This,my friends, is one of the most interesting interviews that I’ve had the privilege of doing. Rich Valdes has been a demonologist for over thirty-five years. He is such a legendary presence in the demonology community that he’s featured in a new show, Eli Roth’s Legion of Exorcists, premiering Thursday, June 1st on The Travel Channel. It’s a little different also because most of my interviews are by email. Rich was kind enough to spend some time having a phone conversation with me!
TPF: Hi Rich and welcome to The Phil Factor. I really do appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I want to be considerate of your time, so let’s jump right into the questions! Was there a point in your life when you decided to become a demonologist, or was it something that happened circumstantially?
Rich: I didn’t know what it was called at the time, but I was thirteen years old when I started taking an interest in anything and everything that was like demonic, and the Pastor of the church that my mother attended took notice of it. I had an affinity for it.
When I was about to turn eighteen he reached out to me. He said “I’ve always felt that you had a calling for demonology.” I asked him what that was because at that time I had never heard of it. He explained that it was the study of demons and theology and all the cult practices and religions. I was immediately hooked and I started studying with him for two and a half years before he passed away. Then I had to take a break from my studies.
TPF: How long have you been a demonologist?
Rich: I’ve been a demonologist now for thirty-five years, after nine and a half years of training through three different churches.
TPF: I was wondering how after your pastor passed away, how you continued your studies, because I don’t think you can get that at a community college.
Rich: No. No, that’s usually only offered in churches.
TPF: So the more you became involved in demonology, what surprised you the most?
Rich: What surprised me the most was how demons interact with us. They know more of us, the humans, than we know of them. It’s psychological warfare. Imagine if you would, having to battle something that has pre-dated mankind. They know our weaknesses and strengths even before we discover that we are up against one. So that’s what makes it so difficult.
TPF: What was the most frightening experience you’ve ever had?
Rich: Do you have time for this?
TPF: I have time if you have time!
Rich: (Chuckles) Ok, the scariest experience, well I wouldn’t say scariest, but it rattled my cage a little bit and made me realize that what I was up against was something that knew me better than I knew it. This was a case about sixteen years back, I was asked to take on. As a demonologist, you have to test and see if there are signs of demonic infestation, oppression, and possession. I contacted the husband of the couple. His wife was the one that was actually being tormented by what he felt to be something demonic.
I drove to Ocala from Miami, but before I did, I called him and I stated, “Do me a favor. Do not say my name out loud. You will refer to me as “Frank”. “Frank Black”, kind of like my favorite character from Millenium. It’s one of the many tricks of the trade, and he referred to me as Frank. When I got there, he answered the door and referred to me as Frank. He took me upstairs to where his wife was. There was a little table by the window with two chairs.
She was sitting on one side. I put my briefcase down and I introduced myself, “Hi. my name is Frank. Frank Block” and she said, “We both know, we all know that’s not true. Your name is really Rich or Richard.” I was like, “No.” Admittedly I had to fib a little bit but I had to keep my poker face up. I informed her, “No, I’m Frank” and she said, or they said, I should say “As you please.” Then I continued with my testing. Let’s just say that she did not pass. Everything that I tried kept proving that there was something or things with her.
Toward the end, as I started wrapping things up, I looked right at her, but never looking right into the eyes, that’s one thing that we’ve been trained never to do. I dismissed myself and said, “Thank you so much.” She replied, “No, we thank you, Richard Valdes.” That threw me for a loop. Of course, you always have to keep a poker face.
I went downstairs and said goodbye to the husband. I said, “Thank you very much.” I got into the car and drove three blocks down and I literally went through a half-pack of cigarettes. Let’s just say that I couldn’t drive anymore and I stayed the night in a roach motel and I took advantage of the opportunity to call my pastor and told him that we needed to get a young and old priest over here ASAP.
TPF: Wow! That sounds impactful.
Rich: Yes, it is impactful when you know for a fact that individual didn’t know my name and all of a sudden you’re there being exposed and all those testings that I used, they were repelled by whatever testings I used. It wasn’t Captain Obvious things like crosses or anything like that.
TPF: Has anything funny ever happened during one of your investigations? (this is me asking the dumbest question a demonologist has ever heard. He’s probably at the demonologist meeting right now saying to his friends “And then he asked me if anything funny ever happened! I ought to send a demon to his house to see how funny he thinks that is! What a maroon! “)
But this was his polite reply to me…
Rich: Umm, no. Not that I can recall. I’m always vigilant for anything and everything and the phenomena no matter how small they may be, end up towards the end building up to be something more.
TPF: You are premiering in The Legion of Exorcists, on The Travel Channel on June 1st, Could you tell us a little bit about that show?
Rich: The only thing I can say is that it is by far the first time that people will witness a show that is presented by theologians, individuals that are well-studied within the church or have degrees and have been certified and trained predominantly by the church. It won’t be by paranormal investigators, although I myself am a paranormal investigator. To have the experience as well as a demonologist, they brought me in just to give a different perspective. it will be the first show presented on the Travel Channel that we have individuals that are not being addressed as paranormal investigators that are talking about demons and giving their first-hand experience with demonic activity through the eyes of a theologian.
TPF: That was my last question Rich. I appreciate you sharing your time and experiences with me and my readers.
Yes, I know this was significantly longer than my usual posts, but Rich and his knowledge and stories were well worth it and one of the highlights of my Paranormal Month. If you or a family member does get possessed, just let me know in the comments and I’ll get you Rich’s number!
Have a great Sunday and thanks for reading! ~Phil