The unique and exciting exorcism of thirteen-year-old Karen Kingston was a tightly organized, well planned, scientific experiment. It took place in a state home for retarded children. Ten people were present at all times throughout the three-day period. Eleven started the ordeal, but one, a nurse injured during the proceedings, dropped by the wayside after the first day of terror.
Reverend Richard Rogers, a penetrating, youthful and vigorous, twenty-eight year old Holiness minister, undertook the actual exorcism. This slender mountain man of God believes his calling in the ministry is solely for the unpleasant task of casting out devils.
Reverend Rogers was assisted by his lovely, ever-smiling wife, Sister Ruth. Both of these devout Christians fasted for one full week before attempting to move against Satan, or to perform the necessary exorcism. (This act, in the minds of many Christians, intensifies the exorcist’s spiritual strength. It is based on St. Matthew 17: 15-22; and St. Mark 3: 17-29.)
The exorcism was observed by, and sometimes assisted by, slightly balding Father John O. Tyson. John is thirty-eight, rather portly, and has been in the Catholic priesthood for over ten years. He had no previous experience in dealing with demonic spirits.
Also on hand both as an observer and to assist, if needed, was beetle-browed, two hundred and ninety-eight pound, Reverend Donald J. Sutter. He is a local area Southern Baptist evangelist and healer of some note.
The exorcism was observed by, under the guidance of, and supervised by Dr. W. Manley Fromme, a clinical psychologist on the institution’s staff; Dr. Clarence T. Emery, psychiatrist; Dr. Julian A. Pershing, a highly reputable East Tennessee general practitioner; and three able nurse therapy assistants, Peggy Welch, Carol Petersen, and Joyce Donaldson.
I was there as an interested spectator and professional handwriting analyst. I initially organized the confrontation by bringing together Reverend Rogers, Father Tyson, and Evangelist Sutter, all close personal friends of mine. The initial approach was made through an aunt, Ellen Simpson. This charming gray-haired lady is a ward supervisor at the retarded children’s home, and she is on Dr. Fromme’s personal staff.
DISCERNING THE POSSESSED CHILD
To begin the unique exorcism experiment, Dr. Manley Fromme, the staff psychologist, selected a group of ten retarded children, twelve to fourteen years old. Each child was not properly responding to conventional treatment. Some of the children, and this is most important, some of the children had absolutely no known physiological reason for their retardation. Others in the group did.
Dr. Fromme did not differentiate between the children with physiological or psychological retardation. The reason: Reverend Richard Rogers, the Holiness preacher, claimed to be blessed with the Scriptural “gift of discernment.” This is one of the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:1-10.
In other words, Reverend Richard Rogers claimed that, by his faith in God, he could discern or distinguish which child or children were actually possessed of Satanic spirits, or demons. It was left entirely in his hands at this point. Had Rogers not been accurate, had he mistakenly chosen a physiologically retarded child, Dr. Fromme would have immediately stopped the experiment.
Reverend Richard Rogers had conscientiously fasted for seven full days before beginning the exorcism. He started the exorcism with quiet prayer and slowly placed both hands on each child’s head, one after the other. Richard then stepped back away from the group of children and closed his eyes. .Over and over the whispered name of Karen Kingston could be heard emitting from his barely moving lips. The words were hardly audible.
Dr. Fromme and the others on his staff froze. They were obviously shocked. Rogers had not been given any of the children’s names.
Yet, this man was clearly whispering the name of one of the children, who, according to Fromme, “showed no evident or demonstrable organic brain disease.”
The preacher then opened his eyes. He piercingly scanned the small group. His right arm extended and his hand slowly rose to chest level. Rogers’ index finger pointed directly at one of the little girls in the group. She was thirteen years old–and her name was Karen Kingston.