Secrets, October 1991
All around, in the pavilion of the "Zawisza" club there is a huge crowd. The Bydgoszcz Esoteric Fair is in full flow, it is 13 June, shortly after one in the afternoon.
Over one of the stands for guests and traders there is a sign with the word "Exorcist" on it. It draws people's attention. The exorcist is appearing publicly offering services without the classic spiritual supports as is usual in, say, the Catholic Church (unofficially, of course): it is an astonishing phenomenon.
Beneath the existing sign, in a box made of synthetics and steel, on a plastic folding table sits a woman with a calm expression. She is Wanda Pratnicka, an exorcist from Gdansk. Lying in front of her is an exercise book. Thick, half-filled. On each of its pages there are several notes - personal data, remarks about them. As Mrs Pratnicka assures us this is not the first exercise book for the exorcist's personal use documenting her work.
"I have been engaged in this work for 20 years," says Wanda Pratnicka. "And I had to learn it myself because no-one was able to help me. It concerned someone close to me but not belonging to my family".
Your first success encouraged you to help other people in this way?
"For a long time I didn't get involved in exorcism but various people started coming to me asking for help. It all happens on the principle of 'a friend of mine told a friend of mine'".
Isn't exorcising a risky activity? Do you feel sufficiently strong to resist these evil beings on your own?
"I have had so many successes that now I know for sure that many people need me," Wanda assures me. "People are treated for years for various ailments or conditions, or in psychiatric hospitals, whereas I, as by the touch of a wand, heal them. Because 'cleansing' someone of an evil ghost is a kind of healing."
Wanda Pratnicka explains that the process of exorcism itself is imperceptible to a given subject. Everything takes place at an astral and mental level. Besides, there are no witnesses - the interventions on souls are carried out in private circumstances, in closed quarters. Here, in this public place, only consultations take place.
"You surely don't imagine that I would expose all the people present here to danger, do you?" Wanda adds with real indignation.
What kind of danger could there be? we ask, nervous about the possibility of receiving a stray shot from an evil ghost.
"There are many dangers," Wanda states enigmatically. A moment later, however, she lifts a corner of the veil hiding the mystery.
"Aside from the entrance of an evil ghost into a person's body, there are many other symptoms that can appear, like for example fear."
What exactly are these evil powers? Is this a personal evil, or some sort of energy?
"One group of beings which 'defile' living people are the souls of people who died suddenly, for instance in a car accident or who were alcoholics or drug-addicts. After their death, souls have only a set time to pass through to 'the other side'. But they don't know what to do with themselves they are so bewildered. A second group 'defiling' the living, and this group is worse, consists of the souls of people who were bad while they were alive, for example they might have been criminals. These souls are afraid to pass through to 'the other side' after their deaths because they don't know what awaits them there. When such a soul enters a person it will automatically push them to perform evil deeds, for instance to commit some crime, or suicide. I can assert with certainty that virtually all suicides are people possessed by evil ghosts."
So evil is the provenance of people's souls and not beings such as, for instance, the devil?"You'd better ask a priest about that, I won't comment about the devil. I simply see it like this: an evil person will, after death, if they enter a living person automatically perform the same acts of evil as they performed when they were alive. They have not been purified before their death, they remain evil. And there are many such wandering souls, some of them wandering for centuries."
Is the process of cleansing people of evil souls a battle? Do you use force or persuasion?
"One has to use everything that is available. If a person's soul is evil then it won't leave easily. Sometimes exorcisms are a long, drawn-out process, lasting several months."
You recommend exorcism in cases such as alcoholism or drug-addiction. We have to confess this is new to us...
"If something like that is happening in a family then it's worth checking if that affliction isn't caused by the penetration of an evil ghost. If that is the case, then following an exorcism there is a sudden improvement. People then usually think that there's been a miracle, but it's no miracle because 90% of alcoholics and drug-addicts are possessed by ghosts."
But isn't it the case that there is a group of people dependent, for instance, because of genetic conditioning?
"All those cases are contained within that 10%."
That's optimistic news. After all, it means that all kinds of dependency can, in the overwhelming number of cases, be cured?
"They can, and I have examples of it. In fact, to begin with I also thought that if alcoholics or drug-addicts had been dependent for many years then even after the evil ghost had been driven out they would continue to have a craving for alcohol or narcotics. But this turned out to be untrue. Because when an addict who has been 'taking' for many years is cleansed of an evil ghost he will immediately set aside all drugs and do so without feeling any craving for drugs."
Just like that?
"Yes, but only when," Wanda underlines emphatically, "the drug addict was possessed. In other cases my treatment is not effective. After all, I am not a miracle worker."
We say goodbye and leave; there are several people waiting impatiently to consult the exorcist about the state of their souls or those of people close to them. In order that, using the magical overview of reality, they can surrender themselves to psychodrama and psychotherapy.
Authors: Wojciech M. Chudzinski, Tadeusz Oszubski