Several weeks ago, I received two separate letters from the local marketing representatives of two well-known movie companies, inviting me to the pre-screening of forthcoming sequels to supernatural or horror films.
I thanked them for their invitation, but added that I very seldom watch supernatural or horror films because most of them are not realistic, and are made only to scare the audience out of their wits.
They do not provide insights into the nature of the spirit world, but rather, tend to distort them.
The scenes depicted in most of these films are mere products of the scriptwriters’ imagination. It is also more likely they have yet to encounter real ghosts.
The very few supernatural films I really enjoyed watching because of their very realistic portrayal of spiritual encounters were “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg in 1990, and“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” in 2005.
“Ghost” was the first supernatural film I have seen whose story is told from the point of view of the ghost, particularly what happens when a person dies. All the scenes there, given a few expected Hollywood exaggerations, are very realistic and factual.
I said to myself that whoever wrote that story must have done a lot of research on how the spirit of a person who died a sudden violent death would behave in the spirit world.
State of shock
After the main character was shot dead, his spirit was shown leaving his physical body. He was in a state of shock and still did not realize he was dead until a series of circumstances finally convinced him that he was no longer alive.
Even the portrayal of the fake medium, played by Goldberg, was very realistic. Although she was initially faking communication with dead relatives, she eventually became a real medium—something that could happen in actual life.
And the scene showing spirits of the dead relatives lining up to her to convey a message to their loved ones was very accurate.
That movie resonated very well with a large audience worldwide. I was in London when it was shown, and my British hosts invited me to see it.
But we were unable to do so because of the long line of people waiting to get inside the movie house.
My next stop was Berlin, Germany, where it was also being shown. The same thing happened.The line was so long we did not attempt to see it.
I finally saw the movie almost a month later when I came back to Manila.
“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was a movie that I was reluctant to see at first because of my aversion to unrealistic and ridiculous horror movies, until I read a review that it was based on a real case of demonic possession.
The story was about a young woman who was believed to be suffering from epilepsy but was actually possessed by an evil spirit.
A Catholic priest was called to exorcise the demon out of her. After a series of really scary attempts by the exhausted priest, who eventually became a close and trusted family friend, the clergyman suggested that the doctor-prescribed epilepsy medicine be withdrawn temporarily, as it did not help calm her seizures and was making the exorcism more difficult for him.
The prescription was halted and the exorcism continued, but Emily died a year later due to pneumonia.
The priest and even her parents were blamed for her death. The priest was held accountable and put to trial. He was eventually found guilty.
This was exactly what happened in the case of the real-life Emily, a teenaged German woman named Anneliese Michel, who was possessed by an evil spirit, and the attempt of a Catholic priest to exorcise her.
The film version did not deviate from any essential detail about what really happened to Anneliese Michel.
This makes the film a worthy contribution to our understanding of spirit possession and the process of exorcism.
I wish we could have more of such realistic and well researched supernatural stories.They are more compelling and often even scarier than fiction.
The next Basic ESP and Intuition Development Seminar is June 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Greenbelt, Makati. For details, call tel. nos. 8107245 or 0998-9886292.