A picture hanging on one wall fell to the floor with a resounding crash. Another frame dropped heavily, breaking the glass. The couch at the far end of the room began to move. A clump, clump, clump, could be heard as it bounced straight up and down on the floor. Then it became still.
Three large cushions rose and drifted back and forth in the air as if being jostled by a light breeze. They, too, then floated down to the carpet and became inanimate.
Karen sat quietly in her chair, still totally unresponsive. Suddenly, she looked up at Rogers. Her crossed eyes dilated. The demon spoke. “So you think you’ve got power, huh? Well, what did you think of all that? You haven’t seen anything yet, buster! Now watch this!”
Karen’s skin took on a pinkish hue. It finally turned fiery red, and blisters rose all over her arms, legs, and face. They varied in size from that of a pinhead, to that of a quarter.
Father Tyson had brought with him a small vial of Holy Water. He moved in closer and sprinkled some of it on Karen’s forehead. An almost suffocating blast of heat radiated from the spot where the forlorn little girl sat. Yet the child showed no signs of perspiring.
Everyone else in the sweltering room was soon soaking wet. We all had rivulets of moisture pouring freely down our faces and bodies. The Holy Water: burst into tiny puffs of steam, apparently before it ever touched Karen. It sizzled and disappeared in thin air.
Dr. Julian Pershing stepped in and stuck the heat-activated probe of his battery-operated Ivac thermometer in Karen’s mouth. It was one of those relatively new electronic thermometers with which accurate temperature readings can be obtained in fifteen seconds. He then felt her forehead, arms, and legs. Pershing mumbled as he checked the digital readout: “This thing must not be working properly.
It’s registering only 94.5. That’s well below the norm!” Again the Ivac thermometer probe was inserted in Karen’s mouth. The reading remained steadily at 94.5.
Dr. Pershing later confided: “Normal temperature is usually about 98.6. this girl was registering 94.5. She should have been thoroughly chilled and shivering at this point. Anything below 97.6 is considered to be a low temperature.
But my God, she was bright red, and felt feverish. I’d estimate that we should have obtained a reading of at least 107 by the way she looked and felt. But a temperature that high, sustained for thirty minutes, would have killed her, or at least would result in serious brain damage.” Dr. Pershing later attempted more temperature checks at various intervals during each subsequent exorcism, for the three-day period. Karen’s temperature never varied as much as one degree.
Now Linus began to talk to Rogers, Sister Ruth, and Reverend Sutter, the Baptist. He asked: “Well, all of you holier than thou, so-called Christians, how about it? What do you think of this? Can your God fight and defeat one so powerful as my master?” Cruel laughter filled the room.
At this point, Dr. Pershing took out his sphygmomanometer. He had decided to try and take Karen’s blood pressure since she was momentarily quiet, and the entire operation would take only thirty seconds. With assistance from the nurses, Pershing got the cuff tightly wrapped around Karen’s upper arm.
He squeezed the rubber bulb a few times to pump up the cuff, and then took a reading. It was 80/65. Pershing stepped back, scratched his head, and again mumbled under his breath. Again he pumped the bulb. Another reading was taken. It was 80/65. Pershing performed the entire operation a third time, and then a fourth. Karen’s blood pressure remained the same.
Normal blood pressure for a girl Karen’s size and age, according to Dr. Pershing, should be approximately 100/66. But Karen’s appearance was certainly not indicative of a normal state. He said: “By all medical standards, Karen’s blood pressure should have registered a minimum of 200/100, a reading which I found to occur rather frequently in overweight patients. In his estimation, Karen’s blood pressure could have been as high as 300/180, which would accompany what appeared to be a highly excited condition.
A blood pressure this high “would be indicative of a stroke, or rather precipitate a stroke.” Yet, mysteriously enough, the result was repeatedly 80/65, a reading well below what Pershing considered to be the norm. Dr. Pershing later attempted more blood pressure checks at various intervals during each subsequent exorcism, for the three-day period. Karen’s blood pressure never changed.