Michael Strong - Part I
A Brief Handbook of Exorcism
When the search party reached the disused grain store known locally as Puh-Chi (One Window), the bombing of Nanking was at its height. The night sky was bright with incandescent flares and filled with explosions. Japanese incendiaries were wreaking havoc on Nanking’s wooden buildings. It was December 11, 1937, about 10:00 P.M. The Yangtze delta all the way down to the sea was in Japanese hands. From Shanghai on the coast to within two miles of Nanking was a devastated area on which death had settled like a permanent atmosphere. Nanking was next on the invaders’ list. And defenseless. December 13 was to be its death date.
For one week the police of a southern Nanking city precinct had been looking for Thomas Wu. The charge: murder of at least five women and two men in the most horrible circumstances: Thomas Wu, the story was, had lolled his victims and eaten their bodies. At the end of one week’s fruitless searching, Father Michael Strong, the missionary parish priest of the district, who had baptized Thomas Wu, sent word unexpectedly that he had found the wanted man in the barnlike Puh-Chi. But the police captain did not understand the message Father Michael had sent him: “I am conducting an exorcism. Please give me some time.” *
* This Is the only exorcism reported in this book for which I have no transcript and could not conduct extensive interviews. My sole source was Father Michael himself, who recounted these events to me and allowed me to read his diaries.
The main door of Puh-Chi was ajar when the police chief arrived. A small knot of men and women stood watching. They could see Father Michael standing in the middle of the floor. Over in one corner there was another figure, a young, naked man, suddenly ravished by an unnatural look of great age, a long knife in his hands. On the shelves around the inner walls of the storehouse lay rows and rows of naked corpses in various stages of mutilation and putrefaction.
“YOU!!” the naked man was screaming as the police captain elbowed his way to the door, “YOU want to know MY name!” The words “you” and “my” hit the captain like two clenched fists across the ears. He saw the priest visibly wilt and stagger backward. But, even so, it was the voice that made the captain wonder. He had known Thomas Wu. Never had he heard him speak with such a voice.
“In the name of Jesus,” Michael began weakly, “you are commanded . . .”
“Get outta here! Get the hell outta here, you filthy old eunuch!”
“You will release Thomas Wu, evil spirit, and ...”
“I’m taking him with me, pigmy,” came the voice from Thomas Wu. “I’m taking him. And no power anywhere, anywhere, you hear, can stop us. We are as strong as death. No one stronger! And he wants to come! You hear? He wants to!”
“Tell me your name ...”