Light of the world – you are to be the light to dispel the darkness in the lives of the students and show them the way to grow and mature.” He added, “To teach as Jesus taught we need to imitate Him.”

The archbishop then mentioned the formation of chaplaincy teams, adding “there are a few schools which have very strong teams of chaplains and this is a great help to nurture the Catholic ethos in our schools”.

On the concept of “common space” he said, “We are morally obliged to enable all our students to articulate their beliefs and share their cultures in a learning and community environment.”

He added that our Catholic schools must develop and show the correct notions of Christianity and Catholicism as being a religion that has the Trinitarian traits: worship of God; service to all peoples with no strings attached; and living communities that witness to the unity that exists in God.

To those who teach in government schools and institutions of higher learning, Archbishop Chia said, “You are the leaven in the dough, the salt and the light. You are ambassadors for hope, for love, for charity.”

After Mass, the educators had tea in the hall and met up with old friends and colleagues.

Gregory Francis, a teacher with Swiss Cottage Secondary, agreed with the archbishop’s remarks that emphasis is needed that Catholic parents should send their children to Catholic Schools.

Patricia Lim of CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) added that at a secular school where she previously taught there was a lack of Catholic culture of prayers and overall character.

Sister Mary Soh, chaplain from Hai Sing Catholic School, felt the theme of the event was meaningful and said, “Jesus became the model for teachers as He had a commitment for love and taught with love.”

Michelle Tan, from CHIJ Secondary said, “As educators we’ve got to look at it as being a vocation. I enjoyed myself today; I’m definitely coming next year.”

For more information on ACCS and its programmes, visit n

By Don Gurugay


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Snapshots to Remember

This is a picture for keeps....

Friday, June 12, 2009


Matthew - Chapter 24
This is what it will be like when the Son of man comes.Then of two men in the fields, one is taken, one left;of two women grinding at the mill, one is taken, one left.So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.

Revelation 20:9
They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

The 2012 apocalypse
Courtenay Bartholomew
Wednesday, June 10th 2009

Dexter Rigsby wrote an article last week in the Guardian of June 3 with the headline, "Surviving the 2012 threat to humanity''. His article began: "Most people are becoming aware of a possible doomsday anomaly said to occur on or around December 21, 2012, when, according to scholars, two-thirds of mankind can be eliminated."

Were I to own a newspaper it would have been on the front page because I truly believe that his article will soon be proven to have no parallel in importance at this time. In fact, my new book, The End of this Era. A linkage between Science and Religion, predictably the last of the eight which I have authored, is by far the most important of all I have ever written. It is largely based on the great Mayan prophecy.

Long before the birth of Christ, the central and southern regions of Mexico were inhabited by peoples who had reached a high degree of civilisation. They were first the Olmecs from about 2000 BC to 200 AD then the ancient Maya civilisation which reached its peak around 300-800 AD. They were justifiably regarded as the greatest ancient civilisation to have risen in the New World and were gifted with an inexplicably advanced state of mathematical and astro-calendrical knowledge without the use of telescopes or any of the modern scientific instruments of today's civilisation. When I became acquainted with the Mayan intelligence, I once spent several hours in the historical and anthropological museums in Mexico City studying the history of the ancient peoples of that region, their writings, customs and architecture.

Zero, for example, was used by the Mayans 900 years before the Arabs introduced it in Europe. The Gregorian calendar, as another example, was introduced in Europe in 1582 and was based on the best scientific knowledge available at that time. This, in fact, is still the most widely used calendar in the world today. It replaced the Julian calendar which was previously introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.

More recently, scientific advances have given the length of the solar year to be 365.2422 days but strangely and inexplicably enough, the Mayan calendar (between 300 and 800 AD) had previously achieved even greater accuracy and had calculated the solar year to be 365.2420 days, a minor error of only 0.0002 of a day. They also calculated the length of the lunar month to be 29.53029 days, which is only within 30 seconds of what we now know to be its actual length of 29.53059 days! But from where came this genius?

Now, according to the Mayans, the universe operated in great cycles of approximately five years and their own civilisation was said to be in the fifth cycle. The four other civilisations before them were destroyed by great natural disasters. This, the era of the fifth cycle in which we are now in, they calculated to end by another major cataclysm in the winter solstice of December 21, 2012, after which the sixth cycle will begin.

The Mayans and Aztecs were sun worshippers as they realised that without the sun, life could not be sustained on planet Earth. But the sun is anything but a smooth round ball of fire. Close up, it is a raging nuclear furnace. First discovered by Galileo in the 16th century, sunspots are larger-than-earth magnetic storms that blemish the solar surface and they can unleash as much energy as 10 billion hydrogen bombs. The world's astronomers have no idea why they occur and in roughly 11-year cycles, which is the usual amount of time from one so-called "solar maximum" (the greatest number of sunspots) to the next.

Significantly, very significantly, the next maximum solar flares are calculated to start in 2011 and peak in the year 2012. Their ejections can travel millions of miles into the interplanetary space and can cause very serious disruptions of satellite (including banking and military), radio and electronic communications. There are also scientists who believe that seismic events, earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes are triggered by sharp fluctuations in sunspot activity and also that certain planetary configurations and alignments have a powerful influence on the sun.

Indeed, the great wave of hurricanes (Katrina, Rita and Wilma) coincided with one of the stormiest events in the recorded history of the sun. One prominent Russian scientist has declared that the sun's peculiar behaviour today is unlike anything we have seen since the ending of the last ice age of 11,000 years ago and many solar physicists concur that the Sun's solar activity will peak at record-breaking levels in 2012.

The great English researcher and author Graham Hancock wrote about his research on the Mayans and Aztecs and said: "My research has convinced me that there was an advanced civilisation long long ago that was destroyed in a terrible cataclysm. I fear that our own civilisation may be destroyed by a similar cataclysm. When human beings from around the globe, and from many different cultures, share a powerful and overwhelming intuition that a cataclysm is approaching, we are within our rights to ignore them. However, it would be foolish to disregard what they seem to be saying.

"And what they seem to be saying to us is that cyclical, recurrent and near-total destructions of mankind are part and parcel of life on this planet, that such destructions have occurred many times before and that they will certainly occur again. Scholars normally attribute these myths to the fantasies of ancient poets. But what if the scholars are wrong?"

But maximum solar flares are not the major threat to planet Earth.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Second Coming

W. B. Yeats' immortal words, in his "The Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Perfect Possession

Here's an intersting article by Maria Hsia Chang who is a Professor emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the author of "Peering Into the Abyss" in the October 2008 issue of the NOR.

A thoroughly good read!Top drawer.

Author's Note: Many readers will find this article, a study of the nature of evil, difficult to read. In fact, psychiatrist M. Scott Peck noted that our instinctive reaction to evil is revulsion. Difficult though it may be, it is important that we know and comprehend evil's nature because that knowledge can help us recognize and combat evil, and protect ourselves from its effects. Remaining ignorant of it can only play into the hands of the Evil One himself.

It may be helpful for the reader to know my own experience of studying evil, which began some years ago. Simply put, I was frightened by what I found -- what human beings are capable of doing to one another. That first reaction of fear, however, was soon replaced by a melancholia that endured for quite some time. When I told my best friend, Judge Patricia Chaffin, about my constant sadness, she said, "Offer your suffering to Christ, who understands your melancholia more than anyone. Imagine the sorrow that Christ has, knowing all the sins of humanity." At that, I broke down and wept, tears streaming down my face.

But the melancholia also left me, then and there. Since that epiphany, although I still get alarmed, shocked, and repulsed by the subject, I am no longer fearful or depressed. Prudently guarded and cautious, I now am steadfast and determined, for "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

Lastly, from the very beginning of my study, I have had an abiding love and respect for St. Michael the Archangel, and all the good angels who choose to submit to and obey the Triune God. I pray for their protection daily.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to Hollywood movies such as The Exorcist, most people know something about demonic possession, although many no doubt dismiss it as superstitious hocus pocus. Few, however, including Catholics, are aware that cases of possession that come to the attention of exorcists are only of the partial or incomplete variety. There is something worse -- total or perfect possession -- which is rarely spoken of even by the Catholic Church.

References to perfect possession are sparse. One won't find them in the books of Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist and president of the International Association of Exorcists. The diligent and careful reader will, however, find allusions in the works of Frs. Jeremy Davies and Malachi Martin.

In his 1992 book Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans, Fr. Martin wrote, "In every case of possession that comes to the point of Exorcism, the subject has reached a crucial crossroads. Some small corner of reservation remains, some glimmer or recollection of the light of Jesus still shines." It is from that last redoubt that the possessed manages to muster sufficient autonomy of will to call for help. That is why their possession is only partial instead of complete.

Not so with the perfectly possessed. Fr. Davies, in his 2008 book Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, observes that the far more terrible state is that of the possessed who are complacent. He calls such cases "perfect possession" because the individual has freely given himself totally to evil. It is instructive to note that although the Gospels recount numerous instances of Christ casting out demons, Our Lord did not exorcise Judas, nor did St. Peter exorcise Ananias, nor St. Paul Elymas. Those three did not want to be exorcised, and God always respects our free will. As Fr. Martin put it, unlike cases of partial possession, those who are perfectly possessed do not want the demons to leave.

So, who are the perfectly possessed?

To answer that question, we might begin with the factors that can render a person vulnerable to demonic possession in the first place. Fr. Amorth is of the opinion that a person can become possessed because of another's evil spell, or by associating with evil people or places, or as a result of a grave and hardened sinful condition (An Exorcist Tells His Story, 1999). The first factor is clearly not the person's fault. The individual does bear some responsibility for the second factor because he chose to associate with evil, becoming contaminated as a result. As for the third factor, it clearly is operative in cases of perfect possession because the individual has freely assented to evil either via an explicit pact with the Devil or as a result of habitual sinning.

Fr. Martin, however, disagreed with the no-fault view, insisting that no one can become possessed without some degree of consent: "The effective cause of Possession is the voluntary collaboration of an individual, through his faculties of mind and will, with one or more of those bodiless, genderless creatures called demons." For that matter, the individual does not even have to intentionally engage the demonic. Fr. Martin maintained that simply dabbling in the occult -- by playing a Ouija board or attending a séance or practicing transcendental meditation or the enneagram -- can dispose a person to possession because he has made himself an "aspiring vacuum" to "whatever happens along."

It is not just the occult that poses a danger. Any activity that impairs our mind and will is a threat to the integrity of our selfhood. The activity can be engaging the occult, abusing alcohol and drugs, or indulging in "malogens." The latter is a word coined by former public defender Jay Gaskill to refer to malevolent ideas, images, and themes in popular culture that are "as dangerous to the developing mind as biological pathogens are to the developing body." Transmitted through pornography, death-obsessed music, violent movies and television, and macabre role-playing computer games, malogens celebrate violent, even homicidal imagery, and a nihilist, anti-life ethos. Teen subcultures are especially vulnerable because they are among the most under-protected targets in American society.

Fr. Davies counsels that it is partly through our faculty of reason that God protects us, so any activity that involves an abandonment of self-control can provide an opening to the demonic. Since nature abhors a vacuum, the invitation is extended for something or someone to enter in to fill the void. In that light, it is interesting that an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor once told this writer that a recovering alcoholic's mental age is much less than his chronological age; it is the individual's biological age when he first began drinking. In other words, the person was not really present during the alcohol-soaked years, which raises the troubling question of who -- or what -- was there instead.

The Catholic Church has supplied a collection of signs and indicators for partial possession, including blasphemous and vituperative language, preternatural knowledge, preternatural physical strength, levitation, the ability to speak an unknown language, a violent aversion to the holy, and voices in the mind saying evil things. But neither the Church nor her exorcists have given us the signs that point to perfect possession. Worse still, Fr. Martin warned that being absolutely controlled by evil, the totally possessed gives no outward indication, no hint whatsoever, of the demonic residing within. The individual will not cringe at the sight of a crucifix or violently react to the touch of holy water or hesitate to discuss religious topics with equanimity.

But how can this be? Human beings consciously and unconsciously telegraph the kind of person we are in a myriad of mundane ways -- our clothing and facial expressions, even how we walk and shake another's hand. What Fr. Martin probably meant was that those who are perfectly possessed do not display the usual symptoms that the Church attributes to partial possession. Given this, how can a perfectly possessed person be recognized?

Perhaps the answer is in the principle of Occam's Razor, commonly understood as "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." It is here proposed that the person actually tells us -- by demeanor, word, and deed -- that he is perfectly possessed. Demeanor refers to an individual's appearance and comportment. Words refer to what the individual says about himself, specifically speaking of himself as a "monster" and a "devil," or of an alien or demonic presence residing within his body. Deeds are acts of great depravity, unspeakable cruelty, and the murder of innocents, as well as explicitly demonic acts of Satanic pacts and the employment of Satanic symbols and rituals.


Fr. Martin observed that the most obvious and striking effect common to all possessed persons is the great loss in human quality, in humanness. Since we are made in the very image of God, the spirits who hate God seek to thwart His purpose by attacking and perverting our very nature. A key attribute of humanness is empathy, which precisely is lacking in serial killers and mass murderers who count as among the most evil. Indeed, forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison, in her 2004 book My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Murderers, describes the serial killers she had studied and interviewed as "completely, utterly inhuman."

Empathy is the ability to infer and experience another's emotions. As such, empathy is the very foundation of altruism and human morality: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Scientists tell us that empathy is an innate human trait and that infants less than a year old already display a primitive form of "global empathy" when they bawl upon hearing another baby cry.

A person who tortures and kills innocent human beings would have to be devoid of empathy and compassion. Indeed, Morrison identifies their emotional disconnection to their victims as the most chilling attribute of serial killers: "For them, killing is nothing, nothing at all."

The notorious Charles Manson cult family, who in August 1969 slaughtered seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, certainly lacked empathy. Susan Atkins, one of the killers, said that she looked the eight-and-a-half-months pregnant Tate straight in the eye and said, "I don't care about you. I don't care if you're going to have a baby.... You're going to die, and I don't feel anything about it." When asked how she felt about the victims, Atkins responded, "They didn't even look like people.... I didn't relate to Sharon Tate as being anything but a store mannequin.... She kept begging and pleading and pleading...and I got sick of listening to her, so I stabbed her."

A more recent example is Dennis L. Rader, a Boy Scout leader and elder of the Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. Dubbed the "BTK killer" for his penchant of binding, torturing, and killing his victims, Rader received ten consecutive life sentences in 2005 for murdering ten people between 1974 and 1991. In an interview with police after his arrest, Rader mocked his victims' pleadings as "yada yada yada." Detective Kelly Otis described Rader's casual demeanor in the interview: "It was like we were talking over a coffee, as if he were relaying a fishing story."

Scott Dyleski also lacked empathy. In 2006 the 17-year-old was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for bludgeoning to death his 52-year-old neighbor Pamela Vitale in her Lafayette, California, home. The murder was both senseless and brutal. After killing her, Dyleski carved a symbol resembling a double-crossed "T" into Vitale's back. At his sentencing, prosecutor Harold Jewett reminded the court of Dyleski's "depth of depravity," not just in murdering Vitale but in the casual remark he made to a housemate two days afterward that "these things happen." Judge Barbara Zuniga made an even more astute observation. Addressing Dyleski directly, she said:

This was a deliberate, planned murder.... As she [Vitale] lay dying at your feet, you proceeded to stab her. That was very unnecessary. It struck me from looking at the photos [of Vitale's corpse], you were emulating the serial killers you read about. And the mark [you carved into her back] shows you were proud of your work.... People have commented on the lack of affect [you displayed throughout this trial], but they were wrong. The one time when I saw an emotion was when the autopsy photos were projected on the wall. I saw you lean forward, mouth open.... You were absolutely fascinated by what you did. You do not deserve to be among decent people.

Lacking the essential human quality of empathy, the killers feel they're dead inside. On trial for conspiracy to commit murder, Charles Manson said on the stand, "I'm already dead, have been all my life." How many times have survivors of some murderous spree described the killer as an emotionless automaton? Fifteen-year-old John Jason McLaughlin, who killed two of his high-school classmates on September 24, 2003, in Cold Spring, Minnesota, was described by a classmate as having a vacant look: "It didn't seem like he was there." A more recent example is Seung-hui Cho, who on April 16, 2007, perpetrated the worst shooting massacre in modern U.S. history, killing 32 students and professors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Survivor Derek O'Dell recalled that Cho's demeanor was unfeeling, "like a stone."


Psychological professionals have identified lack of empathy as among the defining attributes of sociopaths or psychopaths. What the professionals do not address and cannot explain are certain curious statements made by sociopathic killers about themselves. Taken at face value, their words strongly suggest a supernatural dimension to their pathology.

As an example, Peter William Sutcliffe, an English serial killer dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper, was convicted in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison for murdering 13 women. Sutcliffe told Morrison that he had "company" during his work as a gravedigger and that he was "haunted" by voices he believed to be God's. As the months went by, however, the voice that initially had been comforting now urged Sutcliffe to go on a mission "to get rid of" prostitutes. He eventually went from killing prostitutes to any female he desired to attack or kill.

In a letter to Houston television station KTRK, "Railway Killer" Angel Maturino Reséndiz, who was executed in 2006 for murdering at least 15 people, wrote of a "scary creature" inside him: "I've been fighting this creature all of my life and now I know it is me, so I fear, yes I fear and shake." When one of their victims asked the Manson killers who they were and what they were doing there, one of them replied, "I am the Devil and I'm here to do the Devil's business." Dennis Rader allowed that, although he knew his victims were human beings, he did not care because "I'm a monster." He also said, "I know it is a dark side that controls me. I personally think...that it's demons within me, at some point when I was young that controlled me."

Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels admitted he did not really know Adolf Hitler, although he worked with and saw the Führer almost every day. Goebbels told his aide-de-camp, Prince Schaumburg-Lippe, that there were times when Hitler gave him "the chills." After 1934 Hitler's insomnia became worse and his minimal sleep was frequently interrupted by crying spells. Hermann Rauschning, a Nazi leader who later fled to the U.S., claimed that Hitler was controlled by "malefic influences of which he was no longer the master." In his 1939 book Hitler Told Me, Rauschning related that Hitler regularly had night terrors, during one of which,

Hitler was standing there in his bedroom, stumbling about, looking around him with a distraught look. He was muttering: "It's him! It's him! He's here!" His lips had turned blue. He was dripping with sweat. Suddenly, he uttered some numbers which made no sense, then some words, then bits of sentences. It was frightening. He used terms which were strung together in the strangest way and which were absolutely weird. Then, he again became silent, although his lips continued to move. He was given a massage and something to drink. Then, all of a sudden, he screamed: "There! Over there! In the corner! Who is it?" He was jumping up and down, and he was howling. They reassured him that everything was all right, and he gradually calmed down.

Then there is Joseph Edward Duncan III, a convicted high-risk sex offender who began his criminal career at age 17 in 1980. On April 24, 2005, Duncan wrote in his online journal that there was a battle "of epic proportions" between him and "demons," and that the demons had him "tied to a spit and the fire has already been lit." He darkly warned that "a lot of people will be badly hurt" if the demons won, but that he no longer knew if the right choice was even an option any more. On May 11, 2005, Duncan ominously wrote in his blog that the demons were "loose" and the "bogeyman was alive." Four days later, he bound and bludgeoned to death Brenda Groene, her 13-year-old son, and her fiancé in their home near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Duncan then kidnapped Brenda's remaining children, nine-year-old Dylan and eight-year-old Shasta, torturing and eventually killing Dylan with a shotgun.

In 2006 Duncan was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for the Idaho murders. In 2008 a federal jury found him guilty of the kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture, and murder of Dylan Groene, for which he received three death sentences. The jury reached a decision after enduring nearly three weeks of gruesome testimony that included a videotape of the torture and murder in which Duncan screams, "The devil is here, boy, the devil himself.... The devil likes to watch children suffer and cry!" Duncan periodically breaks into shouting, and at one point sings the Lord's Prayer in a high voice.

Satanic Signs

Richard Macek told Morrison that as a child he had horrible dreams of being attacked by a pink eraser. Under hypnosis, he recalled starting a fire in the apartment of one of his victims, to cover his tracks. As he recounted the incident, dime-sized red blisters appeared on his fingers -- a phenomenon Morrison called "an almost supernatural event...completely out of the realm of what I had learned or had ever experienced."

It was Hitler's deeds that convinced many he was possessed. As one author asked, "By what sorcery could a man, starting with nothing, in the space of a mere ten years totally vanquish seemingly insurmountable obstacles blocking his ascent to power, and how could such a man capture the confidence of millions of people: the unemployed, the workers, the middle class, the intellectuals?" Another writer noted the rise in 1920s Germany of occultism and the practice of the black arts by myriad secret societies, most notably the Thule Society. More recently, in an interview with Vatican Radio, Fr. Amorth said, "I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler...did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil. You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders." In fact, recently released Vatican documents revealed that wartime pontiff Pope Pius XII had attempted a long-distance exorcism of Hitler. But the effort failed because, as Fr. Amorth explained, the possessed person must be consenting and willing and in the presence of the exorcist for the demon-banishing to succeed.

Then there are deeds that are explicitly Satanic.

The most notorious Satanist in the 1980s was Richard Ramirez, whom newspapers dubbed the "Night Stalker." In 1989 Ramirez was convicted and sentenced to death for 13 murders committed over the course of a year in Los Angeles. An acolyte of the Church of Satan and a fan of heavy metal bands such as AC/DC that sang about Hell and the Devil, Ramirez would enter homes surreptitiously in the night. When he was arrested, Ramirez reportedly said he was a minion of Satan sent to commit the Dark One's dirty work. At his trial he flashed a pentagram tattooed onto the palm of his hand and shouted, "Hail Satan!" in open court. He said he did not fear death because he believed in his heart he would go to Hell, where he would sit at the Devil's right hand.

Susan Atkins told her prison psychiatrist that before she met Charles Manson in San Francisco in the late 1960s, she had entered into her "Satanic period" and became involved with Anton LaVey, founder and high priest of the Church of Satan. Another Manson family killer, Patricia Krenwinkel, would doodle during the Tate/LaBianca murder trial. Her two favorite subjects, according to bailiff Bill Murray, were devils' heads and the Mendes goat, both Satanist symbols.

The Satanic also held a morbid fascination for Scott Dyleski. Described by many as intelligent and artistic, he was a former Boy Scout, a vegan, and an animal-rights advocate. But there was a dark side to the teenager. By the time he was 16 years old, he had already consumed a veritable cornucopia of illicit drugs -- heroin, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and absinthe, a liquor-like spirit made from the herb wormwood which contains a neurotoxin. Dyleski was also a fan of the nihilistic Goth-industrial rock group, Velvet Acid Christ, whose song titles include "Dead Flesh," "Decay," "Fun With Drugs," "Fun With Knives," "Hell Two," "There Is No God," "Hopeless," "Misery," "Murder the World," "Serial Killer 101," and "Satan Complex #42."

For about a year beginning when he was 13, Dyleski dyed his hair black and wore dark makeup (black eyeliner, lipstick, and nail polish) and black clothing, shoes, and socks. Even his underwear was black. Dyleski's interior life matched his morbid outward appearance, as evidenced in his drawings and poetry. One poem ends with the following: "You raised me to hate, and hate I will / Because now I, live for the kill / For the kill, for the kill, for the kill." In its entirety, another poem reads: "Freak god, lifeless / meaningless and pointless / mysterious emptiness." Dyleski also wrote two odes to the fallen angel, titled "Genesis of the Angel" and "Serpentine," in which he calls Satan "sweetest flower" and "sweetest angel." If these poems can be outdone, it would be by Dyleski's macabre drawings, some of which are of knives, razors, and autopsied human body parts. Several drawings portray a Dyleski-look-alike boy holding knives dripping with blood. One drawing is particularly striking and disturbing: It depicts a devilish seated figure with a goat's head and human body, whose right arm clasps a small grinning boy holding a severed human head.


With the exception of those such as Seung-hui Cho who killed themselves rather than be captured by the authorities, all the murderers discussed here had been examined by psychiatrists and judged to be mentally sane and competent to stand trial for their crimes. They were not dissociated from reality and knew precisely what they were doing, but still chose to torture and kill because they are without conscience and empathy.

Psychologists describe these sane killers as psychopaths or sociopaths, or as having anti-social personality disorder, the current favored term. By whatever label, these individuals are notable for their lack of empathy, lack of affect (or hollowness), narcissism that borders on grandiosity, and remorselessness. Psychologists also would have us believe that the "demon," "monster," or "bogeyman" referred to by killers like Duncan and Rader is really the individual's superego. Freud had called the superego a special psychical agency that constantly watches the ego and measures it by that ideal. Recognition of the superego, Freud advised, enables us to understand "the so-called delusions" of being watched, which are symptomatic of the paranoid diseases: "Patients of this sort complain that all their thoughts are known and their actions watched and supervised; they are informed of the functioning of this agency by voices which characteristically speak to them in the third person." Freud further maintained that this "power" that watches and criticizes exists "in every one of us in normal life" and is none other than the superego -- the "censoring agency" experienced in those who revolt against it "as a hostile influence from without."

In calling serial killers psychopaths, what psychologists have done is to describe the most evil among us and give them a diagnostic label. Simply naming something, however, does not explain the phenomenon, and the problem is that psychology cannot tell us the etiology of psychopathy -- whether it is genetic, biological, chemical, or developmental. Likewise, calling "demonic possession" the workings of the "superego" is nothing more than substituting one term for another, albeit for a word that is more acceptable to our secular culture. As Fr. Martin observed, "technical names and jargons...are nothing more than descriptive terms," and descriptive terms are simply tags for phenomena; they do not explain.

Secularists eschew "possession" in favor of "superego" because they reject a priori the existence of pure spirits, of fallen angels, although the same skeptics readily countenance the reality of other non-observable phenomena. But the Church believes that there is an invisible power, a spirit of evil, and that this spirit can take possession of a human being. The simple truth is that psychologists can no more confirm the existence of superego than we can of demons. Perfect possession therefore is at least as good a label as psychopathy; it is also more useful and illuminating.

The concept of perfect possession reminds us that human beings are free agents, created with free will. Although we may have certain predispositions, whether by nature or nurture, we still exercise autonomy of will within those parameters. The person who becomes a serial killer is not overcome by infectious pathogens but has chosen to do evil. As Jeffrey Burton Russell, a professor of religious studies, put it, "Each of us has within us a ‘still, small point' of freedom of will where we can stand and decide for good or for evil. We are not entirely determined by our genes and our milieu." The concept of perfect possession also reminds us that those who make a Satanic compact for whatever self-interested gains will eventually be betrayed because the Devil is no fool. His agenda is not our agenda; he hates humanity and is the father of all lies. Above all, the notion of perfect possession provides a much-needed warning to our postmodern culture, which is saturated in moral relativism and malogens, that the consequence of habitual sinning is deadly.

Before he was executed on January 24, 1989, infamous serial killer Ted Bundy granted his only interview to psychologist James Dobson, founder and president of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family. Bundy had confessed to thirty murders, although the actual total number of his victims remains unknown and may exceed one hundred. In the interview, Bundy related how, despite having been brought up with regular church attendance in "a wonderful home" by "dedicated and loving parents," his obsession with pornography, especially violent pornography, which began in his teen years, eventually led him to murder. In his words, although he had "very strong inhibitions" against criminal and violent behavior, simple porn was no longer enough, which led him to seek "more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material." He called the grip that pornography had over him as "almost a separate entity inside" and as "being possessed by something so awful and alien." Alcohol further reduced his inhibitions. Eventually there came a point where he "couldn't control it anymore." He began to crave "something which is harder" that could give him a greater sense of excitement which pornography could no longer deliver -- "that jumping off point" of actually "doing it" instead of just reading about and looking at it. And so he killed his first victim. After each killing, however, satiation was only temporary. And so he killed again.

In other words, Bundy was describing the enslaving effect of repeated sinning. Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm observed that if a human being does evil, he becomes more evil. Abiding in evil, the heart will harden "to a point where no more change or repentance is possible." Oscar Wilde, in his astute portrait of evil, The Picture of Dorian Gray, likewise warned that when a nature is dominated by "the passion for sin," the individual eventually loses freedom of will and moves to his "terrible end as automatons move." The more we sin, the less our autonomy of will, until a point is reached when perfect possession takes over. As theologian Thomas R. Kopfensteiner explains:

This kind of moral tragedy occurs over time.... Our orientation toward the good can become dulled through repeated offences and omissions.... As we make individual decisions the contours of our moral identities take the point that there emerges a profound consistency and transparency between our identity and our actions, between who we are and what we do.... It becomes progressively more difficult and increasingly less probable that we will regain our moral equilibrium. We are beset by a progressive moral decline.... We truly experience the death of our souls.

In his last statement before he was executed by lethal injection, "Railway Killer" Reséndiz said, "I know I allowed the Devil to rule my life. I just ask you to forgive me and ask the Lord to forgive me for allowing the Devil to deceive me." Bundy, too, at the end of his interview with Dr. Dobson confirmed that he had sought Christ's forgiveness and had become a convert. He expressed sorrow for the pain and grief he caused the parents of the children and young women he had harmed. He did not expect their forgiveness because that kind of forgiveness is only "of God."

Admittedly, there are skeptics who maintain that Bundy's conversion was just a last-ditch effort at obtaining clemency. They point out that if his conversion experience were genuine, he would have confessed to all his killings, as well as revealed the location of more bodies. We will never know.

At the same time, however, we are reminded that we are not our own, "for you have been purchased at a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). We cannot simply dismiss the possibility that, given the infinite mercy and grace of God, even the perfectly possessed can repent and find redemption. As the Church teaches, the only unforgivable sin is the stubborn refusal to be penitent, presuming that a creature's sin can actually exceed the Creator's infinite capacity to forgive.