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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 29, 1975)
When Eva Mary Bott stepped off the train at
Earling, Iowa, on an August morning in 1928, "she
appeared anything but diabolical" to Rev. Joseph
But a short while later, when Fathe Steiger said,
"God bless you, child," his impression changed. She
screamed and spit in las face.
Miss Bott had come to Earling for a specific
purpose. She was possessed by the devil and had
come to Earling to be exorcised by Rev. Theophilus
Riesinger and Father Steiger.
The Earling case is the only exorcism in the area
recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.
Signs of demonic possession were evident in Miss
Bott at age 14. However, after extensive examination
by medical doctors, it was decided she should seek
aid from other sources.
Not until she was 40 did ecclesiastical authorities
decide hers was a clear case of demonic possession.
The exorcism was assigned to Father Riesinger, a
Capuchin Father credited with 22 major exorcisms
before he died in 1941.
When Father Riesinger began the exorcism with
the sign of the cross, the woman's body carried
through the air, landed high above the room's door
and clung to the wall "with a tenacious grip."
The woman constantly made noises. At tinges it
was described as the "lowing of a cow" and
During the exorcism, she received only small
amounts of food. Still, she vomited incessantly,
Continued from page 7
"I compare God to- a mass of light. We are a small
stream of that light. When we entered our bodies, we
came in on a silver stream. When that stream is out,
we enter the spiritual world," said Norma.
But in certain cases, a spirit doesn't detach itself
from earth and move upward in to the spiritual realm,
she added. Some examples are the spirits of suicide,
murder or accident victims.
"People who have suffered a violent death have
left their bodies suddenly," Norma said. "Many of
them don't even know they've died."
These spirits, Norma said, often return to inhabit
objects that surround them during their lifetime.
They can only be eradicated, she said, through
"I have performed a few exorcisms," Norma said,
"But I wouldn't want to get into it too deeply. It's a
job that requires all your time and energy. You may
as well forget having any time to yourself or any time
for social life. Exorcists are chosen people who fill a
"Any man who has been in active combat should
have an exorcism," she continued. "When a man has
to kill another, he is in a state of disarray. During this
time a person's aura (energy halo radiating from his
body) is out of focus.
"These evil spirits can attach themselves to a
person at this time."
Exorcism also can help alcoholics, drug addicts
and mentally insane, Norma said. After removal of
the spirit of an alcoholic, her husband cured his
drinking problem, Norma said.
In a dream, Norma said she experienced the
sensation of death. She was in a cave, she said, when
she started to move in a beam of light. The lower half
of her body, she said, had been transformed into a
stream of light.
. Around her, people were dropping back to earth.
They looked like shooting stars, she said.
"That's why religion is so important. Your guides
will only protect you to a certain point. Then faith
has to carry you up. When you fear, you drop back
down," she said.
Norma predicted an increased interest in
"I don't think the world is in that baa of shape,"
she said. "I think the world wide famine in the future
will actually be good for spiritual development.
Whenever a person's material needs are denied, he
starts looking inside himself and wondering why.
He'll start exploring himself as a person.
"In the year 2,000 many Christian beliefs foresee
the end of' the world. It won't be the end of the
world, but it will be the end of an era. There will be a
change, a great revelation. That's why psychic arts are
so important. It's the only way of really preparing for
the future," Jennifer concludes.
according to Wegerer, 20 to 30 times a day.
In his report, Father Riesinger said Miss Bott
emitted materials from her body "diabolical in
nature, containing what appeared to be insects, living
At one point during the exorcism, the woman
assumed a death-like color and seemed on the brink
of death. Father Steiger said, "Great God, she's
dying! I will hasten to get the holy oils." However,
Father Riesinger said it was the devil's trick.
In the church next door to the convent,
parishoners were praying for the woman.
But the voices within Miss Bott knew of the
prayers. "Tell them they plead for nothing," the
Later the woman's head turned to Father Steiger
and raged, "You are the cause of this and it is time to
shut you up."
The next day, while he was returning from a call
to a sick parishoner, "a veil of darkness" fell over his
eyes and the car he was driving struck a bridge. The
car was overhanging the bridge's edge when Father
Steiger regained his sight.
Before entering the room where the exorcism was
taking place, Father Steiger said, "I heard the demons
laughing, shouting to Theophilus, 'We got your
partner, old fool,' and I knew at once the car wreck
had to be the work of Satan. . . there was no other
way for the demons to have known."
Upon entering the room, the possessed woman
addressed him, "Today, he pulled in his proud neck
and was outpointed. What about your new auto, that
dandy car that was smashed to smithereens? It served
Finally on the 23rd day of the exorcism, Dec. 23,
1928, Father Riesinger, using the Roman Ritual, the
Catholic exorcism rite, said "Depart ye friends of
hell! Begone Satan, the Lion of Judah reigns!"
The woman, who had been standing erect upon
the bed, collapsed. The exorcism was over. The
woman opened her eyes and mouth, saying, "My
Jesus, mercy. Praised be Jesus Christ!"
All the central figures in the Earling exorcism died
within 20 years of the 1928 exorcism.
The material and quotations used in this article
were from personal letters and official church
documents as reported in the Omaha World Herald of
Feb. 10, 1974 and Begone Satan, a book about the
exorcism written by Rev. Carl Vogl.
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