THE REVEREND TOM WILLIS worked for over 50 years as a Church of England ‘Minister of Deliverance’ – that’s the church’s preferred term for an exorcist! During that time, as his occasional interviews with the national media have revealed, the Rev. Willis has experienced hundreds of inexplicable events.
The Rev. Willis is making a special appearance at St Augustine’s Church on Wednesday 16th October 2013 from 7:30pm for an evening entitled “A Ghostly Evening”.
In an interview with the national Daily Mail in 2010 the Rev. Willis is quoted as having seen an awful lot of inexplicable phenomena:
There was the time he was thrown to the floor by a massive bolt of power — “my head was whiplashed and my elbows and knees knocked together and every muscle tightened”.
And the flying objects — “video recorders, shampoo bottles, ornaments travelling through brick walls and doors opening and slamming shut. And sometimes I get a zig-zaggy feeling around my edges — a bit like an electric current — and lots of people shouting: “It’s behind you! It’s in the corner!”’
But he insists that actual demonic possessions are very, very rare. “In 50 years, I’ve only seen it for real three or four times — and, usually, it’s mental illness. Anyone who claims they are possessed very rarely is.”
And again in the Daily Mirror in May this year:
Rev Willis says: “The people who come to me are really frightened. I’ve even had atheists tell me, ‘I don’t believe in ghosts but I can’t explain what is happening’.”
He adds: “I always say, ‘you don’t get possessed just walking to the supermarket’. You have to look for a reason why it should have happened. Often, people have dabbled quite strongly in evil.”
Now retired aged 82 and living in Beverley, the Bridlington Free Press stated in November 2012 that Rev. Willis is still called out by members of the public to perform exorcisms at least twice a week. The police in Hull have even contacted Rev. Willis to meet members of the public concerned about hauntings.
Whilst many people, including life-long Christians do not condone or accept the underlying beliefs and practices associated with exorcism, the Church of England does issue guidelines for its deliverance ministry:
“Some people seek specific help when going through times of suffering and anxiety, or when distressed by what seem to be continuing experiences of evil within them or around them. For these people, it may be right to ask for God’s saving help through the Church’s deliverance ministry.”
The guidelines say that help i.e. an exorcism, should be undertaken by experienced persons authorized by the diocesan bishop, it should be done in the context of prayer and sacrament, it should be done in collaboration with the resources of medicine, it should be followed up by continuing pastoral care and should be done with the minimum of publicity to protect the privacy and dignity of individuals involved.
Whatever your belief system, then the Ghostly Evening should provide a fascinating insight into an area of work that we only ever rarely hear about – except for in films and fiction.
Tickets for the Ghostly Evening are available from Hedon Post Office, Hedon Carpets and Beds – or on the door. Cost £3.00.
Proceeds from the night go towards St Augustine’s Church Funds.
There is a radio interview from Audioboo with the Rev. Tom Willis on the Tom Nolan Show – although it ends suddenly after 11 minutes:
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