Clergy and Shamans
The late Dr. Malachi Martin was a theologian who spent 30 years as an exorcist. After leaving the priesthood, Dr. Martin wrote several bestselling books: Vatican, The Final Conclave, Hostage to the Devil, The Jesuits, The Keys of This Blood, and Windswept House.
A Priest and a Scholar
As a scholar who studied at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, Oxford University, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Father Martin received doctorates in the Semitic languages, archeology, and Asian history. In 1958, Father Martin was in Cairo to study a newly discovered collection of Hebrew writings from the time of Abraham. The trip had a profound impact on him. While he was there, he was asked to assist in an exorcism. A young Egyptian man had become so involved in Satanism that he was suspected of being complicit in sacrificing his own sisters.
Fighting the Devil
What Father Martin saw in Egypt convinced him that he had to fight the powers of evil, no matter the personal cost to him. Some have speculated that Father Martin may have been the inspiration for the older priest in William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist.
Before his passing, Father Martin said, “Every exorcism takes something out of you that cannot be put back. The demon goes, but it carries a part of you away with it. A little of the exorcist dies each time. It's a permanent mental fight against a powerful, dangerous enemy.”
What is a shaman?
In tribal cultures, shamans served as healers, psychological counselors, and spiritual ministers to their people. Their presence was central to the health and well-being of the tribe. Many shamans claimed they were only as powerful as the number of helpful spirits who acted as their allies.
Keith and Carl Johnson
The Johnson brothers, identical twins Keith and Carl, grew up in a house in Rhode Island where paranormal phenomena would occasionally occur. Those events triggered their extreme interest in the supernatural world.
In the early 1970s, when they were just teenagers, Keith and Carl attended a lecture featuring paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren at nearby Rhode Island College. Subsequently, they developed a friendship with the Warrens, which lasted for decades.
They joined a paranormal research organization at Rhode Island College, known as the Parapsychology Investigation and Research Organization (PIRO), and as it turned out, Keith's first major investigation turned out to be a case of demonic infestation. In October of 2004, Keith and his wife, Sandra, founded New England Anomalies Research (NEAR).
Keith says they founded NEAR after the Ghost Hunters series, with which they were involved for the first two seasons, became so successful, because their involvement with the show made it difficult to focus on their clients' cases — especially those of a confidential and sometime even demonic nature.
Keith often officiates when house blessings and exorcisms need to be performed for both TAPS and his own organization, NEAR. Keith still consults with TAPS as a demonologist, as well as working with fellow demonologists and associates at NEAR to help people who believe themselves to be the victims of hauntings, possession, or demonic oppression in New England.
NEAR is comprised of many former investigators from TAPS, and they have stayed true to their goal of investigating and analyzing phenomena that is suspected to be of paranormal origin. Keith and his wife Sandra co-produce a weekly cable television show called Ghosts R Near in Providence, Rhode Island, which explores the topics of ghosts, the paranormal, and hauntings.
Keith's twin brother Carl is a demonologist, too. He is also NEAR's senior investigator and alternate co-host of Ghosts R Near. He continues to explore the paranormal with his colleagues, Father Bob Bailey, who is frequently seen on the A&E television show Paranormal State; Greenville Paranormal founder Andrew Lake; author and investigator Thomas D'Agostino; mediums Pamela Patalano and Paula O'Brien; and his girlfriend, paranormal investigator Dina Palazini.
The two brothers combine their mutual love of history and the paranormal in the tours they conduct at Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Using their extensive knowledge of both Slater Mill and the Blackstone Valley area, plus their unique love of all things ghostly, they host tours in this old, allegedly very haunted mill in their Paranormal Pawtucket Ghost Tours.