Encounters of the supernatural Kind!
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.