Ouija boards are NOT toys

Here is a serious note.

Sancte Pater has this:

ouija boardsOuija board a controversial toy for tots

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 6:24 PM
Toys R Us is selling Ouija boards, promoting them as acceptable for children as young as eight years old.

The pink edition of the Ouija board is listed for girls eight-years-old and up while the regular version is designated for all children eight and up. Stephen Phelan, communications manager of Human Life International, checked the website and reports that the findings are disturbing.

"It is just troubling that these things are treated as casually as any other game, like Monopoly or anything else on this Toys R Us site — and I think it’s something Christians should be aware of and really not support," he states.

He further believes that Christians have an obligation to fight against it. "If you go to the comments section on the Toys R Us [web]site, you’ll read comments from people who talk about being obsessed with it, talk about missing school for it, talk about the spirits they spoke to on the other side and how creepy it was," Phelan describes.

The communications manager adds that the primary groups that deny the evils of the Ouija board are the ones who deny the spirit world entirely. He goes on to say Christians have a biblical mandate.

"We’re supposed to deal with the truth only," he notes. "We’re supposed to have nothing to do with dark spirits. We’re not supposed to dabble in anything that would compromise our souls, and that’s exactly what this does."

The manufacturer of the product is Hasbro.


These are horrible things and they must be avoided.

The use of these things can open people up to all sorts of demonic oppression and worse.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Choirmaster says:

    Not just oppression, but posession, obsession, and infestation as well; and not to the exclusion of the ordinary actions of the demonic (temptation, etc.) in our lives.

    It is important to remember that, just as our disposition will change the affects of our reception of the Blessed Sacrament, so our disposition will influence the affect of “black” sacramentals; even modern innovations like the Ouiga board-game.

    Friends, this stuff is not condemned because it is fake, but because the dangers are real and will leave lasting marks on the soul of the practitioner and down through their progeny.

    Arm yourselves with the ancient and proven sacraments and sacramentals of the Church (and so steel your soul with holiness). They are our first, last, and best defense against the ordinary and extraordinary demonic activity.

  2. JonM says:

    I remembered a few months after converting that I had used a Ouija board at least a couple of times. When I remembered I went straight to confession.

    Since I was little, I would have night terrors in which I could not move and would hear noises or just a continuous noise. I know most would attribute this to nightime paralysis; whatever the root of the issue, this has rarely occurred (i.e. once, maybe twice) since I brought this up in Confession.

    I can’t say the two are definitively connected but it’s good to err on the side of caution.

    Question for Father and anyone who knows: My parents still have a Ouija board in their attic. I am visiting for a weekend and want to destroy it. In all seriousness, is there a prefered procedure (bring it to the parish priest, burn it, etc.?)

  3. “My parents still have a Ouija board in their attic.”

    If they’re anywhere close to my age, or a little older, ouija boards were advertised on television in the 1960s as a harmless form of board game, for both children and adults. Then again, people saw it as just that and nothing more. In the last thirty years or so, as more significance is attached to such forms of divination, it becomes another matter.

  4. Father S. says:

    Thank you for posting this, Father. I deal with this all the time. I am in a regular parish and find myself blessing homes about once every two weeks. When Ouija boards are present, they cause all kinds of problems, from simple issues to families self-destructing.

    I wonder if other priests have seen an increase in these kinds of things lately. Since I work with Hispanics, this is always present. Go into any Hispanic grocery store and you will find the shelf of satanic objects. But, more and more, I find these things spilling over into homes that are not Hispanic.

    RE: JonM

    The procedure for destroying an accursed object found in a home is as follows:
    1. Call a priest who believes in the power of evil.
    2. Describe to him if anything strange has gone on.
    3. Ask him to bless the object.
    4. Burn the object completely.
    5. Bury the ashes.
    6. Ask the priest to bless the house.
    7. Everyone in the house should be encouraged to go to Confession and receive Most Holy Communion (in that order).

  5. lacrossecath says:

    I’ve heard several second hand stories of very BAD events happening due to Ouiji boards.

    Also most exorcists interviews/books I’ve read also comment that Ouiji boards/seances are a primary point of entry of true possession cases.

  6. chironomo says:

    At the previous parish I served in, the Pastor and I were having lunch one day when the front doorbell rang. It was two young boys, perhaps 6th or 7th grade. They had skipped school…again. They carried a ouija board with them and were on the verge of what seemed to be panic. They had been “playing” for nearly three days straight and couldn’t stop. They were very frightened. The unusual thing was that neither of them was Catholic or ever went to Church. They said that they didn’t know where else to go.

    To make a long story short, the Pastor spoke with them for quite a while and talked with them about what was happening. I don’t recall what prayer or blessing he used, but afterwards, he took the board, put it in the fireplace and doused it with lamp oil and burned it. The two boys seemed very relieved. The pastor told them to never go near these things again. I think they got the message.

    These are definitely NOT toys.

  7. Choirmaster says:

    Father S. said:

    Call a priest who believes in the power of evil.

    I this age, when, I believe, less than 50 dioceses in the North America have appointed an exorcist, it is difficult to find a priest willing to acknowledge–much less confront–the demonic potential of an accursed object.

    Father S. also said:

    Go into any Hispanic grocery store and you will find the shelf of satanic objects.

    I would like to expand upon that and say that there are many cultures within western civilization in which occult practices have deep roots (Italy, for example), and I am seeing similar practices going mainstream across the United States.

    This will most likely be something the Church in the U.S.A. will have to confront in this modern age, and I hope that she is properly preparing her priests.

  8. cheekypinkgirl says:

    I reported on this pink ouija board on my blog well over a year ago, miffed that “pink, girly” marketing was being applied to something so satanic.

    I often played with a ouija board when I was a teenager. Most of it seemed to be harmless fun (and yes, I believe most of it was some kind of strange mind power/control) on the part of those playing it. But there were certain times where it scared the crap ouf of me and it seemed that something other-worldly had taken over.

    As an adult, when I came back to the Church, I confessed. Since it all happened 25ish years ago, I assume that’s all I’ve needed to do. I can’t imagine that playing it so long ago might reach forward to today. Or am I wrong?

  9. Mike Morrow says:

    How are abominations like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings nonsense less corrosive and mentally destructive?

  10. Very, very dangerous things.

    Allen’s book “Possessed” (about the actual case on which the Movie EXORCIST was very loosely based) notes that “Robbie” played Ouija boards early in his dabbling with the occult.

  11. rogue63 says:

    @Mike Morrow:

    The Lord of the Rings is NOT a demonic or satanic influence at all; nothing could have been further from the mind of the very Catholic JRR Tolkien. Tolkien was interested in creating a beautiful myth for what he saw as the mythical/poetic/literary impoverishment of his own native language. Frankly, I cannot think of a more Catholic work of fiction. LOTR creates a place of beauty in the heart, and anyone who loves beauty is ultimately drawn to Almighty God; the choice is his own, of course, but nothing at all about Tolkien’s fiction is “corrosive” or “destructive”. The very mention of magic in the novels is frightening and dangerous, used only by the Enemy. Exactly what are your objections to LOTR? Lumping Tolkien in with Ouija boards makes as much sense as saying that all dogs who bark are seditious traitors—-yes, nonsensical.

  12. ipadre says:

    The exorcism for which the movie the Exorcist was based was related to the Ouija Board. The possessed was actually a boy and not a girl as depicted in the movie. Not sure where I read it, but he supposedly was using the Ouija Board and that is how the devil entered in.

  13. I am very worried about the normalization of the occult in our society. When ouija boards and tarot cards can be picked up at Toys R Us or most any bookstore–always marketed as toys or good harmless fun–it’s no wonder our society is in such shambles, is de-sensitized to evil, and confuses good and evil.

    I got pulled into the occult in my teens, and was enslaved for 12 years. The only thing that ultimately freed me was submitting myself to God and returning to the Church and her Sacraments. I am still amazed by how dramatically my life changed when those dark shackles were broken.

    The power of evil cannot be under-estimated… but the power of God and His Church are mightier still!

    All this said, cheekypinkgirl you should be safe since you have confessed. Just keep close to our Lord and be vigilant against the enemy.

  14. Choirmaster says:

    rogue63 said:

    The very mention of magic in the novels is frightening and dangerous, used only by the Enemy.

    That is a good point (if your point about Tolkien being a devout Catholic, and that this Catholicism was a major influence in his imaginative literature wasn’t enough!).

    Also remember that much of the “good” magic portrayed in Tolkien is not meant to be a supernatural magic but a natural one, something more like technology.

    Also remember that the magic practiced by the Elves was drawn from the power of the elven rings; rings that were originally devices of “demonic” origin and power. That was the “sin” of the Elves, and one source of their deep sorrow. They wished to preserve (or “embalm”, as Tolkien describes it) that which cannot persist (the joy of the youth of the world), and succumbed to the temptation of Sauron who provided them with unnatural means to do so. Not being men, i.e. stronger in natural spirituality and righteousness, they fought the corrupting influence of that magic and pretended for a very long time that their realms were naturally joyful and sublime by hiding them and their power from Sauron. Nevertheless, in the end, they knew that they must either destroy the One Ring, and thus loose their fanciful realms, or be destroyed when Sauron regained his control over them.

    No, the Lord of the Rings does not promote satanism or occult practices, but is a strong warning against them.

  15. rogue63 says:

    Quite right on all points, choirmaster. Some of the objections I have heard to Tolkien’s work have more to do with the strange appearance/unusual names aspect of his work, and of course, as a philologist, Tolkien was fascinated by strange names and unusual sounds! The related point to occultism is that nearly everyone has an imagination of some kind, and children/teenagers especially. The “occult world” may seem to promise something strange, exotic, fascinating and beautiful, but of course it’s all lies of the Enemy. I would liken the use of and strong warnings against a Ouija board to the strong proscriptions Gandalf gives against the use of the Rings of Power: they are, after all,things with their own mind and will, and not to be trifled with by the weak-minded. The examples of corrupted Saruman (greatest of the Istari) and corrupted Denethor (the mighty Regent of Gondor)—-corrupted by the use of palantiri, and both of whom met tragic, violent ends, unbefitting their stature—–should serve as a warning to all who are tempted by occult practices.

  16. Choirmaster says:

    @rogue63: I completely forgot about Gandalf’s warning; it summarizes everything nicely.

    Please don’t be offended if I give you a slight correction on Denethor’s use of the Palantir: The Palantir was a holy artifact and heirloom of the Kings out of the West. It was not an accursed object, and may be likened more to technological achievement than to sorcery; like a cellular phone or Flash Player.

    Denethor was corrupted by Sauron directly because Sauron had appropriated a Palantir for himself, and used it to communicate with Denethor.

  17. pfreddys says:

    PARENTS: You HAVE to talk to your kids about this!!! I’m so glad I talked to my daughter about awhile back. I figured this would be the kind of thing that would be done at girly sleepovers so I very dramaticly explained to her the dangers of the Ouija board. Sure enough, a few months later at a sleepover the girl had one these. When my daughter told them she would not participate, they decided to do something else.

  18. Roland de Chanson says:

    Re the Ouija board in the attic: I was cleaning out the attic in my parents’ house back in the mid eighties and came upon a box containing a Ouija board. As a child, I had absorbed all the devilish lore connected with these things though I had never actually seen one.

    So it was with some trepidation that I lifted the cursed object from its cardboard coffin. It seemed to exude a sulphureous stench and a lambent glow emanated from it there in the dimly lit garret. A icy shiver of palpable terror paralyzed me for several minutes until my sense of rationality brought me back to reality. I resolved to test this oaken oracle and began by asking it simple questions.

    Are you the devil? N-O, it spelled out. Well, that was a relief.

    Do you know the devil? Y-E-S. The sense of terror crept back.

    Do you have a name? Y-E-S. It always helps to find out a person’s name, both in the natural and supernatural realms. Just ask Moses.

    Can you tell me your name? Y-E-S. Sociable little ghost, this. The pungent sulphureous reek intensified and a diaphanous vapor rose up from the board.

    OK, what is it? Nothing. At least, at first. Then slowly the triangle began to move, seemingly aimlessly then with determination. One by one the letters were selected. B-U-A-N. What? That’s not a name. I asked for the name again. B-U-A-N. I could make no sense of it. I tried yet a third time. B-U-A-N. The stench suddenly became asphyxiating and I was aware of the sound of crackling flames and gnashing teeth. I knew I was in the presence of something malevolent and unholy and I fled from the attic in horror.

    The next day I summoned my courage and ventured back into the devil’s aerie. I found the Ouija board completely charred and the floor partially scorched. Though it was a hot and humid day, the attic had a glacial almost unearthly chill. I buried the board in the back yard and put it out of my mind.

    Several years later, after the death of my mother, I was walking in the old neighborhood and struck up a conversation with the new owner of the house. He had been mowing and raking and mentioned in passing that in one corner no grass would grow and flowers that his wife had planted immediately withered and died. Where? I asked. As he pointed to the spot I realized with horror that it was there that I had buried the hellish tablet.

    I never learned the meaning of the demon’s name: BUAN. But I do believe that there is such a malignant spirit who wanders the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  19. Choirmaster says:

    @pfreddys: I’m so glad that worked out for you. I tend to shy away from this topic because I know that my own interests are piqued by it, and I would hate to scandalize some impressionable young person by seeming “a little too familiar” with such a fantastic subject!

  20. thefeds says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everyone’s great concern about the Ouija Boards, I wonder how many caught sight of the story that recently ran on the Fox News Website talking about our nation’s Air Force Academy setting aside outdoor space (a double cirle of stones on a hilltop) for pagan and wiccan worship? We have been bludgeoned into believing that we shouldn’t have God in our schools, but we now must accomodate witches and pagans at our country’s Military Acadamies? During the last administration, the military acadamies were being ridiculed as bastions of Conservative Christianity.

    Here’s the link at Fox News:


  21. From a completely naturalistic standpoint, it’s a bad idea to sit down with a tool for stirring up your subconscious mind and your pattern recognition, for absolutely no good reason. All that kind of “automatic writing” and so forth is similarly not a good plan. It’s basically trying to reach an altered state without drugs. The same goes with more than one person, except that it adds whatever weird unspoken interactions are between you.

    As soon as pattern recognition picks up on anything, you will tend to move in on it. If it makes you emotional, your hand will move around even more.

    But as soon as you add in this sort of occult junk — divination, spirit communication, etc. — you really are asking for all sorts of things to drop in, _and_ mess around with your subconscious mind. Wow, that sounds like a super-great plan!

    The thing is, even harmless stuff can turn into this kind of weird stuff. If our culture was constantly doing divination with bottlecaps, we’d have people having soulsucking experiences with bottlecaps. Tarot cards started as ordinary playing cards in Europe — with an elevating theme to the game, even.

    From the manufacturer’s point of view, I’m sure they just think they’re following the hot trend of pre-teens wanting to do teenage things. But even they know they’ve got no business pushing little girls to follow that urge. If people don’t buy them, they won’t make them; and I’d say from the new packaging, they’re afraid ouija boards aren’t cool.

  22. Christina says:

    My son is only 9 months old and already I’m so concerned (sometimes afraid or anxious) for his future spirituality. I absolutely shudder to think of the children whose parents might buy this. I know that little children can’t become possessed, but the idea of children growing up in such an environment is so sad and scary. Such a dangerous object, and the pink only makes it worse!

  23. Re: Air Force Academy

    Yes, all the branches of the military have significant numbers of neo-pagan members. They serve honorably, and they tend to be smart folks. A lot of them are ex-Catholics, which means it’s a failure of Catholic formation; and a lot of them are ex-evangelicals, ex-Jews, etc. Equal parts pride, bad answers from their teachers, DIY religion, and a longing for divine mystery and beauty. These are the people who’ve fallen through the cracks.

    No, you can’t deprive people in the military of someplace to carry out their religious rites, as long as said rites are legal. If you’re going to send people to fight and die, you have to let them pray. And if they hadn’t given these folks a space outside, they’d have had every right to do their stuff in the Academy Chapel. So. What would you rather have?

  24. The Ouija board is the basis for the possession of the boy in the real exorcist story (the movie version is called “Possessed” and stars Timothy Dalton as the priest – wonderful movie, but not to be watched after dark). The daughter of our dearest friend was supposed to attend a sleepover where the board would be played- we begged her not to allow her to attend (she has various developmental disabilities but has received the sacraments through confirmation) Tnakfully she did not go due to a migraine, but it was touch and go for a couple of days.

  25. thefeds says:

    you ask me what I would prefer, I would prefer that they weren’t around or admitted. Is that really so hard to understand?

  26. o.h. says:

    Serious question: What do people think about old children’s divination/charm games such as blowing on a dandelion to predict weather or number of children, counting cherry stones, Halloween games, etc.? This has just come up as my daughter came home from grandma’s house last week telling me about the “weather fairies” called up by blowing on a dandelion, learned from grandma. Is this on a continuum with Groundhog Day, or with Ouija boards? I tend to the Groundhog Day (i.e. innocuous) side, but I’d like to hear what others think.

  27. Girgadis says:

    This stuff is not to be taken lightly. Incidentally, some of you have mentioned the case upon which the movie “The Exorcist” was based. After reading several accounts of the real story, I learned that what is believed to have finally broken the possession was a blessed statue of St. Michael that was placed in the boy’s room. St. Michael and all the archangels enjoy a prominent place in our home.

  28. smallone says:

    I didn’t realize these were still around. They must still be fixtures at slumber parties. Nothing disturbing happened when we fooled around with them – never at my house, though, as my (staunchly Protestant) mother refused to let me get one. I am grateful to her for that!

  29. In my former life, my ex used to practice Tarot. Her family was from Slovakia, where this sort of thing was common even among ostensibly devout Catholics. One of her aunts even made a living doing readings with the cards. I believe their use may have been a diabolical influence in the breaking of our home, but I can’t prove anything. For some years afterward, she and my son would go to these re-enactment events, with her portraying herself as the gypsy woman and my son as her helper, or something. Eventually my son learned to read the cards. I’ve spoken to him about the practice to little avail, but I don’t believe he’s used them for a long time.

    Obviously, I don’t have them in my house.

    (thefeds: So your answer to Sub would be “neither.” That would be my answer as well. As to what ended up happening at the USAFA, I should think it was the lesser of two evils.)

  30. An American Mother says:

    Back in my misspent hippie youth I read tarot cards.

    Haven’t touched them since I converted.

    Cannot, however, report any unusual occurrences connected with them. What’s mostly required is a sort of carnival barker patter and the ability to ‘cold read’ the inquirer and ask leading questions.

    Of course, nobody in our family is what you could call spiritually sensitive – the hard-headed Scot in us seems to override the Irish.

  31. When I was young in the 70’s, I knew a family who had a board, but I never played it and many in the neighborhood thought that it had evil influences back then. I did, however, go to slumber parties (in the 4th through 7th grades) where we would have seances and do other weird things. When I went to college and stopped attending Mass, I would have sleep paralysis and I would feel a dark, cold presence near me all the time. I never felt it when I would go back home (my parents prayed the daily Rosary and assisted at Mass, etc.) When I was away from my parents’ house, however, it would return. The paralysis ended when I finally went back to confession and assisted regularly at Mass.
    The only thing we should be afraid of is sin.

  32. Oh my word! I’ve played with these things a few times as a kid and that was enough to scare me off of them for life! The awful things that happened… and they were so REAL that neither myself nor my fellow players could deny that they were (and had) happened! Awful things!

  33. Dr. Eric says:

    I’ve never messed with any of that occult junk. I was warned not to when I was a kid. I even get nervous reading about occultic practices. No thanks.

  34. Re: Air Force Academy

    Then we have to do a better job of going forth and baptizing people, and keeping them too. :)

    I live in an Air Force town. “Zoomies” are a diverse bunch, and some of them are more diverse than others. So yes, you get the conservative evangelical, and all kinds of everything else. I was always hoping that some of that would show up on Stargate, but they never even had a chaplain on that show. (Much less the ecumenical manifest destiny, destiny of flight, holy air/space, semi-religion that Air Force people have instead of Semper Fi….)

  35. GregH says:

    These are great stories…keep them coming!

  36. jmgarciajr says:

    Can someone direct me to where I might find an explanation of how (and why) Ouija boards are so awful? Some of my CCD students have asked me and I’d like to offer something more detailed than “Um…they just ARE.”

    Thanks in advance!

  37. Frank H says:

    jmgarciajr – Lots of info at Catholic.com, the Catholic Answers site.

  38. Susan the Short says:

    I wish I had known that there is a preferred way to destroy these things. 2 years ago, a neighbor told me she had a ouija board, and I convinced her to let me destroy it.

    I carved it up with knives, bent it,cracked it, broke the little plastic thingy you put your hands on, stuffed it into an opaque trash bag, then into the dumpster.

    She also had 2 dreamcatchers, one from a “Catholic” charity that works with Native Americans. She let me destroy them, too.

    Some weeks after that, I asked another neighbor to please lower the volume on her TV as I had a headache. The ouija board neighbor went ballistic, came at me with a broom in her hand, holding it like a weapon, screaming at me.

    “This isn’t a convent! You can’t have it quiet just because you want to pray! You and your religion are over the top!”

    She continued shrieking at me despite my attempts to reason with her. For weeks after this, she continued to harass me, even though we had previously been friendly. I literally became sick from the attacks. Getting from my car to my apartment door was like running the gauntlet.

    It got so bad I had to move.

    In describing all of this to a Baptist friend, she said, “What did you expect? Of course Satan is after you. You broke his toys.”

  39. Faustina says:

    Very similar to the packaging for contraception and other modern instruments of torture isn’t it?

  40. Ceile De says:

    The Toronto diocese website helpfully points out that the diocese does not perform exorcisms. I wrote politely asking what people suffering from possession are supposed to do but, hold the front page, they never replied.

  41. Although the book and movie, “The Exorcist”, was fictional, it was based upon some very important truths, albeit, some very strange ideas.
    But the “channel” through which the child began to communicate with the demon was the Ouija board.
    And exorcists, Fr. Amorth among the pre-eminent, have taught that this is a very dangerous thing.
    When you call upon evil spirits, they will answer, as do the good angels.
    Curses, as well, are absolutely to be condemned. They can bring great evil upon not only the cursed but those who curse. They are, in a sense, an “inverse prayer”…they will bring about the destruction to all involved that they summon.

  42. Girgadis says:

    Evil is very real but it serves no purpose to let our imaginations run away with themselves. Anyone with a strong prayer and sacramental life has nothing to fear from the great deceiver. St. Teresa of Avila awoke to see the devil standing over her. She looked at him indifferently and went back to sleep. Not every mentally ill neighbor is demonic. Some people really are plain crazy without any help from the devil. Personally, I am much more fearful of the insidiuous attacks that lead me to sin than the sensational ones that cause the hair to stand up on my neck. By all means, don’t keep portals of evil in your home, but don’t give them more power over you than they deserve. To me, that’s almost as bad as using them.

  43. Felicitas says:

    I fooled around with quite a few occult practices and items before I came to Christianity, but by far the most intensely bizarre and frightening was the Ouija board. A friend of mine had some sort of entity attach itself to her and it followed her through three moves of house, long after she’d destroyed the Ouija board we’d used when the entity introduced itself to us. This friend had been raised Catholic but was fallen away at the time we “played” with the Ouija board. She has since returned to the Church.

  44. Agnes says:

    Notice the tidy, cute packaging in this “game for girls”, very attractive. I can say from one experience with it as a young teen, these things are real and very scary. Keep this out of your house! Don’t open that door even a crack. Our Baptism, frequent use of the other Sacraments, and prayer are our best defense.

    Know your weapons, as Fr Carapi tells us, and know your enemies weapons. Satan is a master strategist and our only hope is reliance on Our Savior Jesus Christ. St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle…

  45. onesheep says:

    They’re dangerous to play with. It’s opening a door to allow satan and evil spirits into your life. The people I know who have used them have had unpleasant things brought into their lives and they were not easy to destroy when they decided to get rid of them. They didn’t know how to properly dispose of supernatural items and satan did attack them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically through other people and things. satan is indeed real and he will use what seems to be something innocent to bring evil and darkness into your life. People think tarot cards, oujia boards, runes, etc. are all just child’s play and they don’t take using them seriously. And that is the danger.

  46. How are abominations like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings nonsense less corrosive and mentally destructive?

    Attempting to lump Harry Potter with Ouija boards is every bit as ridiculous as attempting to lump LOTR with Ouija boards. Others here have done a good job of explaining how LOTR is great Catholic fiction. Harry Potter also is great Catholic fic\ion, and if you deny that fantasy literature, including literature with “magic,” can play such a role, then you fall wholly outside the tradition of great Catholic literature.

    Harry Potter has many Catholic themes, but it’s chief theme is also the chief “theme” of Catholicism: that love, especially sacrifical love, is more powerful than death.

  47. bookworm says:

    My mom always was adamant about never, ever messing with anything remotely occult… she forbade us to even read horoscopes for fun because, she said, that’s how you get hooked, you start to see the predictions being “right”.

    When I was in 4th or 5th grade (public school), another student announced she was going to bring a Oujia board to the classroom Halloween party. My mom went ballistic when she found out, forbade me to go to school that day and called the teacher to object. I was kind of upset about it at the time but now I realize what she was trying to protect me from.

    Shortly afterward, another student (not the one who brought the Oujia board) asked me what church I went to and I told her the Catholic church. She replied “You’re Catholic? I thought you were Baptist!” She assumed that I had to be a Baptist or fundamentalist because I didn’t come to the Halloween party :-)

  48. brjeromeleo says:

    I e mailed both Hasbro and ToysRUs to ask them to remove the product and spoke of its dangers. At the website of each, it took a while to get past all the FAQ to a space where one could actually e mail them, but if one is persistent, it can be done. Registering a protest can be very effective, if enough people do it. Sancte Pater has links to both sites, but a Google will bring them up, too. Let the manufacturer and marketer know how you feel.

  49. Mark01 says:

    I KNEW there was a reason the good Lord didn’t make me cool enough to get invited to any of the cool kid sleep overs when I was younger. :o)

  50. The traditional Catholic objection to any kind of divination or magic is that you are trying to get an unfair advantage over others or the universe: either by giving demons the worship due to God, or by playing God yourself and forcing other beings to obey you, or both.

    The crazy thing is that God has already given us a great deal of dominion over the universe through entirely natural means; that we will have a great deal of supernatural power if we go to Heaven; and that God is usually willing to answer our prayers in one way or another. So why cheat and try to steal, when God will just give these things to us sooner or later?

    But of course, Adam and Eve couldn’t wait and let God make them like gods. They just had to jump the gun and try to do it themselves, paying attention to the serpent instead of just asking God about it. And so people still jump the gun.

  51. JonM says:

    Father S,

    Thank you for your response. I will so proceed.

  52. Jerry says:

    Sean P. Dailey: “Harry Potter has many Catholic themes, but it’s chief theme is also the chief “theme” of Catholicism: that love, especially sacrifical love, is more powerful than death.”

    Unlike LOTR, elements of the occult pervade HP from start to finish. Throwing in some Christian themes is like putting chocolate icing on an arsenic cake: it probably does more harm than good by making the evil more palatable to the masses.

    Several years ago, during the height of the HP hysteria, I did some research on the topic. Interesting enough, while most Catholic sources dismissed concerns by calling it “harmless fantasy”, several Christian converts who had been high level occultists were frantically waving red flags.

  53. AJP says:

    For some reason the presence of neo-pagans at the Air Force Academy doesn’t bother me much. I guess it’s because so much of neo-paganism draws upon the religions of the pre-Christian Celts, Norse, and Romans . . . all cultures with some pretty amazing warrior traditions. Seems oddly appropriate that such folks would end up in the Air Force and other branches of the armed forces. It’s sort of like the Vikings and centurions have our back.

    Ouija boards, however, are definitely bad news. I attended many sleepovers as a child, and fortunately no Ouija board ever made an appearence. I do recall the “light as a feather, stiff as a board” game being popular with us girls. Anyone else remember this? Do you think it’s in the same class as Ouija boards, or is it just a silly kids game? I remember being creeped out by it but also finding it rather stupid and pointless at the same time.

  54. Margaret says:

    Another defense of Harry Potter: the “magic” in this series is a naturally occuring, un-asked-for ability, sort of like the mutations in X-Men, or extraordinary talents in music or math or chess in the real world. The characters are no more satanic or occult than a piano prodigy. And as Sean already noted: the book culminates with the protagonist’s literal laying down of one’s life for one’s friends. The antagonist, on the other hand, who loves evil for its own sake, is shown to have a dreadful fate awaiting him after death that made me shudder to read it.

    The books also places a huge emphasis on the virtues of loyalty and fortitude, the protective power of maternal love, and portrays a large, boisterous family in a manner that is utterly charming, and exceedingly rare in this day and age. If you want to get bent out of shape about a children’s fantasy series, Pullman’s His Dark Materials are the ones to worry about…

  55. pablo says:

    All SSPX Priests have the title of Exorcist. It’s part of Priesthood. Not all have performed Exorcisms, but they are capable. They also make real Holy Water, not Blessed Water. Holy Water expels demons. Blessed things or water have no such authority. The SSPX Holy Water is always made as follows:

    Holy Water blessing: (also in English)

    “Exorcizo te, creatura aquæ, in nomine Dei Patris omnipotentis, et in nomine Jesu Christi, Filii ejus Domini nostri, et in virtute Spiritus Sancti: ut fias aqua exorcizata ad effugandam omnem potestatem inimici, et ipsum inimicum eradicare et explantare valeas cum angelis suis apostaticis, per virtutem ejusdem Domini nostri Jesu Christ: qui venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos et sæculum per ignem.
    Deus, qui ad salutem humani generis maxima quæque sacramenta in aquarum substantia condidisti: adesto propitius invocationibus nostris, et elemento huic, multimodis purificationibus præparato, virtutem tuæ benedictionis infunde; ut creatura tua, mysteriis tuis serviens, ad abigendos dæmones morbosque pellendos divinæ gratiæ sumat effectum; ut quidquid in domibus vel in locis fidelium hæc unda resperserit careat omni immunditia, liberetur a noxa. Non illic resideat spiritus pestilens, non aura corrumpens: discedant omnes insidiæ latentis inimici; et si quid est quod aut incolumitati habitantium invidet aut quieti, aspersione hujus aquæ effugiat: ut salubritas, per invocationem sancti tui nominis expetita, ab omnibus sit impugnationibus defensa. Per Dominum, amen.´´

    “O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the Enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that Enemy with his apostate angels: through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by lire. Amen. Let us pray.
    O God, Who for the salvation of mankind has built Thy greatest mysteries on this substance, water, in Thy kindness hear our prayers and pour down the power of Thy blessing + into this element, made ready for many kinds of purifications. May this, Thy creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of Thy mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that every- thing in the homes and other buildings of the faithful that is sprinkled with this water may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm. Let no breath of infection, no disease-bearing air, remain in these places. May the wiles of the lurking Enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the healthfulness, obtained by calling upon Thy holy name, may be made secure against all attack. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.”**

    Then the salt is likewise blessed and the salt and water are mixed with the third exorcism prayer over both of them.

    Let us remember to pray for those Preists and Nuns that are under Satan’s attack.

    Saint Benedict, come to their aid!

  56. pablo says:

    Saint Benedict can be invoked to rid and protect a place infested by evil.

    Placing small Saint Benedict medals in the four corners of a property and hanging a small Saint Benedict crucifix is a ritual used by some Priests and faithful.

    After placing the items where evil is lurking, just invoke Saint Benedict: “Saint Benedict please protect this place”

    Holy Water sprinkled in the place is good.

    If you have doubts, also privately pray the Saint Michael Prayer of Pope Leo XIII.

    I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.

    Pray for the Holy Father.


  57. Supertradmom says:

    I am personal friends with two exorcists in two dioceses. They have spoken with moms on the dangers of the occult in today’s culture of youth. Firstly, these very experienced priests know that the Ouija Board conjures up demons and takes a lead into serious demonic influences. Secondly, they have seen that involvement of Harry Potter games, movies and other stuff which opens the door to Satanic worship and wicca. One of these priests had to exorcise a house, with a Mass and prayers, a house where the kids had gotten into wicca through Harry Potter. The Harry Potter websites have direct links to ouida boad sales, wicca and satanist sites. Look these up.

    To pretend there is no demonic influence is a rationalistic heresy. Sadly, one of the exorcists told me that over 50% of the priests in his own diocese do not believe in the devil or his servants! He is sadly isolated, although much in demand. He recently said that the Mexican community must be catechized and helped to break away from many occult practices. The immigrant community in his area seem to combine both Catholicism and the occult without understanding the problem of syncretism, much like the Haitians with voodoo, he stated.

    Our children are indeed in grave danger from this stuff. Working in RCIA, the priest of my former parish and I had discussions on teenagers in the local high school being involved in wicca groups (covens)as far back as the 1970s. A priest who has described the influence of the occult well is Father Corapi, who I think was ordained with our own Father Z in Rome by John Paul II.

  58. Supertradmom says:

    By the way, Our Lady of Guadalupe is also a powerful intercessor against witchcraft and the occult.

  59. Mitchell NY says:

    I remember mentioning this thing once in grade school and my Mom telling me something like, Never go near that thing, it can hurt you and we (Catholics) don’t play with things we do not understand, or something to that effect. I was young but it has stayed with me forever and I have never been interested in it, having the inert sense something is very wrong with it and even the curiosity. It is sad that Hasbro would ignore its’ potential to unlease bad things into the world of yound children. At best it is an unhealthy curiosity that will bring nothing good.

  60. historyb says:

    I had some friends that played with the cursed thing and my one friend ask about his brother dying. The board said yes, that night when his brother came home a semi truck ran his motorcycle over. They are evil.

  61. Jerry says:

    re: Margaret: Another defense of Harry Potter: the “magic” in this series is a naturally occuring, un-asked-for ability, sort of like the mutations in X-Men, or extraordinary talents in music or math or chess in the real world.”

    I don’t see how the ability being naturally occurring has any bearing on its moral character. The Bible doesn’t admonish us against participating in math, music, or chess as it does sorcery (“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).

    “The characters are no more satanic or occult than a piano prodigy.”

    Webster’s dictionary defines the noun occult as: “matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them —used with ‘the’ “. The practice of magic, witchcraft, and wizardry — a core element of the HP stories — is generally considered “supernatural” or an occult practice. The same cannot be said in general of a piano prodigy.

    “If you want to get bent out of shape about a children’s fantasy series, Pullman’s His Dark Materials are the ones to worry about…”

    Because there is something worse out there doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about both.

    Please see Supertradmom’s response relating the comments of several exorcists regarding Harry Potter. As I noted in my previous response, several people with extensive personal experience in the occult have been warning of the dangers of HP for years. These are all people with extensive knowledge of the dark forces and their danger. Why should we believe our own untrained, and easily misled, instincts instead of the experts?

  62. Supertradmom says:

    If power is not from God Almighty, power is from the Devil. Period. Harry Potter and company do not get their power from God, but from forces outside of God. There is only one power who can give those false “gifts” and he is a personal spirit with a name-Lucifer, once the Angel of Light and now the angel of darkness. He mocks God with false gifts of supernatural power and thus, sadly, ensnares those who think their powers are “natural”. (No such thing, despite the wiccans.) And, the Satanists basically believe as we do, only hate the Truth and the Good, but knowing who Satan is and Who God Is.

    I know Harry Potter is a contentious subject, but for a homeschooling newspaper, in order to do three book reviews of the first three books, I read those.Here are a few things I learned from the books. Firstly, lying and being mean are OK. The end justifies the means. Secondly, all parents are made to look stupid and to be disobeyed as such. Thirdly, power is given through “occult”, that is, hidden means and only to an elite (gnosticism); fourthly, traditional symbols of the occult are regularly used as if good things, causing confusion to youth. Lastly, and as an extrapolation, the use of such magical powers opens the door to curiosity and then participation by even very young children in witchcraft and satanism.

    In addition, I had a book in my hand in England many years ago called Larry Trotter. Many of the same words, themes and some of the characters found in Harry Potter were there. Rowling plagiarized and stole the ideas from that book and had to settle out of court with the woman who was the original author of Larry Trotter. As I was collecting children’s books at the time for an extensive library, I considered buying it, but passed it up as “occult”. And, although the BBC and other news networks covered the plagiarism story at the time, I have not been able to find that exact story for many years now. I assume it has been suppressed. Although I did not buy any occult children’s books, I wish I had picked that one up as proof of the evil beginnings of Rowling’s success. I could have bought the hard-bound for four pounds sterling. Rowling is one of the world’s billionaires. However, I must admit, I would not want even a whiff of an occult book on my shelves.

  63. JonM says:

    Supertradmom is absolutely right about Harry Potter. With a foundation of secular style ethics and a heaping dose of occultic lore, Harry Potter books are antithetical to true Christian values. The actual composition is somewhat mysterious (all settled on a train ride? Puh-LEAZ!)

    As an avid Tolkien reader, the books are not in the same class as the Harry Potter books not least of which because the intention was clearly different. There are many layers of Tolkien’s work and one of the most tragic failures of the new films is the total scrubbing of the Scouring of the Shire.

    Clearly, many do not get the stories and home in on aspects of supernatural interpreted as magic. Sadly, it gets merged with things like Led Zeppelin.

  64. Supertradmom says:

    As to the plagiarism story, it is not the Nancy Stouffer one, but an older story, obviously suppressed, as I have not seen it in nine years or so. The book I had in my hand was published earlier than 1985. The truth will be known someday…..

    by their fruits you shall know them…

  65. The Toronto diocese website helpfully points out that the diocese does not perform exorcisms. I wrote politely asking what people suffering from possession are supposed to do but, hold the front page, they never replied.

    Isn’t every bishop an exorcist?

    For some reason the presence of neo-pagans at the Air Force Academy doesn’t bother me much. I guess it’s because so much of neo-paganism draws upon the religions of the pre-Christian Celts, Norse, and Romans . . . all cultures with some pretty amazing warrior traditions. Seems oddly appropriate that such folks would end up in the Air Force and other branches of the armed forces. It’s sort of like the Vikings and centurions have our back.

    As if any of these pagan warrior traditions remotely stack up to St. Michael the Archangel!

  66. Supertradmom says:


    A bishop usually appoints one priest at least in his diocese to be the official exorcist for that diocese. The priest sometimes undergoes additional instruction, either under a previous exorcist, or through teaching channels, such as the national conference of exorcists, which is held yearly. I think a recent one was at Mundelein Univeristy in Chicago last year. The Office of Exorcist is basically given to all priests by nature of their ordination,or, at least it was in the old ordination rite, but because of the need for fasting, prayer, preparation, etc. usually one man is set aside to do the exorcisms. In some dioceses, there are teams helping the priests, either lay people appointed by the bishop, or other priests. Sometimes exorcists from neighboring dioceses help each other out with exorcisms.

    In addition, some religious orders appoint exorcists, again priests set aside and trained as such, under the bishop, but sometimes working only in a particular area in a diocese, such as in a religious order, and this priest is not the “diocesan exorcist”.

  67. Raymond says:

    Re: Harry Potter

    My former spiritual director, an Opus Dei priest in his 70’s, is a big Harry Potter fan. I once walked into his office and saw him deeply engrossed with the latest HP novel. One of his younger colleagues in the area (another OD priest), on the other hand, is no HP fan, but sees no evil in reading the books, so long as one does not take them seriously. It all boils down to common sense.

  68. Supertradmom says:

    PS, as to the Toronto Diocese not advertising that there is an exorcist, I do not find this unusual. The exorcist works quietly and his lack of advertising can be a protection for him. Perhaps there is one among the priests in the Toronto diocese. Priests usually know who is the exorcist,but again, they do not talk about this usually unless there is a real need. This reticence is not necesarily unbelief, but a type of professionalism and respect.

  69. Latter-day Guy says:

    I honestly don’t get all the kerfuffle over the Harry Potter books. I believe that (to a certain degree) we get out of books and stories what whatever we’re looking for. If we want to find evil, we’ll probably be able to––to wit, Mike Morrow’s reference to Tolkien’s books. (I have to disagree with the arguments that “magic” in Middle Earth is exclusively evil. Gandalf is a wizard, for heaven’s sake. He uses a “word of command” when facing evil in the mines of Moria. How is that not magic? What of Frodo’s using a vial containing the light of Eärendil?) Magic in the Potter stories functions––for the most part––like technology in science fiction; lighting your way by using “lumos” is neither more or less magical than flipping a switch or using a flashlight, and thus is neither more or less Satanic than a battery. Riding a broomstick becomes an exciting symbol of adolescent freedom, much like a teen’s excitement in getting a driver’s license. I have no doubt that fantasy literature could have an effect on a child’s experimentation with the occult, but I suspect that this requires some greater disorder at the root. A theological library will burn about as well as one made up of paperback smut, but the books really aren’t the problem. As Tolkien himself wrote in his brilliant “Mythopoeia” (which should be required reading):

    The heart of Man is not compound of lies,
    but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,
    and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,
    Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
    Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned,
    and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned,
    his world-dominion by creative act:
    not his to worship the great Artefact,
    Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
    through whom is splintered from a single White
    to many hues
    , and endlessly combined
    in living shapes that move from mind to mind.

    In Paradise perchance the eye may stray
    from gazing upon everlasting Day
    to see the day illumined, and renew
    from mirrored truth the likeness of the True.
    Then looking on the Blessed Land ’twill see
    that all is as it is, and yet made free:
    Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,
    garden nor gardener, children nor their toys.
    Evil it will not see, for evil lies
    not in God’s picture but in crooked eyes,
    not in the source but in malicious choice
    and not in sound but in the tuneless voice.
    In Paradise they look no more awry;
    and though they make anew, they make no lie.
    Be sure they still will make, not being dead,
    and poets shall have flames upon their head,
    and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:
    there each shall choose for ever from the All. (Emphasis mine.)

  70. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    As regards Harry Potter and the ludicrous debate about from whence their powers come: the world in which the books take place is not our own. Our Catholic beliefs do not apply unless stated explicitly or implicitly stated by the author. These powers may come from God Almight, or Allah, or who knows what. Fact is, it doesn’t matter/ Ive never heard of anyone being possessed by Harry Potter or something equally as ridiculous. Above and beyond which, Ven. JPII praised the series, which focuses on love, friendship, loyalty, fortitude, and the (ultimate) triumph of good over evil.
    Now, the real topic of Ouija Boards. They are ludicrous as well. Tools of the devil, absolutely. Near occasion of sin, absolutely. Our children must be warned not to use them. As soon as we see their “predictions” or “omens” in our daily lives, we fall victim.

    S. Michaeli Archangeli, ora pro nobis.

  71. Supertradmom says:

    For the sake of our children, I would beg people to pray about Harry Potter. These books are doors to the occult.

  72. Supertradmom says:

    What you call ludicrous is truly dangerous. Perhaps adults can and should sift their way through such books. Children cannot discern evil or deceit in the same way. If Harry Potter has a philosopher’s stone, a stone with magical powers may be found and bought online…Children do not always have the ability to separate literature from life. Can you give us the link to John Paul II’s comment, as Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger had a different view. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html I give you this link stating that the John Paul II claim is bogus and giving Ratzinger’s views.

  73. Supertradmom says:

    ROME, March 1, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, is reported to have repeated his condemnations of the Harry Potter novels yesterday. According to press reports, Fr. Amorth, said of the books, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil. There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books.”

    “By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil,” he said.

    The news will come as no surprise to LifeSiteNews.com readers who recall that Fr. Amorth made very similar remarks in 2002 which went misreported in the North American media, until LifeSiteNews.com clarified the matter.

    In a 2002 interview with the Italian ANSA news agency, Rev. Amorth said “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil.” The exorcist, with his decades of experience in directly combating evil, explained that J.K. Rowling’s books contain innumerable positive references to magic, “the satanic art”. He noted that the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction “does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil.” (coverage: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2002/jan/02010202.html )

    At the time, however, North American coverage of Rev. Amorth’s warnings about Potter significantly downplayed the warnings. The New York Times coverage by Melinda Henneberger, which was carried in Canada’s National Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and on Yahoo Daily News left out most of the information in the European coverage, only quoting Rev. Amorth as saying that “If children can see the movie with their parents, it’s not all bad.”

    North America’s most prominent Harry Potter critic, Michael O’Brien, has told LifeSiteNews.com that the movie version has significantly cleaned up Harry’s image, making it far less troublesome than the books.

    Another condemnation of Harry Potter coming from Rome was not widely reported until LifeSiteNews.com’s intervention. When in 2003, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger allowed his comments against the novels to be aired publicly, the news was reported in Europe, but not in America. However, when in 2005 LifeSiteNews.com published Ratzinger’s letter concerning Potter online, the international media exploded with the news that the new Pope opposed Harry Potter. (coverage: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/jul/05071301.html )

    Writing to Germany’s best known Potter critic Gabriele Kuby, the man who was to become Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.”

    If the now-retired but then head exorcist in the Vatican was suspicious and condemned Harry Potter, why is there any doubt about the danger?

  74. Latter-day Guy says:

    “Children do not always have the ability to separate literature from life.”

    This argument can be marshaled against any work of fiction as easily as against the HP books––surely the Narnian Chronicles is going to drive children into their closets in attempts to reach parallel universes!

  75. Latter-day Guy says:

    Sorry. “…Narnian Chronicles are…”

  76. Supertradmom says:

    Latter-day Guy,
    That you do not believe me, I can understand. But you must be open to the discernment of those at the highest offices in our church. As to kids in closets looking for parallel universes, it is precisely because kids have done those things and do that parents must guide children to Christian fantasy.

  77. Supertradmom: I understand all that about exorcists and their appointment, and that exorcism is not something for just anyone — or even any priest — to enter upon lightly. But as possessors of the priesthood in its fullness, and holders of the teaching, governing and sanctifying offices, how does any bishop (in good standing) lack the faculties or authority to be an exorcist?

    I submit that every diocese has an exorcist in the person of its bishop. The trouble is not that there is no exorcist in a given diocese, but that there is a refusal or an unwillingness to exercise the ministry.

  78. Latter-day Guy says:

    “But you must be open to the discernment of those at the highest offices in our church.”

    While I am not a Catholic myself, the example of fine Catholics––and in particular a wonderful priest––has been a tremendous blessing. Catholic spirituality (specifically the Divine Office) has filled certain lacunae I find in my prayer life. I do respect the wisdom of Catholic tradition and the magesterium, and I hope that my (occasional) comments here and elsewhere do not suggest otherwise. I have been especially impressed with the writings and homilies of the current pope. All that having been said, I feel––like many others on this thread––that Rowling’s books simply do not pose the dangers that you have stated here. Having read them myself, along with most members of my family (many of whom are quite young), I have observed no evidence of increased interest or experimentation with the occult. None. On the contrary, there have been many enlightening discussions of the moral and religious themes of the books, particularly relating to the final volume.

    “As to kids in closets looking for parallel universes, it is precisely because kids have done those things and do that parents must guide children to Christian fantasy.”

    I agree that parental guidance is essential. Parents absolutely should be aware of what media their children consume. Discussion of the literature kids read is a wonderful opportunity for parental instruction; even books (like Philip Pullman’s bluntly anti-Christian “His Dark Materials”) that oppose one’s values can be positive to read and consider, given adequate guidance––this would take a somewhat more mature child. (Specifically, parents could talk about what are the underlying misconceptions about God and religion in Pullman’s books. How does he misconstrue the nature of faith, etc.) If children begin worshiping large felines, they may need greater guidance through the world of Narnia, but that doesn’t make Lewis’s books evil. I think the same is true of Harry Potter: can it be a negative influence? Sure, but so can practically any book. Further, I have never observed a negative result from Rowling’s series, so I think it is pretty rare, not to mention entirely preventable.

  79. Singing Mum says:

    Regretfully, I ‘played’ with the Ouija board as a teen. How I wish I had parents who warned me, but I grew up in a poorly catechized home. Obviously we teen girls knew something spooky and creepy was going on or we wouldn’t have hidden it from our parents.

    I will not describe the oppression that I went through for almost a year. It nearly led me to suicide when I was 15.

    The parish priest gave me some very basic prayers to say and some holy water. I think he was startled by the events I relayed, but he wasn’t exactly strong in his priesthood. If I knew then the priests I know now, I wouldn’t have had to be in the enemy’s grasp for so long. How a man exercises his priesthood is incredibly vital.

    My mother had two friends that were devout prayer warriors and I trust that their prayers helped. When they are a little older, I will thoroughly explain to my children the things of God and the dangers of the Enemy.

    About HP books-
    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people don’t see the bad fruits of these books. For anyone who thinks the books are harmless, please let me know of exorcists who agree with you. I haven’t been able to find a single one. Do you really think you know more about the subject matter than exorcists do?

  80. Supertradmom says:

    Dear Anita,

    Sorry, I did not understand your question. Indeed, there has been an emphasis and still is today in some seminaries to downplay the supernatural and stress the so-called psychological reasons for obvious demonic influences. This rationalization leads some priests and, I suppose bishops, not to believe in the suffering of those who need deliverance. I think we are seeing, finally, a correction of the denial of Satan and his legions. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, Satan wants us to deny his existence and then he has more power. The other extreme is to give him too much attention, which can lead to excesses and temptation to despair. There is a happy medium in the office of exorcism. We can pray for our bisohps.

  81. Supertradmom says:

    oops, bishops-no irreverence intended.

  82. wolskerj says:

    What if I were to write a series of popular children’s novels in which the characters used heroin, cocaine and LSD and suffered no ill effects – in fact they were helped in their struggle against evil by these drugs? You might read it and realize how unrealistic this is, how in reality these things destroy peoples lives, but would you give it to your children to read? What if the drug users were noble and self-sacrificing?

    Isn’t this what the Harry Potter novels do when they show children casting spells and consorting with spirits – with no ill effects? That’s precisely the problem with these novels – they portray magic as a “naturally occuring, un-asked-for ability” that can be used with no consequences. That’s just not the way it is. It’s a lie. The supernatural is not just another form of technology.

    If you wanted children to be aware of the dangers of the occult, would you rather they read Harry Potter or something like “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs?

  83. Jerry says:

    re: Raymond: “so long as one does not take them seriously. It all boils down to common sense.”

    This advice may suffice for most adults. Remember, however, the primary audience of the HP series are younger children and even teens who possess far more curiosity than common sense. No, not all children will be enticed to explore the occult further by HP. But since we can’t identify in advance which ones will, why take chances? “And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:41)

  84. Jerry says:

    re: Latter-day Guy: “Further, I have never observed a negative result from Rowling’s series, so I think it is pretty rare, ”

    Are your observations limited to your own family, and perhaps those of close friends and relatives? Or have you studied a statistically significant population such that you can draw a valid conclusion about the overall impact of HP on children?

    “not to mention entirely preventable.”

    I laud you for the approach you have taken to HP with your children, which most certainly has much to do with the lack of a negative outcome in your family. On the whole, sch negative outcomes are not entirely preventable simply because many parents lack the knowledge and/or the faith to approach the subject matter in the way you have.

  85. Mark of the Vine says:

    A question for Americans: has Kardecian Spiritism caught on in the US? Here it is a kind of Spiritism that parades itself as Christian. It first started in Europe (France actually) but caught on in Brazil and now has spread with Brazilian immigrantion.

  86. Latter-day Guy says:

    “That’s just not the way it is. It’s a lie.”

    It is fiction. As is Hansel and Gretel. And the Little Mermaid. And Beauty and the Beast. And many other books for children. Harry Potter and his little friends are no more wiccan or pagan than they are Anglican or Buddhist. Does the “magic” they perform draw on old traditions from legend and mythology? Yes, but their “spells” are not practiced in any pagan or witchcraft tradition that exists or has ever existed. (There is one exception as far as divination is concerned. People do use crystal balls and read tea leaves, but in the Harry Potter books these practices are portrayed as silly and basically worthless.)

    Your comment about drug use is very interesting. Have you ever read the book “Dune”? It is an interesting science fiction novel in which some of the characters consume a substance called “the spice” (produced on the eponymous desert planet), which is a drug that grants them some psychic abilities (among other things). The book is very popular, it has enjoyed a very wide readership and won some of SciFi’s most prestigious awards. Interestingly, if you compare the real-word effects of “Dune” to Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception,” you will find that the latter inspired far more drug experimentation, in spite of the fact that the former is (by far) more widely read. Why is this? Because it is much easier to get your hands on mescaline than it is to obtain even small amounts of “the spice,” for the simple reason that “the spice” doesn’t exist!

    Perhaps I have been strangely lucky to only come into contact with unusually intelligent and perceptive children, but I know no more young people who have tried to work Rowling’s pseudo-Latin incantations than have tried to reach a faun through a wardrobe. I know no more children who have attempted to reach Hogwarts in a magic flying Ford Anglia (or any other demonically-possessed conveyance for that matter) than have tried to sell their voices to a sea witch in exchange for legs. I know no more children who have tried to travel by cherry-red enchanted steam train than have tried to shorten a commute by means of ruby-red slippers. (For the sake of clarity, I ought to say that I know no children that fall into any of those categories.) By the time children have attained the reading skill necessary to enjoy the HP books, they usually have a firm enough grasp on reality to understand what “fictional” means.

    If you forbid reading Harry Potter to prevent creating an interest in the occult, it is inconsistent not to treat all other children’s literature involving magic in the same manner. That would include a mind-bogglingly vast corpus of books and fairy tales. Goodbye, Brothers Grimm. Sayonara, Lloyd Alexander. Toodles, Ursula Le Guin. Adieu, Madeleine L’Engle… (I could continue, but you get the idea.) Worst of all, if you pursue that course, you’ve probably ensured that your kid is gonna be the one that makes all his/her classmates into cynics by saying, “There is no such thing as Santa” just a couple weeks before Christmas.

    “No, Virginia, there is no real Harry Potter––but I’m sure you already knew that.”

  87. Ellen says:

    I messed around with a Ouja board a bit as a teen, but nothing happened. Frankly, I found it boring as all get out. I tried to read my horoscope for a time, but it was always so vague and or wrong that I very soon quit. I’ve come to the conclusion that the paranormal and I are never going to be friends.

    I tend to be on the side of St. Teresa – I love God and try to stay close to Him, therefore I do not fear the Evil One. I read Harry Potter and enjoyed it, but I don’t think the books are Great Literature. I try to stay aware of the real dangers of the occult, but I don’t want to be like one woman I know who forbade her daughter to read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe since it had the word “witch” in the title.

  88. wolskerj says:

    Latter-day Guy, I think you’ve summed up our differences quite clearly. You seem to believe that magic and the occult are unreal, like the spice of Arrakis. I think they’re as real and as deadly as mescaline. (worse than mescaline, actually.)

    It seems to me you’re making the same argument as those who claim the Ouija board is a harmless toy, because there’s not really any spirit world, it’s just a bunch of kids fooling around and scaring themselves silly. It looks like we’ll have to agree to differ.

    The other works you mention do have strong magical themes, but treat it very differently (dare I say ‘realistically”) than the HP books. It’s quite distinct from the works of God or angelic beings, it’s usually practiced by characters that are clearly wicked and evil, and/or it has very serious consequences – like the ‘entity’ that attaches to and pursues Ged in Le Guin’s Earthsea stories. I would treat these works with the same caution I would the Harry Potter books, but in general, I think I would find them far superior.

  89. Father S. says:

    RE: Pablo

    All validly ordained priests and deacons have been entered the Minor Order of Exorcist. This is not a mere title, but is part of the process to major orders. Even priests ordained after the suppression of the Minor Orders still have entered into them. High orders subsume lower orders; this is a fundamental point of the theology of Holy Orders. As such, anyone admitted to the diaconate also is admitted to other, lower orders. That being said, this Minor Order is not the same as being a duly appointed Exorcist. As always, the power of exorcism is a delegated authority. While in earlier centuries this authority was more widely delegated, it has been more narrowly delegated as time has gone by.

  90. Father S. says:

    Correction: “have entered”

  91. An American Mother says:

    I just can’t get very exercised about Harry Potter.

    If you’re familiar with British children’s literature, Harry Potter is just a British School Story (“Jennings”, “Greyminster”, even “Tom Brown” or “Eric” or “Stalky”) dressed up with a little pseudo-magical veneer. LDG is right — none of the ‘spells’ are anything like any actual Wiccan, ceremonial, or Nordic ‘spells’, they’re just made up, mostly Latin nonsense. Divination – the only thing that has some counterpart in the real world – is made fun of and (mostly) doesn’t work.

    And the classic elements of the British School Story are all there, for good or ill (the disrespect or circumvention of authority, the worship of Games, conflicts between students, some rather clueless teachers and a few good ones). Just substitute Stalky, M’Turk and Beetle, Prout and King, and the First Fifteen, and you’re back at “Westward Ho”.

    The Narnia books have a good deal more fantasy in them that touches the real world. Lewis had personal and unpleasant experiences with the occult, and to his credit always throws in cautions about the occult for his readers, very subtly and effectively (he puts them in the mouths of sympathetic characters). Dr. Cornelius warns Prince Caspian that the practice of Magic “is not a fit subject for Princes” — Eustace tells Jill that Aslan doesn’t like ceremonial magic (and that it’s “rather rot” to boot) — the frankly evil characters like Nikabrik the Dwarf and the Hag are the ones who suggest using Black Magic to call up the White Witch, and it ends badly for them.

    My kids and I have always been able to talk about books. The best antidote to truly dangerous fiction (I’d worry a lot more about H.P. Lovecraft, for one, or the unexpurgated Grimm’s Household Tales) is a good airing and discussion. Half (if not most) of the danger is the sneaking around and secrecy.

  92. Irish says:

    Do NOT burn it.
    Check with a priest or an exorcist, but I’ve always heard that you do NOT burn items with satanic associations as it can release the evil spirit and do more harm than good.

  93. Eric says:

    Another modern area of concern is psychic hotlines. A few years ago a young lady in our area went crazy and desecrated a nearby parish church. The things she did were truelly diabolical.
    Upon further investigation it was found they she had run up over $1000 worth of calls to psychic hotlines in the month before her rampage.

  94. pablo says:

    There were some boys in a North California prison that drew a board on the floor. A demon came in and took possession of one of them; as one person touched another, the demon jumped to that person.

    A Priest came in, and got rid of the problem. He was able to discover the prison had been a woman’s prison years before, and a woman had committed suicide in the cell where the board was drawn.

    Father S, thank you for the clarification. Would you please respond about the proper Holy Water?

    With the assurance of my Holy Rosary prayers for all your good work in the vineyard of the Divine Master, I remain yours truly in Jesus and Mary Immaculate.


  95. Father S. says:

    RE: Irish and JonM

    There is a process for destroying cursed and blessed things. That process involves burning an object. This is standard practice. Even if you do not take my word for it, you can find the same counsel from Fr. Amorth or from Fr. Fortea. The object should, indeed, be blessed before it is burned. The process I explained above is the standard process that has been followed in the Church for centuries.

  96. Father S. says:

    RE: Pablo and Holy Water vs. Blessed Water

    If you read Fr. Amorth, you will see that his comments are very clear about Holy Water. In the Rite of Exorcism, he says that water blessed under the old Roman Ritual or the Book of Blessings is the same. The blessing is not magic. Even if the Book of Blessings is less than wonderful, it nonetheless does bless Holy Water. It is the blessing given by the Church and is effective. I use both types, though I tend to use the Roman Ritual for the richness of its prayers, but both are Holy Water. Regardless of what SSPX priests say about it, both are Holy Water. Holy Water is holy precisely because it is blessed.

  97. MikeM says:

    Has anyone tried to organize a boycott of Hasbro over their production of such products?

  98. @MikeM — Hey, maybe we do need a boycott of Hasbro, you know, spread it on Twitter or something maybe?

    Having said that, it just makes me wonder: is Hasbro going to make a “scrying ball” (also known as a crystal ball)? Or what about those things that water dousers use?

    Hey, maybe Hasbro is trying to get into the New Age market and sell it to those Wiccan kids. Who knows? :-D

  99. Latter-day Guy says:

    You seem to believe that magic and the occult are unreal, like the spice of Arrakis. I think they’re as real and as deadly as mescaline.

    Actually, wolskerj, my point was a little more subtle than that. (An American Mother nailed it.) Is there actual “magic”, witchcraft, sorcery, consorting with Satanic power, etc.? Oh, yes. Those things are real and wreak terrible spiritual destruction. Similarly, there are real psychoactive chemicals that can induce (often dangerous) altered mental states (and other physical effects). However, in the realms of fantasy and science fiction, “the spice” bears far more resemblance to real-world drugs than Harry Potter’s kind of magic resembles Wiccan/Pagan/New-Age practices.

    Regarding “magic” in other fantasy books:

    It’s quite distinct from the works of God or angelic beings…

    This is also true of magic in the HP novels. (Of course, there are exceptions at times. Take Gandalf’s return in LOTR for instance. It’s magical/supernatural, but in the context of his mythology it seems very like a resurrection––he is sent back.)

    [I]t’s usually practiced by characters that are clearly wicked and evil…

    I must disagree. In most of these books (and many others in the genre), magic is simply power, to be used––like all other power––for good or evil. This is why I consider magic in the HP series to be analogous to technology in SciFi novels. (Bear in mind Aurthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This is the other edge of that dictum.)

    …and/or it has very serious consequences…

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Magic in the HP books can have serious consequences, but there is some of a more casual variety. Again, we see the same thing in both fictional and real-world technology, ranging from something as minor as flipping a light-switch to something as cataclysmic as detonating a nuclear device.

    But again, to sum up:
    “the spice”:real drugs = HP “magic”:actual witchcraft

  100. Latter-day Guy says:

    Oh dear… I guess I shouldn’t use colons when trying to write an analogy. What bizarre hyperlinks! Please disregard the last line of previous comment. Here’s what I meant to say:

    “the spice” is to “real drugs” as “HP magic” is to “real witchcraft”

  101. Hugh says:

    I’m thinking that Hasbro itself (and subsidiaries such as TOYSRUS) should be regarded as accursed and potentially possessed institutions until they are, by their own undertaking, solemnly exorcised by a true exorcist.

    Until such time, it would be prudent to regard this group as portals to Satan and his demons.

  102. JonM says:

    The arguments in favor of Harry Potter seem rather similiar, eerily so, to those that defended music like the Rolling Stones et. al.

    ‘It’s just harmless silliness’ people would say even as it became undeniable that much of the 1960s music became a vector for drug use, rejection of the faith, rejection of natural virtue, and a rejection of natural order.

    We know that the backstory to the books, that the entire plot was conceived on a train ride, is a farce. This has been established now with the issues of plagerism and multiple authors collaborating to produce the work.

    Furthermore, there is an obvious aping of JRR Tolkien by billing the author as J K Rolling (many very smart people I know say the first book and thought it was an additional volume in the Middle Earth universe. Believe me, little nuances like this are standard practice amongst marketers today- indeed this is a relatively innocuous one.)

    Anyway, the criticism I have read give examples as to how the works are very dark, teach a terrible system of ethics, and are a direct road to things like Ouija boards, incantations, and seances.

    …Digging out of this rabbit hole…

    We should not buy anything from a company that markets satanic devices, to children no less. But I do want people to realize that many of the most prominent corporations are totally given to the enemy. So Hasbro and ToysRUs are one among many.

  103. Irish says:

    Father S.–Apologies.
    Let me rephrase my comment.

    Do not burn it yourself (which is what his Jon’s original post implied) without first consulting a Catholic priest or having a Catholic priest present.

    Am I wrong that burning a cursed thing without the blessing is ill-advised?

  104. Latter-day Guy says:

    “…the first book and thought it was an additional volume in the Middle Earth universe.”

    And it’s such an easy mistake to make, particularly if you meet the one little criterion of never, ever having read the it. Ah, yes. Complete unfamiliarity with the material might lead you to that conclusion.

  105. Mandrivnyk says:

    Well, I spent most of my life involved in the occult in one way or another – it’s nothing short of a miracle that I found my way to Christ. I’ve played with Ouija boards growing up, but it never impressed me that much. That’s not to say, however, that their use isn’t absolutely and totally deadly. When you open those dark doors, you shouldn’t be too shocked when something comes waltzing through.

    Still, I don’t think it’s too useful to be too superstitious about tools used in the occult and other accursed items. They are just things. Shortly before I became a Catholic, my friends and I prayed together and burned my tools that could be burned, shattered things like my pentagram and no harm was done. It just isn’t a very good idea to keep those things around, but they can’t hurt you all on their own – the devil doesn’t have any power over you that you don’t allow, after all. Of course, if you can find a priest who actually takes the demonic seriously, having his assistance is always a good idea. Still, it seems to me that, if you cling to Christ, you’ll be fine.

  106. Father S. says:

    RE: Irish

    I think that there is no problem in burning cursed items. I say that just because the power of exorcism is not essentially linked to Holy Orders, i.e., the power to bless. The goal is get things out of our lives. The reason why things are blessed is that, very often, they will not burn without the blessing.

  107. tired student says:

    I’m surprised that comboxers haven’t focused on the flipside of the Ouija question: someone must like the boards if they continue to sell. I thought Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers or whoever makes Ouija stopped making the boards years ago. Must still be big money in this market. The question we should be asking is how do we reach this large market of people who use Ouija. It’s better to prevent someone from buying something (and cutting into the profit margin) than having to do damage control later.

  108. An American Mother says:

    Jon, I just don’t see how ANYbody could possibly mistake HP for LOTR. The first page (or even the cover) should be enough for anybody with any discernment. HP is written for kids with a kid’s vocabulary and structure, LOTR – most definitely NOT. LOTR is actually great literature, the HP books are just formula stories.

    As I said before, HP – except for a very thin veneer – is a straight copy of the classic British School Story. There is an entire genre, thousands of these books, and they ALL have the same darned 2 or 3 stories over and over again, with the same cast of characters. Only the names change. Go read Tom Brown’s Schooldays (where Harry Flashman — whose later career is charted by George MacDonald Fraser with hilarious results — plays the role of Draco Malfoy),The Fifth Form at St. Dominic’s, or Eric, or, Little by Little, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Those are the classics — there’s an infinite amount of trash by lesser writers. Kipling does a bit of a send-up of the thing in Stalky & Co. but he still keeps the framework.

    The real plagiarism here is from that rot.

    Now, I will agree with you whole-heartedly about Ouija boards. Those things are dangerous because the user deliberately surrenders mind and will to . . . something. It’s as destructive as automatic writing.

  109. pablo says:

    Dear Father S,


    My Holy Water comments came from actual experience.

    The Church where I was Batized and Confirmed in was taken over by the Novus Ordos. In the Churgh gym, a demon had been placed; for several years, once a week, the Pastor would make three five gallon bottles of ‘Blessed Water’. The water was then spead throughout the gym. No results.

    I met an SSPX Padre that gave me a small vial of Holy Water. A few dpros, and Adios demon.

    Whem I meet Mexicans traveling along the border cities, I find many of them coming from small ranchos to get more Blessed Water to rid some infestations in their rural homes. I always give them the Holy Water i carry while traveling. After using Holy Water, no problems.

    Of couse I encourage them to Confession and reception of the Sacraments. I also give them Cds of the Holy Rosary.

    I placed it on my website because I was tired of all the sissy mary recordings of the Rosary people sell to make money. Mine are free. Please view my web site and give me your opinion.

    My e-mail is marcosandolini333 at yahoo dot com

    Assuring you of my prayers for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.



  110. Father S. says:

    RE: Pablo

    Likewise, salutations.

    I do not doubt your experience. That being said we need to understand that this is not magic. A very large part of the results from things such as you mentioned comes from the faith of the person who is acting. What did Our Lord say to the Apostles when he came down from the mountain? They asked why they could not drive away a demon. Our Lord said, “Because you lack faith!” (Cf., Mt 17: 19) A priest who believes who does not have Holy Water is more effective than a priest who does not believe and yet has a fire truck of Holy Water.

    Also, it is the case that things often take multiple blessings. For this, as with other things, there is a process. As a priest who has blessed houses with all kinds of accompanying strangeness, I can speak from experience of using water blessed with the Roman Ritual and with the Book of Blessings. Both have been equally effective.

    I will happily check out your website. I look forward to it. What, by the way, are “sissy mary recordings”?

    Grace and Peace,
    Fr. S.

  111. Girgadis says:

    God Bless you, Father S, for asking what I didn’t dare. For that matter, I’m still wondering how a demon can be “placed” in a gym, but I’m probably better off not knowing.

  112. Mandrivnyk says:

    Somehow, I suspect I’ll regret saying this but here goes. In general, of course, when people talk about demons haunting this-or-that location, or threatening to send one? They are, well, either lying of delusional. That said, it *is* entirely possible to summon an entity and yes, direct it to a given location – or, of course, equally possible that one of those critters prowling this world have simply decided to make their home in a place likely to lead people astray.

    Nevertheless, the demonic really isn’t worth that much concern – and I tend to think it’s a little dangerous to concern yourself too much with them. And, really? Quibbling about formulas, be it the Roman Ritual or the Book of Blessings, or some other approved method? It sounds an awful lot like magick to me – in the end, sacramentals like holy water are only and always effective through God’s grace, and we just can’t boss Him around like some second-rate spirit.

    Anyway, certainly, it can be hard to undo the damage when one critter or another has been invited in – I don’t know if I’ll *ever* be free of the consequences of my own history in this life. That said, I think it can be easily said that as much as demons hate us, they are also terrified of us, or at least, who we serve.

  113. bookworm says:

    “I thought Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers or whoever makes Ouija stopped making the boards years ago. Must still be big money in this market.”

    The Ouija board as we know it today was patented and trademarked in the early 20th century. Its inventor sold the rights to Parker Brothers in the 1960s, and the trademark has since passed to Hasbro. The inventor claimed that it dated back to ancient times but the first known evidence of this kind of divination being used (a moveable “planchette” being used to perform something akin to automatic writing) dates back to the mid-19th century Spiritualism craze in the U.S.

    The Wikipedia entry on the history of the Ouija board notes that even some Spiritualists such as Harry Houdini and Edgar Cayce warned people against Ouija boards. Houdini cited an instance in which five people had gone insane after using them. Cayce called them “dangerous.”

    Also, G.K. Chesterton admitted to having tried Ouija boards, or something similar, in the 1890’s when he was going through a crisis of faith than involved some occult experimentation. He did, of course, give that up, but I don’t know if he ever talked about the effect it had on his life, if any.

  114. Here is the story from Fox News:

    The children’s sleepover staple — sold by Hasbro since 1967 — now comes in hot pink, an edition released two years ago that gets tweens to call on “spirits” to spell out answers to life’s pressing questions.

    It’s designed for young girls ages 8 and older, but some say the mysterious product is a “dangerous spiritual game” that opens up anyone, particularly Christians, to attacks on their soul.

    The game continues to be sold at Toys R Us locations in the U.S. and Canada for $19.99, although it’s currently being “phased out,” company officials say …


Comments are closed.