Joanne Thomson didn’t like
flying or being cold and it didn’t matter if she was on an assignment to
meet a holy man. She was an attractive woman with wispy blond hair which
curled slightly upwards just past her ear lobes. She had full lips, which
were accentuated with red lipstick, but her most striking feature was her
large china blue eyes highlighted by dark pencil black eye lashes. Her
hair framed her face and her eyes were soft and would invite nearly any
man. She was too beautiful to be just a normal woman with a normal job.
She could have been a model except for the fact she was about 5 feet 3
inches tall, with a small bust and slightly broader hips. Her face was
picture perfect but her body wasn’t tall enough or proportioned enough for
the catwalk so a career in television journalism rather than modeling or
acting was suitable for her.
As she sat on the plane in
her pink jacket, black skirt and stockings with high-heeled shoes, her
feet were cold. It was 7.30pm. She was in a window seat and occasionally
her left arm pressed against the aircraft wall. It was cold. She was
flying approx. 25 thousand feet above sea level and she was not happy.
Occasionally she looked at the passenger on her right, a large man in his
forties with curly dark hair. He would look at her and smile sheepishly.
Aircraft seats are small and his large body seemed to spill over into her
seat. She wondered if he recognized her as one of West Australia’s channel
nine reporters, or was it that he just thought she was lovely. Either way
on this flight at 7.00 pm from Perth to Melbourne she was not happy and
the cold was not the only thing bothering her.
Joanne Thomson had a good
job right until now. She was one of the main reporters for channel 9. She
had a regular camera crew and they did all sort of assignments. Her
favorite were the heart warming stuff like the little girl who found her
lost dog but Joanne didn’t mind doing some serious stuff too. She once
chased a hit man down a lane for an interview only to realize she had run
so fast that she had left her camera crew behind. When she turned into the
lane the cornered hit man told her “listen lady, you are beautiful but I
will shoot you if don’t stop harassing me.” She stood there for a moment
not knowing what to do. The camera crew came around the corner with their
camera light on. The hit man just looked at them and said quite calmly, “I
have nothing to say”. He then just walked into the rear of a restaurant
and was gone. They were going to follow him but the owner came out and
blocked the doorway and wanted to know what was going on. Would the hit
man have said that on camera, probably not but either way if it isn’t on
tape it is not worth anything.
The work was steady and
interesting and she had her fan club. Men wrote to her, proposed to her,
sent her chocolates for about six months it was going so well, until May
2006. One evening her production manager John Sinclair called her into the
office. He wasn’t the most handsome man. He had brown tight curly hair,
always immaculately dressed, but guarded with his thoughts. They talked
briefly and he told her he wanted to talk to her about something but that
could only be done at dinner, blah blah blah, the standard “I want to take
you out” line that men of power like to use. She said yes, because he was
her boss, he was 48 and she was 25 and she really didn’t know how to say
no to him.
Mr. John Sinclair took her
to a lovely romantic expensive restaurant where the champagne flowed. He
told her how great her career was and he was under pressure like you would
not believe at work and he was stressed. He touched her a few times and
apologized to her and asked for her forgiveness in that pretentious
vulnerable way like a school boy wanting to kiss an older girl without her
laughing in his face. He started talking about his car, a Mercedes
Kompressor, convertible and “haven’t you seen it, oh why don’t we go for a
ride” !!!! blah blah blah. Before she knew it she was in his convertible,
then in his bed.
The following morning she
was supposed to go to work but stayed home. She was supposed to call him
if she was sick but she didn’t think he would mind. She didn’t know what
to think. She was dating a nice man until this happened and she just
didn’t know what to do about it all.
It was Friday when she came
to work and pretended nothing had happened. He had called her into his
office. He usually did this to discuss assignments. On this particular
occasion he had a bar bell on the floor behind him with some weights
attached. He seemed larger across the chest and flushed. It appeared as
if he had been working out only a few minutes before she had come in. He
talked to her at first about her next assignment that was supposed to be
an interview with the retiring Premier. Then suddenly, as if nothing had
happened between them he told her had booked a weekend for two at a winery
and he would pick her up about 6pm. She noticed he wasn’t shy any more; he
didn’t need any alcohol to make him brave either. She had been conquered
and now ruling would take place. This time she said no. He looked puzzled.
He raised his eyebrows for a moment as if he wasn’t sure what the word
“no” meant. There was awkward silence for a moment so Joanne left the
Things were ok for about a
week when she received detailed instructions from Mr. John’s Sinclair’s
secretary Fiona as to what was happening next week. She was to fly to
Melbourne to do a story about a weekend festival of healing about to take
place and the apparently miraculous cures that were happening in a small
church in Frankston. Joanne had a brief handwritten outline in Mr.
Sinclair’s hand writing with words like “opportunity” and “career
expansion” in it but most of the details was coming from Fiona’s mouth.
She would forward the details to the Melbourne office and a crew would go
with her and do the story. She tried to take it all in; she was to fly to
Melbourne across the country for a story. She didn’t bother to ask why.
She looked at Fiona for an answer but she said nothing. The conspiracy of
silence speaks louder than any words. She just looked down. How much did
she know? John Sinclair had a way of “being out of the office” or far away
when such controversial decisions were made. He was an assassin. Joanne
was in no position to complain, her contract was up for renewal in a few
months time and she had agreed to accept travel as part of her job
description. “Travel” could mean only a few miles or all the way to
She walked away and tried
not to show her anger and disappointment. This is what happens often to
attractive women who are strong.
As Joanne sat in the
departure lounge waiting for her flight to leave Perth, she received a sms
message from her friend Julia. It said, “you are right, Rosaline is coming
next week”. The missing pieces of the jigsaw fell into place. Rosaline De
Angelo was a new reporter from Melbourne Channel 9. She had long dark
curly hair, an olive complexion and wore large gold or white earrings. She
came to the attention of all the reporters and management in Perth when
she did a report on a credit card fraud in Melbourne. The camera angle was
high and as Rosaline gave the report it appeared as if she was topless.
She tossed her long dark Latin hair and that just got everyone going. The
production crew in Perth watched with more than a little enthusiasm when
she moved a little upwards revealing that she in fact was wearing a
cocktail dress. Rumors abounded that Rosaline De Angelo was coming to
Perth and now it seemed to be true. She was probably given more scope to
broaden her experience in Perth. John Sinclair would try and broaden her
experience. In this business, for women, beauty still counts.
The flight was a little
bumpy and Joanne decided to take out her manila folder and look at her
notes as the plane made its way across the continent towards Melbourne.
She felt the man next to her just by his body language was going to start
some small talk. He kept looking at her and moving around. He was looking
at her manila folder. She put some earplugs in her ears and connected them
to her ipod. She pretended to turn it on. It worked, he was looking
elsewhere. She opened the folder and had a quick look at her assignment.
In front of her was a
photocopied article from a newspaper and some A4 notes attached. The
article showed the photograph of a smiling Mrs. Lockington, “kicking up”
her heels. She was 82 years of age and had arthritis in her left leg
since she was 38. Now she was completely cured of arthritis not only in
her leg, but also in all of her body. Apparently after 44 years of pain
she had been cured of arthritis not by any medication, but by prayer and
the work of the Frankston Inner healing group of St.Luke’s Church. The
article went onto say that Mrs. Lockington’s condition was a direct result
of demon possession in her body, rather than any other biological
condition. Mrs. Lockington was in perfect health; the story went on, until
she was 38 years of age. It was 1962 being married to a truck driver Mrs.
Lockington became lonely and missed her husband while he was away driving
interstate. When he did come home, she felt the love in their marriage was
gone and she no longer had feelings for him. During one of his long road
trips she had an affair with a man who was a mutual friend. She loved him
so much and was considering leaving her husband. What transpired then is
not what Mrs. Lockington had expected. Her husband returned home early one
day from his trip after resigning from his job. He had been thinking about
the strain his job had put on his marriage and he decided to quit. He was
going to concentrate on being a driver only on a daily basis. Mrs.
Lockington did not know what to say and so said nothing.
To her surprise her husband
became more loving and found a job as a bus driver with more acceptable
shifts. Mrs. Lockington was now torn between her husband and the man who
had been her lover. She no longer saw her lover and he made no attempt to
contact her. Wondering what was taking place in both of her men’s minds
was tormenting her. She became ill and was hospitalized. Her husband
blamed himself for her attack of “nerves”. He promised he would be a good
husband if she would just give him a second chance. She considered it, and
then decided she would give her husband a second chance. She didn’t tell
him about her affair and she was discharged from hospital with a slight
arthritic pain in her left leg. Her mother also had arthritis so this was
nothing unusual. The arthritis did not go away.
On May 2nd 2006,
Mr. Lockington was taken to hospital after a heart attack. He lay in
Frankston public hospital on the edge of death, drifting in and out of
consciousness. He had been a loving husband since he had given up his long
distance truck driving. Mrs. Lockington came to the conclusion that he
really did love her; it was the stress of the job that had strained him
and their relationship. She felt guilty that she had the affair and felt
guilty that she had not told him. Now that he was on death’s door she
agonized whether to tell him and ask for forgiveness or allow him not to
know leaving her in terrible conflict. She didn’t have too long to think
about it because he passed away that night when she had gone home to rest.
Mrs. Lockington drank celery
juice, rubbed the oil in her hip and leg and began drinking Penny Wort tea
because she had heard it was good for arthritis. One doctor said that at
82 she shouldn’t expect the condition to disappear. She renewed her faith
and began attending the Anglican Church serves again. She spoke to her
reverend Charles Torney and he suggested the inner healing group. With
prayer the arthritis left Mrs. Lockington instantaneously. It left because
her demon of guilt left. The comment “demon of guilt” was made by the
intercessor Robert Hills. The article then finished off that a healing
weekend would be held next week for all those in need of healing to
attend. “Intercessor” is an interesting word; Exorcist.
Joanne flipped the article
behind her A4 notes and looked at the article about Robert Hills from
another newspaper. It showed a picture of a man about 30 years of age
seated on a park garden bench. He had neat cut short hair swept to the
side like an American college boy. He was wearing a black t shirt, blue
jeans and white tennis shoes. He looked like so many other young men
except for the look on his face. He had a stare; an intensity not found in
the face of young men very often, like the photographic session was of
great inconvenience to him. It was a black and white photo but she could
tell that his eyes must be blue.
The article told how Robert
Hills was a nutritionist then “suddenly” he had become interested in
spiritual healing. This occurred over 6 months ago, and in that time he
and his group had healed a great deal of people in the Frankston area,
many suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses. The story probably
would not have even made it to the papers except for the fact that the
healing weekend was approaching.
Joanne flipped the article
and had a sheet of “links”. She had written the name of the movie “The
Exorcist” as well as the names of some occult websites. She also had some
references to the Melbourne office who could help her build her story if
need be. She knew very well that modern TV. journalism wasn’t about
information it was about entertainment. She also knew she was in a catch
22 situation. If she did a poor job on this story, she would have to stay
in Melbourne, to “develop more”. If she did a good job, then her skills
would be self evident and she would need to stay in Melbourne where she
would be of great value. She didn’t want to stay in Melbourne, she was a
Perth girl, her family was in Perth but there was little she could do. She
knew right from the time she left college that attractive women become TV.
Journalists or anchorwomen. She was ahead of most in her class in terms of
looks and she knew it. She was the flavor of the month until she rejected
her boss and Rosaline De Angelo came along. Her boss now had a desire for
the woman of Italian descent. If she became pregnant or ugly then she
would drop down and then Joanne would come up. This healing weekend was a
minor story for television but it was a major story of Joanne’s life.
She put her notes away as
she felt a slight change in the pressure in her ears. The plane must have
been descending. It started to feel bumpy and she was still cold. She
looked at her watch and it was another 15 minutes to landing. She took the
ear phones out of her ears and put the ipod away.
“Are you here to see
friends”? The man beside her asked. She looked at him and he was smiling
“No I am here for work”
“Oh what do you do”? The man
Joanne thought about it for
a moment. She could have lied, said anything but she felt it wouldn’t end
the conversation no matter what she said.
“I work for channel 9”
“Wow that would be a good
job, what do you actually do….”
For the first time in her
life, Joanne couldn’t wait to be in Melbourne.
While Joanne was still in
the sky flying towards Melbourne, Bruce Cartwright had just finished
delivering the “Frankston Leader” in his area. It was the local paper, and
even though it didn’t pay well, Bruce was happy to deliver it in his area
as a second job. He was a stocky man, 35 years of age. He had shoulder
length brown hair and a moustache. As he approached his block of flats in
Petrie Street Frankston, he was tired and cold but satisfied he had
completed his deliveries. He had one newspaper left and that was for him.
The flat where Bruce lived
was a very average place. A row of 10 flats made with grey concrete
bricks with white painted window frames and guttering. It would have been
a nice place about 20 years ago, but now it looked run down and unkept.
The white paint was chipped and flaking off the wooden frames and you
could see patches of grass growing here and there in the spouting. It was
home for single mothers, alcoholics, people with other addictions,
non-English speaking immigrants and an ex prisoner like Bruce. He didn’t
have much of a choice where to live with a history of assault and indecent
assault. He had the flat closest to the street. You could see the Venetian
blinds in the lounge room were crooked, stuck, un able to fall properly to
the bottom of the windowsill in a nice level pattern. Bruce didn’t care
and no one else did either.
It had just finished raining
and it was cold. Melbourne was having a cold and wet spring like it used
to have before the drought started approx. 6 years ago. Melbourne
residents had been getting used to sunny winter days when inexplicable the
cold weather had returned. It was windy too, the cool window whipped
around the long brown hair of Bruce Cartwright. His two jobs, one as a
street sweeper and the other as a walker was helping him to trim down a
little. Being a street sweeper was ok. He pushed “the green machine”
around, a motorized sweeper for the City of Greater Dandenong. He was
grateful for the work and so far it was steady.
It was dark as Bruce felt
the handle of the old fly wire door and pulled it open with a loud squeak.
He felt around for the keyhole and then put his key in to unlock the door.
The security light globe needed replacing but he didn’t really need it.
Bruce entered the flat and
turned on the lounge room light. The weak yellow bulb showed a very
Spartan apartment. He had an old green vinyl couch which he got for free
from the Salvation Army and a brown chair, which he sat in to watch TV. It
was an old TV. And had a cheap internal aerial on it shaped in the typical
“v” pattern. There were no photographs or magazines lying around just an
old bible on the coffee table.
He put the heater on in the
lounge room and went to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
In the kitchen the weak
yellow light illuminated a sparsely decorated kitchen. He had a small bar
refrigerator, which is all he needed, and a few pots and pans. In the
cupboards there was little crockery and cutlery. Even though he was on his
own his flat was Spartan, but he saw no need to buy what he considered
He made himself a cup of
Jasmine tea. He had acquired a taste for it recently then sat back down to
read the local paper he had been delivering. He opened it up and began
scanning. He looked at the photos and headlines mainly. Only a few months
ago he would have had difficulty even doing that, as he was semi
illiterate in the past. Not much attracted his attention until page 6.
In the bottom right hand
corner was an advertisement for the healing weekend to be held off the
Mornington Peninsula freeway, near Rutherford exit. Bruce got up and took
a large pair of scissors from one of the drawers in the kitchen and put it
on the newspaper by the advertisement. He read the advertisement again
slowly, carefully. He ran the words through his mind…. a weekend of
healing and prayer…donation only…” He looked at the advertisement one more
time and thought about it carefully. Yes, he thought, he would go to that
and began cutting the advertisement out with the large scissors.
It was just before Christmas
the previous year when Bruce Cartwright saw Robert Hills and 2 other men
from the Anglican Church as they visited the Port Phillip Prison in
Laverton. Bruce could see them at the end of the corridor in the distance.
Through the bars of his prison cell with his arms out of the bar, his
hands clasped casually together, he watched Robert Hills and the two older
men walk slowly by in the corridor. Bruce thought Robert looked like a
spoilt pansy college boy and he just wanted to smash his face in. He had
heard they had come down to do some counseling over the next few days for
prisoners who had nominated for such a service. Bruce had not volunteered.
He watched them walk away then sat back on his bed. He couldn’t believe
they were here.
Later Bruce heard some
murmuring coming from the other end of the corridor so he thought he would
check it out. He went back to the bars of his cell and looked to the far
right of the corridor. It seemed like the group were blessing one of the
prisoners, Jack, mad Jack. He could see the hand movements, the closed
eyes, the sign of the cross being made in the air and the murmuring coming
from him while Robert Hills and the other 2 men stood by, eyes closed.
Bruce couldn’t take it any more.
“Hey, he doesn’t need a
prayer, he needs a miracle” He yelled out in their direction. The older
man continued to pray but Robert Hills and the other man looked in his
“It’s all bullshit, there is
no God here man” Bruce yelled out. The three men continued to pray for
Jack and Bruce kept interjecting. There was then a moment of silent
prayer. Robert Hills slowly approached Bruce, who was still standing and
looking down the corridor.
“What, got something to
“Peace be with you”. Robert
Hills said quietly and politely.
“You are full of shit. There
is no peace here, this is a jail, and God is not hearing any of us” Bruce
“You don’t believe that do
you”? Robert enquired.
“Yes asshole, don’t come in
here and tell me about God” He snarled.
“Are you a Christian”?
“I’m nothing I’m in jail and
there is jack shit you can do about it” Bruce replied.
“Well that is not true, we
can help you” Robert said as his companions now joined him and both were
looking at him intently.
“There is no God, and if you
were me you would believe that too. There is nothing you can do, you can’t
set me free, and I am stuck here for another 8 months and that is it. All
this teaching and talking is all bullshit. You come here with your fancy
talk its all bullshit this religion crap. Why don’t you just piss off” He
said angrily. There was moment of silence. Both Robert and his companion
were staring intently at him.
“Are you scared of me”?
“You, me scared of you, you
fucking worm, I will smash your face in you piece of shit”.
Bruce yelled his right fist
clenched and putting it close to his own face.
“Tomorrow at 10am, we will
be here again; would you like us to pray for you”?!! Robert enquired.
“Up yours” Bruce replied.
“You are scared” Robert said
with a smile.
“I am not scared of you
“Good, do you want a healing
session now”? Robert replied
“What…healing what,…no I
don’t want any of that shit”!
“Good we will make an
appointment with you tomorrow 10 am, ok, tough guy….we shall see how tough
Bruce just stared at them
both as they turned away and continued to walk down the hallway. He had
nothing more to say, because he was afraid.
10 a.m. came slowly. As he
sat on the toilet bowl in his cell, he felt like he was going to see a
dentist. Bruce got very little sleep that night. He kept tossing a few
things in his mind. The incident yesterday had disturbed him. He was not
accustomed to some one not being scared of him. Robert had come to him
quietly and with out insult had been kind to him and challenged him. He
was calm and confident. Bruce was now tired and confused. He didn’t know
what to expect, what would happen to him, how he would react.
That morning while having
breakfast, he noticed the other prisoners were looking at him a bit
differently. Some looked ashamed some just smiled but most looked at him
curiously. Bruce could refuse to go, say to the correctional staff that he
officially didn’t consent and therefore the appointment was against his
will, but then he would look like a coward in front of the other men. He
couldn’t have that, he needed to be strong.
At 10.10am he heard the
footsteps coming to his cell. They were the footsteps of 4 burly
correction officers in blue over alls. They stopped at his cell door. They
had their utility belts on including plastic wrist ties. Bruce just looked
at them. They stared at him back. Bruce stood up and walked to the cell
door as they commenced to open it. He felt like he was going to be
executed. They said nothing. He turned his back to them. He knew the
procedure; he had to be handcuffed with plastic ties to be escorted to an
interview room. He was a dangerous prison, maximum security, and no
chances were taken with him. He felt the plastic ties go around his wrists
tightly; the correctional staff did this through the cell bars. He heard
the door open. He was supposed to step out of his cell, not they come in,
that would still be dangerous to the correctional officers. Bruce could
still use his feet and head. He played the game and stepped out. He
started walking to the interview room.
When the door to one of the
interview rooms opened, Bruce was surprised to see Robert Hill sitting at
the table with a woman old large enough to be his grandmother. Her name
was “Elsie” as she had it on her visitor badge. She looked about 70 and
had large glasses. She smiled and so did Robert. Robert was dressed in a
black suit, white shirt and dark tie. He had a gold necklace outside his
shirt. He looked like a Mormon preacher. Elsie was dressed in a simple
purple polo neck jumper, and black skirt. She had a gold crucifix on her
ample bosom. Behind them was a video camera on a stand. There was a seat
for Bruce. He stood for a moment. The room was vivid white. It looked like
a prison interview room. It looked like a hospital psychotic wardroom. It
looked like a room where there was a lot of pain and suffering. It was
sterile clean and but unhealthy. It was devoid of warmth.
“Please sit down” Robert
said and indicated the chair. Robert sat down. The guards stood behind him
and he heard the door close. His hands were still tied and would remain
that way. He was a violent man.
“This is Elsie; she is an
intercessor and deliverer at the Frankston church”
“Hello Robert” she said with
a German Dutch accent.
“Inter what, deliverer
what”?? Bruce thought. He didn’t reply. Robert indicated the video camera
that was aiming at Bruce.
“We have a camera here that
will record the session. You can refuse this appointment and refuse to be
video taped, that is your right. Do you wish to proceed?” Robert asked
“What are you going to do”?
Bruce said in a confused voice.
“We are going to pray for
you” Elsie said.
Bruce thought about it then
laughed. Robert and Elsie smiled.
“Really”?? He said.
“Yes,” Robert replied.
“Ok, Bruce replied. “You can
turn the video on”
“It is already on”
“What, what would have
happened if I had said no?”
“We would turn it off”
“Yeah but you would already
have it on.” Bruce said
“We need to record your
consent to tape; do we have your consent”? Robert said
“Yeah” Bruce said half
laughing…Ok, lets do it. Is it going to hurt?”
There was a long pause.
“We hope not Bruce” Elsie
Bruce laughed again, “Ok, I
am ready” he said.
“Are you sure?” Robert
“Yeah” He said.
“I am so glad to hear it”
Robert replied. There was a long pause.
“Close your eyes Bruce as we
pray for you” Robert said.
Bruce closed his eyes and
heard Elsie’s voice in a calm manner.
“Lord bless us here today.
We are here in the name of Jesus to pray for the deliverance of Bruce your
son. Guide us and let your holy spirit enter the room and us. Let it guide
us and fill us with your love and wisdom. Amen.”
“Amen” Robert concluded.
After a moment Robert spoke
in a more authoritative voice.
“In the name of Jesus, I saw
to all emissaries of the evil one who may be here. I command you to leave.
I claim this space, this time, this people for the Lord Jesus Christ and
forbid any activity by any satanic beings.”
Elsie then added “ I claim
protection in the name of Jesus Christ for each one of us or families our
friends our property, our finances, our health and everything else that
pertains to us from any revenge or other dirty tricks from the enemy.”
In a louder voice “In the
name of Jesus, I cut off any spirits inside this person from any help they
might get from outside spirits or from any others inside the person. I
forbid any spirits inside this person to cause any violence any throwing
up or other showy behavior” There was a long pause. Bruce felt his wrist
ties get a little tighter.
“I bless your conception,
Bruce, God wanted you, and Jesus wanted you. Go back to the womb Bruce”
Elsie’s voice spoke gently. “What are you feeling,”?
For a moment Bruce didn’t
know what to say but he did feel warm with this game so he said, “I feel
“Thank you Jesus, I bless
you in the womb, now we move to you being one month old I bless you at one
month old Bruce, Jesus blesses you at one month” Elsie continued in a
smooth soothing voice. She continued talking and Bruce was finding that he
was going back in time, remembering his fetus state at 8months. He wanted
to be aloof from it all but his feelings suddenly emerged.
“I feel sad….. I feel sad…”
Bruce said in a voice with feeling that surprised him.
“Why Bruce”? Robert asked.
After more than 20 seconds.
“My mum didn’t want me…she
didn’t want me…. I know she didn’t I can feel it and she told me later,
she wanted an abortion but it was too late.”
“Jesus blesses you. Give
your feelings to Jesus. He was there, he knew how you were, ask him to
bless you and protect you. He loves you” Robert said in a calm soothing
voice and for the first time since he was about 8 years old, Bruce felt
warm streams of tears flowing down his cheeks. He found it hard to stop
these emotions. He didn’t think where he was or who was watching he was
crying and he couldn’t stop.
The tears poured and fell on
his lap. His hands were tied and he couldn’t wipe them. He continued into
the session, Jesus blessing his birth and his infant years. He was aware
his mother was troubled but as a young boy he didn’t know what it was. He
was a happy boy and had many friends. He went to a government school but
occasionally went to church with his aunty. He believed in God. He grew up
on a farm in Gippsland which was full of happiness until he was eight.
As the intercession stopped
at 8, Bruce became restless. He started to squirm in the chair and making
“I forbid any violence,
throwing up or other showy behavior in the name of Jesus Christ. I forbid
any spirits inside this person from any help they may get from outside
spirits or from any others inside the person.” Robert said in a more
Bruce calmed down. After a
moment in a weak voice.
“I was walking in a park,
and a man called out to me.”
“Why,”? Elsie said.
“He had some chocolate and a
red toy car. He asked me to come over. He told me his name was Mr. Henry.
He gave me the chocolate. I unwrapped it and he had some two. He then
pulled my pants down and I thought he was going to strap me or hit me with
a piece of wood. I waited……….”
There was a long pause… I
felt something go in my ass, I felt his arms on my shoulders, and it was
hurting.” There was a long pause.
“I didn’t think something
like that could happen to a boy.”
“Was it your fault Bruce”?
Elsie said softly.”!!
There was no reply from
“No I mean was it your fault
he did that to you”? Elsie said
“…he said it was”
“It was not your fault
Bruce, you didn’t deserve that” Robert said gently, “Jesus was there, can
you see him.”
“No, no” Bruce said.
“Look behind you” Robert
Bruce was shocked,
surprised. He started breathing deeply.
“He is behind me, I could
see him, I turned around” He said.
“Give your pain to Jesus,
let him take it from you, in the name of Jesus your pain is gone, he takes
your suffering. You are forgiven” Robert said soothingly. Bruce shook for
a moment and for the first time since he was that little boy he said “Help
me Jesus…. please help”
As the inner healing
continued the layers of Bruce’s early life were peeled back exposed and
He ran home that day to his
mother and wanted to tell her what had happened, but she was lying on the
couch drunk and asleep. She often did that when his father was not home.
The Police had been to his house before but he didn’t know why. He thought
if he complained the bad man Henry would call the Police and he would go
to a boy’s home. He went to his room, in pain and cried.
From that moment on, he had
a troubled life moving from victim of crime to perpetrator of crime. He
assaulted schoolboys then men then women because of anger then he did it
for money. He thought he could be some big time hit man but he wasn’t
lucky and clever enough. He was arrested and sent to jail. He was still
lucky, the magistrate was told only a little of what he had done so it was
an eight month sentence.
During the inner healing
session the correction officers were entitled to take a break but didn’t.
They were captivated by what they were seeing and didn’t want to miss it
After an hour of tears,
sadness and exposition Bruce sat there hunched over with his wrists still
tied. He sat there quietly.
“Anger, are you there”?
Robert said in a gentle soothing voice. There was no response.
“In the name of Jesus I
command you to speak to me anger”, Robert said.
“Yes I am here”!! Bruce said
in a voice that was strong, and evil.
“How long have you been
there”? Robert said
“Along time, a very long
time “Bruce said raising his head.
“How many generations
“I came with his mother and
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I order you to leave Bruce now, I forbid any violence or any act that will
embarrass Bruce” Robert said casually.
Bruce had a look of
confusion on his face then burped.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I order you to leave Bruce and get in the box, or I will have the angels
descend and force you in…”
“I am in the box, I know
about the box.” Bruce said.
“Good, now in the name of
Jesus Christ I order all your evil spirits, helpers to leave Bruce and go
into their boxes.” Robert added.
There was a moment of
silence. Bruce sat up tall, he looked confused.
“Are you there, guilt”?
“I don’t want to go not him,
not now,” Bruce said.
“In the box you go guilt and
never return in the name of Jesus Christ.”
There was not a sound or
“Angels of the Lord strike
the evil spirit with your swords….”
“Alright, I am going, I am
going.” Bruce replied.
In the name of Jesus Christ
I forbid your return to Bruce, his family or anyone close to him or us. I
command you in the name of Jesus Christ to stay in the box. The boxes are
now to be thrown in the fire made by the angels, never to return. I forbid
any other spirits to take their place or to enter the life of Bruce and
his family. In the name of Jesus I ask the holy spirit to fill…”
“Oh…my nose… my leg… “Bruce
said in a surprised voice. He opened his eyes and looked up at them.
“My nose isn’t blocked, my
leg is loose”
“That is the holy spirit
Bruce. You are cleansed of evil and we ask the Holy Spirit to enter into
your heart, mind, spirit and soul,” Elsie said.
“Say the Lord’s prayer
Bruce…Our father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…” Robert started
then Elsie repeated over again. Bruce joined in after they had repeated it
three times. He looked up at the ceiling and opened his mouth. He laughed
and then a tear streamed down his right eye. There was a long period of
“Yes, thank you…I was not
alone…. I am not alone”
“You are never alone Bruce,
Jesus is there with you and he is going to show you a better life” Elsie
There was a moment of
silence as Bruce closed his eyes. He moved his head slightly from side to
“It is so clear to me now….
my nose is clear”
“We will continue to pray
for you Bruce and you can pray to. Jesus has now entered your life and he
wants to listen to you and guide you” Robert said.
After another round of prays
for Bruce, a total of almost 2 hours had passed. When Bruce was led away
from the interview room he was smiling as if he had been drugged. His eyes
were glazed and he walked slowly back to his cell. When there his wrist
ties had to be cut off and when they were he sat slowly on the edge of his
bed. Even the experienced correction officers had never seen anything like
this before. Robert then gave him a soft pocket book version of the New
Testament. Bruce read it. He was semi literate but it didn’t stop him.
Each night the words seemed clearer and he read it faster. The words were
no longer obstacles, but flowed easily.
months he was released from prison and given a job as a street sweeper.
His nose was no longer congested and his left leg felt loose and flexible.
These were two conditions he had since he was very young. He felt lighter,
younger and happier because a great burden had been lifted from his body.
He couldn’t share this
experience with anyone he knew, they would not understand or believe him
but he was now a new man. He could start afresh as if he was 7 years old a
time before the spirits of anger, disgust and guilt had taken over his
mind and body. He would never perform an evil act again. He had Jesus by
his side and he was not afraid to work an honest job or afraid to live. He
would choose to walk away from evil. He was now a convert, another saved
soul to add to God’s army.
As Joanne Thompson went to
collect her luggage at the baggage claim, she was aware of the cold. She
saw the Melbournians with coats on some of them wet greeting loved ones as
they claimed their luggage. Melbourne was having a wet winter and Spring,
to make up for the last 6 years of drought. As she waited patiently to get
her luggage she noticed some youths looking at her. They probably
recognized her. She looked down. The last thing she wanted was to say
hello to strangers.
When the sliding doors open,
she was unprepared for the cold and wet. The wind was strong and it blew
the rain at a low angle that caused water droplets to hit her with
intensity. She saw a man in the distance try to open his umbrella but the
swirling wind crumpled it up. He ran quickly to the available taxi and got
it. It was her turn and she walked towards the next approaching taxi. She
heard the distinctive sound of the tires on the wet road as the yellow
taxi came and stopped for her.
In an instant a smiling
middle-aged Pakistan male taxi driver emerged and quickly ran to her to
pack her luggage in the back. He wouldn’t have moved so fast for a male
passenger. He probably wouldn’t have moved at all, just popped the rear
and have the man put his own luggage in. Joanne could feel her hair being
blown wildly, the cold wind against her legs. The taxi driver quickly put
her bags in. Joanne got in the back seat of the car.
In side the taxi, it was
warm and smelt of new plastic. When the driver got in the car it was very
quiet. The car was pleasantly insulated from the bad weather.
“Ambassador Hotel Nepean
Highway Frankston” Joanne said.
He smiled but before he
could even drive off, she handed him a note with hand drawn instructions
how to get there, via the freeway Mentone, not all the way on Nepean
Highway, that would add 20 minutes more on the trip. The driver looked at
it and took it all in.
“Freeway, not Nepean Highway
all the way”. Joanne said.
He nodded. It was just as
well, he was going to go to Nepean Highway and clock up extra fare.
The trip from Melbourne’s
Tullamarine international airport to Frankston is over an hour. For a
Perth woman this is a long trip and she watched the endless procession of
city lights flash by her rear passenger window. Every so often the wind
howled and the rain was constant. It is generally a soothing sound but not
tonight for Joanne. With the time difference between Perth and Melbourne
it was almost midnight and she didn’t feel like being in a taxi for about
an hour but she had little choice. She wanted to rest her head against the
window and maybe close her eyes, but she was not alone and couldn’t do
that. The taxi made its way towards Melbourne and it was all a blur of
lights through the water droplets of the passenger window. She saw the
Crown casino, the Yarra River then highways, car after car. She felt
alone, cold and even a little scared. She couldn’t let her guard down.
After traveling for about 45
minutes Joanne was happy to see the large “Frankston” sign indicating the
beginning of the freeway and even more happy to see her driver take the
turn. She was getting sick of the trip by now and was looking forward to
getting to the hotel. The rain was easing but still present. The wipers
occasionally wiped the rain away on the slow setting. Alongside the
Mornington Peninsula freeway, was blackness and Joanne was surprised that
it was so dark, only a flicker here and there in the distance on both
sides of houses. When she saw the “Thompson road” exit she looked more
carefully but saw little except the road bridge. After a moment she saw
“Rutherford Road” exit and then the car zipped by. She saw nothing but
blackness but this is where the healing weekend was to be held in 2 days
time. On the street directory it is a barren landscape and from the car at
night at least that is how it appeared. She would have to return there in
the next day or so to get some background footage.
When the taxi arrived at the
main reception door of the Ambassador Motel, Joanne was relieved. The wind
was still howling and the rain was still heavy. The Ambassador Motel was a
red brick hotel/motel straight from the 1970s. It was home for now and
Joanne was at least happy to be off the road. It had been a long trip and
it was dangerous to be on the road in such weather.
When Joanne opened the door
of her room number 17 she was pleasantly surprised. The concierge brought
in her luggage and put it neatly by the feet of her double bed. He left
her in peace. The walls were a creamy yellow color, warm, cozy very
intimate, very Melbourne. The white curtains were a quaint touch framing
the cottage type windows. The motel was not attempting to be pretentious
by being an ultra modern style motel, nor was it a neglected building from
the past. It was not the most exclusive motel but it was convenient for
her and in the big suburb of Frankston.
Joanne slowly unpacked her
bags and looked for her favorite track pants and top. They were maroon in
color, nothing fancy but she loved wearing them when it was cold. She
would have a busy day ahead tomorrow so she might as well turn in soon.
She opened the drapes a little and looked outside. She had a view of
Nepean highway. The window was howling and flags, which she didn’t
recognize, were blowing wildly in the wind. Their rope and metal clamps
were tapping furiously at the metal poles. She could not see the ocean but
she knew it was behind the houses on the highway. The cold wind and rain
against the window made her feel lonely and sad. She was a Perth girl and
this was not her type of city or weather. This was her punishment for
disagreeing with her manager. He had used her “travel” clause in her
contract to send her away to the edge of the country to the edge of a
large city to do a story that could have been covered by the Melbourne
office, if at all. A tear came to her eye. Was this the beginning of the
end of her on air TV? Career. She was only 25, and each year the girls get
better looking and more obedient. What would happen to her now?
She closed the drapes and
put a bedside lamp on. It gave out a gentle glow in the room. She didn’t
like complete darkness.
As Joanne was ready to go to
bed, sad and miserable, Father O’ Shea was seated in his favorite chair by
the window in his room in the St.Monica’s vicarage complex in Robinson
street Moonee Ponds. The dark red brick building was somber almost
forbidding. It was next to St.Monica’s boy’s school, which has stood
proudly since 1919.
Father O’Shea was seated in
his humble room. Above his bed a simple brown cross. On the bedside table,
next to his bed, the warm glow of the lamp illuminated the room. In
another corner was a small fan heater that blew warm air gently through
out the room. Behind it was a small open bookshelf with many books.
Against one wall, was a chest of drawers, burgundy in color, old and solid
that contained shirts and a few odds and ends of stationery that belonged
to Father O’Shea. On top of that, on a white folded tablecloth stood a
medium sized color television set. On the other side was a standing
cupboard the same color with a photograph of Father O, Shea with the Pope
John Paul the second. It was taken in 1986 when Father O’Shea went on his
official visit to the Vatican.
To the left of the contents
of this room was the window where Father O’Shea sat. The humble room
didn’t reflect the imposing man that was Father O’Shea. He was 66 years
old, but age had not mellowed him. He still didn’t wear reading glasses.
He was solid. His reddish yellow hair was just beginning to go grey.
He sat reading a biography
of Bob Santa Maria, the man who made religion a political issue in
Australia and kept the Australian Labor Party out of office for more than
20 years. From his chair he had a view of a large big tree, that’s all,
but he liked it when he heard the birds sing. He was a retired priest and
an Edmund Rice Christian Brother teacher. He had been a priest at
St.Monica’s Catholic church and a part time teacher at the boys Primary
School for more than 40 years. He was past retirement age but still took a
few classes a month. He chose to live on the premises of St.Monica’s
because he felt comfortable there and hade had been there for such a long
time. He was a pleasant looking man, almost stereotypical of an elderly,
cheery Irish priest, but things were different years ago.
The Christian brothers of
the Edmund Rice order wore black shirts and trousers in summer and a long
waist robe in winter. Right up until the late 1970s he carried a leather
strap about a foot long, in one of his long sleeves. When he walked the
corridors of St. Bernard’s or patrolled the schoolyard of St. Monica’s
boys Primary school not far away, the boys stopped their misbehaving. He
strapped often, the Christian brothers were known for that and their no
nonsense approach to education in general. Father O’Shea was no
different. He was a disciplinarian then and age had mellowed him only a
He was happy because over
the last few weeks he felt he was feeling the pendulum swinging away from
faddist secularism to what he considered good old-fashioned Christian
values. The invitation to attend the weekend healing in Frankston was just
what he was looking for. He would grab the curls of boy’s hair and say
“Get a hair cut”. He had seen it all, and heard it all, from what women
now wanted, to boys being in touch with their feminine side. The voices of
protest waned and faded over the years. He was glad the studies now were
beginning to say co educational schools were not necessarily good for boys
and that most boys now saw the silliness and vanity of having long hair.
He had weathered the secular onslaught against the Catholic church of the
1970s and 80s, and come through on the other side. His faith was unshaken
and he stood strong against the accusations of the irrelevance of religion
.He was a man of unquestionable conscience and talent. He was not only a
good teacher and a faithful follower of Christ, but also a demon slayer.
The devil hates men of
strength of character and there was no one he was more afraid of within
the Melbourne Metropolitan area than Father O’Shea. There was no chink in
his armor that the devil could exploit. Father O’Shea did not yearn to
fondle women or boys. His greatest fantasy was to play football and wished
he had the ability at his age to still go out there and kick the ball like
they did. The devil can’t manipulate a man like that, quite the opposite.
Father O’Shea had attended more than his fair share of house blessings,
exorcisms and deliverances as a young priest that he got to be very good
at it. Archbishop Little asked him to be head brother or teacher of the
intervention group of Melbourne which he was happy to do so.
Many deliverances or
exorcisms were now being done in a subtle way but subtle was not Father
O’Shea’s style. He demanded they left their victims and gave them such a
verbal dressing down they left with all their emissaries in a hurry. He
wrote the book “The devil is real” and it became a favorite of John Paul
the second. It was not only based on the many exorcisms that Father O’Shea
had performed but also on the quintessential Christian belief and doctrine
that evil has an origin and a master. The Pope was impressed by the work.
It seemed old fashioned at the time to blame so much of the world’s
problems on the work of Satan, but the fundamentalist Pope was of the
belief the devil was as active today as he was in biblical times.
Father O’Shea was irritated
by much of the modern explanations of mental illness and psychotic
behavior. It was as if the solution to the problem was the calming of a
sea rather than building a stronger boat. After more than 40 years in
God’s service he could tell the difference between a man looking for
attention and the work of demons.
He saw a program on TV. a
few weeks ago about the battle of David and Goliath mentioned in the
Bible. Long regarded as a myth the documentary from the BBC explored the
biblical encounter from a scientific point to determine its validity. It
was long regarded as a myth because of the description of Goliath being 3
meters tall. This would make Goliath approx. 9 feet tall in imperial
measurement, something that was considered to be unlikely. The program
however highlighted the fact that the Dead Sea scrolls mentioned that
Goliath’s height was only 2 meters tall. This would make Goliath approx 6
feet 8 inches tall in imperial measurement, a more realistic figure. Add
to that the fact that the city of Garth where Goliath was from had a
recorded history of tall men and the myth was now reality.
It appeared to Father O’Shea
that science rather than disproving the Bible was now confirming so much
of it. The movie Jurassic Park detailed how cloning of dinosaurs could
take place by taking the blood from a mosquito which had become fossilized
in tree sap all those millions of years ago. The theory being that the
mosquito sat on the dinosaur and sucked some blood from it. It then sat on
a tree bark when it became trapped in sticky tree sap and became
fossilized. It was almost twenty years since that movie was made and there
were still no dinosaurs being cloned. Modern scientists had difficulty
cloning a sheep yet alone a dinosaur. DNA that was supposed to unlock the
mystery of creation, led to more questions than answers. It revealed that
we were so unique, even members of the same family were biologically
different, that we were further away from primates than expected, our
Father O’Shea had felt in
his heart that man was still God’s creation and didn’t feel the pressure
over the last 2 decades to dismiss the book of Genesis or refer to God as
“She” because it upset feminists to think God is male. As for the word
“Gay” being used to describe homosexuals was certainly not his cup of tea
either. To use such a word to describe sodomites was not correct. The
church could not accept such sinners knowingly and willingly in its flock
as parishioners yet alone clergy, according to Father O’Shea.
He had been faithful to the
scriptures and it was this strength that was his armor against Satan. He
felt the 1960s generation was fading into insignificance and their immoral
and wicked ways had caught up with them. They were demanding to be
healthy, young and promiscuous only to find that they were now ageing like
everyone else and were facing their own mortality just like every other
generation before them. They first tried to live with out God, then they
tried to out smart him. Now they knew they could not live without him. God
had won, Father O’ Shea had won. God was right and good, Father O,Shea was
right and good. He would go to the healing weekend and save those who
wanted to be saved. Hallelujah.
It was a cold, wet morning
in Frankston but the wind had subsided. It was Wednesday, middle of the
week, a nothing day. Robert Hill sat in the ABC bookshop café drinking his
English breakfast tea. It was 10am, quiet, and classical music was being
piped through the shop, which he liked. He disliked noise, especially now
since it was school holidays and the children and their mothers would be
everywhere in the shopping center especially the food court. He wanted to
think to be reflective, to be still, and to pray. In his mind he was
conversing with God, thanking him for the opportunity to run the healing
weekend with many members of different Christian dominations. He was
running it through his mind what more needed to be done. In three days
the weekend of healing would begin and he wanted it to be as success.
He had first suggested the
idea to his parish priest the Reverend John Fletcher who in turn mentioned
it to the Synod. From there the ball rolled quickly. Robert had expected
resistance but received very little. Why wasn’t there much resistance? It
is difficult to say. Maybe the different factions thought they should work
with each other as they had the love of Jesus in common. Maybe it was the
desire to combat the publicity of the conspiracy theory book “The Da Vinci
code”, or maybe the Holy Spirit working, or a combination of all three,
but it was organized. He had wanted a healing place like Lourdes and
Fatima where people could come together in this case on a weekend to pray
for health and happiness. Maybe if it went well, it could be an ongoing
event, he would have to wait and see.
As he looked around the
bookstore he heard this mobile phone in his left front trouser pocket,
ring. He grabbed it quickly and noticed the old cafeteria lady look at him
quickly in a disapproving way. As he took the phone from his pocket he
looked at the phone number on his display screen and didn’t recognize it.
“Hello” he said.
“Is this Robert Hill?” The
female voice on the other end said.
“Yes, that’s me” Robert
“Hello, this is Joanne
Thomson from Channel 9 news, we would like to interview this afternoon if
it is possible about the healing weekend.”Joanne said. He knew they were
going to call; he gave the reverend his number.
“Ok.” Robert replied.
“Fantastic, how about 2pm at
St.Luke’s in Frankston”? She enquired.
“That is fine with me”
“Ok. We shall see you at
that time and that location.” She said.
“O.k, bye for now” Robert
“Bye” she concluded.
Robert turned off the phone.
He said it was fine with him but it was far from fine.
He didn’t want to be
interviewed by a television crew with their tight schedules and
superficial, scandalous reporting. He didn’t want his spiritual thoughts
or concepts simplified into quick headlines or edited into catchy
one-liners, but he knew he had little control of that. He felt that
television reporters were creating news rather than reporting. How could
they possibly understand the transition he had been through over the last
twelve months and how could that be conveyed in a quick television
It was July 1995 when a
twenty-year-old Robert Hill had attended St.Francis’Church Lonsdale Street
Melbourne with his Catholic girl friend Samantha Riley. He didn’t want to
go; he was an Anglican and a very lapsed one as well. The number of times
he had been to church since primary school you could count on one hand. He
felt uncomfortable about the church and he felt physically uncomfortable
as well. He had taken Samantha to a motel the night before in the city and
had passionate sex with her. Samantha was under a lot of pressure from her
parents to be a virgin before she married and of course she was under a
lot of pressure from Robert to give herself to him as well. Needless to
say she had done this, a few times already and she was feeling guilty.
On this particularly day,
they arrived for the 10am mass. Both of them felt uncomfortable wearing
the clothes they had worn the night before. Robert had not been able to
shave and he noticed that his stubble had made a rash on Samantha’s face.
He felt dirty in his clothes as he sat down for the service.
As the service began he
wasn’t sure when to stand or sit and had to rely on Samantha to drag his
hand down or lift it up. The priest who looked like the Hammer Horror film
star Christopher Lee then gave his sermon.
Robert remembered listening
to the beginning of it then losing interest. It was about the imbalance
between the wealthy and the poor. It was delivered in such a boring
monotone voice that Robert soon found his eyes wondering around the
church, looking at the stained glass windows, the small paintings of the
stations of the cross and of course the large crucifix on the back wall of
the church. He noticed how realistic and gory it was, the paint that was
meant to resemble blood looked realistic and the face of Jesus illustrated
such pain. Robert continued to look around the church in general when he
felt something delicate land on his head and shoulders. It was as if a
breeze had entered the church or an air conditioner had been turned on.
The unusual thing about it was that the breeze neither felt cold or warm
but gave him a happy content feeling. He couldn’t help but smile at
Samantha who smiled back. He didn’t really understand what had happened
but it would make sense a lot later in life.
It was 2004 and Robert Hill
was now a nutritionist employed by the Community Health Care Centre in
Springvale on a part time basis. During the course of his duties he had
learnt a great deal of how different communities used different foods not
only for nutrition but also medicine in times of sickness. Some of them in
particular the South American and Filipinos had a strong belief in
Christian healing. He found it surprising that some people thought nothing
of eating well and then seeing their faith healer for treatment. Curiosity
got the better of him one day and he saw an advertisement in a newspaper
about the healing service of a traveling born again American evangelist
Timothy Stuart touring Australia. He was holding a service in Narre
Warren, it was winter, cold, and he had nothing else to do so what the
He was late and on arrival
in the Narre Warren community centre he found a medium sized hall full of
singing people, swaying their arms in the air with their eyes closed. He
picked up a paper hymn booklet. He was unfamiliar with the songs. He
looked at it, trying to be a good sport then sat down with the others for
Timothy Stuart then arrived
on the small makeshift stage. He was at least 45 years of age, stocky in
build with close-cropped grey hair wearing a black shirt and trousers with
a grey tie. He started speaking slowly with his American accent, moving
from one part of the stage to the other with the microphone in his left
hand. As he spoke the crowd muttered, “Yes Lord, Hallelujah, Amen,” in
response to his delivery. He then became quite animated, loud and
enthusiastic in his delivery. The crowd was also acknowledging him more
and more with responses of “Hallelujah “and “Amen”.
Robert thought indeed
Timothy Stuart was a great speaker but so far Robert didn’t feel any
compulsion to raise his hands in the air and start muttering, praying or
With the crowd now standing
and singing “Amazing Grace” with tremendous enthusiasm, Timothy Stuart
then asked for people to come forward to receive the Lord.
The First row went then the
second, and then the third. With a swift motion of his right hand and
yelling “receive Jesus”!!! the rows of people would fall down in a state
of ecstasy. Robert watched them lay on the floor quivering for a couple of
minutes as Timothy approached. Row after row of people fell to the ground.
Some lay there in pure bliss, others were praying to themselves. Some were
weeping with joy.
Timothy Stuart came to his
row and yelled, “Receive Jesus”!!! And they all fell down on the floor
around Robert, but Robert just stood there. Timothy came up to him and
looked him right in the eye. Timothy Stuart had wild excited light blue
eyes. He put his right hand on Robert Hill’s forehead and touched it
gently. He began saying slowly, “In the name of Jesus, enter this young
man’s life, he wants you to, he needs you to. If it is your will enter
into this man and let him follow your path Lord”. He repeated it and
Robert Hill thought for a moment Stuart was going to yell “Receive
Jesus”!!! And scare Robert into collapsing. This didn’t happen, Robert
just stood there listening to Timothy Stuart repeating his pray for the
third time and then he found himself rigid and falling to the floor. He
felt hands around him, guiding him down and then he was flat on his back.
He found it difficult to
move his head; his eyes were wide open. He had a vague recollection of
Stuart moving on but most of all he felt his arms and legs quivering .He
felt warm, secure and happy .He remembered where he had felt this before,
but this time on a greater scale. On both occasions he had a head as thick
as a brick, resistant to what was being said around him, and to him, but
somehow, God had broken through his defenses.
There must have been
something special about Robert because he had not intended to receive the
Lord but the Lord had other plans. As he lay there on the carpeted floor,
he could feel the tears building in his eyes. He closed them and the warm
tears flowed down his cheeks and into his ears. He could not remember
weeping like this since he was a tiny boy, but these were not tears of
pain but deep contentment and happiness. Nothing and no one ever affected
him like this before, and he knew there and then that this was some God
and he had a wonderful son. Robert and Jesus had found each other.
After that night, Robert was
no longer the same man. He couldn’t get enough literature about God and
the life of Jesus. He took the brochures, booklets and other reading
matter on offer at this hall and read them ardently. He visited bookshops
and Christian charity shops, picking up a copy of the bible, the New
Testament and literature of the Jehovah’s witnesses. Robert did not feel
uncomfortable with what he was reading, rather the opposite. The
literature confirmed and enhanced what he had really believed in the first
place. There was no solid scientific evidence of the evolution of all
species of creatures yet alone man. Robert believed if there was a long
slow evolutionary process that took millions of years there would be many
skeletons showing wings becoming legs or giraffes growing taller. Not
enough existed to convince him that man was a creation of chance rather
than design. The more he read and explored, the more he was amazed how
history ran through the Bible and science was only just discovering how
the book was more of a record of history rather than a book of myths.
Above and beyond all of this, what really excited Robert, was the mystery
of evil and sickness.
Robert began attending
church again and enrolled in the introductory Inner Healing course
conducted by the Anglican Church in Frankston. It was during this course
that the threads of information and belief came together. It was during
this course that he realized that the battles that take place on earth are
between the forces of good and evil. He saw personally the deliverance of
people afflicted with demons for years simply because the power and
authority of Jesus caste them out. It became clear to him why some people
are bad and why they become like that. In particular, how difficult it is
for them to become good. As a nutritionist it was his job to advise people
to eat well and be healthy but it had not occurred to him that spiritual
health was needed as well. A depressed and low confident individual will
give up healthy habits and will sabotage their efforts to progress simply
because the driving force inside them needed to be healed. Self help books
and courses wouldn’t help because the conflict was deep within the person
The original sin by Adam and
Eve led to our death. We sinned against God and this sin was passed on to
us all. We are all susceptible to influence by demons and his leader
Satan. He offered the world to Jesus in exchange of an act of worship to
him. He entered the body of Judas and then deserted him when his act of
betrayal was done He was there in the garden of Gethsemane trying to make
Jesus doubt himself and fear his trial. He was there when bad things
happened because of bad men and he continues to influence the people of
the world because he is jealous of us and wants to anger God. He is there
when a person suddenly becomes violent, cunning, manipulative, deceitful,
that is his work. He is there to influence the weak, the stupid, the lazy
and the selfish. He offers the lure of wealth and gratification at the
cost of integrity. He is constantly on the look out for recruits and the
greatest defense against him was knowledge, self-discipline and prayer.
Robert’s ministry and advanced studies confirmed in him that we had free
will but that we were constantly in a state of temptation. Alcoholics are
seldom thirsty and many thieves are not poor. The Lord’s Prayer in itself
was an asking of God to deliver us from evil and not to be led to
Robert finished his coffee
and left the cafeteria. How could all of that be explained to a reporter?
Monterey Avenue in Franskton
North, a place in the northern part of Frankston called the “pines” is a
sad place. The housing commission homes are seldom vacant of poverty,
despair or violence. The sunlight exposes a lot of the untidy houses and
front yards with long grass and un repaired cars. The streets are where
the cars scream past with a great deal of noise and the angry music of
today can be heard. Single mothers push their babies in prams and men
often walk with alcohol in their hands. Drugs and alcohol mix here, you
can see it in the eyes of the young inhabitants as they walk past St.
Johns Anglican Church Frankston north. Many of them could benefit by
dropping in but instead the church is patronized by the much older
generation. One of these parishioners is Maggie Stohl.
Maggie’s house was a simple
housing commission home with a yard that had a front wire fence that was
less than a meter high and had no cultivated garden. She tried to have the
lawn cut each month if she could afford it but it wasn’t easy. Maggie was
63 years of age and a regular church attendee. She was a slim woman with
grey shoulder length hair. She wore tracksuit and sloppy tops most of the
time because she couldn’t afford much. Her husband who had died recently
was an alcoholic and he left her with nothing.
She enjoyed the services
conducted by the smiling reverend John Fletcher. When she pulled her
curtain back in the lounge room she could see St. Johns and the reverends
residence. She noticed that his car was not there nor was his wife
Sandra’s blue ford either. Maggie was very agitated. It was 10am and her
grandson was not home.
Her grand son Jason was
troubled but she felt she had to help in some way rear this 17-year-old
boy. Maggie knew her daughter Joanne was an alcoholic and her new
boyfriend Sean was not a nice man. Jason didn’t want to live there and
Maggie wanted to do the best she could to give him the best life he could
possibly have so she offered to have him live at her place. She thought
they would argue with her but they agreed. Jason wasn’t sure if he wanted
to live with his grand mother either but what he was sure of was that he
didn’t want to live with his mother and stepfather.
It was only after a month
being with Maggie that she realized it was a mistake. Jason didn’t listen
to her and went out every night. He didn’t do his schoolwork and no matter
what she did, Jason ignored her. His grades plummeted and Maggie was at a
wits end as to what to do. It accumulated to the point yesterday when she
knew she had to do something about it.
It was about 5.30pm when
Jason walked through the door of Maggie’s home. He was of slight build and
always wore a baseball cap. He had sandy colored hair and a pale
complexion. He always looked weak and tired. He usually walked into the
house then went straight to his room. On this occasion he lingered in the
corridor for some time and Maggie saw a look on his face she had not seen
before. She was a volunteer for the brother hood of St. Laurence clothing
store at Bayside shopping centre and she was accustomed to seeing young
people walk in high on drugs or having a hang over. This was different,
Jason’s blue eyes looked confused, startled. When he looked at Maggie, he
seemed to look right past her. He then went to sleep and slept till about
During this time, Maggie
didn’t know what to do, whether to keep some dinner for him in the
refrigerator or go to sleep. She waited for a long time watched TV then
decided to go to bed. As she went to her bedroom, she heard the front door
close. Jason was gone again. She quickly looked out the curtains in the
lounge room but she could only just see him disappearing in the darkness.
She had no idea where he was going and it was pointless to ask because the
answer was always “out.”
Maggie pulled the curtains
back once again and looked out the window to see if by chance the reverend
John Fletcher’s car was on the driveway. It was not. She wandered what to
do. She had his mobile number but it was expensive to chat on the phone.
She thought of ringing the home number and leaving a message but didn’t
know what to say. She was worried, deeply worried.
Joanne Thomson sat on the
bed with the T.V. on in her motel room. She had her arms behind her back
supporting her as she sat on the bed with her feet outstretched and
crossed over. She was wearing her black waistcoat and short skirt with
black high-heeled shoes. She had just hung up the phone and had arranged
her interview with Robert Hill. With the curtains parted the sky was over
cast and still windy. Occasionally a gust of wind howled against the
window. Along Nepean highway the flags advertising the new Bayside
Shopping Centre were flapping violently in the wind. The metal flag wires
clashed against the pole making an annoying ticking sound, like a child
was hitting the pole vigorously with a coin. It was a windy day, and
Frankston being on the bay was even windier. She could not imagine the
weather improving by the weekend. She hated the wind; it blew her hair all
over the place. She would have to comb it before the interview. It was
Thursday and there didn’t seem anyway the weather would fine up in a few
She sat on her bed running a
few ideas about the interview in her mind when she heard car doors close
in the rear parking area of the hotel. She wondered if it was the camera
crew. She wasn’t sure if she should open the door and see for herself or
wait until they knocked on the door. She sat upright and turned off the
T.V. She looked at the door expecting to hear a knock when the phone rang.
She picked it up. It was the receptionist. Her crew was here and would she
come down to meet them. She sprung to her feet and headed for the door.
She was lonely and bored no more.
When Joanne turned the
corner and arrived at the main desk, she was surprised to see her crew. It
was two men in their thirties, not a young camera man and his sound
assistant as she expected. They were both wearing thick jackets and blue
jeans. They approached her.
“Hi I’m Paul,” said the
taller and thinner of the two. He was prematurely graying with sad blue
eyes. She shook his hand
“Hi, Joanne” she said and
shook his hand. The second man had a darker complexion almost Maori look
about him with straight dark hair. He was quite solid. He smiled as he
shook her hand “Ray Garcia” He said.
“Pleased to meet you” she
“Are you ready to go”? Paul
“Yes, let’s go”. Joanne said
and they moved to the main door that led to the rear car park.
Ray got to the door and
opened it first for Joanne. She smiled and then the coolness of the day
and the strength of the wind hit her.
“My God it is cold” Joanne
“That is Melbourne for you”
Ray said in a laughing tone as they walked towards the white Toyota Camry
“I left Perth yesterday and
it was 22 degrees” Joanne said.
“It should be fine by the
weekend” Paul replied as he opened the car door for Joanne. She was to sit
in the front. Paul would drive.
Getting in the car was like
stepping into another world. It was warm and silent. She could not hear
the wind or feel the cold.
“Nice and warm in here”
“Don’t get too comfortable,
St.Luke’s isn’t far from here” Paul replied. He started the car and looked
at the Melway street directory that was wedged under the front driver’s
seat. He had the page dog-eared. He looked at it carefully then turned the
page. He seemed to memorize it.
“Ok, lets go” Paul said and
drove towards Nepean Highway.
As the car turned left onto
the highway, Joanne saw Frankston properly for the first time. She
couldn’t help but notice the grey sky, some clouds quite dark, foreboding
some grayish with a white lining. They were in the direction of the bay
and it looked like they were in Northern Europe where the seaside towns
are painted as grey towns with grey skies. Melbourne looked like that
especially when it was overcast. To a young woman from Perth it looked
depressing, ugly; to many Melbournians it was cozy. Even though it was
spring, the weather had been unusually cold. It was the type of weather
for reading good books, drinking red wine and having hearty meals.
They drove for about a
minute before they turned left and passed the Frankston Police station on
the left hand side with the bayside shopping complex on the right. The
station was large and needed to be, it was not a quiet place for the
Police. They were soon over the bridge and in Beach Street.
The word “beach” brings
connotations of warm weather, people wearing swimmers, convertibles
driving around with their tops down, but this was not that type of beach
street. The other side of Beach Street led to the beach, this side led
towards Karingal and it was grayish. There was a young man standing on the
corner of Petrie and Beach Street wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day. He
wore a blue and white plait shirt. He wore track pants and white runners.
His shirt was not tucked in. He was thin, his shirt untucked He was just
staring into nowhere with his hands in his pockets as they drove by.
Joanne thought of doing her story with a background against the beach, you
know, showing Robert and whoever else taking a casual stroll on the shore,
maybe even sitting in the sand and looking over the bay. It was cold and
too windy so this was not going to happen.
If you are not looking, you
will miss St.Luke’s Frankston church near the freeway over pass, that is
why it has a tall white tower with a white cross on it that is seen from a
great distance on the freeway. Its tower and cross can be seen over the
freeway over pass as if to defy the environment around it. Amongst the
noise and gray ness of the freeway, the tower is visible for those who
choose to see.
As the car turned into the
car park of the church grounds, there were no other cars there. They all
stared at the building. It seemed quiet and to be honest, it seemed scary.
The church building that was less than 50 years old had darkness to it.
Why are old churches scary? It had though an aura, energy about it that
Joanne couldn’t feel and at that moment wouldn’t understand. It felt safe
to those who were comfortable with God and the tall tower seemed very
protective of its brethren. They stopped the car and got out.
As they got out of the car,
they noticed it wasn’t as windy. The freeway overpass was blocking most of
it but it was noisy from the traffic. Joanne looked around.
“Doesn’t look like anyone is
here,” she said. They all walked around and looked into glass doors and
windows. There was no light or any signs of activity. It was Ray Garcia
who first noticed the stocky smiling man on the porch of the cream brick
house next to the church. He was almost bald, had half a tidy dark beard
and metal framed glasses. He waved to them and Ray waved back. He wore a
black shirt and black trousers. Even though it was far away, the glint on
his left side shirt pocket was caused, he knew by a gold cross pin.
“Over there” Ray said and
Joanne began to walk towards the house. Joanne was glad to get out of the
cold. The two men took the camera and sound recording equipment from the
rear of the car. Ray touched his crucifix necklace under his shirt
quickly. He felt uneasy and so did Paul. Ray was the cameraman and Paul
the sound recorder. Paul was concentrating on getting the equipment out of
the car while Ray felt a little uneasy as he took out the camera.
Joanne smiled as she walked
up the driveway of the cream brick home that was over grown with bushes
that seemed to hug the house. There were two cars in the driveway.
“You must be Joanne” the man
said in a cheerful English accented voice. He was a stocky man in his late
forties with a warm smile.
“Yes, I am” she said
cheerfully putting her hand out to him.
He shook it. “I am Graham,
the reverend here, pleased to meet you”
“It is so cold” Joanne said
and rubbed her arms even though they were well covered.
“Yes we have had a cold
snap” Graham replied “but it should fine up by the weekend.
“I hope so” Joanne added.
They both looked in the direction of the Paul and Ray as they walked
towards the house.
For Paul, it didn’t mean
much, just another job, but for Ray it was different. He felt the cross
bearing down on him as if it was watching him like a menacing eagle. He
was a catholic Pilipino and being close to a church was to be respectful
and awesome. He felt humbled and almost intimidated by it all; the way so
many Catholics feel when they approach a church.
As they came up the
driveway, Ray sensed a gloomy uneasiness within him. Even though he saw
the reverend Graham smiling he felt the power, and the grace that came
from him. He could see the rustic cross screwed to the brick wall near the
doorway as if the territory ahead belonged to God.
“Hello, I am Graham” he said
and put his hand out to be shaken.
Paul shook it first
“Paul is my name” Paul said.
Ray shook his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Ray,
come inside where we can be warm.”
When Graham opened the front
door for them, Ray could see a polished wooden cross on the wall in front
of them. It made him feel uncomfortable as they walked in. Ray had never
been to an Anglican Church or vicarage. He was had not been to a Roman
Catholic Church either for a very long time. Once in, the house was warm.
Ray had taken only a short
walk from the car to the doorway of a priest’s residence, but it was
enough to anger his demons. Ray felt uneasy of the influence of Satan
trying to persuade him not to enter the house yet the allure of God asking
him to come in. He had not wanted to do this assignment originally, he
could have called in sick, many Melbournians had a cold that week due to
the bad weather and was in two minds about it. He knew maybe God would be
aware of him and that he was a lapsed Catholic. He even felt that maybe
the reverend would question him about his faith and he would not know what
to say. In the end he decided to go hoping it would be easy but the last
few minutes were not, and it was not going to get easier.
As they stood near the
doorway a woman Angela came from the room to the right, which served as an
office. She had her nametag on her left lapel of her navy blue jacket and
skirt .She had wavy hair that had gone grey a long time ago and had large
glasses. She was close to 75 years of age yet moved quickly, smiled and
had happy clear blue eyes. She had a dignity about her. She came to them
Hello, just in here please,
Robert and John are praying,” She said in a lowered voice. She led them
into a lounge room to their left.
As they entered the room
they were quiet. They felt a compulsion to be quiet as if something
terrible would happen if they weren’t. The walls were a warm cream color
and it was obvious that the room had been set up as a conference room.
There was a television set and a video recorder near the door and an open
cupboard full of Christian books and tapes. Simple plastic chairs were
stacked up against the walls in columns. The group went to the two sofas
against the wall and sat down. They put their equipment down on the floor.
“If you could just wait for
about 10 minutes or so while Robert and John are praying then you can go
to the room.” Angela said in a pleasant but confident voice with a slight
English accent. She was an old world woman, standing in front of them, her
feet close together. She had the manner of a mother superior and gave the
impression she would not take any nonsense from anyone. Graham was not far
behind. He approached them.
“Cup of coffee, tea?” He
“Yes please” Paul said
“Coffee” said Ray.
“Coffee would be nice”
“Good” Angela said and both
she and Graham went into the kitchen.
The group sat on the sofa,
just looking around, not quite sure what to say or do. This was something
out of their experience. Ray looked at Joanne and she rolled her eyes.
None of this was having any effect on Joanne at all. It was an old house
built in the 1960s with some old people.
After a short moment, Graham
entered the room with a platter of cut fruitcake and a variety of
“Now you must have some of
this before I eat most of it” he said with a smile. Paul and Ray took some
fruitcake while Joanne said a pleasant no thanks. Angela came into the
room and asked them how they wanted their coffee and tea. Paul ordered a
tea, one sugar; Ray and Joanne had coffee, no sugar. Graham took down one
of the chairs stacked up against the wall and sat in front of them.
“Did you find this place
alright”? He asked.
“Yes, no problems” Paul
“Good, sometimes people go
to Carrum Downs, there is a St.Luke’s church there. The film crew nodded
When the drinks came, they
were happy to have a warm drink, and for the two of them, some cake.
“It has been cold lately,”
Joanne said meekly.
“Yes, but they expect fine
weather for the weekend” Graham added with a smile.
“Can I ask if you are all
Christians”? Angela said in a matter of fact voice. They looked around at
each other. Ray looked weakly.
“I am” Ray said. Paul shook
his head. Joanne sort of nodded.
Angela could intimidate
without trying. She looked at them in such a way and they felt like she
had caught them masturbating.
“We often have a prayer for
visitors, would you like a prayer”? Angela said. There was a moment of
awkward silence and every one looked at each other.
“I take that as a no, then”
Angela said quite calmly. “Well anyway enjoy your coffee and Robert will
not be long.” She finished off and left the room. Graham sat there
opposite them not sure what to say. The others continued to drink and have
their cakes. After a while he said, “Excuse me” and left the room. Paul
and Joanne thought nothing of it but Ray was uncomfortable. He knew Angela
and Graham were offended. They could see Angela go to the office room of
the house near the front doorway, and they could hear Graham walking
around in the kitchen area. Ray felt a little awkward and felt as if he
should apologize. He got up and went to the kitchen area.
The kitchen was a brightly
lit room only a small table and three chairs around it. There were some
letters on the table and Graham was standing and reading one of them in
his hand. He looked at Ray when he walked in.
“Hello” he said awkwardly.
“I’m………..a Catholic” he finished off almost apologetically.
Graham smiled and put down
“We believe in Jesus, which
is the main thing isn’t it”
“Yes”, Ray said awkwardly,
like a schoolboy. He took his crucifix necklace from out of under his
shirt and showed Graham. Graham looked at it and smiled.
“My mother gave it to me”
Ray said. Graham smiled understandingly.
“…She is dead now” Ray
added. “She died last year”.
There was a long pause then
“I think you will get a lot
out of this weekend, Ray.” Ray nodded. He left the room.
In the lounge room, Paul was
still seated on the sofa, but Joanne was walking around the room, arms
folded. She was glancing at the book cabinet that was full of Christian
literature and tapes. Ray wanted to say something but didn’t. He didn’t
like the way she was behaving in a place of worship. She seemed
insensitive to what was happening around her and her manner was if she was
waiting for a convicted criminal just about to leave jail. She just looked
at him, said nothing. He looked at the cabinet too to see what she was
looking at but didn’t notice anything in particular.
After a moment, they heard
some footsteps along the corridor and then heard some talking in the
office room. The lounge room door opened and Angela emerged. She looked
“Robert will see you now”
Paul and Ray gathered their
equipment and followed Angela down the corridor.
The corridor was dimly lit
and straight away it gave an impression different to that of a normal
house. The white doors were closed and they had small neat hand written
signs on them saying “prayer room 1, prayer room 2 “and so on. Angela led
the way to “Prayer room 3” and opened the door quietly as if a sick dying
person was convalescing. She opened the door and held it open without a
smile as Joanne and the film crew walked in.
As Joanne walked in, she was
a little surprised by the young man she saw seated in an old fashioned
couch, which looked like it had come from the 1970s. He stood up slowly
and shook her hand with a weak smile.
“Robert Hill” he said
“Joanne” she said. He sat
“Thank you for inviting us”
She said and noticed there was a simpler chair directly opposite him. She
made her way over to it.
The prayer room was almost
devoid of pictures and decorations. It had a small cabinet with religious
books in it, and a small round table between them with “The Bible” on it.
Immediately, Ray and Paul went to work, Ray unpacking his camera and Paul
getting his microphone cables ready. Joanne looked at Ray,
“Ray, is this angle okay”?
“Fine” he said.
“Lighting okay”? she
“Yes, we will set up a lamp
to enhance the picture.” He replied.
“Because the walls are quite
bright, they may cause a reflection” She finished off.
“We will test it soon” Ray
At that moment a priest John
Fletcher walked in. He was about 60 years of age, almost bald with a
pleasant smile and frameless glasses. He wore the black shirt with the
priest’s collar, the black trousers and black shoes. He had a silver cross
on the left collar of his shirt. He closed the door behind him.
“Hello everyone, I am John,
the reverend of Frankston north and Carrum downs”
“Hello” Joanne said.
“I have come into this room
to pray with Robert, if you don’t mind that the Lord is with us and will
bless us during this time as we communicate in this special room”, John
said. There was a long pause then John walked over to Paul who was
unraveling some cable
……”If you could wait for a
moment, we would like to pray for the holy spirit to enter the room and
Paul stopped what he was
doing. John and Robert closed their eyes.
John started “Dear Lord, we
ask the presence of the holy spirit to fill this room and guide Robert and
protect him as well as the others here. Fill us, bless us, heal us dear
Robert said Amen as well, so
did Ray. Paul and Joanne did not have their eyes closed at all during the
“Thank you” John said
cheerfully and left the room. Joanne seemed relieved. Paul continued to
unwind the cable and Ray prepared his camera.
Joanne noticed Robert
looking at Paul unwinding the electric cable and plugging it in to an
available wall socket. She was right, he had blue eyes. He hand his right
hand on his right cheek, eyes almost glazed, calm, disinterested in what
was happening around him. Joanne thought he had intensity beyond his
thirty years. She had her A5 notebook in her hand and pen.
“Robert, just a few points
of clarification…you are 30 years old,” Joanne enquired.
“You are a nutritionist”?
“Yes,” Robert said.
Joanne scribbled down a few
notes. Ray was kneeling and aiming his camera at Joanne. Joanne looked at
“We need more lighting” Ray
said, it is much too dark.
Joanne turned to Robert.
“We shall start soon, we
will set up some lighting and then we will ask you a few questions.” She
Robert just nodded. As Paul
and Ray got their equipment ready, and Joanne adjusted her skirt, Robert
tuned out. He found their presence an intrusion. It wasn’t just their
noise of shuffling around the room; it was the lack of reverence coming
from them is such a special place, a room of healing and prayer. Paul
turned on a light on a metal stand and then turned it off. Ray and Paul
communicated to each other about the correct balance of lighting and then
they set up a few shots of Joanne. She was a beautiful woman. The lighting
on her was balanced and they filmed her asking a few questions such as
“when did you discover God”…..Where did you get the idea for a healing
weekend”?... These were preliminary shots that would be edited into the
footage so it would not be monotonous watching Robert’s face all the time
talking. This was explained to Robert.
After more than 15 agonizing
15 minutes, the camera and light (diffused) was aimed at Robert.
“When did you discover God”
Joanne asked in her sweet journalistic voice.
“About 2 years ago I felt
“Hold on Robert,” Paul
interrupted taking his headphones of his ears “you have to speak a little
louder, it isn’t clear yet” He finished.
“Okay”. Robert said
reluctantly. “I felt a calling about a year ago. I felt there were some
questions about life that were puzzling me. I experienced the presence of
the Holy Spirit enter my life at a Christian gathering……….I made a
commitment to explore these feelings and thoughts, in particular
concerning evil and sickness. I became aware that sickness in particular
is the result of sin. The resolution or redemption of sin is the key to
not only good health, but happiness.” Robert said.
“Do you believe that
sickness and evil are from Demons”? Joanne asked.
“Yes, we here in this……….”
“Just a bit louder Robert,
you have a soft voice” Paul said interrupting.
“Yes Robert, if you could
speak a little louder you do have a soft voice.” Joanne added.
Robert looked up at the
ceiling then leaned forward at Joanne.
“Yes!!, there are demons
that influence human behavior and these demons control a person’s well
being, and with the authority of Jesus Christ we expel them.” He sat back
in his chair. Joanne looked at the camera.
“Ray, did you get that”?
“Yeah I did” Ray said.
“Good” Joanne said.
After half an hour of
interviewing, over and over again, repeating answers, looking this way and
that, Joanne decided to go out in the back yard to get some outside shots.
In the back yard there was a
lemon tree full of lemons. Ray set up his camera and Joanne got Robert to
walk towards the lemon tree. He walked too fast, he got called back, he
walked again. He was asked to pick a lemon, it was too fast, so he had to
pick another one, much slower, and then turn his head this way, that way
etc., all the nonsense that goes along with so many commercial TV
interviews, staged performances to enhance a point of view.
After this was done, Joanne
took a video of recorded intercessions to look at. The whole idea was for
her to edit to take a few “exciting” intercessions and put them with the
taped interview to create an interesting and entertaining report on this
young man and his healing thoughts.
Joanne went inside to talk
to the reverend John and Paul was walking towards the back door of the
house his bag of cables in his hand. Ray stood back near the lemon tree
and rewound the tape. There is nothing more embarrassing for a cameraman
to realize that his video footage had not been recorded, or that the sound
was not clear. Ray looked at it, it seemed clear, colorful, particularly
considering the overcast weather. Robert was just wondering around in the
back yard, just casually looking at the lemons on the tree. Ray had just
finished rewinding the video and was about to walk back into the house
when Robert looked directly at him, and then walked over to where he was.
He then spoke to him in Tagalong, the language of the Philippines.
Inside the house
Joanne was saying good-bye to Reverend John and Paul was standing next to
her when Ray rushed past them. He nearly knocked them over and stormed out
the door. He looked shocked, disturbed. Paul and Joanne were upset by
Ray’s behavior. John looked curious. Joanne said good-bye once more and
left the house with Paul behind her.
At the car, Ray was pacing
up and down with a great deal of agitation. Joanne and Paul came to him
“Let’s go, now”!! He
demanded. The others said nothing but got in the car as fast as they
Paul drove quickly down
Beach street towards Nepean Highway. Ray looked frightened. He was shaking
as if he had seen a ghost. Joanne didn’t know what to say. They sat in
silence, Ray was breathing heavily. Paul looked in the rear view mirror
and saw Ray highly agitated.
“Where do you want me to
“I don’t know…just keep
driving…. wait the beach, go to the beach!!!” Ray said in a highly
agitated state, pointing at the beach in the distance in front of them.
At the western point of
Beach street there is a McDonald’s. Opposite that is a car park. Drive a
little further west and you have the beach. The car came to a stop just
before the walkway to the beach. It was cold; there was only another car
there. The wind was strong; it was coming straight off the bay. Ray flew
out of the car, the rear seat as if he was being chased by the devil. In
actual fact he was trying to run from God.
On the beach Ray ran just
past the bushes and stopped on the sand, looking out at Port Phillip bay.
The sea was rough, very choppy and grayish blue in color. The sky was dark
yet just towards Melbourne, it was lighter in color. The sun was breaking
through and the light seemed to be shining on the city. Ray stood there,
shaking not from the cold. There was a tear coming from his right eye.
Behind him Joanne walked slowly and cautiously in the sand with her high
heels. Paul was walking behind her, unsure of what to do. Joanne got
“Ray, what is going on”? She
Ray shook his head and put
his hands on his hips.
“You will not believe me.”
“Try me” Joanne said.
“Jesus spoke to me”
There was a long pause.
“Jesus”??!! Joanne said.
There was a long pause.
“Some people…” Joanne
“He spoke to me, in
Tagalong, the native tongue of my home the Philippines; it came out of
Robert’s mouth”. Ray said.
There was a long pause.
Joanne and Paul looked at each other. Joanne looked at Ray, and then came
“He could have learnt the
language. Maybe he went there…..” Joanne reasoned
“It wasn’t his voice
Joanne”, Ray said.
“Maybe you t thought….”
“I killed a man …………….. I
killed a man”!!!! Ray said with his hands on his face yelling. He then
turned to both of them, now both cheeks had his tears.
“I killed a man in the
Philippines when I was a teenager and I never told anyone, no one, yet
Robert knew, he knew. He said I have forgiven you so you can now forgive
yourself.” Ray said and wiped his tears. He smiled, and looked up at the
“He actually said that I
should give my guilt to him for him to handle for the murder of the
man………….He even knew his name………he had seen everything.
He knew…..I was so sorry.
He was a poor man, he didn’t deserve to die. He was trying to rape one of
my sisters…..I waited for him one night….and I stabbed him…..I didn’t tell
anyone……the following day the villagers found the body, no one knew it was
me. I never told. The last time I prayed, I asked God for forgiveness. I
didn’t think he would forgive a murderer… Ray said. After a long time he
wiped his face and smiled. “A weight has just gone off my shoulders……I
feel so relieved. I have been carrying this guilt for a very long time.”
Joanne looked at him. Ray
then looked at Joanne.
“Don’t make this man appear
as a fake. He is real Joanne and I felt a presence in that house as I
approached and Jesus spoke to me in my native tongue with no accent.
Joanne and Paul, and you think this is not real, that I am mistaken? If
you were spoken to in Dutch Joanne, don’t you think it was it was God’s
work, even though you don’t have a Dutch name and not many people knew you
learnt it from your mother.” Ray asked?
They both stared at him. He
walked a little towards the car. He looked back at them.
“I am free, God chose him to
reach me.” He then took the crucifix from his chest and kissed it.
Ray then walked back to the
car. Joanne and Paul looked at each other.
“Just let him go, he will be
okay,” Paul said.
Ray, Paul and Joanne drove
to Quayside shopping centre underground car park and parked their car.
Paul and Joanne had decided not to talk about what had occurred to Ray.
They kept the conversation basic, but Ray was still reluctant to speak.
They went to the food court for lunch and had something to eat. Ray seemed
distant but allowed Paul to buy him some lunch. They talked about the tape
Robert had given them and how they would take it back to Melbourne for
editing. Depending on how “good” meaning how entertaining it was they
could use it for that night’s current affair program. It was unlikely
though, by lunch time the program is already planned. Joanne’s report
could go to air on probably by Friday the latest. If it were good, she
would get pats on the back and get hopefully a choice of assignments, and
maybe get her way back to Perth. If not she would get some more
“interesting assignments” and her future would soon be decided. On air
journalists especially women don’t last long.
After having lunch, Paul got
up to get them some coffees. When he was out of ear shot and at the Donut
king counter, Ray said to Joanne that he wanted to contact Robert and the
Reverend to pray with them and get a blessing. He didn’t think he could
continue working that day unless that happened. Joanne took out her mobile
phone and made the call. The reverend John Fletcher was still there and he
was glad to help.
To make things easier, the
ever tactful Paul suggested that he would drive Ray and Joanne back to her
motel, and Ray to St.Lukes. When they were finished they would come back
to the motel and pick up Joanne. They needed to get some exterior shots of
the area where the weekend healing was to take place then they would go
back to Melbourne and do some editing.
When Joanne arrived at her
Motel, she had a great idea. She would watch some of the video Robert had
given her and make some notes that she might use for her report. She asked
the receptionist if they had a VCR since the Motel had in house movies
piped through the rooms, but they did have a VCR/TV combination unit that
they used occasionally for conferences and lent it to her. The manager
brought it to her room and plugged it in for her. She thanked him and put
the electric jug on. She got a white cup and ripped open the “Nescafe”
coffee sachet and poured it into her cup. She put the video on and began
The tape contained some film
footage of an American woman who had been molested when she was a child.
Joanne found it boring and fast-forwarded it every so often. She sat on
the end of the bed and sipped her coffee. She was about to fast-forward it
again when it caught her interest. The woman “Kathy” had her eyes closed
and was making angry growling noises. The intercessor was calmly telling
her that he forbade in the name of Jesus any embarrassing activity by any
of the spirits inside her. Then Kathy spoke in a deep voice, saying she
was angry that she now had to leave Kathy. Joanne stopped the tape and
took it out. The video/T.V.unit. didn’t have a counter on it so she marked
the tape with a scratch of her nail file so she could return to it later.
She put the tape back in and commenced watching.
Kathy’s voice was that of
the demon anger inside her. She didn’t want to go; she had been there
since she was five. The male intercessor calmly and repeatedly asked the
demon to get in the box the angels had placed down beside her for the
demon to get into. At first it seemed it was not going to happen, and then
the demon voice was gone, into the box protected by the angels. Joanne was
The video then jumped
awkwardly to the intercession of Bruce Cartwright in prison. Joanne
recognized the Australian accents straight away and took great interest.
She sipped her coffee and watched with interest. When Bruce became
emotional and broke down on the tape, Joanne knew she had some good
footage for her report. This would serve as excellent background
information. She began scribbling some notes on her note book. As she did
this, she thought she saw some movement in the corner of her left eye, at
ground level, like a mouse darting from end of the room to another. She
stopped the tape and looked in that direction. She noticed nothing. She
played the tape again and took down some more notes. She watched the taped
intercession of Bruce and then it went into a taped interview with Robert.
He talked about evil, its origin and its purpose by Satan to mislead us,
confuse us purely out of jealousy that God had chosen us to be his pride
and joy and not Satan and his helpers. It certainly was an interesting
philosophy that Robert had and she noticed how much easier he spoke when
he was allowed to speak without questions interrupting him like the
interview she had conducted with him.
As she watched the interview
with Robert, it happened. It is difficult to describe, for the feeling is
different for most people but it is undeniable. Most describe it as a
feeling of uneasiness and irrational fear. Joanne didn’t know why, she had
a strange feeling someone was in the bathroom. She turned and looked back.
The door was partially open. She didn’t know why she felt uneasy but she
felt there was someone behind the door. At that moment, the tape stopped,
making that loud hissing noise. Joanne jumped up. She backed up to the TV.
and ejected the tape. She did it quickly and tried to keep her eyes on the
door, as if something terrible was behind it and it was going to come out
and attack her. It was ridiculous, she had heard nothing, seen nothing,
yet now she felt alone and very frightened. She could feel her skin
tingling, and didn’t know what to do. She kept on telling herself over and
over again that she was being ridiculous yet she could not keep her eyes
off the door. She looked at the phone on the bed side table, about 3
meters near the open door way of the bathroom. She wanted to reach it but
she had a vision of a long black arm stretching from the room and grabbing
her left hand. The bathroom was semi dark, she could see the glass shower
screen, but the gap between the door and hinges were black. She could see
nothing through them to see if anyone was standing there. She thought of
walking up to the semi open door and just pushing it with her right hand.
If someone was there it would not be able to close, and she would feel and
hear the contact against the door. What would she do then?
Suddenly she felt like two
hands had brushed through her hair lightly. She screamed, grabbed her head
and ran straight to the door. She felt as if an arm was about to grab her
as she frantically opened the door. She screamed again and opened the
door. As she stepped outside of the room into the corridor she didn’t feel
safe at all but felt as if a dark invisible spirit was chasing after her,
she screamed again and began running towards reception. Suddenly a room
door on the right flung open and Joanne flung back. A tall dark man
topless and wearing a pair of blue jeans stepped out into the corridor. In
that split second, the spell on Joanne was broken. She just stared at him
and looked back at the open door of her room. She was shocked, flustered,
and unable to speak.
“What’s wrong”!!!?? He said.
She couldn’t answer him
because she didn’t know.
He walked quickly over to
her open door.
From inside the man’s room
Joanne could hear a female voice saying
“James what is it?”
Within a few seconds, James
was in Joanne’s room. Joanne just stood there unable to think. A woman
with dark messed hair came from James’s room and stood in the open
doorway. She saw Joanne and looked in the direction of Joanne’s room. Her
shirt was not properly tucked into her black skirt. It was obvious that
she and James were fondling each other. The woman looked at Joanne.
“What happened”???!! She
At that moment James came
out of her room and walked towards them
“What’s going on”?!! he said
Joanne didn’t know what to
”I’m sorry I disturbed you both………I’m not well” she said.
At that moment a female
receptionist came around the corner in a hurry to see investigate the
screams. Joanne looked at her.
“I am ok, please leave me
alone” she said. The receptionist left reluctantly.
“I will get my things….my
friends are coming soon.” Joanne said and made her way to her room. James
and his girl friend were still in the corridor when Joanne came out with
her handbag and the video tape in her hand. They went inside their room
allowing her the opportunity to walk by without embarrassment. What had
frightened her in her room or in her mind was gone.
On the approach to
Rutherford road exit off the Mornington Peninsula freeway, the land is
flat and un assuming. So un assuming Paul missed it. It is not that he
didn’t see the sign and the turn off it’s just that there was debate in
the car as if that was the location for the healing weekend. Paul
continued on and did a U turn at the Seaford road exit and exit and made
his way back.
The road embankment slopes a
little towards the wire fence just before the Rutherford road exit. The
grass is in thick bushels and appears difficult for vehicles to drive on.
Paul gave it a try and drove slowly. The last thing he wanted was to get
bogged, but was surprised the ground was firmer than expected. When they
got out of the car they could see how the area had the potential to hold
hundreds if not a few thousand people. Even though the paddocks were made
up of tough bush grass, the land was almost completely flat. For a few
hundred meters towards the North, east and west, the landscape was broken
only occasionally by a few green bushes. Ray took his camera out and began
filming. Joanne wanted to do walk a little in the paddocks and get a shot
of her with some commentary but not only was the grass a little too thick
and strong the sound of the passing traffic also prevented it. They would
have to do a voice over later. It was fast approaching 4pm, it was cold
and it was time to leave. Joanne asked Paul and Ray if they would have a
cup of coffee with her in Frankston before they left. They agreed.
They drove along the freeway
and turned right at Cranbourne road. That road then took them to the
centre of the Frankston central business district. Paul kept driving and
didn’t ask where or when they should stop. As they road over the railway
line bridge you could see the bay. They drove towards it until they
reached Nepean Highway. They stopped and Joanne told Paul to turn left.
Paul drove and the car was approaching Oliver’s hill when Frankston pier
came into view on their right hand side.
“There” Joanne said and Paul
drove into the Frankston pier car park. There were a few vehicles in the
car park. It was cold and the wind was coming straight off the bay. The
pier, the centre point of many photographs taken of Frankston had a few
keen fishermen on it. “Sofia’s restaurant was very quiet. It was too late
for lunch and too early for dinner. It was also cold so business was
unlikely to be good that night.
Paul parked the car in one
of the many empty bays. Joanne sat uneasy in the front seat. They knew she
had something on her mind.
She looked at Ray, seated
“How was your time with the
reverend? She said
“Good” Ray said with a
smile. He seemed genuinely happy and his eyes were sparkling.
She turned to Paul.
“Paul, what do you think of
all this”? She asked.
Paul thought about it for a
“There are a lot of things
we don’t understand in this world. My mother was a devout Catholic, as for
me I don’t know what I believe.”
“But what happened today,
with Ray, do you believe he had a supernatural experience?” She enquired.
Paul thought about it.
“Yes I believe he did” he
“Yes, I Joanne, I did and
when I spoke to Robert he can only remember walking towards me and saying
something, he doesn’t know what he said. We have all sorts of mediums in
the Philippines and I believe that is what happened.”! Ray said excitedly.
Joanne thought for a moment.
“While you were gone I saw
the tape Robert gave me and I became very scared.” Joanne said. She looked
down almost ashamed.
“I don’t want to stay there
by myself and I know you both want to go home but I am scared to stay in
that Motel” She said almost apologetically.
“You shouldn’t come close to
these things and make fun of it, you need protection….” Ray said
interrupted by Joanne.
“I wasn’t making fun of it,
I was just…….”
…”Yes you were, I saw you
the way you spoke to Robert, the way you behaved inside the house and you
showed no respect. God is there, they are good people You don’t treat this
as a joke. Some of the questions were wrong…you don’t believe in God?” Ray
“I believe in God” Joanne
“Do you Joanne; you didn’t
want to believe me when I told you what Robert told me”!! he retorted.
“I know…I’m sorry” she said.
“Not just in the
Philippines, but many places around the world people don’t go to doctors,
they go to holy men and they get well…” Ray responded before being cut off
…Ok, let it go, let us calm
down…There is a La Porchetta just down the road.”
Just a little distance
before Beach Street on Nepean highway is La Porchetta. It was a cold day,
and not many people were around. The group found a parking spot almost
near the front door and went inside.
La Porchetta in Frankston is
a large restaurant and being 4.30 in the afternoon it was quiet, but it
had warmth to it that they all needed.. They sat at the back and had
coffee. It was comfortable there and they sat and talked about God, life
and the universe.
Joanne had not known these
men only a few hours ago and they were both pouring their hearts out to
her and she was doing the same to them. They should have been heading back
to Melbourne with the tape and conclude their shift but Joanne didn’t want
them to go. She told them what happened in her room while she had watched
the tape and how she had become so frightened. Relieving the experience
brought a tear to her eye. She was a tough woman, she had to be but the
last week had been tough on her. She felt rejected, lonely and
disrespected. She felt she was on the edge of a major career break through
or break down. She wanted to go back to Perth where it was warm, even
though she didn’t want to deal with boss John; she had her family there.
She had no one in Melbourne. It was considered a career move, if she made
it here she would have more choice of assignments, maybe get a chance to
be a newsreader but that was all up in the air.
After having coffee they
moved onto alcohol and they soon realized they needed to ring the office
and their families and friends to explain why they were not home yet.
Joanne’s awkwardness of being afraid to stay in her motel room by her self
and Ray’s admission of a murder committed in his hometown was bringing
them all together. Paul had a girlfriend but he lived by himself, as for
Ray he had a wife and two children. They would ring them up and tell them
they had to work late. Joanne would ring the Melbourne producer Amanda
Fisher and tell her that she had some good footage and was in the process
of getting some more. That would do it.
A few hours ago they were
strangers now they were friends. What appeared to Joanne to be just
another assignment had turned out to be something much more meaningful
.Ray had come closer to God and Paul was beginning to understand that
there was a God. Joanne herself was an Anglican but not a practicing one.
What she had experienced in just the last 24 hours had made her question
why she had lost her faith years ago.
They ordered pasta, Caesar
salad and pizza. The afternoon had turned into early evening and they were
all feeling secure and comfortable in each other’s company. The warmth
they were feeling was not coming from the wine but the sharing of this
Portage Indiana is a small
place, a quaint place. It was now fall and the air was cool. It was almost
midnight. In an unassuming street in an unassuming town, was an unassuming
house. It had a light green color exterior cladding. The front verandah
had a welcome light on. There were two pairs of shoes out the front near
the door. One could see birdseed bells hanging from nails off the verandah
as well as little nuts on the verandah railing. Peter Croft liked to leave
birdseed bells and nuts out on the verandah for the birds and squirrels.
He liked to feed them in the cold months. He didn’t want to see the native
life starve. He got some comfort from the fact that the squirrels or
raccoons got on the verandah and ate the nuts. He didn’t mind the noise at
all of the pitter-patter of their feet on the boards.
Inside the warm inviting
home was Peter Croft at his computer reading his email He sat in his warm
pajamas and robe reading the emails before going to bed. His wife Sharon
was asleep. He was having his hot cocoa which he loved with pink marsh
mellows. He was 56 years old, a stocky almost chubby man, and a
grandfather to six children. He had their photographs around the house
and the warm orange glow from the table lamp gave the room a homely
feeling. Near the bookcase, a humble wooden cross only a few inches long
and wide, was pinned to the wall. It looked like the lounge room of any
semi retired middle class man. He was a humble quiet man whom the devil
had tried to kill many times.
He sat at his computer and
smiled as he read his email from John Fletcher in Australia. They had kept
in touch and he was now sharing the warmth and optimism coming from them
as they reported that their healing weekend was now going to get some free
widespread publicity. Peter had been to Australia on a few occasions and
he was surprised by the lack of influence by the church in politics in
every day life down there. Things were different in the USA and he had
given some ideas about how the church could get more young people involved
by directly influencing the youth of the country and the habitual
criminals. It was he who suggested visiting prisoners and performing
intercessor sessions on a large scale. He had excellent results using his
techniques in the USA on all sorts of criminals with great results. He was
a pastor, a theologian and a senior member of the Christian Coalition of
America. He wrote 3 books and toured the country preaching the Bible,
discussing social issues and deliverance from the devil. His dream was to
have a network of dedicated Evangelists and intercessors touring Australia
on a large scale and exorcising the demons that were infesting in the
souls of so many people.
He answered the email
briefly in a positive note and signed off “Peace be with you”. He turned
off the computer and closed his eyes. He said a little prayer for the
success of the healing weekend. He was the man in the tape who delivered
the demons from Kathy in the tape that Joanne had seen. He was the
inventor of the “get in the box” command that he gave to the demons with
the threat of their limbs being cut off by angels if they refused to obey.
He was one of the gentle but persuasive voices of Christian consciousness
in the crusade against the evil influence of Satan in the country and the
world. His belief and the belief of his followers was that the demons were
real and needed to be met and cast out of evil people for them to have a
fulfilling and happy life. He was pleased that the “Family First” party
in Australia had one senator in parliament, a major achievement for a
newly formed party and a religious one at that.
In only 5 years he had seen
a major change in Australia’s social fabric. It seemed like the country
was becoming more fundamental Christian like the Midwestern USA in
defiance of what he believed to be insincere immoral political influences
of that country. He didn’t like labels such as “the new right” or “the
religious right” and he certainly didn’t like the secular community
telling him that religion and politics didn’t mix. All groups seemed to
want to influence the government and he seemed to see no conflict with the
church trying to influence government as well. Progress was good also in
Latin America and it was encouraging to see Australia becoming more
aligned with Christian doctrine.
As he turned out the light
and went to bed, he felt optimistic about the healing weekend. His
intercessor training courses and books were being accepted with gusto in
Australia and this was a good thing. It was good to see the young people
like Robert Hill embracing it. With so many young people following the way
of Christ, the devil could never win.
It was getting dark as the
Grenda’s bus stopped along Frankston/ Dandenong road before Klauer Street.
It was bound for Dandenong. The bus was full and inside the weak indoor
lights barely illuminated the passengers. Maggie got off the bus with two
full green “good for the environment” carry bags. Maggie had gone to
Frankston to pick up some groceries and was late returning. She made her
way to the traffic lights and pressed the pedestrian button. It was darker
than normal, due to the overcast sky and most of the cars traveling along
the road towards Frankston had their headlights on. Maggie didn’t have a
car so she relied on public transport, especially the buses. Near by was a
small shopping strip off Forest drive but Maggie had decided to go to
Frankston to cheer herself up as well as get some groceries.
As Maggie crossed Frankston/Dandenong
road, she thought about making some hamburgers for dinner. She would make
extra just in case Jason came home later that night. If it went cold she
would glad wrap it and put it in the fridge. She didn’t have much but she
did well with her pension.
It was cold but the wind had
subsided. The pines estate looked dark and foreboding as Maggie turned up
the street and began walking to her house. In the distance she could see
Reverend John Fletcher’s car in the driveway, he was now home and saw the
weak yellow light coming from his home. The church next door, St.Johns of
Frankston north was almost hidden behind the trees and bushes that were
around the edges of the property. Maggie wasn’t sure if she should just
knock on the door and see the reverend or wait another day or just forget
about it. He was probably having dinner and decided to post pone it until
at least tomorrow morning.
As Maggie checked the
mailbox she noticed a weak light coming from the lounge room of her house.
She had not left it on before she left, so she assumed Jason was home. The
two footsteps and porch were dark. She put the two shopping bags down and
fumbled with her keys. When she went to insert the key into the key hole,
she noticed the white faded door was not closed yet alone locked. She
pushed it open and went inside.
Inside the house it was cold
and Maggie immediately knew the heater was not on or the back door was
open. Her housing commission home was very cold in the winter and hot in
summer. It was also dark. She could see Jason seated in the main chair
watching TV. The table lamp in the corner of the room was on, which was
the light she could see from outside.
“Hello Jason” she said as
she went to the kitchen/dining room. He didn’t reply but Maggie was not
too concerned. She put the groceries on the table. Jason seemed to have
the same clothes on. She wondered what kind of life he was living what he
was doing that was causing him to be so withdrawn from her. She wished he
would just open up and talk to her, maybe she could help, maybe the
reverend could help but nothing was going to happen if Jason didn’t want
it to happen.
Maggie put some of the
groceries away but kept the minced beef and rolls out. She took out a
mixing bowl and put the mincemeat in it. She added two eggs; some chopped
tomatoes and onions to the bowl and began mixing the mixture with her
hands. From where she was she could see mostly Jason’s back as he sat and
watched TV in the chair, feet flat on the carpet watching the news.
“How are you Jason”? Maggie
asked but there was no response.
“Do you want some
hamburgers”? She asked. There was a long pause then Jason replied
“Yeah, that will be good.”
Maggie thought that was at
least something, he could still talk. She continued to mix the mixture and
then cut 3 bread rolls, one each and one extra if someone wanted more.
“How was your day Jason”?
She asked innocently but he didn’t respond.
‘Do you want some salad with
your hamburger? She asked.
There was no response for a
“Yeah ok” came from him.
Maggie just shook her head.
“I would like you to talk
“What do you want me to say”
“Hello Nanna” she said.
“Hello Nanna” he repeated.
“Did you have a nice day
Nana”? she said.
“Did you have a nice day
Nana”? He repeated.
“Yes I did thank you Jason”
she said. Jason continued to sit there.
“I am sorry I have caused
you to be concerned Nana” Maggie said.
“I am sorry I have caused
you to be concerned Nana” He repeated.
“I will not be of concern to
you any more Nana” Maggie said.
“I will not be of concern to
you any more Nana”? He repeated.
She shook her head and took
a frying pan out from one of the kitchen cupboards and put it on the
stove. She looked at her calendar of churches around Australia and decided
to try her luck.
“I will go to church this
Sunday” Maggie said
“I will go to church this
Sunday" He repeated.
“I love you Nana” Maggie
“I love you Nana” He
Maggie picked up a bottle of
cooking oil and was about to pour some oil in the frying pan when a
thought came over her.
“Jason I am getting
forgetful in my old age, how did grand pa die, did he have a stroke or a
heart attack”? She said.
“Heart attack” Jason said.
“That’s right, thank you now
I remember. Do you remember his last words?” She asked.
There was a moment of
“He said I am sorry.”
Maggie put down the
container of cooking oil. She knew exactly what her husband had said as he
was having a heart attack and he did say “I am sorry”. The fact is they
were alone when it happened, no one else heard him say it and Maggie never
told anyone he said it, yet Jason knew.
She turned to him and looked
at him as he watched T.V. still with his back to her.
“Jason could you say
something for me”?
“What “? Jason replied
“Just repeat something for
me” Maggie said.
“Ok” Jason replied.
“You have to turn off the
TV. Though” Maggie said.
“Ok” Jason said then flicked
off the TV with the remote control.
“I Jason Mc Caffery” Maggie
“I Jason Mc Caffery” Jason
“Of Monterey drive Frankston
“Of Monterey drive Frankston
North” Jason repeated without looking at her
“Accept Jesus Christ as my
savior” Maggie said.
There was a moment of
“…and I reject Satan and his
demons” Maggie said.
There was a long moment of
“I ask Jesus Christ to expel
these demons inside me” Maggie said.
There was a long moment of
silence. Maggie continued to look at the back of his head.
He turned around and looked
“Nana, do you believe in the
occult”? He asked.
“Yes, I know of the occult”
The bottom row of Jason’s
teeth stretched up and came over his top lip as if his face had collapsed
into his lower jaw.
Maggie ran out of the house
as fast as she could to Reverend John’s house.
Joanne, Paul and Ray where
deciding if they were going to have any desert when Joanne’s mobile phone
rang. Joanne answered it. She listened for a moment, put her left hand
over her ear and frowned.
Frankston north, Frankston/Dandendong road…
Ok, we will be there.” And
put away the phone.
“That was Robert; we have
something that we can film now, hopefully if we are quick.” She said to
“Film what “Paul said.
Joanne started to get up.
“It’s called an intercession
but it sounds like……………. exorcism.”
It was getting dark. They
drove slowly because they were not sure where St. John’s Anglican Church
was, firstly, but also they were scared. They were not sure if they really
wanted to go, particularly Ray. They saw Neville Avenue on the left and
Long Island club on the right. As it passed, the group knew they were in
“The Pines”. The houses were set far back from the service road, bushes
covered the houses and what could be seen of the houses, it was typical
1950’s and 60’s commission homes. St.John’s then came, up barely visible,
dark, scary. Paul turned right and went into the car park.
The “car park” is an unmade
car park. Parishioners who attend St.John’s park there car around and
under the trees. They don’t mind, the church and the grounds are cozy. To
a secular person, it looks scary. Because most churches are often old well
established buildings, they are generally dark because they have much less
windows than most modern buildings. It doesn’t help when Hollywood film
studios churn out horror movies by the dozens showing dark churches and
gray cemeteries. It conjures up in the mind, evil and death.
As Paul went up the dirt
driveway of the church, the headlights hit the building, now a creamy
yellow color, but for several decades it was grey stone. The ground
disappeared from view temporarily and since no one was around, they parked
the car right in the middle of the car park .The Church was quiet, there
was no light coming from inside. Joanne looked around.
“I can’t see anyone. This is
the right church, it must be.” She said.
Within an instant a shadow
appeared at Joanne’s passenger window. She gasped.
“Hello are you the TV crew”?
The voice in the darkness said. Joanne looked up and still could only see
an outline of a young males face, bushy fair hair about 16 years of age.
She rolled down the window.
The figure came lower and
the face was at the open window, though only an outline could be seen.
Paul turned on the over head interior vehicle light. A young man with
bushy hair, an acne face and teeth in braces was now visible.
“Are you the TV crew”? He
“Yes” Joanne managed to say.
“My dad told me to look out
for you. Come this way.” He said and walked towards the house that was
alongside the church.
They got out of the car
slowly and watched the outline of the figure walk towards the house. There
was a welcome light on; the bricks of the house were a creamy color.
Normally Joanne would just walk after him but this time she was going to
wait for the guys to get their equipment ready.
As Ray and Paul got the
camera and sound recording equipment out Joanne noticed a tall thin man
with a dark baseball cap walking slowly up the street. He had noticed them
getting out of the car with the light from the overhead interior light on
and was curious. He was wearing a red and black square check lumber jacket
on, blue jeans and brown work boots on. He had a black moustache that
curled down. He had in his left hand a can of VB beer. He suddenly walked
across the road and began approaching them. Joanne pretended she forgot
something in the car. She put her head inside and spoke to Ray who had his
head in the rear seat of the car unzipping the camera bag.
“Ray!!!!, a man is coming”!!
She said. Ray quickly got out of the car and Paul was also alerted by the
intensity of Joanne’s voice.
He came up to them and in
the darkness, they lost sight of him but they could hear him. He came up
“What’s going on”? He said.
“We are going to talk to the
reverend” She said.
“Oh…what about”? He said.
“We are doing a report on
the healing weekend, this weekend.” She said.
“Yes,” she replied.
He stood there for a moment.
“What’s going on”? He said.
Joanne felt uncomfortable.
“We have to talk to the
Reverend now brother” Ray said. The man looked at him slowly.
“Oh” He said and just stood
“You can talk to the
reverend later but we need to talk to him now.” Paul said.
“Oh” he said. He stood
there, a little over six feet tall and in the darkness he appeared
menacing. No one wanted to move, just in case he became aggressive. At
that moment the young man returned who had spoken to them earlier.
“Coming”? He said.
The tall man looked at him.
“What’s going on”? He said.
“They are going to see my
dad” the young man said.
“Oh” he said.
“You have to go home now,”
Paul said to the man.
“Yeah…ok.” He replied.
He turned around and walked
back to the other side of the road and continued to walk in the direction
he was walking before.
Joanne looked at the group.
“That was scary” she said.
“Ok, take it easy” Ray said
and they walked in the direction of the welcome light. There was an
outline of a man’s head behind the closed fly screen door. They could not
make out any details and then it was gone. For the first time in her young
television reporting career Joanne was scared.
The young man stepped inside
the house and kept the door open for them. They saw him properly now, a
tall teenager, with a black t-shirt, blue jeans and white runners. He put
his right finger to his mouth and said “Shhh” gently. They saw a crucifix
on the wall and they then turned left into the lounge room.
The lounge room was large,
but very modest. There were 2 women seated on the couch. One was Maggie,
who was shaking like a leaf, very upset. To the extreme east of the room a
solid man was looking out the window his back to them. The young man said
to the group quietly that his dad and Robert were in prayer.
“Who are you “? Joanne asked
“I am Reverend John’s son
As a reflex she put her hand
out and shook his right hand.
“Joanne” She said. He shook
it. He pointed to a small couch and directed them to sit there. Joanne sat
down and so did Paul but Ray decided to crouch. He turned on his camera
discreetly and put it on his lap. They were sitting directly opposite the
two women. The other woman, a slender woman in her forties had her arm
around Maggie trying to console her. They were not paying much attention
to the film crew. Michael left them there. Ray casually positioned the
camera on his lap so the lens was aiming in the direction of the two
women. They would appear only in the top left corner of the screen later
when shown on TV but that didn’t matter, they couldn’t risk asking to film
directly, instead they would have to work with the footage they had.
Ray and Joanne’s eyes met
and Ray winked. Her eyes looked at the camera quickly and he winked again.
She knew he was filming.
“Is he still there Roger”?
“Yes” he hasn’t gone” said
Roger, the man who was looking out the window in the direction of Maggie’s
Maggie then looked at the
“When he was a young boy,
you should have seen him. He had the nicest happiest face; he was the
happiest little boy”
At that moment Robert and
John entered the room. They both looked very serious.
“Lets go” Robert said to the
film crew. They needed no encouragement.
Robert and the reverend
stepped onto the doorstep, the welcome light still showing their stern
faces. The crew came out. Robert spoke to them.
“If you want to turn the
camera on when we go inside the house you can, I prefer you don’t use the
camera light unless you have to. John didn’t want you to come, this is my
idea. I need for you to be quiet and follow instructions. You don’t talk,
you don’t make noise, you don’t touch anything you don’t get in the way,
ok.” Robert said.
“Ok” Joanne said.
Paul had his large
microphone in his left hand and recorder on his right hip. John noticed
this and didn’t approve. Robert looked in the distance and noticed a
largish woman, Elsie, approaching by foot.
“Good Elsie is here”. Robert
As Elsie approached them
“Hello Elsie” and gave her a
kiss on the cheek. John did the same. Elsie looked at the camera crew.
Robert looked at Elsie.
“This is bad, according to
“Ok” Elsie said.
“Let’s go” Robert said and
they all walked in the direction of Maggie’s home.
Robert and Phillip walked up
front with Elsie just behind them. The camera crew was following in
silence and Ray had his camera aimed at their backs as they walked. It was
dark and the vision would be poor but in the end they may get something
out of it. Neither of them dared speak as they followed the three to an
unassuming white house.
They stopped for a moment
and Elsie turned to the film crew.
“Do you know the Lord’s
prayer?” she said in a gentle voice.
They mumbled the answer.
“If you know it say it to
yourself, over and over again and don’t stop saying it.”
From the footpath, they
could see the lounge room light fully on, but there was no sound.
“Ray, you can see there is a
light on, I prefer you don’t use your camera light, and when we go in all
of you stay behind us, to the right of us or to the left of us, not in
front of us. Ok.”? Robert said.
They mumbled their answers.
Joanne agreed and Ray too but they were terrified.
“Ok, let’s go.” He said and
they walked to the door and the welcome light was not on.
In the darkness Joanne could
hear Robert fumbling with some keys and the door lock, but he didn’t need
to, he put his hand on it and it swung open. They stepped in. Joanne and
Paul of the crew forgot to say the Lord’s Prayer. Ray did even though he
was holding the camera. He kept holding it in a machine gun position not
to his face so he could move around the house without risk of tripping
over. They went inside.
The corridor was dark but
the lounge room was well illuminated. Joanne wished she was not there. She
could face an angry car salesman, a thief, a conman but this was
completely different. Robert, Elsie and Phillip walked into the lounge
room. As soon as they did this the camera crew came behind them. There
they say Jason sitting on the couch, complacently. He stood up and looked
at them. He looked perplexed like someone had come up to him you off the
street and said “hippopotamus” to his face.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I forbid any violence or any act of defiance in this house. I call upon
the holy spirit to descend and fill this room with the love of Jesus
Christ and protect us from any act that is evil harmful or embarrassing.”
Jason stood there, still.
John walked closer to him and it appeared he was saying a prayer to
himself. Then Elsie approached.
“In the name of Jesus
Christ, with his authority we forbid any violence in here and we call upon
the angels of the Lord to descend into the house. We ask that Jason not be
hurt but the spirit of the Lord shall enter him…”Elsie said.
Ray was filming all of it,
his camera aimed at Jason. In a split second Jason, flew under the couch.
His almost adult framed disappeared like a frightened mouse under the
small gap between the carpet and the couch. Ray got it all on film.
Elsie approached the couch
as if she had caught her grand son stealing a cookie.
“Jason, in the name of Jesus
Christ, come here, we won’t to talk to you.” She said.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I ask the demons and their emissaries to leave Jason as we pray for him
and ask the Holy Spirit to return to Jason”. Robert said. He had just
completed the sentence as Jason flew from under the couch up to the corner
of the ceiling then down onto the couch. Ray didn’t get all of it on film
but he saw it as did the others.
Jason was now sitting there
with a stunned look on his face.
“There will be no violence
or showy behavior here in the name of Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus
Christ we ask what ever is holding Jason to leave or you will be evicted
and put in the boxes by his angels.” Robert said.
Jason’s head went back. He
laughed but it turned to a cry. He gritted his teeth closed his eyes. He
started making strange grunting noises.
“In the name of Jesus
Christ I ask you all demons to leave one by one from Jason without any
vomiting, burping or other orifices of his body, except from his mouth.”
For a moment it looked as if
Jason was trying to vomit into the air. His mouth was open.
“Ok angels; strike with your
swords these…” Robert began to say
“All right!!!!, I’m gone”
“Who are you”? Robert said.
“Anger” Jason replied.
“Get in the box now Jesus
Christ has prepared for you.” Robert said.
“No, I don’t want to” Jason
said his head shaking.
“It is not your choice, in
the name of Jesus Christ get in the box” Robert said.
Jason threw his head back,
gritted his teeth. He opened his eyes and looked directly at Joanne. Then
he looked at Robert and his lips spread into a sickly false smile.
“Angels strike these demons
with your swords” Elsie said
Jason let out a yelp like a
dog in pain and then there was silence.
“Who else is inside Jason
now in the name of Jesus Christ” Robert said
Jason shook his head. He
opened his eyes and slowly shook his head, looking at Joanne.
“No one, no one I’m all
alone” Jason said.
“I know you deceit; we have
known each other a long time. How long have you been inside Jason” Elsie
said. There was a long period of silence.
“Only about a month.” Jason
“Where did you come from”?
“Cynthia gave me to Jason so
I thought I would stay.”
“Go now in the name of Jesus
Christ and take any other demons or emissaries with you as we claim Jason
back to Jesus Christ.” Robert said.
“No…no no why”? Jason said.
“Go now as we are going to
anoint Jason, in the name of Jesus Christ and there will be no violence or
rejection from you.” Robert said.
Jason snorted; his head went
back and then forward again. Within an instant he seemed clear. His eyes
were bright as he looked around. Elsie took a little bottle of oil and
dabbed some on her right forefinger. She touched his forehead and made the
sign of the cross on his skin.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I anoint you” Elsie said. John came closer and put his right hand on
Jason’s head. He said a silent prayer that no one could quite hear.
“We are going to pray for
you” Robert said. Jason nodded his head as if he understood. The camera
crew was amazed, as it just seemed he was a different person.
Elsie led them in prayer and
blessing asking the Holy Spirit to descend onto them all. Tears flowed
from him Jason’s eyes as Robert, John and Elsie asked the Holy Spirit to
enter Jason and forbid the demons to return to Jason or anyone else in the
room. Ray continued to film but was aware he was coming close to the end
of the tape in his camera. He had found the experience quite moving.
Robert pointed to the film crew and waved for them to leave quietly. They
did the best they could and left the house.
Joanne Ray and Paul stepped
out onto the footpath in darkness. Joanne came up to Ray excitedly.
“Tell me you got all of
that”?!! She said.
“I am sure I did” Ray said
with a smile.
“Check” Joanne said. Ray
began to rewind the tape. He stopped every so often and looked at the
small monitor. It seemed there.
“Did you see how he flew
under the sofa? I didn’t thing it was possible” Paul said.
“Yeah” Joanne said. Ray
continued to rewind the tape. He stopped and looked at the monitor. He
“Got it”. He said. The
others gathered around and looked at the monitor. There right before their
eyes a young man jumped under a couch defying physics. This would set the
secular world and the spiritual deniers on their head.
“My God” Joanne said.
“Exactly, my God, do you
believe in him now”? Ray said to her.
“Well yeah” Joanne said.
“We need to take this to
head office straight away and start editing” Ray said.
“Yes, but we need to make a
copy as well, just in case” Joanne said.
“Someone needs to take it in
to the studio” Ray said.
“I am staying here, I don’t
want to go” Joanne said adamantly.
“Maybe we could put this in
a taxi and send it.” Ray said.
“No” Joanne said.
For a moment they didn’t
know what to do with the tape. It was now 8.45pm on a Thursday night. The
tape was sensational and it had to be seen, copied and edited and be ready
for screening tomorrow but no one wanted to go, the night wasn’t over and
Joanne had a room in the Ambassador Motel. If Ray and Paul went then
Joanne would be alone in the Motel and she didn’t want that. Also without
having a camera she would not be able to film anything. Also they felt
something was going to happen and they needed to be close by.
They walked back to the car
still excited by what they had experienced and uncertain what to do. In
the distance they saw Robert and John talking then saying good bye to
Elsie. They could just see their outlines and then Elsie left in the
direction of her car about 20 meters away from them. John and Robert
walked towards them.
St. John’s is only a small
church. When the door was opened it was dark. They waited until John went
inside and turned on the lights. When he did it revealed a modest church
with simple paintings of the Stations of the Cross. In the last pew was a
large cane basket full of toys and damaged books for children. John led
them to the first pew with Robert not far behind. After they sat down,
John spoke to them.
“Jason is resting. Maggie is
going back home and Elsie will come back later and check on her.” He said.
“Will he be alright”? Joanne
“We hope so Joanne” John
replied. There was a moment of silence before John spoke again.
“The reason we brought you
here is because we want to pray for you” He said. They nodded.
“Is that alright” John asked
Ray and Paul nodded and
agreed. Joanne didn’t.
“Joanne, can we pray for
you”? John asked again.
“I feel uncomfortable about
that” Joanne said.
“He saw you, Joanne, he
looked right at you” Robert said.
Joanne didn’t know what to
say. Ray looked at her.
“You believe in Jesus, what
is wrong”? he said.
“I don’t know what I
believe” Joanne said.
“This is an important time
Joanne. Spirits look for new homes when they have been cast out, it is
important that we pray for you to protect you.” John said.
“Please, I am not
comfortable” Joanne said.
“Are you staying alone”
Robert asked of Joanne. She seemed embarrassed by the question.
“No, I have asked that Ray
and Paul stay with me” She said.
There was a long pause.
“What about the tape, what
will happen to it” Robert asked.
“We were just talking about
that…. we thought that maybe….”Joanne started to say.
“People and objects can
carry curses and evil spirits can become attached to them. I suggest we
send the tape to someone not here, after we pray in this church for you
all and that Satan doesn’t interfere with the tape.” John said.
“How is the tape going to be
interfered with”? Joanne asked.
“Satan influenced one of the
apostles to betray Jesus, he can influence one of you to destroy the tape,
or have an accident, or cause some one to have an accident with you in the
car” John concluded. They listened intently.
“I think he is trying to
influence you right now Joanne” Robert said.
“Me! Because I don’t want to
be prayed for”? Joanne retorted.
“Yes, why not” John said.
Joanne looked puzzled and shocked.
“Ask the holy spirit to
enter you and accept Jesus as your savior” Robert said.
Joanne looked at him and
the others. She got up and walked out of the church. As soon as she was
gone Phillip led the group in prayer.
Outside the church building
it was dark. Joanne stood away from the door on the ground of the car
park. She couldn’t even see her feet. She was upset, why? She didn’t
really know. She felt like she was supposed to be in control of the
situation and now she was no longer in control. She was confused, she did
believe in God but she wasn’t particularly religious. A blessing, a prayer
for her that was something she was not sure of. She felt as if her soul
would be breached, the whole essence of what she was would be tampered
with. She felt that something was going to control her and make her become
something she didn’t want to be.
As she stood there alone,
the group inside were praying and being prayed for. Jason was being
healed, Maggie was now feeling better, Elsie would return later, and the
weather was clearing. Souls were being saved and lost. Change was not just
in the air but on the ground as well.
Michael Weinberger lived in
Chelsea Heights, about a 15-minute drive from Frankston. He had just
stepped out into the back yard for a cigarette. He looked up at the night
sky and noticed it was clearing. He had a pool but it was empty. The night
air was not as chilly as it had been a few hours ago. He wondered if he
should clean the pool and fill it with water. He wondered if there was
going to be an early hot summer like the previous year and the hand full
years before that. He lit his cigarette and took a puff. He was trying to
give up but something was holding him back. He was a stocky man 43 years
of age with an ample belly that flooded over his belt. He liked his drink
and fatty food. He was trying to give some of it up but something was
holding him back. From where he was he could see the TV set in the lounge
room. He was the editor of “A current Affair”. He had been a cameraman
than editor of the program for many years.
He had just been sitting on
the blue couch watching TV his wife Juliet was asleep as was also his only
child Sonia.. It was about 10.30pm and he was thinking about having a
beer, when the phone rang. He ran inside quick. The TV. Was babbling away
quietly, he didn’t want to disturb his wife and daughter sleeping. He
picked up the phone; he didn’t quite hear the voice at the other end. He
went to the remote control and muted the sound of the TV. He said “Hello”
quietly then walked out into the back yard with the cordless phone so he
wouldn’t disturb his family. He became aware he was talking to executive
producer Roger Mains. He listened intently, Roger never called him at home
before, and no one had ever called him from work on his private landline
He listened to what Roger
was saying. He wanted Michael to receive a tape tonight from a taxi driver
and start editing it straight away. They had little time and they wanted
the tape edited and copied ready for tomorrow’s program. They would do a
voice over later if necessary or Joanne would come in later and put her
voice over it. Either way it had to be done tonight. Michael agreed. He
didn’t ask what it was all about and he knew it was not a good idea to
ask. Someone could be listening, something scandalous could be on the tape
and channel 9 wanted the scoop. He had to edit such tapes before but he
had never received such phone calls late at night about things like this
before. He said good night to his boss and put the phone down on the
outdoor setting table. He sat down. He picked up his cigarette and took
another puff when he heard a car coming down his quiet dead end street. He
saw the bright headlights shine on the driveway and through the gate into
the back yard. He rushed out quickly to meet the taxi driver. He was
convinced the car would wake up his family, so he wanted to take the
package as fast as possible.
The young taxi driver had
turned off the engine when Michael came quickly to the passenger side. The
lights were still on but at least it was now quiet. The quiet street was
not accustomed to taxi s parking on the driveway especially this late at
night. He took delivery of a simple carton box, which had been sitting on
the passenger seat. The fare was already paid for by voucher so Michael
just had to bring it inside the house.
He entered the house through
the rear sliding doors with the simple carton box that was the size of a
shoebox. It was heavily taped so he took a pair of scissors from one of
the kitchen drawers. He used one of the blades to cut the tape on one of
the boxes flaps when he saw Juliet walk past with her tiger pattern
dressing gown. She was sleepy and enquired about the noise that had woken
her and the box he was now opening. He naturally told her it was work and
he had some homework to do. She thought nothing of it. She had a glass of
water from the drink bottle in the kitchen and then went back to bed.
When he opened the box he
noticed it was well padded with old newspaper then a “blessing card”. He
read it quickly “Here is a blessed gift for you” it said and then he got
the camera tape. He then went inside his “tech” room.
In his “tech” room Michael
had 2 DVD players, a VCR and a professional editing machine he brought
from work. Sometimes if he was busy he edited some work at home. He took
the tape and put it in his VCR and began playing it.
At first it was all humdrum,
interview with Robert, background shots all that sort of thing, nothing
too important until he saw the footage of Jason’s intercession. After
seeing the dark but clear image of Jason flying under the couch Michael’s
jaw nearly hit the ground. He knew he had work to do.
The night was not yet over
and Satan and the Lord had their effect on a town on the outskirts of
Melbourne in a country that was on the other side of the world. Michael
didn’t know that he was chosen by the producer to edit the film instead of
another editor Glen McKinnon. He actually lived closer to the city and was
more senior to Michael but he was a devout Christian. The producer didn’t
want a bias view of the tape but also reverend John went into a long
discussion on the phone to the producer how Satan tries his best to
influence the God’s followers. Someone, disinterested in spiritual matters
is a harder target to convert, so Michael was a good choice.
The taxi trip to his house
was no coincidence. Ray, Paul or Joanne would not have been a good choice
to deliver the tape as anything could have happened. Many people play the
role of Judas in a time of crisis. The devil chooses his recruits
carefully and tells them they should help him. Evidence gets destroyed,
driver’s suddenly have a strange episode and lose control of their car,
and people speak in strange voices and attack others. This is nothing new
to the intercessors and spiritual people, but something the secular
community find hard to understand. If Satan could tempt the son of God in
the wilderness to worship him, trying to destroy a tape is easy. This time
Satan would not win. A handful of devout and strong Christians had
forbidden him and his followers to have an influence on the tape or those
who made it, and those who were now receiving it. The tape and the people
concerned were soaked in prayer and protection but the evil prince doesn’t
give in easily. He still had plenty of targets and was no longer angry
that Ray was now closer to Jesus. Instead Joanne was vulnerable, the
reverend and Robert could see that. She was resisting God and she was
vulnerable in a world where one can only serve one master. A house divided
against itself cannot stand.
Jason was just starting to
fall asleep in his bed. He felt good, very tired but content. He wasn’t
sure why his grandmother Maggie and Elsie were there and smiling but he
didn’t have a problem with it. He allowed Elsie to anoint him and then he
went into a deep slumber. His demons were gone and the Holy Spirit had
reclaimed him. There would be no nonsense from the demons tonight; Elsie
had made sure of it. She had a gentle smile but you just got the
impression that she would grab any human or evil spirit by the scruff of
the neck and pound them. She was a strong willed woman who God chose to be
in his service because her heart was good. Satan tried this woman
occasionally but others prayed her for and she prayed for herself as well.
It was easier for him to find someone else.
Maggie was happy too. She
was smiling and it seemed as if she had lost 5 years in age. She would
sleep well tonight and she had asked Elsie to stay with her. Elsie said
she would arrange another woman intercessor to stay with Maggie that night
as she felt her work for the night was not done. She had been informed by
the reverend that Joanne had refused a blessing and prayer, which came as
no surprise to Elsie. She had not really met Joanne properly but women
like Elsie are not fooled by ego and vanity. Elsie was ready to leave at a
Joanne was annoyed at Ray.
They sat quietly in the car as Paul drove them towards The Ambassador. It
was late, and dark. When they got in the car Ray asked innocently of
Joanne why she didn’t want a prayer and a blessing. Joanne exploded.
“I don’t have to have a
blessing and a prayer if I don’t want to”!! She snapped back and that was
the end of the conversation.
Being a Thursday night there
were more people around the streets and Frankston didn’t seem so lonely or
scary. Joanne knew what she had said previously about how she didn’t want
to be alone that night but things were different now. She didn’t feel as
scared any more and she didn’t need their company, particularly Ray’s.
As Paul drove the car
towards the motel he remembered what Joanne had said over the last 24
hours and how she didn’t want to stay in the hotel at night alone. Paul
would have preferred to go home, he was tired and he was sure Ray was. He
had seen a lot today, experienced a lot and he couldn’t explain it yet
alone make sense of most of it.
Paul was born into a
non-believing family. There was his mother and father, himself and his
brother Jim. His family are hard working people and his brother Jim was a
publican. Neither of them had any strong views on religion so it was only
to be expected that Paul would turn out the same way. By the time he was
thirty-six his father had died from cancer, his mother from diabetes and
he was alone. He never married. He never had a career but drifted from one
job to another. He was 30 when he became part of the camera crew of
channel 9, old by anyone’s standard but he was prepared to work for the
casual wage they were going to offer him. He had a quiet thinking
disposition which gave the impression he was clever but in actual fact he
was a good listener in a world and time when most people wanted to talk.
He had been a roadie for a while and practiced working behind the console
in a sound studio. He became good at it and wondered what it was like to
be a sound recorder in a film crew and do some sound affects .He made some
enquiries. At first the answer was no no no, then he offered to work for
free. He got a call from channel 9 and they put him on a casual wage. He
was sharing a house at the time so the poor wage didn’t really bother him.
He liked the work and after a year they increased his pay. He had his
opportunities to work in the studio but he told them he was happy to be
with a film crew. He liked the excitement of it all. If they told him
tomorrow his job was gone, he would go, without an argument and go
straight to another TV. Channel.
As the car came up the
driveway of the motel and stopped, Joanne said to them.
“Well I am going to bed. You
two can get a room and we can meet in the lobby.”
She got out of the car and
walked straight to reception. She left them sitting there trying to work
out what was going on in her mind. The expression “You two”, so distant so
aloof so unfriendly. Ray and Paul got out of the car slowly and walked to
When Joanne opened the door
of her room, she sensed a feeling of happiness. She was alone and didn’t
have to explain herself to anyone. She was tired and kicked off her shoes
and removed her stockings. She was tired but content. She was glad she was
away from Ray and Paul. Ray in particular had been getting on her nerves.
She didn’t feel she had to explain herself to him why she did what she did
or why she didn’t do what he thought she should do.
She walked into the bathroom
that had caused her great concern previously and turned on the spa. She
poured some spa gel into the water and allowed the water to fill the tub
with such noise. She wondered why spas are so noisy. They sound like a
small airplane and they are often too big for one person and too small for
She made sure the door was
locked and turned on the T.V. She tilted it towards the spa so she could
see it from there. She went into the bathroom and tested the remote
control. She could change channels from the spa, excellent. She made sure
the door was locked. She also made sure the blinds were drawn tight and
then began undressing.
She took out her make up
remover from her beauty bag and a small bag of cotton wool balls. Slowly,
meticulously she removed her make up which had been so carefully put on.
As it came off, she looked real, more human. She knew how to apply it to
emphasize her beautiful blue eyes and her full lips. Underneath all the
make up she had skin that was no better than anyone else’s.
When she got in the bath, it
felt good to have her feet in the furiously bubbling water and then she
lowered herself gently in the water. Her calf muscles were sore, always
sore because she wore high-heeled shoes most of the time to make herself
look taller and more feminine. She rubbed them lovingly under water and
began to relax. She put her head under water and allowed it to wash out
her hairspray. She moved her body around so the pulsating water hit all
around her body and relaxed her. She was virtually weightless and floated
gently to the surface. When she was in a good position she looked at the
TV. She flicked around to the different channels but nothing really
appealed to her. She turned it off and the spa as well. The silence was
pleasing and relaxing. Where she was she could see her mobile phone near
the TV. It was on and she certainly hoped it would not go on while she was
in the spa.
Ray and Paul got a room to
share. They did have a room with 2 single beds. They asked for that
because they were not homosexual and certainly didn’t want to sleep
together. The pretty desk clerk gave them a room just above Joanne,
thought they didn’t know it. They slowly took the equipment out of the car
and to the room above Joanne’s.
In the spa, Joanne thought
she heard them go into the room above her but couldn’t be sure. She
wandered if she had been too nasty but then who cares. She wasn’t prepared
to apologize and go and sit with them.
Joanne thought about Ray for
a moment. With his thick accent, she often didn’t quite understand what he
was saying. She noticed there seemed to be a lot of immigrants in
Melbourne and Sydney; that was something she was not accustomed to in
Perth. The way Ray said, “tap” for the word “tape” and a few other words
were quite annoying. Why did Australia allow so many immigrants into the
country when so many of them couldn’t speak English properly?
Upstairs Paul and Ray
entered the room. It was modest, nothing special. There were no chocolates
on the pillows or welcoming fruit baskets. These rooms were allocated for
people like Ray, 2 men working together to stay over night and share the
costs. Paul was a quiet man at the best of times and Ray was quiet too. He
had caused enough trouble with Joanne already so was not in the mood for
talking. They put their equipment on the floor. Ray was aware he had only
one videocassette for his camera. He would need more and he hoped Joanne
would be in a nicer frame of mind tomorrow and they could all go to the
city get some more tape and maybe do a voice over in the studio.
Paul was looking at the
painting of a sailing ship between the two beds. Ray was about to check
the battery of the camera when he had a distinctive feeling something
was wrong. He had a feeling similar to that when one becomes aware they
have forgotten something important. The only difference is it was about
Joanne. He felt she was in trouble. He stayed motionless on one bent knee,
staring at the window with the curtains drawn tight. This is what Paul saw
when he turned around.
“What is it Ray”? He said.
“I think Joanne is in
trouble” He said.
“No I don’t think so” Paul
Ray got up slowly but he was
distracted as if he could hear something.
“No I think she is in
trouble” He said. There was a moment of silence.
“What do you think we should
do, knock on her door”? Paul said
“Yes, I think we should” Ray
“What happens if she is
asleep”? Paul asked. Ray thought about it, yes what we they do if she was
“I am going to go down
stairs and listen at her door” Ray said and then he got up and left the
room. Paul watched him go; he didn’t know what to do.
Joanne was enjoying her
bath. She felt relaxed. She hit the “Pulse” button. In a second the bath
was pulsing water all around. She moved her legs around to get the full
force of the jets on her tired muscles.
Outside her door, Ray could
hear the spa going and could hear her move her legs around with a
splashing sound. He waited for a moment till the pulsing noise was over.
He heard her splashing around then he decided he should leave. She seemed
Joanne didn’t hear Ray
outside the door. She was enjoying her bath. She could see her mobile
phone on the dressing table near the T.V. She wondered for a moment if
anyone would call her. While she was watching the phone she had a feeling
of a cool breeze enter the room as if there was a draft, an open window or
an open door. She leaned out of the spa to try and see if she could see
the door but couldn’t. She sat back. She looked at her phone and thought
that maybe it would be a good idea if she called someone just to say
hello. She didn’t want to get out of the spa though. At first Joanne
thought she was imaging it, but then she realized she wasn’t. Something
was wrong. She felt cold and scared. She felt she could not move. She
tried to move her legs but they would not move. She wasn’t sure if it was
cramp or whether it was fear, but she could not move her body.
The desk phone then rang.
She had no idea who was calling or why. She wanted to get to the phone to
answer it, but she could not move. She screamed, louder then louder over
again, but she couldn’t get up. She mustered all the courage she could to
get out of the bath and found she could do it easily. She clutched some
towels and put them around her and then she quickly ran to the phone. She
caught a brief look at herself in the mirror and it didn’t seem to be her.
She ran and picked up the phone but it stopped ringing just as she picked
it up. She felt a cold breeze behind her, which made her spin around, but
she could not see anything. She then went to her mobile phone and it
seemed to be in a different position, she knew it. She picked it up and
felt like a thin black arm grabbed her hand, but didn’t want to stop her,
just wanted her to know it was there. She pressed the buttons frantically
to access her previous calls. She accessed the last phone number, Robert.
It dialed. She was frantic and found herself on the floor. It went to
message bank. She didn’t know what to do or say, she hung up. She threw
the phone on the floor. She could hear footsteps outside her door and then
loud banging. Joanne heard a rushing of wind and it seemed to go inside
her mouth. She felt her throat spread and a sensation like food entering
her stomach. She knew she had swallowed something. For a brief moment she
was fine. The banging on the door was still going on but Joanne felt
still, calm, no longer tormented. She felt the urge to lie down which she
did on the bed. She dropped her towels and lay flat on her back. The room
was cool yet she felt quite warm, she didn’t feel afraid, she felt good.
The noise from outside the door seemed to fade away and she was no longer
aware of it. She closed her eyes. She felt like this once before when she
had got drunk at her 18th birthday, the room was spinning
Amy the receptionist at the
Ambassador had heard the screaming as well and had come running to the
apartment room. She saw Paul and Ray there. They were all scared; the
screaming was terrifying as if someone was being murdered. Amy put her
master key into the door and opened it. She opened the door slowly. She
wasn’t sure what she was going to see and didn’t want to see what she was
about to see, but she knew she had to.
Like opening the door of a
refrigerator, Amy felt the cold air in the room. She saw Joanne lying on
the bed naked, her legs spread wide apart. There was a smell that Amy
couldn’t identify. Joanne was lying there just casually looking up at the
ceiling. Their eyes met.
“Excuse me miss, are you
alright”? Amy said. Joanne didn’t seem to notice, just stared at her.
“We heard screaming, your
friends are here, we were worried.” Amy said timidly. Joanne didn’t seem
to be registering the conversation. Amy kept the door open but ducked her
head out to talk to Ray and Paul, who were anxiously waiting for some
“She is just lying there,
naked.” She said.
“Any one else there”? Ray
“I don’t know, I couldn’t
see anyone.” She replied.
The door suddenly slammed
shut startling them.
“Did she close the door or
is there someone else in there” said Paul.
“I don’t know” Amy said. She
knocked on the door
“Hello, Miss, are you
okay”??!!!!! Amy said.
“Her name is Joanne” Paul
“Joanne, are you okay”? Amy
said after knocking again. Ray took out his mobile phone and started
“Are you calling the cops”?
“No. She doesn’t need cops,
she needs a priest.”
On the corner of Nepean
Highway and Davey Street is the Grand Hotel. Elsie thought she could stop
briefly for a beer and a play of the pokies. As she approached the hotel
she couldn’t believe her luck as a vehicle was about to leave a parking
bay near the premises. She put her indicator on and waited patiently for
the car to depart. There was little traffic around as it was Thursday
night. As the vehicle departed, Elsie quickly passed the bay ready to back
in. She wanted to reverse quickly into the bay before traffic arrived from
behind. She didn’t like to inconvenience other drivers and certainly
didn’t want to feel pressure to park. She looked over her left shoulder
and was ready to reverse. There was no traffic. She heard laughing. It
made her stop and she looked around the car. She looked out the windows
but there were no people near her car on the footpath. She saw the lights
of an approaching car from behind then heard the horn being blown. She
wondered why people were so impatient. She started to park in the bay. She
made no eye contact with the driver as he drove by, annoyed Elsie took
that 10 seconds of his life. She turned off the engine. At that moment she
felt warm and light, the way she usually felt when the lord moved with in
her. Then she thought about the laughter she had heard earlier, like that
of a late teenage girl being frivolous and care free on the way to a night
club. She remembered where she had heard it previously. It was the voice
of a demon that had possessed Cynthia; a teenager Elsie had cast out
nearly 10 years ago. The girl said she was Lucifer and he was cast out.
Was it Lucifer? or just some other demons pretending. It didn’t matter, he
was gone, and it was gone. Was he back?
At that moment, Elsie’s
mobile phone rang. She picked it up and recognized the reverend’s phone
number. She answered
“Hello John, trouble with
the lass Joanne”? She said.
“Yes, the Ambassador Hotel”
Phillip said in a tired voice. “I will meet you there”.
“Ok” Elsie said. She ended
the call. She looked at her watch, it was almost 11pm. It was going to be
a late night. No time for beer and gambling.
When Elsie arrived at the
Ambassador Hotel, which is only about 10 minutes away, she found Paul and
Ray near the door with Amy in quiet conversation. They saw Elsie and
seemed relieved. Ray approached Elsie.
“Joanne is in trouble,” He
said. Elsie approached the door. She looked at Amy.
“Could you open the door
please” Elsie said.
Amy looked frightened but
with her master key she tried to open the door to Joanne’s room, but it
did not want to open. Amy struggled with the keys. Joanne seemed to say a
prayer to her self. She took out her crucifix necklace from under her
sweater and placed it on her ample bosom. She put her hand on the door
and it swung open a few inches. They stared at it. She clutched the
necklace tightly with her right hand, as she continued her silent prayer.
While this was occurring John arrived. Elsie didn’t even look in his
direction as he came up behind her.
“Should I get my camera”?
Ray asked. Elsie just looked at him in a way that said “No”.
Without looking at any one
“John and I are going in,
the rest of you go back to your rooms.”
They needed no
encouragement, particularly Amy. She was thinking of quitting a week ago
and now she felt without doubt that she didn’t get enough pay for this
sort of thing.
Elsie and John walked in.
The room was dark and cold.
Even though it was tidy, it smelt unsavory. There was a wet patch on the
bed and there was the smell of urine. Standing in the bathroom just
staring at them was a woman who was once Joanne Thomson. Her eyes were
glazed like she was under heavy medication. She was wearing a bathroom but
it was loosely fitted. Her left breast was nearly exposed. Her hair looked
like she or someone else had pulled it up and left it there. It wasn’t
upright completely but it was wet and not ruffled. She was naked
underneath the bathrobe and barefoot.
She snarled at them in a
“In the name of Jesus
Christ, I forbid any violence or acts of destructive behavior.” Elsie
said. Joanne just smiled and started to crouch down.
“I forbid any disgusting or
embarrassing acts in the name of Jesus Christ.” Elsie emphasized. In this
crouched position, Joanne opened her mouth and burped.
“Fat ugly bitch” the words
came out of Joanne’s mouth but they were not her words or her voice.
“I forbid any profanity,
supernatural acts or any other acts in this room in the name of Jesus
Christ” John said. Joanne walked over to him and in a voice that was not
forbid??...............You forbid nothing.” She looked at him. She took
out her breasts and showed them.
“I know you want to feel
them John, you dirty old man” the voice said. John looked uncomfortable.
“Use your big dick father,
don’t be afraid” It said. At that moment Elsie took out her little bottle
of oil from her handbag that she used for anointment.
“I have something special
for you” Elsie said and showed the oil. Joanne flew backwards against the
wall then scampered under the bed like a spider. In that instant, the robe
had fallen off. Elsie stood back and so did John.
“No games now, come out
where we can see you” Elsie said. There was no response.
“I ask the angels to remove
you from under the bed and sit on the bed where we can see you.” Elsie
In a swift motion Joanne was
now sitting on the bed, naked, her head shaking in disagreement.
Words started coming from
Joanne’s mouth in a language that neither Elsie nor John could understand.
“Stop that showy behavior in
the name of Jesus Christ” Elsie said as she put some oil on her right hand
and flicked it aggressively in Joanne’s face. It was a tiny amount but it
was enough for Joanne to shake her head even more saying “No No No.”
Then a male voice came through her.
“Elsie, my dear you are
trying to kill me”!!!
“You are not my husband and
I didn’t kill you, in the name of Jesus Christ I command the demon out of
you and all their emissaries.” Elsie said as she flicked some more oil on
her face. This time the shaking of her head had stopped. Her eyes were now
open very wide. A low grunting noise was coming out. Her mouth opened
“No!!!!!” Joanne yelled. Her
body then began to shake. This happened for a moment. Elsie put some oil
on Joanne’s forehead and John approached her. As he got closer, Joanne
noticed him. She growled like a child imitating a dog.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I forbid any acts of violence here” John said. He then put his hands on
Joanne’s shoulders. She started to cry.
In the room where Ray and
Paul were staying, the two men were anxious. They had been talking about
taking the camera and filming this event after all they were a camera
crew, but they had reservations about filming such a personal matter.
After all Joanne was a colleague and this was an intensely private matter.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. They rushed at it. Amy was at the
“Your friends want to see
you now” She said her eyes as large as saucers. She then left. They looked
at each other.
“Let’s take our stuff” Ray
said and the two of them picked up their equipment.
John was standing in the
half open doorway of Joanne’s room. He saw Ray and Paul approaching with
the equipment and was surprised. He looked down at the camera that was
being cradled in his left arm. John approached them.
“You can’t film Joanne, it
is not appropriate” He said softly. He didn’t realize that Ray already had
the camera on.
“Is she ok”? Paul said.
“We are going to pray for
her for a little longer. I suggest you try and get some sleep” John said.
“Who will look after
Joanne”? Ray said.
“We may have to take her to
the vicarage where she can be cared for.” John said.
Ray and Paul thought about
it for a moment.
“Can we see her.”? Ray
said. John thought about it for a moment and then opened the door a little
more. He looked inside and allowed Ray and Paul to peer in.
As Ray leaned forward into
the room he casually passed the camera into his right arm, cradling it
like a baby. He wanted to make sure the lens was aiming inside. Paul and
Ray saw Joanne wrapped in a bathrobe. Her face devoid of make up was
almost unrecognizable. She appeared as if she had been through a traumatic
experience. Elsie was gently stroking her hair and whispering something in
her left ear. A single bed stool lamp dimly lighted the room and Ray was
wondering if the camera was recording any of it. Elsie looked at them. She
helped Joanne stand up. Joanne was in tears. Elsie helped her walk towards
the door. Ray and Paul automatically stepped back as did John and allowed
them to pass.
Elsie guided Joanne down the
corridor quietly. Joanne was barefoot and Elsie had her arm around her
waist walking with her as if it was her daughter. John looked at them.
“She needs a good rest at
our residence and she needs to be prayed for…this is quite disturbing. Why
don’t you both come around to the vicarage tomorrow about 9am and we will
talk about it. Elsie will come back later to the room and collect her
things. ”John said. Ray and Paul were deep in thought.
“The devil is angry isn’t he
father” Ray said. John looked at him.
“Yes he is Ray, it is very
complicated but I think that is what is happening. This doesn’t t happen
very often. We don’t know yet if the same demons which were in Jason have
gone to Joanne or Joanne already had demons.” John said.
“Joanne”? Paul said
“Yes, demons don’t have to
make people vomit or do supernatural acts, but they can influence our
behavior. I noticed Jason seemed to look at Joanne in his mother’s house,
they could have left Joanne to look for another home.”
“Is that possible” Paul
“It is our belief as
Christians that these spirits are wondering in search of a new home,
namely a person and they can even return back to where they had come from,
that is why we need to look after Joanne tonight.” John added. He then
pulled the door closed slowly but not sure to lock it.
“I must go now and see how
Elsie is. Please stay here until Elsie returns.” He said. He then walked
in the direction in which Elsie and Joanne had gone. Elsie came around the
corner and she stopped to talk to John. They talked in whispers, and then
John walked towards reception. Elsie approached Ray and John standing
there like lost schoolboys.
“He will destroy the world
if we let him, gentlemen. We must not let him. He is strong and we must be
stronger. Just as Jesus sent out the 72 to the villages to preach and cast
out demons in his name, so we too carry on that tradition and faith of
casting out demons in his name. I hope you two can be strong in the next
few days because it appears as if Satan doesn’t like what you are doing.
Excuse me.” Elsie said and went inside Joanne’s room. Paul and Ray left
for there room. They said nothing. They had seen and experienced too much
for one day.
That night was a long night
and everyone concerned went to bed very tired. The last 24 hours had been
the most harrowing and revealing time for them all. They wrestled with
good and evil, their observations and beliefs. For Ray he had experienced
God again after a long absence. For Paul it was a discovery of a genuine
influence of good and evil in the world. For Joanne, she would discover
that she had been vulnerable for a very long time and a prime candidate
for demons. For the reverend John, Elsie and Robert there was a
realization that something larger than expected was taking place. They
were not just on the eve of a healing weekend but what appeared to be a
major demonstration of spiritual warfare. This would be testing times and
the fact that Satan was trying so hard to ruin the event indicated the
seriousness of what the Peninsula churches were trying to achieve. They
were all at risk, in particular Joanne, Robert and Elsie. Joanne was the
outsider coming into the world of Christ and the devil didn’t want to lose
her. Robert was young, almost Christ- like in his behavior and belief. He
was attracting attention and his influence had to be curbed. Elsie was the
warhorse. He had locked horns with her many times. One day she would be
too tired, too old, and too ill to fight him and he would win. That would
be the day that the devil scores a major victory in the battle to
accumulate souls. He would never tire; never give up, until the Lord
decides that his reign on earth is over. Until then he would continue to
confuse, divide and conquer those who oppose him and those who were
uncertain of his existence. Why was he choosing Frankston? Why didn’t he
choose Rome, Paris, Moscow, Washington or even holy places likes Lourdes
and Fatima. The answer is he was choosing a place where he thought he
could win. His demons of doubt were in great abundance there. He would
test the faith of the believers and the doubt of the non-believers. And
what of God? He knew the results already. He has seen the unborn the
beginning and end of everything.
It was about 4 am. It is
called the death hour. More people die between the hours of 3 and 4 am
than at any other time. When you are asleep it is the time of night your
heart beat is at its slowest. It is when you are in your deepest sleep. It
is when your concentration is at its worst. Many theories exist as to why
that is. Some say it is natural to have a time when a person is at their
weakest, just as it would be natural to have a time when someone is at
their strongest. It is a time when you have the worst nightmares.
Michael Weinberger sat up
with a start in bed. He was breathing heavily. His heart was pounding in
his chest as he was looked around the dark bedroom. He looked at Sonia
next to him in his bed. She had her back to him. He slowly got out of bed
and left the room not to disturb her. Sonia was awake, but did not make
any movement or say anything. This had happened many times before and she
grew tired of asking him what the problem was. Michael would have
nightmares every so often, maybe once every two months. When she asked him
what was wrong he never told her. Something was not right. Something was
While Thursday evening
passed into Friday morning, the cold weather also passed. For those who
have lived in Melbourne all their lives know how unpredictable the weather
in that city can be. This would be no exception. The cool pressure was
receding and a warm inland breeze was approaching. The clouds were not
dense enough to cause rain or thunder storms. Within hours the damp ground
would start to dry and the ominous threat of rain on the weekend would
disappear. People would start making plans for the weekend and the healing
weekend would come close to the top of their agenda. In springtime,
particular early October, the weather is at its most unstable in the great
southern Australian city. You could have bitter cold wind with heavy rain
or summer temperatures, it was potluck. Robert had put his faith in God
when he chose the first weekend of October as the day of healing. The
secular people would put it down to coincidence, but others would see the
divine hand of the Lord involved.
Ray awoke with a start. For
a moment he didn’t know where he was. He looked across the room to see
Paul still sleeping. He leaned over and picked up his watch quietly by his
bedside table. He looked at it and saw the time was just after 8am. He was
still a little sleepy but happy. He got out of bed quietly and looked
through the small partition in the curtains at the weather outside. It was
sunny, the sky was blue and the clouds were white. He needed to see this
On Nepean highway the
traffic was busy. It was Friday and peak hour. He had his mobile phone in
his hand. He turned it on. He started walking towards Frankston towards
Beach Street and then just kept walking.
The beach was almost
completely deserted except for an old man in the distance walking his dog.
Ray arrived on the sand where he was only 24 hours ago and he felt the
tears welling in his eyes. The sea was calm, the sky a magnificent blue
with the occasional white cloud. There was a gentle breeze coming from the
ocean. He felt a tremendous sense of victory and happiness as if he had
been saved from a major ordeal. He closed his eyes and prayed silently for
a few minutes. He thanked God for forgiving him for his sin and sparing
his sanity. The nice weather was symbolic of how he felt and he felt
redeemed. He felt God was watching over him and blessing him. He decided
to ring his wife Carmel. When he heard her on the phone he was happy. He
told her he loved her and his daughter Susie. Even though Carmel had
little time to hear what Ray was saying because she had to prepare Susie
for school, she had to listen to her husband.
He told her a little of what
had occurred and what he had experienced. He couldn’t bring himself yet to
tell her about the murder in the Philippines but he told her everything
else. She felt that something profound had occurred. She felt that God had
touched her husband .He sounded more loving, gentle and thoughtful than he
had been for a very long time. She told him she loved him too and she
couldn’t wait to see him. He told them he would be home that night, no
Father O’Shea liked to sleep
with his bedroom window open a few inches. He liked the cool air to
circulate into his room. This morning was different. He could hear clearly
a bird singing with its pleasant chirping song. He awoke and looked around
the room. There was more light than usual, the days were getting longer.
Looking out the window he could see the blue skies. The ducks would soon
be swimming on the pond at Queens Park. Father O’Shea felt exhilarated. It
was going to be a beautiful spring day, which was for sure.
The ducks indeed were wading
and a few joggers were jogging around the well-maintained walking/running
tracks. Father O’Shea had his silver Thermos with him full of Peppermint
and Carmel tea, sweetened with some honey. He had been introduced to the
drink by the parents of one of his students and took an immense liking to
it. He liked to sit in the yard of St.Monica’s rectory and have his tea
but today he wanted to have it in Queens Park, only a short walk away.
The park benches were empty
so there was no difficulty finding a place to sit down with a view of the
pond. He poured himself a cup of tea and looked over the beauty of the
park. There was no substitute for a beautiful spring day. He could smell
the flowers in the air and the new leaves of the trees. He never tired of
the re birth of the world. This morning somehow felt even more special. He
had this feeling before several times, 1956 when Melbourne hosted the
Olympic games, 1973 during the Eucharistic Congress, 1994 during
Melbourne’s first Grand Prix. It was as if the world’s spotlight was on
the city and he felt that again. The healing weekend was not going to be a
wash out; it was going to be a tremendous success. The weather was good
and he felt that for a brief moment, God would interfere and make the
weekend a success. He felt happy, truly happy. He wanted to enjoy the
moment. When he would return back to his room he would have a recorded
message waiting for him from Reverend John Fletcher, asking him for some
urgent advice. Yes this was going to be a special day.
Joanne opened her eyes
slowly. The light of the morning was shining through the partially opened
drapes. She could hear birds singing. For a moment she didn’t know where
she was. She saw the crucifix on the wall directly opposite her. On the
bedside table to her left was The Bible. She could hear the gentle
clanging of plates and cups coming from the kitchen. She was in the guest
room of the reverend John and his wife Leanne. She got out of bed. She was
completely naked, and put on a night gown which was on the edge of the
bed. She walked slowly to the door and opened it.
In the corridor, Joanne
could hear the noise coming from the kitchen as if someone was cleaning up
some dishes. She wasn’t prepared to see anyone with out her make up on but
she had little choice. She walked towards the kitchen and saw John’s wife
Leanne washing some breakfast bowls. She saw Joanne.
“Good morning Joanne”.
“Good morning” Joanne said.
“Yes, thank you” Joanne
“Would you like some
breakfast?” she enquired.
“No thank you” Joanne
“Robert and John are in the
back yard, they would like to talk to you. Would you like a shower
Joanne thought about it
“Yes that would be nice
“Good, I will show you the
room and get you a towel” she said. Joanne followed her.
Joanne showered and put her
make up on. She didn’t have much choice but to wear the clothes she was
wearing the night before. When she went into the backyard led by Leanne
she found John and Robert sitting at a pleasant circular iron outdoor
dining setting. The weather was surprisingly warm. They were having coffee
and some raisin toast. On the table they had a bible and some other
printed A4 sheets of paper. When they saw her, they stood up. As she
approached them, they could see she was a beautiful woman that they didn’t
see last night. She had applied her make up meticulously and she was now
Joanne the female TV reporter.
“Good Morning Joanne” John
said and he kissed her on the cheek. She was surprised and so was his
wife. She kissed him back. There was an awkward moment, and then Joanne
kissed Robert on the cheek. He seemed embarrassed.
“Morning Robert” she said.
“Good morning” Robert said.
“Please join us” John said
indicated a spare chair.
“Thank you” Joanne said and
“Coffee or tea”? Said John
“Coffee, white please”
Joanne responded. Lorraine then left them.
“We have something we want
to discuss with you” Robert said. Joanne nodded.
“Originally we didn’t like
the idea of a camera crew coming here to do a story about the healing
weekend but we decided it would be good publicity. As you are aware, there
has been quite some spiritual activity in the last 48 hours that has
“Yes I understand” Joanne
“Well we certainly hope so
Joanne…what do you think about your experience last night”? John asked
Joanne thought about it for a moment.
“I am trying to think about
it. It seems so unreal to me. She said.
“I can tell you now Joanne
it was real. John replied.
“You were chosen for a
reason, Joanne. You have the authority to expose Lucifer and his way of
operating because you yourself had demons” Robert said.
“This is the part I am
having difficulty with, that a person can have demons inside them.” Joanne
At that moment Leanne
brought some coffee and some raising toast. Joanne looked up
“Thank you” She said. They
waited for her to go back to the kitchen.
“The closer you come to God,
the more Satan will try and tempt you” John said.
Joanne took a sip of the
coffee and pondered the thought.
“What should I do”? Joanne
“We are so glad you asked”
“You must pray and become
closer to God and ask for his help” John said.
“I haven’t prayed seriously
since I was a little girl,” Joanne said.
“That is why he came for you
Joanne; temptation is a sign that Satan hates you, not a sign of weakness.
He can’t have you go against him.”
Joanne thought once more
about what was being said.
“It happened right
throughout history from Adam and Eve, to the temptation of Jesus, the
confusion and doubt of Martin Luther, these are examples of temptation on
historical scales, but it happens to every day people as well. It is
happening right now, to us, all of us. It is happening to Ray, it is
happening to Robert, it is happening to you.” John said.
“You cannot deny the
experiences that have occurred in just over 24 hours. For us it has been
happening for more than a month, people being miraculously healed, others
becoming deeply disturbed.” Robert said. He then handed her some A4
printed sheets of paper.
“Read this in your spare
time Joanne. Evil has an origin and a master Joanne and his name is Satan.
He will destroy the world if we let him.” Robert finished.
“We would like you to tell
the world about what you have experienced here and come to us as a
Christian again to be strong in your faith, to reject evil.” John said
Joanne nodded “I will”.
“Before you leave today, we
would like to pray for you” John said.
“Ok” Joanne said.
In the prayer room where
previously Joanne had found it difficult to accept prayer, seemed more
inviting than it had been previously. Sun was streaming through the open
blinds. John, Robert and Joanne entered the room.
“Please sit down” Phillip
said and indicated the chair. Joanne sat in it. Phillip and Robert put
their hands on Joanne’s shoulders. They all closed their eyes.
“Our father who are in
heaven, hallowed by thy name your kingdom come, your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven. Give us this today our daily bread. Forgive us our
debt as we forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but
deliver us from the evil one.” Robert said.
“Please Lord, guide Joanne
and bringer closer to you so that you know of your goodness. Protect her
and those around her as she spreads the word of your work to the world.
Amen” John finished off.
“Amen” was said by all three
of them. Joanne looked up with a beautiful smile.
“Thank you” she said. Robert
took a small box on the bookshelf and opened it. He removed a small fine
chain crucifix necklace. He gave it to her.
“This crucifix has been
blessed by the reverend. It is small enough to be unnoticeable but big
enough to be of great significance. Keep it close to you forever.” Robert
Joanne took it and stood up
happily. She unfastened it and put it around her neck. She kissed them
both on the cheek.
“I feel fantastic,” she
“Onward Christian soldier”
Joanne sat in the Mc Café
restaurant corner of Ballarto road and Frankston/Dandenong road. She had
got a phone call from Ray and Paul. They were hungry and getting their act
together slowly. She suggested the McDonald’s Mc café restaurant. John
dropped her off there and she was happy to wait for the guys to have
breakfast with her.
She had time to read so she
read the material Robert and John had given her. She was engrossed by it
all. As she read through the material her mind and soul was becoming more
open to the Holy Spirit. The world of Good and evil from a Christian
perspective was being revealed to her. There seemed to be parallels before
in history to what was occurring right now in Frankston. In one particular
town, not from the Polish city of Lwow there had been a detailed account
of intense spiritual activity, miraculous healings and many possessions
that peaked in August of 1939. It was soon forgotten because of the war
that started in September of that year, but not all records were lost.
Parish priest Jan Bielawska kept a detailed diary of the events and
published a short story in the U.S.A. where he had emigrated.
The presumption by some
observers, of events that occur in places like Fatima and Lourdes is that
God is communicating to his followers through certain people, often in
response to a great calamity about to occur or in a time when the
strengthening of faith is needed. Of course this doesn’t occur with out
Satan trying his best to upset proceedings. Just as the Virgin Mary spoke
to the three young girls at Fatima, it seemed God had chosen Robert Hill a
humble nutritionist, to spread the word of God. He was just on thirty
years of age, had very little Christian involvement and knowledge until
The similarity between Jesus
and Robert was not lost on Joanne. It was as if God chose Robert and fast
tracked him in the ways of the spirit world for the purpose of healing.
Was Frankston to be the next place of healing like Fatima and Lourdes? Why
not, Joanne thought. The world had never heard of Fatima before the
visitation of the Virgin Mary, why not Frankston? Then an incredible
thought occurred to her, what if there was to be a vision of Mary or Jesus
on the weekend?
Joanne recognized the car as
it entered the car park. She watched Ray and Paul get out of the car. They
walked towards the café. She noticed them in the distance and waved. They
were apprehensive but smiled with relief when it appeared she was ok.
Joanne was ok. She was going to go to the studio and edit the tape she
had. She was looking forward to it.
In the studios of Channel
nine, at the end of the corridor behind a Maroon door was the office of
producer Matthew Dallance. He had a humble office, no name on the door and
a nice photograph of his wife and two children framed on the desk. He was
in his late 40,s and had wavy black hair. As he was doing some paper work,
Michael Weinberger entered without knocking. He was handed the edited tape
to Matthew. He looked at the tape as it was handed to him.
“What’s this”? He said.
“The tape of the decade”
Michael said. Michael looked quite tired.
“I got a call from Roger
Mains last night to do some editing. Here it is” He added.
“Well I better have a look
then” Matthew said and put it into the video cassette recorder in the
corner of his office. Michael stood there for a moment and watched as
Matthew watched the tape play. Michael could tell Matthew wasn’t all that
“Can I show you something”?
“Yeah sure” Matthew said.
Michael leaned over and took the remote control of the VCR and
fast-forwarded it. Matthew watched in interest the images as they flashed
by on the screen. It was slowed when the filming of Jason appeared. He saw
Jason fly under the couch.
“Jesus!!!” Matthew said.
Michael rewound it and
played it again and then stopped it. Matthew looked at it then at Michael.
“Is it real”? Matthew asked.
“My God,” Matthew said.
“My God exactly” said
“We better get a voice over
now, Joanne is coming in soon, this is incredible” said Matthew as he
excitedly took the tape out. Michael stared at him.
“Do you believe in God
Matthew”? Michael asked.
“Yes of course” Matthew
“Good” Michael said.
“Because I didn’t. I didn’t have a good night sleep last night; I am glad
it is here and you have got it. I didn’t tell my wife about this tape but
tonight after it has been on TV I will have to explain myself. She is a
bit funny about things like that. She thinks it will bring a curse on the
“I will look after it
Michael, don’t worry yourself” Matthew said as he casually put the tape on
“Don’t make fun of me!!!!!”
Michael yelled, at Matthew. His eyes were bulging and his right fist was
clenched. He had come close to Matthew
“Ok…ok. I am sorry Michael.”
Matthew said. Michael was still staring angrily at Matthew. Matthew felt
that at any given moment Michael would just attack him if he said the
wrong thing. He continued to stare at him and then left the room slowly
There is a time when it
feels good to be alive and spring is one of those times. In Melbourne the
air is perfumed with the smell of flowers and full of the sound of birds
singing. In September it comes just in time for the football finals and
then flows nicely into October. After a few days of cold rain and strong
wind the warm spring weather had returned with a vengeance. The ground
dried up and the skies clear. The wind was gone.
The paddocks off the
Mornington Peninsula freeway near the Rutherford turn off were being
slowly transformed. A large truck came with plenty of timber all donated
from hardware stores in Frankston as well as volunteer labor. Several cars
followed the truck and they stopped awkwardly on the freeway shoulder. In
the distance they could see a man standing still looking away from the
freeway to the east, his back to them. This is where the temporary stage
would go, as well as the cross. They began unpacking the truck and
carrying the wood towards Robert, the man standing in the paddock.
A short time later the
reverend and Father O’Shea had arrived in John’s car. John had known
Father O’Shea for quite some years and they had more than a spiritual
connection. Both were football fans of the Essendon football club and
often rang each other to talk about their team’s dismal performance. John
had met Father O’Shea at a catholic conference more than ten years ago.
John was impressed with father O’Shea intellect and resolute manner. He
was one of the Catholic Church’s authority on Exorcism and the occult.
As they got out of the car
they could see the make shift stage being hammered together and Robert in
the distance. He stood there deep in thought his back to them. They
commenced walking towards him on the sloping ground towards the fence
line. A section of the fence had been removed, to allow the workers and
worshippers to have easy access to the paddocks. It wasn’t sure whether
some driver’s would take their cars down off the freeway and attempt to
drive in or leave their cars on the road shoulder and walk in. It didn’t
seem like a good place to have a healing weekend, as there was no proper
parking facility. Vic roads and the council who were responsible for the
land in the area were not happy about granting permission for the healing
weekend but did so as they were reluctant to say no to Christian groups.
The ground beneath the feet
of John and Father O’Shea was firm and the grass course. The recent rain
had done little to the paddocks. This was not agricultural land but land
close to a freeway and close to a new freeway about to be built. They
walked towards the volunteers, men and women who were following directions
on the plan and building the stage. Robert turned around and saw them. He
approached them with a smile. He shook Father O,Shea’s hand.
“Father O’Shea, it is so
nice to meet you finally” Robert said great enthusiasm.
“Pleasure to meet you too”
Father O’Shea said as he shook the hand of Robert.
“As you can see the stage is
being built, it is coming along swiftly, and the weather has cleared up”
“Yes. The forecast is for a
beautiful weekend” John added
“I’m really excited about
this weekend. I honestly believe God is watching over us right now and
guiding proceedings.” Robert said.
“I believe that too” added
“Have a look at the cross”
Robert said and walked excitedly around the stage being constructed. John
and Father O’Shea followed him.
Behind the stage under
construction lay a large cross, approx 20 meters in length. It was made up
of many old wooden railway sleepers joined together. Laying there on the
ground it looked immovable. John and Father O’Shea stared at it.
“How is it going to be
raised”? Father O’Shea asked.
“We will do it. The base
goes into the ground. Some of us then will lift while others will pull by
ropes and we will raise it.” Robert said with enthusiasm. Father O’Shea
looked at Robert with admiration. He was looking at what he would like to
have been when he was his age.
In the privacy of the
recording studio Joanne was putting the finishing touches to the voice
over of the tape. She had to admit to herself that the editing of the tape
was good. She was also surprised that the tape was in two distinct
sections, the first being the intercession of Jason and the second was the
rough footage of the experience she had later. It was unedited dark in
some areas but it only added atmosphere to the confronting story. She
found it surprisingly easy to look at her self because it didn’t seem like
her; she had no recollection of the event. The voice over that she had put
over the first part of the tape was good she thought. She put across the
view of the church and avoided criticism of what was taking place. It was
standard for all reporters to get an alternative point of view on camera
to create debate on TV and at home, but there was little time for that and
Joanne had made the decision not to. She could have contacted the
Australian skeptic society to give their opinion of the events but thought
better of it.
She replayed the highlight
of the tape, a few times, of Jason disappearing under the sofa. It was
dramatic and confronting. At the end of that segment she put the voice
over “what you are seeing is not any sort of trickery or special effect, a
young man jumps under a couch that normally would not conceal a kitten. It
was dramatic but deserving, this was a battle of good and evil taking
place on tape for the world to see. A quick fast forward to the last
segment of the tape. It showed the barren landscape of the freeway. Over
this Joanne concluded, “Is this the place where miracles will happen on
the weekend….”? She was happy with that and then went through the process
of transferring the tape to cd. She didn’t have to do it, the technicians
could have but Joanne liked the hands on aspect of story preparation.
Joanne had her headphones on
and didn’t notice Stewart the technician waving his arms at her until he
was almost directly in front of her.
“Stewart, I didn’t hear you
or see you” she said as she took the phones off her head.
“Matthew Dallance wants to
see you” he said.
“Mr. Dallance”? Joanne asked
“Yes, that is right; his
office is at the end of the corridor “Stewart said.
“Oh, I will go right away.”
Joanne said. Stewart nodded. Joanne looked at the computer burning the
“I will look after that,” he
said. Joanne stood up. She was about to see the producer of A current
When Joanne knocked on the
door, she heard a casual “come in”. When she swung the door open she saw
Matthew behind the counter with some paper work on his desk. He stood up
and smiled at her.
“Joanne, come in please”. He
said. She came in and closed the door behind her.
He put out his hand.
“Pleased to meet you” He
said and shook her hand.
“Pleased to meet you too”.
She said and sat down. The office walls were white. She noticed the
computer on the corner of the desk and the TV/VCR set up in the corner. It
was a conservative looking office.
“How are you?” Matthew said.
“Fine” Joanne said. He was
smiling but looking at her intently.
“That’s good. I hope I can
make you feel comfortable working here, how can I help you”? He said.
“I am fine, thank you,”
“I saw your report on the
healing weekend………..it was very good, harrowing. You have probably noticed
the second part is un edited and we wanted to keep it that way, so you can
keep that tape.” The statement surprised Joanne.
“Thank you”, Joanne said.
“It is a very good report
and I am sure we shall get a good audience……………..do you want to continue
with the follow up?”
“Oh yes, this has been
rewarding for me, I want to follow it right through the weekend” Joanne
said enthusiastically. Matthew smiled and nodded.
“Actually I was
wondering………..after this weekend, am I supposed to return to Perth.”?
“Well, if you want to stay
here, I think I can arrange for you to stay for a few months, and then see
how you go.” Matthew said.
“Good, thank you” Joanne
said and began to stand. She shook his hand again, and went to the door.
Matthew smiled as she left the office. He sat back down and was pleased.
Joanne seemed to want to work in the Melbourne office, which was good. The
other female reporter Rosaline D’Angelo who was now in Perth was
difficult, and Matthew didn’t like her or her boss John Sinclair so they
deserved each other.
On the paddock in Frankston,
off the Mornington Peninsula freeway more people were arriving and setting
up with tents along the fence line. Father O’Shea and John walked around
to the different Christian groups saying hello. John knew most of them as
most of them were peninsula based and spent a great deal of time walking
around shaking hands. As expected there was always disagreement and
tension between Protestant and Roman Catholic dominions but they seemed to
be put aside when the healing weekend was first raised in vestry by Robert
Hill and organized by him with the enthusiasm of youth and of course the
holy spirit. Father O’Shea had seen a rebirth in the church and
spirituality recently and didn’t accept at all some statements by the
press that Christianity in Australia was dying. He knew that the average
age of parishioners and the number of them in the church was not an
indication that Christianity was dying. He had seen young radicals become
middle-aged moderates whom he knew would turn to conservatives. He told
many non-believers, skeptics and agnostic that the Bible had been around
well before their generation and would continue after them. He was as
subtle as an axe but he didn’t care. He had lived the truth and walked
with Jesus too long to have fashionable thinking try and convince him that
his faith was wrong or dying. He had known good and evil and he knew that
as death approached, the skeptics and critics began looking for answers to
the great questions in life. It almost gave him a perverse sense of
pleasure to see their hair turn grey or fall out. The angry young men he
taught and punished became fathers and brought their children to his
classroom and church.
He took a moment to look
around. The tents were going up slowly but surely around him. It was
approaching lunchtime and the field had an air of great anticipation about
it. You could smell the rough grass in the air as well as the surrounding
bushes. It was a distinctly Australian country smell which most people
loved. Father O’Shea could see a group being led by Robert pulling the
ropes around the huge cross. Amongst all the verbal directions and
encouragement John and Father O’Shea watched the base of the cross being
dragged towards the hole in the earth. With some frantic encouragement
they watched some of the group get behind the cross beam and begin lifting
and guiding the base of the cross into the hole. As the group on the ropes
pulled and the others lifting began walking forward, the large fixture
went into the hole and stayed firm. There was a cheer and some applause.
It stood proud over them and one could imagine a man being nailed to the
cross. The rustic rotting appearance of the wood made it appear authentic.
Robert, John and Father O’Shea were transfixed by its imposing appearance,
nearly twenty feet off the ground while the others began to unfasten the
ropes and put the discarded soil in the base to pack it firm.
“I think it is time for a
prayer” John said and walked towards the group with Father O’Shea behind
“Everyone I think it is time
we prayed” John said to the group. Most turned to the cross, some bowed,
some knelt, but all felt humble before the cross and its symbolism. John
led them in prayer. A gentle breeze moved around them and with the cross
above them so high and a group of believers below it, they felt at least a
little like the first Christians on Calvary.
Kananook is sad railway
station, the last stop before Frankston station coming from Melbourne and
the first station coming from Frankston. Wedged between the freeway and
wells road it was unmanned. To the west of it were car yards and a massage
parlor. To the right a noisy freeway. Wells road led to the over railway
line bridge that connected to Klauer street. It was noisy but not much was
happening there. It had a little graffiti here and there but one got the
impression even vandals and graffiti artists weren’t interested in the
station like everyone else. Few people got on the station during the day
and few got off. It was only convenient for those who lived in the far
western part of Wells road. It was a lonely place to be at best of times.
Coming down the high
pedestrian bridge was Janette Baines. She had come from Wells street side.
She had stopped at the milk bar and bought a small bottle of diet coke and
a mars bar. She was 28 years of age and an obese woman. Her skin was pale,
her dark hair dyed to a dark Maroon black color. It made her skin look
even paler than it really was. She had dark eye shadow and wore a tight
fitting pink t-shirt. It was short and stopped before the belly button
that was fashionable. Her roll of fat spilled over her black hipster
Even though she was now
walking down towards the station she was breathless as she ate the mars
bar and drank the coke. Her massive thighs rubbed together as she made
her way to the passenger gates. She looked at her watch; she wanted the
12.35pm train to Melbourne. There was a young woman with a pram seated on
the bench as Janette arrived on the Melbourne side of the platform. At
that moment the Frankston bound train arrived on the other side of the
island platform. Janette looked at it. A group of adolescent boys got off
the train with their skate boards and made their way past her with their
noisy rolling wheels. The train departed for Frankston. Janette looked at
her watch and it said 12.32 pm. She knew there was at least one suburban
train at Frankston station waiting to depart just as this other train
arrived. She took a sip from her can of coke and finished off her Mars
She looked towards Frankston
and saw the train arriving. It was one of the new grey trains that she
liked. You touched the doors and they opened automatically. Inside they
were spacious and there were no doors closing off the carriages. You could
walk from one carriage to another. As the train came closer Janette put
the Mars bar wrapper and empty can of coke in the bin. As the train
approached she jumped onto the tracks and threw herself, stomach first
onto the railway line. The train driver wasn’t even sure what he saw and
neither was the young woman with the pram who had stood up for the train.
Her baby was asleep and saw nothing. In an instant Janette was gone. She
had left her 3-year-old daughter at crèche. She had not left a suicide
note at home. She had seemed fine to most of her friends. Sometimes the
It was 3pm and Channel 9 was
preparing their promotion of “A current Affair” for that evening and they
pulled out all stops. They used their anchorman to do the voice over “Is
this young man possessed or is it a hoax. Some believe the video footage
is the one of the most authentic of super natural forces at work ever
filmed. You be the judge.” They played the promo on radio and TV from 3pm
onwards. Just as “A current affair was always advertised nearly every
working day on radio, this was no exception. The producers wanted a big
audience. They wanted a huge viewer response and they would get one. A
current affair always rates well at 6.30pm. Mention anything to do with
the supernatural and tell them you have some good video footage and the
audience will flock to the TV. sets, even though they would normally go
Friday night shopping. But it was going to be even bigger than that.
Even though there is up to
18 hours time difference between Australia and the united states, and
the fact that the video footage had not even be aired in Australia yet,
Channel 9 felt there was nothing wrong with promoting their video footage
in the United States before hand. Like all good TV stations, they
understood that the entertainment value of news reports far exceeds the
information value. They had dramatic film footage of an exorcism with a
documented super natural act and they were going to share it with the
world. The CNN network picked it up straight away and had it showing on
its major channels immediately. Instead of Australians having to choose
whether they wanted to d watch the TV. Or goes late night shopping;
Americans were at home late at night and early morning gathered around the
TV. in the chilly autumn air glued their screens. While the workers were
driving along the unassuming Mornington Peninsula freeway on their way
home, America was abuzz with debate on whether the film footage was that
of the activities of the devil or something more explicable.
Father Michael Konik had
received a phone call from one of his good friends Jan Bielawska. It was
about 9am when Jan had called him. He was speaking excitedly in Polish to
him about something he had seen on TV and wanted him to come over right a
way. Michael was only 20 minutes drive from the Maple Hill retirement home
Michigan where Jan had been residing for the last year. Michael was not
busy so he thought he would come over and see his old friend and see
exactly what all the excitement was about.
Michael Konik got into his
white 1979 Volvo sedan and began his drive to Maple Hill retirement home.
It was a pleasant drive and Michael enjoyed seeing the pine and oak trees
on the way. The smell of the forest made him feel young and alive like he
did as a young man in Poland, where he first met the famous Jan Bielawska.
Michael was studying in the
Archdiocesan seminary of Gniezno Poland in the late 1970s when he had the
opportunity to meet Jan Bielawska. He came to give a theological lecture
on the campus but it turned more into an autobiographical statement.
Michael had never heard of Jan Bielawska but he would soon discover a
great deal about the man who would help transform his life.
Jan Bielawska was a young 23
priest in Lwow in 1939 when he experienced many strange phenomena in his
small Parish in that Polish town. A young woman experienced stigmata and
began speaking in a strange language that he was unfamiliar with. Some of
his parishioners had become very ill suddenly while some recovered from
serious illnesses. All this puzzled Jan until he had an unusual experience
himself. In the midst of it all he had a dream that he saw a large cross
on a field. People gathered there and who believed would be healed of
their illnesses. This came not from a voice but an intuition that it was
something he had to. Without haste he organized the construction of a
large wooden cross and this was placed in a nearby field. His intuition
also told him that he would face opposition to this as the devil would try
to stop him. He kept extensive notes on the experience that were later to
be published in a book called “The signs of faith.”
During a period of week
during the placing of the cross in the field and the gathering of
followers to the site, Jan claimed to be visited by strange people. They
were mostly men, one was a woman, who told him that he was delusional and
wasting his and the followers time. They tried to dissuade him from
conducting public times of mass prayer and blessing, but when he continued
to do so people were healed. He described feeling weak in their presence
but his faith was strong and he over came them. One of them in particular
the young priest described as the devil personified. He came to Jan one
warm autumn’s day wearing a black robe like a priest. As they talked Jan
was convinced his appearance changed before his very eyes. He was fair
skinned then quite dark. When he offered for the man to enter the church
he refused. He also refused to give his name. Jan asked him to recite the
prayer of the faithful, which every Polish schoolboy knows. The prayer
asks for a blessing from God to protect them from the devil. The man
refused to recite the prayer and vanished. According to Jan he just
disappeared. It was August the 31st 1939.
That night Jan had a
restless slumber. He had conflicting thoughts all night then had a
pleasant presence of the Holy Spirit enter his consciousness. He felt that
he had done well for his community but more evil was to come. He also had
a premonition that God would stop the sun from setting to allow more
people to be healed. It was also to show the world that God was still
influencing activities in our lives and influencing nature itself.
The following day no one had
turned up for his public prayer. He heard later from a delivery boy that
Germany had attacked Poland without warning and without any declaration of
war. The Russians would soon follow and attack from the east. Lwow would
disappear from the Polish map and would become a part of the Ukraine.
Jan fled his town and
parish. He joined the Polish underground but refused to bear arms because
he was a priest. He was assisted to the northern part of Poland and
smuggled on board a Swedish ship. He stayed in Sweden in exile until the
end of the war. He wrote his book about the experiences he had and gave
them to a member of the Polish government in exile in Britain.
After the war ended he
returned to Poland in the naïve belief that the new government would
rebuild Poland. Instead he found the Communist government would take
control of Poland. The allies had gone to war over Poland being taken by
Germany only to allow it to be taken by Russia. He could have been
imprisoned even killed for “deserting” his country had it not been for the
success of his book.
The book was printed in
English and Polish. It was one of the many books published by the United
Free Press, an anti communist publishing group that wanted to publish
stories of the plight of the Jewish people and other victims of the war.
It focused a great deal on the stories of Polish Jews and Poles in exile
and how they had suffered under Nazi and then communist occupation. The
book was circulated in the thousands and read by many poles around the
world that were thirsty for knowledge and information of displaced Poles
worldwide. It would have been just a moderately successful book had there
not been an article written by a Polish Jew named Isaac Leibjek.
Isaac Leibjek was born to
Jewish parents in the city of Lwow. In 1939 his mother contracted
tuberculosis. Though the family was Jewish they took the ill woman to the
small parish where they had heard of miracle cures. His mother publicly
converted to Christianity and received baptism. Jan and his parishioners
prayed for her. Within 24 hours she was well. The recovery was nothing
more than miraculous.
When Isaac fled to the
United States he became a historian. He read the book and publicly
announced that his mother, as well as others, had been cured as was
described in the book.
The Polish version of the
book was smuggled into Poland and passed from hand to hand due to the
government’s censuring of western literature, particularly western
religious literature. In 1948 the book was unofficially very popular.
Unable to stop its circulation, the government decided to confront the
contents of the book and its readers. It condemned the book as fanciful,
misleading and delusional. In particular the government authorities seized
upon chapter 14 as the basis of their criticism. In this chapter Jan had
written that he believed God had intervened throughout history and
influenced certain people to carry out his work. He mentioned that this
occurred not only during biblical times but also much later when he
influenced directly the actions of Constantine, Francis of Assisi, Martin
Luther and even Rasputin. Jan described Rasputin as a genuine healer who
lost his battle with the devil and had succumbed to evil.
Without mentioning it
directly Jan was criticized for implying that God had also chosen him to
be such a divine messenger. The Communist government even used the Vatican
declaration that the Roman Catholic Church, the denomination Jan was a
minister for, did not recognize the events that took place in Lwow as
Jan took up a quiet ministry
in rural Poland and was a figure of division in the Polish community for a
decade. The people believed him, the government rejected him. The Church
could not or would not authenticate his claims. He grew old; he was
forgotten until a Polish cardinal from Krakow became the Pope in 1978. At
that time the world attention was focused on Poland and the first
non-Italian pope for centuries. The pope publicly acknowledged him and met
him. At the time he was 62 years of age and now an official celebrity. His
book was republished and there was little the government could do about
it. Black market copies filled the land even though it was not published
in Poland. Jan was invited to public speaking engagements and lectures.
Michael Konik heard him speak and began to correspond with him. It was a
correspondence that would last to the present day. They both shared a
passion for spiritual healing.
Jan tried to persuade the
government to build a memorial to be built on the outskirts of Lwow where
the healings had taken place, but the town now belonged to the Ukraine and
they had no intention of doing such a thing. Jan never lost enthusiasm for
the cause but he soon lost enthusiasm for his country. As Poland’s
communist system began to disintegrate in the 1980s, he was encouraged to
emigrate to the U.S. by members of the Polish community. Under the new
Solidarity, pro union party with its charismatic leader Lech Walesa, he
could leave the country without any restrictions. A few immigrant clerks
were bribed as well and Michael followed soon after. He wanted to be close
to the man who had inspired him so much to pursue the priest hood with
emphasis on spiritual healing.
In the distance Michael
could see the Maple Hill retirement home on the outskirts of Howard City.
The car pulled up on the small white crushed rock drive. It was a pleasant
red brick building with a man made lake at the rear. It was a Polish
community aged care facility and it was run well Michael was 47. Whenever
he felt tired or sore, he thought of his mentor and friend Jan who was 89
years of age. Until last year he was still doing gardening and caring for
As Michael got out of the
car, he had a brown grocery bag that contained a polish magazine, a polish
newspaper and some Polish ginger biscuits. Jan spoke only very little
English. He served as a Polish priest by ministering in his mother tongue
until he was 80 years old. He was a celebrity in the USA as he had been in
Poland but on a much larger scale. It wasn’t just Poles who wanted to hear
about his experiences. He attended a few functions hear and there and
traveled. He visited Poland and the city of Lwow in the Ukraine. The site
where miraculous healings had taken place was now replaced by a timber
yard. He went to Israel to retrace the travels of Jesus. He traveled as an
official guest to the Vatican for the funeral of his dear friend and
admirer, Pope John Paul II.
As Michael walked into the
Maple Hill retirement home he heard his native tongue being spoken all
around him by the Polish nurses and staff. It was just at the end of
lunchtime and the familiar smell of Borsch and bigos was in the air.
Michael liked all types of food but only Poles have a special love of the
smell of bigos or polish cabbage stew. There were small round tables like
a café and relatives were gathered around their loved ones.
On the walls were
photographs of the Pope, paintings of the Virgin Mary and other
Polish/catholic paraphernalia. Michael could not see Jan. He approached a
largish nurse Barbara Ostrowski and asked her about Jan. She walked him to
a room down the corridor, number 17. She just opened the door without
When the door opened Michael
was surprised to see Jan lying on top of the bed dozing. He woke up
suddenly. Barbara announced in Polish that he had a visitor. At first he
didn’t seem to notice then smiled as Michael’ face became familiar.
“Konik” He said.
“Hello Jan” Michael said to
him in Polish. Barbra left them and Jan sat up. Michael was surprised by
his appearance. He had lost a lot of weight. He was wearing light and dark
blue striped pajamas. He looked very old like a concentration camp
Michael sat in a chair by
his bed. He gave him the grocery bag and showed him the contents. He
explained everything in Polish to him. Jan seemed only interested in the
ginger cookies. Michael looked around the room and noticed a bookshelf and
a small cupboard. The bookshelf contained mainly religious books and an
old color TV sitting on a small table. Jan found it difficult to rip open
the ginger cookie packet so Michael helped him. They helped themselves to
“So glad you could come” Jan
said in Polish.
“It s nice to see you again
Jan, are you well”? Michael replied.
“No, a few problems with my
stomach, but doesn’t matter.” Jan said as he reached for some loose papers
on the cupboard next to his bed. He had a Polish copy of his book on the
cabinet. Jan then spoke excitedly about what he had seen on TV about a
healing weekend in Australia. He showed Michael some hand written notes he
had scribbled and pointed excitedly to some points he had written. Michael
read the letter and listened to the rambling of Jan. He noticed that the
handwriting on the paper was poor. Jan always had such good handwriting,
now it was just legible.
Michael tried to read the
letter as Jan rambled on. He kept talking about similarities between what
he had experienced and what was happening in Australia. He had points and
expressions highlighted in the notes with numbers next to them. Michael
assumed they related to pages of his book. Michael had not heard about the
healing weekend in Australia or seen it on TV so Jan explained it to him.
As he listened to Jan
talking in that excited tone he found Jan to be incoherent at times. He
mentioned something about his mother coming to see him even though she had
been dead since his child hood. He talked excitedly about the weekend
coming up and that Michael should take note. There was a pause as Jan had
another ginger cookie. He asked Michael if he wanted a coffee. Michael
said yes. Jan got out of bed slowly and walked to the small kitchenette he
had and turned the kettle on. He moved slowly as he selected two cups from
his small cupboard. Jan had few possessions in his life and even less now.
Michael could see Jan’s rosary beads hanging from a hook in the kitchen.
As Michael watched Jan prepare the coffee, Jan turned to him.
“I have had my dream again”
Jan said to Michael. Michael pretended he didn’t understand.
“Dream”. Michael said
“I heard a voice and I saw
the cross in the paddock before I saw it on TV.” Jan said excitedly. I
haven’t had a dream like that since before the war.
“…I saw the sun it seemed
very bright, just like in Fatima. The lord affects nature to prove his
divine power”. Jan finished off. They sipped on their coffee.
“Something miraculous is
going to happen Michael I believe and God has chosen that place and that
young man to make it happen. Someone must record what happens there but
keep it written and hidden from the guards. They will destroy it and so
will the Russians. This must be kept and given to the Vatican as more
evidence of God’s work Michael, you must write this all down.” Jan
insisted. Michael put the papers aside. Jan picked up a page. It had
Jericho” written on it. He showed it to Michael.
“Constantine saw a vision of
the cross in the sky, the sun stood still over the earth so the city of
Jericho could be attacked. The little girls of Fatima saw the Virgin Mary
in the sky. I am having the same vision again Michael, write it down.” Jan
said excitedly. Michael looked at the papers. Put them aside.
“Can I get you anything
Jan”? Michael asked him.
“I am not going to my
father’s house for Christmas. He always was against me being a priest. I
will spend Christmas alone.” Jan said. Michael looked at the man who was
he mentor, the man who established a Polish church and a healing centre
and who was now a broken man. His speak wandered from reality to fantasy,
from past to present and future with no obvious boundaries.
“It won’t be long; the
Russians are forcing the Germans to retreat.” Jan said. There was a long
pause. Michael took the papers and gave them to Jan.
“Can you sign them please”?
He asked. Jan looked puzzled
“Sign them, what for”? Jan
“So everyone will know you
wrote it, they may not believe me.”
“Of course, I understand,”
Jan said and scribbled his signature on the each page. Michael smiled. He
took his mobile phone from his jacket pocket.
“This is a. ………well a
camera, can I take a picture of you.” Michael asked.
“Of course you can Jan
smiled.” Jan said and smiled. Michael took aim and took a photo. He put
the phone away. He looked at Jan. Jan started singing gently the Polish
national anthem. The tears were welling in Michael’s eyes. Jan stopped.
“Don’t worry, Michael, we
can go back to Poland after the war. It will be the same again.” Jan said.
“You have lost a lot of
weight, are they feeding you well here”. Michael asked.
“Sometimes I don’t get
dinner” Jan said. Michael nodded. He took the papers in his hands and
“I love you Jan, father,
friend” Michael said. Jan seemed a bit confused.
“A man doesn’t say that” Jan
“Jesus did” Michael said.
Jan thought about it.
“I love you too” Jan said.
Michael gave him a kiss on the top of his head as he sat there. He knew it
was the last kiss he would ever give him and probably the last time he
would see him again. Michael walked towards the door.
“Good bye” Michael said.
“Good bye” Jan said. Michael
left the room with the papers in his hand.
Michael walked through the
dining room and out to the main door. Barbara walked out after him.
Michael began walking to the car when she stood in front of him.
“He has been like this for a
few weeks now” she said in Polish. Michael looked at her.
“Do you know who that man
is? That is Jan Bielawska. He was a priest before the war. He was a
healer, a teacher and an author. He escaped from the Nazis and the
communists and even when he came to this country he looked after the poor
and sick. He built two churches. I don’t want to hear about him not
getting his dinner or being treated badly, he …….”
“He is given dinner
everyday. Sometimes he eats it sometimes he doesn’t. He just doesn’t
remember. He is 89 years old.” She said. Michael thought about what she
had said. He knew she was right. He walked around her and got into his
It was 5pm when Joanne
Thomson, Ray Garcia and Paul arrived at the location near Rutherford exit.
They noticed someone had put planks on the shoulder of the road leading up
to the edge of the freeway. A section of the fence was missing, and there
were a few cars parked near the fences. Ray drove the car slowly on the
planks and found them to be quite firm. He drove into the paddock area and
stopped near a group of vehicles. They looked ahead of them and saw the
temporary wooden stage completed with the tall wooden cross behind it.
There were white tents around the fence line. Some Christian groups were
setting up their tents early. Some would stay the night and the camera
crew were prepared to do so themselves. They had brought their sleeping
bags just in case. They got out of the car.
Joanne was dressed casually.
She had flat shoes, blue jeans and a white jumper. She was nicely made up
and had her crucifix exposed on her bosom. They could see Robert in the
distance on stage admiring the crucifix. Joanne turned to Ray and Paul.
“Ray, I will leave it up to
you. Get whatever shots you want.” She said.
Ray looked at her surprised.
“Ok…lets go Paul” He said
and they started to take the equipment out of the car. Joanne walked
The weather was beautiful
and there was a gentle breeze blowing from the west. The ground was firm
under foot and the forecast was for even warmer weather tomorrow. Robert
saw her approaching. He smiled.
“Hello Joanne” He said.
“Hello Robert”. Joanne said
shaking hands. Robert noticed the crucifix.
“It is good to see you are
showing your crucifix.” He said.
“Yes, I feel comfortable
wearing it.” She said. Robert looked in the distance and saw Ray and Paul
setting the camera up for the filming of a tent.
“They are not going to film
you today”? Robert enquired.
“No, we did a lot of
covering shots yesterday. Today and tonight we may just do some rough
“Tonight”? Robert said.
“Well….yeah…. we wanted to
capture the atmosphere of this event.” Joanne said. Robert nodded. Joanne
looked up at the cross.
“It is a very imposing
cross.” She said. Robert looked at it, then at her.
“How much of you are here
because you are a journalist and how much is here because you believe.” He
asked. Joanne looked around to see if anyone could hear her. Ray and Paul
were in the distance; other people were in their tents or lingering around
“I have never felt like this
before Robert. I feel something wonderful will happen on the weekend. This
could be an Australian site for miracles such as Lourdes.” She said.
“I am glad to hear that
Joanne” He said. They stared at each other for a while.
“You are difficult to
reach.” Joanne said.
“What do you mean”? Robert
“It is like you have a
barrier that you don’t want to let down.” Joanne said. Robert nodded. He
walked to the back of the stage and jumped down, onto the ground. He
walked slowly towards the east. Joanne came running after him and jumped
in front of him.
“Are you walking away from
me!!”? She said. Robert looked surprised.
“What do you want me to
say”? He said. Joanne looked surprised.
“…I don’t know. Why don’t
you talk more, you seem to have this far away look on your face most of
the time.” She said.
“I’m trying to listen…I have
asked Jesus to guide me. I pray in my mind. I ask for him to protect me,
to protect us, to bless us, to bless all those who come to tomorrow and
Sunday.” Robert said. Joanne was surprised. He walked around her and
walked towards the stage. She ran in front of him and stopped him, her
hands on his chest.
“You are doing it again,
walking away from me. Can’t you be normal and talk to me”!!!
She said. Robert looked at
“Normal”? He said.
“Alright I m sorry I used
the wrong words. I just wanted to talk to you. I find you interesting not
just as a journalist.” Joanne said. Robert thought about it for a moment.
He was not sure if she was just curious about him or flirting.
“Thank you” Robert said and
walked around her and continued to walk to one of the tents. Joanne was
following right behind him.
“Don’t you walk away from
me, do you hear, no man walks away from me when I am talking to them!!!!”
She said angrily, but Robert kept walking.
“Do you treat all women like
this”? She said angrily still walking behind him. Robert was approaching a
group of people and they were watching curiously as Robert approached them
with Joanne following behind. She noticed them.
“Excuse me Robert; I want to
talk to you.” She said. Robert turned around. She noticed the group was
“I want to talk to you
alone”!! She said. Robert walked away from the group and into the center
of the paddock. In the distance Ray and Paul were doing some filming but
they had the common sense not to look or listen. Robert stopped then
turned around. Joanne looked at him.
“That’s better…………I think it
is rude for you to walk away like that when I’m talking to you…………It’s not
nice.” She said. Robert looked at her.
“I’m sorry” He said. He
stood there looking at her. She was angry, coy, embarrassed all at once
because she just wanted him to kiss her and take her but he didn’t seem to
“Do you treat your wife like
this”? She managed to say after a long moment.
“I’m not married” He said.
girlfriend.”? Joanne asked.
“I find your questions
embarrassing.” Robert said. There was a long pause. Robert was about to
leave then he stopped himself. He had been doing that all along.
“I don’t like it when a man
ignores me like that, that’s all” She said. He looked at her.
“My father ignored
me,…………..my boss ignored me………I don’t like it when a man ignores me” She
said. Robert showed signs in his eyes that he cared genuinely for her but
this was time for a big hug and a passionate embrace but it was not
forthcoming. He approached her slowly and kissed her on the lips without
embracing her. His kiss lingered for a moment. She made no attempt to
embrace him either. He then stood back.
“Please don’t follow me, you
don’t know where I will be going and you don’t want to be there” He said
and walked around her. She didn’t even turn to look back at him as he
walked towards the tents. She wondered if he was turning back to look at
her. It was killing her to know if he was looking back at her but she
didn’t want to turn around just in case he caught her looking at him. He
It was 4.30pm when Jan
Bielawski began pacing up and down in the main lounge room of Maple Hill
retirement village accusing everyone of taking his papers. He had to be
convinced by Barbara that he had given his papers to Michael a few hours
earlier. Jan was confused but there was little he could do about it. He
asked for his coffee outside.
The afternoon air was cool.
Jan sat reclined in his deck chair rugged up with a blanket sipping on his
coffee. From the verandah he had a nice view of the man made lake at the
rear of the property. There was no one else out there except him. The
other inhabitants and staff were inside. The staff could see him from the
lounge room through the large glass verandah doors. He put his coffee down
at a table near his chair and folded his arms. He could see the geese
wandering in the distance. He remembered when he used to round up the
geese on his farm. They would go into the poppy fields and eat the milky
poppy seed. They would fall asleep and he would laugh at them. The farm
was gone now, first partitioned by the Russians then becoming a part of
the independent Ukraine. They put a road through it. These memories that
were so dim for him in the past were now so clear.
As he sat there he felt a
warm feeling come over his body. He got a sense or feeling that his
parents were with him. He saw them in front of him yet he could still see
the lake as well. They looked well and happy. He felt a pleasant sense of
contentment with them near him. The vision of the lake became replaced
gradually with the vision of his parents and a bright light. He became
engulfed in it and he wanted to be in it. It was time for him to pass from
this world to the next and he was ready. In an instant, he was gone,
peacefully, beautifully, to be with God.
It was approximately 6.30pm
when Robert finished collecting some fire wood and put it near the front
of the stage. He thought it would be a great idea to have a bonfire near
the stage to warm those who decided to stay over night. He was happy with
the atmosphere. The weather was beautiful and a group from the Baptist
church of Frankston north was putting on a barbecue for who ever wanted to
take part. Robert felt a tremendous sense of camaraderie that he had not
experienced before. People were gathering not as if it was going to be a
normal expo but a pilgrimage or mission. The large tents were large enough
to accommodate many people, the reason being that group healings could be
done in privacy. The sleeping bags were brought and the area would be
prayed for and blessed throughout the night. Joanne and Ray were talking
to a group of people and interviewing them. Soon it would be dark and
there would be no light for filming. Robert wondered what would occur
then. Would their thirst for excitement and news worthy ness be satisfied?
The air was getting chilly;
many cars were passing by on the freeway. Robert looked in that direction
and wondered as to how many cars would turn off the freeway tomorrow. The
place was not positioned well for car parking. People could park along the
embankment that was quite steep or park on the large dividing strip. If
people wanted to come they could come. The land they were on belonged to
Vic roads. A section of it was being used for the new Mitcham freeway. It
was basically wasteland and they didn’t object to the land being used as a
healing retreat, just as long as they left the land without damage.
As Robert was looking in the
direction of the road, he noticed Ray was filming him. With the last rays
of sunshine he imagined that the vision of a large cross at sunset with a
man standing motionless in front of it was too photogenic for a cameraman
to pass. Robert turned around after a moment and lit the bonfire. The
flames climbed high and illuminated the cross against the dark sky. It did
look good, most people would agree and it probably would have looked
better from the highway.
Clem and Nancy Mc Clelland
were watching TV in the lounge room of their modest house in Mentone, when
A Current Affair came on. They had put their dirty dinner plates on the
sink and sat by to watch the TV show. They had heard about the program
over and over again advertised on the radio so they thought they would
Clem was a retired
accountant, 66 years of age and his wife Nancy was a year older than him.
They sat on the coach and their daughter Trish was in a wheelchair next to
them. She was paralyzed from the waist down due to a car accident in which
she was the only survivor. She was 37 years of age, their only child. She
was once a pretty woman but had put on so much weight in the last six
months since her accident. She had long dark hair and was a bank manager
in the city when a car crossed onto the wrong side of a highway and struck
her vehicle. It killed her husband, who was driving at the time. They were
childless but had been trying to have a child through IVF for 5 years
without luck. Nancy McNamara was convinced she would never have grand
children and now in a twist of cruel irony, she had a baby again, her own
Trish was no longer a
medium sized woman. Her weight gain made her a large woman and both Clem
and Nancy found it difficult to cope with her. She had incontinence, and
just getting her in the wheel chair was difficult. They were too old for
this but didn’t want to show it or say it. They loved their daughter but
she knew she was a burden on them. They insisted she stay with them and
that they would care for her but she was so uncomfortable about the whole
thing. She had lost her independence and was miserable about it. She tried
to help them as best as she could but half her body was useless. Her arms
could only pivot and move her around so much, like getting in and out of
bed; the rest had to be done by her mother or father. She often wished she
could pass away but didn’t want to burden her parents with more grief. She
was afraid to live and afraid to die. She was not the type to play wheel
chair sports. She was a red wine woman who loved good restaurants with her
husband but he was gone and so were the good experiences.
As they watched the program
they were engrossed by what they saw unfold before them. They were
practicing Christians and believed in Jesus, God and the devil. The
dramatic footage of Jason flying under the sofa captivated them. They
watched the program intensely. When it concluded with the mentioning of
the healing weekend taking place they became very curious. Clem muted the
sound on the TV set and looked at his wife Nancy.
“What do you think of that”?
“I believe it” Nancy said.
There was a long period of silence.
“I would like to go if you
would take me there” Trish said. Clem looked back at his daughter.
“Ok. Trish. I am not sure
about wheel chair access but we could try.” He said. Trish nodded. Nancy
looked at her daughter.
“Darling, your spinal cord
is severed, you know that it can’t be healed” She said.
“I would like to go” Trish
said. They were silent.
“Ok dear, we will take you”
Clem said. He turned to the TV. and turned the volume back on.
The program was a success.
It had a large audience but more than anything else it had a large
audience response. Hundreds rang and accessed the website for more details
on the location of the Healing camp. People began to make plans to visit
the location either for worship, curiosity or for healing. The small
gatherings of the devoted were not to know this as they sat by their small
fires and barbecues. They already had a portable toilet there and other
utilities, they were quite happy to stay the night. Joanne and her camera
crew had decided to go home determined to return tomorrow.
Robert sat by his large tent
alone and looked up at the stars admiring their magnificence. He had a
strong white cup of tea that he got off the portable gas barbecue they
had. Others were in small groups quietly talking or singing softly. The
large bonfire was burning gently. The light from the flames illuminated
the large cross occasionally. He turned to his right and in the dim light
coming from the open entrance of his tent, he saw his mother standing
there, just looking at him. He quickly got to his feet.
“Mum” he said. Maureen Hill
stood there for a moment and smiled. She approached him. Robert stood
there for a moment.
“Robert”. She said and
“How are you”? Robert asked.
“am fine, how are you”? She
“Good” he said. She looked
at him for a moment. She was a medium sized woman, 54 years of age. She
dyed her hair a burgundy color.
“Come sit over here, near
the light” Robert said and encouraged her to sit near the tent’s opening
from which the light was coming. He got her a chair and she sat down. She
looked at him with concern.
“I saw the report on Current
Affair.” She said.
“Was it good”? Robert asked.
“Yes it was Robert. Did it
really happen like that, the young man disappearing under the sofa like
that”? She asked.
“Yes mum it did, and I have
seen more” Robert concluded. Maureen looked at him. There was a longer
pause than usual.
“Why are you doing this?”
She asked him. Robert was perplexed by the question.
“To help people, mum. What
is wrong with that”? He said.
“I thought you wanted to
start your own business” She said. Robert thought about it for a moment.
“I am doing important work
mum. I am doing what Jesus wants me to do” He replied.
“Is it what you want
to do” Maureen asked.
“Yes, it is” Robert replied.
“For how long Robert?” She
asked. He thought about it for a long time.
“Why are you asking me
this?” He asked her.
“You used to visit me a
great deal, now you don’t.” She said.
“I know, I know. I have been
busy” Robert said.
“Are you going back to work
after this”? Maureen asked. Robert thought about it.
“I am not sure mum. I feel
“What about your future
Robert…what about a career”? Maureen asked.
Robert looked at her.
………..I will look after you
like I used to…you are my son” she finished off.
“Why don’t you want to look
after me now”? He asked. Maureen looked at him for a moment and this time
it was she who didn’t have an answer.
“I must go now Robert” She
said and stood up.
“Will walk with you,” He
“No, it’s alright” Maureen
said. She took out a small pen torch from her handbag and turned it on.
She waved good-bye and walked off in the direction of the highway. Robert
watched her disappear into the darkness from whence she came. She would
give him her whole world if he loved and admired her like she wanted him
too. He had survived temptation.
Mary and Abraham Klomp were
your typical Avonhurst residents. The Dutch retirement village in Carrum
Downs on Frankston/Dandenong road was a nice retirement village. The
residents were well looked after and they seemed to enjoy the company of
their fellow countrymen in their twilight years.
In residence number 17
Abraham Klomp and Mary Klomp lived for the last 2 years. The front of
their ground floor residence was neat and tidy with a little garden with
red and yellow tulips. Of course there was a little garden windmill. On
this particular night it was quite warm and they had their main door open.
They had their fly wire screen door closed, to allow the gentle breeze to
come into the home.
There was nothing on TV so
Abraham sat in his usual chair in front of the television, reading a book
about the history of the Dutch resistance in World War 2 that he had been
a part of. His wife Mary was in bed reading the local newspaper. She saw
the advertisement for the healing weekend. She pondered it. Abraham was 83
and Mary 81. While he read his book Abraham took a puff of his cigarette.
He had smoked all of his adult life and most of it inside a house. He
wasn’t going to change his habits now. Mary never smoked. She was a thin
woman, healthy in her younger years, now fading away. Abraham had a large
potbelly and the reddish face of an alcoholic. He had cut back his
drinking in his the last year or so but the damage was done.
As he sat there, and she lay
there, they were both in their own world. Mary looked in the direction of
Abraham. She called him. “Abraham”.
Abraham heard her. He put
down his book and came into the bedroom.
“I would like to go to the
healing weekend tomorrow or Sunday” She said.
“What”? He replied. She said
it again but this time in Dutch and handed him the newspaper open at the
page with the advertisement. He looked at it.
“Mary, you don’t think this
is true do you?” He said in his dismissive tone of voice.
“We are old, there is
nothing that can be done for us” He said and put the newspaper on top of
the sheets. He went back into the lounge room and continued to read the
“We don’t go out much any
more,” She said.
“I can’t see as well as I
used to, you know that” He said.
“We can go with Elsie and
Jan, they are going” She said.
“We’re not going” Abraham
said. There was a long pause.
“I want to go” Mary
“No” Abraham said. There was
a long pause.
“Then I am going by myself
with Elsie and Jan” She said. Abraham stopped reading his book and put it
on his lap. He came into the bedroom.
“No you are not going. I
don’t believe in that stuff so we are not going.” He said.
“Does that mean I can’t go
unless you go?” She said. Abraham looked at her indignantly.
“What Mary, why do you want
to go”? He said. There was a long pause.
“I feel my time has come”
“Nonsense Mary, you will
live to a hundred. Me, well that is another story” Abraham said as he went
back to his book. There was a long pause.
“Look after Anita and
Peter.” She said, about their grand children. Abraham put down his book
and entered the bedroom. He looked at her.
“You are always pushing them
away” She said.
“Well I can’t pick them up
they are too heavy.” He said. She looked at him. There was a long sad
pause in her eyes.
“Did I make the right choice
Abraham? I could have married Andrew.”
“Andrew”? Abraham enquired.
wanted to marry me.” She said.
“He was a womanizer…is that
what you wanted” He said.
“Did you ever cheat on me
Abraham”? Mary enquired.
“No Mary, no, what kind of
talk is this.”?!!!!! He said. She seemed to look away. She got out of bed
slowly. She put on her slippers and walked to the kitchen area. She turned
on the light. Abraham looked at her leave and was concerned. She had been
like this before. He went to one of the cupboards and picked up one of her
bottles of her medicine.
“Here Mary, have some of
your medicine” He said and poured a teaspoon out for her. He offered it to
her and she swallowed it. He guided her towards the bedroom. She sat down
on the end of the bed. Abraham removed her slippers for her. He bent down
to the ground and looked at her.
“Mary, are you alright”? He
asked her. She replied in Dutch, a mish mash of words that were
incoherent. On the bedside set of draws on her side of the bed was a
picture of Jesus. She looked at it and went to reach for it.
“Jesus” She said. Abraham
took it and gave it to her.
“Yes, Jesus,” He said. He
started to pull back the sheets. He guided Mary into the bed.
“You need to rest Mary, we
will go tomorrow to the healing place, and I will take you” He said. Mary
smiled at him and reclined in bed. She continued to look at him. She said
to him in Dutch.
“You are a good man”. He
looked at her.
“No, I’m a grumpy old man,
you are a good woman” He said. He tucked her into bed and went back to the
lounge room. She lay there holding the picture of Jesus against her chest.
Abraham went back to the lounge room and picked up his book. He started
reading it again.
Abraham lost track of time.
He must have been reading for about an hour when he heard Mary stir in
“Is there someone here”? She
said. Abraham put down his book and went into the room. He found her
sitting upright and confused.
“No Mary, just us” He said
and encouraged her to lie down. She did so with the picture of Jesus on
“You need a rest Mary” He
said. He left the bedroom and closed the door. He quickly went to the
phone, and dialed Elsie and Jan. He waited for what seemed to be an
eternity for them to answer. When Elsie did, Abraham spoke to them in
Dutch and told them to come over urgently. They wanted to know what the
problem was. At that moment, Abraham heard Mary talking but he couldn’t
understand what she was saying. He dropped the phone and ran to the
He found Mary laying flat on
her back her eyes wide open. Her hands were by her side and the picture of
Jesus was on top of the bed sheets resting near her left hand. She seemed
to be mumbling something he didn’t understand to someone other than
himself in the room. Abraham forgot he dropped the phone and ran back to
it. When he got there it was Jan on the line wanting to know what was
“Just come over idiot”!!! He
yelled and hung up. He ran back to the bedroom.
Mary had her eyes closed and
was smiling as if recalling a happy event. He touched her hand He began to
“Mary” He said. She didn’t
seem to hear him but continued to smile. At that moment he heard Jan and
Elsie at the door. He ran to them and unlocked the fly screen door.
“Quickly” he said and almost
pushed Elsie into the bedroom, Jan, dragging his feet behind them.
When they entered the room,
Mary was smiling. Elsie sat on the bed and touched her left hand and wrist
“She is dead” Elsie said.
There was a long pause.
“No”…………..we were just
talking.” Abraham said. Elsie took the photo of Jesus nest to her left
hand and put it on the dresser. She stroked her hair back and tears
started to form in her eyes. In Dutch she said” She is gone.” Abraham was
“We were just talking………we
were going to go to that healing place tomorrow” Abraham said. Elsie got
up and took a handkerchief from her cardigan sleeve and wiped her eyes.
She approached Abraham and told him once more in Dutch that she was gone.
Raymond Jess, the minister
of Justice in the state of Victoria had watched the” A Current Affair”
report and was affected by it as were most people by the intensity of the
imagery and significance of the report but also because the name “Robert
Hill” seemed familiar. He watched the program in the lounge room by
himself with a glass of red wine. The film footage of Robert didn’t mean
anything to him yet the name did. After turning off the TV and pondering
the name for some time, he made the connection.
Approximately 6 months ago
he had received an email from Robert Hill asking for permission to conduct
inner healing sessions inside Victorian jails on a voluntary basis.
Raymond Jess responded that it was a matter for the administrator of each
prison to decide if such programs would be allowed. He then received
another email very shortly from Robert Hill stating that his healing group
had already approached one jail and were refused. The minister however
could over turn this refusal if he agreed. Raymond Jess then responded to
the email saying that since the administrator of the jail didn’t accept
the voluntary healing program he was not prepared to do otherwise.
Raymond Jess didn’t hear
anything for approximately a month when he received an A4 size envelope
from Robert Hill. Inside were little booklets and printed literature about
the success of healing seminars in the USA as well as articles about the
origins of evil. Raymond Jess didn’t even read them except for the letter.
It started off politely; enquiring, then became almost demanding in tone
and content. Raymond Jess was not accustomed to the directness of Robert
Hill and his “pompous” nature. He came across as a self-righteous man with
the manner of a Sunday school teacher. Raymond Jess in particular didn’t
like the reference to the devils helpers. The implication was that he and
his government were on the side of Satan and not the lord. This rubbed
Raymond Jess the wrong way. If there was one thing he didn’t like it, was
a loud, arrogant bible bashing bastard. At one point in the letter Raymond
Jess was asked about his faith.
It was customary for Raymond
Jess to ignore or politely respond to the letter but on this particular
occasion he wanted to be direct and rude as he felt Robert Hill was. He
thought about the correspondence for a few days when he heard that one of
the state’s jails had agreed to members of the Anglican Church attending a
prayer session with some of their inmates. The administrator assumed they
were there to pray with the Christian prisoners, but instead it turned out
to be what appeared to be were intercessions. Raymond thought the proper
word was “exorcisms.” One of the practitioners was Robert Hill. He was not
officially clergy so he had no right to perform a service that a prison
chaplain didn’t perform.
Raymond Jess watched the
group carefully from a distance. There was little he could do. Reports
came back of prisoners screaming then becoming placid. He didn’t want to
accept such cures were really occurring or were real but he was loathed to
reject their services. Raymond Jess was not particularly fond of
“Christian” groups in general. They had their place but it was not in
government or in government departments. They could do their hand clapping
and tambourine playing somewhere else.
As he sat there and finished
his wine he wondered about the healing weekend and was certain it would be
a dismal failure. He was convinced the evil in man comes from man and is
exasperated by poverty and other social conditions. The notion that the
evil of the world is spiritual was ludicrous to him. The idea of a healing
weekend, a sort of “Hill song” festival was something that appealed to the
bible belt of America and not the cynical Australian culture. In Raymond
Jess’s opinion religion was a form of control on the people. People wanted
to believe in miracles and they wanted to believe in a God. How many
people would genuinely be cured on this weekend and how many of them could
be medically verified. There seemed to be a delusional group emerging in
the community that was turning to religion and other forms of spirituality
to solve their problems. The rise of the Family First Party was a sign
that some members of the community were putting their faith in the
politics of religion to solve their problems and not themselves.
He wouldn’t be going and he
would not be sending any best wishes to Robert Hill.
Jessica Lane had just put
her two children to bed. They were Catherine and Ben. Catherine was 9 and
Ben was 7. Her husband had died a year ago and it was difficult to be a
mother and father to her children but she was managing to do it reasonably
well. She was a part time secondary school teacher who was a councilor and
now the mayor of Frankston.
She sat down in her sofa. It
was 9pm. She was deep in thought about the healing weekend story she had
seen on TV and was giving it some serious consideration. She had not gone
out to the location nor had she been asked to but it was happening right
here in her municipality. What happens if it is a tremendous success, she
would have to be a part of that. What happened if it was a dismal failure,
how could she distance herself away from it?
Jessica had not a religious
bone in her body but certainly had plenty of drive and enthusiasm for her
job. Good publicity kept politicians being re elected and she wanted to
keep being re elected. She got up off the couch and sat by her dining room
chair and took an A4 writing pad and pen which she always had on one of
the seats and began drawing. She did a rough outline of her face and in
the background she drew a cross. She had seen it that day on the way home
in the afternoon. It would be difficult for her to get a photographer to
come out tomorrow at such short notice so what could she do. She thought
about it for a moment and then remembered her friend Andy the owner of a
timber store who was a keen amateur photographer. He had a good digital
She went to the phone and
dialed his number.
She spoke to him briefly
about work and his family, the usual thing that most people do who often
don’t care and then began asking about his camera. She had seen some
digital photographs before that were excellent and some that were
terrible. If she used his camera, would it take a clear enough picture for
her to send to" The Frankston Leader” newspaper?
Andy said his camera was a
6 million-pixel camera and that was more than adequate for a photograph to
be submitted for the paper. He also told her that if the subject matter
were strong enough the photograph would be accepted regardless, just as
newspapers around the world accept photographs of Marilyn Monroe and the
Beatles even if they were on the cutting room floor originally.
She thanked him for his
useful advice and told him she might want him to take a picture of her
tomorrow about midday if that was ok. She would buy lunch. He agreed. She
put down the phone and pondered the thought. She could stay by the
freeway’s edge and have a photograph taken with the cross and pilgrims
attending in the background, which would look great. But what if the
healing weekend turned out to be a dismal failure or a con? She thought.
It would appear as if she approved of their activities. She thought about
it for a moment then came up with a brilliant idea. She would go there and
have her photograph taken. She would keep it. If it was a success she
could send it to the newspaper Monday morning. The paper was usually ready
for print by lunch time by she was told and if there was nothing much
happening she could get page 2 or three. If it were a failure, well she
wouldn’t tell anyone she went there and wouldn’t send the photo. Good
idea. She wasn’t stupid.
It was close to midnight and
the red glow of the bon fire embers was now casting a dim light on the
cross in the field. Robert sat behind the stage, not in front of it and
had a blanket wrapped around him. He had sat on the ground for at least an
hour in meditation. He wished to be alone with his thoughts and the others
were talking amongst themselves. They were all getting tired and soon most
of them would go to bed including Robert. During this hour he went through
thoughts of great happiness and contentment to fear and doubt. He even
though at one stage he saw a wolf in the fields looking at him. He
continued to pray and asked God for guidance. He remembered what he had
learnt in a lecture, that we are not the perfect children in a world that
was also not perfect, but our father in heaven was the perfect parent. We
are to trust him and run to him like a child in distress runs to his
loving parent. He wondered if his idea of having a healing weekend would
work and then he had tremendous enthusiasm it would. He felt that maybe
God was looking down on the world and for a brief moment in time there
could be a focus of love and caring in a small corner of the world in
which prayers for healing would occur. He knew God would not give him all
the answers to all his questions at this moment in time but that did not
mean he and his believers should stop asking. They had faith and they
believed God would help them. As it says in the bible, when more than 2
people come to ask for something in Jesus name he will be there. He
wondered if he should become a vicar or just return back to his practice
as a nutritionist. He was throwing all these questions at God and not
getting the answers fast enough. Robert knew he had to be patient and
acquire grace. Our God knew the birthday of the unborn and the day of
their death. He knew if tomorrow would be a success or failure. Like an
audience watching a film at the cinema, we have to wait for the story to
unfold. It wouldn’t make any sense and we would not have the full
experience if we saw only parts of it.
Robert stood up and walked
to the cross. There was a dying bon fire near the church of Christ tent
with a few people gathered around. Robert had a large pot full of water
near the bonfire that illuminated the cross. He poured the water slowly
over the fire. He then walked over to the group.
“I am going to bed now, I
was wondering if we could have a group prayer before we go to sleep for
the night”? He said as he approached them. They mumbled in agreement. He
sat near amongst them.
“Hold hands” he said and
they did. Robert closed his eyes.
“Lord, thank you for
bringing us all together here for a special purpose. Guide us, protect us,
and fill us with your holy spirit tonight, tomorrow and the following day
as we ask for you to heal the sick according to your will. We are humble
before you lord; please forgive us for our weaknesses in my mind and body.
Only if it is your will, show your followers your forgiveness of sin and
power of healing through the Holy Spirit and your son. Let us be a witness
to this majesty. Amen” Robert said.
“Amen” they said.
A solid man with a ginger
beard and glasses then spoke.
“I ask that Jesus protects
us from Satan so that he doesn’t not appear amongst us or interferes with
your work tomorrow. Amen”
“Amen” they all said. They
looked at each other and smiled. They were happy. They slowly dispersed
and went for their tents. Some had torches others had weak lights coming
from their tents. Robert went to his. He was alone, no one from his church
wanted to stay the night, but he. This was something he had suggested and
organized. He felt alone but he would think God things during the night.
As he went to his tent he
took a small torch from his pocket and shone it around his large tent. He
saw his Dolphin torch. He picked it up and shone it at the cross on the
paddock in the distance. It was an imposing structure, a symbol that
brought great comfort to Robert as if it was trying to embrace them all.
He had come so far and tomorrow would be a day of great expectations.
It was just after midnight
when Constable Sandra Baxter pulled into the food plus store on the corner
of Ballarto road and Mclelland drive Carrum Downs. She was with her junior
partner Dominic Mamo. He was a trim dark man, 24 years of age. Even though
he was only four years older than him, to Sandra, he looked like a boy.
She wanted to get a can of coke, as she was quite thirsty. She parked in
front of the store away from the fuel pumps. Dominic Mamo was entering
details into their running sheet. They had been called to a pub brawl at
the Sands Hotel in Hall road, but by the time they had got there they were
too late. The perpetrators had absconded.
“Do you want anything” She
said to her partner who was busy filling in details.
“No thanks.” he said without
looking up. She got out of the vehicle and stretched her legs.
It was a beautiful night,
cloudless and a little on the cool side but a beautiful night. Sandra, who
was twenty-eight, put her hands on her hips and reclined back stretching
her back? Every since she had been a policewoman, and that was only a
period of one year, her back was sore and she had put on weight. She
looked around at the service station and it was quite dark. The block of
land around the food plus store which were once empty with tall over grown
grass, were now being built on. Sandra wandered what kind of shops would
go there. Ballarto road was quiet and Sandra was concerned it was not
going to stay like that.
She made her way to the
store. There were no customers in there. As Sandra walked towards the door
she caught a quick glimpse of her reflection. She had put on a lot of
weight and she was upset about that. The night shift was responsible. She
didn’t like driving the car all the time. She didn’t like being so sedate
As she entered the store the
middle aged woman of Indian decent said hello. Sandra said hello back and
began looking at the magazine rack. She could see her patrol car clearly
from where she was and could see Dominic looking at the patrol sheet. She
remembered how keen she was when she first became a policewoman, now she
felt as if she was an old hand at only 1 year of service and at 28 years
of age. She had a quick flick through the magazines then went to the drink
refrigerator. She thought about it for a moment. She liked coke a cola but
she was putting on weight. It was time to start drinking more health
conscious drinks. She selected Pepsi Max. It had the best taste of all the
diet colas. As she walked past, she noticed the hot dogs on the
rotisserie. She knew better than to eat that sort of food but she was
hungry and lazy. She should make her own snacks and keep them in the car
but she had not made progress to that way of thinking yet. She selected a
hot dog, put it in a stale roll and selected a small container of tomato
sauce. She went to the counter and paid for it.
As Sandra walked to the car
she could feel Dominic looking at her. She had the Pepsi in one hand and
the hot dog in the other. She was conscious too that her shirt was opening
between her buttons and her bra could be seen. It wasn’t like that when
she was thinner. Dominic was looking at the hot dog. As she came to the
car, she skillfully opened the door with two fingers of her right hand
without dropping her can of Pepsi.
As she got in the car
“Yeah” She said.
She still had the goods in
her hand when she noticed a strange look on Dominic’s face. He seemed to
be looking past her at the driver’s window. She turned quickly and there
was the face of a large bald brutish looking male in her open window. She
had not seen him come to the car neither had Dominic; it was if he had
come out of the ground. Her hands were full and she could not see his. She
could see his big head and his torso. He was a huge man approx. 30 years
of age, wearing khaki trousers. If he was going to attack her she was
helpless. In that split second of not knowing what to do, she was
“Hello” He said.
“Hello” She replied, putting
her hot dog and Pepsi on her partner’s lap. Her eyes never left him. She
felt that at any second he would plunge a knife into her chest. She still
could not see his hands. He crouched down and put his massive forearms on
the window ledge of the patrol car, there were nothing in his hands but he
had them almost touching Sandra. Casually she put her right hand on the
handle of the revolver. She also felt Dominic put his right hand on her
left wrist. Why was he doing this?
“My father said I should
talk to the police when I do something wrong” He said.
“Yes, your father was right”
Sandra said. She felt Dominic’s hand leave her wrist.
“Yes, I should,” He said.
“What did you do”? She
“I killed my flat mate
Gary.” He said.
“When did you do that”? She
“About 15 minutes ago.”
“O.K. What is your name” She
“Andrew. My friends call me
Angry or Angry Andrew, but I don’t think I am.” He said.
“I don’t think you are
Andrew, how did you kill your flat mate”? She asked.
“I stabbed him with a bread
knife” He said.
“Why is that Andrew”? She
“He made fun of me.” Andrew
“Where did you kill your
flat mate Gary” Sandra asked.
“In the flat” He replied.
“Where is your flat”? She
“It is just up here Mc
Clelland drive,” He said indicating.
“I have to get out of the
car, excuse me Andrew,” She said. As this happened Dominic got out as
well. Andrew stepped back, his hands by his sides. He was about six feet
four in height and quite large.
“Can you show us where you
live.”? She asked.
“Yes I can” Andrew said.
“Can you come to the police
station with us Andrew”? She said. He seemed puzzled by the question.
“Your father said you should
talk to the Police when you do something wrong, I need you to come to the
police station.” She said.
“Alright” He said.
“I need to put these hand
cuffs on you; otherwise I will get into trouble.” She said. There was a
moment’s pause in his eyes, and then he put his hands forward.
“I need to have them behind
your back” She said. He put them behind his back. Sandra went behind him
and quickly put the handcuffs around Andrew’s wrist. She opened the back
“Can you show me where you
live Andrew?” She said as she guided Andrew into the back seat of the car.
”Yes” He said as they got in.
There was a sense of relief
on Sandra’s face when they got in the car. Andrew was secured. She started
the car and reversed. .
“Number 47 A” he said as
Sandra left the fuel station.
“Ouch” he said as the car
hit a bump then turned left. Sandra looked back at him.
“I have not got any seat
belts on,” Andrew said.
“It is okay; I will try and
drive slowly.” Sandra said.
“It‘s against the law,”
Andrew said. Sandra looked back at him.
“Not if you have someone
wearing hand cuffs,” she replied.
“Ok” Andrew said.
Number 47 A was actually an
old white weatherboard house. There was a gate on the side and as the
patrol car came up the driveway, they could see and hear the American Pit
bull terriers barking at the headlights. The house seemed run down, the
front door slightly ajar. Sandra turned off the headlights. She looked at
Dominic for a moment. She looked back at Andrew.
“Andrew, my partner Dominic
will look after you and I will go inside and see your flat mate.” She
“He’s dead” Andrew replied.
“Yes but I need to see him.”
She said. He said nothing. Sandra got out of the car and walked to the
When Sandra arrived at the
door slightly ajar, she could hear the TV. She took a deep breath. She
opened the door and stepped into an old fashioned home. It had grey
carpet. She walked into the lounge room. She saw a new TV set that was
babbling away and old brown furniture. She scanned the room and noticed
the doorway to the kitchen. She could see a leg covered by blue jeans and
a brown boot on the old vinyl floor. She approached it slowly. On the
floor with the top half of his body reclining against the wall was
Andrew’s flat mate Gary. Sandra went pale. He was a largish man, approx.35
years of age, with sandy brown hair and a down turned “handle bar”
moustache. He had a large bread knife in his chest. His eyes were open and
he had a can of beer spilt on his left side. There were two bar stools
toppled over near him. The kitchen drawer was open and it exposed kitchen
utensils. On the kitchen bench was some diced up potatoes. It was obvious
that Gary was sitting at one of the bar stools at the kitchen bench
drinking beer while Andrew was dicing potatoes. For whatever reason,
Andrew just plunged the knife he was using into his flat mate’s chest.
Sandra took the radio from her hip and called her station for the homicide
squad to take photos and evidence.
In the patrol car, it was
quiet. Andrew was sitting quietly in the back seat and Dominic was quiet
as well. He noticed Sandra emerge. She approached the car.
“I have called the homicide
boys, we have to wait till they get here,” She said to Dominic. Dominic
nodded. Sandra then looked at Andrew.
“He is dead Andrew, just
like you said. What did he say that made you so angry?” Sandra asked him.
“He said I had a small
dick” Andrew replied. Sandra nodded then walked away from the car. She
stood on the driveway out of earshot listening to her radio. Dominic
turned to Andrew and looked at him. Andrew gave him and evil smile and
“You should have been a
At the end of the shift,
Dominic would give notice of his resignation. His uncle wanted him to be a
baker, and help him run his bakery rather than be a policeman. When your
dead uncle’s voice comes from a stranger telling you that, you take
notice. Dominic wanted to play cops and robbers; he didn’t want to play
angels and demons.
At the Ambassador hotel,
Joanne Thomson had a different room. She had been reading the New
Testament. Every so often she clutched the cross around her neck. She felt
a distinct sense of warmth and security. She felt Jesus with her and she
prayed honestly. She was awkward, but she asked for Jesus to care for her
and forgive her for all her mistakes and sins. She was peeling back the
layers of her soul and once she got started it was difficult to stop. She
realized it was ridiculous to exclude him God from her life as if he was a
domineering father, when yet he was quite tolerant of her and all of us.
She wasn’t afraid anymore to be alone; she had the protection of Jesus and
his angels that night. Tomorrow would be a new day an exciting day and the
first thing she was going to do was apologize to Robert for making an ass
She did the sign of the
cross then put the book on top of the bedside table next to her. She
turned off the bedside lamp.
Ray Garcia had just put his
2 girls Emmanuela and Christine to sleep with his wife Angela in their
modest South Yarra flat. It was only one railway stop from Richmond where
Ray worked and he liked the area. They had been there for 5 years and now
had enough money for the deposit on a home. After putting the children to
sleep he asked Angela to sit in the lounge room with him. She sensed he
wanted to say something important. He hadn’t had a chance to tell her
everything he had experienced over the last few days because Angela had a
full time job as a receptionist and was busy with the kids.
He told her about what he
had seen and felt during the last 48 hours and that he also wanted his
wife and children to be there with him at least tomorrow. He felt this
healing weekend was going to be far beyond a get together of believers but
an event that they shouldn’t miss as a family. He couldn’t however bring
himself to tell his wife that he murdered a man, but he told her
everything else. He didn’t want his wife to know he was a murderer. He
wanted that to be with something he and God shared. Angela listened. She
knew her husband well and both being Catholic they felt they should attend
Ross Worthington was a solid
man. He was the official treasurer of the Frankston North and Carrum Downs
branches of the Anglican Church. It was almost 11pm. He was tired. He was
about to go to bed when the phone rang. He heard the voice of Mark Bishop
on the other end of the line. He was calling long distance from Fort
Mark had been watching TV
and seen the report about the healing weekend. He heard the name
“Frankston” mentioned a few times so he thought he would pick up the phone
and make some calls. Mark Bishop was 84 years of age. He had been an
Anglican all his life, his wife as well, now deceased and he had spent
some time in Melbourne and Frankston during World War 2. He asked Ross if
he knew Frankston well. Ross Worthington was almost 50 and had been in the
Frankston area all his life. They talked for awhile, Mark telling him that
while he was stationed in Melbourne he met a girl from Frankston and she
invited him over to her parents place. They took a train from Melbourne
and went to Frankston a week before Christmas. It was quite hot and they
went for a swim. He wanted to know if the Grand Hotel was still there.
When Ross Worthington told him it was he could feel the happiness in
Mark’s voice. Mark had tried to buy a beer there in uniform but the
hardnosed publican knew he wasn’t 21 and he didn’t like yanks. He told
them they were not doing enough in the pacific to help Australian troops
and they were too busy having a good time with Australian women in
Melbourne rather than fighting. He didn’t dare tell him that he had an
Australian girl waiting for him just out the front door.
Without beer, they went to
her parent’s house. They were not home; they had been busy working so they
had a few hours to themselves. Mark decided he had to lose his virginity
then and there because he didn’t know how long he was going to live, so he
made it with an Australian girl. Mark told him her name was Colleen
Fisher, did he know her by any chance? Ross felt like saying he couldn’t
possibly know the 150,000 people in Frankston but said only that he didn’t
Ross then went on about how
he went to war in the pacific. He had been training to be an electrical
engineer back then and after the war, completed his studies and worked as
an engineer with Lockheed. He helped develop sophisticated radar for the
U.S. defense forces and then went into business for himself. He started a
company called Bishop and Fuellor electrical systems with his life long
buddy Bob Fuellor. He told Ross that he married and lived in California
for 43 years until his wife died, then decided to move to Florida, Fort
Lauderdale to be near his 2 sons and grand children. He told Ross how old
After more than 20 minutes
on the phone, Mark started asking about the church and the finances. Ross
was embarrassed to be too revealing about their details as their parish
was small and had only 20 regular parishioners at one time. Ross told him
however that at any given moment they were in over draught most of the
time and that he had to hold onto checks because sometimes he didn’t have
the funds to clear it. Mark understood and told him his local church had
the same problem a few years ago, but things were ok now. Mark was wheel
chair bound but he made an effort to go to church once a week.
Out of pure curiosity Ross
asked if Mark had been back to Australia since the war. No, no came the
reply from Mark Bishop. Roy told him he should return and they could swap
a few war stories with his father, who was 83 and have a beer at the Grand
Hotel. They both had a laugh. Mark seemed touched by the gesture and Ross
added that if the bar tender was still there and he still didn’t like
yanks, they could go somewhere else. This brought laughter to Mark Bishop
and he thanked Ross profusely for listening to him and extending an offer
to visit. Ross confirmed their mailing address. Mark asked him how much it
was to subscribe to their parish newspaper. Ross told them they only had a
pew booklet and received a copy of the “Melbourne Anglican” that cost
$1.00 a copy. With mailing costs that would be about $6.00 a week. Mark
thanked him, and said he might call up one day to say hello and if Ross
was ever in Fort Lauderdale drop in and see him and he would put a few
shrimps on the Barbie for him, ha ha.
Ross hung up the phone and
thought that Mark must have been quite a character in his younger days and
maybe he would appreciate a book about old Frankston that he had on the
shelf. He had it there for years and it had some great photos. He took it
down and thought he might send it to Mark.
Mark hung up the phone with
a smile. He remembered the cheeky nature of The Australian and how they
seemed to face adversity with humor and cheer most of the time. He met
some nice Aussie soldiers and he found them to be genuine and warm towards
him most of the time. They knew they needed each other and since they were
no longer in Australia fraternizing with their women they had a war to
fight, end of story. The U.S.A needed Australia as a land base to launch
their attack on Japan, and they needed the hard and tough Aussie digger to
fight in the jungle to help them. Aussies knew they needed American
firepower to repel the Japanese; they didn’t have enough of their own to
Ross took out his note pad
and pen from his desk drawer and did some calculations about the yearly
subscriptions of the magazines and a donation for the church as well. He
wrote a check for $100 thousand U.S. dollars.
And so the faithful slept as
Friday became Saturday. Like the pilgrims who first came to America there
was an air of excitement and fear amongst them. They had joined together
for this exciting event, an opportunity to allow God to show his grace
amongst them for such a short but important time. Putting their
differences aside was easier this time than ever before for various
reasons. One of them being the realization that if they didn’t work
together in the name of Christ they would appear not only amongst
themselves but also to the secular community as confused rabble. A healing
seminar would unite them, as this was the ultimate expression of Jesus’
love for us and the depth of his forgiveness. It was the work of Satan to
divide God’s family and they needed to show resolve to resist him which
was the will of the father.
Another reason was the fact
that the baby boomers were getting older and they were searching for
answers to their questions in life. After so many had walked away from
Jesus, they were now looking for him again. They didn’t get what they were
looking for in music, drugs and sex. There was no longer the denial of
their lives leading to death, which they had wanted to avoid so much. If
they had to face it they at least wanted to be prepared with the right
Thirdly, the personality of
Robert Hill played a large part in the successful organization of the
healing weekend. He had not tried to secure the occasion under any
denominational banner. Instead he wanted it to be a celebration of the
healing work of Jesus and he wanted all Christian denominations to take
part. He discussed the program every step of the way, encouraging the
denominations to have their own tents, to take turns giving speeches and
the opposition melted away. He was persistent and seemed focused only on
allowing the work of Jesus, the Messiah to take place. There was no ego,
no bravado about it. How could they refuse?
Each year in Frankston they
came together at Easter to walk along Nepean highway and place the cross
on Oliver’s hill. Because of safety concerns the walk was cancelled and
the gathering now took place at Cranbourne instead. This healing weekend
was another example of the denominations working together but this time
not just for a celebration but a purpose that if successful would be
annual. As a nutritionist Robert understood the necessity of good
nutrition but he had recently discovered the necessity of spiritual health
that was completely lost on the secular community. Jesus said it was not
what went into the body that could defile you, it is what came out of the
heart that did.
The sun had not risen over
the factory and warehouse roofs yet, the morning air was crisp and
everyone on the field was asleep in their tents except Jeremy Brock. He
was one of the Roman Catholic healing groups that had chosen to take part.
He was uncertain if he wanted to go into the priest hood. He was 20 years
of age. A largish young man he had the love of the lord foremost in his
mind most of the time and that is why he thought he was considering
seriously joining the priest hood. He still had doubts though and his
pastor told him that he should carefully consider his feelings towards
He found it difficult to
sleep that night, he was not much of a camper and he was too anxious and
excited about the day to rest. He stood up and walked to the opening of
his tent. He looked around and noticed his group was asleep. He looked
outside at the cross in the distance. The cross looked protective,
inspiring. The air was still, crisp and exhilarating. Jeremy left the tent
and walked towards it. A carpet approximately six feet three feet wide,
red in color was laid down in front of the stage. It was rolled out
approximately 20 feet like the red carpet that went down the aisle of a
His tent was near the
highway so it took a good walk to get to the cross. The grass was wet with
dew, but still firm. He heard the crunch as he walked on it and made his
way to the cross and the temporary stage. He avoided walking on the carpet
that was to remain clean as long as possible. When he arrived he looked up
at it and said a little prayer of thanks for the morning and the hope of a
great day. He looked around at the field and saw the white tents dotted
along the fence lines. In the middle of the field was a man, a thin dark
man walking slowly towards the cross. He was wearing a dark suit, a blue
shirt with white stripes.
Eugene Tomasello stood in
the middle of the paddock and was looking at the cross. He was 64 years of
age. His body was full of Arthritis, his left hand, swollen, his knees and
feet also swollen and painful. The medication worked but most of the time,
the pain returned. He inherited the condition from his mother who died
with complications of the condition more than 30 years ago. Eugene was
tired of the pain. Slowly he got down to his both knees. It was painful
but he wanted to suffer before the eyes of God. He took the gold crucifix
around his neck and clutched it tight. He kissed it, held it tight and
began to pray as he walked on his knees towards the cross. He felt every
tuff of grass in his knees but he didn’t care. There was a carpet laid out
in Lourdes and many Christian pilgrims walked on their knees towards the
cross. Eugene wanted to do this. He drew closer to the carpet edge.
Jeremy watched this. He
dared not interrupt him as Eugene made his slow procession towards the
cross. As he placed his swollen knees on the carpet there was only slight
relief from the pain, and it could be seen in Eugene’s face. He had tears
streaming down his cheeks though it was difficult to determine if they
were tears of pain or joy. He kept his eyes on the cross as he walked on
his knees focused on his task. Just as he arrived at the stage, he bowed
his head in deep prayer. Jeremy could only look at him with sympathy. He
then noticed Robert Hill approaching them.
“We have our first customer”
Robert said to Jeremy. Then bent down and put his arms around the
shoulders of Eugene. He whispered something in his ear. Eugene said
something that Jeremy couldn’t hear. Robert then stood up and walked over
“Shall we pray for him”?
Robert said. Jeremy looked surprised.
“I am not an ordained
priest,” Jeremy said.
“”Are you full of the holy
spirit”? Robert asked
“Yes, or course,” Jeremy
replied. Robert looked at him.
“That is all that matters”.
Robert said. Robert then walked over to Eugene and directed Jeremy to
follow. Robert got down on his knees next to Eugene and Jeremy did the
same on the other side. Robert put his two hands on Eugene’s left
shoulder, and Jeremy did the same on Eugene’s right shoulder.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
I ask that you see Eugene before you Lord. You know all your sons, he
comes before you suffering. I ask that you if it is your will you will
forgive Eugene of his sins and release him from his pain. Eugene, repeat
after me. In the name of Jesus, forgive me for all my sins” Robert said.
“Jesus, forgive me for all
my sins”. Eugene repeated.
“I reject Satan” Robert
“I reject Satan” Eugene
“Forgive me Lord of my sins”
“Forgive me Lord of my sins”
“If it is your will, grant
me healed” Robert said.
“If it is your will, grant
me healed” Eugene said.
“And now let us pray in
silence for a moment, asking Jesus Christ our savior to be present in
spirit and heal Eugene.” Robert said.
And then there was a moment
of silence as all three closed their eyes and prayed. After a moment,
Eugene threw his head back as if he was about to burp.
“Thank you Jesus” Robert
“Thank you Jesus” Jeremy
After a minute, Robert
opened his eyes and took his hands off Eugene’ shoulders, Jeremy did the
same. Eugene opened his eyes and looked up at the sky.
“I feel warm.” Eugene said.
He used Jeremy and Robert as supports as he stood up slowly.
“I feel warm in my knees and
hands.” Eugene said. He turned around and began walking slowly in the
direction from which he came. He took a few steps and then a few more. He
seemed to walk more freely. He turned and looked at them with a look of
joy and astonishment and slowly extended his crippled left hand. He looked
at the fingers extend straighten slowly. He smiled at his hand then at
Jeremy and Robert. He waved with his hand. Robert and Jeremy waved back.
Eugene then took his right hand and put it into his suit pocket. He took
out a wallet and opened it with his previously crippled hand. He started
walking back to Jeremy and Robert at the same time looking at his wallet
as his left hand removed some bills.
“I don’t feel any pain, the
pain is gone.” Eugene said as he approached them with money in his left
hand offering it to them.
“It’s God’s gift to you, he
asks only for your obedience” Robert said pushing the money away.
“I want to give a donation,
take it please” Eugene said as tears were falling down his cheek and as he
was trying to put it in Robert’s hand.
“Take it, I want to give it”
Eugene said. Robert took it. Eugene got down on his knees. He looked up at
the sky and the cross.
“Thank you, thank you.
Praise the Lord” Eugene said then he started crying and opening his arms
to the sky.
“I have returned to you my
Lord, I have returned to you. He then put his arms around Robert and
Jeremy’s feet and wept. Robert and Jeremy were touched by the moment.
Robert bent down and touched Eugene’s head, Jeremy did the same. Eugene
continued to weep at their feet. Robert felt awkward holding the money in
his left hand but could do little but keep the right hand on Eugene’s
head. After a moment Eugene got up to his feet. He did a sign of the cross
and walked away slowly. Robert watched Eugene go and every so often he
looked at his left hand which was still swollen but whose fingers were
moving more freely. Jeremy looked at Robert with elation.
“Jesus is with us today, he
will not leave us, he is amongst us, and he will guide us, our savior.” He
then looked up at the sky.
“Thank you Jesus for showing
us your forgiveness”…Jeremy said. At that moment, a young woman had
emerged from Jeremy’s tent. Jeremy noticed her and she noticed Eugene
walking by. Jeremy yelled out.
“He is with us; he will lead
us out of darkness, our redeemer. Jesus is here, blessed be to God in the
highest!!! He then turned to Robert and said.
“I will join the church, I
will be ordained. I will be his servant” Jeremy said with great emotion
“Amen” Robert yelled
“Amen” Jeremy replied.
Robert then embraced him.
The healing program was
officially to start at 9am. A brochure was printed with a schedule. There
was to be an official welcoming speech by all the Christian denominations
represented, then a recital of the Lord’s Prayer. There would then be 5
minutes contemplation. Then people could go to the individual tents to
seek healing. The Baptists and the born again brought baptism baths for
full immersion for those that wanted to be baptized.
It was unknown as to how
many would attend. By 8.30 am the area was a hive of activity. Cars were
pulling off the road and onto the road shoulder, while some went straight
onto the large dividing strip. The fast flowing traffic began to slow
down. The weather was pleasant and the food vans began to arrive. It
appeared as if there it was going to be a successful day. Joanne Armstrong
Out of the car came Joanne,
Ray Garcia and Paul. From their vantage point on the road shoulder they
could see the spread of people and the cross standing so proud and
protective in the distance. A Christian band was playing on stage. Ray and
Paul unpacked their equipment and Ray began to do some filming. Joanne was
dressed more sensibly with slacks and flat shoes. She knew that
high-heeled shoes in such an area were not practical. They could film her
from the waist up with her smart jacket if necessary.
At the main entrance were a
group of volunteers handing out programs and had collection tins. It was
agreed all donations would go to all the churches evenly. Joanne took a
program. She made a donation and so did Ray. Paul didn’t. A crowd was
gathering at the front waiting for the opening, welcoming address. Joanne
noticed that most of the people were elderly. They had brought cushions,
transportable fold up seats and blankets. The camera crew made their way
to the front; after all they were the press. Joanne looked around and saw
the Anglican tent of Frankston and made her way towards it. She left Ray
and Paul to get some background shots.
As she approached the tent
she saw it was a hive of activity. They had an urn going and a gas
barbecue was nearby. They were milling around, some having coffee. She
noticed a few familiar faces, such as Elsie, Reverends John and Graham.
They noticed her and greeted her warmly.
“How are you my dear”? Elsie
“I’m fine” Joanne said. She
took out her crucifix from under her shirt and showed Elsie.
“You see”. Joanne said.
“Would you like a coffee or
tea” John asked
“No thanks” Joanne replied.
She looked around but could not see Robert anywhere.
“Where is the TV crew?
“Just there” Joanne said
indicating Ray in the distance. They looked.
“The report went well on TV
“Yes, we had quite a
response.” Joanne said.
“Well we hope that we get a
good turn out here, I think we will.” Graham said. Joanne nodded.
“Is Robert here”? Joanne
“Well he was a few moments
ago,” Elsie said looking around. Joanne looked around.
“Well nice to see you all, I
will be around.” Joanne said.
“Bye for now” Elsie said.
“Bye” Joanne said.
She walked away from the
group and looked at the crowd in general. Ray was filming the stage area
and tilting the camera up at the cross. If Joanne was right Ray was trying
to film the sun rise as a background to silhouette the cross. It was a
good effect. She walked towards the front of the stage. A few personnel
were setting up the p.a. system and there were some seats being placed on
stage. Joanne looked around casually. She looked at the crowd building up;
people sitting were sitting down on blankets. Amongst these people, she
noticed Robert Hill was one of them in the front sitting cross-legged. He
was looking right at her. She was a little surprised and embarrassed. She
walked over to him.
“Hello Robert” She said
“Hello Joanne” He replied
with a slight smile. He didn’t make any attempt to get up. Not often was
she physically looking down at someone, but it still didn’t make her feel
“I didn’t know you would be
sitting there,” she said. Robert then stood up. He smiled, he seemed
“Beautiful day isn’t it”? He
said looking around at the sky and the crowd.
“Yes, it is Joanne” said.
“Come this way” Robert said
as he walked her away from the stage area and began walking in the
direction of the highway.
“So far so good, people are
coming Joanne to hear the good news, to be blessed, to be healed.” Robert
“Well yes, that is good. The
station received many calls, even from overseas.” Joanne said as she
“Excellent,” Robert said.
They continued walking until they were almost at the fence perimeter.
People were arriving and already there were many cars parked along the
road edge and embankment. At first they thought there would be trouble
parking the cars on the grass, that they would get bogged if it rained. It
didn’t rain and so far there had been no parking problems. They stopped
walking. Robert looked at her.
“And how have you been”?
Robert asked Joanne.
“Fine”. She said.
“Do you have any idea how
difficult it is to get supernatural activity on tape like you and the crew
did, then to put it to air and have thousands if not millions see it?” He
Joanne looked at him.
“It is a battle on earth
between good and evil Joanne. Our almighty father wants us to return to
his family. The devil will do anything to prevent this. If you haven’t
been made aware of it many have experienced both Jesus and the devil at
work. It is a showdown almost and we are all involved. You have been
affected, I have been affected, and many have been succumbed to good or
evil. This happens every day but during the last 48 hours this spiritual
warfare has intensified right here. Surely you have seen this.” Robert
“Well I must admit, what I
have seen and experienced myself has been quite intense.”
Robert looked around, he saw
the TV crew at the front of the stage. He noticed Ray look in his
direction. While still looking at Ray in the distance he continued to
speak to Joanne.
“Can you understand why it
is difficult to speak to the media, to speak to a camera crew when most of
the time there is a genuine lack of interest? Most of the time the media
want to entertain and edit an interview or segment to create maximum
excitement.” Robert said. He then turned around to look at her.
“Is that how you feel about
me” Joanne asked
“Where will you go, what
will you do after this Joanne”? Robert asked.
“What do you mean”? Joanne
“Jesus said you cannot serve
two masters. You can’t be a slave to money and God. You have seen God and
the devil at work and I hope it has made a significant impression on you
to make you think about your life.” Robert said.
“Is there something wrong
with being a journalist”? Joanne asked.
“It is not the profession;
it is what is in the heart that matters most because that is what Jesus
saw. The reluctance by myself and many people in the public eye is that
they feel the media manipulates them, there words, and presents a story to
the people more for entertainment than information.” Robert said.
“Do you think I do that “?
Joanne said. Robert looked around.
“I believe all journalists
look for the essence of good story telling and their producers and editors
edit more to give the public a point of view so as to engage their
attention.” Robert said.
“Well you didn’t really
answer the question, Robert; do you think I do that”? Joanne asked. Robert
looked directly at her. He nodded.
“But it doesn’t have to be
like that Joanne. You can make things different. Look for and record the
subtleties in life, the essence the meaning of what happens here, don’t
just look for headlines. I hope this is the beginning of a long journey in
your life in which you will follow Christ as I am now.” Robert said.
“The devil doesn’t stop
Joanne and will not stop until we worship him or until the end of the
world. Reject his evil influence and continue to allow Christ to enter
your life as you did before. Don’t let the secular world control your
career and your views. Become pure and have a clear conscience.” Robert
added. Joanne looked at him.
“Record this event Joanne.
Record our love for Gods son who came on earth and conquered pain and
suffering for all of us. God has already allowed you to record the
supernatural gift given to Jason. The devil interferes all the time but we
prayed and he retreated. He then chose you and maybe more at the studio
where you work. For a brief moment in time and in a small place we want to
invite Jesus to come to us and cure his children. This is what we believe
in Jesus Christ Joanne and this is what we ask him to do this weekend.”
Robert finished off. Joanne looked at him, confused, upset, perplexed. She
just wanted to talk to him in a pleasant manner and yet she felt he had
demeaned her. Robert noticed the look on her face.
“I’m sorry. I have nothing
against you personally, I haven’t been fair.” Robert said. Joanne nodded.
“I will be speaking soon;
they gave me a small segment.” Robert said.
“So this is nerves”? Joanne
asked. Robert looked at her and smiled. It was a smile of warmth she had
not seen before. He looked up and noticed her camera crew was approaching.
He looked at her again.
“I do think you are very
attractive, if I may say that” Robert said almost apologetically. Joanne
was surprised. She didn’t expect those words to come from his mouth. He
looked up as her crew approached.
“Here is your team” Robert
said. Joanne turned around and saw Ray and Paul approaching. She didn’t
want to see them at that moment. She wanted to know what this character
Robert was all about. How could he just say that?
“Hello Robert” Ray said and
shook his hand as he held the camera in the other. He introduced Peter to
him and they shook hands.
“My wife and daughter will
be coming later” Ray said.
“Good, I am glad. I hope you
get some good footage.” Robert said. At that moment, the P.A. system was
making some noise. More people were seated, they would soon begin.
“Just about to start I
believe” said Robert looking at the stage. They all looked except Joanne
who looked at him. He was about her age, quite good-looking. He looked at
her and this time he was embarrassed. He looked away and then began
walking towards the stage. Ray and Paul followed him getting their
equipment ready. Joanne walked behind them. She was furious. Robert had
walked away from her just when she wanted to say something to him. It was
this attention/ignorance way of behaving towards her she found both
compelling and frustrating in men. She didn’t like it when they seemed to
like her then leave her.
People began to sit down and
gather on stage. The Frankston Baptist group opened proceedings and gave
an official welcome speech to the gathering crowd. They had a group of
musicians with them and they broke into “Amazing grace”. It was a song
most were familiar with and they joined in with great enthusiasm. The
field was full of greatness and warmth as most joined in. Robert looked at
Joanne and she began to sing along. Ray looked a little embarrassed almost
sheepish but he aimed the camera at Robert and Joanne singing. They stood
and they sang along with the crowd and there was a wonderful feeling of
togetherness. After, they sang, “How great thou art” and indeed the air
was electric with God’s love.
Father O’Shea then came
forward on behalf of the Roman Catholic denomination, then Graham from the
Anglican church of Frankston. The others followed and then it was time for
the Lords Prayer. In a most moving gesture, they had agreed amongst
themselves to say the Lord’s Prayer together. The crowd responded and said
the prayer as well. When it was over, Graham waved Robert over. He noticed
the others were looking at him as he approached the stage. Graham spoke to
him, as there was a moment of silence and anticipation as Robert got on
“Robert, could you say a few
words before we have our 5minutes of contemplation.”?
“I thought I was going to
speak later” Robert whispered.
“You organized this event.
You are full of the holy spirit.”
. He looked around at the
crowd, they were beginning to talk amongst themselves and lose
concentration. Graham came to the microphone.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the
man whose idea it was to have a healing weekend and helped greatly in its
organization. He is also part of the healing team of the Anglican church
of Frankston and Carrum downs area, Mr. Robert Hill.”
There was applause. Robert
came to the microphone. He looked out at the sea of faces. He had never
given a speech before to such a large group. Here was his moment,
nutritionist, healer, and common man, Son of God. When he started to
speak he noticed his voice sounded funny, quiet, subdued. He noticed
people in the crowd were not listening. He told them they were about to
have 5 minutes of quiet meditation and prayer. He stopped for a moment and
then his heart began to pound. He became determined and raised his voice.
“We are gathered here in the
presence of Jesus Christ. He is watching us now, he is waiting for us to
praise him and allow him into their life. For just a small moment in time,
we ask Jesus to come to us and free us of pain and suffering. He is
waiting for us to show complete submission to him, to ask for forgiveness
for our sins.” Robert said. He noticed Ray was filming. There was a long
pause. At that moment he felt light, almost as if he was going to lift off
the ground. He felt that occasionally when he was in prayer or talking
about God. Instead of fighting the feeling, he closed his eyes and allowed
it to fill him. He submitted.
“I can feel it now, ladies
and gentleman. Believe it; believe in him like I began to believe in him.
I want you all to say after me. Father forgive me for I have sinned.”
The crowd responded with a
“Father forgive me for I
have sinned”!!!! Robert said in a louder voice.
The crowd responded with
“Please come into my life”
Robert said and the crowd repeated it.
“When more than one person
is gathered in my name, I am there” Robert said .The crowd repeated it.
“I reject Satan and all his
demons” Robert said and the crowd repeated it.
“If it is your will, heal
me” Robert said. The crowd repeated it.
“Heal me” Robert said. The
crowd repeated it. After a moment, he said it again.
“Heal me” Robert said.
Now close your eyes everyone
and think of Jesus by your side. Say to yourself slowly about 20 times, I
have sinned Jesus, please heal me.” Robert said. There was a murmur.
Robert noticed a lack of unity. He began to chant it.
“I have sinned Jesus, please
heal me. I have sinned Jesus please heal me.” Robert repeated. Slowly but
surely the crowd became louder and in unity. To hear the chant said over
and over on that glorious morning to honor Jesus, to admit sin and ask to
be healed was joyous. The crowd continued to chant about 20 times then
Robert ask them to be still to allow Jesus to be amongst them. It was very
quiet, beautifully quiet but it became disturbed by a young woman named
Rebecca getting out of her wheel chair. She struggled in the center of the
crowd as they made way for her. She was a young woman in her twenties She
wore a brown pair of trousers and a brown jumper. She started to walk
towards the stage. She started crying loudly as she walked. Her walk was
stiff but visible. She continued her walk and it was obvious her gait was
getting easier. Robert saw her and encouraged her to walk to the stage.
She continued to do this. Ray the ever-watchful cameraman was filming. She
walked right up to Robert. She whispered in a breathless voice.
“I can feel my toes.” She
said looking up at him. Robert took the microphone and put it to her
“I can feel my toes” she
said and everyone heard it. There was loud applause.
The woman was still standing
when many stood to applaud. Mrs. Eileen Johnson stood to applaud but
blocked the view of her husband Bob Johnson in his wheel chair. As she
stood up she put her right hand on his left shoulder momentarily. Bob
Johnson put his right hand to his heart. Eileen Johnson was watching what
was happening at the front of the stage. Bob felt around his chest. Eileen
sat down and noticed Bob clutching his chest.
“Bob are you alright” Eileen
said with concern.
“My chest” Bob replied, as
he continued to feel it.
“Your chest”? Eileen said.
Bob was feeling it, breathing deeply. He looked at her.
“I can breathe deeply” He
said and began breathing deeply with a look of great excitement on his
“Eileen, look at me” He
said. Eileen looked at him.
“Are you okay”? She said.
Bob breathed in some slow breaths. He breathed in slowly.
“I think it is gone Eileen.”
“Really”!! Eileen replied.
Bob continued breathing.
“I feel warm inside my
chest, as if a warm hand is inside it.” Bob said and smiled at her.
Eileen had tears in her
eyes. Bob had been suffering from Emphysema for a few months to the point
where he had to be in a wheel chair because his breathing was so labored.
For the first time in a long time he had prayed with passion. It was the
first time he had conceded to himself that he had not been a good man most
of his life and he could have been a better father and a better husband.
In his prayer, in his heart, mind body and soul he apologized to Jesus. In
the privacy of his own mind he was sorry for what he had done and how he
would be different if he had his life over again. He never thought that
God was listening.
The lady was still on the
stage with Robert. He asked her name as he spoke to her in the microphone.
“What is your name”? Robert
“Rebecca” The woman replied.
Robert looked at her.
“I believe God has touched
you today. Believe in him ask him to enter your life so you never know
such suffering again.” Robert said. He then guided her towards the people
behind him. He looked to the crowd and spoke into the microphone.
“Please pray for yourselves
and your loved ones or go to the tents here for private healing.” Robert
said. Some got up and moved towards the tent, others came toward the
cross. Others stayed in their seat for prayer.
Ray and Joanne saw this all,
their journalistic instincts got the better of them. They rushed towards
Rebecca who had got out of her wheel chair and walked towards stage. There
were people all around her as she stood near the stage; she had a dazed
look on her face. Ray began filming her.
“How are you”? Joanne asked.
The woman looked up. She had a look of ecstasy.
“I have been touched by God.
Look at my feet.” She said and began to wiggle them then began to do some
“Mary Atkinson” She said.
“How long have you been in a
wheel chair”? Joanne asked.
“Six months…I have motor
neuron disease……….there is no cure” Rebecca replied. Rebecca continued to
move her feet.
“It feels better the more I
move, my legs are weak but I can feel a tingling sensation through them”.
She said. Ray continued to film as Mary began to walk towards camera. The
crowd around her began to applaud and say “amen”. Joanne could see Robert
in the background and approached him.
“A few words please” Joanne
asked. Robert smiled.
“Ok”. He said. Joanne waved
Paul and Ray to come over. As they were approaching she looked at Robert
“I am still working so I
need to earn my money”. Robert managed to smile. Ray and Paul finally got
ready as Joanne asked.
“Tell me do you think the
woman is cured”? Robert thought about it.
“I don’t know, it is God’s
will.” Robert replied.
“Yet she seemed to get cured
while you were speaking” Joanne asked.
“We were praying” Robert
“Why did it happen now, not
before” Joanne asked.
“What do you mean” Robert
“Why didn’t God cure her
before why now”? Joanne asked. Robert thought about it.
“It is the confession of sin
and the combined prayer, we believe being amongst many followers
strengthen a person’s faith and intensifies their sorrow. God looks for
people in transition in their life and decides if he wants to help them.”
“Is it you that is the
healer”? Joanne asked. Robert thought about the question.
“No, I am just a humble
servant trying my best to fulfill Gods will.” Robert said.
“What is God’s will”? Joanne
“God wants his family
together, to love him, and serve others. He judges us not by our success
the way our society does but by the way we treat others. Material gain
means nothing to him.” Robert concluded. Joanne stood in front of the
camera, the cue to stop filming. She turned to Robert.
“Thank you for that” Joanne
“You are welcome,” He said.
Joanne walked away and so did Paul. Ray stood there for a moment and
looked at Robert.
“He has chosen you Robert. I
believe he has to fulfill a mission. I believe it.” Ray said. Robert
“Thank you for saying that,
but I believe that…” Robert started to say
“No, God makes saints and
holy men Robert. I believe he chose you.” Ray said interrupting Robert. He
then walked away to join Joanne and Paul who kept a discreet distance.
Clem Mclelland was driving
the Land drover wagon along the freeway when he noticed how busy the area
was where the healing weekend was taking place. He slowed down and
wondered where he would park the car. A car flashed past him and blew the
horn in anger as Clem slowed the vehicle down. He looked to the right and
he assumed the large dividing strip was the best place to park.
Beside him was his crippled
daughter Trish McClelland. He didn’t really know why she wanted to come.
She couldn’t be healed. Her spine had been severed in a car accident and
no surgery could fix that. He didn’t want to argue with her, she wanted to
come and it was the least he could do. Clem didn’t believe in miracles.
Only a miracle could get Trish McClelland out of the wheel chair. Trish
believed only a miracle could help her that is why she wanted to come.
Clem slowed his car down. He heard two loud horns behind him but he didn’t
care. He moved over to the right onto the large dividing strip. As the car
went over the firm close-cropped lawn, he was glad. He thought originally
that maybe his car would have got bogged, but instead the ground was firm.
There were already a few cars there. Clem turned the engine off. In the
distance he could see the rising mound of dirt which would make up part of
the new freeway. He looked across at his daughter Trish and wondered how
he could get her across the freeway quickly avoiding two lanes of fast
“O.K. Trish, here we are” he
said as he got out of the car. She said nothing but continued to look in
the direction of the stage and cross.
As Clem got out of the car,
he noticed it was getting busy. Some cars were slowing down to stop while
others were zooming past at a fast speed. He hoped he could maneuver the
wheel chair in the firm wild grass. Clem took out the wheel chair from the
back and assembled it. He noticed the ground was firm and wheeled it
towards the passenger side of the car. He opened the door. Trish had her
seat belt off. It was the most difficult part, trying to get her bottom
onto the seat of the wheel chair. Trish managed to do it with a few grunts
and groans. She found it difficult as time went by because she was getting
larger. Clem had wanted to say something but what could you say to a woman
who had everything to live for then had a tragic accident.
Clem wheeled the wheel chair
through the grass towards the edge of the freeway. He felt ridiculous for
a moment because he was looking at on coming traffic. It looked ridiculous
to see a woman in a wheelchair with her carer on the edge of a freeway.
The traffic disappeared only for a moment and so Clem pushed Trish across
the road. He felt the sharp pain in his left wrist when he did this. Just
the angle his wrist was on and the pressure caused it sometimes to hurt
him. He had an industrial accident when he was 54. He had cut deep the
nerves in his left hand between his thumb and forefinger. It didn’t cause
him any pain until recently when Trish was in her wheel chair. On certain
times, on certain angles with certain amounts of pressure he felt the
As they arrived at the fence
line there were a group of volunteers collecting money in metal tins. Clem
stopped and took out his wallet. Trish looked up at him as he took ten
dollars out and put it in one of the tins. The young woman had a t-shirt
on which said “Ambassador for Jesus”. She said, “bless you” as he did this
and he continued to push Trish towards the congregation.
“You didn’t have to give
them anything” Trish said. Clem looked surprised.
“They are a charity”, they
need all the money they can get.” Clem said.
“The Roman Catholic church
is the richest organization in the world” Trish said.
Clem ignored her and
continued to wheel the wheel chair onwards.
The tents were around the
property perimeter. Most had flags or signs out the front advertising
their denomination. Clem stopped for a moment. He looked around.
“Well dear where would you
like me to take you” Clem said. Trish looked around. She saw the Frankston
Baptist church tent and said
Inside the Baptist church
tent there was a charismatic man in his thirties with fair hair walking
around 2 men and 2 women. They were standing there, eyes closed, their
hands palm upwards. He was lively and cursing the devil and asking Jesus
to enter their lives. He then put his right hand on the forehead of the
woman closest to him and yelled “Go in the name of Jesus”!!!. The woman
fell backwards. She was quivering in ecstasy. He then moved along and did
the others one by one. Each fell one after the other. A group of young men
and women were in the corner of the tent just looking. One of them
indicated for Clem to wheel Trish into place. He did this. For a moment
the healer/intercessor paused. He approached Trish and in loud showmanship
“And what causes your
“Paralysis” Trish replied in
a soft voice.
“Paralysis! let us see if we
can evict the leader of the demons from your body and get you to walk out
of that chair. Make the devil mad, are you prepared to walk sister?!!” He
said in a loud voice.
“Yes” Trish said quietly.
“Are you ready to confess
your sins before our Lord Jesus Christ” the man replied.
“Sins”?!! Trish replied.
“Yes you must confess your
sins before you can be healed” The man said.
Trish looked dumbfounded.
“Sin, I didn’t sin. A car
slammed into my car and killed my husband. I didn’t sin. The person who
crashed into me sinned. He is dead too, he should be here to confess his
sins to me.” Trish said.
“We all have sin, neither of
us is pure. We ask God to forgive our sins. Jesus asked us to not sin
again. We confess our sins to our Lord and we ask him to heal us.” The man
said. Trish thought about it for a moment. The healer said to the group
“Let us all pray now, for
the forgiveness of our sins and ask that the power of the Lord will come
down and cure us here today.”
Clem closed his eyes and
said a prayer too. He had not been to church since his niece Christine was
baptized, and that was a few years ago. He was tired and at his wits end.
Trish was making life difficult for him and his wife. Nothing was good
enough for their daughter; she had not joined any support groups to help
herself. She was just wallowing in self-pity. He found it felt good to
close his eyes, to be warm, to see and feel the warm redness between his
eyes as he spoke to Jesus.
When Clem opened his eyes,
he noticed Trish had her eyes wide open. He had no idea whether she had
closed her eyes at all. The intercessor was just opening his eyes as well
as others who were in the tent. One lady in the corner seemed to be
talking to herself.
“Amen” the intercessor
finished off. He then moved onto a woman who stood before him. Clem took
this to mean he had to leave the tent. The healer was not going to lay his
hands on Trish. Clem put his hands on the handles of the wheel chair to
lead Trish away. He swiveled her around and noticed it was quite easy to
maneuver her out of the tent. He didn’t realize the pain in his wrist was
gone, as it came and went over a period of time. This time it was not
there and it was not coming back.
It was about 11am when Elsie
and Jan arrived at the healing location with their passenger Abraham Klomp.
He was dressed nicely, in his grey suit as if going to church. Though he
looked pleasant, his manner was far beyond that. He was upset, angry,
grumpy and generally unpleasant company. He didn’t want to go to the
healing centre, his wife Mary did. She was dead now, what was the point.
After the death of his wife
Mary, Abraham was devastated. She had been an ill woman for a long time
but she always recovered. This time she didn’t. He sat in the front
passenger seat quiet, for a change, brooding as the car slowed down near
the Rutherford road exit. Cars were now parked precariously on the side of
the road and the large dividing strip between the two directions of travel
looked like the only spot to park. Jan drove the car slowly over the
grass. There were people getting out of the parked cars. Abraham looked at
them. He noticed a young man, fit and muscular with his attractive
girlfriend. He had a camera with a long telephoto lens attached to it,
around his neck. Abraham wondered why this man had brought a camera, what
was he hoping to photograph? They had been quiet in the car for the last
10 minutes. Every time Jan and Elsie had tried to start a conversation;
Abraham had been abrupt, angry or rude. They thought it best to say
The car came to a stop. Jan
got out of the car slowly. He had a hip problem and Elsie came to his side
to see if she could assist. Abraham got out of the car slowly,
despondently. As he did this he noticed an ice cream van slowing down.
The driver looked in the direction of the cross as if to work out how he
was going to get to that location. Abraham said nothing, but the look on
his face was obvious. He had nothing but contempt for the man. Even though
Abraham was not religious even he knew it was in bad taste for such a
salesman to turn up. He waited for Jan and Elsie to join him and then they
decided to cross the busy road.
At the main entrance there
were two elderly gentlemen collecting donations in metal tins. As the
group approached the collectors, Abraham walked by. Jan stopped and put
some money in one of the tins. He then walked up to Abraham who was
waiting for him and Elsie.
“I don’t give t them money”
Abraham said. Jan became angry and began arguing at Abraham in Dutch and
English. He told him off for not having respect for the church, the
charity workers and being just down right selfish. Elsie intervened and
asked them to go on. Abraham did. He didn’t want to say any more and as
for Jan he was sick of arguing with such a pig headed man.
Father O’Shea was in the
Roman Catholic tent provided for by St. John Paul’s college having a cup
of coffee. They had a large set of tables set up with Christian literature
and about 20 seats set aside for prayer and reflection. There were a few
people seated quietly praying, some at the stalls. Father O’Shea was
seated behind the table having a coffee and a fruitcake. He was wearing a
summer shirt and a pair of slacks with a gold cross on his left shirt
collar. He was casually looking around the tent when Abraham, Jan and
Elsie walked in. He noticed Jan and Elsie approach the table and look at
the literature. On display were all sorts of Christian books, school
brochures, Bibles even Bibles in different languages. He noticed them pick
up a Dutch bible and begin talking excitedly about it in Dutch. Abraham
wasn’t interested. Even though Father O’Shea knew no Dutch he could tell
Abraham was not being complimentary. He noticed the Elsie and Jan just
trying to ignore him. Abraham went slowly over to one of the seats and sat
down. He didn’t pray or show any signs of reflection, he just wanted to
rest. Father O’Shea saw his opportunity to approach him. He came up to him
with an outstretched right hand.
“Hello I am Father O’Shea,”
He said. Abraham looked at him and shook his hand.
“Abe” he said. Father O’Shea
sat next to him.
“Have you come here to get
some healing” Father O’Shea said.
“No, my wife wanted to come
here but she died only yesterday. My friends wanted to come and thought it
would be good for me to come, whatever.” Abe said. Father O’Shea continued
to look at him intently.
“Has it been good for you to
come”? Father O’Shea said.
“No, I don’t believe in
that.” Abe said.
“Why is that Abe”? Father
“Religion is something
created to control people, to stop them from being lawless.” Abe said.
Father O’Shea looked at him.
“You don’t believe Jesus
ever lived”? Father O’Shea asked.
“I don’t know. It doesn’t
make any difference. Life is tough, you die that is it. I don’t believe
there is a heaven; I don’t believe there is a God. We have evil people on
this earth and they live for a long time and you have good people like my
wife Mary and she is gone. Where is the justice in that? Abe said. He
noticed Jan and Elsie were helping themselves to a free cup of tea from an
Urn provided generously. Abe noticed them and called out to them, in
Dutch, to get him one. Father O’Shea looked at them and back at Abe.
“You want a cup of tea”?
Father O’Shea asked.
“Yes”. Abe responded.
“You come here, you don’t
believe in God and you would like a free cup of tea and sit in a seat
allocated for healing and prayer.” Father O’Shea said. Abe looked at him
and started to get up. Father O’Shea stood up in front of him and looked
“I would like you to stay
for a little while” Father O’Shea said. Abe got up and stood up to him.
“Listen, don’t preach to me”
“Are you scared?” Father
O’Shea said to him.
“Scared, of you, no” Abe
said angrily. At this moment Jan and Elsie came. They were upset and began
speaking to Abe in Dutch then turning to Father O’Shea and saying not to
take him seriously as he was upset about his wife dying.
“You think God killed your
wife Abe”? Father O’Shea said.
“Why doesn’t he take the
murderers of this earth before he took her, what kind of God is that”?!!!
Abe said angrily. Jan and Elsie were telling him it was a terrible thing
to say when Father O’Shea answered.
“Maybe she wanted to go” He
“Her, go, you must be joking
and leave her children and grand children behind.” Abe said with a
clenched fist raised at chest height. He walked past Father O’Shea and
went to the tent entrance and exit area. Elsie looked at Father O’Shea.
“I am sorry, he is upset,
his wife wanted to come here and she died last night” Elsie said. Father
O’Shea nodded. At the entrance/exit area of the tent, Abraham turned
around and muttered loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You are just ripping people
off”. Father O’Shea decided to pursue him.
Abraham walked away towards
the paddock in general. Father O’Shea stopped and watched him. Elsie and
Jan were standing nearby, concerned, watching the drama unfold. Other
people were gathering around.
“Coward” yelled Father
O’Shea. Abe came storming back to Father O’Shea.
“Me!!!!?…………. Coward, I was
in Indonesia Father before it was a holiday destination” He retorted.
“I was in Vietnam, during
the war” Father O’Shea responded.
“I was not a coward then and
I am not a coward now” Abe said shaking his fist in front of Father
“You are afraid to believe
in God and his son, that is your problem,” Father O’Shea said.
“God took my wife last
night, and there are plenty more left on this earth that don’t deserve to
be.” Abe said but was interrupted by Father O’Shea.
“Maybe she wanted to be with
“What!!!!…. she could have
been with me” Abe responded.
“That is what you wanted,
not necessarily what she wanted” Father O’Shea replied. Abe looked at him
with indignation. Then with the open palms of both his hands he thrust
them at Father O’Shea in a sudden push. Father O’Shea stumbled back, and
then Father O’Shea punched Abe in the face. The blow was so sudden and
strong it stunned the onlookers and Abe ended up on the ground. The people
around were shocked and some came to Abe’s attention and others came
between them. They were not only shocked that an elderly priest would hit
a man but also with such speed. Abe got up; he was bleeding from his lip.
He wiped it. He looked at Father O’Shea with a look of disbelief, sadness
and fear. This was the first time he had been hit in the face since he was
a teenager. He had hit others but this time he was on the receiving end of
some violence for a change. He felt a tear coming to his eye, not from
pain but sheer embarrassment. His assailant was still standing there, his
friends and onlookers were milling around. Abe walked away towards the
freeway. He noticed people watching him as he walked past them. He felt
hot, angry and embarrassed. He had never expected the priest to hit him.
As he walked, his face was hot with indignation and then the tears
streamed down his face. He missed his wife; he was not going to come home
to her ever again. He wondered where she was and if he would ever join
her. After more than 53 years of marriage they were separated.
As Abe approached the
entry/exit area of the paddock a few people were staring at him with
concern. One person actually asked what happened but Abe continued walking
towards the car. He heard a voice behind him say, “Leave him alone”. Abe
turned around; to his dismay it was Father O’Shea following him. Abe just
assumed that he was not being followed now he had Father O’Shea behind
him. He didn’t know what to do. He stopped on the edge of the freeway and
waited for a break in the traffic. When it came he ran across the road
towards the direction of Elsie and Jan’s car. He turned around to his
right behind himself and noticed only Elsie and Jan on the roads edge.
Maybe he had imagined Father O’ Shea’s voice that is what he thought when
he noticed Father O’Shea on his left almost alongside him. Abe panicked a
little, not knowing what to do. He continued to go towards Jan and Elsie’s
car. He dabbed at his mouth with a handkerchief to slow down the bleeding
of the lip just as he came to the car. Father O’Shea came to him and put
his right hand around Abe’s waist. Father O’Shea with his left hand guided
Abe’s right hand with the handkerchief to the bleeding lip. Abe didn’t
know what to say or think. Father O’Shea had said nothing. Father O’Shea
then took the handkerchief from Abe and tucked it into Abe’s left pocket.
He looked at him for a moment then left. As he walked past Jan and Elsie
he gave them a respectful look then continued walking. Abe stood there
sheepishly, completely still and quiet, like a schoolboy who had been
caught shoplifting and his parents had arrived to take him home. His lip
was still bleeding. Elsie gave him her hanker chief and he began pressing
it against his lip. She didn’t say a word. She couldn’t understand how men
at their age could act in such a way. She knew Abe was obnoxious but was
it necessary for Father O’Shea, a priest, to provoke Abe Was it necessary
for Abe to push a priest like that and then of course for Father O’Shea to
Jan appeared concerned as he
opened the doors for them all to get in the car. When Abe got in, Jan
looked at Elsie and gave her a wicked smile. Elsie didn’t approve but Jan
couldn’t help himself. Someone had shut Abe’s mouth, the first time in a
On arrival back at home, Abe
thanked Elsie and Jan for driving him to the healing location. He was
subdued. Elsie and Jan would go back tomorrow. They wanted a blessing or
healing prayer from their church but had to forgo that because of Abe’s
behavior. Normally they would share a cup of tea but since his wife Mary
was gone, it would be different. They waved him good-bye at the door and
went towards their room. As soon as they turned the corner and thought
they were out of earshot of Abe, Jan couldn’t contain himself and smiled.
He turned to Elsie and told her how much he hand enjoyed watching Abe get
a punch in the mouth. Even Elsie had to smile. It is not as if just a man
had hit him, but as if God himself had done it.
Inside his humble apartment,
Abe looked around as if Mary would suddenly come around the corner. He
looked at the large bed and realized she would not be sleeping with him
that night. He sat down in his favorite TV watching chair in the lounge
room. He gently touched his lip and felt the scab. He wandered if he could
sue the priest that hit him but he was certain no one would be on his
side. As he sat there, he remembered his bloody handkerchief in his jacket
pocket and decided to remove it so he could soak it over night. As he put
his hand in his left jacket pocket, he felt something. Amongst the
handkerchief, he could feel something that felt like string. He took it
out and found a tightly bundled ball of string amongst it. He put the
handkerchief on the lamp table near his seat and looked at the string. He
had no idea what it was or why it was in his jacket pocket.
He started to unfold the
string slowly. It was black and tightly bound. As he did this he became
aware it was wrapped around something. He continued to unwind the string
until he saw a small wooden cross. The string was a necklace. He dropped
it to the floor like he had been fondling a spider. He looked at the cross
on the floor as it lay there innocently. He had never seen it before and
he was sure it didn’t belong to Mary. After a moment, He picked it up and
looked at it again. How did it get into his jacket pocket? He wondered.
How long had it been there? He felt the cross; it was made up of one piece
of wood, half the length of his smallest finger. It was smooth and tan in
color. It had a simple eyelet at the top in which the string went through.
He wondered if Mary had put it there. She had a few crucifix necklaces but
he had never seen this one. It puzzled him. He put it down next to the
handkerchief. He picked up the handkerchief and then it all made sense. He
remembered feeling Father O’Shea hand in that area as he put the bloodied
hanker chief into the jacket pocket. Abe became angry. The man had not
shown sympathy at all but used the act to slip a necklace into his pocket.
Abe felt conned.
He took the necklace into
the kitchen and put it into his small kitchen bin. The flap top flung back
and the necklace fell on top of the old potatoes Mary had put in there. He
saw it momentarily before the swivel top stopped swinging. Abe took his
hanker chief to the laundry and placed it into his full laundry bucket
where he was soaking his white shirt. He was angry now, no longer humbled
by the experience. He had a good mind to complain about Father O’Shea but
he had no idea who to call and he was aware that he had pushed him first.
Even though he was angry, he somehow felt a strong desire to sleep. He
questioned it but suddenly he felt tired. He closed the front door of his
apartment and went to the bedroom to lie down. As he lay on the bed he
felt afraid. He was alone, he had not been alone for a very long time and
the house was too quiet without Mary. He lay on his back and thought about
the funeral to be organized. He asked the funeral directors to speak to
his son about the arrangements, as he was too upset. His son asked if he
wanted some company but Abe politely declined. He didn’t want his son to
see him cry. Looking up at the ceiling thinking of his sweet wife, he felt
a tear come to his eye. If he passed away then and there it would be ok by
him, he really had nothing else to live for. He drifted off to sleep.
Abe had been asleep for
sometime when he had a sensation of immobility as he lay on the bed. He
felt like he was no longer alone in the bedroom. He couldn’t describe it.
He felt he couldn’t scream or move. On top of his chest, he felt a
heaviness descend on him. He tried to move but couldn’t. He felt as if
someone would walk into the room and plunge a knife into his chest.
Abe awoke. He sat up and
looked around in the room. He had been lying on his back. When he did that
he tended to have nightmares. He wished he could see Mary again, even if
she would tell him that he was having a nightmare. In the kitchen, he
could hear the water bottle bubble. It happened occasionally. Sometimes
when Mary and he were watching TV they could hear the water bottle bubble.
It could be a sudden change in pressure that would create a vacuum and
cause that noise. It could be the same thing again, even though it sounded
like someone was having a drink from it. He got out of bed and decided to
investigate the sound even though he was frightened.
The kitchen looked the same
as Abe came in. There was no one at the water bottle or in the kitchen.
Even so he felt uneasy. It was only 3.15pm and the afternoon light was
streaming in. The phone rang suddenly in the lounge room. It startled Abe.
It rang 3 times. He walked over to it slowly. He picked up the receiver.
He didn’t say hello. He listened. The phone sounded dead. He didn’t hear
the dial tone of someone hanging up. He placed down the phone then picked
it up again. He heard the dial tone. The phone was working. Maybe they had
hung up after he had hung up. Why would they do that? Suddenly the phone
rang again. He picked it up.
“Hello” Abe said.
“Why didn’t you answer
before” the voice said. Abe listened to the voice. It was a man’s voice,
not young, not old, approx 40 years of age. It was cultured, educated and
warm. It could have belonged to a newsreader or a professional voice over
“Who is this”? Abe asked.
“Why didn’t you talk to me
when the phone rang before”? The voice asked again.
“I wanted you to talk first”
Abe said. There was a long silence then the voice said
“I understand”. It was calm.
“Who is this”? Abe asked
again. There was a long silence.
“Why” the voice asked.
“I told you why I didn’t
speak to you first now you must answer my question” Abe said.
There was a long silence.
“The devil”, the voice said.
Abe went cold. It could have been a prank call but somehow he felt
terrified. He remembered what Mary once said to him that the devil was not
a pointed chin man with horns growing out of his forehead. He was a spirit
that could charm and influence. This voice was just that. Abe listened for
laughter but there was none. He listened to hear if there was anything
else but there was none. Abe could hear his own heart beat.
“Who”? Abe said as if he had
“I told you” the voice said
without humor, anger or malice. A gentle soothing modulated voice. Abe
thought for a moment and it was as if Mary was talking to him. He
remembered the necklace in the kitchen bin. He went to it and pushed the
swivel flap. There it was sitting on the old potatoes where he had just
left it. He picked it up and went to the phone. He dangled it close to the
mouthpiece. He listened. The voice was gone, there was silence. Either the
voice was gone or the caller was still listening. Abe hung up.
He stared at the phone
resting on the cradle. It was probably a prank call. Abe could call his
telephone sever and have the call traced but what would that prove. Maybe
it was someone just having a bit of fun and they were now gone because
they thought they would be recorded or traced. Who knows? It could also be
that it was something more sinister than that.
Once his wife Mary had got
together with some of her friends. They had talked about angels and other
messengers visiting the houses of people who had died or who were about to
die. He had no time for such old wives tales, but now he was not so sure.
He looked at the necklace and put it on. He tucked it under his clothes
and it was against his skin. He was surprised it felt quite warm. Thoughts
of Father O’Shea were gone, instead replaced by thoughts of his wife. He
felt maybe she would be pleased if he wore it. He decided he would go for
a walk. He was no longer tired. He felt good. The cross was close to his
heart and it didn’t feel cold at all.
Sergeant Anthony Nardella of
the New York Police was sitting and watching television. It was late at
night and his wife and children were asleep. He had the television on low
volume so as not to wake up his wife and kids sleeping upstairs. He had
his cellular phone on the coffee table on silent ring. He was sipping a
glass of bourbon and coke. When he was on late shift it helped him sleep.
He was 35 years old and was proud of his job. He sat in his chair with his
sergeant shirt on but wearing track pants and slippers. It was
comfortable; he didn’t care what he looked like. He was a solid man with a
bushy moustache. Bourbon and late night television helped him to relax. He
had seen a quick clip of the dramatic intercession of Jason on T.V. and
pondered it. The story had been picked up and sent around the world and
the U.S. networks. He personally had no such experience like that but
being of Italian American descent and being a Roman Catholic he had heard
stories from the old people about demon possession and the work of angels.
As he sat there, watching
T.V. he saw his mobile phone vibrating on the coffee table. He picked it
up and looked at the number. He didn’t recognize the number. He answered
the call and listened. It was a doctor from a nearby hospital. His friend
and accountant Jacob Schleimann had passed away. The doctor told him that
Jacob wanted Anthony to know of his passing. Anthony thanked the doctor
and informed him he would be at hospital to attend to the details within
an hour. The day had finally come, now Anthony was gone. He turned off the
phone and wondered; what was going to happen now?
In Cranford New Jersey, in
Highbury Street is a row of beautiful homes. Some of them date back to a
time before the First World War. They have three floors, a basement and
attics. They are well looked after and are a fine reflection of the high
standard of living America experienced at the time. The homes with their
white picket fences have manicured lawns and the American flags hang
proudly from the door arches on July 4th each year. It is a
nice neighborhood. People say good morning to each other. People like to
walk in that area. Crime is nowhere near as high as other suburbs. It is a
nice place to live.
Number 197 Highbury Street
is no exception. It is a bluish grey color with white window frames and
verandah. On this verandah is a white wooden outdoor dinning setting. It
is here that on a warm summer’s day you would see Jacob Schleimann and his
wife Dorothy sitting close to each other both reading a book. They were
both fond of tea and pastry on the verandah and there was always a white
and blue Delft pottery tea set sitting on the table full of their favorite
brew for the afternoon. They had no children.
Jacob was a private
accountant until he retired. His wife Dorothy ran a florist until her
retirement. They were at a glance, an odd looking couple. He was tall,
dark and thin. He always had a thin moustache that was black until he was
73, and then he decided he was not going to dye it anymore. He had thinned
out on top and wore circular lens spectacles. He was Jewish though he had
never been to Israel. He was born and bred in New York but he looked more
like a light skinned Indian or even an Arab than a New York Jew. He had a
nice smile and a good sense of humor. He told everyone he didn’t look like
the average Jew boy. It was his sense of humor that attracted his wife
Dorothy Weinburg in 1960.
Dorothy Weinburg was born in
Germany in 1940. She was the only child of a German soldier Peter Weinburg.
Her earliest memories were of him returning home in uniform. He had a
quiet and concerned frown on his face. He didn’t speak about the war. She
knew he had served on the Russian front then came back home when the war
was ending. Her mother Henrietta was a frail thin woman. They immigrated
to the USA in 1947.
The Weinburg’s set up a
delicatessen in a New York neighborhood. Most of their customers were
Polish or Polish Jews. A few Germans came but mainly Poles and Polish
Jews, the people their country had tried to eliminate. Peter Weinburg
didn’t like to sell that much. He did the bookwork and ordering. He left
most of the selling to his wife and Dorothy. Later as business boomed,
they hired more people. In the end Peter also opened up an import grocery
business and cut out the middleman. Not only did he bring in deli goods
from Europe and sell them in his shop, he began to distribute the goods to
other stores. His daughter Dorothy helped in the shop until 1960 when she
met the tall dark and handsome Jacob.
He walked into the shop one
day and bought cucumbers, dark Polish Rye bread and pastries. He always
had a smile for her and she was instantly taken by him. His hair at the
time was a little over grown, with curly locks. Dorothy was an attractive
fair haired and skinned woman. They were complete opposites. He had a good
sense of humor and joked about any subject, while Dorothy could only
listen to him and smile back. Her brooding parents had brought her up to
be serious but in 1960 America there didn’t seem too much to be serious
about. Peter never said anything bad about him, Jacob was a customer like
everyone else but he did have something to say when his only daughter
began dating him.
Even in 1960, Peter found it
difficult to accept Jews, especially one that was coming to his family. He
didn’t accept that he belonged to the master race but he found it
difficult to be friendly with them. He knew Jacob was a Jew instantly the
first day he saw him, you learn that skill when you are German, especially
a German soldier. He however could understand what his daughter saw in
him. He was handsome and could pass as Italian, Greek even French and he
was always polite and friendly towards the family. When it was obvious
Dorothy wanted to be his wife, Peter asked his daughter if they had
discussed culture and religion. It turned out they did and the fabulous
part about it was Jacob was not a strict Orthodox Jew. He didn’t feel the
need to marry in the Synagogue and Dorothy didn’t feel the need to marry
in the Lutheran church either. Peter actually liked that mind set. He was
happy to see young people in the new country not following the strict
guidelines of tradition and culture. It was a secular world and he was
happy that Jacob had no intention of converting her to Judaism.
They married that year, and
had a happy life. After years of trying they however found that they could
not have children and decided not to adopt either. Peter and Henrietta
were not too concerned they didn’t have grand children. They enjoyed the
company of their son in law and daughter as they lived a life of a
carefree couple with a double income well before it was considered a life
choice. At no stage did they appear unhappy. Jacob shared everything with
Dorothy including a family secret he had not shared with anyone.
When Dorothy and Jacob were
in their thirties the TV series “Roots” about several generations of
African slaves was very popular on American television. For awhile,
everyone talked about their heritage. Jacob and Dorothy talked about their
heritage too. Jacob’s mother had died in a concentration camp in Poland,
she was an only child. His father had immigrated to the USA with his
uncle, in 1948. Dorothy confided in Jacob that her father was a soldier
during the war and she didn’t want to discuss his activities or make it
known to the world about his past. Jacob told Dorothy about his past and
in particular how his family had gone from Israel to Poland, a few hundred
years ago. Dorothy didn’t seem that interested so the subject lay dead for
quite some time.
In the late 1980s, Jacob saw
the opportunity again and felt the need again, to speak to Dorothy about
something that was very important. He had seen the movie “The Seventh
Seal” on video with Dorothy and wanted to talk to her about it. History
and culture were generally of little interest to her, but Jacob needed to
talk to her about his past and had his chance a few days later.
On the verandah of their
home, he asked her what she thought of Caiaphas in the movie and his curse
of wondering the earth forever for striking Jesus. Dorothy shrugged it
off. He asked her if she thought curses were true and she shrugged it off.
Jacob said nothing about it again.
In July 2004, Dorothy passed
away peacefully. After 44 years of genuine marriage bliss, she was gone.
She had no children, no siblings. Her family’s bloodline was now ended and
Jacob was devastated. She had been sick before but her irritable bowel
syndrome turned to cancer and there was little anyone could do about it.
In November of 2004, Jacob was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The
operation was successful but Jacob felt his days were numbered. Even after
the healing process, he still felt sore and had small traces of blood in
his urine. He was 67, not old but not young. He needed to see his doctor
again and he thought maybe it was time for him to prepare for what he
thought would be bad news. He decided to put pen to paper about something
that had been bothering him since his engagement to Dorothy.
In the summer of 1960, Jacob
and Dorothy were madly in love. It was an exciting time for them
personally but also for their country. A young senator named John F.
Kennedy would run an exciting campaign to eventually win the presidency of
the United States. He didn’t wear a hat, he was young, and had some fresh
ideas. The youth of America loved him rather than the staid Richard Nixon.
Jacob and Dorothy’s engagement party was to be held at Starlite
receptions, a venue a few blocks away from where Dorothy and her parents
lived. On the night before the event, Jacob’s father wanted to speak to
Jacob. He had a look of seriousness on his face that Jacob had not seen
since his mother had passed away 8 years previously.
His father Ralph was a
pleasant hard workingman who was a supervisor at General Electric. He was
a quiet soft-spoken rotund man who wanted the best for his only son and
worked hard to pay for his schooling to become an accountant. On this
particular occasion, before going out to dinner, Ralph asked his son to
sit at the table. Jacob had no idea what to expect. He half expected his
father to tell him that he was adopted.
Sitting at the table and
staring at his son, Ralph began talking about the family tree. He had a
wooden box that Jacob had seen on a few occasions. Most of it Jacob knew
except that his father continued to go back a few hundred years. As for
the box, Jacob knew there were photographs in it as well as some old
coins. The box was always kept at the bottom of his parent’s bedroom
closet. Jacob opened it on a few occasions and went through the old photos
of his parents and played with some of the coins before his father found
him. He was told not to touch the box again and it was taped over with
clear sticky tape. Ralph told Jacob it contained memories of his family
and he didn’t want it disturbed. Jacob lost interest anyway and didn’t
disturb it again.
The same wooden box was
there again in front of him. It was just over a foot long and a little
less than that wide. The tape was still around the box but due to age and
heat, it had melted a yellowish color around the edges. Ralph continued to
talk to Jacob about the importance of the contents of the box. If his
father wasn’t so absorbed about what he was saying, he would have noticed
that Ralph didn’t seem very interested.
After what seemed an
eternity, Ralph had difficulty trying to open the box. He got a knife and
cut around the edges. He then lifted the box. Inside the box were some
scattered black and a white photo of his parents and some coins, just as
Jacob had remembered; however underneath the photos was a false bottom.
Carefully Ralph put his fingers around it. It was thin wood covered in
black cloth that matched the lining of the box. If you didn’t look hard
enough, you would assume it was the bottom of the box. He carefully
removed the false bottom and it revealed a brown leather envelope. Ralph
took it out. He put his left hand in and removed a thick document that
seemed to be wrapped in black cloth. He unwrapped the cloth and removed
Jacob was now fascinated as
his father put on the table a document that was bound by a few pieces of
simple string on the sides, in a crude attempt to make a bound book. The
top piece of paper was yellowish in color and appeared very old. It had
Hebrew writing on it. Ralph showed the page and explained it was the
family tree going back approx. 2000 years. He slowly turned the page over
to reveal more writing and diagrams. The document was less than an inch
thick. As Ralph continued to flip the pages the paper changed. There were
entries in Polish, dates, names of towns and other dates that Jacob didn’t
understand. Ralph continued to flip the pages and then to his amazement
there were typed pages in Polish, paragraphs with dates. Following that
there was hand writing in English. It was written with an old fountain pen
in blue ink. Jacob looked at it and saw the name and date of his parents
wedding as well as his birth date. Jacob was impressed. His father noticed
his curiosity. He said.
“I did this part”
Ralph then turned the pages
back slowly to the beginning as if the document would disappear in front
of his eyes. He pointed his right finger at the first entry. He looked at
Jacob and said.
“This is our first known
ancestor, can you read his name”?
Jacob looked at it. Hebrew
was not his strong point.
“No” He said.
“It says Caiaphas, do you
know who he was”? Ralph asked. Jacob had no idea.
“He was the head priest at
the time of the crucifixion of Jesus.” Ralph said. There was a long pause.
He stared at his son.
“He had Christ arrested. He
interrogated him, he handed him to Pontius Pilate. He insisted that Jesus
be crucified.” Ralph said. He waited for the words to sink into Jacob’s
“Our ancestor persecuted and
killed the man the Christians call the son of God” He finished. Jacob was
22 at the time. He looked at the entry. It seemed old, but not that old.
“Who wrote this?” Jacob
“One of our fathers, over
150 years ago. He copied documents he had and passed them onto his sons,
just as I am passing them onto you.” Ralph finished. Jacob looked at the
“I am telling you this for
two reasons. You are my only son and you will soon be married. If I didn’t
show you this or tell you this you may have not known about the importance
of these documents.” Ralph said. Jacob thought about it. His mind was
“There is more” Ralph said.
He put the documents slowly and carefully wrapped into the leather
envelope. He looked at Jacob.
“They say the Jewish people
are cursed because they rejected God’s son, this is what many Christians
believe. I believe we have been cursed too. Over the last 150 years or so
since the entry of this document, there has only been one child in the
family and they were only male. It continues today. You are my only child
and you are a male. You may have only one child, and that child may be a
male, however, you are marrying a gentile.” Ralph said.
“What does that mean”? Jacob
“The curse may be broken.
She is a Christian. Maybe you will have plenty of children, maybe you will
have none. It may also mean the curse of Israel and the Jewish people are
broken. Maybe it will mean the arrival soon of the Messiah, or the return
of Jesus.” Ralph said.
“What”? Jacob said. He stood
up indignantly. He walked around the kitchen. He had to think.
“Is this all true” Jacob
“Unless our ancestors are
lying, it is true” Ralph replied. Jacob walked around the kitchen finding
it difficult to comprehend what he had heard. He was going to ask his
father why he had not told him this before but he had already explained
“Who else knows this”? Jacob
“Only us as far as I know. I
believe that my father told his Rabbi many years ago but he dismissed it.”
“Are there any other
descendants of him, or just us?” Jacob asked.
“I don’t know, but I do know
you are one of the last if not last male descendant of Caiaphas.” Ralph
finished. Jacob thought about it for a moment.
“It doesn’t mean a thing, it
was so long ago”. Jacob said.
“Or it means absolutely
everything.” Ralph replied. He put the book into the box and covered it as
it had been before. He stood up.
“Well I am hungry, shall we
go to dinner”? Ralph said. Jacob looked at him disbelieving.
“Tell me when there was a
good time to tell you this?” Ralph said. Jacob said nothing. Ralph picked
up the box and took it back to the cupboard. As he walked he said
“You can pick it up from me
when I die”.
After the death of Dorothy,
and with his impending medical condition, Jacob gave a great deal of
thought to what his father had said and the contents of the box. Firstly,
he could not have children. In the early sixties, before IVF, couples like
Jacob and Dorothy would remain childless unless they adopted. It wasn’t
quite clear who was responsible for the infertility and neither Jacob nor
Dorothy wanted to find out. They lived their lives happily without
children. They stayed eternally young.
On Christmas day, the first
Christmas day Jacob spent alone without his wife since he had met her,
Jacob wrote a letter to one of his clients, Sergeant Anthony Nardella of
the New York Police. He was a nice man with three children and a devout
catholic. He had rung him up and told him he would send him an important
letter, as he had no next of kin. Anthony accepted the compliment without
knowing the details of what the letter would contain. Jacob wrote to
Anthony explaining everything what his father had told him and the
location of the box which was now in a safety deposit box. He had put
Anthony Nardella in his will to be the beneficiary of the box on his
passing. Anthony was to make the information public, after Jacob had
passed away. Jacob didn’t want the information to remain secret. He was
unable to produce any children; his family bloodline was now gone. Maybe
the curse, if any was gone as well. Maybe it would mean nothing as Jacob
thought all those years ago or maybe it would mean everything as his
father had put it. Either way he couldn’t think of a more respectable man
to entrust this information to.
Each day Jacob felt a little
older and had a little more discomfort awaiting his operation in February.
Maybe the curse would be broken when he passed away, he didn’t know. How
long did he have, he didn’t know, one year, maybe. Cancer had found him
and it had returned even if for a short period of time. It was an
unwelcome guest and difficult to repulse. In his loneliness, he took some
comfort in the fact that he had a wonderful marriage and that after he
went maybe a Messiah would come.
The morning passed to midday
and many were healed and blessed on a dry paddock near Frankston. The Lord
heard the prayers of the faithful and in his wisdom decided who should be
healed. They sang songs they prayed and some didn’t understand any of it
leaving disappointed. Not all who pray for healing are healed. Not
everyone who asks receives.
Ray had some good footage
and wanted to return to the office to edit the video, Joanne too was keen.
They wanted to follow up their previous report with another informative
and entertaining segment. Joanne wondered from stall to stall being a
journalist and sometimes being just curious. She was surprised how
genuinely friendly most people were. She bought a barbecue sausage and a
jar of strawberry jam from the Anglican Church stand of Frankston North.
She was told Joan Danko made terrific jam so she bought some. She put it
in a plastic carry bag. She wondered around soaking up the atmosphere.
There was a carnival atmosphere in the air and it felt good. She looked
casually in the distance at the cross and could see a man far behind in
the distant paddock looking at her. He was slender, wore blue jeans and no
shirt. He had a darkish almost olive complexion. He had his arms folded
and was looking directly at her. She wanted to look away but her eyes were
fixed on him. He smiled and beckoned her with his right hand to come over
to him. Normally she would ignore him but this time she felt a compulsion
to come to him.
She walked towards him and
passed the cross. He was at least 20 meters away. Even though she couldn’t
see him that clearly he looked very handsome. He had wavy dark hair. As
she approached, his arms were by his side revealing a muscular,
well-defined chest and abdomen. He smiled broadly and Joanne was gone for
all money. He looked like he could do a commercial for Cinzano, or for
Sicily. He looked like the type of young man who would take his shirt off
at any opportunity to soak up the sun and show off his chest. He looked
like the type that could wear a white pair of trousers, and a white summer
jacket that he would toss casually into the back of his Ferrari.
As Joanne drew closer she
saw he had beautiful eyes, they were not black or brown or even blue as
expected, but green. She was now only 7 feet from him and he smiled with
his movie star smile.
“Hi” He said.
“Hi” She replied.
“Are you enjoying the
gathering” He said.
“Yes, very much” Joanne
“Are you a believer Joanne”?
“Yes, well……….I think so”
“Think so,? You have some
doubts”? He replied.
“Well sometimes I wonder if
people want to get better and if it is their own subconscious minds that
make them better.” She said.
“Yes, that could be true, do
you believe in Jesus was the son of God”? He asked.
“Well yes I do.” She
“And you believe he is a
living son of God that can influence us all here on Earth, Just like he
influenced you”? He asked. Joanne thought about it. She looked at him. He
was so good looking. If he asked her to run off with him right now she
would have. If he asked her to lie in the grass with him now she would.
She wished he would just take her and stop the silly talk. There seemed to
be a very long pause.
“You are very beautiful” He
said with a smile. She nearly fainted.
“Thank you”. She said coyly.
“Will you work for the
church after this or continue to be a reporter”? He asked
Joanne thought about the
question. What an unusual question, of course she would continue to be a
“I would like to see you
still be a reporter” He said.
“Thank you” She replied.
“You cannot serve two
masters” He concluded. Joanne thought about it for a moment.
“Do you really believe these
people can protect you from sin and evil”? He asked.
“I think, if their faith is
strong enough they…..”
“No I meant you, not anyone
else” He interrupted her. Joanne thought about it. He tucked his hands
into his front pockets. As he did this she could just see some dark pubic
hair over the top of his jeans.
“I don’t know,” She said.
“Good, think for
yourself…you don’t have to believe everything you hear or everything you
read in the bible.” He said with a wicked smile. For a moment, Joanne was
confused. He smiled at her and disarmed her.
“I like you a lot” He said.
Then he cupped his right hand around her left breast. She wasn’t shocked
or offended. She just stood there. He got closer to her.
“I have been watching you
for a long time” He said with a smile as he drew closer.
Joanne didn’t know what to
do. She stepped back. He looked at her, he looked disappointed. Then she
looked back and saw the cross and the gathering. No one was looking in her
“Do you think they can help
you?”………do you think they can save you”? He asked. The conversation was
now menacing. He seemed to notice that she was uncomfortable and he
stepped back. He looked concerned then smiled again, that charming smile.
He was young, maybe 23 but then older, then maybe ageless. Joanne started
thinking, “Who is this man”?
“What is your name”? Joanne
“Me? John” He said after a
long unnecessary pause. Joanne knew it was a lie. Men had lied her to
“Would you like to come and
have a look around back there”? Joanne asked quite confidently. The man
looked past her at the congregation in the distance.
“No I don’t think so,” He
said. She looked at him and found a confidence she never knew she had.
“I want you to say,
something for me” Joanne said.
“What is that”? He said.
“I want you to say that
Jesus is my savior and all those who believe in him have power over the
devil” Joanne said. The man looked at her. He was annoyed, then angry
before he gave a wicked smile.
“I shall see you later” He
said and began to walk away.
“Where shall we see each
other?” Joanne asked. He stopped and looked at her. He was annoyed.
“You won’t see me, I will
see you” He said.
“You think so,” Joanne said
“Yes” He replied. She stood
there looking at him. He was no longer smiling but looked quite intense
“I saw sitting on the front
fence crying when on your eighth birthday because you didn’t get the
presents you wanted. I know the day you will die” He said and walked away.
Joanne watched him leave and
then he stopped. He turned around and looked at her. She turned away and
walked towards the cross and the Christian gathering. She wanted to turn
around one more time to see if he was still there but she decided not to.
If he was still there what would that mean? If he had disappeared it would
just scare her even more. She was not sure who he was or what he was. One
thing for certain was she no longer felt safe.
Evelyn Rose was a sweet
woman in her 60’s, with grey hair and a broad smile. She had done a great
deal for her son Harry who was now 38 years of age and almost completely
blind. She held his hand in public and guided him. She loved him and he
loved her. He was her only child. She was grateful to the Lord for giving
her such a beautiful son, though he was only beautiful in her eyes. He was
a solid man with short-cropped dark hair. He was fond of his mother. She
had taught him the piano and now he was proficient in the playing of the
instrument. He could only see partially, as he had tunnel vision but his
hands had become sensitive and had developed sight of their own. He had to
get close to the keys at first and the sheet music but his hands after
awhile began to remember the keys that only the blind would know. He
played beautifully and was fond of Gershwin and Bacharach. Evelyn was
proud of him. They had each other and though she knew one of them would be
left alone, naturally she assumed it would be her, it didn’t sadden her.
She had been given the hand in life and now she had to play her cards.
Evelyn was a content and
happy woman. She found the time to see her friends, she found time to go
to church and work at the Word Christian shop in Langhorne Street
Dandenong and for her life was good. Here at this healing venue she had
her eyes closed and swayed gently in prayer amongst the many faithful.
Holding her son’s Harry’s hand, though she knew it was unnecessary, it
made her feel special and important. Harry had never married nor had any
children, and even though she yearned for grand children, Harry was still
her baby. He needed her to find things around the house that were beyond
his sight and she was more than happy to do that. She felt pity for
herself or her son. She never questioned why she had a son that was
retarded. They were family and she felt humble in the presence of God.
As they stood there swaying
in prayer, the both of them they came to the attention of Robert Hill. He
was moved by there obvious love for each other and the Lord. Harry had his
collapsed white blind cane in his right hand while his mother held his
left tightly. Robert wondered why he didn’t have a warm relationship with
his mother. For a moment, he wished he could swap places.
He approached them. Evelyn
didn’t see him approaching as she still had her eyes closed and praying as
were many others around her. Harry didn’t see him either as he approached
him from his right side, however he was aware of the presence of a man
there. Robert went behind him. During the recital of the prayer being led
by a speaker from the “Catch the fire” ministry a chant of “touch me, heal
me” began amongst the congregation. At first it was unenthusiastic but
then began to build in coherency and intensity. Robert stood behind Harry
and stared at the back of his head. He felt genuine pity for the man who
could not see clearly his mother’s loving face.
Harry was chanting over and
over again “touch me, heal me” like the others imagining that Jesus was
beside him. Then he heard the gentle voice of a man behind him whisper in
his right ear “In the name of Jesus I am healed”. Harry stopped for a
moment and stopped his prayer chant. Instead he repeated, “In the name of
Jesus I am healed.”
Within a second, the fog in
Harry’s eyes began to lift. His width of vision began to widen like a
curtain across a cinema screen being drawn back. He stopped chanting and
looked around. He couldn’t believe he could see so much He wondered if
this is what normal people could see.
There was a moment of
silence intended for meditation and internalization. The people around
Harry and Evelyn were beginning to sit down, even Evelyn, but she noticed
Harry looking intensely around him from side to side. He hand never done
that before, because he could never see that well. Objects either came to
him or him to them, now it looked like he was seeing the world for the
“Harry” Evelyn said gently.
He turned to her and looked
at his mother. His eyes were not strained; they seemed focused and wide
with amazement. And then he said one word
“Mum”. He was looking at
her. He was looking at her hairline, her face and her dress. He could not
stop looking at her.
“I can see you now” He said.
Evelyn was joyfully speechless.
“Harry, you can see”.!!! She
“Yes” He replied. He put his
hand out to her face and she did the same to him. It did not go unnoticed.
Ray saw them standing and touching each other’s face. He turned the camera
on them and started filming.
“How did this happen”?
“I heard a voice” Harry
replied and looked quickly around him. He could not see anyone in
particular. There were people around him, young, old, male and female but
none of them seemed to match the voice he had heard. Robert was walking
away in the distance, his back to the commotion. Harry wondered if it was
him. Also in the same direction was a thin man with a brown beard and
bushy hair looking right at Harry. He had an olive complexion, and looked
like he could have been from the Middle East. Their eyes met but there was
no acknowledgement. Evelyn stood in front of Harry and began asking many
excited questions of her son. He couldn’t answer her; he was distracted by
the width of the stage that he could not see before. His mother started
kissing him. She began saying to all those next to her “He can see, he was
blind” and many gathered around him. It caught the attention of the party
on stage and they asked what had happened. Evelyn was only too happy to
mention that a miracle had been performed and her son whom had been of
poor sight since he was five could now see well. Ray filmed it all, he
knew he was running low on tape but he would continue to film until it was
gone. What a story they would have tonight.
Michael Konik, had a busy
day and was very tired. He had been informed of the passing of his beloved
mentor Father Jan Bielawski. The funeral would be on Monday and he would
preside over the mass.
He sat down in old but
comfortable chair by his beside. He had a small modest house in Michigan
provided for him by the Parishioners. Michael Konik liked reading by the
bed. He sat and put Jan’s papers on the bedside table and began reading
what Jan had written. Most of it was just a scribble in Polish but Michael
did the best to try and decipher it. It rambled on sometimes incoherently
but the general theme was that God would show the world a sample of his
divine influence on this earth in Australia. Jan had become excited about
the news report on TV and had started writing. He had claimed that he had
his dream again but he was an 89-year-old man, he was no longer of sober
mind. What was he to make of it? He continued to read the manuscript and
was taken by a paragraph quite legible. It said that every so often God
shows the world he is still here by performing miracles. Jan had believed
we were over due for a display of miracles. In 1858 it was Lourdes France,
then 1915 it was Fatima, Portugal. In 1939 it was Lwow Poland and now in
2006 it would be on the edge of suburban Melbourne, Victoria Australia.
Why did he believe that? Michael thought. Michael knew of many documented
cases of healing right around the world and healing taking place, why was
this event in Melbourne any different?
He put the papers down and
thought about it for a moment. He went to his computer and decided to
access a website with the contact details of thousands of Catholic
churches around the world. Narrowing his search to Catholic and Polish
churches in Victoria he found the details of a Polish parish in
Maryibrnong, west of Melbourne. When he opened it he had contact details
including a phone number. He decided to give the number a call. He looked
up his little international phone book and ascertained that Australia was
14 hours ahead. That would make it early afternoon in Victoria. He
decided to call.
When the phone rang in the
parish office Josephine Sliwa answered it. She was an unpaid volunteer who
came to the parish offices as one of the secretaries to read the
correspondence of many of the parishioners and do some general office
work. The office was a small but tidy one. It had a brown crucifix on one
wall. The room was dark with cream-colored wallpaper. The window was
fully open to allow the warm air to drift in. It became perfumed by
carrying the scent of the many rose bushes and other flowers in the
When Josephine answered she
answered in English. On the other end of the phone conversation Michael
was surprised to hear English. He asked her in English if she could speak
Polish. When she answered “yes” in Polish he introduced himself in their
native tongue. He informed her about the death of Father Jan
Bielawska. Josephine was saddened by the news. He was well remembered by
Polish community and was still a celebrity. Michael asked if there was a
head priest he could talk to. No was the answer, he had gone to a healing
service. Michael mentioned the healing service that was taking place near
Frankston and Josephine replied it was the same one. Michael was quite
excited that some one from the Polish Catholic community would be there.
He wanted to know what was taking place and was keen for the priest to
call him as soon as possible. The name of the priest attending the service
was Father Andrew Szalek.
Father Andrew Szalek was a
tall thin priest, 53 years of age who drove an immaculately cleaned and
maintained navy blue Ford Sedan. It had a small necklace with a crucifix
hanging from the rear view mirror. On the left hand side of the rear of
the vehicle he had a sticker of the Polish eagle, near the left rear
light. It was parked on the congested dividing strip opposite the large
gathering on the paddock. Towards the front of the praying and talking
crowd stood Andrew Szalek, motion less. He had come to the healing service
more out of curiosity than a desire to partake in the service or to help.
He didn’t like the carnival atmosphere of the service and was skeptical of
works of healing in the first place. He felt this type of healing service
with its public out pouring of emotion was more in the vain of American
Evangelism and not what he condoned. He had come in plain clothes without
his clergy shirt, to observe proceedings and was stunned by what he saw.
He noticed Robert Hill walk towards the blind man Harry. It was a
deliberate and focused walk. The look in his eyes was not that of a joyful
hand clapping priest but more of a zealot. He was full of pity and then
walked deliberately behind Harry. He whispered in his right ear and then
it appeared as if Harry was healed. He could tell by the rapid way Harry
was moving his head that it appeared as if Harry had just seen the world
clearly for the first time.
As Robert walked slowly
towards the fence perimeter Andrew Szalek pursued him. When Robert arrived
at the fence he looked around him. He became aware that someone was coming
up behind him. He turned and saw Andrew Szalek. He was staring intently at
“By whose authority do you
do these things”? He asked of Robert. Robert was surprised by the
“Wasn’t that question asked
of the Lord”? Robert replied. Andrew became angry.
“Don’t you bring our Lord
into this; you are not an ordained priest!!!” He said.
“That is true; do I have to
be a priest to ask God to heal someone”? Robert replied.
“Don’t you lecture me! You
work outside even your own church” He said.
“God is everywhere, he
doesn’t need a building to see and hear his flock.” Robert said.
“You give false hope. Many
of these people will have their illness return” He said.
“And, what does that have to
do with me” Robert replied.
“You are not the Messiah,
and it is left up to priests like me to explain to people how the Lord
works, and where will you be Mr. Hill. You will be gone and it will be up
to my church to explain…”
“Your Church”? Robert
questioned. Andrew went quiet. What did he mean by “my church”? Did he say
that because he was a Catholic priest? Did he say that because he was a
Polish Catholic Priest?, or did he say that because he was a 53 year old
Polish Catholic priest upset that a Roman Catholic was not performing such
Andrew stood there then
walked away. As he did this he walked past Elsie who was coming to give
Robert a big hug. She looked at Andrew as he walked past her and she knew
he was unhappy. She put that out of her mind and smiled broadly as she
gave Robert a terrific bear hug. Young man, nutritionist whatever, Robert
was turning out to be the best salesman for Christianity and healing for a
very long time.
Just as there is a day,
there is a night. For a top there needs to be a bottom. As there are those
who are good, there are those who are evil. Trent Harris was such a
person. It was not his fault originally. He was born like everyone else
and needed love like everyone else but instead he received the wrong love
from his uncle. Raped, mistreated and unprotected by his mother he had
nowhere else to live so he chose the street. He walked with the evil one
and heard all the bad things he had to say about him, that he was
worthless and bad. He sold his body for money, that was something he was
at least good for but as he got older he wasn’t as good looking any more.
He wasn’t a cute boy anymore but became a skinny tall young man. His plump
cheeks had gone replaced by a gaunt face, pale eyes and no smile. He went
to the wrong parties, he met the wrong people and he did the wrong things.
He smoked marijuana and with his already fragile state of mind, his
conversion to one of the devil’s helpers was complete.
It is easier to steal for
the 50th time than the first time. He walked away from his old
life and into a path of darkness, evil and despair. He smoked more; he
drank more and worked less until he didn’t work any more. When he walked
in public he thought he was invisible. When he drove his car he saw
headless figures on the road. Worst of all were the voices. He heard them
at night and they were persuasive evil voices. They seemed to guide him to
do things he didn’t want to do but when he did them he felt good. They
would leave him for a while only to emerge later and so again would begin
his compulsion to obey them.
Today he awoke, 11am. He had
a mattress on the bedroom floor. He walked around the flat naked. He went
to the open packet of potato chips and began eating them. He had not
shaved for 3 days nor washed. In that time his flat had been his prison.
He had not got out at all. He then made a strong cup of black coffee and
began drinking it and then eating the potato chips. Today would be
different. He had a mission he had to accomplish and it had to be done
today. He would no longer be alone; he didn’t want to be alone. Today he
would take his journey and be with Satan.
After finishing the potato
chips and coffee he put the cup in the already full sink and decided to do
the washing up. He wanted the kitchen sink to be clean. He washed the
dishes, and then wiped them slowly, methodically lovingly. He put the
items away in their cupboards.
After that he walked into
the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror and decided to clean
himself up. He took an electric hair clipper and then ran it through his
hair. He watched the long locks of dark hair fall onto the floor. He then
shaved with a blade. He shaved slowly and methodically. When that was
done, he went under the shower. He showered for quite some time, he wanted
to be clean. This was his special day.
On the kitchen table, lay a
drawing pad. It had some sketches of bizarre creatures and people with
strange faces. Trent Harris sat down, nicely dressed in a white shirt and
red tie, with dark trousers and shoes. He looked as if he was going for an
interview except for his almost bald head which made him look menacing. He
took the black pen that was near the paper and began writing. He started
“Dear Lord, you have forsaken me. I have longed to be one of your children
but why did you turn away from me. The time has come for me to change my
life. I simply cannot go on like this any more. I have no master or slave.
I am nothing”
Trent put the pen down then
put on his long dark coat. He looked around at his flat. He closed the
door then gave it a little kiss as he was on the landing. He put the keys
on the door mat, visible to anyone. He then went to his old car around the
back of the block of units.
It was a beautiful afternoon
on the paddock. Many people came forward to touch the cross, others just
prayed like Bruce Cartwright. He sat on the ground, his arms on his knees.
He felt good to be amongst these people. He had received a blessing at the
Anglican Church tent and saw Robert. Robert remembered him and they shook
hands. Bruce felt he had been forgiven and was free of his past. He could
forgive himself because God forgave him. Bruce sat down on the lawn near
the stage. He wanted to soak in the atmosphere of the day.
Nearby Bruce noticed a
priest. He wore the black shirt and white collar. He looked like Spencer
Tracy and that was what attracted Bruce’s attention. He had the same
well-groomed silver hair, the same physique and the same pleasant manner.
Bruce didn’t know from which church he belonged. He walked around the
crowd and shook hands with some and greeted others. As he came closer,
Bruce saw Trent standing behind the priest. He had his hands tucked into
his black coat. He was staring at the priest intently. Bruce had seen that
look before in jail. It was the look of a psychopath, Bruce himself was
guilty of that stare. The priest stopped walking right in front of Bruce
and his line of sight of Trent. Bruce became anxious; he couldn’t see
Trent any more. Bruce stood up quickly and looked at the priest. The
priest looked at him with a gentle smile. Just as he did this Trent came
up behind him and plunged a knife into the priest’s neck, right hand side.
Bruce lunged at Trent. Trent had removed the knife and watched the priest
go to the ground. Bruce grabbed Trent’s right hand wrist, and it felt
surprisingly weak. With his body weight pushing forward Trent’s top half
of his body bent over backwards and he fell down with Bruce on top of him.
Trent stared at him with a blank gaze, his hand still holding the knife.
Bruce began twisting Trent’s wrist. Trent let out a scream and dropped the
knife. A crowd had gathered. Some one came and kicked the knife away;
other men came and grabbed the other arm. Trent was screaming, but not in
pain. Bruce got off Trent’s chest and with the help of the others bent
Trent’s arms around his back. He continued to scream. The priest however
could not. He lay on the ground bleeding profusely as others tried to help
A young man took his red tie
off and put it around Trends wrists and tied them firmly behind his back.
As this was done, Trent stopped screaming. They sat him on his rear, his
knees crossed. He stared ahead into nothingness. The tears came to Bruce’s
eyes. He could have saved the priest if he was just a little faster. Trent
had shown all the signs of a sudden violent attack. Sebastian French, a
19-year-old student had his Nokia mobile phone out and was filming it all
on his cellular phone. It was the latest model, a high-resolution picture
that would appear on the news tonight as well as the other video footage
From all around they came to
see this deranged man seated on the ground staring blankly ahead. The
priest, whose name was John Henry from Anglican Dromana parish, passed
away in front of them all. The police were called. The crowd was not
angry, but stunned as to what had occurred. As he sat there on the ground
there was no inkling as to why this man had killed not only an innocent
man but also one of God’s workers. In the brightest daylight are the
Inside maximum-security jail
Robertson Unit, Jones County in Texas, was Dan Rockford. He was in
cellblock 17, East Wing. This was death row. Dan Rock ford was a large
man, well over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds. He sat in his chair in his
Spartan room writing on his desk. He had just had breakfast of scrambled
eggs. He had asked for a writing pad and pen everyday for the last two
weeks. He was facing execution tomorrow. Today was his last day.
On large forearms were large
tattoos of various symbols including skulls and the names of women. There
were 8 names in all, the names of his victims. He was a strangler, in a
time when most murderers used guns or knives; he liked to kill with his
hands and with his hands he killed. Before his murderous spree he was a
courier for a transport company. He had a full head of hair, he was 30
pounds lighter and he was good looking. He had a pleasant smile and it was
this charming smile that led women outside into car parks and let him even
into their homes. He just strangled the women. He put his both hands
around their neck and squeezed with all his might. Within seconds they
were helpless. They couldn’t breathe or scream. Their eyes bulged, they
went blue then he put them gently on the ground. Why did he do it? He
didn’t know. He liked to see them die, the drifting away from this world
to the next. He put them gently on the ground, never violated them, and
then walked away. He could have got away with it for years if it wasn’t
for his tattoos.
After each victim, he had
their name tattooed on his forearms. One of his co-workers noticed the new
name of “Rebecca” on his right forearm after the murder of Rebecca
Harrison a 27-year-old prostitute was reported in the papers. The article
mentioned the names of previous victims who had been strangled. The police
were called and his fingerprints matched those they found on the drinking
glass in one of the victims apartment.
Dan denied all charges,
claiming the police had him framed. He appealed against every day of
execution that was set for 4 years then suddenly, he admitted his guilt
and dismissed his lawyer. He confessed to the crimes and wanted to be
executed. What had caused this incredible turn around? He had read the
small book called “Jesus was there” by Jose’ Michaelo Sanchez.
Jose’ Michaelo Sanchez was
a convicted rapist and murderer who was executed in the state of Florida
in 1995. From the time Jose’ was born his life had been hell. As a boy a
family member had molested him. His father was an abusive alcoholic who
had beaten his mother nearly every day. His mother was also an alcoholic
and could not look after Jose’ the only child. He did poorly at school
then drifted into a life of crime and drugs. He raped and murdered several
women. He was 22 when he raped and killed his last victim, 17-year-old
Maria Pasquale. Just before he struck her with a small rock, she took the
crucifix from around her neck and showed it to him as he lay on top of
her. She said “Jesus is watching you”. He struck her with the rock several
times till she died and then left her in the park, under some underbrush.
He walked away but his life was to change.
The following night he could
not get the image of Maria Pasquale out of his mind and the words she had
uttered. He wondered if it was possible that Jesus had seen him. It had
never occurred to him that God knew what he had done. He attended the
church service for the burial of Maria. For the first time in his life he
was aware of the pain he had caused others. The reverend made a speech and
referred to how we would all be accountable to the Lord at our passing and
he would judge us by our actions. Jose had never given religion much
thought. He was barely literate but he had the urgency to read the New
He bought a cheap copy from
a second hand bookstore and began reading. He encountered the gospel of
St. Matthew 10 verse 29-32 about God knowing when a sparrow falls to the
ground, and that every hair of our heads has been counted. Most of all,
that if we confess to Jesus our belief in him then he too will confess us
before his father. There and then, it all made sense. God knew what
happened to Jose in his life and he knew what Jose had done in his life.
Just as he was hurt, so too did he hurt and that was wrong. There was no
need for that.
A week later Jose visited
the grave of Maria Pasquale. He touched the shiny marble headstone with
his hands and wept. He apologized to her for what he had done. At that
moment he wished for redemption and his luck being on the run had run out.
He had been watched by an under cover police officer.
During the funeral service
earlier, an undercover police officer had taken note of all the people who
attended the funeral. He noticed Jose at the back. He didn’t speak to
anyone, he came alone, he didn’t offer condolences to the family, and he
didn’t fit the profile of a mourner. The under cover police officer took a
photo of him using his mobile phone camera and then followed him. Jose
walked home; he didn’t appear to have a car. The family was shown the
photo from the mobile phone. They didn’t know who he was. The police
watched him for several days then they followed him to the cemetery. There
they watched him cry and touch the tombstone. When he left they had the
tombstone dusted for fingerprints. It matched a partial hand print they
had found on the bloody rock he had used to bludgeon Maria.
The following day Jose was
at the front door closing it when he was met by two detectives and placed
under arrest. The story differs according to who tells the story. Jose
said he was going to hand himself in, the police say they apprehended him
at the doorway just as he was about to leave the home. Regardless, Jose
admitted to the killing and the others as well. They were dumbfounded. He
didn’t even want a lawyer.
Jose told the police in calm
detail how he had raped and killed all his victims. They had very few
leads as most of the crimes happened at night. Also, it was a bad
neighborhood and to be perfectly honest, the Police were in no real
urgency to solve the case. The confession by Jose and his declaration to
the Police of his belief in God surprised them.
Under Florida law, a
multiple rapist and murder qualifies for the death penalty. Jose didn’t
object and actually volunteered for his date to be brought forward. It was
so unusual that the local TV station ran a story on him. There was even
talk that he had been conned into giving his confession, but none of it
was true. Some even believed he was using reverse psychology, which is by
saying he was guilty and wanting to be executed, the state would be sorry
for him and would grant him a pardon. None of this was true. He was guilty
and he wanted to answer to God no one else.
In prison he wrote his book,
13 thousand words long titled “Jesus was there”. In it he detailed his
life of abuse and crime calmly and factually. He placed great emphasis on
the message over and over again that he was now aware Jesus was with him
all his life and Jesus had not abandoned him. He took out his hatred of
the world on everyone particularly women and it was wrong. He received
some spiritual guidance during the writing of the book and he realized his
life would have been different if he had given himself to God and trusted
Jose was executed and his
book was published and released in Christian bookstores and Jails. Dan
Rockford had received a copy and read it. It changed his life. Every day
Dan wrote on his writing pad. He was convinced that Jesus would come soon.
He believed the devil had been cast down to earth to wreck havoc and
destruction on the earth because his time as the prince of evil was up.
Dan believed that 2 prophecies had already come true, the first being that
the land of Israel had been returned to the Jews. The second prophecy was
that the last days of the end of the world had already begun commencing in
1914. He believed that by adding a day for a year to Daniel’s prophecy
(Rev.12:16,14) the year of the beginning of the end of the world was 1914.
This was the year of the First World War, known at first as the Great War.
This was then followed by an influenza plague, the great depression then
the Second World War. Following the end of the war was the nuclear age and
now we are in the age of religious fundamentalism. Dan theorized that the
return to religious fundamentalism was a return to the most important
issue on this planet, our relationship with God. He believed the social
fabric was breaking down all around the world, namely that people didn’t
believe in their leaders any more and they didn’t believe in the church.
Satan caused this confusion. The Jews desire to build their temple and the
Muslim world’s determination to attack the supporters of Israel would
engulf the world. He could not see any solution to the stale mate. The
extremists were diametrically opposed to each other. Nothing was more
important to the Christian, the Jew and the Muslim than the complete
ownership and control of the whole city of Jerusalem.
Dan’s writing at first was
viewed with suspicion, the guards watched intently but it soon became
obvious that Dan Rockford was a changed man. He passed on his writing to
the prison chaplain who photocopied them and returned them back to him.
Sometimes Dan passed them onto the prison guards. As he sat there and
wrote away in the full knowledge he was condemned to die within two weeks
brought him happiness not grief. He was to depart this world and face his
final judgment. He wanted as many people, particularly people like him, to
know Jesus. He no longer believed in men or their government, only God’s
government with Jesus on his right side would he trust.
It had been a long day, an
eventful day on the paddocks of the outskirts of Frankston. Some had been
saved and healed, some were tempted and one died. Elsie had a long day.
She had gone home after a morning of intersession and prayer. She had
heard about the murder of the priest that afternoon. She was not there to
see it but had no doubt that it would make the news in a big way. She also
noticed that the event had changed inexplicably. Instead of it being a
joyful Christian celebration, it took on a more meaningful, somber and
even frightening mood. In the afternoon a teenage girl ran screaming to
the catholic group of Frankston. She claimed a man approached her on the
perimeters of the paddock. She felt weak in his presence and noticed no
sound when she was close to him. She found it difficult to walk away from
him but when she did, she noticed the sound of the gathering returned and
she could move freely. She could not provide an accurate description of
his appearance. The group went looking for him but found no one in the
neighboring paddock even though it was almost devoid of any bushes.
Another Roman Catholic group that came from the city prayed for another
girl. She began to convulse and then became incredibly strong. She had to
be held by four men and two women, their prayers almost ineffective on her
until, she was splashed on the forehead with holy water.
As Elsie walked around the
paddock in the late afternoon, many people were still present and cars
were still stopping on the highway. Elsie was glad she had brought a
comfortable pair of shoes. It was a beautiful afternoon and the weather
forecast was for a mild night. Another bonfire was planned as well as a
large camp fire sing along. In the distance she could see Robert Hill just
walking behind the cross, looking up at it. She approached him.
“Hello Robert” She said.
“Hello Elsie” He replied.
She came closer to him, as he stopped and looked more intently at her.
“It has been a successful
day so far, but of course it was tragic about the death this afternoon.”
She said. Robert nodded. He looked up at the cross and spoke.
“The window to God is open.
The evil and goodness in this world are leaving and entering like flies
and bees searching for food on a hot summer’s day.” Robert said intently.
Elsie saw he was serious. She thought about it.
“I didn’t think of it that
way” Elsie said.
“Think about it Elsie. We
have had people cured but we have also had people resist us. Others have
reported seeing a stranger walking near the fence yet he doesn’t wish to
approach the congregation. Have you noticed how there seems to be more
women affected by this then men.” He finished off. Elsie thought about it.
“Yes I believe you are
right”. She said.
“It is like this is the
Garden of Eden once again and we are being challenged to follow the way of
the Lord or Satan. It is affecting women more because Satan is reaching
out to them like he reached out to Eve. He is appealing to their ego and
vanity so as to steer themselves and their partners away from God.” Robert
“He has not steered me away
from God”. Elsie replied. Robert thought about it.
“He is not attacking you. He
is influencing others around you, just as he is influencing others around
me. We must pray intently over and over again tonight for I feel tomorrow
is going to be bigger than today, and I don’t just mean in attendance. I
think something extraordinary is going to happen.” Robert finished off.
Elsie nodded and moved on. Robert was serious, and she felt he was right.
The news went to air with
all the drama that was expected. The major TV. Channels took up the story
but it was channel 9 that showed the most. It showed intercessions people
praying and people being healed but nothing got more attention than the
short camera phone video taken of the murderer Trent Harris being held
flat on his stomach then being made to sit on his knees with a vacant
stare on his face. The TV stations thirst for video clips was satisfied.
In a world where people are distracted constantly, here was some earth
moving images for the world to see, good or bad. Whether it made people
rejoice or revolt didn’t matter as long as they were watching and not
bored. The healing weekend that would not have been even mentioned outside
the Christian community in the Frankston area was now big news around the
world. People were beginning to focus again on spiritualism and the role
of God in earthly activities. The skeptical and the secular were now on
the back foot. With most people growing up in the post Second World War
era of rationalism and materialism, the emphasis had suddenly swung to the
evidence of God in our lives rather than the lack of evidence of his
existence. Was it true that an evil spirit could possess the body of a
young man? Was it true that the origin of sickness is sin?
As Joanne Thomson watched
the story go to air in the Bendigo street studio, she felt both happy and
disappointed. The chief editor and Ray had included her introduction but
excluded other interview clips she had on film. Still it appeared as if it
was her story more than anything else which is what it is all about. She
had been successful, she had made a good report over a period of two days
and there was one more day to go. She could have the day off if she
requested it but there was an expectation she would go. She had met her
producer Roger Mains and he was so different from what she had experienced
in Perth. He smiled politely at her but didn’t look at her the way her
other producer in John Sinclair did. Here she was a worker, like every
body else in a much larger city and she wasn’t sure what she thought about
that. She could stay here, for how long, indefinitely, hard to say. She
knew however she had to make a choice not only for her career but whether
or not she would follow the teachings of Jesus or be a passive observer of
It was a warm beautiful
night, the moon shone brightly above and you could see every star in the
sky. It was cool but pleasantly cool. The Yarra River was black like oil
and it reflected the moonlight and the stars above. Michael Fletcher stood
at Southbank, location of the crown casino. He had a whisky glass in his
hands, almost finished. He was looking out on the Yarra, walking around,
staggering a little. He had been crying, the tears were dry on his cheeks
but his eyes were red. He came to the attention of the crown security
team. Two men dressed smartly in suits approached him.
“Excuse me sir, you can’t
wonder outside with a glass” One of them said. Michael turned around. The
channel 9 editor stared at them. He wanted to say something, he put out
his hand with the glass and they took it off him.
“Ass holes” He hissed at
them. The two security men said nothing. Michael staggered a little closer
“Ass holes”!! He said louder
to their faces. One of them gave him a gentle push backwards.
“Don’t touch me………..I am the
editor for channel 9. I will have you sacked.” Michael said.
“Go sleep it off,” the other
security man said. Michael staggered away. He made his way to the fence by
the Yarra. Every step he took was slow and deliberate, not because he was
so drunk but because his heart was heavy. He stopped at the river and
looked at it. It brought back a terrible memory.
Michael was 16 and living in
Mildura, the Victorian border town. It was a beautiful night like this. It
was a full moon and you could see clearly in the country. He had been
invited to a teenage birthday party on a farm. By the time it was
midnight, nearly everyone was drunk, including him. Teenage boys and girls
were asleep on the floor, having sex in the bushes, vomiting, smoking
marijuana and Michael was wondering around the property that backed onto a
small stream. He saw Brendan Davis fondling Joanne Harpley, at the rivers
edge. He hated Brendan Davis for all sorts of reasons. He was the
better-looking, richer, smarter boy of the class and he had Joanne Harpley,
and Michael didn’t. He watched from a bush and noticed how Brendan fondled
Joanne’s left breast. He undid her blouse and bra and kissed her forcibly.
Joanne walked away from him; it was all too much too sudden. Brendan was
drunk, he looked at her. She wandered away slowly. Brendan watched her go.
It appeared Joanne wanted a breather, not sure whether to return to his
embrace or continued walking. Michael watched with jealousy. Brendan
turned away and lit up a cigarette. He looked at the dark quiet stream.
There were cattle in the distance but they were asleep. You could hear the
music of the party in the distance. Michael watched Joanne Harpley in the
distance make her way back to the party. Michael looked at Brendan at the
edge of the stream. All around them were rocks of various sizes. Michael
picked up one that had a pointed edge and the base of it fitted nicely in
his right hand. He walked up quietly behind Brendan who had his back to
him. Michael raised his right arm back quickly. The sudden movement
created a little noise and Brendan turned around. For a split second
Brendan didn’t see what hit him, only who. He received strength and
motivation from who knows where, and slammed the rock, the pointed part
into Brendan’s forehead.
The impact knocked Brendan
flat on his back, the back of his head just touching the water. His eyes
were wide open, his mouth agape, and blood trickling from his wound.
Michael was stumbling. He looked for a moment at Brendan lying there and
then kicked him. There was no reaction. He didn’t know if Brendan was
dead. He could have been just unconscious. He grabbed Brendan’s ankles and
just pushed Brendan into the stream. He watched him float down beneath the
water level. Michael expected Brendan to surface spluttering for breath
but he didn’t. Michael stood there just looking. Because he was drunk, it
didn’t feel real, it felt like a dream. He stumbled back into the bush. He
looked back one more time at the stream; black liquid reflecting some
moonlight on the surface and noticed Brendan was not surfacing. He looked
at the rock in his hand and began rubbing it. He tossed it into the
stream. As it hit the water it made a large splash. He heard a girl say
“What was that.”? Michael
hid quietly in the bushes. He saw a girl he knew Samantha walking along
the rough track with a boy, holding hands. They stopped for a moment and
looked at the ripple in the water.
“Over there” she said to her
boy friend but he didn’t take much notice. He was kissing her around the
neck and soon she began to kiss him. He watched quietly. After a moment
“Hi, have you two seen
Brendan”? She enquired.
“No,” Samantha said and
continued kissing her boyfriend. Joanne appeared confused and walked away.
After a moment Samantha was lead away by her boyfriend. They were heard a
little later lying in the grass. Michael walked back slowly to the party.
He thought nothing of what had happened nothing at all.
As Michael approached the
farmhouse, there were young people everywhere. He stopped in the darkness.
He watched to see if anyone was looking in his direction. He was drunk and
so were most of the party guests as well, too intoxicated or amorous to
notice him. He walked wide of the property and made his way to the porch
where the old bath tub full of ice and drinks were. For a moment, no one
was there so he took a can of VB and sat in one of the chairs. He saw a
fat girl coming out of the house onto the porch. She took no notice of
him. He opened the can and began drinking. He smiled and closed his eyes.
He was happy. He had some power in his life.
They never arrested Michael,
nor suspected him. The property was full of young men and women, mostly
intoxicated. No one saw anything. It took two days before they knew he was
missing. His parents just assumed he had wandered off with a girl and was
staying at her place. When the police finally searched the stream, his
body was in a state of decay. It made the local news and the local parish
priests and social commentators made comment of young people being
unsupervised and drinking without restraint. What was the 1980s coming to.
Just like most people don’t
like to hear the Christian name of one of their former lovers, Michael
didn’t like to hear the name “Brendan”. The night Michael had seen the
video footage of the exorcism of Jason he was upset. He showed his anger
at his producer, because he also heard the name Brendan when he was in a
café having a coffee before work. A girl called out “Brendan” to a young
man walking by and he came in and sat with her. Something as innocent as
that and Michael was on edge. He was already wandering if there was a God
and he was tormenting him.
As he stood there and looked
at the Yarra, the water reminded him of that stream all those years ago.
Tonight, he had an argument with his wife Juliet over nothing. That was
his problem, Michael argued over nothing, got angry over nothing, and
killed a boy he was jealous of over nothing. He decided to go to the
casino. He had seen the footage of the demented Trent Harris and the dying
priest at the healing service. Why after so long was he being haunted by a
murder he committed all those years ago. Michael was distressed, he was
about to walk away when he saw a young man lying on the footpath. He was
bleeding from his forehead. He looked like he had fallen flat on his face.
Standing over him were two young men. One of them had “Ambassador for
Christ” on his shirt. They were talking to him, gently. Michael walked
over to them slowly. As he approached them he could hear their American
accents. The out reach workers were trying to save souls. He had seen them
before, they were in Sydney during the Olympics and now they were in
Melbourne. He looked at them then stopped. One of them, a young sandy hair
man, Jimmy Collins looked at him. Michael walked around him and continued
to walk. He heard an American voice say “Don’t walk away from him”.
Michael stopped. He didn’t know who “him” was. He turned around and
saw Jimmy Collins looking at him.
“I know you want to talk to
someone, talk to me” Jimmy said. Michael approached him.
“Do you have any idea what
is going on in my mind” Michael said. Jimmy looked at him, without fear or
“No I know you want to tell
me” Jimmy said. Michael looked at him.
“I killed someone, do you
know that. I was a little younger than you and he even looked like you, I
killed him. What do you think of that”? Michael said.
“You want to be forgiven
right”? Jimmy asked. Michael stopped and thought about it.
“I will not be forgiven. I
am a murderer.” Michael said.
“Why don’t you let the Lord
decide if he forgives you?” Jimmy said. Michael thought about it.
“Where is God when you need
him?” He said and swayed on his feet.
“He is here right now and he
wants you to give yourself to him” Jimmy said. At that moment the other
out reach worker, came towards them. The man on the ground was still lying
“Are you afraid”? Jimmy
“Me, I am not afraid, do you
understand I am not afraid of you or anything you American prick” Michael
said as he clenched his right fist and showed it to Jimmy right under his
“Prove it” Jimmy said.
Michael put down his fist. The other man Luke Granger, looked at him.
“Just say the words, I
accept Jesus as my savior. I reject Satan and his demons.”
Michael looked at him and
“I accept Jesus as my
savior. I reject Satan and his demons.” Michael said.
“Say it 5 times” Jimmy
asked. Michael smiled.
“Ok, smart ass. I accept
Jesus as my savior; I reject Satan and his demons. I accept Jesus as my
savior.” Michael continued. He said it with out feeling and after 5
repetitions he stopped.
Luke looked at him.
“Lord please release him
from his suffering”. Luke said. Michael looked at him and smiled. Before
he could say anything he felt like he was going to vomit. His body shook
and he could feel something coming up to his mouth.
“Please Jesus, release me
from suffering” Jimmy said. Michael repeated the sentence without
hesitation and with feeling like any person who is ill clutches the
medicine he thinks will cure him. The Lord knew he was suffering and
wanted to be free of it.
There was a growling sound
and Michael fell onto the ground. He started shaking and then it was over.
His eyes were clear and he stood up. He didn’t seem drunk, he felt lighter
than he was. He felt happier than he had been for many years. He looked at
the two out reach workers in amazement.
“He is gone” He said.
Michael looked around him and looked up.
“It like the old me has
gone, .I feel light…I feel young.” He said.
“I feel free” Jimmy added.
Michael looked at him.
“I feel free” Michael said.
“Talk to God. Tell him all
your sins, burden him.” Luke said. Michael listened and for a moment he
thought about Brandon before he struck him. He imagined he was saying
sorry to him, and then he smiled. He felt joy and happiness, a warm
feeling coming all the way from his lower spine right through the top of
his head. He felt a rush of internal love he had not felt for a long time.
He closed his eyes and enjoyed the feeling. When he opened them he saw the
two out reach workers walking towards the man on the ground. Jimmy looked
back at him as if nothing had happened. Michael wanted to say something
but didn’t know what to say, he stood there and then he said the two words
we all want to hear when something good has been done “Thank you”. Jimmy
“You are welcome.” Jimmy
replied. Michael smiled. He had not been this happy before. He could hear
clearly, see clearly, and think clearly even though he was intoxicated.
He started to walk along
the footpath then went onto St. Kilda road. He walked and walked without
effort until he reached the War Memorial on the corner of Domain road. He
looked at the impressive structure, illuminated in the night, with its
Victorian type sculptured figures on the corners, and he was happy. A cool
breeze touched him. It was a beautiful night. He felt the urge to lie down
and did so on his back. He looked up at the stars then closed his eyes. He
felt a gentle breeze on top of his body. He thought it was the wind but
the wind doesn’t descend to the ground like that at such a low altitude.
The Holy Spirit was touching Michael and he didn’t know it. He had made a
terrible mistake when he was younger and suffered the guilt for so long.
The Lord was now welcoming him back to his family that he left so long
ago. He had many bridges to cross, one with his wife before she left him.
He needed to show her the man she never knew and she would then see that
God and Jesus are real and working in the world today.
The sun was about to rise
over the factory roofs. The air was warm, it was quiet. It was Sunday, the
last day of the healing weekend. Only occasionally a car went by on the
freeway. The green grass highlighted the white tents. It was a
pilgrimage; the tents alongside the fence line were full of the faithful
and curious, one thing in common; followers of Christ. The large cross in
the center of it all seemed protective like out stretched arms over the
flock. It was quiet, beautifully quiet.
On the edge of the freeway,
a car stopped. A largish man, Douglas Peters got out with a digital
camera. He noticed the tranquility of the setting and began taking
photographs with his digital camera. As he did this, the sun was coming up
over the factory roofs. As this happened, the cross cast a long shadow on
the paddock. It looked fantastic from where Douglas was and he took some
more pictures. He looked at the beautiful scene. From the car he took out
his laptop computer and attached his digital camera to it. He typed out
the details of his friend in Oklahoma Ritchie Daniels and sent him two
photos, one before the sunrise, one just after. He typed out the simple
message, “Hello Ritchie are you there”? Douglas waited for a moment. He
looked at his inbox to see if there was any response. At first nothing,
then came back “Yes, I am here, love the photos, thanks. Keep looking.”
Douglas smiled and wrote back “I will.” He closed up the laptop and went
with it and the camera to the paddock.
Douglas Peters was an I.T.
specialist. He came to Australia in the early 1990s and realized he knew
so much about computer technology that he decided to open a business.
Business was good so he decided to stay, why not, he didn’t have to worry
about the snow anymore in Philadelphia and he met a nice Australian woman
so he decided to call Australia home. However, he never forgot the U.S.A.
and his friends there, in particular Ritchie Daniels. He met Ritchie
Daniels at a summer Christian camp in Denver Colorado. They hit it off
immediately, even though on the surface it looked as if they were very
opposite. Douglas was a sloppy teenager, very loud and out going while
Ritchie Daniels was a quieter more urbane man from Okalahoma. They both
like Chevrolets and God, it is something they both had in common. Douglas
moved to Australia, Ritchie became a Republican senator and a publisher.
His company “Life Tree” specialized in Christian literature, non fiction
and fiction. It did well and it was through his publishing business that
Ritchie had produced his own book “The Stages of Evil”. It was meant to be
just another one of the many books on the shelves of Christian bookstores
but it became quite popular and controversial simultaneously. The book was
a paper back, a little thicker than a booklet, approx. 100 pages long yet
it struck a cord with many readers and critics.
In the book the senator
believed that throughout history God and the devil have influenced people
on Earth at the same time, at different times and places (stages) to see
which way human kind would be influenced. In his book he mentioned how the
Devil influenced, Eve, then Cain, and then the people around Noah even
Jesus at the time he wondered in the wilderness. This was hardly
controversial; however, he went on to talk about modern times and whom the
Lord and the devil had influenced then after. He mentioned that
Constantine vision of the cross was God’s attempt to spread the word of
his only son throughout the Roman world. Hitler was influenced by the
devil to engulf the world in a war to eradicate the Jewish people. In his
book Ritchie argues that Hitler had little formal education, very little
personal charisma and appearance but through the influence of the devil
was able to seduce his people into thinking that the Jewish people were
responsible for the world’s problems. As further proof that the devil was
at work directly on Hitler was evident in the last year of Hitler’s life
when the once convincing dictator became a confused weak old man, only 56
years of age. The devil had abandoned him, just as he had abandoned Judas,
leaving them confused, vulnerable and unable to live with them selves.
Some thought he was right others, even in the Christian community thought
he jumbled history and theology in an uneasy blend. However the greater
controversy came later in the last chapter.
Ritchie was convinced that
while there had been several horrific examples of the devil at work, we
were over due to see an example of God’s work on earth that would convince
even the skeptics of his presence. In his book he claimed the vision of
Paul, the sun standing still at the battle of Jericho, the vision of the
cross by Constantine were all visions of the presence of God which
influenced the world. As well as the earthquake and blackening of the sky
at the time of the crucifixion, Ritchie believed, the world was going to
see a physical example of his presence, such as a major flood, an eclipse
of the sun, or other physical phenomena that the end of the world and
judgment day was near.
Ritchie was informed of the
healing weekend as a matter of usual email correspondence between Douglas
and himself. What got Ritchie interested were not only the possession of
Jason being filmed but also the reports of healing and violence taking
place simultaneously. It was as if the Devil and the Lord came down to
earth to try and influence some people to see who would have the greater
influence. Add to this the fact that the young man Robert Hill was not an
ordained priest, nor a theologian. He was a trained intercessor, and not
that experienced, yet he seemed to get unfriendly Christian denominations
to agree to a healing weekend with spectacular results.
As Douglas walked across the
paddock, his footsteps were quite loud. The tents contained the sleeping
faithful. It was so quiet it was like everyone was dead. Another one of
the controversial theories of Ritchie was that God may choose to show us
he is alive by raising the dead.
Douglas didn’t have to walk
fast before he heard the scream of a young woman in one of the tents. It
sounded like it was coming from the large uniting church tents to the
eastern side of the paddock. Curious Douglas walked in that direction. As
he grew closer he saw a woman slowly walk out of the tent. She had long
red hair and was wearing a very long old-fashioned nightshirt. She walked
slowly almost glidingly along the grass. Douglas took his camera and began
taking photographs. Her long white night shirt made her look like a ghost
as she walked slowly to the cross. She seemed oblivious to Douglas as she
stopped at the cross. She kneeled down at the base of the stage and seemed
to pray. Douglas noticed a knife in her right hand. She seemed to pray
with her eyes closed. A group of young people came out of the Uniting
church tent and approached her slowly. They were looking at her. They were
muttering to themselves saying things like “She stabbed her”. The group
approached slowly. Douglas went around her and approached the cross. He
saw a career building photograph taking place. He framed the cross to his
left, her just below it and a startled group behind her. They approached.
One of them a man about 30 with a ginger colored beard approached her from
behind. He began speaking to her quietly from behind. There seemed to be
no response. He came closer to her and began talking to her. Douglas
walked closer. The man with the ginger beard shook his head with
disapproval at Douglas but he was not going to miss this opportunity. The
man asked her
“Who are you”?
“I am he” She replied.
“In the name of Jesus
Christ, I ask you your name”? The man enquired.
“I am death, and I have come
to kill the evil one” She replied.
“There is only evil inside
you” He replied. Suddenly she jumped up, with the knife in her right hand
and shook her head and shook her arms.
“No, he is here. He comes to
mislead you; he is not here to save you. It is far too heavy for anyone to
carry the burden of sin. No one can save you from sin and suffering.” She
said. Douglas took one more photograph. She turned and looked at him. He
saw the stare of anger and hatred that he had never seen before, from
something that was in a young woman’s body that petrified him. As she
stood there, a largish woman came with a bowl of holy water. She put her
right hand in it and splashed a fine spray of it at the woman’s face. She
didn’t flinch. She turned to the group and the woman splashed some more
holy water in her face. She stood there for a moment then collapsed on the
ground, flat on her back screaming. She then struck herself into the
stomach. She with drew the blade and was about to strike again when the
group converged onto her. There was yelling and screams of “watch the
knife” as they subdued her. She was angry and hissing at them, and even
though she was only of slight build she still thrashed violently. The
woman with the holy water approached. She dipped her right hand into the
bowl and marked the sign of the cross on the thrashing woman’s forehead.
Douglas started taking photographs. The young woman screamed violently as
if she had been struck with a hot poker.
“In the name of Jesus,
release her” someone said. Then the others were starting repeating it
until it became a mantra. She yelped in a loud voice, and then stopped.
She let go of the knife and a look of calm came over her.
“You are safe Sandra, you
are safe” the group was saying and other words of encouragement. A young
woman, Michelle, came from the tent area, slowly crying. She had a wound
to her left thigh that was bleeding through her blue jeans. She approached
Sandra crying. The group looked at her some said to her to go back but she
stood near Sandra and looked down at her crying. Sandra noticed her and
began crying. The group took possession of the knife and Sandra sat up
like a young woman should. Sandra embraced Michelle.
Father O’Shea had heard the
commotion and approached the group. He looked at them and said to them
“We need to have a prayer
now, go to your tents and get everyone to pray.” They knew he was right
and slowly they went to the tent. Others were gathering at the entrances
to their tent. Father 0’Shea walked towards the tents and talked to the
ones watching him.
“Group prayer now, for
everyone, the devil is angry and he will stop at nothing. This is his
work” and went to his tent. He had a look of intensity on his face as he
entered the male tent of the Anglican Church Frankston branch. Robert Hill
was lying down on his sleeping blanket, but was wide-awake and saw Father
O’Shea come in. Father O’Shea looked at him.
“We must be careful” Father
O, Shea said.
“Yes” Robert replied. The
others in the tent gathered round.
“Let us pray” Father O,Shea
said and they knelt, and so did he. He started to recite the Lord’s
Prayer. He then asked for a blessing and then they all held hands. Father
O, Shea looked at the other men in tent and spoke to them.
“Excuse me gentlemen, could
I have a word with Robert alone please”? The men left the tent.
Robert was alone with
Father O’Shea, most senior Australian Roman Catholic exorcist, intercessor
and authoritarian on demonic possession. He looked intently into Robert’s
“Satan wants you, you know
that don’t you”? He said.
“Yes, I do” Robert said.
“Have you had strange
thoughts, strange dreams, heard…” He started
“…….yes all of that” Robert
“He has wanted me for more
than 50 years. Satan will never tire. Will you tire”?
Father O’Shea asked. For a
moment Robert didn’t know how to answer him.
“I have seen the Holy Spirit
burning brightly my son; it is a flame that is not often seen especially
in this day and age. The church needs men like you who not only have a
desire to serve but to spread the word with the same conviction that drove
missionaries around the world to face hostile nations and die for their
convictions. The church is dying because it has too many people who speak
from their mind and not their hearts. If you don’t wish to allow Jesus to
touch you fully and carry out his work then walk away now because Satan
will find a void in your belief, a chink in your armor a weakness in your
defense. I don’t say this to many young men but I say this to you that you
should be ordained and dedicate yourself to God fully, for it is not often
I see a man who is being led to our Lord such as you. This is your time
Robert, use it wisely choose wisely.” Father O,Shea said. He walked out of
the tent. Robert watched him go and no one so far until now had convinced
him in his heart of what he should do now with his life.
It was now clear to him, he
should join the priesthood; it is not just what God wanted for him but
what he wanted for God.
Father O’Shea walked to his
tent with tears in his eyes. He had seen himself in Robert the way he was
all those years ago. His only regret in life was he wished he had a son
just like him.
It is difficult exactly to
determine why they came, but they did. It could have been the fact that it
was a Sunday, a traditional day of worship, or that it was a beautiful
day, or maybe that the news report motivated them, but they came. They
were in larger numbers than on Saturday and they were different. There
were the believers, the devoted, the pilgrims and the curious. The curious
were in greater numbers than the previous day and they walked across the
freeway, staring at the cross. One man got down on his knees and walked
towards the cross, his hands in prayer. He was noticed and soon others got
behind him on their knees and a long procession towards the cross took
place. Some people took out their video recorders and mobile phones and
Half an hour before they
were scheduled to start the Uniting church choir began singing, not hand
clapping gospel songs but soul inspiring hymns in keeping with the mood.
There was now a feeling of togetherness and warmth that is experienced in
large gatherings such as at Lourdes and Fatima. They had seen so much,
experienced so much and there was more to come. Leanne Creedy, the
daughter of one of the managers at IGA supermarket Seaford, rang her
father on the mobile phone and he agreed to donate 400 dollars of meat and
bread to the group. The collection tins became full and one of them
couldn’t rattle. It was cut open later and it revealed a thick wad of
$50.00 bills equaling $1000.00. A gentleman wrote a check for $5000 and
put it in a tin.
Robert saw this and was
overcome. The band stopped momentarily. He came to the microphone and
called out to the group “We believe in the scripture Luke 10:1 that Jesus
taught his followers who then taught us to fight demons. Welcome, together
when we believe in God and Jesus that we can defeat evil and sin.”
At that moment Joanne
Thomson, Ray Garcia and Paul arrived. They saw the procession and got out
of the car quickly. Ray grabbed his TV. Camera, Joanne was looking at the
sun to find the best angle. She stood with her back to the cross but her
face was in shadow. Ray got his camera ready and Paul took out a flexible
reflective disk. They played with it until it reflected light onto
Joanne’s face and Ray could film the procession in the background. They
filmed it a few times until Joanne got the speech right. In the distance
mayor Jessica Lane had arrived. She saw the film crew and wanted to get in
on the act. She approached the camera crew and waited patiently. When the
filming was done, she approached Joanne. She shook her hand and introduced
herself as the mayor. They chatted and Joanne decided to do an interview
with her and the procession in the background. The mayor was happy. She
beamed with a smile from ear to ear and mentioned how great it was for the
council to be involved in the event. She didn’t mention that the land
belonged to the state government and the only notification the council had
was concerning the traffic along the freeway. The council assured the
worshippers they wouldn’t issue fines to vehicles parked on nature strips
or the dividing strip.
The crowd settled, some sat,
and others walked around to the stalls and got some hot tea and coffee.
One of them was Adam Norris. He was a thin man, 50 years of age ginger
colored hair, a small-cropped beard. He looked weak and confused. He
looked around at the different stalls at a distance. He was with his
sister, Colleen Norris. She was younger and plump. She walked with him and
every so often held his left arm as if to give him balance. She would look
at him, and say, “Are you ok”? He would nod then walk on a little bit. She
asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee and he nodded. She left him
standing there. He looked in the distance.
Amanda Anderson was 14 years
old. Her fair hair was brushed back and secured in a ponytail. She wore a
white shirt and tartan skirt. She was the apple of her father, Peter’s,
eye. She was scheduled now to read the Sermon on the Mount. They adjusted
the microphone for her. This was to be her big day. She had the King James
Version with her. They introduced her and the crowd politely applauded.
Some were too busy drinking and attending the stalls. Others sat and were
ready to listen, while others like Adam Norris just stood there.
With her clear and
articulated voice she began reading the Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are the poor in
spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”. Her father was so proud he
got his camera and began taking pictures of his daughter, her back to him
and the crowd watching all framed nicely.
“Blessed are they that mourn
for they shall be comforted…” she continued.
Colleen Norris got her two
free cups of coffee and walked back to where she had left her brother Adam
but he was not there. She looked around and noticed him approaching the
speaker Amanda Anderson. He walked slowly towards her, his elbows into his
chest. He had his back to her but she knew what he was doing, it was not
the first time this happened. Amanda kept reading.
“Let your light so shine
before men that they may see your good works…and glorify…”
Amanda stopped. Adam had
stopped only 5 meters in front of her. He had his hands clasped at his
chest. He opened them up and showed his palms to her. Amanda, her father
and the choir on stage could see the open wounds on the palms of his
hands. He held them for her to see. There was a trickle of blood coming
from his forehead. A group from near the stage approached him. Colleen
gave her cups of coffee to a bystander and came to her brother as the
others approached him.
“It’s ok, this has been
happening now for awhile, just take him over there.” She said and began
guiding her brother to the Northern side of the fence, with the group.
Adam seemed confused, as did young Amanda as she watched him being led
away. Peter Anderson urged his daughter to continue, which she did. Where
were Joanne Thomson and her film crew? Far away too busy talking to the
A short time later Robert
was inside the large marquee of the Anglican church of Frankston. He was
chatting to people and having a cup of coffee and a donut. He was in
jovial spirits. He had a good night sleep full of prayer and hope for the
day ahead. As he talked to members of the public who had come in to see
the literature on display he noticed his parents in the distance on the
paddock. His mother was walking around her arms folded; his father was
walking behind her, slowly. He had not seen his father for the last 3
years. His hair was grey and he was paunchy. He was dressed in a grey suit
and he looked very uncomfortable. He followed his estranged wife who
walked around the paddock looking for him. For a moment Robert wanted to
walk away but then he knew he had to face her. If he could face other
people’s demons he could face his own.
As Robert stood at the
entrance of the marquee, it was his father that saw him first. He looked
at him and there was a look of sadness. A moment later his mother walked
over to Robert his father in tow. Robert could tell the alcohol had got to
his father. He looked like a tired defeated man of only 52 years of age.
“Robert” His mother said as
she approached him. Robert didn’t say anything. He looked at his abusive
father that he could no longer stand a few years ago. His mother looked at
the urn and noticed people having coffee.
“Excuse me” she said and
went to the urn to get a cup of coffee. Robert looked at his father and
shook his hand.
“How are you dad”? Robert
said. His father shook his hand awkwardly, almost embarrassingly. He
“I’m ok”, how are you”? He
“I’m ok” Robert replied. His
father looked at him and said
“You look good”
“Thank you”, Robert replied.
There was an awkward moment of silence.
“I’m not well Robert”. He
said. Robert nodded.
“I heard” Robert said. His
father looked at him. Gone was the anger of the man replaced by a frailty
that Robert had not seen before.
“I have to have an operation
to remove one of my kidneys, also type 2 diabetes.” He said. Robert stood
away from the tent doorway as people were trying to get in. Robert walked
away and guided him towards the paddock. They stopped. Robert could see
his mother taking her time to get a cup of coffee while his father’s back
was to her.
“Did mum ask you to come”?
“Yes, but I thought I
should” His father replied. He paused for a moment.
“I am sorry that I made so
many mistakes Robert” He said.
“Are you getting back
together with mum?” Robert asked.
“No” he replied. “She
doesn’t want me back.” Robert looked at him. He could see his mother in
the background chatting to the volunteers in the tent and looking at the
“Look after your mother
Robert. You are all she has” He replied. Robert nodded. There was a long
“Are you proud of me Dad”?
Robert asked. His father looked at him.
“Of course I am Robert, you
were always a good boy” He said and his eyes were welling up with tears.
He gave him a big hug. It surprised Robert. Robert could see his mother
approaching quickly with a cup of coffee. She had to see what was going.
“Aaaah, a nice cup of
coffee” She said as she took a sip. She didn’t know what to say and
neither did Robert.
“Did you see the news about
what has been happening here”? Robert enquired.
“Yes” they both said. There
was a moment of silence.
“I don’t think I will be a
nutritionist/dietitian.” Robert said. His mother looked puzzled.
“You were going to open a
health food store, work on the weekend and work part time as a dietitian.”
Hid mother stated. Robert nodded his head.
“It’s all different now mum.
I want to work with those poor in spirit not just in health.”
“And bills………how are you
going to pay them, or have you just forgotten about all that important
stuff.”!! His mother asked in a snide tone of voice. Robert looked at her.
“This is important stuff.”
He said. His mother just looked at him.
“Let him do what he wants to
do with his life” His father said. His mother ignored her ex husband’s
“I think I will go into the
priest hood mum, I want to” Robert said.
“The Anglican Church is
different Maureen from the Roman Catholic Church, they can marry.”
Robert’s father said. His mother was dumbfounded. She just looked at
Robert.” What is it mum!!!! What is it, are you desperate for
grandchildren, do you want me to make lots of money so you can take it
easy, what is it with you”?!! Robert asked angrily.
“Don’t speak to me like
that”!!! She retorted.
“Leave him alone Maureen”
Robert’s father said to his wife. He was angry and there was a hint of the
aggression that had been there for most of his adult life. Maureen looked
at her ex husband and was afraid. She looked at Robert and was upset. She
leaned forward and kissed him on his right cheek. She walked away, his
father moving slowly after her. He came back and said to Robert.
“She will be ok, don’t
worry.” Then he followed her. She never looked back. Robert walked away
back to the tent and he never looked back either. A house divided against
itself cannot stand.
And so the day continued.
The crowds came, more than ever before, songs were sung, prayers said,
people healed, people disappointed. Some came for the spiritual value
others came for the entertainment and out of curiosity. One of the
highlights of the day was mass conducted by Father O’Shea. It was
generally agreed that an open air mass be conducted and Father O’Shea was
Robert’s desired choice. Robert wanted Father O’Shea to conduct the mass
out of respect of his age and his standing in the Christian community.
Robert also wanted to show the Roman Catholic Church that the healing
weekend wouldn’t have a reformation church bias. The mass was started at
11am and was a great success. People sat down to listen, knelt to pray and
to absorb God’s word for the day.
Halfway through the service,
Stewart Dores came to the Uniting church tent. He had volunteered to help
cook sausages for the lunchtime crowd. When he arrived he saw most of his
friends from the parish sitting on the grass listening and participating
with the service. He waved to a few of them. He went to the barbecue that
he knew well with “Uniting church of Frankston” crudely hand painted on
the side. He looked around and noticed some large polystyrene boxes. He
opened them up and noticed plenty of sausages in the boxes, as well as
eggs and tomatoes. Someone must have taken the sausages out of their
packets and just emptied them loosely in the box. He didn’t care. He
started the gas barbecue and began cooking sausages.
As the service finished
Stewart had plenty of sausages on the barbecue. The church was asking for
donations only. People gladly gave a dollar or more for the sausage that
was placed in a slice of bread. You had a choice of mustard or tomato
sauce, sausage with or without onions. No doubt it was popular as was
other barbecues at the other tents. Some of the Uniting Church parish
thanked Stewart for cooking and even the pastor Ian Dales said “Thanks for
contributing, you have done well”. Stewart smiled and gave the Pastor a
sausage with onion and sauce. Ian gave a dollar coin. He walked away and
was happy that Stewart had brought some sausages for the barbecue, as they
had not yet organized who was to purchase them that day. Stewart was
surprised his church members were so pleasant towards him. He told them he
would cook for lunch and was glad there were plenty of sausages for
everyone. Ian thought Stewart brought them, Stewart assumed someone in the
parish provided them. It was a mystery who provided the sausages but there
was plenty of meat and bread for everyone.
Sonia Dogherty had to look
after her two brothers Matthew 11 and Adrian 9. They didn’t want to go to
the healing venue, Sonia wanted to go, and since Sonia was 19 and the
older sister she had to look after them. They sat in the back of the car,
laughing, making jokes and generally being kids. Sonia put them in the car
and told them it was only for an hour or so. They had mobile phones, they
had a Pac man and of course they had each other. It didn’t stop them from
teasing their sister. She drove from Mornington and she had to listen to
them fooling around in the back seat for the twenty minute journey by car.
She turned to them constantly telling them to be quiet; to behave
themselves but what was the point. They used their mobile phone to take
photographs and look at them. They photographed the back of their sister’s
head and laughed incredibly about something only they found amusing. What
do you expect from bored boys?
By the time Sonia arrived at
the location she was ready to hit both of her brothers with her vinyl
covered street directory. Adrian had undone his seat belt and undone his
trousers so his brother Matthew could take a photograph of him showing his
buttocks out of the window. Sonia was angry but there was little she could
do. She was not their mother or father so they knew their rights they
didn’t have to listen to her. She parked the car on the dividing strip and
looked back at them. She was flustered and annoyed. She asked them if they
wanted to come, “No, what for” etc they said. She didn’t like leaving them
in the car but it was not hot. They were not babies; they knew they were
not to talk to strangers. Sonia wouldn’t be long. She wanted to say some
prayers and then return to the car. She would take them later to Southland
shopping centre to see a movie, but she just wanted to experience this.
She told them one more time
that they were not to leave the car. She made sure they repeated the
statement and understood. She was concerned about leaving them in the car
but this was a religious gathering, the people here would be decent, she
shouldn’t worry. She got out of the car and left them alone, with the
windows open. They said they would be alright. They watched their sister
cross the highway by foot and join the congregation. They really did want
to go with her but they thought they were too tough and cool to follow
Adrian activated a game on
the mobile phone and showed his brother. They had just started to play.
There was the sound of the cars passing monotonously on the highway. Then
there was no sound not even a footstep on the ground. They both looked out
the window on Adrian’s side and saw a man’s face in the open window
staring at them. He just wanted to talk.
Sonia was finishing her
prayers. She had her necklace wrapped around her hands in prayer. She
thanked the Lord for listening and decided to walk back to the car. She
was at the road’s edge when she noticed something was terribly wrong. She
could see both her brothers distressed. They thought they were all grown
up and she saw them crying. Adrian in particular was staring at her
sister, tears streaming down his cheeks. Matthew was crying
uncontrollably. She asked them what was wrong but they didn’t answer, they
appeared and behaved like children who had been lost in a forest over
night. She searched their faces for an answer but they wouldn’t talk.
Adrian managed to say, “Let’s get out of here”. She started the car and
drove towards Frankston. She didn’t know what to do, whether to take them
home or go to Southland. She was responsible for them and now they were
crying uncontrollably, what she was going to do, what would their parents
say. She shouldn’t have left them, she knew that, mum and dad would be
angry. She started crying too and that made her brothers cry even more.
They would talk about what happened to them much later in the future.
Trent Harris had spent the
hours in the Frankston Police Station. He was staring blankly at the wall
for a long period of time. Occasionally he rocked back and forward. He was
in a cell by himself, not hand cuffed. Every so often he would close his
eyes and have an imaginary conversation, not loud enough for anyone to
hear. He didn’t want a lawyer, which was something different. Detective
Petro and Gibb came to interview him for the murder of the priest. They
asked him to turn around so he could be hand cuffed. He did this. They
hand cuffed him and he grunted like a wild dog. They lead him to interview
Duty sergeant Sam Valaris
had set up the two cameras and tape recorder in the room. Trent was
brought in. He was angry but not resisting. They sat him down. Detective
Petro and Gibb said nothing. They were concerned that Trent was too
violent and unsettled to be interviewed. They would give it a try. They
had their book. Detective Gibb said out aloud “This is a test. This is a
test for the record of interview of Trent Harris.” This was done to
commence proceedings. Valaris checked that the cameras were recording and
so was the tape. Trent said nothing.
“You are not obliged to say
anything but anything you say will be recorded and used as evidence in a
court of law. Do you understand this caution?” Petro asked him. Trent said
nothing. Valaris was watching through the glass screen of the interview
room. They continued to stare at him, waiting for him to say something.
Suddenly, the expression on his face changed. He looked confused as if he
didn’t understand why he was inside the room. He looked around and looked
up. He looked at the both of them as if he had never seen them before.
Even experienced Homicide detectives Gibb and Petro had not seen anything
like this before. Trent then began to speak, slowly in a polite voice. He
didn’t want a lawyer, he answered all the questions the detectives asked
him, except the reason why he stabbed the priest. His answer was simply
“Don’t know”. It looked like he genuinely didn’t know. Valaris had seen
this once before. A young man had once been brought to the station last
summer when he was on duty. He had killed his parents because he heard
voices in his head telling him to do it. It was summer and Valaris was not
wearing his tie. His crucifix was exposed through his open shirt. Valaris
had escorted the man with two other officers to the toilet with batons
drawn, just in case the man became violent. He didn’t. Just as he was
about to go back to cell he looked and noticed the crucifix on Valaris
chest. He asked him if he was a Christian. Valaris told him he was. He
expected the young man to make a sarcastic remark or even get violent but
he didn’t. He seemed to change, like another personality came into his
body. He looked confused then calm. He sat down and gave all the
admissions concerning his murderous deeds. His reason for doing it was
“don’t know” but he seemed genuinely remorseful.
Valaris had told the story
to his family and his sister who was a teacher at Carey Grammar. She told
him that Judas was confused and wrecked with guilt after his betrayal of
Jesus. The school of thought was that just as the devil uses people for
his evil deeds, he abandons them when it is done, like a gang member who
sacrifices a partner in crime to protect himself.
Joanne Thomson looked around
a little, Ray filmed a little. She did a couple of stand in front of the
camera shots then decided she would go back to the office. The film crew
agreed to go back, but Ray was reluctant. He felt more was going to happen
but he was not the boss and he had to spend time with his family.
On arrival back to the
office, they did the usual thing of submitting the tape to the editor. It
was a magnificent day and Joanne looked out the window. She could see the
blue sky over the Melbourne landscape and yearned to be by the seaside
again. She was lonely, a long way from home and without romance. She sat
at her temporary desk with her temporary computer. There was an A4 writing
pad on it. She had not done any doodles on it yet. It was a large open
office, and she was the only one there. The film crew had gone down the
corridor and put their equipment away. As she sat there and heard the
noises of the film crew putting away their equipment, she saw him.
One of the fashion editors
Cheryl Dixon was walking down the corridor with a man. They were laughing.
She watched as they walked past the large windows of the modular
corridors. He was tall, wearing a white summer jacket and trousers. His
hair was fair and wavy, his eyes were brown. He had a fashionable
three-day growth that seemed to enhance his finely chiseled jaw. He had
his sunglasses on his head and he wore a thin black and white horizontal
striped T-shirt underneath the jacket. He had a beautiful smile. He was
looking and talking with Cheryl like “hey, I just parked my Porsche can I
see you for a moment.” Their eyes met and Joanne melted. She envied Cheryl
for being with him. Cheryl’s eyes met Joanne’s and Joanne came to the open
“Joanne, how are you”?
Cheryl said with excitement as she walked into the room. Joanne noticed
the man with her was wearing white European leather sandals, no socks.
They approached her; Joanne didn’t know what to do.
“Hi” Joanne said.
“This is my brother Sean”
Cheryl said. “Brother”!!! Joanne thought.
“Pleased to meet you” Joanne
said and shook his hand.
“Pleasure” he said and shook
Joanne’s hand. He had a firm grip yet soft skin. He had a thin metal gold
chain around his wrist. He smiled, he had the most beautiful eyes, and he
“Sean came to say hello and
see me working” Cheryl said.
“Yes, today is too beautiful
to work” Sean said.
“Joanne is from Perth”
“Perth, wow you are a long
way from home” Sean said with some surprise.
“Yes, I am not sure if I am
going home or not” Joanne stated.
“Why is that”? Sean asked.
“Because Joanne is on a shot
term assignment here however it may extend.” Cheryl answered.
“Well we hope it does…………I
mean that is what you want isn’t it”? Sean asked innocently. Joanne didn’t
know. He was another reason why she would like to stay. Did he have a girl
friend she thought?
“I’m not sure” Joanne
“Have you been doing some
sight seeing”? Sean asked.
“Not much, I have been
working” Joanne replied.
“I’m going to the casino
now; would you like to come along”? Sean asked. Joanne thought about it,
was he asking her out? Was this just a casual remark like I am going to
anyway but would you like to come along?
“Yes, I would like that”
“Great, ok.well we can go
now if you like………..are you finished for the day”? Sean asked.
“Yes definitely” Joanne
replied and stood up.
‘Well ok…………..I shall see
you later then” Sean said to his sister and kissed her.
“Ok,” Cheryl replied. Joanne
went with Sean to the doorway. Joanne stopped in the corridor. He smiled
and indicated his right arm for her to go in the direction of the exit and
Joanne complied. As she walked down the corridor Ray Garcia was coming out
of the audiovisual storeroom. He was going to see Joanne about the tape
especially if Joanne wanted to do some voice over but he noticed she
seemed pre occupied. He watched the young good-looking couple walk past
him. Ray could see they both liked each other.
Adam Norris was seated in
the corner of the Roman Catholic tent of St. Francis of Frankston. He
was with his sister Colleen. She was drinking a cup of coffee. He was
seated there quietly. There were a few people milling around in the tent,
looking at printed material on the bench. Adam had a distant vacant look
on his face. His sister occasionally rubbed his left thigh. Douglas Peters
knew he was there. He not only saw the man have his stigmata, he wanted to
see it for himself, close up. He approached slowly. Adam was sitting
calmly staring. The blood coming from his forehead had been wiped away
but the residue was still there. His sister Colleen looked up at Douglas.
Douglas drew up a chair and sat in front of them.
“Hello” he said.
“Hello” Colleen replied.
Adam said nothing. Douglas looked at Adam’s hands. He had handkerchiefs
tied around the palms.
“Has anyone come to see you
both”? Douglas asked.
“Yes, a priest. They want us
to see them on Monday.” Colleen said. Douglas looked at Adam who seemed to
be in a trance.
“How long has this been
happening”? Douglas asked.
“A few weeks. The bleeding
has become intense since last week.” Colleen said. Douglas looked at Adam
intensely. Adam began to look at Douglas.
“Hello” Douglas said.
“Hello” Adam replied slowly.
He stared at Douglas for a moment as if searching his face. A trickle of
blood appeared on his hairline then slowly trickled down his cheek.
Douglas took his camera out and began taking photographs.
“What are you thinking”?
Douglas asked him as he took the photographs.
“I am thinking of Jesus on
the cross” He replies.
“Are you in any pain”?
“No”. Adam said as he closed
his eyes. “I feel warm, I feel loved I feel safe.”
He then lifted his hands.
Adam untied the handkerchiefs to reveal blood coming from the palms of his
hands. Douglas took some photographs. His sister sat there tears in her
“Who is your savior”?
“Jesus of Nazareth”, Adam
“Do you reject Satan”?
“Yes, I reject Satan.” Adam
Adam looked at Colleen. He
“Are you alright Adam”?
Douglas asked. Adam took his time to answer. He looked at his hands.
“Yes, I feel weak.” He
replied. Douglas noticed a group gathering around them. Douglas looked at
“You should pray for Adam”
He said. He stood up and one woman took his seat. They gathered around
him. Douglas indicated to Colleen to join him outside the tent.
Outside Douglas spoke to
“This is a Stigmata. No one
really knows why it happens. Some people have exhibited real blood coming
from their wounds while others think it is something else. Either way if
it is not faked, and this isn’t, it is difficult to explain.” Douglas
“We know it is a stigmata,
but why has it occurred to Adam.
“No one knows. It seems to
be a deep emotional identification with the suffering of our Lord. How did
this all start”? Douglas finished off.
“He was never religious and
then he began reading the Bible. He got baptized, he quit working and
then…this happened.” Colleen finished off. Douglas nodded his head. He
gave her his business card.
“Call me, if anything else
occurs. I investigate and report religious phenomena.” Douglas said.
Colleen looked at the card. She looked at him.
“What is going to happen to
him”? Colleen asked.
“I am not sure” He replied.
He then said good-bye and walked away in the direction of the car. He
didn’t want to say that Adam would most likely not be the same again and
may even die from his Stigmata. There is a school of thought that it is a
slow but ecstatic death. Even in the Tibetan Buddhist religion there is a
belief in phenomena called Rainbow light Great Enlightenment in which some
people seem to go into a trance and want to be alone. They appear to be
having conversations with invisible beings. This is often just before they
die, and then their death is highlighted by a flash of bright light in the
colors of the rainbow. Their body decomposes instantly and only their
finger and toenails are left.
Colleen watched Douglas
leave. He seemed knowledgeable and caring. She didn’t know why she didn’t
say it but Adam had been speaking to himself a lot lately and it often was
not in English.
Ritchie Daniels sat in his
study. He had his computer on and was listening to classical music. He
liked to listen to classical music, especially baroque music with
headphones on. He was reclined in his chair and it was almost midnight.
His eyes were closed and he was in another place and another time. He was
a night owl. He found it difficult to go to sleep before 1am. Ritchie
Daniels was 38 years old. He had sandy hair and a fair complexion. He was
soft spoken and polite .He liked to have his computer on, listen to music
or have the TV all at once. He had the TV on mute and if something got his
attention he would take the head phones off and turn the volume up. This
is how he saw the report of the healing event in Australia.
On the warm wood paneling
walls of his study were the school trophies and important framed
photographs in his life. One of his favorites was a photograph of himself
shaking the hand of Billy Graham, just after Ritchie became elected
senator for his first term. He had heard and seen Billy Graham, the
evangelist all his life, and it was indeed an honor to meet him. Ritchie
felt the Holy Spirit move him in his early thirties to involve himself in
ministry by focusing his father’s publishing house on spiritual
literature. Whether it was good timing or good business sense it worked
and his business boomed. He became a member of the Christian Coalition and
printed a lot of their work for free. He also associated with the
Intelligent Design scientists by not only publishing some of their work
but actively telling them that as a Christian he not only supported the
theory of creation but wanted it taught once again in the schools. With
this pedigree it was only a matter of time that he was approached and
asked if he would like to be on the Republican Senate ballot. He was
flattered and said yes. He didn’t see himself as a politician but he was
quite prepared to influence the country with his views. Whether it was
9/11 or just a fundamentalist revival of Christianity in the USA but
Ritchie and the president rode the wave to office.
One evening as he was in
that same room, on a warm July day, Ritchie sat at his desk and was
reading a manuscript submitted by a preacher in Alabama. It was titled,
“The devil is real”. It was a beautiful afternoon and every so often
Ritchie looked out the window and wished he had gone with his wife Julie
and 2 sons Jake and Tristan to the baseball game. Jake was 13 and Tristan
was 9. He had spent some time with them in the morning but needed to do
some reading in the afternoon to catch up with some submitted manuscripts.
As he sat there reading the
manuscript submitted by a Baptist preacher and proclaimed exorcist, he
felt a cool breeze in the corridor. He something was dreadfully wrong. He
knew there were no windows open, and there was no wind outside. He thought
for a moment, maybe the kids had come home and left the door open but
there was not a sound. He looked through the open door of the study and
could see the corridor. It was eerie. He thought an intruder had come into
the house and half expected to see him walk casually past the door. Next
to his computer, between the computer table and the wall he kept his
baseball bat, glove and ball. He got out of his seat and picked up his
baseball bat. He strained his hearing for a sound but heard nothing. He
put down the manuscript, on the corner of the table. It was fastened only
in the top left hand corner. The pages spread everywhere. Ritchie stepped
back from the computer. He was convinced someone was in the corridor. He
waited…………waited…waited but heard nothing, then he just had a feeling
someone or something passed in front of him and stopped near the computer.
Maybe it was his heightened sense of imagination but he felt something was
there. Suddenly the manuscript fell to the ground. Ritchie jumped. Objects
that are not properly balanced can move slowly until they fall. Objects
that have been placed in a small kitchen bin for quite some time can be
heard to suddenly fall. That is because they were not properly balanced
and moved imperceptibly and eventually fell. Or that is the theory anyway.
Ritchie looked at the fallen
manuscript. A chill came over his body. He felt as if a spirit had come
into his house and disapproved of the manuscript. He said a prayer out
aloud and felt calmer. He picked up the manuscript. He had just read a
chapter about how the devil doesn’t like people reading about his
activities and his methods of operation. The manuscript clearly stated
that a prayer should be said before reading it. Ritchie had not done that.
He was convinced more than ever, like the author of the manuscript, that
the devil and his emissaries were not dead or asleep. He was working
harder than ever before and trying to affect the world in a more insidious
way than the communists could ever do, and that was not to attack the
people of the nation but have the nation of people attack themselves.
Ritchie did not know how the
world would get out of the mess it was in now. It was not unemployment or
poverty that was the problem that could be cured; it was the drug problem
that seemed to have no cure that was claiming more and more victims and
perpetrators of crime. It seemed as if the devil had come to earth and was
making his last stand. Ritchie like other Christians looked for signs.
Sometimes they saw them, sometimes they thought they saw them, but they
kept looking and they looked the world over for anything that looked like
it was not of this Earth. It could be in a forest in Europe, on a farm in
Latin America, a home in Okalahoma or on a field near Frankston Australia.
Ritchie got up. He had
fallen asleep. The CD had come to an end. He looked at the clock on the
wall and it said almost 2am. He was very tired and wanted to go to bed. He
went to the computer and turned it off. He noticed an email from his
friend Douglas investigating the healing site in Frankston. The subject on
the email was “Stigmata.” He opened it up quickly and read it. The
photographs from Douglas digital camera were also attached. Ritchie
At 6pm, the crowd began to
disperse. There were still plenty of sausages and hamburger on the grill,
but it had been a beautiful long day and it was time for many to go home.
The collectors had gone, the cars that had been parked off the side of the
road were going, and some tents were being dismantled. Robert was still
there, so was Father O’Shea. He had accepted any offer to stay over night
at the Frankston North Parish so he thought he would stay till sunset.
It had been a glorious day,
not only for the weather but for what had happened. There was the usual
prayer, singing and healing. Many people felt they were cured, many felt
touched by God that they had not experienced before so it was a tremendous
experience. Many people, such as the middle-aged generation seemed to get
a great deal out of the services. They were a cynical generation that
walked away from religion in the 1970s. Now it seemed they had come back.
Was it their fear of their own mortality or were they finally reconciling
their lost faith. It was difficult to tell but more were satisfied than
Robert took some hamburger
off the grill with some coleslaw. He went out to the front of the cross.
He took a seat with him and sat in front of the cross. He ate his meal
slowly looking up at the cross in front of him. He was happy, the happiest
he had ever been. He felt he had contributed a great deal to the opening
of the window to Jesus that weekend. It was an idea he had for a long
time, a desire to bring people to Jesus the way he was brought to him
which. It was just an extension of the way people were brought to Jesus
more than 2000 years ago. Robert often wondered what it would have been
like to live in Judea at the time and to hear of Jesus of Nazareth coming
to town from the children running in the streets. What would it have been
like to stop your work and follow the crowd, to see him and his apostles
heal the sick. The people of the western world had forgotten true values.
Life wasn’t what you could get, but what you already had. Money didn’t
save you from ageing and dying. Robert wished they could have found a
place where they could have full immersion baptisms in a river or lake but
none were suitable or available. This paddock that was close to the entry
ramp of the new freeway would have to do. It was all about coming to a
place, stopping for a moment and thinking about our savior, praying to him
and receiving blessings. When the door is open by God, no man could close
Finishing his meal, Robert
put down his plate. He felt light, not heavy. He felt like this when he
thought of God. He felt at peace, calm, serene. He felt as if God was
trying to tell him something and he would be there to hear it. As he sat
there, his eyes closed, his group in their tent packing up saw him. His
pastor saw John Fletcher saw him and spoke to Reverend Graham of the
Frankston North parish.
“He is going to Ridley
College next year” He said.
“Really”, Graham replied.
“Yes, this has been a very
special experience for him. I believe the Holy Spirit has done its work on
him as well as others”. He said.
Peter Douglas had had a long
day as well. He had taken photographs, emailed his friend Ritchie and now
it was time to go home as well. He was tired. He walked to his car parked
on the side of the road and was about to get in. He liked to look at the
sky, after all he was a photographer at heart and he was always looking at
the sky. He looked back at the beautiful blue sky, starting to darken. The
sun had gone over to the west, it would be dark soon. The tents that were
still there seemed to glow a bright white. The sky was blue, cloudless
except for…………..and then he saw it.
At first he thought it was a
weather balloon, a small circular object in the sky. He watched it for a
moment and realized it was a cloud; only that it was getting larger. He
continued to watch it and noticed it seemed to be moving closer. There was
no wind yet this cloud was fast approaching. He quickly took out his
camera and began taking photographs. The cloud caught the last rays of
light from the setting sun and seemed to glow. It continued approaching
the paddock. It was low and bright. This was not normal. He ran across the
Joshua Coleman was walking
across the paddock, holding his mother’s hand. He was deaf and mute been
since birth. He walked around with his mother receiving prayers and being
by his mother’s side. He was fluent in Auslan and communicated to his
mother with the Australian hand signing who often interpreted what he said
to others. God’s word in sign language carries the same power as when it
is spoken or written. Douglas was running across the paddock yelling,
“Look at the cloud, look at the cloud”!! It got everyone’s attention; it
was moving quickly and was the only cloud in the sky. It seemed to be
dropping down. There was a great deal of commotion. Joshua was looking
around confused. He could feel his mother pulling on his arm. He didn’t
know what was taking place. Father O’Shea called out “Everybody, gather
together” to the crowd and they all shuffled together and looked up.
As they stood there, they
stared at the cloud. There was no denying it, the cloud moved faster and
was lower than a normal cloud. There was also no denying it that it
stopped just over them. It glowed white so bright that it illuminated the
ground. Douglas began taking photographs until he realized that it looked
like a normal bright cloud close up, only different from the distant. He
ran back to take some photographs of it contrasting it with the
On the freeway going home to
Frankston was the Jackson family consisting of Mr. Jackson 48, his wife
Suzie 43 and his teenage boy Daniel 17 and daughter Larissa 15. As they
approached the paddock area Mr. Jackson could see the cloud brightly
illuminated over the paddock. It was already getting dark around them yet
the cloud shown brightly almost like a mirror reflecting light onto the
ground. He had plenty of time to see it in the distance and so did the
family. He slowed down and parked the car to the side of the road. They
all looked at it.
“Look at that” Mr. Jackson
said as he looked at the spectacle. Suzie took the digital camera from the
glove box and took several photos. She reviewed them through the review
screen to ensure she had them. They sat there and stared at it. They drew
attention to others and other cars began to slow down and then stop.
While Douglas took photos,
Father O’Shea and the intercessors led the team in silent prayer. Father
O’Shea asked for God’s healing to be bestowed on them. Some sat down, some
lay down, and others stood. The light around them was undeniable. Robert
then once again like he had done many times before recited Matthew 18 (20)
about Jesus being present when two or more people gathering in his name.
There was a moment of quiet, of meditation and reflection. There was no
wind, there was no cold. Robert had his eyes closed then he opened one of
them. He could see the paddocks in the distance darker than the ground in
front of him. He smiled and thanked the Lord. He began to feel light, a
sensation that passed from his legs right up into his chest and
shoulders. This was the greatest feeling for Robert. He had searched,
read, studied and journey internally and externally and found Jesus, the
son of God, the prince of peace. His quest was over, his faith confirmed.
He felt so light he felt he was levitating off the ground. His body felt
rigged but he dared not look in case it broke the spell the Lord had cast.
During this time, time
itself lost meaning and measure. No one was looking at their watch. There
were moments of silence and the group of approx. 100 didn’t want to move.
They bathed in the light and some were praying gently, others began
speaking in tongues. A man collapsed and shook violently. Joshua stood
there, he watched all of this. He recited the Lord’s Prayer to himself
over and over again. He looked at his mother who then looked at him. As
clear as a bell he said his first word to her “mum”. She couldn’t believe
what she heard. She was speechless instead of her son.
Douglas took photographs
continuously until he found the camera heavy. He couldn’t lift it to his
face. He tried, but it was too heavy, so were his arms. He suddenly burst
into tears. The more he tried to stop the more difficult it was. It seemed
to last for an eternity but it was approx. one hour then the light
stopped. It could have been that the sun finally set and no longer hit the
cloud or it could have been just another reason. The group looked at each
other and hugged each other in the semi darkness. The cloud broke up
immediately and seemed to move quickly to the west. They would not forget
this moment. On the road in the distance, cars blew their horns. Some
motorists thought they had rigged up a light show, others knew better.
While this was happening
Mark Bishop was asleep, it was early morning in Fort Lauderdale. He was
having a pleasant dream. He had a dream that he had once many years ago
when he suffered concussion in the World War 2. He had been shot just
above the left breast and lost a lot of blood. His army comrades had
brought him to hospital. The wound was not that serious but it was
difficult to stop the bleeding. While on the operating table he began to
hallucinate. He saw his mother looking over him and he called her name. He
thought he saw another figure a man he believed was Jesus looking down on
him. He had a feeling that it was not his time to die. Surely enough he
recovered. He told his wife about the experience much later in the 1970s.
He read about it back then, it was referred to as a near death experience
and many people had talked and written about it even Ernest Hemmingway.
Mark had gone to bed that
night feeling happy. He had written a check for a church that was doing
good work and needed the money far more than he did. Now as he lay in his
bed, he was having the same dream again, this time it was not his mother
looking down on him but his wife. She seemed serene, healthy and happy. He
was floating in the sky, he was happy to. He wanted to be with her. He
could see Jesus. He saw him but this time he was clearer than ever before.
The light was brighter than ever before but it didn’t hurt his eyes. This
time Mark felt it was his time and he was ready to go. He drew closer to
Jesus and even closer still. He felt his spirit leave his now dead body.
He was now with his loved ones and savior.
It was now dark, the tents
were being disassembled. The air was now cold. As they packed there was
still an excitement in the air. A few people had received the Holy Spirit,
and were healed of their illnesses and handicaps. Others were speaking in
tongues. Some were hugging each other and crying. Some like Peter Dominich
was praying. He was convinced of what he had seen today as the work of
God. All weekend he wondered if he should attend until know. He saw an
excited couple talking, as it appeared one of them could now walk. He saw
a mother and her son taking excitedly as it appeared her son could now
talk. Nothing yet had happened to him. As he stayed on his knees a blond
girl no older than 7 approached him. While he was on his knees, her face
and his were the same height. She came up to him and began speaking to him
in Croatian. She told him that he needed to follow God and abandon his
drinking. His wife loved him but he needed to love her as he had not been
a good husband. The girl walked away. Peter stayed on his knees. Now
something had happened to him. He heard in his own language what only God
could see. He was a doubting Thomas no more.
It was about 9pm when
Douglas emailed photographs around the world concerning the glowing cloud
and the illuminated ground. He sent them to Ritchie and several other
websites but the evidence he was using would be his undoing. By using a
digital camera it was almost impossible to detect if the photos had been
altered and at exactly what time of the day it had occurred. The skeleton
crews working late on Sunday night checking the emails were not impressed.
Only the government owned Channel 2 published one photo on the late news
because it looked spectacular, but the effect could easily have been
created with a basic photo shop-editing tool by changing the contrast.
Even Channel 9 had not carried the story because it was anti climatic
considering what they had reported earlier. As in the past and in the
present, evidence is questioned. One needs faith as to what happened.
Those who experienced it knew it happened, and those who doubted it would
continue doubting it.
Orwil Street Frankston is
where Robert Hill lived. The long driveway separated the two long rows of
flats on the block. He lived towards the rear. He parked his car around
the back on the fine white gravel car park and made his way in the
darkness to his home.
When he opened the door and
turned on the light, he was greeted by his dark dingy flat. The murky
yellow light didn’t make the flat appealing in any way. It was always dark
and cold .The main window faced south but never saw direct sunlight
because of the other flats on the other side. The carpet was grey, the
furniture plain. No matter how clean it was, it looked dirty.
He put his keys on the table
and went into the kitchen. He turned on the light. He looked around at his
home and was depressed. He disconnected the phone from the wall and had
his mobile turned off. The last thing he wanted to hear was anything from
any one. He took a small bottle of water from the refrigerator and sat
down. He took a mouthful of water and looked around his flat. He never
really liked it; he had to take it quickly because he needed to get away
from his mother. He was thirty, alone. It is difficult to afford a good
flat or even get one by yourself because in Frankston many young men are
drug addicts, or considered drug addicts and/or irresponsible. He thought
if he chose a very average place he would have a good chance of getting it
that he did. He furnished it with second hand furniture from second hand
stores but didn’t care. It was functional and he was humble. After
receiving the Holy Spirit he didn’t feel like impressing anyone. He
brought a girl home one night. She looked at the furniture and he realized
she didn’t want him. It would have upset him only a few months earlier,
but such things no longer concerned him. His neighbor was a single mother
with a young baby. She had eyes for him and a year ago he would have tried
to get into her bed. Now he was not interested in her. He was beginning to
wonder about people’s motives particularly women. He knew they didn’t love
him; they just wanted to be looked after, no different to his mother. He
didn’t tell her deliberately where she lived so she turned up at his place
of work and demanded to see him. She demanded to his manager to see Robert
as she was his mother and she had a right to see him. What was he going to
do about her? She wouldn’t go away, she wouldn’t understand and she
wouldn’t leave him alone. The closer she got to him, the further he wanted
to be away from her. His life had changed and was changing. He found he
could not be among the friends he had previously. They were liars,
selfish, weak and had other weaknesses of character that he found
difficult to accept. He was most happy with his Christian group, reading
and talking about Jesus. After this weekend he could not go back to his
old job. He had tomorrow off but he didn’t feel he could be a nutritionist
with justice. He felt the lord calling him and the call of his mother to
go in the opposite direction.
On Beach road Brighton are
some beautiful house, the type that have windows that over look the bay.
They have wicker furniture on the balcony and telescopes. One of these
belonged to Sean’s family. His parents were not home, they were interstate
and Cheryl no longer lived there. Sean had taken Joanne to the casino,
then coffee somewhere else then dinner in Brighton. They were staring
lovingly in each other’s eyes since dinnertime. He took her home upstairs
to his bedroom and made love to her. Joanne wanted to be with him. She
forgot about work, she forgot about ringing the station to ask them about
work tomorrow. She was clear to stay another night in the Ambassador
Hotel, then come in tomorrow for her next assignment. But as she lay there
in the arms of her lover, who was asleep, she could see the streetlights
reflecting on the ceiling. She would ring up tomorrow and see if she could
have a few days off. Yes, that was a good idea; she needed time to think
about her future, and what next assignment she would do.
Sean snored but it didn’t
bother Joanne at all, though it usually bothered her if she didn’t like
the man she was with. She got out of bed and walked towards the window.
With her naked body, she stood behind the drapes and looked out over the
bay. She could see the city in the distance and the lights of a ship not
far away. She felt happy. She had felt this way before but this time she
felt it was different. Maybe she could stay in Melbourne longer than she
thought and Sean could be a big part of it. Was it too soon for her to
think like that? She wasn’t sure, but what she was sure of that he came
from a good family and they would have lovely children. Children? She had
to think about it, was she thinking of children already? Did she want to
leave her job for a family? She wasn’t sure; it was all a bit much. She
wanted to be the wife of a man such as Sean, and maybe the time was right.
Not many new that she had come from a normal family and that she was lucky
to be the pretty one. Her sister was nowhere near as pretty as she was.
She played with her hair as
she looked out over the bay. She felt her necklace tangled up in it. It
felt like some of her hair had gotten into the chain linkages. It had got
tangled up when Sean had run his hands vigorously through her hair in bed.
She couldn’t find the linkage end of the chain so she gave it a snap. The
chain broke easily; it was not an expensive chain. She didn’t see it or
hear it but the crucifix fell to the floor.
Harrison Van Cleef was
having a late night. He lived only a few blocks away from where Sean and
Joanne were. His study however didn’t face the ocean; it faced the
backyard of the next-door neighbor’s home. There was nothing exciting ever
going on there so Harrison concentrated on writing his articles for the
Herald-Sun editorial. Harrison was a youngish man, going fashionably grey
at 47. He was one of the main editorial writer’s of the Herald-Sun. Some
considered him a right-winger, a conservative, yet he seemed difficult to
pin down. One thing for certain he was controversial, and seemed to go
against public opinion. It was difficult to say if it was natural or co
incidental, even he didn’t know. When people seemed to support
environmental issues, he questioned them. He was one of the few who
questioned openly the views and values of minority groups. Just when the
right thought they had a new “one of their own” he surprised and offended.
He saw some value in labor politics and he was not supportive of Religion.
His acid pen, his outspoken views kept him in a nice house in a nice
suburb of Melbourne yet somehow he felt he didn’t quite belong to the
community of that area. He was going to write an article about the
bickering taking place in the leadership of the liberal party in Victoria
when a few phone calls an hour earlier changed his mind.
He like many had seen the
television report of the healing weekend but didn’t pay much attention to
it. He then started hearing about people being healed and then the hour of
daylight over the paddock. He knew he had something to write about. As he
sat there with his Caro substitute coffee in a mug next to his computer he
typed furiously. In two hours time he would have to email the article so
it would make the press for tomorrow. He was annoyed that in this day and
age people still believed in miracles.
He had the internet
minimized on his computer so he could look up websites as he wrote. He
thought people were fooling themselves if they believed in miracles. He
wrote how people through autosuggestion could exhibit unusual behavior
such as the convulsions of exorcism or spontaneous healing. Without
spending too much time looking up the Internet he typed out a few examples
of people claiming to be healed when they were not. They displayed
euphoria when they attended these religious festivals and it was the
euphoria and autosuggestion that made the lame walk and the blind see. The
body was a complex organism and the belief of getting better amongst some
people was so high that it resulted in partial recovery. Research showed
their recovery if genuine was usually short lived. He had been to the USA
and seen the rising tide of Christian fundamentalism in that country and
its influence on politics. He wanted the church and the state to be
separate entities and he was concerned the religious right in the USA was
now trying to spread its influence to Australia. The Family First party
already had a senator in this state and more were to follow. Since the
September 11 attacks intolerance and bigotry were now rampant in American
politics. The teaching of creationism was becoming an issue in the
schools here as it was in the USA. The religious right had no right to
influence government the way they were doing now. It took more than prayer
to beat cancer that is what Harrison thought and he was annoyed at the
church for putting on displays claiming to heal people. Sickness and death
had explicable origins and explanations, as did the cures. It was wrong
for the church to involve themselves in such practice when the best
practice was medical practice.
There was scant evidence
that prayer healed many that weekend or the religious sites of anywhere
around the world really healed people, Harrison wrote. The body has an
incredible ability to often heal itself, without miracles but the church
was not able to accept that. The Amazing Rhandi, the magician who
campaigned strongly against Uri Geller once said that people want to
believe in the supernatural because it was more interesting and exciting
than reality. People wanted to believe that somehow somewhere there was an
all-benevolent deity caring for us on the planet.
As Harrison finished his
article he knew it would anger many of his reasons but it was important
for his readers to be informed. He wondered how much was given in terms of
donations to the various churches that weekend and if any of them would
return the money if in the end it was proven their disease or incapacity
returned. Probably not, he thought. People needed to be wary of miraculous
cures. People had the ability almost unaided to convince themselves of
anything and it was dangerous if not unhealthy to put faith in medically
The following morning was a
normal morning, nothing great about it. Peter slept in, his phone still
disconnected. He stood on the edge of Frankston pier and looked in western
direction. Dark storm clouds were approaching from the horizon. Soon the
warm wind would be replaced by a strong cold gale and it would rain. Being
one of the planners of the healing weekend he had hoped and prayed for
good weather and his prayers were answered. Now it was if God had been
holding back the wind and the rain and it was time to allow it to engulf
the city. God had granted good weather for the special weekend and now it
was time for the rain to come.
There were only a few
fishermen on the pier with their lines cast into the ocean. He wondered
how men, and it was usually men, who liked fishing and could sit sometimes
for hours and often caught nothing. The first disciples of Jesus were
fishermen. How did Jesus come up to them and just ask them to drop what
they were doing and join him. Why did they follow him? What did he say?
What did they see in him? How would these fishermen react if Robert came
up to them and asked them to join his church, would they? Would they be
touched by the Holy Spirit to follow Christ?
The wind was getting
stronger. Robert looked at the waves. He wondered what would happen if he
just jumped off the pier. Would he fall into the water or would he rest on
top of it if he thought he could. Would God grant the miracle? Would it be
enough if the fisherman saw him to convince them to follow the way of
Christ? Jesus cured the sick, raised the dead, walked on water, forgave,
preached and yet many did not believe him, even Thomas, one of his
disciples. It was a wicked generation then and it is a wicked generation
The wind was getting
stronger and cooler. Robert went into the bayside pier restaurant
“Sofia’s” and stood waiting for service. It was empty yet he waited. A
waitress directed him to a table and he ordered a cappuccino. He took the
brochure of Ridley College out of his jacket and began reading it. He
looked at the colorful brochure of the theological campus with the course
details. He felt happiness. He had made up his mind. He would study for
the priest hood, the Lord willing. He no longer cared what others would
think. He had submitted willingly.
As his coffee arrived, he
heard some people behind him and the waitress that put his coffee down. He
heard them walk past him and their voices but couldn’t decipher what they
were saying. He casually looked up and noticed it was Joanne and Sean.
They didn’t notice him. They were led to a table and they sat down. Joanne
was now facing Robert. Sean had his back to him. She had not seen him yet
when suddenly their eyes met. For a moment, Joanne was shocked, then
embarrassed. The look on her face was obvious, “what should I do”? She
waved, he waved back. Sean turned around and looked at Robert. He was
handsome. Sean smiled. Robert was fine but Joanne was embarrassed,
awkward. She was only three tables away and she was unsure whether to say
hello to him, ignore him, or even ask him to join them. Sean could see she
had a rash around her neck; many women get that when they are nervous.
Robert continued to drink
his coffee. He was almost finished, when Joanne called out “Robert”.
Robert looked up. She was
smiling and Sean was looking at him. Robert came over.
“Hi” she said and shook his
“Hi,” Robert said in return.
“This is Sean” Joanne said,
indicating Sean. They shook hands.
“Pleased to me you” Sean
“Hi” Robert said.
“Robert was the man I was
doing the story on this weekend” Joanne said to Sean.
“What was it about”? Sean
“It was a healing weekend”
Robert said. He looked at Joanne and she was very uncomfortable. In all
the time she had spent with Sean she never gave him an explanation why she
was in Melbourne. She must have had other things preoccupy her mind.
“Healing weekend” Sean
nodded, obviously unaware it had occurred.
“Yes, it was a success”
Robert added. Sean nodded.
“Won’t you join us for
lunch” Joanne asked.
“No thank you, I have got a
few things to do” Robert said.
“Ok,” Joanne said.
“Nice meeting you” Robert
said to Sean and he returned the pleasantries. Robert then went to the
counter and paid for his coffee. He walked out into the car park just as
it started raining. She watched him go. Sean noticed her rash, she was
embarrassed. She had a man quickly; she didn’t discuss the healing weekend
project with him.
As Robert walked to his car
in the car park, he thought about the rash on Joanne’s neck and then
remembered her crucifix necklace was not there. Did she deliberately not
As he got into the car, it
started to rain. Good timing. He started the car and left the car park.
Robert was not to know that Joanne wasn’t sure where she placed the
necklace. Maybe it was still in the hotel, maybe in her handbag, she
wasn’t sure. It was gone, may be never to be found just like her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
©Rick Rendell 2006.
22 Dion Drive