En­coun­ters of the su­per­nat­u­ral Kind!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir By

Dale El­liott is pop­u­larly known for his show Un­told Sto­ries. What many may not know is that he started his work­ing life as a DBS re­porter at age 18. Three years later he turned to what he be­lieved would be a more lu­cra­tive ca­reer: he started his own car parts busi­ness. Thir­teen years passed be­fore he had an­other change of heart. “I stopped for 11 months to re­search cus­toms law be­cause I was at log­ger­heads with Cus­toms,” Dale El­liott re­called dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view with the STAR. This was the re­birth of his me­dia ca­reer. El­liott re­turned, pro­duc­ing doc­u­men­taries; same con­cept, theme, theme song many years later, pick­ing up from where he stopped with Voice of the Home­less.

Un­told Sto­ries, the weekly pro­duc­tion he now hosts, holds the phi­los­o­phy of per­pet­u­at­ing so­cial trans­for­ma­tion. “Many times there are things which stare us in the face, which we see and hear, yet fail to ad­dress,” he says. “Like home­less­ness! Who are th­ese peo­ple? Where do they come from? Do they have fam­i­lies? Is it be­cause of drugs they are there or do some want to live on the streets?”

More im­por­tantly he sug­gests the pro­gramme's aim is to jolt peo­ple to ask what they can do as in­di­vid­u­als to help an­other in­di­vid­ual get off the streets. “Through­out the course of the se­ries our fo­cus has al­ways been how we can tell sto­ries which change peo­ple's lives,” he ex­plains.

“Of course you do get the one-off pro­gramme for sen­sa­tion­al­ism. For ex­am­ple, I don't think Kim John and Fran­cis Philip had any­thing much to of­fer, from the doc­u­men­tary we pre­pared about the cathe­dral mas­sacre, in terms of so­cial trans­for­ma­tion,” he ad­mits. “It was a look into the minds of two peo­ple the pub­lic would not have nor­mally heard.

"I also be­lieve Un­told Sto­ries is a medium to demon­strate what ef­fec­tive in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism is; some­thing not done in the lo­cal me­dia.”

The episode that aired on Tues­day, about a de­mon-pos­sessed woman trans­form­ing into a frog and sub­se­quently be­ing ex­or­cised by a Catholic priest, was the talk on many per­sons' lips through­out the week. He says: “From 19 years old I had a con­cept for the pro­gramme deal­ing with the su­per­nat­u­ral in Saint Lu­cia. When I did Un­told Sto­ries it was the fifth I would have done in the se­ries. We have al­ways heard sto­ries of gaje and de­mon pos­ses­sion; every­one has heard a story but is it ac­tu­ally true? I picked up the book which was handed to me as a gift: 'In Tur­bu­lent Wa­ters' by fa­ther Lam­bert St. Rose. Spell­bind­ing!

“The book grabs you from the first chap­ter and was very dif­fi­cult to put down. It is about his ex­pe­ri­ences as a Catholic priest. Fa­ther St. Rose spent many years in var­i­ous parishes and, from very early, found him­self con­fronted by parish­ioners claim­ing to be pos­sessed; from chil­dren to older peo­ple to poto l’eglise types who would do the most in­cred­i­ble things. So, in read­ing the book, it made me won­der. Can th­ese things re­ally hap­pen? I spent months re­search­ing it; sto­ries of de­monic pos­ses­sion not only in Saint Lu­cia but also the re­gion. Dis­ap­pear­ances at as­sizes time; black mass; sac­ri­fices to Satan. I was still puz­zled. This non­sense can't hap­pen in Saint Lu­cia, cer­tainly not!”

As for those per­sons who say there is no devil, El­liott re­marks: “I started out as a scep­tic. I wanted to have this in­ter­view with this man and walk away and say ‘what was that old man talk­ing about?' But the more I re­searched it, the more ed­u­cated I be­came.”

He ad­mits he wasn't all that con­vinced ini­tially and sought ways to dis­credit the in­for­ma­tion. “If I were my­opic,” he says, “I would prob­a­bly have been able to do so. But it comes back to ten French men not be­ing wrong. There are things in this world we can­not ex­plain and once one ac­cepts this, then God, the devil and ev­ery­thing else in be­tween is left to per­cep­tion.”

A be­liever in the idea of an­other world, El­liott in­sists he is not try­ing to con­vert any­one or to sell them a story. He is merely pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion not read­ily ac­ces­si­ble. He in­vites doubters to re­search an oc­cur­rence in Bavaria, Ger­many, of An­neliese Meyer; and the dis­ap­pear­ance of the lit­tle boy in a park in Den­nery seven years ago.

“The story of Mal Fi­nis in 1901, the his­toric case of a boy kid­napped for devil wor­ship; the story is in the na­tional ar­chives,” he states. “The trap door not open­ing for a guy to be hanged; an­i­mals fly­ing through the court; a mys­te­ri­ous ill­ness strik­ing every­one in the court; the boy's heart be­ing re­moved for devil wor­ship.”

There's more: “The kid­nap­ping of baby Brad in 1994 is an ex­am­ple that the oc­cult is alive and well in Saint Lu­cia and state­ments un­der oath from the ac­cused tell the story. If we do not ac­cept that the oc­cult or ab­nor­mal­i­ties of the spir­i­tual world oc­cur, re­mem­ber that 17 peo­ple per­ished on a bus and one was never found. Why did it hap­pen, where did it hap­pen and when did it hap­pen?”

El­liott grows silent and pen­sive. Are his sto­ries of the su­per­nat­u­ral re­ally that far­fetched? Or are they true? I guess only those who have had per­sonal en­coun­ters know for cer­tain.

Dale El­liott does not seek to tit­il­late but to open our minds.

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