By: Tony Capobianco
The following article is about spiritual warfare and how demons operate in relation to people that they want to be their victims, their possessions. As such this content may be disturbing to some people. Only you know if this topic may be disturbing to you. This article is not meant to glorify evil but to assist in recognizing how the enemy works so that the Devil and his demons can be more easily identified and then rejected. When evil is unmasked it is to a certain degree humiliated. If we trust in and serve Christ through living a good Catholic life, then we have nothing to fear.
Let’s begin with the Prayer to Saint Michael:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Spiritual warfare is real and none of us are exempt from fighting this battle. There are only two sides to align oneself with, Christ and The City of God or Satan and The City of Man. Knowing the battle tactics of the enemy aids in thwarting his attacks and repelling his insidious seductions to serve him. Hollywood movies and TV shows often fail to understand and depict how evil actually operates. There is an exception to this in the most unlikely of places. A new character in the WWE called Bray Wyatt/The Fiend uncannily depicts the way that the Devil and his demons operate. The background and storyline of this deeply dark persona more accurately personifies evil and how evil seeks to enter a person than horror movies such as The Exorcist and The Rite. The Fiend embodies much of what Fr. Ripperger teaches about demons in his excellent Conference on Exorcism. Fr. Ripperger teaches that if we really want to understand the relationship between demons and the people that they prey upon then we could do no better than to learn about abusive relationships. Father says that the psychology of demons is to set up an abusive relationship with their victims. The psychology of abusive relationships sheds some light on how sinister sexual abusers operate. This is important in terms of understanding some of the dynamics of the clerical sex abuse crisis. Both the fallen angels and the fallen priests that serve them behave in a similar way as they both groom their victims as they begin an abusive relationship. “Hurt” and “Heal” is a recurring theme in the persona of The Fiend character and this is indicative of both an abusive relationship and the wounded nature of fallen man. Man after The Fall is wounded and he seeks a way to fill the God sized hole that is in his soul. Both human and preternatural predators seek to exploit this hole that exists in man by deceptively offering to fill it even though that it is impossible for them to do so. Demons will isolate a person while offering to ease the hurt by manipulating the person to commit various sins in a doomed attempt to fill the hole in the person’s soul through appeasing the bodily appetites. This points to another recurring phrase in a series of videos entitled “The Firefly Funhouse” in which the Bray Wyatt character says, “Let Me In.” Once the the person is hurt adequately, the demon will demand that its victim let him in. This article will demonstrate a link between the Firefly Funhouse segments featuring Bray Wyatt/The Fiend and the way in which demons interact with man. The theology of demons as is understood in the teaching of exorcist Fr. Ripperger will unmask The Fiend and the modus operandi of demons so that we may be better equipped to identify and fight against the infernal enemy.
Demons are fallen angels and they do not have physical bodies and as such it can be very difficult to capture an adequate representation of them and their tactics through the vehicle of movies and TV shows. Illustrating spiritual beings and spiritual realities that are impossible to see with the human eye is very challenging. Hollywood movies almost always focus on the sensational elements and manifestations of demonic possessions and infestations but they fail to convey the doorways through which the Devil and his demons enter. Movies such as The Exorcist fail to depict the relationship between the demon and the person that it is tormenting and attempting to take to Hell for eternity. Most people do not set out to become diabolically obsessed or possessed or to invite demons to infest their home and yet these things can and sometimes do happen when people commit various mortal sins. Mortal sins are doorways through which a demon can potentially enter.
When people commit mortal sins, they are emulating the Devil and the demons who sinned long ago shortly after they were created as good angels by God. Sacred Scripture tells us that one third of the angels refused to serve God and as such they fell from grace and became fallen angels. So too with man, each mortal sin committed is an offense against God and a rejection of God. Shortly after God created Adam and Eve, the original parents of the human race, they sinned in the Garden of Eden as Adam, with the influence of Eve, committed what is known as the Original Sin. The Original Sin has caused each descendant of Adam and Eve, except for Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, to be born with the stain of Original Sin. Consequently each descendant of Adam and Eve is born as a child of wrath and in bondage to the Devil. This is the reason that man is in need of a Savior and because God so loves us, He sent us His Only Begotten Son to be Our Savior and Our Redeemer. Original Sin brought sin and death into the world. The Sacrament of Baptism applies the merits of Christ’s triumph over sin and death on the cross and it is the God given means to wash away the stain of Original Sin from the soul. Each unconfessed mortal sin deprives the soul of sanctifying grace and separates her from God. This removes the soul from the service of the Lord and places her in subjugation to Satan. Each mortal sin that is committed is an act of pride in which the person chooses his will over the will of Almighty God.
A brief background in salvation history is absolutely necessary in understanding why demons behave the way that they do in relationship to man. Make no mistake about it, salvation history is real and true history and Satan and the demons are keenly aware of this. Without a proper understanding of the abject reality and absolute horror of a soul in the state of mortal sin, it is impossible to comprehend why demons operate the way that they do. The Devil and his diabolical minions know that the Sacrament of Baptism forcefully snatches souls from their grasp and places them in the strong hands of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ. The Church teaches that Charity has two parts: 1.) The first and primary part is to love God above all else. 2.) The second part is to love one’s neighbor for the sake of God. To love someone means to will what is best for them and serving and loving God is what is best for each of us. Love cannot be found in Satan and his fallen angels and therefore they invert the Catholic teaching of Charity. They hate God and man. They will tirelessly do whatever they can to separate men from God and this is done through tempting a person to commit a mortal sin. Once one single mortal sin is committed, the person immediately becomes the Devil’s property once again. The Devil hates us. He is not our friend, although he will present himself as your friend in order to seduce you into forming a relationship with him. The Devil will encourage you to do what you want. Prior to committing a mortal sin, the Devil will act as your advocate as he urges you to enjoy yourself and to take delight in bodily pleasures. However, after you listen to him and commit the sin, it is then that Satan becomes your accuser as he strives to drive you to despair. Since the Original Sin was committed in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve, our appetites have become disordered and it requires God’s grace and a long process of sanctification to rightly order our appetites. The enemy of souls knows this and he uses our disorder and concupiscence against us. Sin wounds us. Sin makes us weak. Sin makes us stupid.
The Ancient Serpent bites us with his fangs as he injects the poison of his twisted lies into our minds as our bodies become the battleground of this lifelong spiritual battle. The Serpent, knowing that sin wounds us, tempts us to sin in order to wound us, to offend God, and to wound others. The sins that man commits against his fellow man wounds the man that is sinned against. Exorcists tell us that demons search for the wounded as they are easier prey. People who are spiritually wounded suffer great pain and they often feel empty and alone even when they are surrounded by large numbers of people. In fact the larger the audience in which they find themselves, the greater their feeling of disconnect and isolation may be. When a soul is in such a wounded and isolated state, the demons recognize this situation as a dinner bell. In the Inspired inerrant Word of God, St. Peter teaches the following:
“Hurt” and “Heal” is a theme that is embedded in the persona of the Bray Wyatt/The Fiend character. This WWE superstar (superstar is the term that the WWE calls its talent) has dual personas. The first persona which was introduced to the audience through a series of two minute episodes called “The Firefly FunHouse”. Bray Wyatt was in the role of a deranged children’s host who resembled a psychotic version of Mr. Rogers. Bray Wyatt was surrounded by a cast of peculiar puppets. The puppets consisted of Abby The Witch, Mercy The Buzzard, Rambling Rabbit, and Huskus a pig. This short show takes place in a structure called the Firefly FunHouse. Bray Wyatt wears gloves which read “Hurt” on one hand and “Heal” on the other. The “Hurt” and “Heal” dynamic continually rises up in the content of these Firefly FunHouse episodes. From the Firefly Funhouse theme song:
“We’re really glad that you are our friend and this is a friendship that will never ever end.
If you’re feeling lonely today, come along and throw your cares away. Throw your cares away. Throw your cares away.”
The above excerpt from the Firefly FunHouse theme song appears to illustrate how demons target their prey. The demons seek children and adults who are lonely and hurt as they exploit these wounds as a way to establish a “friendship” with them. This line is particularly ominous, “We’re really glad that you are our friend and this is a friendship that will never ever end.” The Devil wants you to spend eternity together with them in Hell and once you begin a relationship with him in this life, he has no intention of allowing you to escape this damaging and terrifying relationship. A relationship with the Devil is an abusive relationship and just like any abuser, the Devil isn’t going to let you walk away without a fight. This insight of demonic persistence is conveyed in another episode of The Firefly FunHouse in which the puppet Abby The Witch asks why Bray Wyatt won’t let her rest as she is stuck in limbo and Bray Wyatt chillingly responds, “I’ll never let you rest. Never.”
In the first episode of the Firefly FunHouse, Bray Wyatt explains where he got his inspiration to create the Firefly FunHouse and what the Firefly FunHouse is:
“I saw it in my dreams.”
“This is my special place and all of my fireflies can feel safe here.”
“Remember fireflies, I’ll always light the way and all you have to do is.... Let Me In.”
Bray Wyatt claims that he got his inspiration to create the Firefly FunHouse in his dreams. The extraordinary form of diabolic influence known as diabolic obsession can penetrate a person’s dreams. Perhaps this dream was a form of diabolic influence. When Bray Wyatt says that the Firefly FunHouse is his special place and that all of his fireflies can feel safe there, he is setting up an abusive relationship in which he portrays himself as the protector. He is offering the weak and wounded a “safe place”. The episode ends with foreboding phrase: “Remember fireflies, I’ll always light the way and all you have to do is.... Let Me In.”
In a segment of The Firefly FunHouse entitled “The Muscleman Dance”, Bray Wyatt talks to an overweight puppet named Huskus the Pig in his Firefly Funhouse. Huskus seems overweight, unhappy, marginalized, and unsure of himself. Bray Wyatt tells Huskus that if he listens to him then one day people will call him a genius and that he will have the whole world in his hands. A video then plays in which Bray Wyatt is exercising and getting into good physical shape as the following sentences are embedded in the song:
“Just follow my voice. You don’t really have a choice.”
“Erase your mind.”
The song ends and Bray Wyatt tells Huskus, that they are now ready for a night on the town. Huskus responds, “Thank you Bray. I feel better already.” The segment ends with Wyatt saying, “See what happens when you trust me? And remember my fireflies, I will always light the way. All you have to do is Let Me In.”
The “Muscleman Dance” episode of The Firefly FunHouse is very instructive in illustrating how false prophets, cult leaders, apostate priests, sexual predators, and demons operate. Such wicked creatures are opportunistic predators that perversely exploit the conditions in a fallen world. They prey upon people who are afflicted with deep spiritual, psychological, and emotional wounds. When these predators see that a person is hurt, they diabolically view this as an opportunity to gain power, influence, and control over the wounded individual. These servants of evil feed off of the wounded individual, while fully recognizing that the person is desperate to be “healed” so that the hurt will go away. In the case of Huskus the pig, Bray Wyatt offers the apparent medicine of worldly delights such as worldly success, fame, praise, and all that comes with such things. The Devil knows our weaknesses better than we ourselves do and he will exploit our weaknesses to the full extent that he is permitted to do so. When the Devil see’s Huskus, he sees that he is lonely, overweight, and depressed. The Devil can fairly accurately surmise what Huskus desires by observing what Huskus watches, reads, and says to other people. If the Devil observed that Huskus lusted after a particular girl and worldly acclaim then he might dangle these desires before Huskus as carrots before a rabbit. The Devil and Bray Wyatt could rather easily perceive that Huskus is tired of being laughed at and tired of not “enjoying” the carnal “delights” of the flesh. This is the reason that Bray Wyatt instructs Huskus of the importance of exercise, he knows that Huskus can obtain worldly desires if he follows the advice given in The Muscleman Dance segment. After Bray Wyatt delivers these seemingly good things to Huskus, Bray Wyatt knows that Huskus will be more likely to follow his new leader. Bray Wyatt/The Fiend will cunningly grant favors to Huskus for the specific purpose of grooming Huskus to the point in which he will finally let The Fiend in. The Fiend offers Huskus possessions so that he, The Fiend can possess Huskus. Huskus longs to be loved and to be delivered from his unhappy position in life. Huskus does not know that there is only one true Deliverer and that only the love of Christ will fill the huge hole in his soul. Only Jesus Christ can truly heal his hurt. Knowing these truths, Satan and his servant Bray Wyatt will do everything within their capabilities and powers to prevent Huskus from ever believing that Christ alone is the answer, remedy, and Savior for a fallen world.
The following excerpts from The Firefly Funhouse are some of the deeply dark and disturbing things that Bray Wyatt says as he is about to reveal his true dark nature as well as the sinister nature of his Firefly FunHouse: (Warning, the below picture of The Fiend may be disturbing to some readers)
The Fiend is introduced following the previous quote. It is at this point that the true nature of the host of the Firefly FunHouse is revealed. The Fiend is a terrifying demonic clown. Gone are the bright, welcoming colors worn by Bray Wyatt. Gone is the jovial voice of the children’s show host. The safe place is gone. As The Fiend is introduced, a dark, creepy version of the children’s song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is played. “Yowie Wowie” is the last phrase of this segment of the Firefly Funhouse. Bray Wyatt had used “Yowie Wowie” as a catchphrase to his children’s show but now it is the Fiend that is using this phrase in a guttural and deeply disturbing voice. This is exactly how the demons operate. They often present themselves as a friend or as an angel of light in order to gain your confidence and to deceive you into trusting them and in establishing a relationship with them. In Sacred Scripture, St. Paul teaches:
After revealing his dark secret, Bray Wyatt says the following:
Even after the demon has revealed its true face, it still seeks to deepen its relationship with the targeted individual. At this stage The Fiend has cultivated a sense of fear in its target and it is deceiving the person by telling them that it will continue to be their protector. Bray Wyatt is telling his audience that he too used to be like them. He too, used to be unsure of himself and he too knows that people can be mean. Bray Wyatt offers an apparent solution to the victims of this world, he offers them The Fiend. Wyatt raises the mask of The Fiend as a symbolic gesture of inviting The Fiend into them. The audience of The Firefly FunHouse may not yet realize it but Bray Wyatt is grooming them to invite The Fiend inside to possess them. This demon known as The Fiend has possessed the man, Bray Wyatt and it is a perfect possession. The Fiend is using Bray Wyatt in the role of a children’s host in order to gain the trust of the audience of The Firefly FunHouse and to groom his viewers into accepting a perfect possession. The terrifying reality is that Bray Wyatt is not there, only the demon inside of him remains as it wears his flesh as a costume. To the unsuspecting audience, the mask of The Fiend is the costume that Bray Wyatt wears but in truth, Bray Wyatt is the costume that The Fiend wears. The audience thinks that Bray Wyatt controls The Fiend persona but in reality it is the Fiend that controls Bray Wyatt.
What is perfect possession? Exorcist, Fr. Ripperger explains it as follows:
The next episode of Firefly Funhouse begins by showing a sign on the door to the Firefly FunHouse. The writing on the sign is an inversion of the infamous sign from Dante’s Inferno. In Dante’s literary classic, the sign in Hell reads, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” However the sign on the door in Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse reads, “Abandon all hope ye who exit here.”
This is significant because the sign is reinforcing the idea that sanctuary from pain and troubles can only be found within the confines of the Firefly FunHouse. The sign unmistakably conveys the notion that despair and hurt await all that would leave the special safe place created by Bray Wyatt. Once again, the “Hurt” and “Heal” dynamic is on full display. Outside of the Firefly FunHouse is the existence of a world of hurt, while within the Firefly FunHouse there is a secret world of healing in which you can throw all of your troubles away. The victims of Bray Wyatt/The Fiend have been indoctrinated after having been broken down by an evil and abusive relationship. The victims or as Bray Wyatt calls them, his “fireflies” are blinded to the fact that the Firefly FunHouse is a hellish prison rather than a peaceful sanctuary.
In the final episode of The Firefly FunHouse Bray Wyatt once again explains the reason for which he created it:
“I know what it feels like to not belong. I know what it feels like to be different. That’s why I built this place (The Firefly Funhouse). So we can all be together. And I want you all to join us here where the fun never has to end.” Each puppet then says, “Join us.”
Bray Wyatt continues:
“People worship what they fear. Fear is power. Follow the leader.”
As the relationship with the demon progresses, the demon will change from being an apparently healing and helpful influence into a malignant waking nightmare. Nightmares are scary and fear is a central component in this abusive relationship. The abuser plays on the person’s fear of being hurt while pretending to be the abused person’s protector. This is the twisted psychology of the “Hurt” and “Heal” dynamic. The abuser will tell their victim that they are weak and pathetic and that they will remain as such without the abuser. The demon will make its victim believe that he absolutely cannot live without the demon. The demon uses fear as a tool to subjugate its targeted pray. The demon wants to be worshipped. The demon wants to accumulate as many victims as possible.
The official WWE theme song of The Fiend, along with the dark images that play on the titantron as the WWE superstar makes his entrance to the ring, further supports my analysis that a diabolic obsession is at the root of this character. Fr. Ripperger defines diabolic obsession as,
WIth the definition of diabolic obsession in mind, here are the lyrics of Bray Wyatt/The Fiend’s entrance theme song:
As Bray Wyatt/The Fiend’s entrance music plays throughout the arena, the words “Let Me In” are repeatedly displayed. The humongous titantron is filled again and again with the phrase: Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in!
This repetition of the phrase, “Let me in!” is reminiscent of a scene from Stephen King’s horror novel The Shining, in which the character of Jack Torrance repeatedly types the sentence: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The hammering of such phrases in a person’s mind is indicative of either a psychological illness or a diabolic obsession. In the case of Jack Torrance and Bray Wyatt, the surrounding storylines make clear that these are diabolic obsessions. This diabolic obsession grows more intense the longer the abusive relationship with the demon continues. At this stage, the demon has broken the person and it has gotten the person to question his sanity. The demon hurts the person physically and psychologically as it offers one final chance to “Heal” its wounded victim. The final offer to “Heal” is to coerce the abused person to “Let him in!” The demon lies to the tortured soul as it tells them that all of this hurt, this waking nightmare can finally end if the person finally gives up and invites the demon to fully possess them.
The Devil and his demons possess a dark desire to possess as many people as possible. Fr. Ripperger, an exorcist, says that demons are greedy and that they like to collect people in the similar way that people greedily collect money. With this in mind, I posit that The Firefly FunHouse is really a preternatural bank vault in which The Fiend collects people. The more people that demons collect corresponds to an increase of hellish glory. This is the Fiend’s true purpose for The Firefly FunHouse.
What is the point to analyzing all of this? The point is to be cognizant of the modus operandi of the Devil and his demons. We all live in a fallen world and each of us is wounded by sin to greater or lesser degrees. The enemy will use our wounds as a means to destroy us. The enemy will use our hurt in order to offer us a means of healing ourselves. The Devil will tempt us to use created things in a disordered/evil way. It is important to know that demons often present themselves as our greatest friends in order for them to eventually completely dominate us and to sever our relationship with God. It only takes one mortal sin to end up in Hell and the demons know this as they tirelessly work to seduce us into living sinful and wicked lives. The “Hurt” and “Heal” dynamic in abusive relationships is a profound concept. We all hurt and we all want to be healed and the enemy exploits this inner longing. The “Hurt” and “Heal” cycle of an abusive relationship is a seemingly never ending malicious cycle. Concupiscence makes sin look attractive to man and man who’s intellect has been darkened since The Fall tries to appease his disordered bodily appetites through committing various sins. These sins only satisfy man briefly and then the hurt and emptiness returns. The return of this emptiness compels man to sin even greater in an attempt to alleviate his suffering but once again the pleasure and relief is only fleeting. This cycle is perhaps illustrated best by the sorrowful plight of drug addicts and the circular pattern of addiction which if not broken, ends in imprisonment, death by overdose, or suicide. If a vile drug like heroin had a face, its face would no doubt be that of The Fiend. If a soul in mortal sin could be seen with our human eyes, it would probably resemble the hideous Fiend. The Firefly FunHouse captures the essence of being wounded by sin and the consequences of looking for healing apart from the Divine Physician Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ can fill the hole that exists in fallen man. Only the peace of Christ can calm our turbulent anxieties and fears. Only Jesus Christ can satisfy our deepest hunger. If we want to truly love and be loved, then we must ardently pray for the Lord to grant us the Theological Virtue of Charity. If we would overcome the Devil, then it is only with and through Jesus Christ that this is possible. Despite the Devil’s cunning deceptive salesmanship as he offers people power, protection, and pleasure… he in truth only sells an eternity of suffering, hideousness, death, and eternal despair. On the other hand, Our Lord Jesus Christ offers Truth, Beauty, everlasting Life and love. Sacred Scripture tells us that perfect Charity casts out all fear. Therefore let us beg Our Lady to obtain for us an increase of Charity so that we may love God as we ought and so that we may never fear the evil one again. Our Lady has crushed the Serpent’s head.
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